I possibly did too much yesterday as I feel really drained today.  Also despairing about the future (career, writing, marriage, family), which I was trying not to give in to.

***

I had to go to the pharmacist to request a repeat prescription.  Perhaps surprisingly, I wore a mask for the first time in the pandemic.  I haven’t gone on public transport since lockdown started, which is the only place masks are compulsory in the UK.  It has become an accepted thing to wear them in shops in recent weeks, but I haven’t been going shopping either.  I was very anxious and apprehensive about it, stupidly so.  Some of it was worrying that it would be uncomfortable or that I would inadvertently spread germs taking it off wrongly or adjusting it.  I guess it also feels wrong not to show the shop assistant my face when we’re talking.  However, I think much of the anxiety was autistic issues about doing something new.  I remember years ago I went to an art gallery in Tel Aviv and there was an art installation there that was made of some kind of dangerous material and you had to wear a mask to go inside the room.  I just completely freaked out about that and refused to go in and I couldn’t work out why, I just felt stupid and useless.  I guess it’s an autism thing, although I’m not sure if the issue was fear of discomfort or of new experiences.

Once I put the mask on, I did feel very uncomfortable, both from the actual touch on my face and from the smell of it.  It made my glasses steam up too.  I cut my walk short partly because I couldn’t cope with it, but also because it was cold out (despite having recently been unbearably hot) and because I was exhausted from therapy.

***

I had a difficult therapy session.  It was difficult because I was speaking about difficult subjects, particularly my feelings of lack of control over future events and fear of never having a job or getting married.  This led to a lot of uncomfortable physical tension in my body while speaking.  We spoke about my tendency to catastrophise being a way of coping with uncertainty by fearing the worst instead of being open to uncertainty, but my therapist said that it’s a form of hurting myself by going to the worst possible outcome, strengthening my inner critical voice.  We also spoke about being more accepting of my physicality/physical nature and she gave me some tips for dealing with feelings of physical tension.

My therapist also spoke about dealing with loneliness by reconnecting with friends.  The problem with that is that I don’t have many friends, not least because I’ve lost so many in the last couple of years.  This is at least partly my fault, which makes me fearful of alienating more people.  I can try to email a couple this week and check in with them and see how their lockdown is going.

***

I spent two hours working on my novel.  I wrote 550 words, finishing a chapter and then proofreading it, but I was very tired while doing some of the proofreading and will probably have another look at it tomorrow.  I’ve written about 53,000 words in total so far.  I’ll need to get to at least 70,000 words, ideally 80,000 to 100,000, for a complete novel.  I have the rest of the chapters planned out, but I worry I haven’t got enough incident to sustain 30,000 more words.

I also somehow did forty minutes of Torah study when I was feeling exhausted.  This was good, but I hope I have not overdone things as I’m absolutely shattered now.  I’m going to chill out with Doctor Who for a bit (Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS)/

19 thoughts on “Masked

  1. I have seen tutorials out there for how to keep your glasses from fogging up when wearing a mask. I think it had something to do with washing in liquid soap. Probably lots of those on YouTube right now as some people have to wear the masks all day with glasses.

    Wow, I had no idea that you were at such a high word count already. Congratulations. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    I’m a catastrophizer, too, so it was interesting to read the viewpoint that this is a way to hurt yourself. I guess I fear the sensations of being afraid. I fear having catastrophes that make me feel terrified, resourceless, and alone. It feels productive to catastrophize so I won’t be surprised by something I hadn’t considered, but it is likely a very disempowering habit.

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    1. I think my Dad mentioned something about soap or washing up liquid. I’ll need to look into that.

      I also feel that catastrophising lets me prepare for things, but I don’t think that it does, realistically, particularly with my type of worries. Realistically, there isn’t a lot I can do right now about being alone in the future. I had a conversation with my parents about how I would support myself when they’re gone, but there isn’t a lot I can do about that right now either.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Catastrophizing can only help prepare for things if the focus is on problem-solving, as would be the case in the stoic approach. But if it’s just focused on chewing on the problem itself over and over, that’s unlikely to be useful.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You can make money as a freelance writer for websites. With your knowledge and experience, I’d think there would be many Jewish sites in particular that would like to have you as a blogger. It’s not often a way to get rich, but it can help supplement income.

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        1. Thanks for this. I’ve tried pitching ideas to magazines and websites a few times, without success. I’ve never tried a Jewish site, although I tried some Jewish newspapers. I don’t think they would consider my outlook on life/Judaism suitable.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. What blogs want most is writing samples. As long as they can tell you can write well and in the kind of style similar to their blog, that’s what they care about. Actually, I think a lot of blogs would really like you and your writing, especially if you would write about challenges of autism and mental illness in the Jewish community, finding your comfort zone, and so on. You could use a pen name if that made you feel more comfortable. I believe in you.

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              1. Sites like Jewcy (just checked and that one is on hiatus right now, but there are others). You could work on a few pieces and publish them on Medium and then show those as examples of your work. You can put samples of your best work on Clippings.me. You can have quite a few pieces in your portfolio there for free. Here’s a link I just found to a lot of popular Jewish blogs: https://blog.feedspot.com/uk_jewish_blogs/

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                1. Thanks for this.

                  I did write for Jewcy, but they didn’t pay me! It was a bad experience and I’m not sure I’d want to do it again. They’re part of Tablet Magazine now anyway.

                  The blog list has two newspapers who I have written to, but they didn’t want me to write for them. Most of the others are not relevant for me.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Well, Jewcy isn’t even in operation anymore, so they wouldn’t work anyway. I’d search in general for “Jewish blogs.” When I did so, I saw a lot more than that link I sent you. I know you’re depressed and discouraged, but I think it would be helpful if you tried to lean into thinking you can possibly do something rather than just writing it off as an impossibility. I mean this kindly as a friend: It seems like you have a pattern of negative self-talk that nothing will work for you, nothing is the right fit, etc. You *are* talented and capable, just need to find the right opportunities. Lean toward believing in yourself even if you don’t feel self-confident. Keep hope alive. You can find something.

                    Please write me anytime you need someone to talk to.

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  2. You’re doing great with your word count! I would not have gone into that art installation room either. Nope. Forgetaboutit! Good idea to reach out a couple old friends and just see where it goes. Sending peaceful and caring vibes your way. 🖖

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  3. I too always think the worst and fear the future. Worry myself to death is what I do. Never thought about it as a way I hurt myself. I always think about the absolute worse possible outcome. My mama always tells me to walk in faith not fear. It’s a little hard to do at times bc I think about all the bad that is happening right now. But when I am able to do just that I have inner peace and it’s very soothing.

    I hate that you are feeling lonely. I guess everyone is wired a different way. I wish I had someone to do things with but I don’t necessarily call that being lonely. I’ve been a loner so long… I don’t ever feel lonely. Although I do feel the need to talk with someone close sometimes. Either my one friend or my mom. Maybe that is a sign of loneliness.

    Congratulations on your novel. You are getting close. I’m sure you will make the word count. I know that has to be exciting.

    I hate that you are always so depressed. I admire that you push yourself through all your troubles instead of giving up. It would be hard for me to be productive everyday dealing with the things you do. It would be so hard to not give up.

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  4. It is hard when you are always worrying. I’m sorry that you do that too.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts about my loneliness and depression. To be honest, it is tempting to give up sometimes and I don’t always know what keeps me going.

    Yes, it is exciting to be making progress on my novel!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Word press won’t allow me to comment on any WP blogs suddenly, even with my email and password that I’ve been using for years. So I’m logging in via Google. Ugh.

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