Today was a difficult day. I struggled at work, partly because of people using the library for work and for a shiur (religious class), making me feel self-conscious as I carried on with my work around them and creating noise that was hard to tune out, which only got worse when the choir practise started in the next room. I think that’s going to happen every other Monday afternoon and I’ll just have to put up with it. As I’ve said, the library rates quite low in the institution’s priorities. I’m not upset about that as it makes sense within those priorities, for reasons I can’t say without giving too much away about it, but it does make it hard for me with autistic noise issues. That I find libraries frequently too noisy for me is one of my main pieces of evidence in favour of my being on the spectrum.
Beyond this, I felt a lot of depression and anxiety today, some about work and how I am doing with it and how I will do with the next step forward, which is going to involve talking to people (the horror!). I did get a bit of a better idea about that next step though. I want to do some research tomorrow (even though it’s not a work day – it will be easier at home), but it looks like WordPress has a plugin for a library management system for small libraries, which could be ideal for us, although I need to find out if it’s compatible with the institution’s website and how to install it, whether it’s something I could do myself or if I would need outside contractors (quite likely given that my IT skills, while competent, do not extend to coding and I’m only vaguely aware of what plugins are).
As well as all this, there was anxiety about my relationship with E. We both feel we should bite the bullet and look for ways of moving our relationship on, but we’re both scared that doing that will wreck everything. To be honest, I’m not even sure that I’m in the right place to be thinking about relationships given that my mood and energy levels fluctuate so much at the moment. That said, our text conversation did show that we both think that relationships involve work and investment of time and energy and are not just about finding “The One,” which is a big thing that lots of people don’t understand.
We’re also both scared of self-sabotaging things. I think we’re actually both scarily alike, once you take into account the religious differences (both Jewish, but I’m a lot more observant). In terms of personality and, I think, core values, we’re not identical, but similar. But dealing with religious differences and geographical distance and both of us having mental health issues and neither of us really earning enough to live on… It does make it seem hard to build a relationship. It doesn’t help that I overthink things and spent hours today trying to quantify how I feel about E. to see if I care “enough” which is probably not a sensible thing to do any day, let alone a day when I feel stressed, depressed and anxious.
I’m also anxious about something else that I can’t write about here.
On the plus side, Dad said he was pleased that I’m getting more responsibility in my new job, while CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals) got back to me to say I could try to apply for Chartership, which is scary, but also exciting, given that I read about people getting Chartership in the CILIP magazine and think, “I could never do that, only people who are really good at their career could do that.” Chartership would mark me out as a better librarian and make me more employable as well as being a confidence boost, given that at the moment I rate my professional skills and ability low.
Also on the plus side, I did do a reasonable amount at work, even if I was sidetracked onto stuff I didn’t really want to deal with and am still not sure how well I am coping with the number of stakeholders and the amount of stake that they are holding (so to speak). I did fifty minutes of Torah study on the Tube too, managing some on the way home as well as the way there (a Mishnah and a chunk of The Art of Biblical Poetry by Robert Alter, which I’m counting as Torah even though my rabbi probably wouldn’t) and walked to and from the station (twenty minutes each way). I also spent an additional seven minutes reading a psalm once I was home (as study rather than prayer), so in terms of achievement it was a good day, even if it wasn’t so much in terms of mood.
On a previous post, Chaconia suggested that people at shul (synagogue) might see me as aloof. This is something I do worry about. When I was in counselling when I was at university (not the first time I was in counselling, but the first time I was actually able to talk to the counsellor), the counsellor suggested a dynamic whereby I get anxious of social contact and withdraw, but other people see this as holding myself aloof and respond by avoiding me, which fuels my anxiety and withdrawal in a vicious circle. This was the first time a counsellor or therapist had re-framed my life in a way that brought sudden insight, so it’s stuck in my memory. Realistically, it probably does still happen, especially now we know that high-functioning autism is probably a factor in there too, involving difficulty understanding and coping with social interactions. I do hold back from people and they don’t know what’s going on in my head to know why I’m holding back. It’s just hard to know what to do it, especially when, as I mentioned to Chaconia, I’ve told people at shul about my issues and the response has been mixed, sometimes silence, once negative remarks, although I think a couple of my friends at shul do now message me to check I’m OK if I miss a service or shiur that I normally would attend. I’m not complaining, because I genuinely don’t know what sort of response I would like to get to my issues and what would help me to fit in and “come out of my shell” (to use a horrible phrase much used about me by adults when I was a child).
I “discovered” a song recently. Actually, I rediscovered it, as I must have heard it years ago and it lodged in my head without knowing who sang it or what the lyrics really were. Then it came on on a Spotify playlist the other day and I discovered the chorus lyrics really are, “Hey, hey, I saved the world today/Everybody’s happy now/The bad thing’s gone away/And everybody’s happy now/The good thing’s here to stay/Please let it stay” but the song (I Saved the World Today by Eurythmics) as a whole has a level of irony and desperation that I hadn’t noticed before and which seems relevant to the bad-yet-good day I had today, starting, “Monday finds you like a bomb/That’s been left ticking there too long” while the second verse talks about “a hurting thing inside/But I’ve got everything to hide”. That was my day, anyway.