“I had to work through it, I had to crawl my way back. I’m still not there, but I’m trying. That kind of work, reclaiming life, it’s punishing and it’s relentless and it’s solitary.” Star Trek Discovery: The War Without, The War Within, Teleplay by : Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts
There’s a risk that this is becoming a dream diary. I don’t remember my dreams very often, so I’m interested when I do, but I know other people’s dreams are not so interesting. But this one seemed very significant, especially as I woke partway through and then continued the dream when I fell asleep again, so here goes:
The dream was about the abdication crisis in 1936, when King Edward VIII abdicated so he could marry a divorcee, and his brother, who thought himself unfit to rule, became King George VI. Edward VIII has always seemed a weak character to me, someone who put his personal desires ahead of his duty, unlike his brother who became king despite not being prepared for it and who refused to be evacuated to safety in Canada during The Blitz, insisting on staying in danger with his subjects. (Edward, on the other hand, was a Nazi sympathiser who would probably have pushed for a peaceful settlement with Germany in 1940 had he been king.)
In the dream I shifted between being different characters, first an onlooker, then possibly Edward before ending up as George. I was watching the coronation in a Westminster Abbey that was (a) very small and (b) devoid of Christian symbols. Then I was being crowned myself. I didn’t feel myself fit to be crowned, but felt pushed into it by my family. There were lots of other details too that I can’t really remember (some Doctor Who stuff in particular), but I think the main message of the dream is that I have to decide whether to take responsibility for my life. Not that I can literally be a king, but that I have to decide whether I am going to be ruler of my life or be pushed around by events and my ‘issues’; also that sometimes we aren’t prepared for what life throws at us and we just have to get on with it with the British stiff upper lip.
Another significant detail is that when I was crowned, my family were not dressed appropriately (my Dad in particular was in t-shirt and shorts) and I just had to accept them as they are and stop wanting to change them.
It is easy to read all these things in a dream, but it’s a lot harder to put them into practice in my life.
In CBT today we spoke about my negative thoughts about work, relationships, self-esteem and socialising. It occurred to me on the way home that a lot of the thoughts basically boiled down to being conscious of the way my autism affects me in my interactions and makes me think that people are judging me negatively for it, because I felt I was treated negatively for being autistic as a child, by other children, but more importantly by adults who were unaware of my autism, which was not diagnosed, and tried to make me conform more in different ways (not that I was terribly non-conformist as a child, I just didn’t always understand social niceties and did enjoy ‘normal’ things). I’m not sure how I deal with that now. The CBT therapist asked if I felt people still judge me and I said no, but I suppose I worry that they do; they wouldn’t if I was ‘normal’ but I’m so very weird that they will judge me, especially in the conformist world of Orthodox Judaism. She did also say that it doesn’t matter even if they judge me, which might be a better approach for me to take.
An awkward moment: after we finished, I thought the therapist said to wait for her outside the admin office while she did something, but waiting outside I started to worry that I had misunderstood and so I left. She emailed to say check I was OK as she was expecting me to wait. Sigh. This is the kind of thing where I judge myself and feel inadequate regarding communication.
Next week we move towards challenging my low self-esteem with different new behaviours. Scary…
Speaking of which, today my shul (synagogue) had a trip to Cambridge to see the Cairo Geniza papers. I didn’t go was because I was too shy to personal message the person who was organising it. As it happened, I would have missed it anyway because of CBT, but I feel bad for missing it.
I had some other things that bothered or upset me today. Some of it I can’t really talk about because it concerns other people, but suffice to say that I felt pretty inferior.
I’ve also read a lot about horrible antisemitic stuff going on globally the last few days, which is depressing beyond words, especially as so many people seem to genuinely believe that antisemitism is just something Jews make up to get sympathy and shut down criticism of Israel. Apparently burning down synagogues in Germany is now considered a legitimate expression of criticism of the Israeli government. And a lot more where that came from that I’ll spare you.
I’ve just sunk into a deep depression in the last hour or so. I’m not sure if it was my sister visiting or if I ate too much junk at shiur (religious class) or what. It could also be going from CBT to shiur without enough of a break. Over-causation. I should get ready for bed, except that I need to daven (pray), meditate/do my hitbodedut and do some Torah study first.