I had my usual struggle to wake up and get up from depression and exhaustion. I felt a bit better after eating breakfast and drinking coffee, but then suddenly my mood went down again and I had to have lunch before davening (praying), which I rarely do. I then fell asleep for an hour after lunch (and still before davening), which was absolutely not my intention and I had to rush to get a run in at sunset. I would have liked to have got out earlier, in the daylight. This is how I am most days. Once I get going, my mood seems to be OK most of the time, but then suddenly it will drop for a bit.
I did manage to do a few more things. I wrote a long email to my rabbi mentor with questions about Pesach. I can see that most of them are probably religious OCD which makes me feel more confident about noticing which issues are ‘real’ and which are OCD, but at the same time I know that if I had the confidence not to ask at all and not feel that I was doing something risky, that would be even better, from the point of view of challening the OCD (and the point of view of not giving my rabbi mentor needless work). I deliberately held back on one question which I thought I was OK with, but now think I need to talk through. This time of year can be such a struggle.
I did spend over an hour working on my novel, a bit of time on proofreading the last bit I wrote, but nearly an hour on looking over the plan for the rest of the novel. It’s more detailed than I remembered and I’m pleased with the general direction and more energised to be working on it than I have been recently, although that will have to wait until tomorrow now. I also spent half an hour on Torah study (although I would have liked to have done more). I spent half of that on Mishnah (the oldest stratum of the Talmud), finishing a masechta (volume) for the first time in ages (Masechet Shevi’it) and the other half on If You Were God, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s book on suffering and miracles and why God allows the former and rarely the latter.
It’s frustrating that even when other things are equal, I’m just about functioning rather than thriving, only able to do a few hours of work (or job hunting, or writing) a week and then when something else happens, whether expected like Pesach (Passover) or unexpected like coronavirus, it becomes harder and harder to keep going. Am I always going to be like this? It’s frightening to think that I might be. I feel such a burden on my parents and potentially on E.
I’m watching Life on Mars for the first time. The programme is about a contemporary detective who is hit by a car and wakes up back in 1973, unable to tell if he has genuinely travelled in time, if he is in a coma and is dreaming everything that happens or if he’s dead and this is the afterlife. I’m catching up with it fourteen years later because I rarely watch new TV in case I don’t like it, which is probably some kind of autistic issue. I’m only an episode and a half in, but I’m empathising with Detective Sam Tyler. Like him, I feel like I’m in a society that I sort of know, but where I miss all the nuances, the social mores, the slang, the unstated conventions. I find it hard to enter into the mentality of those around me and feel that I don’t fit in. I don’t talk to the Test Card girl, but I do talk to someone who I can only communicate with via electronic media of different kinds. Although E. is a much better girlfriend than the Test Card girl would be.
Worries about coronavirus come and go. I was thinking of going to see Rabbi Lord Sacks speak in a few weeks, but now I’m wary of going to large gatherings for fear of bringing infection back to Mum. I suspect that the talk will be cancelled, by the organisation running it if not by the government, but I worry about going to shul (synagogue) and the like. I keep making up stupid coronavirus jokes, which is probably some kind of anxious response e.g. I’ve got an illness that makes me continually sing like Frank Sinatra or Matt Monro. I’ve got croonervirus. (Sorry.)