For CBT I’m supposed to fill in questionnaires on my mood before each session to judge my progress. I think my depression goes through long cycles that are longer than a week or a fortnight, while my mood can change quite a bit in a day, so I’m not sure how useful it is, but I suppose it is some kind of metric. My mood varies, but I realised I don’t really tick the box for thinking I would be better off dead, even on my worse days whereas in the past I’ve believed that a lot. I guess that is progress.
Today I feel drained and mildly depressed, but not too badly, I think. It’s hard to tell; as I have noted in the past, I struggle sometimes to identify my emotions, and I suspect sometimes emotions and physical feelings can get mixed up. That probably sounds weird, but my previous therapist (when I was in psychodynamic psychotherapy) spoke quite a bit about feeling emotions in different parts of one’s body. I usually feel drained and depressed at the same time, so it’s easy to assume if I feel one, I feel the other too, but that may not be the case.
At CBT we repeated the experiment we tried a fortnight ago of me talking to a therapist (not my usual one) for a few minutes while my therapist filmed it on her phone; then we watched it so I could see how I appear when talking to other people. The therapist I spoke also answered some questions on how I came across to her. It seems I do not really come across to people as weird, despite my fears. Also, when I talk about something I know about, I can become quite animated. I had it drilled into me for years as a child that I am boring and no one wants to talk about what I want to talk about. It’s hard to get past that and accept that people might find me interesting.
It’s doubly hard in the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) community, where I’m never sure what is considered OK to talk about. I mean, the rabbi was talking about The Omen last week! But I never know what I can say. I think an awareness of secular culture (even horror films) would be seen as different to being an obsessive Doctor Who fan, with the emphasis on obsessive, but I’m not sure how differently it would be seen. I go to a ba’al teshuva shul (synagogue) meaning most people there were not raised religious, but came to it later in life, so people do have some understanding of secular culture. Some people do have TVs and I think everyone has internet access (very Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) communities would not allow even that, or else would permit it for business use only). The people who do have TVs are not necessarily the ones you might expect to have them. But I think admitting to being an obsessive fan the way I am would be seen as at least a bit weird. I mean, I’m probably a little bit weird in my fannishness even in the secular world. I don’t mean that in a bad way, just that it probably is a bit caused by my autism rather than how most people would act, in terms of things perhaps like watching episodes multiple times even when I know them by heart, but especially things being able to list every Doctor Who story in order from memory (nearly 300 stories), and not only that, but being able to list showrunners, producers, script editors, writers and directors for many of them (new series personnel are harder to remember, either because of relative newness or the fact that I’m not as emotionally invested in the stories).
I feel that being a Doctor Who fan makes me weird in the frum world, but being frum makes me weird in the secular world, especially the fan world, which is perhaps one reason (among several) for me not going to conventions. I don’t mind being a bit weird, but I worry I’m off-puttingly weird. Doctor Who fandom has a lot of gay and transexual members and I worry that when people see my kippah (skullcap) they think I’m judging them when I’m not.
Yesterday I noted that I went jogging without getting a migraine. Actually, I did get a migraine last night after turning off my computer, albeit delayed by a couple of hours after jogging and not as bad as recent ones. I googled “migraine jogging” and it turns out that exercise can genuinely be a cause of migraines. I don’t want to stop jogging, but I need to work out a way of avoiding this. I’m pretty sure it’s not dehydration or the sun, but I’m not sure what else the trigger might be.
Yesterday I noted an article in the latest Doctor Who Magazine that seemed similar to my Doctor Who book. Having now read it… basically it does in twenty pages, very superficially, something similar to what I did at great length in a whole book, except the DWM article only covers the original run of Doctor Who whereas I went up to the present. More to the point, it was presented as a symposium of contemporary Doctor Who authors talking about their favourite classic series stories; apparently people want to hear what Steven Moffat or Peter Harness think about Earthshock more than what I think. Which is logical in a way, but also frustrating, as I think my book is not just more detailed, but perhaps more willing to depart from established fan opinion. A lot of that DWM article was predictable if you’ve been in fandom for years.
It’s just annoying to see stuff that I could write being published while the stuff I’ve actually written or pitched to write is ignored. I wonder if some of it is my lack of experience and the fact that I’m not known in fan circles. The circle of fans writing for DWM, writing non-fiction Doctor Who books and working on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases is small and perhaps a bit incestuous and maybe I am too much of an unknown quantity for anyone to want to take a chance on. I think these things are often about who you know as much as what you know.
On which note, I submitted the book to a third publisher. I’m running out of specialist Doctor Who publishers. I’m not sure where I go if this doesn’t work out. My Dad keeps saying, “Maybe the BBC will publish it.” Skipping over the fact that BBC Books isn’t actually owned by the BBC (they have a minority share; the imprint is owned by Penguin), BBC Books doesn’t publish many Doctor Who books; those it does publish tend not to be analytical in the way my book is, and are very concentrated on the current TV programme, not 50+ years of history. And I haven’t got a submission address for them. I suspect they may not accept external submissions. Who you know again.
Other than CBT and submitting my book, and looking (pessimistically) for further contact details for future submissions, I didn’t have much time to do things today. I spent half an hour on Torah study and a bit of time on my novel, but that’s about it. I do have a long (1,500 word) chapter-by-chapter plan of the novel now, although later chapters seem a bit light. 1,500 words sounds a lot, but actually some parts of the novel are still very sketchy in my head. But I might start writing soon, and doing research for the chapters that aren’t really based on personal experience.
Some good news for the weekend: the Talmud shiur (religious class) that usually takes place in shul (synagogue) before Mincha (the Afternoon Service) on Shabbat (the Sabbath) has been moved into seudah shlishit (the third Sabbath meal), replacing the usual shiur at that time. So there is now one shiur instead of two, which may be less tiring for me. I’m not sure if this is a permanent arrangement or just for this week.