Shabbat (the Sabbath) was a success, in an unglamorous sort of way. I went to shul (synagogue) last night as usual and forced myself to shake hands with the rabbi afterwards as I think I chickened out of doing it last week. I walked back with an elderly gentleman who lives further down our road. I’ve walked home with him before, but neither of us is really into small talk, so the walk is rather quiet. In the past that made me feel self-conscious and awkward, but last night I seemed to be OK with it, which seemed to be a social anxiety victory.
Dinner conversation was largely about my Mum’s illness and treatment. I was OK, up until the point when I wasn’t and started feeling sad and anxious. I’m not sure how much was worry about her per se and how much about how stressful the next few weeks, and the upcoming festivals of Purim and Pesach, are going to be and the fear that they will trigger depression and religious OCD.
I overslept in the morning again, but I’ve given up trying to go to shul in the mornings at the moment. I was annoyed to doze for an hour after lunch, though, as it might stop me sleeping this evening.
I went to shul this afternoon for services and Talmud shiur (religious class) even though I felt a bit depressed and anxious. I’ve felt a bit more comfortable and accepted at shul the last week or two, especially as I’m following Talmud shiur better (I prepare beforehand and revise afterwards) and as I’ve led services a couple of times.
I am wondering if I should speak to the new rabbi about some of my issues, at shul and in general. My main reason is because Pesach might prompt religious OCD, in which case it would be good to have someone locally who can determine if a problem is real or in my head, as my rabbi mentor tends not to pick up his emails on Chol HaMoed (the intermediate days of the festival) and obviously will be out of contact on Yom Tov itself. I don’t know if the new rabbi has much mental health experience, although it was something that people raised when the community was looking for a rabbi. If I am going to speak to him, it would be good to do so in advance rather than in the rush immediately before Pesach.
I spent an hour and a quarter tonight working on my non-fiction Doctor Who book’s jacket. I think I’ve got the hang of the cover designer on Lulu.com, although I still find it awkward in pages. I’m not sure if that’s my ignorance or genuine design flaws. I find my back cover blurb lacks punch and my biography seems perfunctory (I grew up reading The New Adventures series of Doctor Who spin-off novels where the authors often seemed in a competition to come up with most bizarre and comic biographies). I’ve sent it to my sister (who works in marketing) and I might send it to E. I feel slightly sick just using marketing hyperbole, like describing my book as “essential” when it’s clearly not literally essential in the way that water and food are essential. I don’t have much of an eye for graphic design either and I’m limited by copyright law in terms of the images I could use (I decided not to use any).
I have a busy day tomorrow: a family get together at lunch time and a lecture by Rabbi Joshua Berman on historical accuracy in Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) in the evening which I’m looking forward to. So I should probably have something to eat and go to bed, given that it’s already 10.00pm.