I phoned the Samaritans phone helpline this afternoon. I was feeling very overwhelmed, alone in the house, worrying about all the things happening this week. It was helpful to talk through some of my thoughts and have someone else respond who isn’t close to me. My parents and perhaps my friends are sometimes too close to me to help – they get frustrated with me when I put myself down or fail to snap out of black and white thinking or catastrophisation, plus I’m more likely to try to manipulate them (e.g. by attacking myself to try to get them to say I’m not a bad person) than I am a stranger.
The person I spoke to said I’ve taken a lot of positive steps to try to get an autism diagnosis and to try to get a new job and stay in employment, which I guess is true, even if it’s hard to give myself credit for it. There’s a voice in my head that keeps saying how many people on the autism spectrum are unemployed or single and how many people in my depression group are unemployed or single and that’s hard to silence, but I’m trying to focus on one day or even one task at a time. It’s hard though.
I’m still thinking about pets. It’s on days like this, when I feel the need for physical contact, but my parents aren’t around, or I feel too many conflicted emotions to ask them for a hug that I really wish I could have a furry pet to stroke or hold. I could potentially procrastinate about this for a long time, though; I need to find a way to force myself to a decision. As I’ve said before, if I could look after someone else’s pet for a week or so while they’re a way that would be the ideal way to ‘test drive’ having a pet, but unfortunately I don’t have any local friends with a pet. Pets are actually quite rare in the Orthodox Jewish world.
I was reminded today of a Jewish group I tried to get involved with. I tried to do some writing for them, but they messed me around a lot. The organisers actually messed me around a lot in different ways over the years and lately I’ve been avoiding them because I’m too angry. It’s hard to feel OK with being angry, so my mind keeps pushing the anger towards self-loathing or loneliness. I had mixed feelings about this group for some time, but still hung around on their fringes because I’m bad at getting toxic people out of my life. I just want to be liked, really.
Even if I had been in the same city, I don’t know that I would have been able to fit in with that crowd, a very artsy, bohemian crowd of creatives. They were looking for frustrated creatives who they could turn into actual creatives; I’m a frustrated academic, but ‘criticism’ was a dirty word to them.
Similarly, there is an online geeky community/message board-type thing that I used to be somewhat active on, but which I’ve drifted away from lately. No big reason this time, just that the things being discussed there aren’t things that affect me very much.
Things like this do make me wonder if there is any group or community out there that I could really join and feel comfortable with. Compare with the things I’ve been posting recently about my shul (synagogue), feeling that people there wouldn’t approve of my interests or beliefs, worrying that people there might be supportive of unsavoury characters; or about not fitting in to online Doctor Who fandom. I can’t find anywhere I completely fit in. (I wonder a bit how much the people reading this would like me in person.)
Maybe that’s not such a huge problem. Maybe I can compartmentalise my life: frum community here, Doctor Who fandom there. Maybe everyone does that, to some extent. But I want to meet someone who I can love and who will be able to love me and that to me speaks of at least acceptance of the different parts of my character, and I can’t imagine someone accepting me like that based on these experiences. These experiences – and my limited dating experiences – make me feel that no one could ever accept all my ‘stuff,’ my weird combination of beliefs, interests, mental health and developmental issues.