I still feel very drained today, perhaps more than yesterday in some ways, which may not be surprising given that I had to “people” a bit yesterday evening as well as making myself draft my devar Torah (Torah thought). Getting up was hard, getting dressed was hard, davening (praying) was hard, shaving was hard… everything today has been hard, really.

It does make me wonder about what I should do if I get the job I was interviewed for last week, but they want me to work full-time (it was a full-time position, but the online application form said that they were possibly open to flexible working, but at the interview they were unsure of that).

I forced myself to go for a half-hour walk and to finish off my devar Torah, but it was hard. I just want to shut down. The weather out was cold and I wore my anorak for the first time this autumn. On Saturday, Jews worldwide will start praying for rain, and summer will well and truly feel over (although it’s still warm and dry in some places with large Jewish populations e.g. Israel and parts of the USA).

I listened to an audio shiur (religious class) because I didn’t feel up to reading any Torah, but wanted to do some Torah study regardless. It made me feel a bit bad as it was on Simchat Torah (The Rejoicing of the Torah), the final festival of the Jewish autumn holiday cycle, which is this Sunday. It’s always a challenging day for me, as it’s celebrated by ecstatic (and often alcohol-fuelled) dancing with the Torah scrolls in shul (synagogue). Obviously that won’t be happening this year due to COVID, but usually I find it very hard: too much joy that I can’t connect with from depression, too much noise that I can’t cope with from autism, too much emphasis on being visible in front of others that I can’t cope with from social anxiety. Often I don’t go to shul for this at all, or I leave early (I have a whole semi-autobiographical scene about this day in the novel I’m writing). In the past I’ve judged myself negatively for not being able to fit in with this festival and I guess I still am doing that, on some level, as the shiur made me feel bad. One year or maybe two I did actually manage to really get into it, really dance and feel happy and connect, I don’t know how, but I’ve never been able to get back there since then.


I’ve been thinking recently a lot about fitting in. I guess even the Simchat Torah feeling is about fitting in, as I hate being in shul and seeing other people let go and dance and feel happy and not be able to do that. I wrote and then deleted some paragraphs here about religion and politics and not fitting in. The religious stuff I’ve mostly said before and if I cut it, it’s to avoid repeating myself (although I’ve picked up some new readers since then, so maybe there would be a point in repeating it). But as for the politics… I’ve been edging around the topic for months now, wanting to write something, drafting things, deleting them or cutting and pasting them out and saving them elsewhere. I know roughly what I want to write, but I’m scared of the consequences. It occurs to me that as the Very Important Institution where I was interviewed the other week might not want me writing political stuff, so maybe that’s another reason not to write, even anonymously here. I don’t know.

The essence of the matter is that I want to fit in, but am always scared of upsetting people by holding an opinion on religion or politics or anything that really matters, so I sit quietly and don’t say anything. I don’t know if I seem boring, but I do sometimes wish I could say more. But I’m scared of rejection and of conflict, so being quiet seems the easier option.

I know it’s a problem with dating PIMOJ. She’s so positive in outlook that I feel bad for feeling so negative all the time, but I’m scared to open up too much about my depression and autism. I’ve mentioned both to her, but downplayed the autism and really put the depression in the past tense, whereas it’s probably not over permanently. She asked me on our date why I became depressed, which was difficult to answer adequately in a way I felt comfortable with. I worry that she’s too positive for me and that her intense religiosity and constant mystical sense of God’s immanent presence is incompatible with my religious existentialist unending search for God and meaning in a universe of darkness and doubt. I want to open up and see how she reacts, and so far when I have opened up a bit, her reaction has been positive, but I’m just too scared. Maybe I need to force myself out to her by degrees.


That’s all I’ve got for today really. Brain is just not working properly. Off to watch Star Trek Voyager as I’m too depressed and drained to read the huge brick of a novel I tried to start yesterday and didn’t get far with (Dominion by C. J. Sansom, another “What if the Nazis won World War II?” alternative history novel).

17 thoughts on “More Burn Out, and Fitting In

  1. Yes, small steps and by degrees is the best way to proceed. I wouldn’t feel comfortable or fit in either at the Rejoicing of the Torah. I am very sociable, but also quite controlled, if that makes any sense. Relationships with opposites do work when the two people complement each other. (and are patient and caring)

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  2. I think it’s normal to not connect with certain holidays, and then also, everyone is experiencing the holidays differently. Like I was never into Shavuot because I’m not really learning-driven in a community where everyone else is and I feel self-conscious about it, so many of the topics and speakers could be hit or miss, and I’m not great at staying up late. (COVID Shavuot actually wound up being kinda nice for me because I didn’t have to deal with the learning-driven community.)
    Staying quiet re: religion and politics sucks sometimes, but the world is so charged and crazy right now that sometimes, I just don’t feel up to dealing with the consequences of speaking up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally get the not wanting to talk about certain religious and political views because of being afraid of people’s reactions. I usually start this way and then feel like “what would people say if they knew what I really think” and then that thought wrecks any feeling of belonging I’ve been feeling. But saying everything I think doesn’t work either. Anything with dancing would make me feel super uncomfortable and if someone wants to quickly make me hate them they only have to insist that I should lighten up while they forcibly drag me onto a dance floor, lol. I think revealing things in degrees is a good plan. Be yourself and be honest but don’t feel that you have to share everything as some sort of “warning”.

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  4. I can relate to the feeling of not fitting in and being triggered by certain holidays. I avoid certain holidays (as celebrated in shul) and confrontational situations as much as possible due to my c-ptsd. I try to steer clear of aggressive people I know I’m not aligned with politically and spiritually. Kol tov to you!

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    1. I also avoid aggressive people (even if they are aligned with me, I don’t like aggressive people in general), and in recent years I’ve just been leaving shul before the dancing on Simchat Torah as it’s easier for me.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry, your comments got eaten by the spam filter and I only just found them (I guess because of the link). I haven’t taken the HSP test, although I know I have a lot of the symptoms. There’s some overlap between HSP and high functioning autism, but I think the latter describes me better.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I rewrote and resubmitted a comment, because I saw the first one didn’t go through. I scored really high on the HSP test…don’t know how much is a result of C-PTSD though…symptoms also overlap.

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    1. I did open up a bit more with PIMOJ. She’s been really understanding so far, but I don’t want to overwhelm here by saying too much too quickly.

      I have read a bit more of the novel. I’m quite enjoying it, but so far it’s not been as involving as I hoped.


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