I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday, when I had a stomach bug. I don’t feel sick or dizzy as I did yesterday, but I haven’t tried much food yet, just toast with margarine, a few tomatoes and a banana, with nothing to drink other than water and tea. I still feel really achy, though. I think I must have strained some muscles while I was being sick. I was going to go for a walk today, but I decided I still don’t feel up to it.
It’s strange, although I have been used to an almost constant level of mental illness since my teens, I’m very rarely physically ill. This was one of the worst physical illnesses I’ve ever had. I don’t think I cope with physical pain terribly well. I was thinking yesterday about people who are in worse pain than I am all the time. There’s a Jewish belief, not so much a serious theological belief as a folk belief that people talk about, that if we could choose any type of suffering, we would choose that which we have anyway. I’ve always been sceptical of that and assumed that if there is any truth to it, it’s because the suffering we have is the suffering we have tried to develop coping strategies for, but maybe there is more to it than that.
The other thing that I learnt yesterday was that maybe I’m not as bad a frum (religious) Jew as I thought. Yesterday I was too sick to study Torah at all, too sick to daven Shacharit, Mincha and part of Ma’ariv (pray the Morning, Afternoon and part of Evening services). I didn’t even change out of my pyjamas all day. It made it clear that usually I do these things at least to some extent. However depressed I am, I do pray two or three times a day, even if not in the ideal way and I do some Torah study every day even if only a few minutes. I always change out of my pyjamas unless I’m physically ill, however depressed I am. So, I guess those are all positives.
I was doing OK today mental health-wise, but I’ve suddenly become very anxious and have started catastrophising. I have a job interview on Friday and am worried I am going to fail the cataloguing test, that I don’t know how to use their software well enough and that my cataloguing skills are too rusty. I am also worried that if I do get the job, I will have to work through Chol HaMoed Pesach (the intermediate days of Passover, where it is permit to work, but discouraged if possible). I am also catastrophising about the potential date I have, although I still have not spoken to the shadchan (matchmaker) about this. I am concerned that I am making a huge mistake, although working out exactly what the mistake is at this stage, when I haven’t committed myself to anything more than a conversation with the shadchan is harder to tell. I just have nightmares about getting married to the wrong person for the wrong reasons (loneliness, desperation or not wanting to hurt someone else’s feelings by rejecting her). And I’m worried about Pesach, which seems to have come out of nowhere and leapt on me; I realised that I only have a little over two weeks until it and not three as I vaguely thought.
Having written this all down, it does seem that my anxieties are getting out of control and that I am worrying about things that are either not within my power (the job stuff) or which would have to go through a lot more stages of bad decisions to actually be problematic (dating). But it’s hard to internalise that. Plus what is an objectively real concern is that the job is for a library assistant role rather than an assistant librarian one which sounds trivial, but library assistant is a much lower, less skilled, less well-paid job than I’m qualified for. I think the agency who keep putting me up for these jobs don’t understand the difference between assistant librarians and library assistants, which is a bit ridiculous for an agency that handles so many library jobs. But I feel that I need to keep in work, so I accept these jobs, or at least put myself up for them, but I wonder what it will do for my career to have these things on my CV.
I wish I was in therapy, or had a friend I could talk to about this, but I’m not in therapy and my friends are busy dealing with major life issues of their own. Maybe I should try to phone Samaritans later, but it seems silly to bother them with this stuff.