I feel rather frustrated today. Most immediately, while I was davening Shacharit (praying the morning service), admittedly very late, my Dad phoned twice and my Mum phoned once in the space of five or ten minutes. Although they do tend to phone me a lot when they’re out (Dad was shopping, Mum was at work), three phone calls in ten minutes is a bit excessive, so first I got annoyed, but then I started worrying that something was terribly wrong and they were desperately trying to get hold of me to give me bad news. I wasn’t very anxious, but I was a little anxious. It was all fine in the end, but it’s left me feeling a bit on edge.
I also feel frustrated about my work life. I obviously don’t have a job at the moment and on one level that’s frustrating; on another level, it’s a relief, which is probably an indication that I’m in the wrong job or at least of how anxiety-provoking I find the world of work, I think primarily because of my autism. I think my mood is better since I’ve been out of work, which is worrying. I’ve been trying to allocate time to job hunting, working on my book(s) and doing various chores that need doing, either regular chores I’m supposed to help with like cooking or various one-off things that need doing, but I’m finding it hard. I spend too much time feeling lonely or depressed and/or procrastinating. I feel very sluggish and depressed for parts of the day (I would say morning, but I tend not to wake up until mid-morning), which takes a chunk of useful time out of my day. Then I stay up late trying to catch up on things. Even so, the list of chores is barely touched and I don’t spend as much time on my writing as I would like. I would like to spend three hours on job hunting a day plus an hour on writing or chores, and time on Torah study, prayer and walking (for exercise) each day, but I’m struggling with that, especially as I get exhausted so easily (not to mention distracted, sadly). Today I managed to finish a piece of writing and submit a job application, but the actual amount of time spent on those things was rather short.
On the plus side, I think the general trend in my mental health is upwards. It’s hard to notice because I feel depressed most days, particularly on waking, but I’m definitely not where I was when I was at most worst (2003-ca2010) where I was barely functional, if that. My functionality is obviously a lot better and I have held down a number of part-time jobs, of varying hours. I think my mood is generally better than it was, even if it is bad some of the time most days and even if it tends to get worse when I’m working (even with jobs I’ve enjoyed, I find myself anxious and depressed on the way in to work, sometimes to the extent that I can’t read on the train). I don’t think I will ever not be depressed, though.
I think progress for me now is about managing (rather than curing) my depression, social anxiety and autism, as well as managing my religious obligations and family and social lives. It’s hard as there isn’t a guidebook. I have to invent the rules and adapt them as things change. I’m might never have a full-time job or structured career and I may well never live the ‘normal’ frum (religious) life that is expected in my community of davening with a minyan (community) three times a day, doing extensive Torah study each day and participating actively in the life of the community. I may never get married and have children. Sometimes that all seems OK, but sometimes it upsets me. I don’t want people to think I’m a bad person or a bad Jew for not having a career, not davening with a minyan and so forth. But I think it’s more that I don’t want myself to feel that I’m a bad person or a bad Jew.