I cried at work again. I’m in constant emotional pain, at least at work, but I can’t describe it to people, so I don’t get taken seriously. (EDIT: not “taken seriously” is a bit harsh. But I can’t tell even my parents how I feel, how I spend my whole time at work struggling just to keep my head above the water, let alone actually do my work. See the quote below about autistic people being in a constant state of alertness and anxiety.) Things aren’t so bad at home, but work is unbearable. I feel trapped in my life. At times I really don’t want to live, but I won’t commit suicide either, so I’m stalemated. One of the Renaissance writers, someone like Sir Thomas More, said that the worst test God can give a person is to make him think that God wants him to kill himself. I don’t think God wants me to kill myself, but I don’t know what he does want me to do.
I don’t want to think of myself as a victim, but the alternative seems to be thinking of myself as a failure, because I seem to fail at everything I try.
I wanted to go to a shiur (religious) class tonight, but I feel too exhausted, even a little faint (even after dinner), which might possibly be psychosomatic from the depression or, more likely, social anxiety. I should fight it, but I don’t think now is the time. I’m too tired and depressed at the moment and I worry that if I stay out late tonight, work tomorrow will be impossible. The shiur was on sadness in Jewish thought, which might have been helpful, but might have been problematic, as ‘sadness’ isn’t the same as ‘depression’ and I could have ended up guilt-tripping myself into feeling that I am a bad person for being depressed, or for being depressed in the ‘wrong’ way.
More autism stuff that could be written about me from The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome:
“One of the problems faced by children with Asperger’s Syndrome who use their intellect rather than intuition to succeed in some social situations is that they may be in an almost constant state of alertness and anxiety, leading to a risk of mental and physical exhaustion.” (p. 29)
“Blame [for social difficulties] is directed at oneself: ‘I am stupid’; or others: ‘It’s your fault.'” (p. 30)
“”The child, sometimes as young as seven years old, may develop a clinical depression as a result of insight into being different and perceiving him- or herself as socially defective.” (p. 35)
The book also states that autistic children can use fantasy as an escape. I think Doctor Who and Star Trek were for me escapes into a world where intelligence, difference and even eccentricity were prized, very different to my school. I had a couple of geeky-but-non-autistic friends at school (primary and secondary), which probably kept me sane, although even there I kept somewhat distant from some of them and I think I was a bit nervous about going to other people’s houses if I didn’t know them well. I did fantasise a lot, though. Strangely (or perhaps not), I think my Walter Mitty life started in my teens, when most people are moving away from fantasy. My friends were getting into things I had no interest in (wargaming, RPGing) and was sometimes scared by (girls, soft drugs), so I retreated into fantasy scenarios of saving the school from Daleks. As I got older, aliens turned into terrorists and wish-fulfilment fantasies of escaping without a scratch like James Bond turned into masochistic fantasies of being hurt and on to suicidal fantasies of redemptive death, or just death.
My romantic life has largely been fantasy too, necessarily so, but problematically so. Having such little real experience of relationships makes it harder that I ever will manage to adjust my expectations, and meet someone else’s expectations of me.
The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome also says that people with sub-diagnostic autism symptoms (which realistically is what I probably have and what I’m currently diagnosed with) can benefit from the same help that people with a diagnosis get, which is good, if I can find a way of getting help. It’s also interesting that my sister and my Dad have some sub-diagnostic symptoms, which again is supposed to be common in families of people on the spectrum. Although no one is going to mistake someone who likes small talk and hates silence as much as my Dad for someone on the autistic spectrum. I guess that’s another reason why I want a diagnosis. Growing up my parents told me that they were shy as children and I should just ‘push myself’ to talk to other people and that it would get easier with practise. It never did, and I suppose if I was diagnosed as being on the spectrum, that would be a kind of justification for failing to master small talk and social skills. Maybe that’s not a good thing, maybe it will just encourage me to isolate myself. I don’t know. I don’t really know about a lot of things right now.