I feel depressed again, and a bit overwrought.  One thing that came out of my assessment yesterday is that I now seem to have anxiety as an issue beyond social anxiety, which isn’t terribly surprising.

***

I had a meeting with someone from a recruitment agency that didn’t go particularly well.  I realised I was unconsciously (practically consciously) self-sabotaging in my job search.  I’m usually quite well-organised, but this time I didn’t fill in the form they asked for, pleading lack of time (they only sent it to me yesterday); I didn’t check where I was going carefully enough or print off a clear enough map from Google Maps and then forgot that I had printed off directions from the Tube station; and I was nearly late because I didn’t rush when I got up.  Worst of all, I realised I have a tendency to become vague and even somewhat resentful when confronted with employment stuff.  I try to curtail conversations with my parents or people at shul (synagogue) about work, I deleted the information on the job I’m being interviewed for next week, not considering that I would need it if I got an interview, and I can never remember what my salary is (something E. found strange and off-putting).  Some of it is social anxiety about work and my feeling that I’m just not capable of holding down a proper job.  Some of it may be autism symptoms again, being overly focused on my special interests and struggling to focus on things that don’t interest me, like work.

It would be good if I could find a job that connected with my special interests somehow, like when I used to work in a Jewish library.  I didn’t realise how lucky I was then.  Then again… I realised I’ve had three paid jobs and three voluntary jobs (one of the voluntary jobs became paid so gets counted twice), and half of them went badly: the last two paid jobs and one of the voluntary jobs.  I thought that it was at least partly the fault of my bosses, but it does look like the problem is ME.  I worry I’ve become one of those people who drift through life sponging off others, unable to hold down a proper job.

If I think about dream jobs, I’d like to write professionally in some way and people tell me I’m a good writer.  However, I’ve only ever managed to get two articles published professionally.  Admittedly I got a couple more semi-professionally, and I haven’t exactly been pushing my work out there.  To be honest, I see some professional stuff out there that I think is inferior to my own writing, but I am still reluctant to do anything about promoting my work.

***

A couple of people have sent me information about free resources (state-provided or charitable) that exist for people with mental health issues or autism, to help them into work and, in some cases, to support them while they’re in work, so I need to look into those.  Someone also suggested the free autism screening service offered in my borough.  I feel bad about using that, as I’ve technically been assessed and found neurotypical, but I will try to email them and see what they suggest about reassessment.  I do feel like an autistic fraud, like I’m pretending to be autistic for some bizarre reason known only to my unconscious (probably as an excuse to explain my all-round incompetence).

***

One job I’m applying for requests candidates who have “A clear focus on solutions and outcomes, rather than problems and outputs.”  I’m not quite sure what “outputs” are in this context and how they vary from “outcomes”,  but I’m definitely focused on problems rather than solutions.  I hate this kind of officialese or management-speak job adverts are written in.  I used to see it in the corporate websites I had to look at in my previous job.  I used to spend a while reading corporate websites so I could correctly fill in the box stating what sector they are in and I would still be unable to answer the question.  They are all selling “solutions” rather than products or expertise.  Impossible to tell if the “business solutions” they are offering involve software, hardware, financial services, consultancy…  Ridiculous.

***

That job application also wants someone “Proactive and able to use initiative and to embrace change”.  I don’t know whether I’m really autistic or not, but I’ve never been good at initiative and embracing change.  I may not have the right autism traits for diagnosis, but I have the right ones to keep me unemployed: problems multitasking or switching tasks; problems remembering spoken instructions; sensitivity to noisy working environments; difficulty interacting with other people; lack of flexibility and initiative…

***

My appointment at the recruitment agency was at 12.30pm, so by the time I got home and had a late lunch, the working day was practically over, so it feels a bit of a waste.  I have not been job hunting so far this week (I suppose the meeting today was job hunting), but because I’ve had other appointments and things, I haven’t really been relaxing either, so I don’t feel refreshed, but I still feel stressed about not sending off enough applications.  I’ve been wading through emails (job application stuff and blog stuff) for the last couple of hours, but keep ending up aimlessly surfing online because it’s too boring and anxiety-provoking.

However, the news is just depressing.  I had to stop reading a story on the BBC about beached whales that was too upsetting.  I guess photos of 145 dying whales is the only thing more distressing than politics at the moment.  I don’t think that death (whether of animals or people) necessarily disproves the existence of God (I can accept that pain and suffering here serves a purpose and is outweighed by reward in the next world), but it does make it harder to feel a connection with God.  This is why the most impure thing in Judaism, i.e. the thing that distances a person most from God is a human corpse, because when you come into contact with a corpse, you feel distanced from God.  Interestingly, many animal corpses also transmit impurity this way.

***

More stress: I just had to write two assertive (I hope not aggressive) emails to people from shul (synagogue).  I am very bad at this sort of thing and my parents told me to be more assertive.  One email was to the people responsible for finance, to request a refund of over £70 that I have been owed – and have been chasing – since February, the other to the security officer reiterating that I can not do voluntary security in the mornings at the moment as I have health issues (I did not specify depression and social anxiety) that prevent me from being able to guarantee being there and please could he take me back off the rota.  I was taken off a few weeks ago, but have ended up back on there, which I suspect is because people saw me in shul and assumed I was OK.  I guess that’s the problem with invisible illnesses.

I feel bad that I threatened the finance people with stopping the automatic payment of my shul fees if this isn’t sorted out in a week, but it had got ridiculous.  I kept politely asking what was happening and they were just ignoring the emails.  And I feel bad about not doing security, as it’s important (today’s Pearls Before Swine cartoon sadly applies to the UK too in that regard at least).  In fact, both emails make me feel like a troublemaker, but I had to write them.  I worry what will happen.  The security email hasn’t even been sent yet, as I discovered I didn’t have the security officer’s email address, so will have to ask around for it tomorrow.  I’m supposed to be doing security on Shabbat, but don’t think that I can make it.

***

One of my non-biological sisters sent me this image about depression, which is very true.

***

I’ve gone back to thinking about guinea pigs.  Somehow it feels worse being lonely when my parents are around than when they weren’t in the country.  I think guinea pigs would only respond to me because they want food (they aren’t dogs), but they would respond to me.

***

I think the dead whales are haunting me.  It’s such a stupid waste, obviously (and for once it doesn’t even look like people had anything to do with it, the school of whales just swam into a shallow bit of water and got caught at low tide), but it’s also somehow a metaphor for how I feel at the moment, like I’m thrashing around, stranded on a beach when I can only survive in the water.  Although goodness knows what ‘water’ in this context could correspond to.

***

The end result of this stressful day is that it’s nearly 11.30pm and, while I’m not tired, I feel really stressed out.  I’ve done a few things: had that meeting, written those emails.  But I feel I haven’t done enough.  I haven’t done any Torah study.  I haven’t worked on my presentation.  I still have a couple of outstanding emails to answer and I need to email about the autism screening.  And there are other odd chores hanging over me.  I feel really tense and stressed and have not relaxed properly today (internet procrastination is stressful rather than relaxing, which means I really need to find a way to curtail it).  Tomorrow I need to start working on my presentation for my interview on 5 December, although I have a list of other things to do tomorrow too.  I just feel stressed and in need of breathing space.  Like those poor whales, I’m out of my element and not coping.

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