I slept badly last night, for various reasons, and woke up late for volunteering. I felt exhausted and did not have much inclination to be around people, but I didn’t want to give in the depression, so I went anyway, albeit that I was very late and missed most of the setting up. My Dad gave me a lift. I feel bad at how much I rely on him for lifts. I try to walk or take public transport, but he regularly offers lifts and sometimes it’s just much easier to accept, but that probably drives the difficult edge on our relationship, on some level. I never learnt to drive. I had all kinds of excuses, but it was basically anxiety at the thought of being in charge of a powerful, dangerous machine, now reinforced by the feeling that “I’m autistic and I can’t multi-task and I have poor spatial awareness, so I’ll never be able to drive safely” which is not a particularly helpful attitude.
Back to volunteering. There were a lot more children in the creche area than there were adults supervising, which was awkward. Hard to keep an eye on all of the children at once. My Mum says I’m good with children, but I struggle sometimes to know how to talk to them, particularly if they’re upset or angry and particularly older and more active children. I probably cope best with children who are like me at that age. I also feel inhibited with other people’s children somehow, and with so many other people around. I suppose I feel inhibited from being silly and messing around with the children with so many adults I don’t know around, which is not always the case when I’m with my second cousins and their children at home.
I hoped to go for a run when I got home, but I’m too tired to do anything. Four hours after volunteering finished, I still feel utterly exhausted. I did about fifteen minutes of Torah study on the bus home and I’ve eaten, showered, read some Batman, looked at a few blogs and davened (prayed), but that’s about all. I’m just going to spent the evening in front of the TV, I think (my parents are going out). Certainly no writing or job applications today.
Going back to children… I realised over Shabbat (the Sabbath) that if I want to have children, I probably have a narrow window to do so (assuming things don’t work out with E.). I basically need to get married in the next four years. If I’m looking to get married in the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) world, it’s basically going to have to be through a professional shadchan (matchmaker) as I’m not being set up on dates by acquaintances (the usual method of meeting someone in the frum world), there aren’t any singles events (and I doubt I could cope with them if there were) and I don’t really want to try online dating again (perhaps wrongly). So that means using a shadchan. The shadchanim I’ve seen divide the dating pool into ‘older’ and ‘younger’ singles, with the dividing line at forty. I guess they have to draw a line somewhere, but it seems a bit arbitrary. A forty year old man could feasibly marry a thirty-eight year old woman and have children without it seeming icky. In fact, a man who is exactly forty is not likely to find his match in the forty-plus group, as men tend to marry younger women. The bottom line is that I’ve got just under four years before I go in the older pool and pretty much have to give up on hopes of having children. Given my financial situation, I very much doubt I will be doing any dating any time soon, so I hear the sociological (rather than biological) clock ticking…
I’m trying to focus on what I have, but I’m always on such a tightrope between what I have and what I don’t have. I have my physical health, but that reminds me that my mental health is poor. My parents and sister and E. support me, but I feel rejected by my community (while also thinking that it’s really my fault, that I don’t put myself out there enough or make enough of an effort to get to know people). I don’t have immediate financial problems as my parents are letting me live here for free, but I feel dependent and inadequate because of that and I can’t see myself becoming financially secure any time soon. And I can’t see myself getting married and building a family while not financially secure and more mentally healthy, which in turn makes me more depressed, so it’s a vicious circle. It’s hard. All the Jewish (and other) inspirational sites and books say to focus on gratitude for the good that you have rather than what you don’t have and I try to do that. Really I do. However, it feels like I have to define things in a precise way to sound better than the are e.g. specifying that I have good physical health because I don’t have good health in the abstract in the way these books would normally encourage people to see themselves as healthy. Every evening I thank God for a minimum of five things that happened that day, but so often I seem to be thanking Him that, when things went wrong, they didn’t go utterly disastrously wrong, or that even though I was really depressed, I still got stuff done.