In no particular order…
I managed to get up at 11am, but somehow the morning depression, exhaustion, apathy, or whatever it is didn’t go away after breakfast or even after lunch. I just felt heavy and unable to do anything all day. Possibly I did too much yesterday, which upsets me, as it reinforces my feeling that I will never have a full-time job and a real life, or even a job as a writer and a real life.
After lunch I spent half an hour aimlessly browsing online and then went back to bed for forty-five minutes, some of the time listening to music, some not. I just felt too exhausted to do anything. Really burnt out, overloaded, shutdown, whatever you want to call it.
Eventually I forced myself to get up again and sort out the emails in my inbox (I don’t like it to get too full, preferring to file stuff in endless folders or delete). It was a mundane and boring task, but necessary, and I felt a bit better for having done it.
I tried to work on my novel, but I just got overwhelmed. I’m not sure how long I spent on it. I was procrastinating online a lot. I think I did write a three or four hundred words, but I’m not sure. It was frustrating. I feel like by working on it a lot yesterday, I paid a price today. This is what always happens to me: even if I can achieve something one day, I pay a price for it in depression and exhaustion the next, so I can never achieve very much of anything. I didn’t manage to do much else at all today. I just gave up and watched a two-part Star Trek Voyager story (Scorpion). I did literally five minutes of Torah study, just so I had done some today and that was it. I didn’t go for a run or a walk because I didn’t feel up to and it rained most of the day anyway.
Whenever I have a day like this, the scary thing is not knowing how long it will last. Not knowing if it will be just a day or if it will be a new episode of depression or a new depth of an existing depression. I don’t have an answer to that yet.
I found the money I received from my Doctor Who book. It was sitting in my paypal account. I’m having trouble transferring it to my bank account, because nothing is ever simple for me.
The other day I finished the Doctor Who short story collection I was reading. Then I started re-reading Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick. Dick is one of my all-time favourite authors, but when I first read Martian Time-Slip I was nonplussed by it. It’s considered one of his best novels, so I thought I should give it another go now it’s a decade or so since I read it, but after ten pages I realised I didn’t actually care about it and gave up. This is a big thing for me, because I never give up on books, and E. thinks I waste my time reading stuff I’m not enjoying as a result.
Instead I started re-reading Decalog 2, another Doctor Who short story collection. When I was reading lots of Doctor Who books, in the nineties, I felt that Doctor Who short story collections had less cachet than full-length novels among fans and I was never sure why. It’s true that some short stories attempt to compress a hundred minute TV story into thirty pages, but then some novels try to expand one into 350 pages. At least short story collections can have a diversity of styles and genres; Doctor Who‘s variety and experimental nature is one of the things I like most about it, and that’s reflected more in short story collections than novels.
I posted this comment on Rivki Silver’s blog: “Lockdown hasn’t been so different for me, now Pesach’s over… I’ve been unemployed for most of the last year, so sitting at home all day isn’t unusual. I live with my parents, so I’m not by myself. Mum is having chemotherapy, so I’ve been doing more cooking. But lockdown has been noticeable more in food shortages than anything else. I feel a bit like I’ve avoided the problems other people have… and a bit like I’ve been living with them for years already.” I hadn’t put that thought into words before, but I think that’s been at the back of my mind for a while, the feeling that, on the one hand, I’ve got off lucky, but on the other, I’ve been coping with loneliness, anxiety, depression and isolation for years longer than most people.
Elsewhere on the net, I mentioned the short story I wrote to Rebecca Klempner on her blog and she said I should submit it for publication. That thought had not occurred to me. My gut instinct is that it isn’t good enough, it’s not clear where I could even think of getting it published and I haven’t got a head for the practicalities of publication at the moment. Maybe I’m being too negative. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know where I could even think of submitting it.
Regarding the therapy question, the fourth therapist got back to me. She’s only working on Fridays at the moment. That’s not so good for me in the summer and very difficult if I’m still in therapy in the winter. Having checked how easy it is to get to the therapists post-lockdown if I want to see them in person and having my parents say that my gut instinct about the pushy-seeming therapist is not something to be dismissed and that trying a new therapist might be a good idea, it looks like I’ll be going with the first therapist who got back to me. She does integrative, gestalt and existential therapies. I don’t know very much about those approaches, but I thought it might be worth trying something other than psychodynamic. I’m still nervous about choosing. I don’t know why this seems a huge and final decision when the reality is that if I don’t connect with the therapist I choose, it won’t be hard to cancel and find another.
Tonight is the start of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. Different communities act differently on this day, depending on whether they’re Zionist, non-Zionist or anti-Zionist. There’s a lot of different permutations in terms of celebratory prayers added in or sombre prayers omitted (I know an amusing joke about this, but it would take too long to explain). My shul (synagogue) usually does nothing, but is having a shiur (religious class) this year; I assume the change is due to the new rabbi. Normally I would go to my parents’ shul which does celebrate, but not this year. I can’t remember what extra prayers they would add in to Ma’ariv (the Evening Service). I did what I could remember and felt able to do in my very depressed and exhausted state.