I’m dealing with difficult feelings today. I felt overwhelmed when I got up, although I feel calmer now. Some of it was sitting waiting for the doctor to phone (see below), which is always anxiety-inducing – social anxiety as much as medical anxiety, plus now autistic “new situation” anxiety about socially isolated phone appointments (I’ve only had phone appointments before for follow up calls about mental health which didn’t need to be in person).
Dad phoned the doctor for me at 8.30am and got me a telephone appointment. The line was quite bad, so I was struggling with the phone call even more than usual. I was supposed to get a text beforehand allowing me to send a photo of the mole, but somehow I didn’t get it, although I got my Dad to take a photo. The surgery is not really good at admin things like that. The doctor said he couldn’t do much without a photo, but said that I could send one on the surgery website – I didn’t know that there is an online consultation feature now for minor illnesses, which is good. I hope that stays after COVID, as it would be a useful way of getting around the problems booking an appointment.
The online consultation was difficult too. There was a list of options, but there wasn’t an option for moles and the like. I did eventually find a “My problem is not listed” option. There are loads and loads of pages of questions to go through, but I did eventually get to an option to upload photos.
On the plus side, they answered within a couple of hours. The doctor wants to send it to a dermatologist to be sure, but is pretty confident that it’s benign, which is definitely good.
I still feel confused some of the time about whether I made the right decision to break up with E. I don’t want to explain why I broke up here, because that’s not fair on her, but my parents, who I did tell, thought it was the right decision, but still I worry. Did I mess up my last chance at happiness? I hope not. I don’t think so, but sometimes it’s hard to be sure, particularly late at night, as happened last night. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking that I continually make bad decisions (in general, not just regarding dating), which is not true, but it does feel that way sometimes.
I’m trying not to wallow in guilt right now. We’re in the time of the Jewish calendar called The Three Weeks. It’s a time of mourning for the destruction of the Temple, the exile of the Jewish people and many other tragedies of our history. The last nine days are even more intense, leading up to Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, next Thursday. In the Three Weeks, we don’t hold weddings or celebrations, shave or cut hair or listen to music.
One is not supposed to wear clean clothes in the last nine days, but it is permitted to “pre-wear” them for ten minutes or so before the nine days start. I usually do this, but forgot this year, so I’ve been wearing clean shirts. I feel bad about this. Everything has just been so crazy this year. I feel like I’m hardly observing the Three Weeks as I can’t fast the rabbinic fasts that bookend it on my medication and I have listened to music when feeling depressed, although not when feeling OK. I’m trying not to beat myself up about this and other things and to accept that I’m fallible, but it doesn’t seem entirely right somehow. I know my therapist said to focus on values rather than “shoulds.” I am still trying to live in accordance with my values generally, even if I can’t keep these laws properly this year. It doesn’t feel right, though. I’m glad that I’m not shaving for the Three Weeks, even though my beard itches like crazy. I’ll be glad to shave it off next Friday.
I managed some writing today, getting close to finishing another chapter. There’s one important passage that I don’t think I’ve got right, but I’m not sure how to change it. It’s hard to write something of a religious experience when I haven’t exactly had one myself.
I watched the Star Trek Voyager episode Someone to Watch Over Me. I vaguely remembered watching this one on original UK transmission, but I didn’t remember much of the plot. It’s basically a Pygmalion rip-off as the Doctor and Tom Paris bet whether the Doctor can educate Seven of Nine enough to get, and keep, a date in a few days, with the Doctor inadvertently falling in love with her while educating her in human interactions. Seven is a human who was converted to a cyborg and then back to a human. She is pretty emotionless and remorselessly logical and efficiency-focused. She comes across as somewhat autistic in some ways, particularly in her inability to make small talk, to build friendships or to intuit the emotional needs of others. I find her the most interesting character in the programme because of that (and not because of Jeri Ryan’s figure-hugging costume…).
At the start of this episode she’s unable to understand why B’Ellana Torres is angry at her for using her relationship with Tom as a case study on sexual relationships. Captain Janeway and the Doctor take this curiosity as a sign that Seven unconsciously wants to be in a relationship. Around the time this was broadcast, I was in my late teens and similarly curious about relationships, but uncertain what to do about them (I didn’t go on a date until I was twenty-seven), so I used to linger when my Mum or my sister were watching soap operas and rom coms, while pretending not to be watching them. In retrospect, soap operas and rom coms probably were not the best role models, although I don’t think I ever “learnt” all that much from them. I didn’t know how else to find out about relationships.
The episode was pretty cringey overall, in terms of Seven’s lack of social graces and the Doctor’s inability to express his feelings for her. I’ve been there regarding both of those things. It does make me wonder if I’m ever going to be socially graceful and build the friendships and romantic relationship I want. I’m not sure if I (or anyone else) can really learn small talk and interpersonal interactions from a book or lecture. I’m also not sure I can really learn them in my late thirties. It does feel that I should have learnt these things in childhood or adolescence, when my brain was more plastic.