I went to bed late, the usual post-Shabbat (Sabbath) in the summer issue of Shabbat finishing late, then davening (praying) and tidying up, off-loading my thoughts onto my blog and needing some time to decompress. I watched the first episode of the Doctor Who story Warriors of the Deep, a story I used to hate, but now see some virtues in. I don’t understand why fandom remembers Peter Davison as the “bland and boring” Doctor when he’s actually the energetic and sarcastic one. OK, enough Doctor Who for now!
I struggled to sleep when I went to bed. I think I fell asleep around 3.00am. I woke up (for the second time) about 10.00am after the dreams I wrote about here. The dreams, and thinking about them after waking, left me in a thoughtful mood, not depressed, but not as happy as when I woke up from the second dream. It does seem easier to make friends in dreams than in real life. Mind you, it seems easier to make friends online than in real life too.
My mood did go down again after a while, though, and I felt quite lonely again too. Then around 12.30pm, I was hit by a sudden tidal wave of loneliness and despair which persisted for much of the day. It’s not just despair and loneliness, but thinking I’m too weird to ever be in a lasting relationship. “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” (Mother Theresa) I wonder if I will ever be happy and loved romantically… My parents love me, it’s true, and I know that’s something other people can’t take for granted and I try to be grateful for it. Still, I feel romantic love is different and not replaceable with parents’ love. Plus, lately I am struggling to express myself to my parents again. It seems I go through phases of being close to them and then less close. Maybe I don’t want to upset them by saying I’m depressed while Mum is ill. Or maybe I don’t want to admit that sometimes I have begun to worry that I made a mistake breaking up with E. I feel like I just need to be held.
I feel that I’m spiralling downwards into a pit of loneliness and despair at the moment and I don’t know what I can do about it. I’m hoping that getting past my birthday, and past Tisha B’Av next week, will help, but who knows?
What I posted the other day (about God so to speak experiencing our suffering) no longer cheers me up as much as it did. I have found this a lot. CBT in particular seems to assume that if you can find one thought or affirmation that really raises your mood, that sorts out your depression or anxiety permanently. You just have to repeat the magic phrase or affirmation. Whereas I find that after a while, thoughts that raise my mood lose their potency somehow. Like the Borg in Star Trek, the depression adapts to my shields and weapons (the thoughts or affirmations) and breaks through them. I suppose I find other things to feel anxious or depressed about. Or maybe mental health ruminations just aren’t logical and can’t be fought with logic.
I forced myself to apply for a job that came up. Job adverts and related bumf is the most horribly, Orwellian, meaningless mass of jargon, cliché and meaningless phrases. The public sector (where this job is) is, if anything, even worse than the private sector. The purpose of the job is “contribute to the delivery of [institution’s] knowledge and library services”. So the job of the assistant librarian is to deliver library services. Someone thought that sentence was meaningful and non-obvious enough to be worth writing down.
Anyway, it’s another assistant librarian job that I feel I ought to be able to do, but worry that I can’t. It’s also full-time, and I don’t think I could cope with that. But I’m applying anyway, to show willing. I forced myself to fill in the application, although if it’s so hard for me to fill in the application (and much of it was saved in the system from a previous application to a job at the same institution), I have no idea how I will manage the work. Writing the application just makes me revisit all the jobs I messed up in the past. I just feel so useless these days.
I went for a run and came back with a painful foot (left ankle and under the left arch) and an exercise headache (verging on migraine). I think my trainers, which I bought last winter, are possibly not the best or don’t fit properly, as I keep getting minor pains in my feet, although this is the worst I’ve had. I probably should have stopped halfway through the run when it started hurting, but I am stubborn and I wanted to see whether a slightly different route I was taking took my run over three miles (it did, with reasonable pace, foot notwithstanding. It was over five kilometres too). I felt I could cope with it. This is what I do: I set myself a target, then I push myself to meet it, and when I feel I can’t cope, I still push on because I don’t want to admit failure (to myself as well as to others), and then I crash and hurt myself and can’t do anything for a period of time. It’s a pattern that has repeated for years, usually with mental health, but sometimes with physical health.
Fortunately, after showering, eating and taking some solpadeine, both foot and head seem to be rather better, although both ache a little still.
I do seem to have lost some weight. I think I’m now on the borders of being overweight rather than being clearly overweight. This is pretty good, as clomipramine made me put on a lot of weight, but is a non-negotiable part of my treatment regimen as it’s the only anti-depressant that has ever done much for me long-term.
My mood has been a bit better since my run; still somewhat depressed and lonely, but not so much.
I managed some Torah study for an hour or so too, and brainstormed some ideas for this week’s devar Torah (Torah thought). So I guess it was a fairly productive day even if I feel exhausted and slightly headachey. I did watch the rest of Warriors of the Deep, and will probably watch an episode of Star Trek Voyager before bed. That’s quite a lot of TV by my usual standards, but I feel I need to balance out the activity with mindless relaxation for my own mental health.
I’ll be thirty-seven in under an hour. Thirty-seven isn’t such a big event as thirty or forty because humans use a base ten counting system and like round numbers, and thirty-seven isn’t evenly divisible by ten. Still, it feels like I should have got my life together by now, that I should have a career or at least a job and a network of friends and a place in my religious community and some kind of relationship, maybe even children. I looked up 37 on Wikipedia, but there weren’t any factoids that I could understand easily without having more maths knowledge than I have, except that it’s a prime number (which I already knew) and also normal body temperature in degrees Celsius and the atomic number of rubidium. I worked out that the thirty-seventh Doctor Who story was The Tomb of the Cybermen, which I’ve always found over-rated. I don’t know what this proves, except that I shouldn’t let one day out of 365 in the year (one out of 366 this year) have such power over me.
I’m not going to say that thirty-seven can’t be worse than thirty-six, because clearly it could be. But I will say I’m going to hope for a better year. In the immortal words of Delta and the Bannermen (going back to Doctor Who, sorry), “Here’s to the future/Love is the answer.” (Also, “Can we have space buns and tea?”)