I felt depressed and really drained today without knowing why and even eating and sitting in front of my SAD lamp didn’t help much. The year has passed really quickly, but the end is lingering; I can’t quite believe it’s December, but given that it is December, I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through it yet. I feel a bit like I’m stuck in Narnia under the White Witch at the moment, always winter and never Christmas, or Chanukah. Last year was the same.
I’m longing for the Christmas break, not because I celebrate it (I don’t), but because the job alerts and applications and workshops and meetings with employment advisers will stop for a bit and I will be able to spend time on relaxation and hobbies as well as my novel without feeling guilty. I’m also longing for Chanukah, which is particularly late this year, starting on the night of 22 December, officially the first day of winter, although it’s felt wintry for weeks now. On TV and in films, Chanukah is always at the same time as Christmas, but in reality it’s usually earlier. Chanukah is a favourite festival not because we get presents, but because there are few rituals to trigger religious OCD (just lighting candles and a few extra prayers) and sitting with my family in front of the candles is peaceful, even if eating latkes and doughnuts is not going to be good for my weight and cholesterol.
I spent an hour trying to book an appointment about applying for sick benefits. I spent a long time phoning the wrong numbers and then a long time on hold. When I finally got through I was asked a load of questions to see if I qualify for benefits. I was asked if I’m signed off work; I said I can only work part-time and asked if I still qualify. The person I was talking to didn’t say whether I qualify, but implied that I wouldn’t and asked if I have a medical certificate. I am still waiting for my certificate, so I don’t know what it will say. It’s possible there is no such thing as being signed off only to part-time work and the doctor will not agree to write the certificate. However, I could not face waiting another hour on hold next week waiting to get back to this stage, so I insisted that I have a certificate coming and made the appointment, thinking I can always cancel it later and if I turn up to the appointment and get turned away and told working part-time stops me getting benefits, then at least I will have tried. My instinct is that I am not going to qualify for benefits, and that they only give these benefits to people who can’t work at all. In theory there are other benefits I could apply for, but I’m not disabled “enough” for them or I have too many savings. Still, I should at least get an in-person appointment with a real human being who can tell me if there are any benefits I might qualify for. However, I am not hopeful.
I had another bad NHS moment. When I last saw my psychiatrist, I think in October, she said she wanted to see me again in three months and I should hear about an appointment. Not having heard anything about an appointment in early January, I phoned to find that I do not have an appointment. The receptionist said she will ask the psychiatrist if she wants to see me again and then phone me back. I know the NHS and I know it is by no means certain that the receptionist will speak to the psychiatrist or that the message will be delivered back to me. Again, I am not hopeful, but what alternative do I have? To be honest, I think there is little the psychiatrist can do for me at the moment anyway.
I had to phone the dentist too to make a routine check-up appointment, but first it was engaged and then there was no answer; possibly they had gone home as it was nearly 5pm. I hate making phone calls and it exhausts me, and I didn’t even get all my calls finished as I still have the call to the dentist hanging over me for tomorrow or Thursday.
I did go to my shiur and also managed to squeeze in about forty minutes of work on my novel, writing nearly 500 words, completely reworking a passage I wrote the other day and was unhappy with, so it wasn’t a totally wasted day.