I slept a lot last night, perhaps unsurprisingly given how little I slept the night before and how much I did during the day. I woke up feeling drained, depressed and anxious and thought it would be a written off “mental hangover” day (which I guess I should call a “burnout” day, but I prefer my term), but I was pleasantly surprised that after breakfast I managed to stop catastrophising and focus on the present and feel a lot calmer. That didn’t last the whole day as there was still some anxiety (job hunt and dating) and tiredness, but not so bad. The anxiety came and went during the day in response to things that happened.
The big thing that happened was that I got an email saying I was through to the next round on a job application. I had to read some terms and conditions information, fill in a questionnaire to show I’d done that and then put myself forward for a test. If I pass the test, I will be doing some crowd-testing work on software. I don’t think I can really go into more details because of nondisclosure of trade secrets. The pay is low and it’s not a good career-progression job (because only tangentially related to librarianship and not at all to writing), but it would be a job at a time of high unemployment. It would also be working from home (no exhausting commute or autistically-difficult office environment) and only working 20 hours a week with flexible timing, so I would have time to work on my novel and could potentially work 10am-6pm, which would suit me a lot better than 9am-5pm.
I do feel nervous about work though. My experiences in the workplace in the last few years has led to a loss of confidence in my ability to work, a loss not repaired by doing good work in my last couple of jobs. The fact that I know that my difficulties are caused by depression and autism rather than inherent incompetence doesn’t really make me feel that much better. I know the problem is my issues, not me, but it still means that I am stuck with them for a while at least. I hope doing relatively easy work in a safe, quiet environment (home) will boost my self-esteem.
There was a lot to read through, so it took most of the afternoon. I had done a little work on my novel before the job details came through, but will probably have to do that again tomorrow because of the interruption.
It was a busy day and I was exhausted by the early evening and that brought my mood down a bit. I kept thinking that people on the autism spectrum often end up in jobs they’re over-qualified for (like the one I’m applying for) and that people on the spectrum often struggle to build friendships and relationships. I know there are some very successful autistic people out there, and some in successful relationships, but statistically the odds are not great for me. These are thoughts I’ve had many times, and rehearsed here many times, and I’m trying to stay present-focused and not to worry about them (and also to remember that aspiring writers often take low-status jobs to give some income while writing). Still, it’s difficult.
In the evening, I went on a virtual tour (via Zoom, as is everything these days) of The Biblical Museum of Natural History in Israel, via the London School of Jewish Studies. I’ve wanted to visit it in person for a while, but that looks unlikely to happen any time soon, so this was an alternative. The Director of the Museum, Rabbi Dr Natan Slifkin has written some interesting (and controversial, in the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) world) books on Judaism and science, although the Museum, unlike his books and blog, deliberately avoids controversial issues like creationism or the factual accuracy of statements about the natural world in the Talmud so that Haredi schools and families can visit. It was very interesting, although the picture and sound quality were not always great.
I didn’t have much time or energy for Torah study today, only about ten minutes, although some of the Museum tour could be considered Torah study I suppose.
I also signed up for an online site from a Jewish mental health charity. To be honest, I’m not sure what exactly it offers. I think there’s some articles on the site and also a forum with other people with mental health issues and a chat function with mental health professionals. I’m not sure how much I will use it, but it might be useful in the future, particularly if more people sign up for it.
Writing my devar Torah (Torah thought) yesterday led me to re-read a transcript of a lecture by Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, one of the leading Modern Orthodox thinkers until his death a few years ago. The lecture was on trust in God. Rabbi Lichtenstein suggested there are two types of trust, “faithful trust”, thinking that God will always make the best option happen, and “loving trust,” thinking that even if the worst happens, I will stay loyal to God and assume that everything has happened for a good reason, even if I don’t understand what that is. He says both are valid, but laments a focus on the first at the expense of the second in the Orthodox community and educational system. I find “loving trust” easier, difficult though it sometimes is. I find it hard to assume that what I think is best will happen, because usually it does not. I might post the whole devar Torah here later in the week, as I think it might be of interest.