Ugh, I don’t know if I can write today. I feel totally drained. At work I usually get through about 130 records; on a good day, I think I’ve done up to 150. Today I managed 89. I’m not sure how much of that was because I felt terrible (depressed and sensory overload – I really wanted to strangle some noisy people. I’m not usually an angry person, but I was feeling very angry towards them) and how much was that it was just a difficult batch of data. Unfortunately, the next few lots look just as bad. If my boss was here and if my contract didn’t end in less than a month, I would probably be having the “I need to talk about my mental health” talk. The one I hate having, but keep having to have at different universities and workplaces. Asking for “reasonable adjustments” (ugh again). Then my Dad gave me a lift home from the station and I bickered with him. It’s my fault, but I guess his autism-unfriendly style of talking was not something I could cope with when feeling drained and overwhelmed after a difficult day at work and a difficult journey on the Tube. Then I argued with my Mum, which was less my fault, but not entirely.
I feel so tense today, like elastic stretched to breaking point. I worry what will tip me over the edge and what will happen if I go there. The fear I’ve had for years that if I get stretched too far, I’ll become unpleasant or even violent. Or that I’ll become psychotic or spiral downwards into worse mental illness. I feel like I have so many rules. My rules, family rules, friends’ rules, society’s rules, Jewish rules, playground rules… Honour your parents. Love HaShem your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might. Love your neighbour (and not his wife). Stand up straight. Always be punctual. Pray and study and do good deeds. Read improving books and a newspaper you don’t agree with. Eat your fruit and veg and not processed sugar. Never be cruel or cowardly, never give up or give in. Don’t let them see you cry. Keep silent or make small talk, but don’t talk about what matters. Don’t lose your temper. Don’t be stupid, but don’t be too clever. Don’t show off, but don’t shirk duty. Don’t conform, but don’t stand out.
Don’t think that, don’t think that. Don’t even feel it. Not ever.
I just wish everything wasn’t so difficult for me. I don’t know how I was so functional at school and am so dysfunctional now. I guess that’s one reason I would like an autism diagnosis, so I wouldn’t feel completely rude and incompetent the whole time. To show myself and others that I have a reason to be screwed up. Hence my fantasies of not just getting an autism diagnosis, but sharing it with people: the first woman I asked out, my first girlfriend, my former boss… everyone who I think saw me at my worst and probably thought badly of me as a result. I don’t know if that’s an apology on my part (“I’m sorry for being screwed up and for screwing up our interactions”), a desire for understanding or a somewhat defiant explanation. I don’t think it’s revenge. But it also makes me question whether I really am autistic. If I’m this sensitive to things (fluorescent lights, noise, stress, people, multitasking), shouldn’t it have been more obvious when I was growing up? I was just shy, perhaps socially anxious and almost certainly alexithymic, but I didn’t react the way I do now. I don’t know the answer (as usual).