The title quote is from The Underwater Menace, one of the less accomplished Doctor Who serials of the sixties. Ripped out of context, it somehow sums up how I feel everyone else must think about me today.
On the way into work I read a few pages of The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. It looks like I was wrong about the diagnostic criteria for autism having changed. They have changed, but it’s now harder to get a diagnosis rather than easier. I’m not sure why this has been done, considering popular awareness of autism is greater than ever before and there are surely more people trying to get diagnosed. Maybe that was the point. Maybe they only want people with severe impairments being diagnosed. I’m not really severely impaired directly by the autism, it’s just that I struggle to understand and communicate with people. Which reminds me, I found this link about high functioning autism not being the same as mild autism the other day. I think it’s very useful for understanding how I feel, especially numbers 2, 3 and 5.
On the other hand, there is a new possible diagnosis of “social communication disorder”, which takes some of the social impairments from autism without the restricted interests (and apparently also without the sensory sensitivity, although the book does not explicitly state that). That might be a possible path for me to take, given that my social impairments are much more severe than my other symptoms, which was part of the reason why I had such a confusing “yes, but no” diagnosis in the first place.
Work today was hard as I got told to redo some work that my boss said was done wrongly. I had made one mistake, but one other mistake I just could not see on the spreadsheet and two other “mistakes” were not mistakes at all, but judgement calls that I had made, perhaps incorrectly. Nevertheless, my boss was asking for me to double-check a load of work I did yesterday. It brought my mood down, though, even before everyone else on the team went out for lunch together and I couldn’t go because there are no kosher restaurants around here.
Then, after lunch, I was told that I had corrected the genuine mistake incorrectly. Perhaps because I was annoyed about having my judgement calls questioned or perhaps out of plain absent mindedness, I had corrected some columns, but had forgotten others. My boss was rightly annoyed, but I wasn’t sure whether she still wanted me to double-check the other work or not. I thought I would quickly do it, except it took nearly an hour in the end and I left work at nearly 6.00pm. I’ve come home to a pile of emails I should deal with (shiur has been cancelled this week as the assistant rabbi is away), but I just want to eat pizza and watch Doctor Who.
I feel like I can’t actually succeed at anything I do. I was good at school work, but university put paid to any notion I had of being academically-gifted. I might have managed a first if I hadn’t been depressed (I was two marks short of a first in my first year exams), but finished up with a low 2.1 after a three years seriously disrupted by depression. I’m told I can write well, which I tend to doubt, but even if I do, I’m not sure how to do anything beneficial to myself or others with it. The only things I’ve had success writing about are Doctor Who, depression and antisemitism. I’m working on my Doctor Who non-fiction book still, but am quietly doubting whether I can write what fans want to read, either in terms of style or content. Anyway, part of me thinks I’m wasting my time with middle-brow family television. A couple of people have encouraged me to write a misery memoir or some similar depression-themed work, but I can’t find enough positivity to write something uplifting and any accurate account of my childhood would upset a lot of people whose private details could not be changed enough to make them unrecognisable. As for writing about antisemitism, it is more socially worthwhile, but also very depressing and unlikely to make much of an impact and would embroil me in a lot of arguments that I would rather avoid, although the idea for a antisemitism-themed PhD thesis continues to bubble away in the background without my ever intending to leave it there.