I just feel overwhelmed today. I should probably explain that this post was one of the ones I write piecemeal during the day, so it may be rambling and also vary widely from optimism to pessimism in successive paragraphs; I’m having a rather up and down day. I can sort something out and be OK, but then the negative thoughts come back and I can’t cope again.
It’s Purim next week and I don’t feel ready. And then it’s Pesach a month after that and I’m certainly not ready. I mean, no one’s ready in practical terms at this stage, but I don’t feel emotionally ready. Maybe no one is emotionally ready either, I don’t know. I wish I knew what other people think and feel, not just about Pesach, but generally. It’s part of my reason for blogging. I know I write self-obsessed posts, but I have to write it to try to say what I feel, to understand it and to try to see if other people feel the same way, although it seems that most of them don’t. I know that apparently lots of people have the type of thoughts that distress people with OCD, but they don’t get anxious and obsessive about them. But no one talks about this. I have ‘bad’ thoughts (violent thoughts, sexual thoughts, insulting thoughts) in my head all the time and I’m told that other people have the same thoughts, but no one ever mentions it. That strikes me as bizarre. How can people not mention this stuff? Or feel guilty and ashamed (even if they are automatic and not acted on, it’s hard not to feel bad that they’re even in my head)?
I did something stupid last night. I stayed up late working on my Doctor Who book (I’ve now finished the research and am working on tidying up the second draft a bit before starting the third draft). About 1.00am when I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about the conversation on my blog yesterday about relationships. I remembered that last year (pretty much exactly a year ago, actually) I had been trying to find a shadchan (matchmaker) who would work with someone with depression in the UK, but I had no success. However, my Dad asked the wife of the assistant rabbi at his shul (synagogue) and she suggested someone (I’ll call her Rebbetzin D). I was going to phone her after Pesach, but then I started dating E. and so didn’t. After E. broke up with me, I was too pessimistic about anyone ever wanting to marry me to do anything about dating again until recently.
Last night I thought about contacting her at some point soon to see if she could help me meet someone, but I was nervous, so I decided to see if her email address was online anywhere. I found her LinkedIn page and looked on that to see if I could find an email address… and accidentally added her to my network (or whatever they call the equivalent of friending on LinkedIn). The only way I could think of to salvage the situation was to take advantage of the facility to add a short note to the friend request. Which I did, trying to explain my situation in under 300 characters.
I suppose if this was a hasgacha pratit (Divine Providence) story of the kind so beloved by Jewish websites, my mistake would result in her setting me up with someone who turned out to be my soulmate. The reality is she accepted the request, but has not replied to the message, so far as I can tell (I’m not really good with LinkedIn). I don’t know what to do now, whether it’s worth messaging again or phoning in a few weeks or just accepting that, like lots of other people I asked about trying to set a depressed person up with someone, she doesn’t know what to do or maybe thinks I shouldn’t actually be looking to get married.
I actually feel less depressed about this for the stupid mistake and more for the aspect of “Oh, there’s another thing I’ve tried that hasn’t worked. How many options do I have left? Anything?” I just feel so hopeless. That was my last option and it didn’t work. I feel that I’m going to be alone and unloved forever. Goodness knows what will happen when my parents aren’t able to support me (financially and emotionally). I know I should be challenging these thoughts with CBT, but they seem real and not distorted. I know I’m catastrophising, but I feel I’m also drawing “evidence-based conclusions” from past experience. It’s not catastrophising to say I’m never going to win the lottery or be a billionaire. Why is it catastrophising to say I’m going to be alone forever?
The plus side: this made me check my LinkedIn page for the first time in ages and realised it was really out of date. Not just missing my current job, but the one before too. I keep my CV up to date, but not my LinkedIn page, which is very twentieth century of me. So I guess it’s good that I noticed.
I have jobs I could apply for, but I don’t want any of them, and don’t think I would get any of them, or could do any of them if I got them, so it’s hard to get motivated.
So, today I updated my LinkedIn page, browsed jobs online again and found nothing I felt competent to do, again. I can’t tell how much is low self-esteem and how is that I’m genuinely not qualified for anything decent. Looking at my CV and LinkedIn page, I realise just how over-qualified I am – on paper – for my current job, yet I feel I’m only just coping with it and could not manage anything more complicated or time-consuming. I feel such a screw-up.
I just had an instant messenger conversation with an advisor at Remploy, the organisation for helping disabled people in the workplace. They gave me some links, but I’m not sure that any of them offer what I actually want/need, careers advice about whether I’m in the right sector or if I have transferable skills that might be useful in a more comfortable sector, especially one where I can find part-time work more easily. I feel I’m doing something wrong with work, but I don’t know what and I don’t know how to find out what I’m doing wrong, because I don’t know the right questions to ask or the person to ask them to.
This did, however, lead on to a longer and more useful instant messenger conversation at the National Careers Service. The person there said that I’m doing the right sort of thing in my job search, which is good, but also means that if I’m struggling, there are no quick fixes. But he suggested a couple of other specialist job sites to look at, including one for NHS jobs. I knew that hospitals have libraries, but it seems there are more information management jobs in the NHS than I was aware of. Similarly, I knew about civil service libraries (although I think most ministries have shut theirs now because of budget cuts), but there is a specialist civil service recruitment site which might be useful.
I feel I have some options for the future, but I feel my depression and autism are really stopping me finding anything suitable for me and making it difficult for me to pursue a career in a structured and focused way, or to find a job at the moment, while I can’t work full-time. I don’t know what I can do about that.
Other people seem to know how to do useful things, and I feel that the only thing I can do is write about my feelings. And I don’t even understand them properly, I write to try to understand them. The world seems not to be set up for people like me to thrive in it. I just seem to be a huge failure. I’m not exactly suicidal, but I’m not sure what benefit there is to the world in my staying alive, except that I have a few family members and friends who care about me (although I don’t know why). I’m such a screw-up. No wonder hardly anyone wants to employ me and no one wants to date me.
I phoned the NHS about CBT again. I’m on the waiting list for it, but I don’t know how long I will have to wait. I keep phoning and leaving messages, but no one answers or replies. In the meantime, I feel I need some kind of therapy. I’m not entirely convinced CBT will work, although I was willing to give it another try, at least to work on my self-esteem issues, but I’m wondering if I should just go back to my (privately-funded) psychodynamic psychotherapist on the grounds that she would probably see me at short notice and I know I can talk to her. My parents said I should wait a week now they’re back from holiday and see how I feel.
My parents also said that if I was lonely while I was away, I could have What’sApped them. It genuinely did not occur to me to do this which is probably autistic rigidity of thought, although if questioned, I would probably have assumed that they were busy or else they would have phoned me, as they usually do (apparently my Mum didn’t want me to think she was over-protective, so she didn’t phone at all).
My life just seems a mess right now. No career, no job (not the same thing), no relationship. Few friends, but I feel I’m mishandling the friendships I do have as well as my relationships with my parents and sister. I don’t turn to them (friends and family) for help, because I don’t want to overwhelm them, and my non-blogging friends don’t really know much about my mental health, but then there’s a barrier between us because it feels to me (although probably not to them) that my depression and autism are the huge twin elephants in the room. It doesn’t help that I can’t really describe what I feel at all in speech and only imperfectly in writing, so non-blog-reading people are not getting me at my most eloquent about my issues and feelings.
I just feel that the whole of my life is just wrong and I don’t know where to start to fix it, let alone how to fix it. Looking at this comment I left on Rivki Silver’s blog earlier today, I feel like a drama queen, but it also feels completely true. I genuinely do not know how I change my employment situation or my social/romantic situation (lumping singleness and lack of close real-world friends together, although they are probably different). And the helplessness and hopelessness is just killing me. I’m pushing myself to the limits of what I’m comfortable with (in terms of social anxiety in particular) to further my career without getting anywhere. I just don’t know what else I could do about dating either. Contacting Rebbetzin D. was my last option. I suppose I might hear from the values-based dating service one day or I could go back to online dating, but it seems a way to lose a lot of money without getting anywhere, and my sister does not approve of it. And there are still professional shadchanim, although everyone seems to be sceptical of those. And the issue is as much about getting women to date me after they meet me or hear my story than to get set up on dates in the first place.