My parents are away for a few days, starting this morning, and I have the house to myself. This is good in some ways, but bad in others. In particular, my loneliness gets worse when they’re away. Even though I don’t talk to them that much, I seem to benefit from other people being in the house, which I guess sheds light on my desire to get married. Of course, when they’re here, I get frustrated with them, particularly if I feel they’re treating me as a child. It’s difficult being an adult living with my parents, especially as, to some extent, they have good reason for assuming I can’t cope by myself because of my high functioning autism and depression. More on this below.
I felt very depressed again today and lacking in energy, motivation and concentration. I really wasted the day sleeping as I struggled to sleep last night, then slept through the morning and dozed off again after breakfast. I kept going back to lie on the bed because I feel so drained. That was how I dozed off after breakfast. I just have no energy for anything. I felt as limp as a rag doll much of the day and didn’t feel able to do anything except type a bit. I didn’t even feel able to read much, although my mood energy and concentration got a bit better in the late afternoon. I don’t know why my mood has sunk recently. It’s possible that the busy week I had two weeks ago, with a break-up and two stressful job interviews and then three job rejections (actually two rejections, plus belated feedback from a third) knocked me out and I have recovered, which feels a bit pathetic. I feel I should (that word again) be better at recovering, but I can’t make myself better by beating myself up, sadly.
Well, all I managed to do today was go for a half hour walk and buy bananas, as well as ten minutes of Torah study. I did find a new job to apply for, only to find that it seems I had wanted to apply for it in February, but the advert was taken down before I applied for it. As I haven’t seen it advertised lately, I’m guessing they didn’t fill the post first time around or possibly they’re advertising for a similar, but non-identical role, so I decided to try again, but I got dismayed by the lengthy online application and request for evidence CPD and the like (with my issues it’s hard just to hold down a part-time job, let alone do CPD). Other than that, the only productive thing I did was watch an episode of Doctor Who as research for my book.
My life seems to be about contingency planning right now. What career can I build for myself given that I don’t seem to be able to build one in librarianship? Will I manage to make one as a writer? This is hard, especially as I don’t know anyone who could advise me and am not convinced that I am a good writer (albeit that my low number of blog followers may be due to my writing in a style that might fit better in a weekly magazine or newspaper column than a daily blog post and not necessarily a sign that I should not write book-length pieces). What religious community should I go to, given that my current is not perfect, but might be the least-worst option for now, and how can I integrate if I can’t find a perfect fit? What outlets can I find for my loneliness, my need to give and receive love and my sexuality, given that Jewish law and social anxiety seem to rule most options out? I guess pets might be an option again, but I’ve gone off the idea a bit.
There’s a beautiful piece in the latest Jewish Review of Books that I read today, John J. Clayton reflecting on getting old with Parkinson’s Disease. It would have caught my attention anyway, for being quite religious, which is unusual (admittedly not quite so unusual in the JRB than in a mainstream newspaper), but I found a lot of it seemed familiar to my situation, even though depression is a very different illness to Parkinson’s (although I do have medication-induced tremor at awkward times). The sense of trying to stay positive and grateful when you can feel your strength, even your life dripping away. Wanting to stay positive so other people will be able to praise your inner fortitude and gratitude when you’re gone, but really not feeling up to it. The sense of life not going according to plan, the feeling of this isn’t supposed to happen. I can’t shake the jealous feeling that somehow I lost my life, the feeling, as Clayton said, of being a ghost, of watching my peers live the life I wanted to live, that I felt I would/should live.
My Mum just called on What’sApp. It didn’t go well. I think the line was bad; at any rate either I couldn’t hear her properly or she was hesitating a lot. I thought she couldn’t hear me and spoke louder, so she said I didn’t need to shout. We both ended up getting annoyed with each other. The underlying cause, of course, is that I’m nearly thirty-six and have lived alone before, but because of my “issues,” my parents feel the need to check up on me in a way that they don’t do to my (younger, married) sister. And knowing that, on some level, I probably do need to be checked up on only makes it feel worse. It doesn’t help that, because of my autism, I don’t like speaking on the phone generally and I especially don’t like sudden phone calls out of the blue, which disrupt my plans (even if, as tonight, I don’t really have concrete plans, they still make me worry how long the call will take, what I should say and so on) and feel like an invasion of my metaphorical space. Now I feel angry and guilty, feeling worse for knowing that I don’t have a legitimate reason to get angry. Plus, of course, the worry that “If some horrible holiday-related disaster happens to my parents, then the last time I spoke to them would be an argument” (rather than it being me grunting goodbye when I was basically asleep this morning).
Now I’m trying to work out if I’ve ever told my family any of the above, or if I’m just autistically assuming that they know it. This has all come about because I was depressed yesterday and also because when they went away for a week in the winter, they didn’t tell me to phone, so I assumed they didn’t want to hear from me and stayed out of contact all week. They assumed I would phone, but I didn’t. I was depressed all week and I think they blamed themselves, although if they had phoned I would almost certainly have lied and said I was fine, because I’m not good at opening up about my emotions in person (as opposed to in writing), particularly with my parents, with whom I don’t always have a straightforward relationship.
I did text them to apologise, but I still feel bad. I also feel bad (a different type of bad) about not being able to cope with basic social interactions because of my autism.
This post seems to be full of my pleading “issues” to explain why I do, or don’t do, the things people expect me to do. This just makes me feel useless, even if it’s true. I feel that if things had been even slightly different for me perhaps I could have turned my autistic traits into strengths rather than weaknesses and succeeded in the work sphere at least, even if not in my social/family/romantic life. Maybe I will be able to turn things around, I just can’t see how.