I struggled to get going again. It’s difficult. Once I get going, I’m OK, but I really struggle with depression, exhaustion and motivation for the first couple of hours that I’m awake. Today I was missing E. a lot and feeling quite overwhelmed and depressed. Once I’ve had breakfast, got dressed and davened (prayed) a little bit (only a fraction of the morning prayers, and sometimes skipping straight to the afternoon ones because I’m too late for the morning) I do tend to feel better, but even then I don’t feel 100% until after lunch. Even when I was working full days I had a similar situation. I had to rush out in the morning and I managed that OK, somehow, but the mornings at work would pass slowly and not always terribly well, bolstered by coffee, and only after I had eaten lunch would I feel that I could really do any good work.
Then I wasted far too much time at lunch trying to answer one of the questions in the Doctor Who Magazine crossword and failing to get it. I can usually answer about three-quarters of the clues fairly easily, others with some difficulty and a few I need to look up online, but I was really stuck on one today, even after looking at a couple of scenes from the story in question. This sort of thing really irritates me. I’ve only been unable to find an answer once or twice before!
I procrastinated a lot in the afternoon, partly at least because I kept getting hit by waves of anxiety and depression. I did eventually manage to email the Amazon seller I bought the broken DVD box set from that I mentioned yesterday. I also emailed four psychotherapists to ask if they have client vacancies and if they charge lower rates for the unemployed. One replied promptly by email, which was good. Another phoned me, which was not good! I dislike talking on the phone at the best of times and I was taken by surprise, which meant my anxiety level shot up. Then he tried to get me to commit to an initial appointment, when I was hoping to compare the different fees, but obviously I didn’t want to say that to him. I asked for time to think. Still, I guess it’s good to know he could see me next week if I want. I felt that he was a bit pushy, but maybe that was because I was so anxious. I’m not sure if I really want a male therapist anyway; I seem to be able to open up more to female mental health professionals than males, although there have been exceptions.
I tried to get back to work on my novel, but procrastinated and then got roped into helping my parents with some stuff. I did eventually manage about thirty minutes of work on the novel, redrafting a chunk previously written in the first person into the third person. It seems to work better that way, leaving questions for me about how to write the rest of the book. I also went for a walk for thirty-five minutes or so. Even when walking I drifted into negative emotions, particularly anxiety and depression, despite listening to a podcast for distraction. I did manage twenty-five minutes Torah study too.
Writing this down, I see that I achieved quite a bit, but would have liked to have done more Torah study and novel writing. I also feel like I’m struggling a bit with emotional regulation at the moment, inasmuch as there are a lot of strong, difficult and sometimes conflicting emotions in my head, but I lack the ability to get rid of them or do much other than acknowledge their existence. I’m struggling to just sit with them.
I wasn’t aware of this so much during the day, but looking back Mum has been struggling a bit today and I think that was also in my mind on some level and adding to the anxiety and depression.
I watched Star Trek Voyager to unwind, but it was unexpectedly dark. Basically, the holographic doctor wanted to learn to experience family life, so he made a holographic family. But he made them too sickeningly perfect, so one of the other characters introduced some changes and random program elements, which meant that his wife now had a life aside from pleasing him and his kids were now rebellious. So far, so good and I thought we would stop there with the holographic doctor having Learnt An Important Lesson Today About Real Life (not coincidentally, Real Life was the title of the episode). Except there was another quarter of an hour left, and his daughter rather shockingly had a fatal sporting accident and he had to deal with that, which was quite a lot darker than I needed today, or than the previous three seasons of the programme had led me to expect.
After this I had my daily call with E. I do find it frustrating that I can’t be there in person for her. We both want so much to have a ‘normal’ relationship without coronavirus and without the Atlantic Ocean being in the way. But, at least we have Skype and WhatsApp, without which we really would be too far apart. I can’t imagine having even an email long-distance relationship, let alone an old-fashioned one via letters (taking weeks to cross the ocean in a steamer, no doubt).
I find it increasingly hard to deal with all the applause and plaudits for the NHS. Today we had the weekly applause for the NHS and carers as well as the slightly bizarre Doctor Who thank you (also: Jo Martin is a ‘real’ Doctor, but Michael Jayston isn’t? Hmmm…).
I acknowledge that NHS staff are doing a huge amount at the moment, and some have become ill (including my sister’s former flatmate) or even died as a result. At the same time, I can’t forget the often appalling way I feel I have been treated over the years. In my experience, there is a big difference in quality between NHS psychiatric care and care in other front line areas like accident and emergency or oncology.
I feel like a child whose father’s appearances in his life were erratic, unpredictable and highly variable in quality suddenly seeing his father lauded as a diligent, conscientious and a great man. It is hard to deal with the dissonance.