I’m depressed, anxious and tearful again today.
I couldn’t sleep last night, despite being very tired, and I ended up getting up at 1.00am to work on my Doctor Who book for a while to get something productive done from the time. When I did finally get to sleep, I dreamt about shul (synagogue) and being embarrassed there because I did not sign up to do the joint Mishnah study this year, and also for doing the wrong thing when called to read from the Torah. Both these things have happened in real life and make me feel rather useless. I then overslept this morning and woke feeling exhausted and drained, which persisted after breakfast and coffee.
The shadchan (match-maker) from the values-based dating service thinks she has a match for me. I’m terrified that dating at the moment is a very bad idea, but am going to go along with it. I’m catastrophising enormously, though, and blaming myself for dating when I’m not in a good mental health or financial situation. To be honest, I thought I wasn’t going to meet anyone through the values-based dating service so I didn’t think to say that I am not in such a good situation and am not looking for anyone. Now it seems too late to back out… plus, I suppose there’s the hope that it might work out. I’m catastrophising and self-blaming a lot, though. Dating always seems such a negative experience for me. I get terrified of getting hurt, but I also get terrified of hurting someone else. Or of somehow ending up trapped in a dysfunctional relationship out of misplaced politeness and not wanting to upset someone, or out of fear that I won’t find anyone else.
When I was working in a further education library, my boss frequently accused me of “over-thinking” things, which I suspect is true of me in lots of situations, including/especially dating. This is probably very silly and I wish I could just take things as they come, but I can’t.
I read in The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome of a young autistic boy who was feared to be suicidally depressed because he would repeatedly say that he wanted to die. On investigation, it was discovered that he was not depressed, he just thought that this was something said on very minor setbacks, having seen it on TV and misunderstood the context. I wonder if my brain does something similar and goes to ‘I want to die’ as the result of feeling overwhelmed, which can happen with relatively minor things that trigger difficult emotions. I suppose it’s good that I can recognise these feelings as anxiety, while in the past I think I misunderstood them as depression, although there may genuinely be some despair in there.
I certainly wish I had someone to talk to at the moment, but I can’t get hold of my rabbi mentor, my previous therapist has no free appointments at the moment and my close friends are all busy with major life problems, much bigger than my issues, so I don’t want to bother them.
I got through the day somehow. The shadchan didn’t phone or email with more information; I don’t know why, so I’m still in suspense, but now I’m wondering if the shadchan also asked the woman if she would be interested in dating me and she said no. It’s possible. In some ways that would be a relief as well as a disappointment.
I felt anxious quite a lot during the day. Usually I write these posts during the day, either whole paragraphs in odd moments or writing notes to myself of things to write in full later, but today I decided not to do that, as I felt it was fuelling my anxiety by making me constantly analyse myself and my emotions. I tried using some of the coping strategies I was taught on my group therapy/well-being courses. Challenging my catastrophising helped a little bit (telling myself I’m unlikely to be trapped in a relationship out of not wanting to hurt the other person, although it has to be said that I passed a lot of red flags before I broke up with my first girlfriend); deep breathing helped rather more.
I spent about three hours or more working on a job application, as well as about half an hour of Talmudic study and a brisk thirty minute walk to the shops and back. This was probably the best thing I could do to distract myself. The job application was also significantly anxiety-provoking and I struggled to answer a lot of the questions, but I’ve put together draft answers for most of them and I have an idea about how to answer the other one, which is an improvement on earlier this afternoon when I felt completely overwhelmed and unable to complete the application.
I am trying not to worry about dating and what might happen, but it’s hard. I don’t want to get hurt (obviously), but I don’t want to hurt someone else either. It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is sometimes.
In other, differently anxiety-provoking, news: I’m very worried that Brexit is going to lead to significant civil unrest. Whatever happens, about half the country are going to be sure that we’ve ended up in a terrible situation foisted upon the country undemocratically by the other half. That’s the best scenario; if there’s a messy compromise, as seems likely, everyone could be angry. Respect and trust for politicians and our democratic institutions is sure to plummet. Easy pickings for a demagogue of either the far-right or far-left. I’m just glad the UK doesn’t have the USA’s gun culture, that could be very messy.
Finally, more anxiety-provoking, news of another kind: while I was writing this, I got an email from my shul (synagogue) stating that not only is the rabbi leaving in the next few weeks (as I already knew), but the assistant rabbi is leaving too. We have a new rabbi lined up, although not confirmed yet until he gets to meet the community properly this coming Shabbat, but I don’t know if we will be replacing the assistant rabbi. I wasn’t hugely close to the rabbi and the assistant rabbi, but my relationship with them was better than nothing when my rabbi mentor lives in another country and is not always contactable. I had slowly opened up to them about some of my mental health issues and now I’ll be starting all over again. My relationship with my shul was already tenuous; this just puts it under greater strain. I don’t know where else I could go, though.
Autistic people do not cope well with change and uncertainty, and I seem to be going through it on every level today: personal, communal, national. I guess it’s good that I survived in one piece and even managed to get a few things done. Still, it’s late and I’m exhausted, physically tense from all the anxiety I’ve been dealing with today. I need to unwind a bit and go to bed. Tomorrow hopefully I will be able to make more progress on that job application and go to my autism support group for the first time in some months.