Today I crashed.
I suppose it started yesterday, when I got into a very agitated state in the evening when my parents were out. I went to bed trying to count the number of people I thought would be upset if I killed myself, which was not an encouraging sign although it was good that I did at least acknowledge that some people would be upset, whereas in the past I might have assumed that no one would really care.
I woke up feeling much the same this morning. I wanted to try positive self-affirmations again (don’t ask me why, as they haven’t worked in the past), but for every time I can tell myself I’m a good person, I tell myself several hundred times more that I’m a wicked, defective freak.
At work I felt terrible, really despairing and sure I couldn’t do my work properly. I felt like I was going to fall asleep and had a powerful urge to hurt myself, because I felt so unable to cope. I struggled to work because I was thinking about death so much, fantasising about overdosing and calling myself a defective freak who can’t do anything right. I was feeling that I hate myself so much that there are no words for it and that I don’t hate anyone else this much, not even those who made me like this.
I somehow got through the morning, but was not restored very much by lunch. I’m struggling more than I expected to with a forty-five minute lunch and wonder if I should ask to switch to one hour lunches and leave at 5.15pm instead of 5.00pm. It didn’t help that there were two people in the staff room watching different programmes on their phones without headphones, which I felt was rude and antisocial.
Things came to a head when I went to prepare some books in the book store and virtually had a panic attack, terrified that I was going to damage one of the rare books. I got into a complete state and phoned my Mum to ask what she felt I should do as I wasn’t being particularly rational. She said to come home as I sounded too agitated to do any work.
I obviously needed to tell my line manager that I was not well, but I decided to tell her about the depression in some detail. She was really supportive and said I should think about whether there are any changes I could make at work that would help me. She also said that she’s really pleased with my work so far and that I’ve picked up a lot in a very short space of time; also that there isn’t much that I can do disastrously wrong in my job and that I’m very careful with the rare books. I mentioned going too slowly in previous jobs because of my fear of mistakes and she didn’t think that that would be an issue here. She was so supportive I went for broke and mentioned the autism as well. I’m not quite sure why I did that, but it seemed appropriate to mention it as context and it turns out just as well that I did as she said she had already wondered if I’m on the spectrum (it seems that everyone thinks I’m autistic except the psychiatrists making the assessment…).
On the way home I had a telephone appointment with the duty GP at my doctor’s surgery. It was slightly awkward as I had a couple of ‘autistic misunderstanding’ moments, which I guess is not surprising when I’m agitated and taking a serious private call in the street. He felt that I should see my regular doctor, but unfortunately the regular doctor is off tomorrow, so I’m booked in for Thursday morning, which will make me late for work. I did get a bit annoyed that he said that, if I’m suicidal, I should phone the crisis team, not the surgery. I’ve done this in the past, only for the crisis team to say if I’m not actually about to try to kill myself, I should go to the GP. Seriously, when I phoned the crisis team to report suicidal thoughts within twenty-four hours, I was told only to phone if I was actually having them at that moment. As I know the GP will speak to me if I’m in crisis, even if he says I should phone the crisis team, whereas I know the crisis team will not speak to me, it’s a bit of a no-brainer as to which one I phone, regardless of what the proper protocol is supposed to be. (More NHS fun and games.)
It was awkward telling my parents all this. I suppose there isn’t an easy way to tell anyone you’re having suicidal thoughts. My Mum got very emotional when I told her; perhaps because of this, I couldn’t tell my Dad that at all, just saying I was having “difficult” thoughts. It’s awkward because most people don’t realise that (in my case, at any rate) there are a spectrum of thoughts that I would describe as “suicidal” from suicidal ideation (thinking or fantasising about suicide and dying) to vaguely noting how you could kill yourself to actively working out how you would kill yourself. I don’t always find it easy to tell the difference between them, to be honest, so maybe I shouldn’t expect others to do so.
Mum burst into tears when I spoke to her. Dad… I just struggle to talk to Dad at all these days. We literally don’t speak each other’s language any more and I don’t know why. His speech has become more garrulous and rambling, full of unnecessary detail, diversions and repetitions as well malapropisms and vague pronoun use (using pronouns without making it clear what objects they refer to) which are not easy for my autistic brain to understand. He, on the other hand, has always found my vocabulary difficult to understand and I probably do some of the things I complain about him doing, like not sticking to the point or throwing in unnecessary detail. Things are not helped by the fact that I think that both my parents are beginning to go a bit deaf and I can’t always tell if they’ve not heard something, heard it and are processing it or are just choosing to ignore it. My Dad and I seem to bicker a lot more than we used to because of this and I’m not sure why it’s happened. It upsets me, not least because I think it’s at least in part my fault, but I don’t know what I can do about it, especially as I can’t seem to explain to them about autistic thought patterns and how difficult Dad can be for me to understand. Any suggestions would be welcome.
So that was my day. I’m still feeling elements of post-trauma shock. I know it sounds silly to say ‘trauma,’ but I guess that was how I felt telling my line manager about my issues. I’m still feeling rather shaky and in shock. I’m about to watch some Doctor Who for distraction and to make progress with the research for my book, which hopefully will make me feel a bit better.