I’m being tormented by the demons of self-criticism, doubt and guilt today. Wondering if those around me only pretend to like and support me out of kindness and pity, rather than genuine positive regard. Wondering if I do anything in my life right. Not just if I can get a job or sell some writing, but if I’m a good friend to anyone or do any genuine chessed (kindness). E. says I’m a good friend to her (and she’s OK with me talking about her online in this way, so I feel comfortable saying that), so that’s something, but I wonder about other people. I know I’ve had the problem at work in the past of thinking I’ve annoyed my boss and so staying out of her way and thereby not asking important questions and making much bigger mistakes, which is not good.
There’s a Jewish joke about two yeshiva bachurim (Jewish seminary students) who go for a walk in the woods and are mistaken for a bear and shot at. They drop to the ground. After a moment, one cautiously raises his head and says, “It appears we are still alive” and the other one responds, “And what is the evidence for this assertion?” I know I’ve driven people away repeatedly asking, “What is the evidence for this assertion?” whenever anyone says I’m not stupid or useless or wicked, but I don’t know how to stop it. I really am not convinced by the evidence that I’m not stupid or useless or wicked.
I’m second-guessing everything I put on my blog now. The comments I made about interactions with people in shul (synagogue) yesterday seemed innocuous to me; I thought they might reflect badly on me, but not anyone else. Now I wonder if that is true. I went back and made that post private. I worry about things I’ve said in the past, when I was sure this blog would remain anonymous. Now I wonder if people will find out my identity one day. Perhaps people will be able to go back and discover who I was writing about, or interpret comments that I thought were neutral or positive in a negative way. Given that social anxiety and autistic social interaction difficulties are such a big part of my issues, I wonder if I can actually blog about how I feel without saying anything about people that might possibly be recognised and misinterpreted by other people. I also wonder if I need to go back through the blog and purge a lot of posts. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything that obvious or negative, but maybe I have.
The resultant depression from all this (or maybe it was a cause rather than a result) has led to a rather wasted day. I struggled to do some interview preparation for Tuesday, but was really too depressed to focus on anything. I only managed a few minutes of Torah study for the same reason. I’m feeling so depressed, I’m not even worried about being unemployed or lonely forever – I just feel that my mood can’t get worse, even if my situation can.
My only real achievement was going to shul (synagogue) for Mincha and Ma’ariv (Afternoon and Evening Services). I tried to arrive just as they were starting to avoid having to talk to anyone, but mistimed it and was late. I felt horribly self-conscious and depressed the whole time I was there, even wanting to self-harm at one point, because I was feeling so self-loathing and tense (self-harm can be a release). I wondered, not for the first time, what would happen if I appeared as visibly ill as I feel emotionally. If I arrived at shul covered in blood, bruises and open wounds.
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) seems a long time ago, somehow, although it’s less than ten months ago. I had hoped for a better year, a fresh start, but it didn’t really happen. I’ve just drifted, drifted through jobs and job hunting and drifted through friendships and community life, as well as drifting through my own religious life. I’ve struggled to take back control of my religious life, to try to get some joy and meaning out of it instead of just effort, but I haven’t really managed it. I suppose I don’t feel as angry with HaShem (God) as I did then, which is good, but I don’t feel that I have any meaningfully close relationship with Him. I still worry that His plan for me is just more suffering. And I know people say that you have to expect Him to do good for you for it to happen. I just expect Him to treat me as He has for the last twenty years.
I’ve lost friends this year and last year. I feel sad about that. I don’t have many to lose. While I may have been responsible for losing this year’s friends, on some level, I wasn’t responsible last year (it was more that we drifted apart), but I still lost that friend however it happened. I have another friend I haven’t seen for years and don’t know how to see him again, given how busy his life is. I’m not on Facebook, so I tend to drift out of people’s lives, as they only publicise news on there. I’m not sure how many children this friend has, whether he has had more since we last met. I suppose I feel as if I’m drifting out of my friendships too.