As expected, I felt burnt out today after everything I did yesterday and all the “peopling.”  I slept late and struggled to get up when I did wake up, then struggled to get going.  I had a long and deep text conversation with E. which left us both feeling very happy about the way our relationship works and our communication and shared values.

After lunch I looked at job adverts again.  So many institutions and companies advertise themselves as “A fast-paced environment.”  I’m not really able to cope with more than a moderately-paced environment, and even that only part-time.  There weren’t any jobs I was wild about, but I would have liked to have tried to apply for something, but in the event I felt too depressed and exhausted.

I did manage to do some Torah study.  We’re up to the first of several weeks of Torah readings about the building of the Tabernacle, the portable Temple in the wilderness, a very difficult narrative for us moderns to get anything from – and I’ve committed myself to write about it each week, which is scary.  I also managed to cook plain pasta for dinner.  I didn’t feel up to doing anything else.

I cooked dinner because we had another family issue.  Nothing too serious this time, but I think we all feel that things are hard right now and it’s easy to catastrophise and assume that “Everything is going wrong!”  In a strange way, I think we’ll feel better once Mum’s chemotherapy starts, as events will be moving on and we’ll have a better idea of how much our lives are going to be disrupted over the next year.  At the moment I have stomach pains which I’ve had periodically for some weeks now and which I think are a stress issue, although my parents want me to go to the doctor and I’m half convinced they’re right, but the surgery makes it really hard to get an appointment.

***

I’ve been wondering lately why my depression and social anxiety are so entrenched, particularly the depression.  Reading mental health blogs, there are people who suffered serious abuse and the like who are doing better than me.  The only explanation I have for my depression and why it feels so treatment-resistant is that I might have high functioning autism that somehow went undiagnosed twice already.  It feels like autism alone is not enough to make me like this, which leads on to feeling that I’m weak and lazy.  To be fair, I think I probably am on the autism spectrum, but I still wonder why some people on the spectrum manage to live normal or even gifted lives and I can’t.  Certainly I realise that my life would be a lot easier if I was good with numbers like so many successful autistic people are.  In my experience many high functioning autistic people work in IT/computer programming, accountancy and banking; some companies in these sectors actively seek out autistic workers because they fit so well.

On the positive side, I feel hugely grateful for having E. in my life.  She accepts so much in my life that is negative and off-putting to most people.  Still, there is so much uncertainty and frustration in our relationship – frustration at being on different continents and not knowing when or how we will be able to move our relationship to the next level.  In some ways it would be easier if we knew we could get married in X number of years, even if X was a fairly large number, but not know if we’ll ever get to that stage is frustrating.

Still, I feel hugely grateful for how kind and understanding E. is.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt this grateful for anything before.  I don’t know what I would do if she wasn’t in my life.  And I’m glad that we have the communication skills and have built up enough trust to make this weird long-distance, slow-motion relationship work despite all the uncertainty and “issues” that we both have.  Paradoxically, the fact we both have issues is probably part of the key to the relationship working, as it means the relationship is reciprocal, not just one person giving and one taking, and because it means that we each know what the other is going through.

***

One last thing on the subject of gratitude: I saw this week’s Doctor Who one day late (it was too late to watch it when I got in yesterday) and enjoyed it.  It was far from perfect, but good, at least until the cliff-hanger, which gave me bad memories of Army of Ghosts/Doomsday.  So I’m grateful for that too.

15 thoughts on “Nearly Lost Day

        1. Hmm, maybe. I feel like it’s more that other people with depression have a clear cause, often something very traumatic, but I “only” have autism, and other people with autism don’t have such a lot of other issues. Maybe this only makes sense in my head though.

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          1. I think it probably is something that’s not objectively true. It would be inaccurate to say that most people can identify a clear cause for depression, or most most other mental illness, for that matter. I certainly have no trauma or other clearlky idenitifiable cause. There are also plenty of people with all sorts of co-occurring, and from an objective perspective it’s not a logical conclusion that because you have autism and no trauma then it’s somehow wrong that you ended up with depression, social anxiety, and OCD.

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  1. I haven’t read your blog for long, but you are most certainly gifted and are very open about dealing with your depression, autism, and religious OCD. I admire that. By the way, “fast paced environment” generally means that no one can keep up with the demands and the stress of the job. No, thanks!!

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  2. Glad to hear you and E are getting on so well. That’s lovely.

    With reference to getting an appointment with your GP –
    Do they operate an online booking service? Mine does, and it takes the hassle out of trying to book an appointment .

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    1. They do have an online booking service, but they only release appointments onto the system for a few days in advance. Because this is a minor ailment, I would be happy to book an appointment in two or three weeks time, but I can’t because those appointments aren’t released onto the system yet. Because of the scarcity of appointments, they go really quickly; I logged on yesterday evening to see if I could get an appointment and the only one they had was for 7.45am (extended hours appointment), which was too early.

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      1. It’s worth checking for GP appointments frequently as they sometimes get cancellations.
        Also, if they offer an out of hours service, they may offer weekend appointments which are underused, so you may get a Sunday appointment.

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  3. You say: “I still wonder why some people on the spectrum manage to live normal or even gifted lives and I can’t.” You may be undervaluing what you already do. And I think you are pretty typical of someone with high functioning ASD in so far as any person can be typical. True we hear of a few in the media like Chris Packham, Ann Hegerty and even Greta Thunburg – who appear to be high achievers and for whom social anxiety appears not to have been an obstacle — they seem to enjoy the media spotlight. (Though reading about Greta’s previous issues you realize how bad things were before she found her special interest). But they are not typical. We know that depression and anxiety (including OCD) frequently go hand in hand with ASD — apparently more so with Asperger’s than high functioning autism (they used to distinguish the two). At least you do not have a substance abuse issue which is a very common coping mechanism for people with Asperger’s and is only recently getting the attention it deserves. Nor do you appear to have ADHD — another co-morbid condition. My frustration is that I feel so many people with high functioning ASD are wasted and don’t achieve their full potential — they could be making a valuable contribution to society and could work — but the systems are not in place to support them adequately. This is particularly the case with post school education and training and in the workplace. I think that eventually you will find your niche job and that once you do you will flourish. And in the meantime, you have your writing, caring for parents and a good relationship which is worth much.

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    1. I think you are pretty typical of someone with high functioning ASD in so far as any person can be typical.

      I think that’s reassuring. I usually struggle to understand what type of ‘normality’ to aspire to because I have a lack of role models with so many issues. I certainly feel with regard to Greta Thunberg that her success and fame have fortified the idea of “autistic superpowers” (which is common in the online autism community) and which makes me feel inadequate for not having those abilities – it’s almost a feeling that people on the spectrum have to be not just equal but better to neurotypicals to be accepted (of course, many women in the workplace would say they need to be better than men to get employed or promoted in high-ranking jobs).

      I don’t think I have ADHD; several other family members have been diagnosed with or suspected of ADHD or ADD and I definitely present differently to them.

      I agree that people on the spectrum are wasted and don’t meet their potential. That’s how I feel. I want to do something useful, it’s just hard to find a task and (in many ways more difficult) an environment that I can cope with.

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