Chaconia mentioned that I have a habit of quantifying my depression into minutes or hours of activity, numbers of negative thoughts and so on. I had noticed this, at least to some extent, but it doesn’t seem unhelpful so I’ve never challenged it. If anything, it shows me most days that I do more than I would otherwise subjectively believe. Nevertheless, I wonder if it’s connected to the fears of losing control that I wrote about last week. That if I stopped monitoring myself, I would become out of control somehow, probably through inactivity.
I felt very so depressed and exhausted again today. I’m not sure why I’ve been feeling worse the last few days. It could be the break up, but I thought I was over that. Maybe I’m not. It wouldn’t be surprising if I wasn’t, as while it only lasted a few months (a) we had been together before and (b) it very intense both emotionally and in the amount of time we spent Skyping. I also feel that lockdown is getting to me a bit, but I’m also very worried about what the end of lockdown means for me, in terms of applying for jobs again, but also in terms of other activities such as shul (synagogue).
My shul sent out an email the other day regarding services coming out of lockdown, but I didn’t get it. I chased it and got it today. They are limiting services to thirty people, outside when weather permits, with masks and bringing your own siddur (prayer book), tallit (prayer shawl) etc. I have very mixed feelings about it. Part of me would like to get back to the routine of shul, not least to challenge my social anxiety, which has probably got worse over the last four months without me pushing against my urge to run away from people and events. There is also the fact that the social element of shul may help my mood (or worsen it).
On the other hand, I feel I don’t get much out of shul, certainly not at the moment, and maybe I should leave it to other people who get more out of it. I would be sorry to miss Talmud shiur, which is resuming on Shabbat (Saturday), especially as that can be hard to catch up on subsequently, so if I miss a few weeks now I may never catch up (I would like to finish even one masechta (volume) of Talmud once as whenever I go to a shiur, we never complete one). My big reservation is whether it would be dangerous for Mum if Dad and I to go back to shul. We are still supposed to shield her until 31 July and even after then her immune system will be weak. The government guidelines are that shielded people should not go to places of worship, but they don’t say anything about other members of the household. My Mum has a meeting with the oncologist tomorrow and has promised to raise the question.
I found writing really difficult today. My difficulty writing is not helped by the fact that I’m writing a novel with two different viewpoints, and whose characters do not intersect directly in the middle of the novel. This has proved unexpectedly difficult to write. Every time I alternate viewpoints, which happens with most new chapters, I struggle to get back into the head and situation of the main character of that chapter.
I went for a walk to try to jump start my brain. I wrote for a short while when I returned, but still struggled. Then I had to have dinner and get ready for shiur (religious class) on Zoom.
While out walking I had a lot of rapid images going through my head. Autistic people often think in images rather than words. I usually think in a mixture of the two, but when I’m feeling agitated the images become faster and more vivid, some times distressingly so. Today’s images were not distressing, but they were rapid and agitated.
My therapist suggested getting in contact with friends to ease my loneliness. The problem (aside from lockdown) is a lack of friends to contact, at least away from the blogosphere. I emailed two friends, one of whom has already replied. I’m not convinced email contact alone will do much to alleviate loneliness, and even without lockdown, it’s hard to see people, as so many of my friends are long-distance. It is good to hear from other people though, and to get outside my own head for a bit.
I wish I had some way of contacting other religious Jews who are struggling religiously. Ideally on a message board or mailing list or similar, probably not in person as I’m not good at that and we would probably all want to be anonymous. I feel like I’m still struggling with being a good Jew, even though breaking up with E. reduced some of the cognitive dissonance I think I was under.
These thoughts were triggered by looking at the Beyond BT website again, which I shouldn’t do as it makes me feel inadequate, as no one there seems to have the same struggles I do. When the Jewish blogosphere was more active years ago, there used to be “OTD” blogs (OTD = off the derekh (road) = people becoming non-religious) blogs, but they are not what I want. Those were mainly for people with issues with Torah and science or Bible criticism. I just struggle to have positive feelings about my religious life because of depressive anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure) and because I struggle to find meaning in my pain, which leads me to feel God must hate me to make me suffer so much pain with no obvious meaning. I don’t really have much of a spiritual life at all, as distinct from a religious one. I don’t think I’m a very spiritual person at the best of times, even without depression and anhedonia. Maybe I’m being unfair to myself.
Zoom shiur was OK this week. I participated rather more than usual, although the flipside was making more mistakes. That was the last in that run of shiurim (on Rashi), although I have one more week of my Monday shiur (on meaning).
You may remember my Dad’s car’s catalytic converter was stolen a while back, right at the start of lockdown. Now someone has stolen the replacement! It’s unlikely to be the same thief, as the first time it was taken from the hospital car park and this time it was taken from our front drive. It’s quite expensive to replace and needs to be fitted by a mechanic, so this is a huge expense and hassle. Apparently they’re very easy to steal and very valuable, so there’s a lot of incentive for thieves. They’ve damaged the car too. This is very frustrating and we’re all angry about it.