I feel bad today, but I can’t work out what ‘bad’ means. I guess it means ‘depressed.’ I’m struggling to understand my feelings again. I did feel close to tears at times. Earlier I was virtually crying, except that I couldn’t quite manage it. I should feel anxious, about Pesach and about working late tomorrow (I’m going in at 1pm and working until 9pm to help with a public evening event, which will mean – gulp! – talking to strangers) and I do feel a bit anxious about these things, but I’m not sure that that’s what I am really feeling. For much of the day I just wanted to curl up in a ball and ignore the world, really. That’s more depression than anxiety, although, looking at the news, maybe it’s a rational response to the world (cf. Catch-22). At any rate, it’s hard to do anything today.
I feel guilty, too, because I make myself out to be a better person here than I actually am. I confess a lot here, but I can’t quite bring myself to confess everything. So people think I’m better than I actually am. I feel bad about that. I suppose I have the idea that if everyone knew all my faults and accepted them, maybe I could accept them myself or forgive myself or something. Or maybe I just feel bad that that people think I’m a good person when… well, in the past I would have said “when I’m not a good person,” but today I feel more that it should be “when I’m not such a good person,” which I suppose is an improvement of a kind.
I did look for extra cataloguing training on the CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) website, but I couldn’t find anything current. I tried to sign up to some education and research mailing lists on JISCMail, but got panicked by the sheer numbers of lists there and the obscure areas they deal with (A forum on Hoshin Kanri [?]; Huddersfield Consortium College Libraries; Hull Geochemistry and Geobiology; Historians of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland – that’s just some of the Hs). I signed up to a higher education list in the end and thought I would see how that goes before I decide whether to sign up for any more. I’m not very good at CPD, or anything connected with my career, really.
My self-perception has really altered in the last year. I used to think that I would be good at a job if I could find the right one, that depression was the main obstacle to my building a career, that one day the right combination of therapy, medication and activity/occupational therapy might – might! – help me deal with my depression, that I was an organised person and so on. Now I have this huge thing called ‘autism’ looming over me as a potential diagnosis. In some ways that’s good, because it leaves open the door to hoping that one day I will find the ‘right’ way to work and to live in order to have a career and potentially a family with my mental health issues managed at the root rather than just treating the symptoms, but in the meantime I am struggling to know who I am, what I could/should be doing about my career and relationships (relationships with family and friends as well as romantic relationships), how I can live and what I can expect of myself in my religious life. I guess it’s no wonder I feel depressed, exhausted and confused so much of the time.
I wish I could have some kind of careers advice session, except not just about my career, but about the whole of my life, that someone would tell me what kind of career would suit me, where I fit in with the Jewish community, what type of woman I should be trying to date and how to meet her, how to cope with everyday life… A S Mentoring might be able to help with some of that, but I’m not sure how to formulate the questions I need to ask yet, as well as being nervous about asking for help and embarrassed that I seem to need to rely on charities (mental health (JAMI) and autism (A S Mentoring, Mencap)) all the time when I feel I should be able to do things for myself. Plus, I feel somethings are harder because I have more than one issue. Autism and depression can interact in different ways and it’s not always clear which is predominating at any given time e.g. when should I try to push through exhaustion on the grounds that it’s just a symptom of depression and when should I accept it as a sign that I’m overstimulated and need quiet and rest.
I did fill in the online form for A S Mentoring, so that’s something positive I’ve done today.
Other than that, I didn’t do much today. I went for a forty minute walk in the sunshine, which was good. I started to apply for another job, but it was hard to overcome the depression. This one is listed as a librarian role, but from the qualifications they are looking for, I think it’s another job where a librarian would be over-qualified and that it’s really a glorified library assistant role. I tried to fill the online form in, but kept lapsing back into despair. I find this whole process so tedious and I’m terrified that while I have the skills to write job applications and I apparently interview well, I’m actually incapable of holding down a real job.
This article is very true. It would have been pretty much impossible for me to have had support for autism at school, certainly at primary school, as high-functioning autism/Asperger’s Syndrome wasn’t recognised until the year I started secondary school; when I was a child, if you were verbal, you weren’t autistic, end of story. Even so, I think my parents and teachers were aware that things weren’t right in some way and that I was a target for bullies (but usually different bullies; I wasn’t usually consistently targeted by the same people, which made stopping it hard, especially when it was kids I didn’t know from other years shouting stuff at me in corridors when we passed) and was lacking in confidence, but that wasn’t considered special needs. My Mum tried to get me to see the school counsellor, but handled it badly and just upset me and my form tutor once told me I needed to… I can’t remember his exact words, but he basically told me I was working too much and needed to develop my life outside of work . But the general view was that my grades were good, so I was doing well, even if I wasn’t socially integrated, especially as I don’t get meltdowns or stim in a very obvious way or have other external symptoms of autism.
I suppose I was also lucky, going to a Jewish school, that there were voluntary shiurim (religious classes) to go to at lunchtimes, so I didn’t have to spend them in the playground. On days when there weren’t shiurim I could be quite lonely and miserable if I got separated from my small circle of friends (e.g. they were at music practice or we got split up in the lunch hall crowd), which happened quite frequently. I do wonder if I would be in the emotional/psychological state I’m in today (depression, social anxiety) if more support had been available when I was growing up, but I guess that way madness lies.
I keep having mini revelations about my autism. I used to think I was a bad writer because I don’t use much metaphorical language, not in my blogs and non-fictional writing, but also not very much when I was writing fiction or poetry. Now I realise that that could be autism. I don’t struggle with non-literal language the way some autistic people do, but I don’t use it much and I’m very aware of, and irritated by, clichéd language, which often consists of tired metaphors that are just taken for granted and not even used as metaphors any more.
I looked at some articles on Neshamas, which I hadn’t done for ages. I don’t know why, because I could have guessed it would be upsetting. I suppose I was lonely and I just wanted to connect with people who feel as awful as I do, even if it’s just by reading what they wrote. I read stuff written by women who are being abused/raped by their husbands. It makes me angry and upset that this happens. But also, it makes me think that I do have something to offer in a relationship, in terms of not actually being abusive. But then after a moment it somehow seems inadequate. That those women deserve better than the men who are abusing them, but that they would also deserve better than me. That I wouldn’t be able to meet anyone’s needs, I just wouldn’t hurt her. That I’m objectifying women just by wanting to be in a relationship with someone, even though I just want to be able to give to someone.
It’s possible that I’m not thinking straight about something here, but it’s hard to tell what.