I’m averaging a good night’s sleep – I slept for twelve hours last night after sleeping for only four the night before.  I would rather have it spread evenly though.  One of the things I hate most about depression is waking up more tired than I went to bed and spending an hour or more before I feel able to confront the day.

I worked on my weekly devar Torah (Torah thought) for nearly an hour and cooked dinner.  Other than that I didn’t do much except feel vaguely nervous about work, about which I still have something of an Impostor Syndrome.

I did something that felt somewhat against Jewish law and downloaded some music that I probably shouldn’t because it was sung by women.  In the Haredi world, it is Not Done for men to listen to women singing.  It is obviously not considered a problem by secular standards, and even in the Modern Orthodox world my rabbi mentor said most people only apply the law to live music and not recorded music.  I suspect it’s one of the things that has suddenly become a lot stricter in the last sixty years or so.  Haredi rabbis used to go to the opera.  Not all of them, but some prominent ones did, apparently (I don’t have documentary proof, but I’ve heard it from a few places I consider reliable).  I had been avoiding listening to female lead vocals in recent years, but over the last year I’ve been feeling so awful and struggling to keep going with my motivation in Judaism and, inevitably, I’ve slipped in a few areas, including this.

Anyway, I downloaded some music on iTunes, but it didn’t download properly and I just spent an hour and a half instant messaging the iTunes helpdesk.  I’m sure some people would say that this is A Sign that I’m not supposed to do this, but I can’t see how I can be on such a high level that it makes any difference to me.  I feel I’m not such a tzaddik (saintly person) that God should zap me (as the shiur rabbi would say) for such a trivial thing.

The guy on the helpdesk talked me through some things that changed which songs were or weren’t downloaded properly, but didn’t resolve the problem.  Then he told me to alter some stuff on my laptop that I had trouble doing because Windows is pants and while I was trying to work out what to do the helpdesk guy hung up on me.  I tried doing what he said anyway and it still didn’t help.  I am not sure what to do, as Apple have lousy customer support (why do people love Apple so much?).  I guess I will have to instant messenger someone again on Thursday.

I still feel like God is punishing me with this problem.  I also lost my novel writing time today because of it and will probably lose it again on Thursday if I have to do this again.  Writing is hard in my new job.  I thought not job hunting would lead to more novel writing, but so far I’ve been too tired to write on work days i.e. Mondays and Wednesdays, which I expected, but also too tired write much on Tuesdays and Thursdays because work tires me out so much, doubly so on Tuesdays because I have to cook dinner.  Fridays are a write-off  in the winter because Shabbat (the Sabbath) starts so early.  I can write a little on Saturday evening, but that time often gets swallowed by tidying up, by other chores I didn’t have time for in the week or by blogging any upsetting things that happened over Shabbat (upsetting things often seem to happen on Shabbat).  That just leaves Sundays for writing, which is ridiculous.

Now I feel super-tense, depressed and agitated from trying to solve the problem and failing, and thinking about having to do it again on Thursday, and not having time to write and thinking about my whole big ‘to do’ list that has sat untouched since I started this job.  The easiest thing to do with the music might be to wait until the invoice comes and refuse purchase stating there’s a problem, and then try to buy it again in a few weeks.  As for feeling tense, depressed and agitated, I don’t have an answer to that.  I started watching a Star Trek: Voyager episode, but it wasn’t terribly interesting.

At the back of my mind, I’m still thinking about two articles I read today, here and here (trigger warning for sexual abuse).  I’m glad I don’t belong to a very Haredi community like the one in the first article (the Tablet Magazine one), but a group of people from my shul (synagogue) went to the siyum in the second post (they wouldn’t have necessarily known about the politics there).  This type of thing makes me really angry.  On a personal level, I know I do stuff wrong, and it’s pretty much impossible for a single man my age not to do some stuff wrong regarding sex, but I don’t hurt other people despite my struggles.  I hate the idea that there have been so many cases of people able to get away with hurting other people because of the attitudes of parts of the frum community, attitudes that are suspicious of the non-Jewish police (or non-Orthodox police in Israel) and which automatically view people on the fringes of the community as being suspect especially when it’s their word against a rabbi or religious leader, particularly one with yichus (good lineage).  There isn’t anything I can do other than try to write books about people on the fringe of the frum community and hope that helps someone, so it’s frustrating when I can’t even do that.

I just feel awful right now and I don’t know how I will get to sleep while feeling so tense and depressed (to bring the post full circle).  Someone recently said that I’m not really ill and I haven’t really suffered anything, I’m just useless undependable.  E. and one of my other friends said not to listen to this person, but it’s hard not to sometimes.  At the moment, looking at how little I achieved today, I feel pretty useless.

8 thoughts on “Zapped

  1. “Someone recently said that I’m not really ill and I haven’t really suffered anything, I’m just useless undependable.” Well even if this was true (and it is not), this says more about that person than about you. It is a very unkind thing to say as well as being an arrogant self-righteous statement – and that person should feel thoroughly ashamed and apologize to you! When one has an unstable sense of self, other people’s views become very threatening because although we may instinctively know they are wrong there remains the nagging doubt – but what if they are right?

    We have to fight this because it is a lie. There will always be people who misjudge others, who don’t understand and who make themselves feel bigger by putting others down. This is painful and hard to bear. Sometimes just one person’s misunderstanding cancels out all those who do understand because what they say echoes what you fear most. After all, you are your own harshest critic. All I can suggest is that you remember that God can see into your soul and knows the real you. And, for what it’s worth, most of us who follow your blog have caught a little glimpse of the real you and we like what we see. And what’s more we care about what you’re going through. I also think that you have so much to offer to those who are suffering like you as high functioning ASD is so misunderstood. You have the eloquence and insight be a voice for such people. You are already doing this in your writing. Never forget that as it’s of great value.


    1. Thank you. I definitely do worry if other people’s negative views of me are true, and I’m concerned by how many people I thought were friends have turned out not to be friends in recent months and whether that’s my fault.


  2. “Someone recently said that I’m not really ill and I haven’t really suffered anything, I’m just useless undependable. E. and one of my other friends said not to listen to this person, but it’s hard not to sometimes. At the moment, looking at how little I achieved today, I feel pretty useless”

    I know hard it is not to let the little voice whisper in your ear(and mind) that this is true, but whoever said that to you is neither a friend nor someone who cares about you. It’s abusive and nasty. You are one of the most dependable people in my life. You write to me when people I’ve known for many years, some ‘in real life’, don’t. You ask me how I am. It means a great deal to me that you do this, and I’d really like to tell this person how unpleasant they are(and put a smelly old fish in their briefcase/handbag)

    Sent from my iPad



  3. you arent useless! struggling, yes. feeling bad, yes. thats not being useless. you can only do so much in any one day! some days we can achieve a lot. others not so much. its all good! xoxo


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