I stayed up late last night watching The Dalek Invasion of Earth for research for my Doctor Who book. Realistically, it was probably too much Doctor Who in one go (two and a half hours), but I just want to get the rest of my research out of the way so I can get to work on redrafting for style rather than content and also so that I can watch something other than 1960s Doctor Who, which I’ve been watching for nearly five months, albeit interrupted for a while by Sherlock and Jonathan Creek. I worked out that at my current rate I should be able to finish my research within five weeks, just in time for Purim (and, currently, the ending of my contract at work) if all goes well. We shall see. It’s become a slog, though, which is sad. When I started my research for the book in 2016, watching Doctor Who in order from the first episode until I caught up with the ongoing TV series for Twice Upon a Time at the end of 2017, I mostly enjoyed it. But this is too recent to my last viewing and I’m too impatient to finish the second draft and get on to the third draft. I did at least finish the second draft of another chapter today; just three more to go.
I’m also trying to cram in a skim reading of Inside the TARDIS by James Chapman (a cultural studies history of Doctor Who). I read it when it was published many years ago and my memory is that a lot of it is repetition of established fan interpretations, some of which I am challenging or developing in my book, so it probably won’t be that helpful, but it’s worth skimming as I have a copy.
I had anxiety dreams last night. Ever since I became shomer Shabbat (keeping the Sabbath) about twenty years ago I’ve had occasional anxiety dreams about breaking Shabbat. They’ve never gone away despite my being shomer Shabbat (at least at a basic level – it took me a while to learn all the details) for so long. Last night’s dream had added shul (synagogue) anxiety too, perhaps a product of my thinking about why I struggle to go to shul on Shabbat mornings.
I was in my parents’ shul for some reason (although it didn’t look like their shul) on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and my Dad was warden (as he was in our old shul years ago before we moved). For some reason I had my phone with me, even though carrying phones is forbidden on Shabbat and Yom Tov (festivals) and I had some legitimate, life-threatening reason to carry it, but no one else knew that, so I wanted to put it somewhere safe where no one would hear it if it rang which resulted in my literally running out of shul during Kol Nidre (the opening of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) prayers even though it was clearly Rosh Hashanah and people were drinking unlike Yom Kippur) and someone saw the phone, I think, and I ran home to hide it… it all got rather confused, and there’s a lot of detail that I’m skipping over as irrelevant, but I suppose underneath it was about feeling that I might have legitimate reasons not to go to shul or participate in the community in certain ways because of depression, autism and social anxiety, but that other people would not understand and maybe that my current shul isn’t 100% right for me, but it’s the best option at the moment.
I woke up feeling anxious about work, which was a little surprising – I mean surprising that I was feeling anxious about work and not shul. There’s one task I have to do at work about which I worry that I did not write down clear enough instructions for myself; I mentioned it to my line manager that I was worried that I was not doing it correctly, and she felt that I probably was doing it OK as it is not a very difficult task, just a time-consuming and boring one. But I still can’t shake the feeling I’m missing out a step, even though I can’t think what that step could be. This is probably just anxiety too. I’m not sure that it would be a good idea to seek further reassurance from my line manager, both from a work point of view and because it would probably further stimulate any anxiety. I don’t know why I woke up thinking about it after a completely different anxiety dream, unless it’s that all my anxieties are linked somehow, or at least that feeling anxious about one thing can quickly lead to feeling anxious about another.
I’m off soon to a monthly Doctor Who pub quiz. I wanted to go last month, but got a bit overwhelmed by anxiety, depression and the need to get up early the next day for my well-being course. I hope to actually make it there today, although I’m a bit nervous about being in a pub full of strangers (bar one friend who I know is going). I don’t think I’ve been in a pub for about fifteen years and wonder what I will make of the noise given my growing awareness of my issues with noise.