I’m trying to think of my blog as a testimony, rather than a “helping” blog. A lot of mental health blogs have factual information, encouragement or coping strategies, which obviously my blog doesn’t. I guess some people must like it, even if I think there are only a dozen or twenty people who read it with any kind of regularity. It helps me to write down my feelings, which I guess is the point. If anyone else benefits from reading them, then that’s an added bonus.
So, from the point of view of testimony, I have to say that while I’ve mostly been OK this afternoon, there was a period where I felt suicidal for a while. I basically felt that I was “a shit” (I don’t normally use profanity, but that’s what I thought) and that I didn’t deserve to have any friends and it would be better for everyone if I got murdered in New York. For years I’ve been terrified of going to New York in the belief that it’s too violent, although I think recently London has overtaken New York for violent crime. To be honest, I should probably be more worried about being alone in my hotel in the evenings and especially over Shabbat (the Sabbath) when I could get lonely and suicidal. At least in the evenings I can message E. Although now it’s looking like I might get to see some Hevria friends too. I feel a bit bad for complaining so much that none of them wanted to see me. I guess some people are just very last minute.
I procrastinated a lot over packing today, but I did actually get done, albeit that my Mum ended up helping me, which was not my intention. I am trying to be more self-sufficient. This afternoon’s disaster was that I realised that I was so worried today about getting clomipramine that I forgot that there was also lithium and olanzapine on the prescription that I could not get made up yesterday. The pharmacy can’t make up half a prescription, so I’ve got to try to get another emergency appointment tomorrow for another prescription, which will doubtless make me very popular with the doctors and especially the receptionists. I feel stupid, but at least I haven’t self-harmed or worse and I feel better. Anxious that I’m going to get completely lost in New York and maybe ripped off by taxi drivers, but not suicidal. I have at least got most of the packing done, except for hand luggage and stuff I need over the weekend (which admittedly is quite a bit of stuff).
Also from the point of view of testimony, one other interesting thing happened. One of the main tests for autism spectrum disorder deals with theory of mind – essentially whether you realise that other people don’t know the same things you do. The famous theory of mind test is here. Unfortunately, I read about it in a psychology book long before I suspected I might have autism, so I can’t really be tested with it. Sometimes I have come across the test and I’ve tried to read through it quickly and answer impulsively before I remember what the correct answer is. I think I usually get it wrong, but it’s not clear and it could just be because I’m rushing.
Anyway, I was watching an episode of Dad’s Army where Corporal Jones and company had managed to jam a lighthouse light on during an air raid and in an effort to turn it off, Captain Mainwairing and Sergeant Wilson tried to sabotage the local electricity substation. The episode ended with Wilson worrying about the bill for the damage they had inflicted. The thing is, I assumed he was talking about the damage at the lighthouse itself; it took a minute for me to remember that he didn’t know anything about that and was thinking of the substation. It’s hardly a scientific test, but I definitely lost track of what he knew and assumed he knew the same as I did. I don’t know if that really proves anything, but I do know that when reading a book or watching a TV series with different characters knowing different things about the plot, I do go over who knows what very carefully in my head, although I don’t think I do this as much as I used to. I remember when watching Babylon 5 for the first time spending time tracking who knew what about the big, epic five year story arc. I don’t know if that proves anything either, but I think it’s worth recording.
I don’t know what’s normal, whether other people watching TV or reading a book momentarily lose track of which characters don’t know the same things as the viewer/reader or if that’s indicative of theory of mind issues. I think it’s believed that high functioning people with autism can reason through some theory of mind problems logically and cover their lack of intuitive understanding, which is what I did here: I worked out what was known by whom, but it took me a moment to do so.