I’m struggling today, depressed and exhausted.  This is one of the days when everything seems too much.  I would take time out, but I need to get ready for Shabbat (the Sabbath) and I feel I should at least try to do some career stuff.  I’m worrying about working as a teaching assistant, with legitimate fears and OCD anxieties.  I’m feeling I just can’t work, I can’t date, I won’t get married and have a family, I can’t sort out the situation with E.  I read something today, on one of the few Doctor Who fan blogs I read, by someone who used her involvement with fandom to become a full-time writer and artist.  Why have I never been able to use my interests to further my writing career that way?  Am I just not talented enough?

Today’s Den of Geek Geeks Against Loneliness post has brought up recent feelings about having invisible illnesses and conditions (depression, social anxiety, autism).  Sometimes I wish people in shul who see me coming in late or not at all knew more about my struggles.  Likewise for the peers, or, now, people younger than me, who have moved on in life with careers and families and can see that I’ve essentially been stuck in my early twenties for ten or fifteen years.

I don’t know how I’m going to sort my life out.  I feel like I need help with revitalising my career, but I don’t trust what anyone is telling me, mostly because they’re telling me either to get jobs that I’ve already been looking for and not succeeded in finding or winning (writing, editing, researching) or because they tell me I could be a teacher.  I’m terrified to try that out without experience (and I’m terrified of getting experience).  I don’t know why so many people believe I’m good with children when I don’t believe it, and don’t really know how to test the hypothesis.  Even asking to do work experience/volunteering at a school is scary.  I really want to be a writer, but that’s not going so well either…

Likewise, I feel I can’t sort my dating situation without finding a job.  I still feel there are pros and cons about being with E., but I can’t see anyone else (a) caring for me as much as she does or (b) tolerating me being so close to E. while in a relationship with someone else.  But I don’t want to break off my friendship with E.  And that’s beyond the problem of my not being set up with frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) women the way most frum people meet their spouse.

Not sure if I’m going to try to go to shul (synagogue) tomorrow morning.  Maybe I should try to save my energy for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) next week.  On the other hand, maybe it would be useful to keep up the momentum of shul-going.  They’re having a seudah shlishit (third Sabbath meal) in memory of a not-very-old unmarried man from the community who died suddenly a month ago (the one everyone was studying Mishnah for and I wasn’t sure whether to join in).  This brought up a lot of feelings about what would happen if I die without wife and children, would anyone in the community notice or care?

I didn’t do any Talmud study this week, for the second week running.  I don’t want to get out of the habit.  There isn’t a Talmud shiur (class) this week, which means I stay ahead of the congregation, but that I can’t even use that as a bit of Talmud study this week.

I just feel such a failure today.  That I’ve let everyone down.  Even the positive blog comments and quotes from friends that I put on my door lately make me feel guilty, that everyone has confidence in me and an inflated idea of what I can achieve and I just repeatedly let them down.  I feel that I can’t sort my mental health out, can’t sort my career out, can’t sort my relationships with my family out, can’t sort my relationship with E. and with dating in general out, that I’ve messed up my religious life again…  Every year I go through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and hope I get forgiven by God and then immediately afterwards I slip back again…  No wonder I dislike myself so much.

14 thoughts on “Down

  1. You are so hard on yourself.
    How would you talk to a friend who was struggling with your issues?

    You can try being kind to yourself – it really helps !

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    1. I feel I’m not that hard on myself. I do feel that I’m not really where I should be at my age. Maybe I shouldn’t call myself a “failure” but I do feel that if I’m not hard on myself, I’d get even worse. Like, I can feel the depression and anxiety pushing me to be lazier and do even less job hunting.

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  2. I think a lot of things factor into achieving or not achieving a certain outcome, but the end result doesn’t detract from your value as a person or your worthiness to have accomplishments in more general terms.

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          1. In part because every human has value, but on a more personal level, you have of ideas and you put a lot of thought into interpreting the world around you rather than simply following along with what’s expected. That’s somehting that I see as very valuable.

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  3. Completely understand your anxiety about teaching .. and you may be correct — it may not be the right avenue for you as it involves quite a bit of social interaction. This is why volunteering for an hour or two first to see how you manage is perhaps a good idea. Please don’t despair — I am sure there is the right job out there for you and that you will find it eventually. A careers adviser might help you to find avenues you have not previously considered. For example. have you ever explored the possibility of research, or working as a research assistant? Or additional training to work as a curator or archivist? You may also find that practice with interview technique may be what you need as all these job rejections don’t necessarily mean you’d be no good at the jobs – only that you weren’t able to convince the interviewer! So I am still hopeful you may get a library job sooner or later. And in the meantime you are not being idle, you are writing!

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    1. I’ve looked into research a bit. There don’t seem to be many jobs out there, or they’re not advertised where I thought they would be. I’m not sure whether I really need more training for that too.

      I don’t want to retrain as a curator or archivist. That would involve going back to university and every time I go to university I get depressed. It took me three and a half years to finish a librarianship MA that should have taken one year to complete!

      I’m mostly blogging rather than writing anything I might be able to sell one day…

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  4. I read today that many Jews’ OCD (especially scrupulosity) spikes at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Teaching might be scary because it’s new, but perhaps in time you would grow accustomed to the routine. I like Chaconia’s suggestion about the additional specialized training (if you have the funds and it sounds enjoyable).

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    1. My OCD spikes at Pesach because it’s contamination OCD rather than guilt OCD.

      As I said to Chaconia, every time I go to university, I become super-depressed. It took me three and a half years to complete a librarianship MA that should have take a year because I was so depressed. I’m not doing that again.

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  5. What do you mean by you have been stuck in your 20s for 15 years?

    You are really hard on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. God knows your struggles. Don’t worry about what people think when you come in late or don’t come in at all. God knows where your heart is. I don’t know anything about Jewish religion. I don’t claim to any religion. I believe in God, the creator of the universe. I think it’s more complicated than people think. God knows where your heart is. I know he forgives you for whatever you think you do so wrong. You seem like a very special person.

    And everything scares me. Socializing in general scares me. I don’t like being in any situation where I have to talk to anyone besides loved ones. But when I do make myself do something I don’t want to do… I always realize it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

    Do you think it’s easy to talk to kids or do you experience the same anxiety? I feel relaxed around children.

    Keep trying. Don’t give up. Everything will work out. I just believe it. My life has been pure chaos but I never stop believing that everything will work out. I can’t let myself. Without that faith I have nothing that will hold me together. I won’t let myself believe that this life is all that I will ever have. I know in my heart that I will find the light.

    Dating is scary and I also feel like I have nothing to bring to the table. But like you said to me… Maybe what you have to give is enough for someone to fall in love with you. E is a good example of that. Maybe it will be complicated… But maybe E is your person no matter how complicated it might be.

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  6. Thank you for your kind comment.

    What do you mean by you have been stuck in your 20s for 15 years?

    That I haven’t really matured or moved on from how I was in my twenties.

    I think I’m sometimes more relaxed around children, particularly if there aren’t too many children and aren’t many adults around. But sometimes I don’t know what to say/do and I worry that I wouldn’t cope in a crisis.

    You may be right about dating and E.

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