I’m still feeling pretty bad, very depressed and anxious.  I feel like my life has unravelled and I don’t know what to do next.  I feel like I’ve lost so many people who mattered to me in the last year or two, and a lot of it has been my fault, albeit that I doubt I could have known it beforehand.  I suspect autistic difficulties reading people and situations is part of the problem, or maybe that’s just an excuse.  It doesn’t help that because there are so few people in my life, they take on disproportionate importance.  I don’t think that people whose blogs I read or who comment on my blog should really matter that much to me, but they do, because I have so few friends.  I feel withdrawn.  I want to hide in my room from the world.

I forced myself to do some things today: fifty minutes or so working on the novel (it felt like crawling over broken glass, but I did get a bit done), just over an hour working on my devar Torah (Torah thought) for the week, a thirty-five minute run.  I feel a little bit proud of getting the devar Torah written while I felt so bad, although it was mainly based on one book rather than several as I usually like to do.

I feel like I have tried everything you’re “supposed” to try for depression: therapy, CBT, medication, routine, volunteering, working, exercise, seeking social contacts, involvement in a religious community, creativity… nothing seems to work for very long and most of it doesn’t work at all.  It is hard to know what to do.  I’m hoping that a firm autism diagnosis will help, but I’m not sure how, and I could be two years away from such a diagnosis.  I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the years, but I’m not sure if I’m a better person, or a better Jew, as a result.  And self-knowledge is good, but also limited: it won’t buy you food or comfort you when you’re down.

I feel like my one remaining chance in life is to manage to make some kind of a career as  a professional writer, which is a big thing to ask of myself with almost no experience of professional writing and a few rejections already.  I feel I’ve pretty much failed at librarianship although I’m still looking for work in the sector.

I’m going to try to go easy with myself over the next few days.  I’ll try to do some Torah study tonight, but probably not much else.  Tomorrow I have my usual Friday pre-Shabbat chores and I told Mum I would clean the oven.  I will try to do some work on the novel on Friday and Sunday, but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t manage much.  Monday I have therapy and then a Zoom shiur (religious class) in the evening; I’m not planning on doing much else.

***

I don’t know who is still reading this, if anyone (I think maybe two or three people).  I wonder again if I should make it a private blog, but I worry that when I’ve tried that in the past, I ultimately end up stopping writing; it’s hard for me to write without some kind of implicit audience.  I’d be tempted to try password-protected posts, but in the past when I’ve tried them my experience is that no one is interested enough to log in, particularly as they don’t usually show up in blog reader feeds.  I do feel a bit exposed here at the moment, which is the whole point, in a sense, but also feels a bit dangerous sometimes.  I worry that I experience my life by writing about it, which probably isn’t healthy.

12 thoughts on “Against a Sea of Troubles

  1. I know it is not much help, but I often feel much the same, and am only saved from feeling worse, I think, by the distraction of helping look after my mother. Writing is always difficult, too, I and others I know find.

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  2. It does help a bit to hear that I’m not alone (also good to hear from you in particular – I was thinking I should email you and see how you are getting on).

    Writing is difficult and somehow I feel I should enjoy it more. I am enjoying working on my novel, but it is real work and not a hobby.

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  3. I’d miss your blog if you made it private. And you. I understand your concerns about offending and upsetting people. I have lost friends over the years and it does hurt. But looking back I can see that they weren’t genuine friends who really cared. I’d rather have a few good friends than a lot of shallow friendships – maintained by suppressing the real me — if you know what I mean. As regards your depression – do you think you are on the right medication? Would it be worth a review? My life changed greatly when I was started on MAOI medication. It’s not used much but it is still prescribed. Here is an article on them https://psychcentral.com/lib/this-under-utilized-drug-is-actually-critical-for-treatment-resistant-depression/ . A close friend of mine who also has Asperger’s has found these medications have literally saved her life. I wonder what Ashley’s opinion would be?

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    1. Thank you for saying you would miss me and my blog. I would miss your comments.

      To be honest, some of those friends were not genuine friends, but I think on some level some were. I just try not to beat myself up about it too much, as I think there was not much I could have done differently, realistically-speaking.

      I am reluctant to change my medication at a time of crisis. Clomipramine has helped me more than any other anti-depressant and I don’t really want to change it while there are ongoing external events that might be affecting my mood. There is something upsetting happening in my life that I have not written about here openly that will probably resolve itself in the next week or two, one way or another, so I’d like to wait until that is past. In any case, there are no psychiatric review appointments at the moment because of lockdown and the NHS being geared towards COVID and emergencies only, so I don’t really have much choice.

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  4. There are definitely different levels of friends, and I’ve lost some too, or we’ve drifted away from each other. I would miss reading your blog because you are so honest and open. I thought I was but now realize that I leave quite a bit out, mainly out of respect for the privacy of my two daughters. Lest you think my life is pretty, it’s not much of the time. My older daughter struggles with depression. My younger daughter is in what I consider to be an abusive relationship. They are both far away, and I worry about them a lot. I was going to suggest trying a different medication until I read your comment above. I suspect what the upsetting thing might be, and hope I’m wrong. I admire you for forcing yourself to write, as well as do your Torah thought when you’re feeling so hopeless. I don’t have any answers, none of us do. But I am here.

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  5. I think about ‘over-sharing’ too, sometimes I feel like I write too much on the internet and that could be a dangerous thing to do.
    On the other hand it helps me so much to pour out on ‘paper’ what is going around in my head. Connecting with the community here was really a lifeline at some point.
    I find it scary though, when overlooking all my posts, how many information is out there.
    I try to find a middle way in it all.

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  6. I would miss your blog a lot if you stopped, but I will always support you in doing what you feel like you need to do for your own mental health. I will also read your password-protected posts unless somehow I they don’t show up for me (I’m presently trying Feedly feed reader).

    I know that being a successful writer is also largely about marketing. Do you have your own Mr. Who blog? If not, that’s a great way to start getting some attention for your book. I would also recommend doing some guest posting on other Dr. Who fandom blogs.

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  7. Thank you! I’m not thinking of going private any more, as a few people said they would miss it.

    I do have a Doctor Who blog, but I’ve neglected it of late for various reasons. I’m trying to get back into it. I’d like to interact on fan blogs, but there aren’t many that I can find. All the fans seem to be on Twitter, which is really bad for my mental health.

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