Shabbat was good. The usual mix of praying, studying Torah, eating, sleeping (too much) and reading. I came last at Scrabble. I had some rotten letters, far too many vowels. I’m not very competitive, but I am getting annoyed that I’ve only won one game so far this summer. There was some discussion as to whether ‘boxy’ (my word) is a word or not. Our dictionary (Collins) says no, but now Shabbat is out, Merriam-Webster online says yes. Maybe I’d have been better off with ‘oiled,’ but I couldn’t remember how many ‘L’s were in it.
I finished Sacred Fire: Torah from the Years of Fury, 1939-1942, kept up with weekly page of Talmud and read a bunch of Tehillim (Psalms) in Hebrew. I didn’t do much recreational reading, just a little bit more of Muck, which is very good. I didn’t go for a walk, partly because I slept and then wanted to study Torah and read, partly because it looked like rain.
Yesterday I realised it is nearly two years since I left my further education job (it’s nearly two years since I stopped working, although I was technically under contract for a couple of weeks in August when I was on holiday). It feels much longer. I think leaving may be the worst decision I ever made, and I’ve made some pretty bad ones.
For those of you who don’t remember or weren’t reading then, my initial contract was up. I was not sure if it would be renewed, as everything in the library world, and the education world, is suffering from lack of funds.
I was offered a permanent contract, but my boss made it quite clear that she didn’t think I was handling the job as well as she expected. The permanent contract was in many ways a new job, working all the time at the college’s secondary site (instead of once a week there and usually at the main site) where I would be expected to have much more contact with staff, talking to them, getting book recommendations from them and trying to get them to bring students to the library more often. This terrified me given my social anxiety and the fact that the interpersonal aspects of the job so far had convinced me that I am autistic. My boss had also made it clear that she felt that this interpersonal interaction side of the job was something I was particularly bad at. I agreed, and decided to turn the job down, which seemed to astonish her, even though her vocal lack of confidence in my skills was a major factor in my turning it down.
If I’d realised how hard it would be to build a career or even to find a new job that is mostly backroom librarian stuff with minimal interpersonal interactions, maybe I would have taken that job. Since then I’ve only worked for seven months in total out of twenty-three (not counting that August when I was paid, but not working).
I made a list of everything I’ve done in the last two years to try to work out if they were good or bad. Aside from only seven months working, I had some interviews and tests and did badly in a lot of them, but not quite all (obviously two I did well in as I got the jobs).
I went on two dates with one person via a matchmaking site (not a success) and was in a long-distance relationship with E. for four or five months that also ended badly.
My mood (depression) has been extremely variable, and although I had some CBT last year for social anxiety, my social anxiety has got worse because of lockdown. I also think I didn’t push myself hard enough with the CBT, although being restricted to ten sessions on the NHS didn’t help.
On the plus side, I finished my Doctor Who non-fiction book, but failed to get a publisher, or many readers when I self-published. I have written most of the first draft of a novel. This is the biggest thing in my life at the moment, aside from helping around the house now Mum has cancer.
My therapist, who I’d been seeing for years (seven? Something like that) stopped seeing me in late 2018 because she said there was nothing else she could do for me. That made me feel hopeless (not the first time mental health professionals have basically said that they can’t do anything for me as my issues are too difficult for them). I started with a new therapist a few weeks ago. She seems good, but I have seen so many therapists over the years, I see it as being more about letting off steam than being “cured” or one day having a “normal” life.
I still haven’t had an(other) autism assessment, despite being pushed towards it by the further education job and then by the following office job, which nearly drove me insane and made me realise my brain really isn’t wired like most people’s.
I made some new friends, mostly online, but quite a few friends have stopped talking to me, or I’ve stopped talking to them to prevent arguments (or from fear we would drift back into a relationship again in the case of E.). I feel incredibly bad about this, but don’t know how to stop it happening again.
I think I had begun to fit in slightly better at shul (synagogue) and talk to one or two more people before lockdown. I led services a couple of times too, but wonder if I should have done that (I had tremor issues again someone said I looked “like you were going to have a coronary”). I still feel the community is not a perfect fit for me, but it’s the best on offer. A few people know I have medical issues even if I haven’t told them the details, but I don’t always feel supported, although the rabbi has been messaging to check in regularly during lockdown, which is good.
Reading this back mostly makes me feel despairing, seeing how little has gone right in the last two years. The plus side, I suppose, is that a lot happened, even if much of it was bad, so perhaps I should be hopeful that the next two years won’t be stagnant, even if I feel the chances of finding a job (let alone a good job), finding a girlfriend/wife or finding a publisher for my book all seem slim.