Today was a better day, depression-wise, albeit that “better” seems to correlate to “doing quite a lot of things, but none of them work-related.”
I spoke to my rabbi mentor about my angst about shul (synagogue) and fitting in to frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) society. He said that probably there are other people in the shul who don’t match all its beliefs or values. Their conflicts may or may not be the same as mine, but probably no one feels a 100% fit. In addition, in terms of practical things, like feeling I don’t daven with a minyan (pray with a community) enough or study enough Torah, when people say they daven with a minyan so many times a week or “learn” Torah for so many hours a day, they’re probably reflecting a personal or communal ideal rather than a reality, like when people say they exercise three times a week, but actually only do it three times a month (or less).
Speaking to him, I was more confident that I’m in the right community, because, for all that I struggle to meet the ideals of the community, those ideals are ideals I can subscribe to, in terms of the importance of Torah study and communal prayer, even if the depression means I hardly ever meet these ideals myself. I would rather be with people who share those ideals than in a community where these are not even ideals, even if that was more “modern” in terms of philosophy and practice. Of course, it is still hard when I feel that I have to hide my belief in evolution or the fact that I’m writing a book about a TV programme. I don’t have a solution to that.
Other than that, I cooked some of dinner. I usually cook on Tuesdays anyway, plus we had my sister and brother-in-law over for dinner. I went for a run before dinner too. The run was pretty good and I seemed to be pacing myself better and running out of breath less, but I got a headache again. I think it’s really too warm to be running. I enjoyed dinner with my family, but felt out of the conversation some of the time and was ‘peopled out’ some time before they left. That’s all standard with autism. I realised that I kept wanting to change the subject to subjects that interested me more because of associations that occurred to me, but would not have occurred to other people. I had sufficient self-awareness not to do that, but it did reinforce my feeling that my autism is undiagnosed because I have the ability to “pass” in neurotypical society, probably from having it socialised into me from a young age, so mental health professionals don’t realise that the thoughts in my head and the instinctive actions I suppress can be very different to my visible behaviours.
I received an email from my boss from my job in further education, in response to a reference request from the charity I’m hoping to volunteer for. She gave me a positive reference, which was a bit of a relief as I still feel that she was not overly-impressed with my performance in that job (one where I felt the environment was not always good for someone on the spectrum). From a comment in her email, I realised that she was under the impression that the three month contract in higher education I had earlier in the year was permanent. I didn’t correct her, because I was embarrassed to, really.
It was probably a good day overall, but I feel bad about not doing anything for either my job hunt or my writing, aside from a little bit of research for the novel I’m hoping to write once I’ve submitted the Doctor Who book. I also had a feeling while I was out running that I’m embracing the idea of being a writer, which is good, but (a) I may not get published and (b) I feel that I’m diverting the energy that should be going into dating into my writing instead, or as I called it, “The Kafka Manoeuvre” (Zadie Smith described Kafka as leaving his girlfriends for Literature). I am really excited at the prospect of writing a novel, which is good as I’m not really excited about much at the moment. More than that, I actually feel there is a chance of my doing a reasonable job of writing it, which is just unprecedented for me – optimism!
Well, my headache is gone, as are my sister and BIL. It’s probably too late to do much other than a little bit of Torah study and my evening meditation/prayer routines, but I shouldn’t sit here blogging all night. I’m trying to look at today as a positive day, even if I didn’t make any progress on things that might earn me money one day.