(Massive trigger warnings for suicide)

I feel awful.  Just totally inadequate and defective.  I bought a present for the people who invited me for Shabbat dinner and was relieved when no one answered the door (although I thought I could hear people indoors) and I had an excuse just to write a note and leave the present on the doorstep without speaking to anyone.  I don’t feel up to going to this big shul (synagogue) meeting tonight.  I don’t really feel fully part of the community anyway and I hardly ever make it to shul.  I wouldn’t know what to look for in a rabbi or be able to explain a vision for the kehilla (community).

I feel that I can’t find a role in the world.  Some people with autism can find a role, sooner or later, and I think that helps them to function and to feel they don’t have to succeed at things neurotypicals succeed at if they don’t want to.  A lot of people at my autism group seem to have jobs in IT, particularly programming, which probably isn’t a surprise to anyone.  I don’t have a role.  I thought librarianship might be it, but it looks like it isn’t, at least not without doing a considerable of remedial training.  I don’t have a role in the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) world, which has a very narrow selection of roles largely determined by gender.  I don’t fit frum male roles.  I’m not a great Torah scholar, I didn’t go to yeshiva (rabbinical seminary), I can’t really study much Talmud, in fact I don’t have the energy, concentration and motivation to study much Torah at all.  In a previous community, I was involved with the shul, I was a regular attendee at minyan (prayer services) and often led services, but I’m too scared and ashamed of myself to do that in this, more religious, community and again, I don’t have the energy, concentration and motivation to get to minyan every day, let alone three times a day.  I’m never going to earn enough money to be a big philanthropist, I don’t have a home of my own to invite Shabbat guests to (and single men inviting people to meals would be considered weird; cooking is definitely gendered female (so my culinary abilities are a liability more than an asset in dating, sadly)) and it looks increasingly likely that I’m not even going to have children to get nachas (pride, reflected glory) off them.

That pretty much rules out all the frum roles open to me.  I don’t know what I do with the rest of my life now, especially as I’m not well enough to work full-time.

I’m having suicidal fantasies again too.  I guess the thought of spending two and a half discussing how to pick a new rabbi would make a lot of people contemplate death, but I really do feel a lot of the time that life has no promise for me.  Who would really want to live without love?  And not only does it seem certain that no one will be able to really love me the way I would want or let me love her, it seems unlikely that I will ever be financially secure, confident, well-liked or happy either.  I can’t see anything in my life that makes it worth living, but I can’t talk to anyone about this.  If I had cancer and missed the meeting tonight because I was too ill from chemotherapy, everyone there would understand and be concerned about me, but with depression it’s a completely different question.  I’ve hardly even told anyone about my depression because I’m so scared of the response I might get.  I guess stigma affects a person even if, like me, people have rarely said anything directly to me that could be considered stigmatising; it’s the fear of stigma that terrifies me.

It’s actually scary that suicidal thoughts have been such a part of my life for so long that they don’t even scare me any more.  I know I’m unlikely to act on them while my parents are alive, so they’re just more mental noise, like all the other static between my ears.  I’m such a drama queen that I would probably want to kill myself in some big, operatic way, like Sherlock Holmes faking his death by jumping off a tall building in public in the Sherlock episode The Reichenbach Fall.  That said, I think I’m more likely to kill myself with an overdose than anything else as the thought of doing anything that gets blood everywhere is not appealing to me.  To be honest, the two main things keeping me alive are (1) knowing, on some level, that my parents care about me and would be upset by my death and (2) the fear of making a bungled suicide attempt and ending up with permanent physical injury as well as depression.

I feel that anyone else having regular suicidal thoughts would be signed off work and focusing on recovery, whereas I’m so used to it that I just try to function, go to work, go to shul, go to this meeting, try to daven (pray) and study Torah and so on, feeling terrible all the while and no one (outside this blog, where I play the drama queen) knows anything about what is happening in my head, how much pain I’m in and how hard it is to keep going.  Sometimes I wish people did know.  That’s an attraction of suicide to me, actually.  Sometimes I want to make a failed suicide attempt, so I could let people know how I feel, because I don’t know how to tell them; I guess jumping off a building is a way of showing people that you have a problem.  I guess people would call that a cry for attention, I just don’t see that as a negative thing, I feel I’ve had very little attention in my life and it’s only fair that I get some when I need it.

It’s just horrible to spend the whole time feeling like a defective, inadequate freak.  Not feeling loved.  Not feeling worthwhile or useful.  I know I need to love myself and feel happy in myself before anyone can love me, but I don’t know how I can do that.  It’s not something you can just suddenly do.  I’ve tried positive mantras, but I just don’t believe them, just as I don’t believe that God loves me (and no one frum has been able to prove to me that He does love me).  The problem with the CBT approach of thought control is that I have too much evidence of not being good, lovable or worthwhile for me to easily accept that I am any of those things.  So I end up just fantasising endlessly about death and dying as a release.

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10 thoughts on “Inadequate and Defective

  1. Try and treat you the way you would treat a friend or a beloved family member. You wouldn’t cuss them out or tell them they are no good if they make mistakes so you should never do those things to you. It might seem hard at first to give you love but once you do you will feel better and happier. It is a process. You didn’t grow up loving you so you won’t be perfect in a day or two. Try to be nice and forgiving to yourself each and every day. Listen to your needs and meet them. If you feel tired but feel like you should keep working till you are done then rest. It will feel like you are slacking off and being lazy but the more you honor your feelings the more you are giving yourself love. Buy yourself something you want. Eat good meals, watch shows that make you happy.. listen to music that makes you smile and in time you will feel better. Trust me I was in a similar boat and loving me was probably one of the best things I have ever done. You will get there in time.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment.

      I guess I feel that if I’m too kind to myself, I’ll turn into a terrible narcissist. It feels like I’m such a bad person, it’s only constantly attacking myself and beating myself up that stops me turning into a terrible person and I can’t afford to try not doing that.

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      1. If you aren’t a narcissist now then you aren’t going to turn into one. A narcissist would never be worried about such a thing. I used to think I had to beat myself up to keep me in line because my parents would treat me that way but all it did was make me sad and make me feel like a failure. Being mean to you won’t fix you, it just makes you feel like you can’t do anything right and aren’t good enough which makes you depressed and miserable which makes you beat up on yourself more and on and on and on. You have to do things differently. It will feel hard and weird and wrong but if you keep doing good eventually you will see the benefits of it.

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        1. I hope I wouldn’t turn into a narcissist, but I don’t know how I can know for sure that I won’t. I mean ‘narcissist’ in the colloquial sense of an unpleasant and self-centred person rather than someone with narcissistic personality disorder.

          I guess I’ve been told by so many people (directly or indirectly) that I’m useless that it’s hard to challenge that.

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          1. Being nice to you doesn’t mean you will be mean to others. If you love you more than you should have more love to give and having been broken means you should have greater understanding of other people’s pain.

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  2. “I’ve hardly even told anyone about my depression because I’m so scared of the response I might get. I guess stigma affects a person even if, like me, people have rarely said anything directly to me that could be considered stigmatising; it’s the fear of stigma that terrifies me.” – In CBT, 2 words: behavioural experiment.

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  3. Not sure what happened there. Try again:

    I’m guessing you mean to experiment about opening up to people? That’s really scary. I mean, REALLY SCARY. I’ve told a few people at shul I have health issues and I even told one person they’re mental health issues and no one said anything bad, but no one really seemed to know what to say. I guess I feel guilty for not conforming, even over something totally out of my control like mental health and autism. I can’t really imagine ever telling people in shul more about depression and especially autism. It would feel like I’m off-loading my problems onto them, that no one really wants to know how I am and I shouldn’t really tell t them, I should just pretend I’m fine same as everyone else does. The bottom line is it’s really hard to drop into a conversation “I suffer from depression and I’m probably a high-functioning autistic.”

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  4. Thank you for your kind comment.

    I guess I feel that if I’m too kind to myself, I’ll turn into a terrible narcissist. It feels like I’m such a bad person, it’s only constantly attacking myself and beating myself up that stops me turning into a terrible person and I can’t afford to try not doing that.

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