I’m not sure what time I went to bed last night, probably some time between midnight and 1.00am, but I slept for hours and hours and then was too depressed, exhausted and anxious to get up. I finally got up around 2.30pm, just as my Mum was coming home, having cancelled her post-work volunteering because she was ill. I did feel better for eating cereal and drinking coffee, but of course by then the bulk of the day was gone.
I guess today’s depression/anxiety is mostly centred on work, some worry about a family issue that hopefully will come to a head tomorrow, and also whether E. and I will be able to move our relationship on, as well as general worries about my life as a whole, whether I will ever get it sorted out. E. was feeling positive about us today, so I felt vaguely bad for being pessimistic (although I know she would say that I shouldn’t judge my feelings), not least because I know nothing has changed objectively since I was feeling positive a few days ago, it’s just that today I feel depressed so everything seems bad. Plus, I wish she was around in person more than ever on days like today when I’m not able to say much via text but would like just to watch TV together.
I heard a good quote the other day, I can’t remember where, probably on a Jewish website: “Life is a test and most people fail because they try to copy others, not realising that they have a different question.” It’s probably too wordy to be a truly great quote, but it does refer to what I’m struggling with in terms of thinking that I should doing what my peers are doing (career, family, community) when I that is not realistic and, so far as it is possible for me to tell, that does not seem to be God’s plan for me at the moment. The problem is, I would like to be doing a lot of that stuff and don’t really see an alternative. I don’t qualify for benefits (generalisation: I’m going to have to look into this again), so I basically have to have a career. E. and I want to build a relationship that is more than a long-distance friendship, but I don’t know how – how in practical terms. I want to have friends and community for my mental well-being, but the process of building those relationships is difficult and highly stressful for someone with social anxiety and autism (and someone not in exactly the right community anyway). It is very difficult to see what I should do sometimes.
So, today I didn’t do very much, just sat around feeling exhausted, depressed and unable to do anything. The trouble with the benefits system for the mentally ill (leaving aside the question of whether it’s too strictly enforced) is that it is set up for people with illnesses or disabilities that are both visible and the same every day. If you’ve have a leg amputated, there are not going to be some days when you have both legs and some when you don’t. Whereas with mental illness (and some physical illnesses), there can be days when you’re fine and so you get told you can work, and then there are some days when you just can’t function at all, but outsiders can’t see why that is.
What I did do was play nurse to my mother for a bit and cook dinner (although Tuesdays is my night to cook even if she is well). I made macaroni cheese, because it’s a very easy recipe, one of two recipes that I can cook without reading the instructions, although it was far too salty. I also spent a few minutes updating my CV and interview answer notes to include my experiences in work this year.
I struggled to do some Torah study. I spent ten minutes reading a not-terribly-interesting or informative essay on The Lehrhaus.com. I spent another ten minutes (just under) reading a chapter of Tehillim (Psalms), in this case chapter 24, which is very familiar to me as it appears a lot in the Jewish liturgy. It can be interesting reading prayers as Torah study as I read them in a new way and notice things I don’t notice when davening (praying), but not today. So about twenty minutes in total, which is not bad considering how I was feeling, but I felt that I had not got much out of it, as is often the case.
I tried to work on my novel, but it was hard and I got distracted by #AddAWordRuinABook on Twitter, my favourites being The Cat in the MAGA Hat and especially Catch-22 Diseases. I looked at my own books in the search for inspiration to join in and thought of reading Murder on the Leyton Orient Express and its sequel, The Word for World is Nottingham Forrest (I should probably explain to non-UK resident readers that those are jokes on British football teams). Also A Midsummer Night’s Freudian Dream, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold Storage, Flame War and Peace, Lady Windermere’s Fan Club, The Crack House at Pooh Corner, Decorating a Study in Scarlet and Green Eggs and Hamlet (OK, that’s cheating slightly). I would also like to see a film of The Marx Brothers Karamazov. In non-fiction, there’s Plato’s Coffee Republic, A Brief History of Time Shares and The Blind Drunk Watchmaker although Star Trek fans might not appreciate The Selfish Gene Roddenberry.
Now I don’t feel tired, but should probably go to bed as it’s gone midnight.
My depression is sabotaging my diet. I ate seconds at dinner, more because it was there and I was comfort eating than because I was hungry. I didn’t eat ice cream yesterday, as I suggested I would, but I did eat Quality Street chocolates. It’s hard to be on a diet when I’m this depressed. I don’t generally comfort eat to a huge extent, but when I’m feeling so low it’s hard to feel I should ban myself completely from any junk food that might cheer me up for a few minutes, especially as my weight gain is primarily caused by medication rather than the amount of junk food I’m eating.
Another reason I’m depressed today: farewell Nicholas Parsons, alav hashalom (peace upon him), comedy’s greatest straight man, Just a Minute supremo and a fine Doctor Who guest actor. He will be missed.