I had to make a couple of phone calls, both medical-related. One to my psychiatrist try to resolve the question of where I can have my blood test at the moment because most hospitals are either not doing blood tests at all or are only doing urgent ones; the alternative is to travel to a hospital quite some way away. The other call to the GP because I have a suspicious mole on my back that I’ve just noticed – itchy and I think new, although it’s hard to tell, as I have a lot of skin blemishes. I’ve had two moles removed in the past and they were fine, but it’s more anxiety-provoking now with Mum being treated for cancer and with COVID disrupting everything, leading to autistic “new thing” anxiety.
I was experiencing very strong social anxiety before phoning. I generally would experience that before phoning anyway, but it seemed worse than usual. I really think lockdown has set me back regarding social anxiety.
I spoke to the psychiatrist’s secretary. She went to speak to the psychiatrist and phoned me back to say I could have the blood test done in September, which was what the GP originally wanted. Hopefully things will have changed a bit by then.
As for the GP, I was on hold for a long time and then was told that non-emergency appointments are only dealt with at 8.30am. I suppose I could have known that, as that was sort-of the pre-COVID system (new appointments were only released at 8.30am and 6.30pm, which is a really awful system on so many levels, particularly when dealing with people who may not be keeping straightforward hours), but it wasn’t clear from the surgery website.
It feels like almost every interaction I have with GP reception staff ends with me feeling stupid. That’s an exaggeration, but does it happen a lot. I think a lot of the receptionists at the practice are just bad-tempered and I internalise their mood and turn it against myself. I do dread contacting the surgery now, which is not good. It took a huge effort to phone today; I can’t imagine how it will feel tomorrow. The doctors are really nice there, so I don’t want to change practice, but getting past the “gatekeepers” can be a challenge. They mess up prescriptions and the like a lot too. Coincidentally, a friend posted on his blog to say that even pre-COVID, a lot of doctors’ receptionists seemed to be trying to stop anyone from seeing a doctor, which is sadly my experience too.
Aside from the hour or more that I spent doing that, it was a good day. (It didn’t take me an hour to phone, but it took a long time to psyche myself up to doing it and to calm myself down afterwards.)
I worked on my novel for about an hour and three quarters. The writing flowed easily for the first hour, but the second part was harder, and I ended up procrastinating online. I think I should try to split my writing time into two chunks with a break in-between in the future. I did write well over 1,000 words, which was good. I did another fifteen minutes or so after dinner too, to get up to two full hours, which was also good.
I went for a walk after that. I found I was ruminating on being single and the fact that my therapist said that I should widen my dating pool to include less religious women as otherwise I was likely to struggle to find someone kind and understanding enough to cope with all my issues. This may be true, but I have noticed that, since breaking up with E., who was a lot less religious than me, some (not all) of my religious anxieties have reduced. I feel a lot less of a sense of inner conflict about how religious I am/should be. So I’m a bit wary of dating someone else less religious. That said, frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) women seem not to like me at all, so maybe I’ll have to date non-frum women.
I found I was sinking into despair about this and quite consciously tried to change my thoughts to think about my devar Torah (Torah thought) for the week. I wrote that when I got home, or at least I wrote a draft. As is usually the case, I’m not brilliantly happy with it. In particular, there was one Midrash (rabbinic expansion of the biblical text) that I think I interpreted correctly, but superficially; I felt there were depths to it that I could not reach. Then I quoted the Medieval commentator Rashi, but couldn’t find his source; the references given didn’t seem to be correct. It’s frustrating, but at 500 – 1000 words a week, my divrei Torah are never going to be exhaustive, so I shouldn’t feel too bad.
My partial regret for the day is only managing twenty minutes of Torah study, but that is in addition to spending an hour or so researching and writing my devar Torah, so that’s really not bad for one day.