I woke up feeling depressed and self-critical again, although perhaps not as much as yesterday. E wants to try to help me feel less exhausted and depressed from activity, and I want to too, but I wonder if it’s possible. It depends if it’s from a sleep disorder (potentially treatable, although I’m not sure to what extent) or autistic exhaustion (not really treatable except through energy accounting, and I’ve mentioned my problems with that) or SAD (light therapy didn’t work so well in the past, but I’m trying again). It’s worrying. Reducing my meds might give me more energy, but might make my mood worse. Although I’m not sure how much I trust a psychiatrist regarding this, I plan to take the appointment offered to me in January (J let me switch work days) and I probably will ask to reduce clomipramine, but not to come off it completely.

On the Tube this morning I was sat opposite someone with a persistent, horrible cough. I changed carriage at the next station, but ended up in a carriage full of sniffers and coughers. I guess it’s winter. Did this worry me before COVID? I think so, but not so much. I was sat next to someone who sniffed the whole way this morning. It was probably just the warm air in the carriage after the colder air outside. I was less worried about catching something and more irritated by the noise.

My brain was not working well today. I missed out bits of very familiar tasks at work and found it hard to do any work. I did at least have various tasks in the morning, but I was just sorting old papers again in the afternoon, a job with no clear end in sight, and I’m not entirely sure I’m tackling it the best way.

I do wonder if changing job, if I pass the interview, would lead to renewed energy and motivation or if I would be just as miserable in a new places with new procedures to learn just as I was getting used to this job and its procedures.

I used my light box in the morning. It seemed to help a bit, although the effect disappeared soon after I switched it off.

I felt more self-criticism about writing. I think I need to JUST WRITE. I have written for four consecutive days this week, writing over 2,000 words in four hours or less. I have no idea how good it is and I feel guilty about leaving the other novel and writing this without a clear plan, like I’m cheating on my other, worthier, novel with a more fun, less serious one.

It’s hard to know if I “should” be writing or what I “should” be writing. I always feel obliged to try to do what God wants beyond what I want or what I think is right. This adds another layer of complexity to decision-making. I say “always”; that’s not quite true any more. Over the last five years or so, I’ve started to feel that some halakhahs are beyond me and that I can’t keep them now, or maybe ever, so I’m not trying. Then again, there probably aren’t many of these (listening to recorded women’s singing and hugging E are the ones that spring to mind). I should probably just not think about what God wants me to write and just write. At least I’m finding writing reviving rather than draining at the moment.

I miss E. At least I can see her in five days! However, we are worried that the government are going to crack down on immigration and arbitrarily refuse her visa request. I don’t think the migration crackdown will take effect that quickly, although E got scared by a Guardian headline that was probably just another attempt to make Suella Braverman look like a Fascist. Still, it’s a worry.


9 thoughts on “More Shoulds

  1. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but some of these “shoulds” feel “invented” (for want of better word). Listening to recordings of women singing is not a clear-cut halachic no-no, as there are differing opinions on this (https://www.koltorah.org/halachah/the-parameters-of-kol-isha-by-rabbi-chaim-jachter, https://www.rabbibelovski.co.uk/2007/08/kol-isha-today.html). And I don’t understand where the idea that G-d would not want you to write about certain things is coming from. I admit I’m not a scholar – is there a source for this idea that I’m not familiar with?
    I say just write and celebrate that you’ve been writing and that it feels good. (Says the person who told her family that she is working on a novel and yet who has made exactly zero progress on the writing of it….)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kol Isha: I originally wrote a thing about this being a chumrah, but a chumrah that I had stuck to for a number of years and felt bad about going back on. But I decided it was too confusing for people who didn’t know what kol isha was in the first place.

      Writing about what God wants: it’s taken for granted in the frum world that (a) you shouldn’t talk about sex at all (there presumably you shouldn’t write about it either); (b) that you should be constantly focused on what God wants in anything you do. OTOH, I think I internalise these messages more than some people do, possibly because of religious OCD.

      Yes, I’m glad I’ve been writing and that it feels good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Re: writing, the logical conclusion to writing only what you presume G-d/the frum world wants/expects is that you’re left with just inspirational kiruv-style work. Nothing inherently wrong with that except that I didn’t think that was your writing goal.


  2. I hope your visit with E helps cheer you. It won’t be long now! z

    Regarding writing, I think it’s good to just get in a writing habit and later choose what you feel you want to write more in depth about.

    Liked by 1 person

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