I feel really depressed today. On the verge of tears. Mum had her second chemo session today. Is that related? Or is it coronavirus anxiety, or just bog standard depression? Who knows. And to think, just a few weeks ago, “going viral” was considered a good thing.
Today is Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) of the month of Nisan, which means it’s two weeks until Pesach (Passover). To be honest, by this stage I just want to get on with it. With the arrival of Nisan, we stop saying Tachanun (penitential prayers) because this is the month of redemption. It’s supposed to be a happy month. I always struggle with that with depression, but it’s weird that everyone is struggling this year. It doesn’t feel like a time of redemption for anyone.
I feel bad that coronavirus has hardly altered my routine. There aren’t many jobs to apply for. Other than that I’m still trying to help my parents around the house, care for my Mum (inasmuch as she needs it at the moment) and work on my novel. Write a devar Torah every week, do my usual daily routine of prayer and Torah study. Try to exercise most days. If anything, I’m probably exercising more than I was, although that’s more due to the weather and the lack of jobs to apply for than government injunctions to exercise daily despite the virus.
I tried to work on my novel, but kept getting distracted, first by procrastination, then by external events, like Mum coming home from chemo and the Tesco delivery man arriving (he stood very far back as I unpacked the food into the house. No toilet paper available either). I eventually forced myself to do an hour or so of work on it, and despite procrastination, I managed a little over my daily five hundred word target. I’m still struggling to write convincing dating dialogue and activities. I don’t have much experience here.
Other than that, I Skyped E. and went for a half-hour walk; I would have liked to have gone for a run, but I was too tired and depressed. I watched a very rubbishy episode of Star Trek Voyager (Warlord) while finishing polishing the silverware.
I did join in the eight o’clock doorway/window NHS applause, but I went stopped after a minute or so, partly because I was cold standing in the doorway, but partly because my feelings about the NHS are so mixed based on the treatment I’ve had in the NHS mental health system. I wrote a big paragraph here and cut it, because I didn’t want to sound so negative at this time. Suffice to say I did applaud and I do appreciate the efforts of NHS personnel to defeat COVID-19, as well as my Mum’s cancer care. I just wish it was more universal.
Aside from watching the rubbish Voyager episode, I watched more of Life on Mars. It was the silliest episode so far (Sam, Gene and Annie go undercover running a pub), but is still giving me Writer’s Envy. Life on Mars is really the type of thing I want to write, but can’t manage to write, and, anyway, someone else already wrote it. Over a decade ago. Sigh. I would like to put more surreal/absurdist/solipsistic stuff into my novel, but I’m not sure that I know how, or that anyone will read it if I do. E. told me to “Go big or go home,” but I don’t feel that I can quite do either.
It’s frustrating, what I want to write is stuff that exists on the borderline between realism and surrealism, where the boundary becomes permeable, but not totally crossed into Alice in Wonderland nonsense, but that’s not a popular place to go. The Philip K. Dick/The Prisoner Twilight Zone, where the real and the surreal flick back and forth. Plus, while I do have ideas, for this novel and for possible future ones, they are relatively straightforward.
I am not sure how to kill the time before bed. I don’t feel tired enough for a very early night. I don’t want to spend the evening being depressed online, so I’m going to turn my computer off in a minute. I have hardly done any Torah study today, but I don’t feel up to doing any more, except listening to a short devar Torah Rabbi Lord Sacks posted to WhatsApp today. Nor do I feel like can read even the light Doctor Who novel I’m reading currently. I will probably watch another DVD, maybe The New Avengers. I just feel rubbish, in all senses of the word – ill/depressed, but also a failure. I try to tell myself I’m not, that my parents care about me, that E. cares about me, but I worry I don’t care about them enough back, that I let everyone down in the end… “My thoughts are not always my friends.” Indeed.
I got a WhatsApp message from my shul, apparently written by a bunch of frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) doctors, saying that the frum community has been disproportionately hit by coronavirus because people are holding private minyans (prayer gatherings) and other gatherings. I don’t know if there’s been anything here like there has been in New York and parts of Israel, where I think people got arrested for attending large weddings, or issued instructions to wedding guests not to take photos lest they be prosecuted. Whether this will stop the private minyan next door I do not know. They haven’t held a minyan since Sunday, but it’s possible they can’t get one during the week because people are still working, although where they are working is another question. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow evening.