Tonight is the night of Tisha B’Av, the Fast of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, when we recall the many tragedies of Jewish history, tracing them ultimately to the existence of baseless hatred between Jews.  This year, it’s also my Hebrew birthday.

I wasn’t intending to write anything tonight, but I can’t sleep and I’ve got a lot of racing thoughts.  Trying to write seemed more appropriate than other things I would normally do to try and sleep (read or watch something light, eat – I’m not allowed to fast, but I try to fast until lunchtime).

I struggled with exhaustion much of Shabbat (the Sabbath).  I slept through the morning again and missed shul (synagogue), which upset me a bit.  Then I slept for two hours after lunch, probably another reason why I can’t sleep now.  I did get to shul for Mincha (the afternoon service) and a couple of shiurim (religious classes) and then came back for Ma’ariv (the evening service), which today was extra long with Eichah (Lamentations) and kinot (laments).  I came home and didn’t feel like going to bed, but I didn’t want to do anything fun or relaxing because it’s not really appropriate, so I read more of Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust, a book which I only read on Tisha Be’Av.  In three years I’ve got through about 65 pages (out of 230 or so), so it will probably be good for a few more years even if I read it tomorrow too.

Tisha B’Av is a hard day to go through, particularly with depression, because one is afraid of getting too depressed and not being able to come out of it again.  Plus, perhaps one taps into negative emotions more easily than mentally health individuals and gets overwhelmed by them.  I spent the evening with racing thoughts about whether I am a good or bad person, whether the Jewish people as a whole are good or bad, how to change myself and the world for the better and thoughts about the Holocaust and the persecution of the Jews.  This got worse once I went to bed and could not sleep.  I am probably getting overwhelmed, hence trying to write to calm myself down.

***

I’m still trying to work out what to do with my blog.  It should be hidden from search engines now, but I still worry that I’ve said too much about my private life or about other people.  However, I know I struggle to write consistently without readers, so I don’t want to turn it into a private diary.  So far as I can tell from links and comments, I only seem to have half a dozen readers, so it would make sense to switch the blog to private and invite those half dozen.  But my experience is that if people don’t get posts in their blog reader, they don’t read them, even if they have the password.  It’s tricky to know what to do.

***

I reflected today that refusing to extend my contract as an assistant librarian in a further education college a year ago probably marked the point where I lost confidence in my own ability as a librarian.  It was a bad move, from the point of view of a librarianship career, as it would have been a step towards become an independent library manager.  However, the reasons I turned it down, that I felt I could not do such a user-facing role (facing students and staff) and that I felt my line manager had no confidence in my ability to do it, indicate that I realised that I was not suited for that work even if I have still been looking for less user-facing library roles.  I do think, judging by my lack of success in finding such roles, that they are too few and far between and I need to find some other career path.  A lot will hinge on whether I manage to get my book published, I think.

***

I feel sleepy now, so am about to try to sleep again.

One thought on “Tisha B’Av Night

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