I didn’t have to go to the hospital with Mum today after all. My parents discovered that a hotel near the hospital is renting out car park places, so Dad could park and go in to the appointment with Mum as her extra person. That’s better for everyone, although I had a weird feeling of disappointment after having psyched myself up for it.
I woke up earlyish, but I’m not sure if that was due to thinking I had to be up early to go to the hospital or because our next door neighbour’s son was sitting in the garden listening to a Zoom shiur (religious class) really loudly, then was on a really loud chevruta (paired learning), far above my intellectual level and he’s only in his teens, so that probably brought my mood down early on. (Why do Jews get so overexcited when “learning” and start shouting? Or when talking, to be honest?)
Yesterday was burning agitation. Today is quiet and still, but the stillness of depression and the grave, the stillness of nothing happening inside. I didn’t do any real Torah study yesterday, because of depression and migraine, but I did spend forty minutes writing my devar Torah (Torah thought) which I hope should count for something. I didn’t do my hitbodedut meditation/unstructured prayer either, but that has been perfunctory for quite a while.
I’m just feeling awful today, hollow and empty and dead inside. I feel almost physically ill and struggle to do anything. I wish E. was here, but part of me is saying that it can’t last (our relationship, I mean) and that I’ll be hurt sooner or later. Yesterday we (E. and I) agreed to focus on the present and not to worry about the post-COVID world, which is too unpredictable, whether big things like the economy or personal things like our job prospects and our relationship. But it’s easy to believe that everything will go wrong, same as it always does for me. I feel I can’t do anything, that my life is not going anywhere.
I tried to work on my novel, but I struggled to write anything, either for the chapter I was working on or when I tried to jump ahead to the next chapter. I ended up giving up and watching TV (Ashes to Ashes then Doctor Who). I forced myself to go for a walk, although I didn’t really want to (because of the heat as well as the depression/exhaustion) and while I was walking my internal monologue/internal critic asked me, “Why don’t you just **** off and die?” and I didn’t have a good answer. Most people with high functioning autism don’t manage to do paid work (despite being defined by the wider world as “high functioning”) and anecdotal evidence (at least) suggests they don’t manage to maintain relationships either, so I don’t know why I think I can buck either trend.
I had my online Zoom shiur (class) this evening. I still feel I’m not going to learn a lot I don’t already know. I did manage to speak up though, once. It’s a shame I’m too socially anxious to share knowledge much that others might benefit from. Selfish even, if I want to blame myself (I usually do). I don’t know if it’s because I was on my Dad’s computer (the replacement webcam for my one still hasn’t arrived), but I just felt extra-awkward the whole time. I just sat through the shiur thinking, “I am such a **** up” and that no one could ever like me and that my life will never get sorted out. There was some fantasising about self-harm, which I haven’t done for a while.
I’m worried about a couple of blog friends who haven’t posted for a while, but I’m also worried that if I send them “Are you OK?” emails that will just put them in the awkward position of having to tell me that they’ve taken me off their friends lists. I worry I’m too weird and depressing for people to cope with, let alone relate to.
I just discovered that some nasty comments from someone I had to mute on the blog were sitting in my trash folder on WordPress. They had been there for several months unnoticed. I had assumed that blocking bounced them back into the ether, but apparently they go into the trash folder and sit there. I deleted them all, but it upset me even more, and the content of the comments reinforced my feeling of being useless and having no justification for being depressed. It also makes me worried, as one of these comments was a reblog notification – the person reblogged my post, apparently to criticise and mock it. It makes me wonder what other negative stuff this person has put out there about me. Naturally, I assume I deserve it.
The Midrash in Sifra on last week’s sedra, Behukotai, says there are seven stages of apostasy that lead on one to the other:
- Not studying Torah;
- Not performing commandments;
- Despising those who keep the commandments;
- Hating the sages who teach the commandments;
- Preventing others from observing the commandments;
- Denying that God gave the commandments;
- Denying the existence of God.
It’s hard to tell where I am. I’m not studying much Torah. I perform some commandments, but not others, some because of depression, some to compromise with E., some because I don’t have the strength any more. I don’t “despise” anyone, but there’s aspects of the Orthodox world I don’t like, I don’t have much respect for sages who preach full-time yeshiva study and denigration of the wider world. Sometimes I worry I’m heading for points six and seven. Is this catastrophising again? Possibly perfectionism too. I have kashas (difficulties, questions) on Judaism, but I also have big kashas on the secular world of humanism, Enlightenment and postmodernism too. Of course, my biggest kasha is on the world: how can I fit into it?