I’m still feeling very depressed, although perhaps marginally less than the last few days and less anxious. Next week looks set to be difficult though.
If I’m religious, then I must feel that there must be some purpose to my life, but I have no idea of what it is or how to achieve it. I don’t seem to be able to do very much. I hope it’s something to do with writing, not least because it seems to be the only thing I can do well any more, but I am not certain that it is.
I did chores today, usual pre-Shabbat chores plus cleaning the oven, which didn’t come particularly clean. Depression: The Curse of the Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher talks about the “hoover in the middle of the room” test. The idea is that when recovering, you should not push yourself too hard; the sign of a healthy recovery is a hoover in the middle of the room because you took a break in the middle instead of pushing to do it all in one go and then burning out. I’m not always good at this, but I’ve been trying to do it. I am aware that Dr Cantopher intended it to be something done for a few weeks or months at most while anti-depressants kick in, but in my case, it’s ongoing, which is not easy. I feel like I’m not able to function like most people.
I should dust my room, but I don’t have the energy to move all my ornaments/bric-a-brac/junk. I have a load of stuff like mementos from places I’ve visited, mementos from places other people have visited and given to me and the war gaming miniatures I used to paint. I don’t think many of them would pass the Marie Kondo “Does it spark joy?” test. Most of the holiday mementos seem to come from another lifetime and the mementos from other people I only really keep to avoid offending them or out of a superstitious reluctance to throw away things associated with them, especially if they’re dead. Some of the war gaming miniatures do spark joy, mainly the ones I painted as a teenager, which are done to a high standard; the more ones painted more recently are not as good, because of my tremor and perhaps loss of patience, which also brings me down a bit. However, I’m not sure if they spark enough joy to justify being out on display as dust traps.
I feel I should be more minimalist, but I struggle with that. I also probably have too many books and DVDs, but I’m reluctant to give them away or sell them and the events of this week have reinforced that. The only TV programme I like that was “cancelled” is Fawlty Towers, but even regardless of political issues, appearances on streaming services are liable to change suddenly so I like to own things.
I’m feeling upset about antisemitism in the news today. There’s a feeling that a lot of Jews have something bad happens in the news. A feeling of, “Oh, when are we going to get blamed for that?” Not if, but when. Wars, recessions, revolutions, terrorist atrocities, even natural disasters get blamed on the Jews. So it was probably inevitable that the Jews (in the form of Israel) would get blamed for racist police tactics in the USA and specifically for the death of George Floyd. Meanwhile, in the last few days Jews have been physically attacked in the UK and the US (and also in Israel, although that doesn’t seem connected). Depressing, but sadly none of it is surprising.
Not related to the last point, I feel the model I see on the media for dealing with suffering and inequality – the identity politics model – goes like this:
- Suffering occurs;
- The suffering person(s) angrily protest and “speak truth to power”;
- The person(s) causing the suffering “check their privilege” and make amends.
I’m not going to go into what I think about that as a political model, but it’s not what I want to see in my own life with my own suffering, partly because there aren’t really other people causing my suffering. My own model, which is a more religious existentialist model is:
- Suffering occurs;
- The suffering person has a “dialogue” with other people;
- Mutual understanding and empathy occurs.
It’s hard to get that to happen, especially as my social anxiety stops me “encountering” (another religious existentialist word) other people away from the internet even before lockdown. It is useful to have understanding and empathy here on my blog, but sometimes I wish I could “dialogue” with some of the people I know in real life.
Well, the illegal minyan (prayer meeting) next door is starting, which is a sign it is time for Shabbat so I should go. (One of our neighbours was going to inform on them, but the police apparently ignored it. I was hoping it would be like The Sweeney: “Get yer shtreimels on, you’re nicked!”)