I had dreams last night about being autistic and whether that was ‘really’ a disability, although my unconscious mind got the terms wrong. Perhaps unsurprisingly after that I woke up really depressed this morning and I was fighting back the tears as I had breakfast and got dressed, although the thought of being at work without my boss on what is only my fourth working day would probably have done that even without the dreams. Yet again I couldn’t read on the Tube into work as I was too anxious and depressed. I was worried that I was about to have a panic attack walking through the rush hour crowd at the station, but managed to stay calm with deep breathing.
Work, once I got there, was pretty good, though. I coped with my line manager being out of the office and did a lot of the work she left for me even though she had forgotten that I had a meeting that I needed to go to another building outside the main campus. She wasn’t expecting me to do all the work today anyway; she left too much in case I got stuck and couldn’t finish something. I actually felt that I was enjoying work a bit today, which isn’t something I’ve felt for a while. Higher education seems to be calmer than further education. It’s frustrating to handle rare books without being able to peek at them (the books in the store are wrapped in paper); I feel a bit like an intellectual eunuch. I’m sitting in on a class next week, though, so I should be able to see some of them then. (When the books go out of the library, there have to be two people with them so that in case of emergency one stays with the books while the other goes for help, so I get to be the second person next week.) I even started having ideas for things to show in the exhibition I’m supposed to be helping to plan.
I had some OCD worries about whether I had locked up the rare books store properly, but I fought it and resisted going down to check. Slightly worse was a wobble I had when my line manager’s line manager was talking to a new library volunteer in the office. She’s a librarianship student at the university and I was a bit envious of her and her clear career plan, given the improvised and only sporadically successful nature of mine (if I can really be said to have a career plan at all), doubly so as the university where I now work is the one that was first choice for my librarianship MA, but they weren’t accommodating of my mental health issues so I went to a much worse university where various things went wrong for me.
I also had an awkward moment when I went to the off-site meeting, as I wasn’t sure if the woman who looked like she was waiting to meet me was the person I was meeting or not. She looked similarly unsure if I was the person she was meeting. Very awkward. Then I went into autism overload and was unable to say anything other than “Yes” “Right” and “Thank you” while she spoke to me.
Shiur (religious class) this evening was more difficult. It is harder for me when there are a lot of people there, especially now the rabbi has new, wider, arm chairs in his dining room, which are comfortable, but made me feel a little as if the people next to me were invading my space a bit. Some people made some jokes at the beginning that I thought were a bit rude and tasteless and show how, if you are secure in the community, you can take liberties, but I would never feel so secure (not that I would tell rude or sexist jokes, but I hide my hobbies, interests and beliefs for fear of being considered unacceptable). Before the shiur started people were talking about their wives and the shiur concluded with the assistant rabbi talking about the Gemarah that says that matching husband and wife is like splitting the sea which underlined my single state.
The assistant rabbi also said that we should have a clear plan of where we want to go this year and in coming years spiritually and we should be planning on a week-by-week basis to get to that goal, which made me feel bad, because I don’t have spiritual goals any more. My spiritual goal for this year is to get to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) without trying to kill myself, or at least to try to improve my mental health a little. I don’t have any wider goals. I’d say I have a goal to get a full-time job and get married (both of which I think are spiritual goals), but I don’t think either is feasible any time in the next few years. As for davening (praying) more with a minyan (prayer quorum) or with more kavannah (mindfulness) or studying more Torah, I don’t think these would be feasible goals even if I cared that much about them, but I’ve been so worn down by my illness that I don’t really care any more. I’m such a rasha (wicked person), but there you go, I have no energy left even to beat myself up about being a rasha. This train of thought makes me lose the desire to write that book about Judaism, because who wants to read (or should read) what a rasha says about Judaism?
Plus the assistant rabbi’s baby started crying near the end and he didn’t hear and his wife didn’t hear. It felt wrong to interrupt to say something, but I really can’t bear hearing children crying, so I felt helpless, upset and confused. Eventually the rabbi’s wife heard and calmed the baby.
I have no idea if I’m out to dinner tomorrow night, which is also scary. You might recall that at shul (synagogue) last week I was invited to someone’s for dinner, but the person said he would phone me to confirm. I still haven’t heard anything. I think I’m probably still invited (assuming he hasn’t forgotten to tell his wife, which is possible) because frum culture is very laid back like that about times and invitations, which drives me crazy because I’m autistic and need to plan and can’t make last minute changes (and I’m also one eighth Yekkish – the Yekkes (German Jews) are the exception and are stereotypically pedantic and obsessive about punctuality) .
Anyway, now I’ve brought my self down after having a good day, so I’m going to meditate (breathing meditation and hitbodedut spontaneous prayer/meditation) and shower, watch Star Trek and go to bed, trying to focus on the good parts of the day and not the anxieties and failures.