I’ve felt a bit better the last few days. Maybe it’s being past my birthdays, English and Hebrew, and being past Tisha B’Av. Being able to shave and listen to music again cheers me up in itself. I’m not sure I’m applying for the right jobs, but it feels appropriate to be looking, and I’m making progress on my novel. Of course, when things go better for a few days, then I start to worry that they’ll get worse again. There is a fear that the further I get off the ground, the more painful it’s going to be when I fall down again. I’m trying to stay positive and remember that I have made progress. My life has a cycle of depressive episodes and better periods and maybe that will never fully go away, but the depressive episodes, though long and painful, are not as bad as they used to be. I’m not where I was fifteen years ago, when the thought of having even a part-time job or writing a novel or ever being in a relationship would have seemed absurd. Nor have I been seriously suicidal in a long time.
Achievements: I had my best-ever novel writing day, writing 2,750 words in about two hours! It was a somewhat exciting bit, which makes me think my narrative flows better when I’m writing action rather than character bits (“action” in the sense of “stuff happening” rather than “fights and chases” although there was a bit of that here as one of my characters fled her abusive husband). I’m nearly finished the penultimate chapter. I’m just about OK on the word count.
I had a Skype call with my rabbi mentor. He offered to speak to me when I was feeling very depressed the other week, but I feel somewhat better now I’m past my birthday and Tisha B’Av so I didn’t have a huge amount to say. We spoke a bit about my novel and about writing letters you don’t intend to send to voice feelings and get them off your chest (see below). He sounded stressed about work stuff. I’m worrying a bit about him now, but am wary of asking for too many details in case I seem pushy.
I went for a run for forty minutes, about three miles or five kilometres. It wasn’t a great run, probably because I hadn’t been running in the last two weeks and because it was quite hot out. I also started to get an exercise migraine halfway through, which did not help, although I did stick with it. Possibly I’m pushing myself too much with this at the moment, as I have a tendency to push through when feeling pain in my feet or getting a migraine. My foot was mostly OK, but was a bit uncomfortable in the last five minutes or so. Putting inner soles in my trainers seems to have helped a bit, but I probably do need new trainers. I’m scared to go out shopping at the moment, though, and I’m not sure if it’s sensible to mail order them.
I managed about an hour of Torah study and brainstormed some ideas for this week’s devar Torah (Torah thought). Also had some thoughts about the problem of suffering as presented in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) as compared with Iyov (Job) that I want to mull over some more and maybe share here or elsewhere.
I wrote a letter (NOT to be sent) to our next-door neighbour, saying why I was so upset about the illegal minyanim (prayer meetings) he held in lockdown. This was to voice and process my feelings. I might try writing one to E. tomorrow about our breakup.
As this post is short, I spent some time working on another post that I’ve been writing recently, which I hope to post shortly (tonight or tomorrow).
I think I managed to stay reasonably in the present and not spend too much time worrying about the future or recriminating about the past. I think my kavannah (mindfulness in prayer) has been better the last few days, which I think is related to this. I think trying to limit my internet use helps. It breaks me out of the search for instant gratification and dopamine hits that I can get locked into when looking for things to read or the wait for blog comments. It also stops me feeling the whole time that I want to connect with people, but am unable to do so easily. I didn’t quite make the target of only looking at emails and blogs twice a day today, but was close, although I have excluded necessary internet use for job applications and research for my novel from that limit.
Achievements of another kind: there were two “mazal tov” notices from my shul (synagogue) today: the wife of someone I know slightly had a baby and the daughter of my closest friend in shul got engaged. I felt genuine happiness for my friend and was pretty good about not having depressed “I’m never going to get married and have kids” thoughts, even though the daughter who got engaged is about twelve years younger than me, which would normally prompt, “I’m on the shelf and there are no women left for me to marry” thoughts.