My mood over Shabbat (the Sabbath) was not as low as I feared, although it did dip at times. Friday night was mostly OK. I went to shul (synagogue) and we did Kabbalat Shabbat outside as normal so we could sing. I overslept this morning also as normal and dozed for a bit after lunch too, which made me late for shul for Minchah (Afternoon Prayers). This is awkward, as we were praying outdoors again and the only way to get to the seats was to walk in front of the makeshift bimah (the table where the service is led from), which isn’t really consider the proper shul etiquette. Also, the only seat free was right down the front, which increased my feeling of being painfully conspicuous.

Social anxiety plays a big part in my oversleeping on Shabbat. I haven’t been to shul for Shacharit (Morning Prayers) more than a few times in the last couple of years, and I’m sure I oversleep because if I wake up, I have to confront my social anxiety about going. Similarly, I struggled with social anxiety again this afternoon. Some of it is probably feeling I don’t fit in to my shul, but a lot of it is fear of getting an aliyah (being called to say the blessings over the Torah or otherwise get involved with the Torah reading), which is why I don’t get it on Friday nights to anything like the same extent. I’ve had an aliyah loads of times, but I still worry about it. I get flustered and do the wrong things, I worry I will start shaking and I generally feel conspicuous. I really don’t like it, but it’s considered an honour and you can’t really decline it.

I sat through Talmud shiur although I’m not sure how much I understood, even having prepared on Friday night. By the time I got home, I was getting a headache; I did a little Torah study and read a bit (Vampire Romance is a novella included in Anno Dracula 1918: The Bloody Red Baron — if The Bloody Red Baron is “Biggles with vampires,” Vampire Romance is a blend of P. G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie with vampires, and it’s a lot more fun). Eventually my headache got too bad to read, although it responded quickly to medication after Shabbat.

Something that was at the back of mind, and sometimes at the front (where it shouldn’t have been) during Shabbat was my idea to email the Intimate Judaism people to speak to them about my circumstances and see if they have any suggestions. I do want to formulate one or two actual questions; I don’t want to just write a self-pitying email. I don’t think anyone still reading this used to read my comments on Hevria.com, but I used to write these enormous “pity party” comments about my depression, social anxiety and loneliness (I can’t remember whether autism was on my radar at the time). The silly thing was that I used to convince myself that they were relevant and responding to the articles in a meaningful way. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t get banned from the site. Eventually I started this blog and drifted away from Hevria for various reasons. Anyway, I don’t want to do that again, tempting though it is to just offload my issues on people (which I suppose I do here).

23 thoughts on “Shul, and the Terrible Allure of Pity Parties

    1. Not directly. The rabbi doesn’t pick people to be called up, the gabbai (responsible for the day-to-day running of the service) does. Obviously the rabbi could talk to the gabbai, I just need to decide if I want to make such a big thing out of it. It’s worth thinking about.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps if you framed it as wanting to get to shul more often, and identifying that as a barrier, it would come across as you being proactive rather than making a big deal out of nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I think so-called pity parties play an important role in coming to terms with our worries, issues and disappointments. I think Ashleyleia has an excellent suggestion about discussing the situation with your rabbi.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Attention seeking” is “Support seeking”. It’s a human need. And often we aren’t taught helpful vs unhelpful ways of getting that need met.

    I didn’t do long comments about my struggles on a website but I definitely lost people in person and online on Facebook. I still get embarrassed about it. I complain about my life on my blog now, or specific vent spaces on reddit where people don’t have to read if they don’t want to.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Your blog is kind of a good place for a pity party. I mean, it is your space to do what you want with it and sometimes, you just need to throw a pity party of sorts.

        We all do things we regret when we were younger. I used tell the guys I was crushing on my dark secrets and depression details. I think I thought it was a form of flirting or something? I cringe now.

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          1. Me too, not with crushes but online acquaintances on Facebook. There used to be a site called “The Experience Project” where people were supposed to share (if they wanted) on specific experiences.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. It does help to have friends willing to hear time limited vents and vice versa however. Hard to find such friends though. I’ve an offline autistic acquaintance who basically said recently she’s really wary about opening up (even in my friendly, supportive, inclusive group) because she’s faced so much loss or rejection, she’s afraid she’ll become “too much”.

        Liked by 1 person

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