I’m supposed to go to shul tomorrow morning for CBT homework, but I’m really not sure that I’m going to make it. I just feel too depressed in the mornings even without the social anxiety that I’m supposed to be challenging. If I do go, I might cut down some of my evening shul-going, although I doubt I’ll cut it out completely. It’s hard to know what to cut, though.
I’m still feeling a lot of anger and resentment about the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) community. I blame them for the fact that I’m still single and the fact that I don’t fit in to the community or have many frum friends (not that I have many non-frum friends either). I feel that they’re trying to force me to think and behave a certain way. I get angry and resentful, but after a while sometimes I think, “Well, I can’t really blame them for the fact that I don’t fit in.” To be honest, I probably don’t even try to fit in that much, but it’s hard to try even the little bit that I do, such is the disempowering nature of depression, social anxiety and especially autism. The problem is that I don’t know what I should actually do to fit in. As someone on the spectrum, I do not have that knowledge that other people would have intuitively of how to fit in to a community. I think even people who are not frum could do a better job than I do at talking to people at my shul and trying to fit in.
While beating myself up for blaming my community, I also feel bad about being so upset by people much younger than me getting engaged, but it is what I feel and I don’t know how to change that. I try telling myself that other people being married doesn’t stop me getting married (it’s not like I’m going to marry a twenty year old) and that the world is miserable enough that it’s good that someone is happy even if it can’t be me, but I still feel like I’m going to be depressed and alone forever. In my more depressed, but more self-aware moments, I feel like I wouldn’t be happy even in a relationship. I doubt very much that any of my crushes would have worked out, nor the first woman I dated. I think E. is the only person I’ve liked where things might have worked out with, except for the financial issue. Which is a big thing and rather intrinsic to me at the moment. I do feel that I missed the boat and there are no single women my age left, which isn’t true, but also sort of is, at least in the frum world, where really most people are married well before they turn thirty and most of the single people my age would be divorcées with children. Not that I would even rule them out, but it would pose even more challenges to the huge pile I already have.
My CBT therapist is trying to get me to think that it is possible for me to get married, but I honestly believe that that, while possible, is hugely unlikely by this stage and that I’d be much better off trying to accept that I will be single and lonely for the near future and try to learn to cope with it. I might get married one day, if I can sort my life out, but probably too late to have children, and far too far off for it to be much comfort now. I can see myself getting married in my fifties, if I somehow get my life together and start a a career, rather than in my late thirties.
When I have thoughts like, “I’m weird, I’m never going to get married,” I’m supposed to challenge them, but I do believe that I am weird in my community. Normal people get set up on shidduch dates by people who know them; I don’t. I just don’t know enough frum people and/or those I do know don’t know women the right age and/or they simply aren’t interested in helping me. Maybe that’s not weirdness per se, but it does make it hard to date when the usual means of dating is cut off from me.
I feel such a bad Jew. I feel I should take responsibility for my actions and not blame other people. I feel I should have a straightforward loving relationship with HaShem (God) and Torah the way other people in my community seem to. I feel I should care again. I wish I could care again. I wish I knew how to fit in. But I can’t do any of these things.
I want to talk to my rabbi mentor about the community angst. Maybe I’m worrying too much about being excluded if I share my thoughts. I don’t know. But I can’t get hold of him at the moment as he’s very busy and travelling a lot.
One of the job agencies I’m signed up for has sent me a library assistant role again. I don’t really want to apply for it, because I’m over-qualified, plus it would be a lot of personal interaction and I’m not sure that I could cope. But it would be a job and I really need a job. I really want to focus on my writing, but I haven’t got the courage to say that to anyone. Am I desperate enough to do a job I’m over-qualified for (again)? I don’t know. My parents feel this type of job might lead on to an assistant librarian job, but I’m inclined to think if anything it would be the reverse: that once I have this on my CV, I’ll be tainted forever and never get another librarian job. But it’s so hard to find work that is within my experience level, let alone that I could do with depression and autism.
I’m trying to job hunt, but I’m practically in tears. I can’t face any of the jobs available. I just want to write. I suppose really I don’t want to be here at all, but given that I am here, I just want to write. One job advert is looking for someone “Enthusiastic and resilient” which is the exact opposite of what I am. I applied for one job, wrote to ask for more information on a second and decided I didn’t have the skill set for a third. This is what passes for productivity in my life at the moment, when I’m not writing.
Doing online job applications when wifi drops every two minutes isn’t much fun either.
Today is the first day of the Hebrew month of Av, the saddest month in the calendar (also, the yortzeit of Aharon). Also my Hebrew birth month. Apparently it’s supposed to be the happiest month in the year, but only when Mashiach (the Messiah) comes. This is not much of a comfort to me. I’m supposed to be mourning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but it’s hard to focus on something I’ve never seen when I’m so caught up in my own troubles and when I already have a degree of anger at HaShem for my life.
In other news, I finished reading Gershom Scholem’s book on the history of Kabbalah (actually a compilation of his articles for the Encyclopedia Judaica on kabbalah, but also on the Shabbatean movement, which is hardly mainstream kabbalah. Interesting, though). It hasn’t made me more inclined to study kabbalah and I remain rather sceptical of its provenance and intrinsic monotheism. I suppose that’s another thing to hide in shul (synagogue).
The real exciting news today is that police raided a cannabis farm down the road. I didn’t see it, but I did see a bunch of bored looking police officers standing outside when I came back from CBT yesterday. Who says suburbia is boring?