Every day I have to win the battle all over again. Today was much the same as many days recently: insomnia last night and tired today, anxiety and depression on the way in to work, mainly anxiety and catastrophising about dating. I felt better after lunch (some people aren’t themselves until they’ve had their morning coffee; I’m not myself until I’ve had lunch, which is more problematic), but worse again in the afternoon, feeling that I’m not coping with life, work or relationships (not just dating, but family too). Working with my line manager in the afternoon, I felt spectacularly incompetent. Why do I always make my worst mistakes when my line manager is watching? Or is it because she’s watching (social anxiety)?
I did feel bad for not eating dinner with Mum and Dad (we don’t usually eat together during the week) and eating in front of the TV instead, but I’m just completely exhausted and unable to ‘people’ (interact) and if I don’t watch TV while eating, I won’t have time and if I don’t watch TV and unwind I will not be in a fit state to work tomorrow. Maybe it’s just as well that I’m not married as I do worry about how I would cope with a wife and children. But it’s so lonely being by myself, especially as my parents don’t always understand me. This is probably an unsolvable dilemma.
Speaking of which, everyone (parents, friends, rabbi mentor) are probably right that I shouldn’t let imminent unemployment deter me from dating, but I think the risk of getting hurt is too strong at the moment. While I don’t automatically think that I should swear off dating until I’m working and have got made some kind of progress with my mental health and autism diagnosis and/or acceptance of myself, I probably don’t need to throw that in there just now, especially with Purim and Pesach approaching, with all the practical and emotional problems that come with them. I think it’s worth waiting a bit to at least try to set things up in my favour, however lonely I am right now.
I guess this particular instance of dating was different inasmuch as I know that this person (I’ll call her D) is probably more understanding of mental health issues than most and I saw from her JWed profile that we have one or two values in common. But I still can’t shake the feeling that no ‘normal’ person would date me, that even despite her being someone with an understanding of mental health issues, I would need to find a geeky autistic woman to accept me, even though there aren’t so many of those in the wider community, let alone the narrower and more conformist Orthodox Jewish world. I guess I’m just worried that D is too “normal” to ever be able to like or understand me, although I’m not quite sure what I’m basing my assumption of “normal” on. I suppose no one is really “normal”… except that most people are quantifiably less “not normal” than I am.
I guess the bottom line is that I should leave dating for a few weeks. Whether I ever pursue dating D is probably best shelved until then too. Although my experience is that very few things in my life are ever resolved in a meaningful way; the can is kicked down the road indefinitely or other worries come and displace one particular worry from my mind. Maybe I should be negotiating Brexit… The question, as ever, is how to deal with the loneliness and hopelessness in a vaguely healthy way, the feeling that no one understands me or cares and that no one ever will. I know that some people do care about me and I know that I don’t have any solid evidence that I will never get married (just a lot of circumstantial evidence), but I still feel lonely and despairing.
More realistically, it might be good to see if CILIP, the professional body for librarians, run a cataloguing refresher course, as I feel my cataloguing skills have gone very rusty and that would be an asset in the labour market. I still struggle to see myself as employed and happy, though, just as I can’t see myself in a real relationship and happy. I can’t imagine myself happy in any context, really, except perhaps being dead and in the afterlife, which is not reassuring.
Reading the digest of Purim laws that the rabbi of my shul (synagogue) sends out
to stoke my religious OCD to ensure the community performs the relevant mitzvot (commandments) correctly, I feel anxious again. I’ve pretty much told myself that I’m just going to try to get through Purim any way I can and if I do some mitzvot in a sub-optimal way or even miss out on some of them… well, I’ve done mitzvot, including Purim ones, in a sub-optimal way before or even missed out on them completely. There were many years when I was not able to go to hear the Megillah in the morning as well as evening and some years I think I didn’t hear it at all; at the time I told myself it was depression, but in retrospect social anxiety and perhaps autism were bigger factors. It is a big worry, though. I want to do the mitzvot and to have a meaningful day, difficult though it is for me to find meaning in any aspects of Judaism at the moment, let alone through the day when we connect to God with extreme joy. (Something I liked about D’s profile was that she stressed her desire to keep halakhah (Jewish law) while also having wider cultural interests and she wanted a husband who had hobbies. Except that I wasn’t supposed to talk about this.)
I may be able to see my private psychodynamic psychotherapist again, but not until after Pesach and it would depend on whether I could fit it in with any work I might be doing, as she is only free on Mondays. So now I’m waiting to see two therapists, as I’m still on the waiting list for CBT on the NHS.
I’m thinking of making my blog invitation only. Unfortunately, I think that would mean that only people who read blogs through WordPress could read it, which is a problem as I have real-world friends reading this who don’t use WordPress. I do worry about how much information I’m putting into the public domain, though, especially if I am trying to pursue a career in writing. I know this blog is anonymous, but it’s not very anonymous if you really want to find my true identity. Advice will be gratefully accepted.
I should probably explain that the post title is me being sarcastic about myself and my day. It’s a quote from the first ever episode of Doctor Who, about a teenage girl who is acting strangely; her teachers hope she is meeting a boy, which would be “so wonderfully normal” for her, but she turns out to be an alien who lives with her grandfather in a police box which is a time-space travel machine. Today I feel about as normal as she is, and about as likely to have a secret assignation with a member of the opposite sex.