The Doctor Who story The Space Museum, most of which I watched last night, has the regular characters trying and apparently failing to change their own futures, only to realise that they have had an effect on the people around them that has saved them. I find myself wondering if I’ve ever had a substantial positive effect on those around me, as I can’t think of anything I’ve done myself that will change my own future to something even vaguely positive.
I woke up in the middle of the night with a headache and spent the next couple of hours alternately trying to sleep and watching Doctor Who again (The Chase now, perhaps Doctor Who‘s least successful attempt at comedy. Say what you like about The Horns of Nimon, at least it raises a smile). I did eventually fall back to sleep, but not before a lot of lying in bed feeling depressed and lonely. I suppose I did at least steal a march on my Doctor Who research viewing.
I have a meeting later today with a matchmaker from the values-based matchmaking service. This feels like a huge mistake. Every time I’ve tried dating it goes horribly wrong. Now I’m going to have to list my core values as religious commitment and integrity while covering up that I don’t do a lot of stuff frum (religious Orthodox Jews) Jews should do because of mental health issues and autism. So much for religious commitment and integrity.
Basically, I’m just too broken for anyone to be able to love me and perhaps for me to really be able to love anyone else. I think I should wait a couple of weeks and then ask for them not to set me up with anyone for the foreseeable future, ostensibly while I find a permanent job with longer hours, but also until I get ‘better’ (which is never going to happen).
Just seen an article stating that people with mild/high functioning autism/Asperger’s Syndrome do no better in life than people with more severe autism, in terms of careers and relationships, even if (like me) they were highly functional as children. “‘The implication of our findings is that the consequences of having an autism spectrum disorder with profound difficulties in communication skills and social impairment can’t be compensated for by either high intellectual level or normal language function,’ says lead investigator Anne Myhre, associate professor of mental health and addiction at the University of Oslo in Norway.” Apparently high quality early intervention is the only real way of having a positive outcome, which is bad news for me (I’m thirty-five and still not officially diagnosed, although convinced that I’m on the spectrum). I don’t think I will qualify for benefits and having been on benefits for depression in the past, I would not to live off them (it’s pretty soul-destroying even if you have no alternative), but I don’t want to be a burden to my parents and I worry what will happen when they are gone.
The meeting with the matchmaker was OK in the end. Much quicker than I expected; she asked for some personal details, briefly asked about career, hobbies and interests and then values (my own core values and those I am looking for). I was expecting that she would ask questions to help me articulate and understand my values. As it happens, I have a fairly good idea of my values from thinking about them with regard to previous relationships and my well-being class, but I felt a bit under pressure to rattle off a list of things I see in myself and want to see in a partner.
I listed my core values as religious commitment (which she didn’t count, apparently because I’d already asked to be matched only with shomer Shabbat women), integrity, and pursuing knowledge. I think I may have also put personal growth on the list too. In terms of what I’m looking for, it’s religious commitment and integrity again, but also empathy and trust. I think the matchmaker may have put empathetic on my list of own values, but on reflection they probably are core values for me too. I never think of myself as empathetic because I think, “Oh, I’m autistic, I don’t understand people” but (a) autistic people can feel empathy and (b) a lot of people say I’m empathetic, so maybe it’s true. I certainly try to understand what people feel, even if that’s something I have to do consciously and with difficulty because of the autism rather than doing it intuitively like neurotypical people can do.
I did mention a bit about depression and autism, despite feeling overwhelmed with different advice from different people about whether to do so. I don’t think they can legally tell anyone something like that anyway and the matchmaker didn’t seem to think it would be a problem, but there’s obviously no telling how a date would react if I told her. I do still feel pretty pessimistic about dating, partly because of my financial situation, partly because I can’t believe anyone could really care about me with all my issues.
I felt really tense afterwards, as if I had had a very traumatic experience. This seems to happen to me a lot lately; I suppose I’ve always been somewhat anxious, but nowadays I seem to experience everything remotely stressful as actual trauma. Or maybe I’m more aware of existing feelings? A while back my therapist (when I was in therapy) lent me a CD on dealing with trauma and maybe that made me more aware of the symptoms, bearing in mind that I often have a poor understanding of what I’m feeling.
The dating service is free and only matches people if they can find a someone who meets the criteria (i.e. both people’s values match); they don’t just match people for the sake of it the way professional matchmakers do. So there’s no way of knowing whether I’ll even get a single date out of this, but I guess I feel like I’ve done something.
I am doing OCD second-guessing at the moment, going back over what I said and wondering if I should have said something else. I feel I fudged it a bit. I thought of preparing a list of values beforehand, but decided against it because I thought they would ask me questions to help me understand myself in more detail. When this didn’t happen, I floundered a bit and now I’m worrying if I said the right thing. I have to say that I think about my core values quite a lot, but the ones lower down the list shift a bit depending on my recent experiences, which values I think I’ve been showing more recently and which I’ve not focused on so much. So I do worry a bit about whether I chose the right values.
I guess sooner or later I have to just accept that everything is in the hands of HaShem (God) and accept I can only do so much, doubly so with something like marriage. Unfortunately, while I don’t currently feel that HaShem hates me, I feel He probably does want to put me through a lot of difficult situations, for whatever reason, so it’s hard to be confident and trusting. I suppose that takes me back to The Space Museum at the start of this post and the feeling that our lives are essentially unpredictable and the patterns we think we see turn out to be illusory, while things we miss turn out to be far more important.
Or I could be over-thinking things again. I have been told that I do that.