Forget Brexit, I feel like I’m “crashing out.” I’m feeling really depressed again today. I just feel like my head is stuffed with cotton wool again. I didn’t feel well enough to do any job hunting or novel writing. I got an email offering to meet to discuss volunteering at a museum, but I’m too scared to follow it up today. I didn’t do any of the other, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)-related, chores I had either (emailing friends good wishes and trying to work out how much tzedaka (charity) I can afford to give on my low/zero income). I only did about ten minutes of Torah study.
I went for a walk and did some shopping, but I felt really anxious and on edge the whole time, worrying I would run in to someone I knew from shul (synagogue) and that they would find fault with something I’m doing. Most of my “spoons” of energy were spent on cooking dinner for myself, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law. I enjoyed having dinner with them, but it went on too long for me and used up the rest of my “spoons.” I always feel like a child at these conversations, because they all talk about work, home-owning, buying furniture and other stuff that I have little or no experience of. I end up getting bored and eating too much. Plus, certain members of my family can talk a lot more than I do and it’s hard for me to get into the conversation without interrupting other people.
I had another job rejection today, this time a very long-shot attempt at an editing job. I also was told by the agency through which I wanted to apply for a job yesterday that I haven’t put the necessary experience down on my CV. The reality is that I don’t really have the experience and was just applying from desperation and to show willing (to my parents as much as anyone). I worry that my “apply for anything librarian-related on the off-chance” technique is annoying recruitment agencies who only want me to apply for things I actually have a chance of getting. My parents say I should apply for pretty much anything because they may not get the ideal candidate and sometimes it feels like the agencies want to push me to take jobs I’m over-qualified for simply because they’re in a library. I don’t trust myself, so I do what my parents want. This may not be sensible.
I think I need to think seriously about alternative jobs, but I don’t feel well enough. My sister thinks I should apply for general admin jobs, but I’m scared that would entail more noisy open-plan office work (not good for autism) and that I won’t be able to do it anyway, particularly if it bores me. I don’t know what admin work I could actually do with my qualifications and experiences or how I would know and it doesn’t seem like an attractive sector to work in. I struggle so much with the idea of working with all my issues. I don’t think I’m lazy, but I am confused about what I can/could do and my dream of writing for a living is not coming easily.
I was going to write about a weird/amusing political dream I had, but I’m too scared of political arguments. I’m fed up with being so apprehensive about my life, hiding so many aspects of my thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs. I’m scared of being thought too liberal by people in shul and too conservative by my online friends and work colleagues (I’ve mostly been a public sector worker). I’m scared of being thought too religious at work and at support groups and too secular at shul and shiur. I’m sick of worrying that anyone who disagrees with me about religion or politics no longer simply disagrees about a point of opinion, but thinks I’m actually Evil. We’ve had the whole “shy Tory” phenomenon for years, which I kind of fall into even though I don’t think of myself as a Tory per se (I don’t really see myself as fitting into any ideological camp).
I think my views are nuanced, but the feeling from some people and much of the media is that certain opinions are not just wrong, but Evil. The fact that these opinions of mine have been largely formed by experience of using the NHS, receiving benefits and working in the public sector i.e. being in a position of lack of privilege rather than its reverse only makes me more Evil, I fear. I should know better and follow the party line of other public sector workers/users. Likewise most of the mainstream media has spent years trying to present Zionism as absolute Evil and Privilege rather than a logical response to centuries of persecution and attempted genocide (both still ongoing and not just historical). And both sides in the Brexit debate are convinced that the other side is Evil and that no effort needs to be made to understand their viewpoints. I suppose it’s the intellectual laziness of all this Evil labelling that bothers me as much as being thought Evil. Why bother to understand a divergent and threatening point of view when you can stigmatise it?
I suppose, theoretically (and this is what my CBT therapist would say), I could try to put myself out there and see what happens. Say that “I voted Remain, but think we should leave the EU because of the democratic vote.” Say “I support the right of the Jewish people to a democratic nation state in their historic homeland.” Say, “I think the welfare state in this country is seventy-five years old and in need of serious overhaul to be fit for purpose in twenty-first century society.” And then see how many friends that loses me and how many fights I get into (I hate fights. I would usually rather sit in silence while someone spouts forth views I thing are wrong and dangerous rather than get into a fight). But I’m too scared. As I noted the other day, I have hardly any friends, so I don’t want to lose them. But then, were they really friends if they couldn’t cope with this? I don’t want to get thrown out of my religious community for having the wrong views and practices either. Is there another realistic option other than hiding?
I guess I wish there was somewhere I could talk politics safely (I do with my Dad, a little bit), just as I wish there was somewhere I could talk to people about Jewish stuff that is a bit out of the norm for the moderate Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) world I live in, like The Spiritual Revolution of Rav Kook (which I’ve nearly finished and have really got a lot from and would like to talk about). There are actually going to be some lectures on Rav Kook this winter at the London School of Jewish Studies, but I’m going to be away for the first two weeks, which made me think I should go to a different set of lectures that also looked good, where I would only miss one week (the lectures are at the same time, so I can’t go to both).