Anxiety comes and goes a lot at the moment. I’m like a cartoon character who can run off a cliff and keep going provided I don’t look down. Once I do that, I plummet, and so does my mood. “Looking down” sometimes means a direct trigger about the three topics that are making me anxious at the moment (Pesach, job hunting and dating) and sometimes means a physical trigger such as tiredness or hunger. The two types of triggers interact, I think, so it’s easier to get panicked about Pesach when I’m tired or hungry. I do have to engage with all three topics directly, so I can’t bury my head in the sand. I have to engage with Pesach because it’s little over a week away and my parents need my help; with job hunting because I need to find a job I can do; and dating because I’m texting the woman I was set up with from the values-based dating service, although neither of us has time to meet before Pesach.
The funny thing is that, with regard to the job search and dating, it’s not so much rejection that makes me anxious as a feeling of letting people down. I feel that I’m wasting people’s time by applying for jobs where I don’t have all the experience that seems to be required, even though I know that employers do not expect to find a candidate who meets all their criteria; I suppose now I also worry about not being able to function in a job, as I feel I didn’t function properly in my recent jobs. With dating too I worry as differences emerge between us, fearing that will doom the relationship and I should terminate it now otherwise I’m leading her on, even though relationships always have differences and it’s hard to tell whether those differences are surmountable without meeting a few times (at least).
I just finished reading Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet by Erica Brown. Near the end she quotes the poet Rainer Maria Rilke on loving and living the questions in your heart without seeking the answers, as you couldn’t get the answers until you are ready to live them too. I suppose I should try to do this, however grudgingly (I want answers). I also think of a comment from Rashi (Hebrew acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki), the greatest of the Medieval Jewish commentators. Devarim/Deuteronomy 18.13 exhorts us to “Be wholehearted with HaShem your God” which Rashi (quoting Sifrei) explains as “Walk with Him with wholeheartedness and look to Him and do not inquire of the future, rather accept everything that comes to you with wholeheartedness and then you will be with Him and His portion.” The comment is more about not practising divination, soothsaying, fortune telling or any other magical way of discovering the future, but I do try to remember it when I’m spiralling down into anxiety about the future and catastrophising about what might happen. To try to trust in God and not to worry about what might happen.
The job I applied for today asked for “Patience, resilience and a good-humoured approach”. Halevi (if only). At least I seem to be a bit more understanding and forgiving of myself than I used to be. I think this is as much due to being more certain about having autism as anything else. I don’t know why I find it easier to accept my limitations from autism more easily than those from depression, but somehow I do. Maybe it’s because I feel I should be over the depression by now, after so many years, whereas I can accept that autism is a lifelong condition.
I just came across some emails from E. from when we were dating. I’d forgotten I had them. I felt that I couldn’t be dating now while I still had copies of these emails and so I deleted them, but I feel a bit sad now. Not that I think it would be possible or even desirable to get back together with E. – that’s over now, it came at a particular time and now it can’t be recaptured. But it makes me wonder if anyone would ever seem so compatible again. To be honest, I don’t think that anyone I’ve dated was really compatible with me. There are always similarities and differences, but up to now, there has always been some significant difference that derails everything (religious level, income etc.). I suppose the difficulty with E. is that it wasn’t really a difference that was the problem (although we had very different religious levels), but a similarity: we were both struggling in low income jobs because of mental health issues. It just makes me worry that all my relationships will end eventually. How can I tell which relationships might work and which are going to be destroyed by the differences (or the low income)? I can only tell by trying them and seeing what happens, but this shatters my desire for control. Which takes us back to Rashi and Rilke, I suppose, living the questions and not looking to the future.