I need to write, but don’t really feel able.  Just had therapy.  I sat in almost complete silence for forty-five minutes (like when I first went to counselling, more than half a lifetime ago), then ended the session early because there seemed no point in continuing.  I felt that my therapist was saying that I made the wrong decision in turning down the job and that there was nothing she could do to help me if I was moving backwards from employment and living independently.   This is probably true.  It underestimates how much I thought my boss was telling me not to take the job I was offered, though.  My therapist focused on my boss’ surprise when I turned the job down and ignored what I said about my boss making it very clear that she did not feel I had the people skills for the new job I was being offered.

I feel I’m just a screw up.  I feel I let everyone down: my therapist, my friends, my non-biological sisters, E., my sister and especially my parents.  Everyone was right: I should have taken a job that would have left me miserable, but would at least have had a steady income.  I can’t see myself getting a new job.  I certainly can’t see myself getting the other things I want in life (community, wife and kids).  I’m just a completely useless screw up.  I haven’t really succeeded since the sheltered, structured environment of school, which suited my (real or imagined) autism.  Even at Oxford, where initially I did well academically, I failed socially.  I used to cry in my room with loneliness, even in my first year, before the depression ‘officially’ began in my second year.

I used to cry in my job.   I don’t think my therapist believed me when I said that, or at least she didn’t think it was a good reason to give up on the job.  I don’t know how many people literally cry at work and whether they should all keep their jobs.

There’s a famous experiment where researchers offer children one marshmallow now or two marshmallows in twenty minutes.  Being able to wait for the second marshmallow is seen as a predictor of self-control and adult success.  I feel like my life is one whole string of infinitely deferred marshmallows, with other people stuffing their faces with their marshmallows and blaming me when I say it must surely be time for me to have one now.

My therapist seemed to make it clear that she can’t do anything else for me and doesn’t think we should continue meeting.  We’re not meeting next week while I think about it.

Today is my birthday.  Thirty-five.  Felicitations, ha ha ha.  I still feel like an anxious, emotionally neglected, bullied child.  I want to go back to bed.  I want to hurt myself.  I want to die.  I don’t have the energy to do any of these things.

I’ve let everyone down.  I’m such a screw up.

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12 thoughts on “The Infinitely Deferred Marshmallow

  1. You’ve not let everyone down. If you had a physical illness you would not be letting everyone down by having it, and you are not being depressed by choice to let everyone down. We love you and hope the rest of your birthday is much, much better. xxx

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  2. They’re wrong. People with your degree of depression have a chemical imbalance and as you’ve said yourself so many times, even with long-term therapy and medication and seeing a psychiatrist you still feel hideously depressed much of the time. Your being unwell is no more your fault than if you had leprosy or cancer.

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  3. Your therapist sounds like the one who’s a screw up. If she’s telling you she can’t help you because she doesn’t like a career decision you’ve made, that doesn’t speak well for her competence or professionalism.
    I’d say happy birthday, but it seems a little trite right now.

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      1. I think she meant she can’t help me because she’s been seeing me for six years and I’ve now gone backwards (giving up my job, going back to my parents) so that I’m no further forward than when she started seeing me. And I don’t think she knew it was my birthday.

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    1. I think she meant more that she can’t help me because she’s been seeing me for six years and I’ve now gone backwards (giving up my job, going back to my parents) so that I’m no further forward than when she started seeing me.

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      1. If she thinks she’s not able to help you because she can’t meet your needs, fair enough, but that’s a failing on her part as a therapist rather than on your part. Also, it’s not her place to decide whether your decision about the job represents moving forward or backwards. As a therapist she should be able to check her judgment on that.

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        1. You may be right. I’m thinking seriously about whether to continue seeing her. I’ve had communication breakdowns with her in the past which we’ve resolved, but this time I really feel that she wasn’t there for me when I needed her to be.

          Liked by 2 people

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