Late last night (about 1am), I was still wide awake, and feeling rather tense and agitated. Yes, I’d forgotten to take my meds again. I had something to eat and took them, but I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and looked for something calming to watch. I decided on my childhood favourite, Mr Benn. My sister bought me the DVD years ago. This was a series of short cartoons from the early seventies about a man who tries on clothes from the fancy dress shop; when he wears them, he gets caught up in an adventure related to the type of clothes he’s wearing. It’s for very young children, so the “adventure” is usually something simple, non-violent, and with a clear moral, like “Be grateful for what you have” or “Don’t cheat” (from the two episodes I watched last night). That said, one proposed episode was never made, banned as politically subversive (Mr Benn becomes a convict and cheers the other convicts up by decorating the prison in bright colours). The animation is extremely basic, often just still pictures, but I find the incidental music really haunting and atmospheric. David McKee, who created and wrote all the episodes also did some of the animation too. In the USA he’s best known for creating and drawing Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. The series was probably the gateway drug that introduced me to classic British telefantasy. Little did my parents realise what they were getting me into…
I didn’t fall asleep until about 3am or later. I got woken up around 8.00am by the *cough cough* in the garden next door, but shut the windows and went back to sleep. I was too depressed and exhausted to see much of the morning and the early afternoon. I felt somewhat better after lunch, but still fragile and drained.
I did manage to write 500 words of my novel after lunch, my minimum daily target. I somehow wrote that in under an hour, which was good, because I was too tired to carry on after that. I felt pretty frazzled after yesterday. After that I had therapy today because yesterday was bank holiday, but I was not really looking forward to doing it while drained. I still “gushed forth” a flood of thoughts and feelings. I spoke mainly about my interactions with my religious community. My therapist noted that with autism it is much harder to judge the informal rules of a community as opposed to the formal ones, but autism can also create a greater desire for clear formal rules. She also said some useful stuff about some people in the community being higher up the hierarchy and therefore able to make comments and jokes that would not be permitted to other people because they are risque mocking or e.g. the previous rabbi in my shul (synagogue) used to joke about the Moshe (Moses) grumbling about having to tell the Israelites about tefillin (“We have to strap leather boxes to our arms and heads during morning prayers”) which other people might not be able to do. We also spoke about religious communities not always encouraging individuality and self-expression; I said that’s true, but that perhaps having something to kick against gives me a reason to write. I would be much less likely to write a novel about a depressed, autistic person in the secular community because I think the Jewish nature of my novel is a new angle on the topic.
Just as I was writing this bit about community, there was a knock at the door and someone dropped off a box of chocolates and a packet of flowery paper napkins, from my shul. Some people in the community have sponsored this for everyone in the community as a way of uniting us for the festival of Shavuot this week when we’re still in lockdown. I’m slightly puzzled as to the significance of the paper napkins.
I was quite exhausted after therapy and spent longer decompressing than I would have liked. Since childhood, I have always taken longer decompressing and moving from one activity to another than I would have liked. I think it’s primarily an autistic trait, although it can probably be worsened by depression. It’s one of the reasons I fail to stick to plans. I was OK moving between lessons at school, possibly because there was an order to packing and unpacking my stuff and, as I went to a large school, there would be several minutes in the crush of getting to the next lesson and then waiting outside talking before the teacher came.
I was going to try to cook something for dinner, but as I was tired, I just cooked plain pasta to eat with bought sauce. I did also manage to go for a half-hour walk and Skype E. But other than that, I was too exhausted to do anything this evening.