I went for a run. My pace was a bit better than recently, although my stamina is still not great. That said, I don’t think I was walking as much as the last couple of runs (I find it hard to run continuously, but I try to run as much as possible). I was glad to go running in the daytime again, both to get some natural light and because the pavement was very muddy with lots of twigs and small branches blown off trees as potential slip hazards. And The New Avengers Theme came on my iPod on shuffle when I’d forgotten it was even on that playlist, which raised a smile (it’s a very upbeat, funky ’70s piece of music).
I cooked a recipe I’ve never cooked before, Hungarian mushroom stew. I used my Mum’s blender, which I hadn’t used before either. I always find new recipes time-consuming. This one took about an hour and a half. Given that I had a long lunch because I was tired from my run, that was most of the day gone, and with it most of my energy.
I had a slight kashrut (Jewish dietary law-related) issue when I was cooking. I thought it was probably OK, but I texted the rabbi to check. I knew I was giving in to potential OCD thoughts, but I thought I wasn’t 100% sure it was OK, plus I felt that it’s not a bad thing to ask the rabbi questions so he sees I’m frum (religious) even if I’m not always in shul or shiur or social events (this is my community rabbi, who has only been with us for six months or so). He said it was fine. But then, as often happens with OCD, it grew out of control. Suddenly I was thinking of details I had forgotten to mention in the question that might affect the outcome. Then I started thinking that I was being punished for asking the question in the first place effectively to show off how frum I am.
Things got out of control for a few minutes. I did calm down quite quickly, even before the rabbi got back to me and said everything was OK. I can at least be glad that I can recognise and, to some extent at least, defuse these OCD worries quickly, whereas in the past I could have wrestled with something like this for hours, being convinced it would lead to either an argument with my parents or violation of halakhah (Jewish law). I can see that those outcomes are not particularly likely now, and it is relatively rare for me to ask a question these days, compared with a couple of years ago when I seemed to be always waiting to hear back from a rabbi or the London Bet Din kashrut division. But it is a reminder of the way I can be sucked back into OCD thinking if I’m not careful, as well as how OCD feeds on uncertainty. The more you try to answer questions, the more questions it produces and really the answer is to walk away from it, difficult though that seems.
Otherwise today I was OK, moodwise. I know correlation is not causation, but my SAD light does seem to be helping my mood somewhat. I still have good days and bad days, but I seem to have less of the mid-winter desperation of previous years. I’m still anxious at times about my new job, although mostly I’m not thinking about it (which may or may not be a good thing). I did use up most of my energy on running and cooking, so I only managed about twenty or twenty-five minutes of Torah study. I spent an hour or so researching domestic abuse for my novel; after that I was too fed up with the wickedness of the world to do anything other than vegetate in front of a DVD, while texting E. and eating an enormous doughnut with chocolate icing. And suddenly it’s midnight and I should get to bed…