I spent an hour trying to work on my novel, but mostly procrastinated and only managed 275 words. I feel like I’m in a writing rut today. I probably need to delete the last couple of paragraphs, back up and start this bit again. This happens sometimes and I guess it’s normal, but it is frustrating.
I managed thirty-five minutes of Torah study and a twenty-five minute run. I want to run for longer periods, but I just don’t seem to have the stamina at the moment. The way I run I end up passing my house every thirteen minutes or so, and while I wanted to carry on after the twenty-five minute mark I just could not go any further. Running after dark doesn’t help, as my body wants to sleep (OK, it feels like that all day) and I have to be extra careful of puddles and fallen branches on the badly-lit and uneven pavements. So far I haven’t got an exercise migraine, although I do have a slight headache. I do still feel very tired even though I finished my run a couple of hours ago and have eaten dinner since then.
The other main task for today was checking I’d correctly filled in the benefits form that I started weeks ago. I have to say I had forgotten about the benefits form after my holiday and then feeling extra-depressed afterwards and then by the potential new job, but I’m going to book an appointment at a JobCentre – the next step – in case I don’t get the new job.
I didn’t have the time or energy for any job hunting. It doesn’t help that the only suitable job I could apply for at the moment is in Stratford, which is very far away and would be another killer commute.
My mood was mostly OK apart from some political worries (see below), so maybe my light box is helping after all.
As part of the BBC’s “neutral” election coverage, I saw this headline on their website “Working in the NHS ‘feels sometimes unbearable’“. I feel in the interests of balance I should be allowed to write an article called “Using the NHS feels sometimes unbearable”. I actually feel myself getting quite upset and angry at the whole “We ♥ the NHS” meme, which has gone into overdrive this election, because it doesn’t correspond with my own lived experience. I have had good doctors, psychiatrists, therapists etc. who have gone the extra mile for me, but I have also had lousy ones who have wasted my limited resources of time, money and energy and made me feel like dirt, but I’m not allowed to say anything about that because it doesn’t fit with society’s narrative: that the NHS is full of “angels” who can’t do their job because the politicians won’t give them enough money and wrap them in red tape.
Economically speaking, if a service, particularly an expensive service, is provided for free, demand will always outstrip supply. It’s just a basic economic truth. I believe state-provided healthcare is necessary, but our debate about the best way to resource it should start from the reality that it will never be anywhere near perfect rather than pretending that there’s a magic solution somewhere out there, whether more money, internal markets or reorganisation of management.
Sorry, for a non-political blog, I’ve had a lot of politics lately, and this one isn’t even about antisemitism! But I do feel that my personal experience of mental health treatment in this country is not reflected in the public discourse because it doesn’t fit a predictable ‘narrative’ which makes me feel uncomfortable, like my experience isn’t as ‘real’ somehow.
I’ll be very glad when this election is over. As I’ve said before, the choice before us is frankly unenviable, with a multitude of parties and candidates all of whom are spectacularly awful, but for different reasons. One cartoon had a pollster ask “Who are you voting against?” which seems all too realistic to me. If it weren’t for the antisemitism issue, I’d be tempted to abstain, as I can’t see anything good coming from it. And I’m still very, very scared that there’s going to be antisemitic violence if Labour win on Thursday… and even more antisemitic violence if they lose. I’ve only been this worried about antisemitic violence when there have been wars or major terrorism campaigns against Israel – and that was worries about violence in Israel, not spillover violence here. It’s a very scary time to be Jewish in the UK, and all the more scary for the fact that so few people outside the Jewish community recognise that fear.
On a more fun note, I’m in the middle of watching From Russia with Love. Where Dr No (which I watched last night) definitely felt like a James Bond film that was lacking a few elements of the formula, From Russia with Love feels like a typical, if not slightly slow spy film that just happens to have James Bond in it for some reason. Not at all what we think of as a Bond Film.