1) My sister’s wedding is in less than a month.  I know it is likely that the morning afterwards, which is a workday, I am likely to be exhausted (I’m only expecting to get four or five hours sleep whereas I need at least seven, preferably eight or nine – at the moment I’m getting around eight hours on work nights, but that includes getting up half an hour later than I would like).  It is almost certain that being around such a big crowd of people for so long at an event that drives home my single and lonely status will push so many depressive, socially anxious and autistic buttons that I will be very depressed and struggle to work the next day.  It’s entirely possible that I simply won’t function for at least a day or two afterwards.  I mean literally not function, barely able to get up, let alone leave the flat.

My parents say I should ask for some time off in lieu from work, at least an hour or two on on the morning afterwards.  However, I have already had three days and a couple of hours off as time off in lieu for Yom Tov and I don’t want to push my luck (and build up a huge debt of time I will have to pay back at some point), especially as a couple of unfortunate events and a big mistake on my part this term have left me worried that my boss mistakenly thinks that I’m a slacker.  So I am not sure what to do.  I am thinking about ‘warning’ her and leaving it up to her to decide how to respond (give me time off, say I can phone in ill if I’m too depressed, etc.), but I’m not sure what to say or how.  She knows I have mental health issues, but not much detail.  She doesn’t know about the Asperger’s and I’m wary of mentioning it given that I don’t have an official diagnosis (indeed, have twice officially been told I don’t have it, although I have been told unofficially by a psychiatrist and I think also a therapist who knew me well that I probably do).  Any thoughts?  I would be grateful for advice from people with more experience of work.

2) My boss was shepping naches (basking in reflected glory) over her son getting a distinction in his MA and having a poem published professionally.  I decided that this was not the time to mention that I also passed my MA with distinction and have had things published professionally.  I never know when is the socially acceptable time to blow my own trumpet, so I usually stay quiet about my achievements and let people write me off as inadequate.  I know I made the right decision today, but I wish I could have the courage to speak up sometimes, when it is socially acceptable, so that I could have some esteem from my peers.

3) I work in a college where a lot of the staff and probably 80-90% of the students are Muslims.  I’ve only come across two other Jews, both students.  A couple of times I’ve thought I heard students whisper “Jewish” behind my back when I walked past, but I put it down to my paranoia.  However, today I definitely heard a girl whisper “… he’s Jewish…” after I walked past, but I couldn’t hear the context.  I don’t think she was a student, but a prospective student there for the open evening (so probably about fifteen or sixteen years old).  I don’t know what to do about this.  No one has actually done anything unpleasant or threatening and I don’t want to come across as paranoid or confrontational, but I don’t want things to escalate either.

4) I came across a ‘found story’ (like a found poem) today in the library catalogue.  The subject word authority file had four consecutive subjects that read, “Teenage boys/Teenage girls/Teenage horror/Teenage pregnancy”, which is actually a properly-structured story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

5) Not work-related, but I keep phoning the rabbi who is supposed to be finding out if my potential date wants to go out with me, but he does not answer.  This is frustrating and I don’t know what to do.  When I phoned on Friday, he hadn’t spoken to her and told me to phone on Monday or Tuesday.  I didn’t want to be too persistent (and I was running short of time anyway), so I didn’t phone on Monday.  I phoned several times on Tuesday but didn’t get through, so left a message asking him to phone me back.  I didn’t think he would phone, but I wanted to remind him that I exist.  I phoned a couple of times again too, but again no answer and I didn’t leave a message because I wasn’t sure what to say.  I feel very frustrated and am wondering if he turns his phone off after 7.00pm (which would be a stupid thing for a rabbi to do – rabbis can’t keep office hours) and if I should phone from work during my lunch break, which could be awkward.  Again, any advice gratefully accepted.

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