An enormous, rambling, probably incoherent account of a day in which nothing really happened.  It’s like Waiting for Godot as a blog post.

I don’t know what time I got to bed last night.  It was very late, I know that.  It was going to be late anyway, as I’d been ambushed by loneliness and despair and had the usual trade-off between doing chores late at night and oversleeping the next day or going to bed early and trying to get up early to add them to tomorrow’s to-do list.  I stayed up late trying to do things, but largely being stopping by events outside my control.  Among other things, I discovered my membership of CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals has shot up and I’m not sure if I can afford to renew it.  My attempt to remove what I recently realised (probably too late) was mould on my wood flooring was only partially successful and my toilet suddenly got blocked and kept me up much longer.  I think I sorted it, but I worry about having to call a plumber in; it’s my landlords’ responsibility to pay, so I’m not worried about that, only about the hassle of having to stay in, and the annoyance of having someone in the flat, which triggers my Aspie hatred of having my space invaded and can trigger the religious OCD (as the kitchen is right by the bathroom).  And then to make matters worse, by around 1.00am I was tired, but also insatiably hungry and I stayed up late eating kosher pot noodle and cereal (not at the same time) and reading The Prime Ministers: The Office and its Holders since 1945.

I woke up around 12.30pm today.  I probably had something between nine and ten hours sleep after even more the day before, but I was exhausted and only got up because my phone rang.  By 2.20pm, I’d had breakfast and read a few pages of a Doctor Who review book but was still in my pyjamas and feeling as if I could fall asleep at any minute.  Thoughts rattled around my head for a while.  I wrote a paragraph or so of my Doctor Who book.  By 3.30pm I was still in my pyjamas.  I gave up on putting on tefillin and davening Mincha (saying the afternoon service) today as I was too tired to get dressed before sunset.  I decided to have a shower to see if that would wake me up.  I spent about twenty minutes in the shower (I usually only take five, ten at most), fighting OCD thoughts that I haven’t had for a while, the fear that I may have done something illegal without realising it.  My thoughts rattle to depressing places, from the antisemitism of Jeremy Corbyn to George Orwell (one of my favourite political writers) to Stalin.  After a while I sit on the floor because it’s too draining to stand up and I don’t want to go out of the warmth.  I want to cry, but can’t; it’s easier to breathe with my mouth open, but doing so I inhale water vapour.  It’s like being at the swimming pool.  I punch the wall and stick my face under the jet until it feels like I’m drowning.  A lyric from an Elvis Costello song comes into my head: “You said, ‘Young man, I do believe you’re dying.'”  If someone told me I was dying, I would probably believe them.  Eventually I struggle to my feet and get out.

I want to talk to someone, yet I also want to be alone and the thought of talking to someone else fills me with dread.  My family are all out anyway.  By 4.20pm I’m finally dressed, more or less.  I feel a little faint and should probably have something to eat.  Lunch, although it’s nearly supper time.  Indulge in melted cheese on toast.  I ought to shave, but shaving is always a disproportionate effort when I’m depressed, I’m not sure why.  Same as putting on tefillin, which is why I didn’t do so today.  I feel bad about that, as it’s the first time I’ve missed it for years, despite the depression.

Some of my tasks for today are write-offs.  Last week we (the library staff, the few who weren’t off sick) were window-shopping in bookshops for books to buy; I had a panic that I hadn’t found enough, and that those I had found were not suitable for the target audience (my boss told me to remember I wasn’t buying for myself; I couldn’t work out if she was teasing me or not; another Asperger’s moment no doubt, but it worried me, particularly as I wasn’t sure I could think like a ‘normal’ teenager to choose books) so I wanted to find some more on Amazon, but I didn’t feel up to it.

Days like this fuel my solipsism.  I’ve had the blinds down all day because I was undressed until after dark and, aside from briefly talking on the phone to Mum twice, I haven’t spoken to anyone all day.  It’s easy to believe that I am the only living person in the universe.  I don’t feel too lonely today, maybe because I just want to retreat to my depressive/autistic man-cave and watch Doctor Who or other vintage TV science fiction until bedtime.  I guess the time of the year doesn’t help, the cold, dark midwinter when everyone else seems to be celebrating something, but my religious celebrations are over (and were rather overshadowed this year by my sister’s wedding, with everything that that entailed).

Angelfish wrote on yesterday’s post, “You are a much better person than you think you are… You aren’t lazy, you just mis-label yourself as that because of self-esteem issues. I can tell from what you write that you try very hard to do things. You try very hard to keep going whilst struggling with the huge burden that is depression. You deserve praise for it – but again it’s hard to see it.”  Similarly, one of my non-biological sisters wrote me a lengthy text of praise.  But it’s hard to see what other people see in me.  Particularly on days like today, when I can hardly keep my eyes open and the only thoughts I seem able to follow are upsetting ones (self-critical or about unpleasant things in the world).  And I wish I wasn’t so dependent on others for my self-esteem.

By 6.00pm I’ve davened Ma’ariv (the evening prayers) with zero kavannah (concentration) and done literally two minutes of Torah study and was trying to work out what I can do with the rest of the day, given I feel exhausted, but don’t want to sleep (it’s not that kind of exhaustion anyway).  I did somehow manage to do some work on my Doctor Who book for forty-five minutes or so, finishing off the second draft of chapter nine (taking me to the early eighties and the end of Tom Baker’s time on the show).  I then spent another forty-five minutes sorting out emails and standing orders for various things.  I have now officially stopped going to the Monday night Gemarah shiur (class) i.e. I’m not paying them any more.  As well as sending a formal email to the organisers, I left a message on the What’sApp group which briefly mentioned health issues without giving details as well as changed work hours as reasons for my leaving.  I hope that was not a bad idea.  At any rate, I’m increasing the number of people who know a little about my issues (most of the people from shiur also go to my shul, so I’ll see them again).  I’m still procrastinating over going to the shul Friday night dinner, though.

I also decided to pay to renew my membership of CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals) even though it costs a lot more than it did last year now I’m working longer hours and earning more, doubly so as their graduated pay scale has, I think, changed.  I think there used to be various levels at which you paid, depending on income, whereas now there are only two levels, “Member” and “Member (concession)”.  I now earn too much to count as a concession, without feeling particularly rich.

Around 8.50pm, I shaved, which was probably silly (shaving at night), but my two day’s worth of stubble was annoying me and I knew I needed to shave to help me focus to cook dinner.  I cooked pasta (to go with a bought sauce) and finished reading Asperger Syndrome in Adults, except I got distracted proof-reading this post and the water in my saucepan boiled away.  Asperger Syndrome in Adults makes having a romantic relationship where one partner is on the spectrum sound almost impossible.  I did better than that in my previous relationship.  Then again, I also got badly hurt by that relationship, which just makes me think that only someone even needier and more damaged than myself would choose to be in a relationship with me.  Maybe that was what the first woman I asked out meant when she turned me down, saying if I liked myself more, I would want to date someone more like myself: more messed up, like myself.  I couldn’t work out what she meant otherwise, as I thought we had things in common, at least as much or as little as I have in common with most people, which is not very much.  The main thing I have in common with my close friends is depression, which is probably not a healthy basis for a romantic relationship; with others it’s shared memories of school or Oxford and we don’t actually meet up or email very much, just occasionally get together to catch up on what we’ve done since we last met and then go our separate ways for a year.

I can’t imagine having a relationship with someone who has common values and  interests with me, because I know so few people, if any, like that, people that I have a lot of things in common with.  Actually, the book reminds me of someone else I asked out a long time ago who turned me down because she said I would be able to meet her needs when she voiced them, but she wanted a partner who could anticipate her needs without her needing to voice them.  This sounded unrealistic to me even without the Asperger’s, but there you go.  It does make me wonder if I could manage a relationship again, particularly as I seem to be in a liminal area, neither fully autistic nor neurotypical, so I would likely find it hard to have a relationship with either a neurotypical or Aspie woman.

Well, my day is nearly over, by the clock, but I’ve only just woken up.  Three days off and I’m already nocturnal again.  I’m not sure what to do, stay up late or go to bed and hope to sleep despite having slept for well over twenty hours out of the last forty-eight.  The intrusive anxious/depressive thoughts are, of course, likely to get (even) worse now, as they always worsen in the evenings.  At any rate, I ought to eat dinner now that I’ve cooked it (assuming it is edible despite my incompetence in letting the water boil over).

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2 thoughts on “Bleak Midwinter

  1. Such a lot I love here…..so many things that speak to how I feel; and given that I’m working backwards, having read the latest post before this, I read you saying that you’d deleted a lot about being Jewish and Christmas – I would have very much liked to read that, as it’s been the head’s major topic for the last few days. I wrote a piece about it, on my fb Page, which some understood,and some totally missed the point…..

    Thanks for using oneof my favourite words….’liminal’…..(that’s an Aspie/Auntie thing for me – having favourite words, and alphabet letters(English and Hebrew)and seeing some letters in a particular colour)

    And I completely agree on the Being able to meet someone’s needs without them voicing them being totally unrealistic/impossible, not just to do, but to expect that of anyone: a terribly unmeetable expectation.

    And my whole small flat is an autistic panic filled woman-and-cat-cave, where sci fi rules the roost.

    And as ever, your humour gives me a lift….’’but also insatiably hungry and I stayed up late eating kosher pot noodle and cereal (not at the same time)’’….love that…..

    Like

  2. I didn’t say very much worthwhile about Christmas, just how it’s weird not being the one doing the strange rituals and watching other people do them.

    I think some people can meet other people’s needs without having them voiced, but I do think that it isn’t really something one can expect.

    I don’t think that was meant as a joke so much as thinking maybe others would misread it. Maybe an Aspie literal word use thing…

    Like

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