I had insomnia last night. I realised just before going to bed that I’d forgotten to take my evening meds, which was doubtless why I was alert enough to work on my devar Torah (Torah thought) for two hours after dinner. My meds aren’t sleeping tablets, but they do make me drowsy and I struggle to fall asleep without them. I think I eventually fell asleep around 4.00am. So it was even less of a surprise than usual that I woke exhausted and depressed again.
The weekly job email from CILIP (The Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals) comes out on Thursdays. I found one job that’s potentially worth applying for, but that was all. It’s easy to feel disheartened when there seem to be so few jobs that fit my skills, experiences and especially my needs for a safe, calm environment with few people and the ability to work only two or three days a week.
I emailed the therapist I used to see if I could see her again. She says that she doesn’t think she can help me any more and that if I want more therapy I should look for a new therapist who might offer something new. On one level, I can see that might be valid (I was with this therapist for something like eight years, which is a long time, particularly when there isn’t much of an improvement), but looking for a new therapist from scratch is scary, particularly given that the family finances are worse off than they were a few years ago, and the old therapist was probably charging less than a new one would charge. The finance problem is partly because my father now only works part-time (my Mum has worked part-time for years), with the added complication that it looks like my Mum’s paid sick leave is going to be a lot less than we had hoped.
In the past in this situation I would have been very despairing. That’s not how I feel, but that’s probably because I haven’t been in therapy for a year or so, so I know I’m coping on some level. I do feel that it’s hard to unpick my emotions at the moment and understand them and that I would like to talk to a therapist, but I’m daunted by the thought of finding one, let alone one in the right and geographical area and price bracket. At the moment I feel “depressed” and “anxious,” but am struggling to define and understand my emotions in more detail. As someone who has become perhaps over-reliant on such therapeutic analysis, it is scary and difficult. I know I’ve focused a lot on the forthcoming Jewish festivals of Purim and Pesach and the stress and mental health triggers around them as a target for worry, but maybe this is another case where what I overtly worry about is a proxy for something more nebulous and undefined, in this case issues about coping as an adult without my parents and the whole concept that my parents will die one day and I will be left alone, which connects with other issues (my autism assessment and benefits troubles; my relationship with E.; my relationships with my other family members).
I struggled a bit at depression group because of that. I didn’t feel I understand myself well enough at the moment to say much that was meaningful. Perhaps because of that, I felt that people asked a lot of questions to prompt me and I ended up with my conversation drifting in the direction of the questions. It’s a criticism of myself rather than anyone else, but not really even of myself. I simply didn’t know what to say and as nature abhors a vacuum, people guided me to say something. Maybe I should have just signalled that we could move on.
I worry that some of my responses made me seem uncaring and incompetent, although it was really my autism that was the issue. People asked how my family are coping and I didn’t really know, because autism means I can’t intuit how people are feeling unless they tell me, and it also means I don’t necessary think to ask people how they are feeling, certainly beyond the “how is your day going?” level. I did ask my Mum how she was most days when she was first diagnosed, but I fell out of the habit. I was also asked where my Mum is going to be treated and I couldn’t remember because my autism means I don’t remember a lot of stuff that my brain doesn’t label as important, and it has a different system of ranking importance to most people. It doesn’t rank the name of the hospital as important, because I’m not going to have to go there myself, let alone go there alone, and I don’t have a special interest in hospitals, so my brain is quite happy just knowing that Mum is going to The Hospital without caring about which hospital it is (actually, it’s several hospitals for several treatments – that much did travel into my brain).
It’s a shame, as I wanted to go to depression group, but I don’t think I really had anything to say about how I’m feeling and I felt tense from being around people a lot of the time.
Shiur (religious class) got cancelled so I didn’t have to tell anyone that I was missing it to go to depression group. This happened last time I was going to miss shiur for depression group too. E. wondered if it was a sign that I shouldn’t tell anyone. I’m not superstitious like that, but I wonder if the maths is against it. Of the people in the WhatsApp group, three know a little bit about my depression, one knows I have some illness but not what it is and three I don’t think know anything. There are another two people who go who aren’t on WhatsApp so won’t see it. It’s possible that the small numbers involved make this not worth worrying about.
I can see that if a lot of people at shiur and shul (synagogue) knew about my issues and were understanding that could lead to a big improvement in my life and in my relationship and comfort level with the community. However, if they were not understanding then the reverse could happen. Two of the people who know do seem to worry if I’m not in shul or shiur when normally I would be, which may be because they’re aware of the issues. Other people don’t say anything. So far no one who knows has said anything negative. It is a bit of a conundrum.