On this post, Yolanda commented to suggest that I should say something positive about myself in every post. It’s an interesting idea, but I worry it would make me arrogant; also, I really don’t think there are many good things to say about me. I don’t know what I would say, really. I find it very hard to think of anything positive about myself. I keep emails and blog comments were people say nice things about me, but I don’t know that they have much effect in the long term. When we were dating, E. sent me a list of about ten reasons she thought I was a good boyfriend which I still have somewhere, but it’s hard to hold on to that, because obviously it wasn’t enough to keep her dating me. Similarly, I’ve got comments people have sent to me, but so many of them have drifted out of my life. It’s not really anyone’s fault, as these are long-distance online connections, but it’s hard to think anyone really thinks I’m such a good person when there are so few people really involved in my life. Someone on Hevria once said that I’m a “special neshama” (special soul), but I don’t know why anyone would even say that in the first place about me. I can’t see anything special in myself.
Moving one step closer to an autism diagnosis, even though there is a long road ahead, has brought up all kinds of thoughts about aspects of my life that I thought were ‘normal’ or at least me ‘just being strange/different/difficult’ and made me wonder if they are connected to autism. For example, I used to react very strongly to the smell of paint and would get a bad headache if there was any decorating going on in the house. These days I think I’ve become used to it, but it used to be something I really struggled with and I wonder if it could be autistic sensory overload. It’s sometimes hard to identify what is autism, what is mental illness and what is just me being me, particularly regarding things that have changed over time. I was interested to hear my Mum say at my screening that when I was a very young child I would happily play near other children, but I wouldn’t play with them, which is very typical autistic behaviour that I wasn’t aware that I exhibited.
I keep thinking about the huge number of autistic people, even high-functioning, who don’t manage to get a job or hold together a relationship, and how much it’s looking like I’m drifting into the former category (no job), being already clearly in the second one (no relationship). I feel that at my previous job I would have been facing formal warnings for poor quality work if my contract hadn’t been so short that it wasn’t work the bother. Maybe that’s just my paranoia, but I made a lot of mistakes. And then in the job before that, it became clear that my boss simply didn’t think I could do my job properly, still less the more revised version of the job specification (with much more personal interaction) that I was being offered when my contract expired, even if she was weirdly shocked when I decided to turn the revised contract down (I don’t know how she expected me to do a job with a boss who was openly contemptuous of my abilities). I just can’t think of a job that I think I could actually do with all my issues. I don’t know what I would do if I was offered any of the jobs I’ve applied for lately. I don’t feel that I could really do any of them.
It’s easy to fall down the hole of thinking that I’m a completely fudged up person with no positive traits whatsoever. (I meant positive traits for a job, but it would apply to dating and life in general too.)
I’d put the idea of pets on the back burner recently. I felt that my Mum was not at all comfortable with the idea and so my desire for a pet cooled. I had a bit of a social anxiety freeze up when I realised I would have to go into a pet shop and ask to hold the guinea pigs and say what type of pet I wanted and buy all the necessary equipment. It wasn’t the pet that was scary, it was the thought of talking to the shop assistant and asking for things, asking questions and wondering if the shop assistant would be judging me. But I was just sent this article that says that pets are really beneficial for people with autism and anxiety. So now I’m procrastinating about this again. It would be good if I had a friend who had a pet that I could look after for a few days while they were away, so I can see how I cope with a pet, but I don’t know anyone with a pet. Pets are not so common in the frum community. Still, having pet guinea pigs would probably be a better way of flexing my social muscles and receiving affection than going on Twitter (insert your own joke about rats on Twitter).
I finished Turtles All the Way Down, a young adult novel with a narrator who suffers from OCD. It was quite good, although not very much like the back cover blurb implied it would be. I was expecting some kind of mystery or adventure story and it was a novel of character/semi-love story, with a slightly depressing open ending. I did enjoy it, until last night, when I suddenly realised I wasn’t enjoying it any more and it was possibly triggering my own OCD, which is mostly under control these days, and I forced myself to read the last thirty or forty pages before bed so I could just finish it. (I don’t like to just abandon books unfinished.)