Talking to my parents at dinner last night was difficult. I was really too drained to really put up with so much small talk and there was a bit of friction with my father over my inability to deal with small talk and his preference for it. I was agitated and anxious last night, then slept a lot. I could have got up in time for shul (synagogue) this morning, but was too tired, so went back to sleep, which I guess is an improvement from being too socially anxious to go (maybe). I had lunch by myself as my parents were at friends, late because I overslept and cold because the hot plate (the only way we can heat up food on Shabbat (the Sabbath)) was on a timeswitch and had turned off because I was eating so late. I dozed off after lunch too, so now I’m awake.
I can’t remember all my anxious thoughts last night, but I think they basically boiled down to: I used to worry I would never get over the depression and I would never get married, while I now worry that I will never even learn to manage the depression; never learn to manage my autism; never build a career; never even have a job I can cope with; never be able to support myself independently of my parents; never do an acceptable amount of daily davening and Torah study (prayer and religious study); never be accepted in my religious community; and, because of all of the above, I would never get married. I don’t know where to start working on eight major, interconnected worries. There is also a worry that that the cumulative effect of all of this would be that I stop being religious, but that seems somewhat less likely than the other worries. I guess getting an autism diagnosis is the first step, but that depends on the vagaries of the NHS waiting list and whether I can convince the psychiatrist this time that I really am autistic.
I wonder how much I want to get married. Consciously I want it a lot, but I wonder if I’m unconsciously afraid of rejection/effort/loss of freedom/something else and self-sabotaging, hence avoiding ways of dating (dating sites, professional shadchanim (matchmakers), my parents’ efforts to set me up with their friends’ children). I tell myself no one could love me at the moment while I’m depressed and about to be unemployed, but maybe I should be more active in seeking dates and see what the women think. Put like that, it sounds almost rational, but I think it’s disingenuous to present myself as ready to date when I’m a psychological and financial mess. But maybe that’s just an excuse. Maybe I can’t cope with the idea of dating.
I guess it applies to non-romantic social contact too. I want to connect, but I don’t know how (autism) and I’m scared of rejection (social anxiety). I don’t know how to live with loneliness and isolation, but I don’t know how to move on from it.
I guess this is where psychodynamic therapy comes in ahead of CBT. CBT assumes we just need to clarify our thoughts so we can think the right things, whereas psychodynamic therapy deals with internal conflicts where we are actually torn about what the ‘right’ thing to think is. So maybe it’s good that I might be able to see my psychodynamic therapist at the end of April, whereas my wait for CBT is indefinite.
I wasn’t tired this evening, unsurprisingly, so I spent some time tidying my desk drawers (although avoiding the bottom one, which has various Jewish papers in, which should really be buried at some point). This is what the title of this post is referring to (not the government’s Brexit strategy). There were various papers from the job I had last year, the one that I really messed up, as well as a lot about pensions, which is something else that worries me (I don’t have one, and I know I should, but I don’t earn enough money. I worry what will happen to me). I found something from CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), which I belong to largely in order to try to convince myself I’m a professional with a career and not a child trapped in an adult’s body/life.
I used to think of myself as an organised person, but along with my ability to plan (Dad: “You’re a terrible planner!”), I fear that this is more apparent than real i.e. I was organised when I didn’t have a busy enough life to produce much to organise. My “organising” tends to involve shoving bits of paper from my desk in to drawers, and then periodically I clear the drawers by shoving the paper in ring binders. Tidying ring binders happens very rarely, every few years, and tends to involve throwing a lot of stuff away. I suppose tidying drawers happens every few months, but I keep the top of my desk tidy most of the time, which creates the illusion of organisation, albeit that a pile of ring binders and papers mostly related to my writing projects has taken up residence on one side, which I tolerate on the grounds that they are at least meaningful projects that might bring in income one day and are more likely to be worked on if in view.
I also found a psychiatrist’s letter announcing that I was free of another episode of depression, which is vaguely depressing. It shows I do come out of these episodes, but the time out of depression lasts a couple of months, whereas the episodes of depression themselves last a couple of years and I never have enough time in between to really build up my life.