I got up a little later today, at 10.30am, but still before 11.00. When I got up, I found myself struggling with difficult emotions that I couldn’t really put into words. It’s hard when I can’t put things into words, as I can’t write about them or speak about them in therapy, although sometimes I try to take the feelings to therapy and the therapist or the therapy process helps me to find the words.
Dad took Mum to hospital for chemo soon after I got up. He’s not allowed to stay there at the moment because of social distancing, so has to come home and then go out again to pick her up. It meant both my parents were out for a while, which is not so common at the moment, at least not for more half an hour or so. This can be good or bad. I like the quiet, but maybe I need other people around on some level, particularly when I’m depressed. I just moped around after breakfast and missed E. Maybe that would have happened even if my parents were here. It probably would, to be honest.
I did two hours of work on my novel, writing about fourteen hundred words, which is probably a record for me in terms of amount of fiction written in one day (and also the length of this post… blogging is much easier than fiction writing). I was mostly writing a surreal interlude. These are easier for me to write than the realistic bits. Writing something as autobiographical as this has locked me into realist narrative, but I’m not really that comfortable with it. It’s a shame, as I have two or three other ideas for realist, literary novels that I think could be really good, but I don’t think I could write them (yet?). Fortunately, lately I’ve been having ideas for a non-realist book/series of books that I hope to work on when this novel is finished, although I’m keeping quiet about this for now…
In other activity, I spent ten minutes polishing off my devar Torah (Torah thought) for the week and half an hour on Torah study. I did some serious textual study, Tehillim (Psalms) and Mishnah in Hebrew. The Artscroll Mishnah commentary confuses me. It goes into too much detail about what is in the Talmud Bavli and the Talmud Yerushalmi and the different commentaries and super-commentaries, the Rishonim and the Acharonim (the Medieval commentaries and post-Medieval commentaries). I get completely confused and have no idea what the Mishnah is talking about when I probably could understand it on a basic level if it was simplified. Sadly, the Kehati Mishnah which is much more succinct and guides you through the basic meaning of the Mishnah is now out of print and hard to get hold of and I don’t think Koren have an English language Mishnah yet, so I’m stuck with the Artscroll.
I ran for thirty-five minutes again, for the third time this week, which I haven’t managed for a very long time. I was out at 8pm when everyone applauds the NHS. It was amusing, feeling like I was finishing a marathon when I was only halfway through my run, but I was irritated by the number of people coming out of their drives and onto the pavement, making me either run in the road or risk coming close enough to get infected. This only exacerbated my mixed feelings about the whole exercise (the NHS applause, not the run). I realised that if anyone wants to be a populist dictator in this country, they shouldn’t whip up racial hatred, start a war or press for emergency powers – just present themselves as the champion of the NHS. It worked for Tony Blair.
The problem is that despite a lot of activity, I still wish I had done more. If I had got up earlier, or been less depressed when I did get up, I might have managed more Torah study or been able to go to bed earlier tonight. If I hadn’t got an exercise migraine I might have managed a little more Torah study, or to talk to E. for longer… It’s an unhelpful attitude, but it persists in me. Nevertheless, I can see that this has been a very productive week.
I weighed 75kg this morning, nearly 12 stone. Admittedly that was after breakfast (I’m really bad at remembering to weigh myself before breakfast. I’m really bad at doing anything before breakfast, to be honest). I know I need to lose weight, but it’s hard. I do eat quite a bit of junk on Shabbat and I’m not entirely sure why my self-control deserts me then, but otherwise I limit myself to one unhealthy thing a day. I try not to eat ice cream more than once a week, if not even less frequently (ice cream is my biggest comfort eating temptation, and is something we currently have loads of as Mum can eat it when chemo side-effects make it hard for her to eat more solid things). But I feel it’s so hard to cut junk out entirely when I’m depressed, I just need something nice before I go to bed. I tried cutting the calories different ways, eating less at lunch, but that didn’t work either, I just got really hungry in the late afternoon long before dinner (we usually eat quite late, which doesn’t help). I already eat a lot of fruit and veg every day, so I can’t substitute them in to replace more fattening alternatives. I do worry about being overweight and unhealthy, but I don’t know how to shift it – as far as I can tell, my weight gain is completely driven by my psychiatric medications, all of which have weight gain as a common side-effect, but I can’t come off them (I’ve tried). I’m trying to exercise more too, but that can lead to weight gain, as muscle weighs more than fat. I find it quite depressing.
Oh what tangled webs we weave… I’ve mentioned about losing friends in the last few months. One was someone whose blog I read. We weren’t really friends, but I did comment there a lot. Then I worried that I had said the wrong thing. I felt my comments were becoming unintentionally combative because I was being upset (I won’t say ‘triggered’) by blog discussions of dating in the frum world. I wasn’t trying to start a fight, but I worried it looked that way and wasn’t sure if my comments were ignored deliberately or just missed. Then there was a reply to me that might have been angry or might not.
So, I resolved to stop reading and commenting, but I was weak, so I went back to reading and swore not to comment. There was a post today with a religious question for which I think I have a helpful answer. But I’m too scared to post. I thought of posting under a different name, but worried that it could be identified as coming from me, possibly provoking further anger. So, as of now, I haven’t commented, but it is frustrating when I think I could help.
The bottom line is that it was probably another online communication that I over-invested in and thought was friendlier than it actually was. I used to think that my in-person social anxieties and awkwardnesses were mitigated online. To some extent that’s true, but I think I do still have the ability to make people think I’m weird and rude. I think I’ve upset people online before by not counting online friendships as “real” friendships, but to some extent it’s a defence strategy in a situation where I don’t know how much weight and significance the other person gives to interactions that mean a lot to me.
Related to the above: I have to say, writing a semi-autobiographical novel has really driven home how much other people might see me as a self-obsessed, moody, standoffish drama queen. Not the type of person you would want to be friends with. So much for “We’re all the heroes of our stories.” I think I’m probably the irritating geeky character who gets killed off three quarters of the way through.
I did at least put “might see me as a self-obsessed (etc.)”. In the past I would have been sure.