I spent about three hours or more yesterday writing a job application for the first job that I’ve seen that I think I actually want to apply for (rather than applying because it’s a job and I need a job). I ran out of time, though, so I had to send it today.
I ran out of time yesterday because I went with my Dad to clear out my flat. We spent two hours there and we still didn’t clear it all out. All my crockery and some of my non-perishable food is still there, plus the stuff in the bathroom. The flat needs a good clean too, including the perpetual battle with mould in the bathroom. I also need to empty many of the boxes we brought back yesterday, because I can’t live with them on my bedroom floor, from practical reasons but also because I hate mess. I’m not sure where all the books I’ve acquired in the last two years are going to go, though, as I’m really pressed for shelf space. It does really feel like I’ve moved back with my parents now. Insert miserable face emoji here.
I went to bed late yesterday again. Because of the job application and clearing out the flat (which was almost a full day’s work in total, but started midday because I overslept again) and because I needed to clear away a load of stuff from the flat that my Dad had put on or by my bed, I didn’t get to bed until 2.00am. Actually, I fell asleep fully dressed. I woke up again around 4.00am, quickly changed into my pyjamas and brushed my teeth and went to bed properly a few minutes later. I have to be exhausted to fall asleep without doing my muscle relaxation exercises (except after Shabbat lunch, strangely). Then, as usual, I slept for ten hours and even after getting up and drinking coffee, I still felt too exhausted to move. I felt so exhausted that I felt physically frail and faint. I guess I’m drained by moving, both physically and emotionally.
E. suggested treating my days like work days to get up earlier, but I find it impossible to treat an artificial deadline for getting up like a real deadline. It’s not even conscious. I set alarms, but I turn them off in my sleep or sleep through them (to the annoyance of my parents, as they sound for five minutes at a time, but I don’t hear). When I had to get up by 7.00am for work, however, even if I slept through my alarms, I would naturally wake at 7.00am, however little sleep I had had. I don’t know why this happens or how to use it to my advantage.
I feel bad about being tired all the time. Even people who are understanding about the depression (my parents, E.) don’t always understand this, at least not to its full extent. I think the equation is often (tiredness from depression) + (tiredness from having to socialise when possibly autistic and socially anxious) = constant tiredness, because one or the other is always there because when I’m less depressed, I’m often forcing myself into social situations instead, even if just work or shul (synagogue). Depression just leads to a constant sense of exhaustion and I’ve been depressed for so long, I no longer know what my ‘normal’ energy level would be.
I had some OCD yesterday and today too. I know it gets triggered by stress and upheaval and I have a lot of both right now, and I felt that I did bring it under control fairly swiftly, but I worry that it’s going to get worse again.
On an unrelated note, I was depressed by this article which argues that formal matchmaking by paid matchmakers in the Orthodox Jewish community only works for about 13% of the people who try it. It seems that most people in the frum (religious) community are set up informally by people known to them. The problem, as I’ve said many times, is that I keep myself too much to myself, and my parents’ social network is mostly the wrong age (children too young) and/or not religious enough for me to be set up with anyone suitable. I’ve only ever been set up on four dates that way, two of which never happened because the women weren’t interested (well, one wasn’t interested and one I have absolutely no idea what happened). So I have no idea how I could meet someone. I actually got talking to a couple of women a little bit at volunteering on Sunday and I hope to see them next time, but I don’t know if I could ever actually ask one of them out. I’m very bad at that sort of thing.
The real positive today was going to autism group. It turned out to be a sort of a cross between a social group and a support group in that we sat together in one group, but spoke to each other in smaller, informal groups. We spoke exclusively about our experiences of autism/Asperger’s, but in an informal, back and forth way rather than one person at a time to the whole group as in my other support groups. I enjoyed it, though and found it useful. I learned something about empathy, which had always confused me. Autistic people, famously, have impaired empathy, but I know lots of autistic people say that this is not true. Certainly, I know I feel empathy, even if I don’t know how to respond to other people’s emotions. Someone at the group said there are two types of empathy, emotional empathy and cognitive empathy. People on the autistic spectrum have the former, but not the latter, meaning that they can perceive and be moved by other people’s emotions, but don’t know how to respond and take their perspective. I feel this fits how I am: I can recognise other people’s emotions sometimes quite strongly (I don’t like sad books and films because they make me sad), but I don’t know how to respond to those around me, sometimes to the annoyance of my family. The person who said this said that both forms of empathy are innate, but looking online, some people seem to feel that only emotional empathy is innate; cognitive empathy can be learned, which may explain why I feel I’ve got better at perspective taking over the years rather than assuming that it means that I am not autistic, as I think some psychiatrists felt.
One other thing that came up was language use. This is another area where I don’t register as autistic, because I’ve been told (including at the group tonight) that I have good language use. I don’t know why this is the case, and I guess it is evidence against my being on the spectrum, which makes me feel more confused. I had hoped to come away from the group with a clearer idea of whether I’m autistic or not, but I feel as confused as before about my diagnosis, albeit that I understand autism in the abstract a bit better. Still, it was good to meet and flex my social muscles again so soon after volunteering and I hope to go back.
Tomorrow: pre-holiday haircut, unpack some stuff from the flat and sort out holiday stuff IF everything goes to plan, which lately it hasn’t. I need to try to get some people who live in New York to understand that I’m coming next week and it would be really good if they spoke to me now about if/when they want to meet, as I’m not going to be easy to contact once I’m there. Especially the landlord of the flat I’m renting for the last few days who still hasn’t told me where the apartment I’m renting actually is. I’m really annoyed about how that part of the holiday is going, a couple of people have really let me down there, but I’d best not say more.