Today I felt very drained all day, not just until lunch time like most days. I’ve been drifting in and out of feelings of depression. It has been a long week, and I am looking forward to Shabbat. I’m taking a few days off from my novel today and at the beginning of next week to take care of some admin-type stuff at home, including, hopefully, buying some ads on Amazon to advertise my self-published Doctor Who book. I do not like Amazon and avoid buying from them, but they have a monopoly on book sales and it’s the easiest way to try to get some interest in my book. So far, trying to set up a seller account has been difficult, thanks to unclear instructions and faulty links on the website. It looks like a whole long process that I don’t have the time or headspace to work on today.
On Sunday we will hopefully be going to my sister and brother-in-law’s for socially distanced barbecue in the garden, although that’s looking less likely from a weather point of view. If that goes ahead, that’s probably another day I will do little/nothing either on the novel or other chores. I don’t want to pause the novel for more than a few days, though, for fear of losing momentum. I want to finish a first draft by around Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year, this year starting in the evening of 18 September). So I need to get those chores done quickly.
The depressed feelings today, when they come, are sometimes just what I think of as “depressive hibernation” feelings, the desire to eat lots of carbs and then curl up in bed and sleep for a few months (and, yes, I am aware that this is technically the middle of summer, although you wouldn’t necessarily know that from the weather in the UK recently), partly more coherent thoughts about my not having a “normal” life. I think everyone’s definition of what a “normal” life is has been modified in the light of the last four or five months, but I’m still worrying that I won’t ever make friends, find a community I feel comfortable in, find a job and build a career, get married, and have children.
I’ve written about these thoughts a lot, so I’ll try not go on about them too much. I know there’s a lot of catastrophising going on in my head about them, but looking at my adult life, it’s hard not to feel that the catastrophic, or at least the somewhat bad, did often happen. The way my relationship with E. ended left me thinking that there’s no point even in looking for another relationship until I have some kind of job and a clearer career path (rather than vague aspirations, which is all I have right now), and am less depressed than I seem likely to be any time soon. I thought someone with similar issues to me would understand me, and accept my issues more easily, but experience suggests that that is not necessarily the case, and that my issues would be off-putting for most women. I know, I know, I don’t want to marry “most women,” I just want to marry one woman, but experience suggests that finding her will be even more of a needle in a haystack search for me than for most people.
I’ve been blogging, on one platform or another, since 2006 – not quite continuously, but for much of the period (I think I had eighteen months or two years off somewhere along the line – I think circa 2015-2017). I realised yesterday that the way I use blogs, as a reader and a writer, has changed. When I started, I wanted to use blogs to exchange information. I wanted to put out information that I thought was interesting and useful and I wanted to read similar information, mostly about Judaism or Doctor Who. I was also more open about discussing politics then. I was quite ruthless in avoiding blogs that I thought were not interesting. I didn’t really get the etiquette of “If someone friends you, you should friend them back” that prevailed on Livejournal at the time, which was probably why I had so few Livejournal friends.
Somewhere along the line, probably when I came back from my hiatus, I shifted, without really realising it. I do still read many blogs for information, but I blog myself just to offload my thoughts about my life and “issues” (depression, autism, social anxiety, low self-esteem). It doesn’t matter to me so much whether I have many followers, although I do greatly value comments. Similarly, I’m more likely to follow people just because they seem like nice people and have similar “issues” and I think we might be able to offer each other moral support online even if I don’t think they are sharing particularly world-shattering information. Blogging for me is increasingly about mutual support rather than exchanging information. It probably indicates personal growth in terms of my autistic views of what constitutes meaningful conversation or friendship as well as my social anxiety. (That said, even early on in my blogging career, I’ve been surprisingly open to meeting other bloggers in the real world.)
The main things holding me back from following people these days are (1) that I still can’t shake the feeling that I should read every post from someone I follow, even if it looks uninteresting, so I worry about being overwhelmed with posts to read and (2) I get put off by people who are very aggressive about their political views, even if it’s not a political blog (actually, especially as it’s not a political blog, as it seems unnecessary). I don’t mind people who think differently to me and I like being exposed to different ideas, but I get upset when I see people making aggressive generalisations about what others think and feel, or just being aggressive in general. I also feel uncomfortable if I feel like I’m being told to sign onto a bunch of unrelated ideas about the world just to read a blog. I left an autism WhatsApp group on the night of the general election last year, because apparently some people on the group couldn’t believe that anyone on the group could have voted a particular way and I really have much time for that any more.
I feel like this is a problem in society, that growing numbers of people are unable to accept that intelligent, thinking people have different worldviews to them. I think I possibly quoted the statistic that while people in the Western world are much more accepting of inter-racial relationships than a couple of generations ago, they are much less accepting of relationships with people of differing political views than they used to be. That saddens me. I follow people with different views to me, but I’m less and less tolerant of people being aggressive and unthinking.