Shabbat (the Sabbath) was full of minor victories and minor setbacks. The setbacks: I woke up about 9.00am and contemplated getting to shul (synagogue – it starts at 8.45am, but at the moment I’d see getting there by 10.00am, or even at all, as a victory), but I got too anxious about what people might say to me if I was so late and went back to bed. This is not good. I also tried not to nap in the afternoon, especially as I slept twelve hours overnight, but I dozed off for twenty minutes or so.
The victories: I ate less junk food than I normally do on Shabbat (the only day I really over-indulge, but I need to lose some of the weight I’ve gained on clomipramine) and I finished reading The Dispossessed and another volume of The Complete Peanuts. I also managed to see off what would once have been a major religious OCD meltdown quite easily and discussed my worries about tomorrow (see below) with my parents. I also mostly put the mistake I made before Shabbat out of my head.
The oneg (Shabbat social event) that I thought was this week turns out to be next week. I still don’t really want to go, or at least I don’t want to go if I’m my usual socially anxious self, but my Mum is encouraging me to go, especially as I’m home for Shabbat dinner alone next week. I feel I should try to do social things, as I would like to have some friends and not turn into an antisocial hermit, but I’m not really sure this is the best way to do it. I suspect I will be wrestling with this one all week.
I spoke to my parents a bit more about the autism workshop they went to on Wednesday for the family of people on the spectrum. I said sometimes I worry that I won’t be diagnosed and did they really think that I was on the spectrum. “YES!!!!!” was their immediate response. So that was good, I think.
I’m troubled by a social/religious thing at shul, but I don’t want to discuss it here at the moment. It’s tricky though and is making me a bit worried.
I’m also worrying about the coming fortnight. Tomorrow I have volunteering, which I enjoy (albeit that I struggle with the social aspect), but which is very tiring, then when I get home, my sister and brother-in-law are here for dinner, but I’m not sure how I’ll be feeling, plus I’ll want to go and have some ‘alone time’ or I won’t sleep and an early night as I’m working on Monday this week. I’ve been told I can go upstairs after the main course if I want/need to, which is good, but I would feel a bit bad doing that.
Monday is an event at work. We’ve been planning it for a while, so it will be good to finally have it, but I will have to talk to strangers (gulp) about history stuff that I haven’t looked at for years (English Civil Wars and Interregnum which was my Special Subject at Oxford, but which I haven’t studied for fourteen years and Chartism, which I haven’t seen since secondary school). Tuesday is an ordinary work day, then Wednesday is the last mental health class which I need to navigate and on Thursday I need to get a haircut and talk to someone from Remploy about working with autism and depression.
The Monday after that I have a networking training session (i.e. they train us to network better. Getting me to network at all would be a start) and I’m out late at a Jewish Book Week event in the evening, but I will still need to be up early on Tuesday and Wednesday, as they are work days that week, then on Thursday I will see a(nother) psychiatrist if the NHS doesn’t mess me around again. So overall it’s a busy fortnight.
Writing it down, it doesn’t seem so scary, but in my head it does.
I mentioned that I’m reading The Complete Peanuts. It’s rather an interesting thing to read with depression and autism. Everyone says it’s a strip about disappointment and unrequited it love, which on one level it is. Charlie Brown never getting a Valentine’s day card. So many unrequited crushes (Lucy for Schroder, Sally for Linus, Peppermint Patty for Charlie Brown and especially Charlie Brown for the red-haired girl). The kite-eating tree. The baseball team that never wins. Charlie Brown never kicking the football. The never-obtained Joe Shlabotnik baseball card. The never-seen Great Pumpkin. And so on.
But what doesn’t seem to get mentioned so much is that it’s also a strip about finding joy in being yourself, even if it makes you look weird to everyone else. Snoopy’s fantasy life. Linus’ security blanket. Schroeder’s Beethoven obsession (is he autistic?). Snoopy’s happy dance. It’s actually quite reassuring that it says, yes, there’s a lot of misery out there, but it is possible to be happy, even if other people might think you’re nuts for doing what you’re doing.