I felt pretty depressed for much of today. I had insomnia last night and didn’t fall asleep until 5.00am and so overslept this morning and woke up feeling exhausted and very depressed. This led to me missing volunteering again, largely due to oversleeping and depression, but perhaps it is also avoidance of social situations that I no longer feel comfortable in, if I ever did, which makes me feel guilty, not least for letting people down. It does feel that I can’t cope with much right now and job hunting and trying to take steps to sell my writing is pushing me to the limit and that shul (synagogue) and volunteering as well as support groups and socialising are being cut back as a result. That’s not entirely true, as for about three of the last four weeks I’ve managed to get to one weekday minyan (prayer service) at shul, which is an improvement on recent months. Still, the overall trend is to retreat inside myself.
I feel bad for letting the organisers of the drop in centre down and for running away (essentially). As I mentioned in a comment on the last post, it was instilled in me from a young age that I shouldn’t run away from social situations, and the fact that I do run away a lot creates a lot of negative thoughts about myself. Even though I know this approach is not helpful, I can’t get around the fact that it feels “wrong” and that I “should” be able to cope if I “try hard enough.” Also, that if I do try “hard enough” one day something magical will happen and I will suddenly feel comfortable talking to strangers and being in crowds as supposedly happens to shy people who push themselves out of their comfort zone.
I did manage to do one chore I’d been putting off for ages and also went for a half hour walk, listening to some of an In Our Time podcast on Zeno’s Paradoxes, but that’s about all I’ve managed today. I tried to do some Torah study, but didn’t manage very much, only about ten minutes. I formatted the article I want to submit to a Jewish newspaper in accordance with these guidelines, but I’m aware that these are for (a) short stories, not articles and (b) possibly out of date (the content treats word processors as relatively new). But I can’t find any other guidelines. I hope to send the article off tomorrow, when I will hopefully feel well enough to draft a decent covering email. I do feel like a child playing at being an adult and feel sure I will make stupid mistakes.
The article I’m trying to sell is about being understanding of people with mental illness who can’t do as much as other people, but I’m really bad at turning that advice on myself, even though I would never push another person the way I
At 4.00am, when I couldn’t sleep, I suddenly felt really angry against the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) community, feeling that I have been “cheated” of my place in it. In theory the community is meritocratic, with positions of honour granted to brilliant scholars and people who sacrifice for the community, at least for men (women’s positions of honour seem to be more complicated, sociologically-speaking, and I don’t fully understand how it works). I suppose I feel that if I was not depressed and autistic, or if I had gone to yeshiva (rabbinical seminary) or if I had been frum from birth instead of a ba’al teshuva (raised non-religious and became observant later in life), my life would have been different. Of course, there is no knowing what could have happened if one starts going down this route, and the idea that I am somehow “owed” something by the community is disturbingly angry, entitled and perhaps even paranoid. Still, this is what I was thinking at 4.00am. I am not proud of it, but there it is. I suppose it reflects what is going on in my mind at a deep, unconscious level.
It probably also reflects the idea that I feel I need to be a certain type of person not just to be respected in my community, but to get married. I’m not sure how many people “deserve” to be in a relationship and have children or are “ready” for it. How many frum people who get married at nineteen or twenty are objectively “ready”? What does that even mean? Regardless, I’m used to hearing things like “If you don’t like yourself single, you won’t like yourself in a relationship” or that one shouldn’t start a relationship if one has “issues.” It becomes easy to feel that if I was somehow visibly, objectively “ready” to get married, I would find love, even that my community (which shows surprisingly little interest in marrying me off) would set me up on dates.
Another thing I was thinking about early this morning was making my blog invitation only. Lying in bed, I realised in my last post I had spoken about other people again, even though my rabbi mentor had really convinced me that I should not do so. I think I’m good at not saying anything negative about identifiable people, although I do slip up from time to time, but my experiences of the last couple of weeks makes me wonder if I should say anything at all about other people. Was the comment about the person who asked why I wasn’t at the social event too negative or identifiable? It does not seem likely, but it does not meet the standard I was aiming for. But I’m not sure how I could continue blogging with that standard. I write about my negative feelings and my most negative feelings are often triggered by things other people say or do to me. As I don’t think I can stop blogging, hiding it from the public seems to be the next best thing.
I briefly looked in to making the blog invitation only, but it looks rather complicated on WordPress compared to Livejournal (who thought I would be nostalgic for Livejournal…). Also, my experience is if people can’t use their normal blog readers to read a blog, they stop reading it, however much they like it. I might experiment with password-protected posts, which I have seen other people do, but even that is not ideal. Essentially, I think there are about twenty people, so far as I can tell, who regularly read this blog (based on comments and likes) and I want to find a way to allow them to read easily while stopping other people, but I’m not sure there is an easy way of doing that.