I didn’t have work today, having gone in on Monday instead, so I got to sleep in. I actually slept for something like eleven hours and finally woke feeling refreshed. I don’t know why I need to sleep so long; I used to assume it was the depression making me exhausted, but it may also be the effort of masking depression and autism in social situations and at work. I started sleeping longer at weekends when I was a teenager, which is probably fairly common, but that was also the time I first started showing symptoms of depression and when school perhaps started becoming harder from an autistic point of view, as the nature of friendship changed and became less about playing together and more about sharing emotions.
The downside of sleeping in is that doing everything I wanted to do today became harder, especially as I was feeling a bit down, or at least sluggish (it’s not always easy for me to tell the difference between the ‘low mood’ and ‘low energy’ aspects of depression, which I guess is alexithymia again). I probably wanted to do too much anyway, but as I said yesterday, chores have a habit of breeding. I needed to get a haircut and buy an anniversary card for my uncle and aunt, catch up on this week’s Talmud study, speak to Remploy about career’s advice and workplace support options for someone with depression and autism and a few smaller things. I also wanted to get through some more Doctor Who episodes for research (not relaxation, as it’s become a chore at times to do it, although I enjoyed the much-maligned The Gunfighters).
I managed everything except speaking to Remploy, which was good, especially as I can now put aside the second drafts of another two Doctor Who book chapters. I shook quite a bit while having my hair cut, which wasn’t good. I’m trying hard not to beat myself up about not getting everything done. As I said, I probably wanted to do too much anyway. The problem is I hate having my haircut and I was nervous about having to contact Remploy so the urge to procrastinate is there, along with the fear that I was procrastinating even if I wasn’t. Of course, the reason I’m so sluggish today is probably at least in part because I did quite a bit yesterday, so to some extent there’s a trade off. I will see if I can speak to Remploy before I go into Shabbat mode tomorrow afternoon.
I try to push myself sometimes to read things that are out of my usual comfort zone, so I’m reading 13 Minutes, a thriller about teenage girls and their cliques and bitchiness. It’s been making me think of my school days, which were miserable, but I realise from the book that a lot of what was going on went over my head. I just wasn’t aware of a lot of stuff in terms of interpersonal dynamics (friends, lovers, enemies). I don’t know if that was autism or just being out of the loop, if the two aren’t really the same thing. I certainly wasn’t really aware of my peers having sex like the characters in the book.
Now, of course, I think about it too much. I feel that there’s a huge part of life I’m locked out of. I don’t know why I fixate on that. I’m not a great traveller, but I don’t feel that I’m missing out much there. I don’t touch drugs or alcohol, but I don’t feel that I’m missing out on them. Maybe because I long for intimacy more than sex per se and feel I’ve never or rarely experienced the kind of closeness I want with people. Or because from a frum point of view, sex is bad until you get married, when it’s good, which makes it harder to write off. My frum peers have lots of children by this point. I hope I get rewarded for my abstemiousness at some point, but I worry that I won’t. It’s not like I really had a choice; I couldn’t have sex even if I wanted, women have never exactly thrown themselves at me. Tehillim/Psalms asks God to store our tears in a flask and record them as a sign that He is with us. It can be hard to feel that my suffering is somehow preserved for a meaningful goal, though.
On a more positive note, I mentioned doing the weekly Talmud study above and while I still feel that I understand very little of the actual arguments of which the Talmud is mostly comprised, I think I am slowly learning key words and logical terms. In the long run, that’s probably more important than actually understanding the arguments.
In the last few days I’ve felt more confident in my own Jewish knowledge in general, at least compared with other ba’alei teshuva (people ethnically Jewish but raised non-religious who became religious later on in life), which is a positive thing given that many of the people in my shul are ba’alei teshuva. I feel that I probably do know a lot compared to the average ba’al teshuva, although most of the time I’m too scared to reveal my knowledge. I also feel that I have more of a sense of an underlying philosophy of Judaism than many Jews have. I feel like a ba’alat teshuva or geyoret (convert to Judaism) might accept me as a husband, although there is still a feeling that she would be ‘settling’ for me in the absence of someone better and that a frum (religious) from birth Jewish woman wouldn’t accept me. I don’t know whether this is true.
Related to this, I do feel today that someone might want to marry me; the problem is finding a job to support a family/make myself more attractive and in working out how to actually meet women, given that I’m not integrated into the frum community enough to get set up on dates. Plus, as I said, I do still have the nagging sense that if someone did marry me, she would be ‘settling’ for me, not marrying me because she really wants me in the first instance, although for a while today even that feeling disappeared. But there’s no telling what I will think tomorrow.