I went to bed early (for me, anyway), slept for twelve hours and woke up feeling burnt out again. By the time I got up the cleaner was here, but I was too tired to get dressed before going down for breakfast, so she saw that I was in pyjamas and dressing gown at midday. I suppose this could make me feel decadent, but mostly makes me feel lazy and useless. Then I ended up going back to bed for a bit, although I didn’t sleep. I just felt completely drained.

I can see that staying in bed so long might make me more tired, but I don’t usually wake up naturally after eight or nine hours. Even if I set an alarm, I don’t really wake up properly before I’ve turned it off in my sleep. An alarm on the other side of the room I just sleep through. Perhaps irrationally, it annoys me that I can’t work out if this is depressive burnout or autistic burnout. If depressive, why is it persisting when most of my other symptoms have gone? It’s it’s autistic, then why was I not like this as a child? I went to school every day without a problem until I was sixteen, when the depression started. Did I just have more energy or resilience then? It does make me worry about starting work next week; I hope I don’t have to cancel volunteering because it’s too much to do volunteering and therapy one day, then work the next.

I went for a walk even though it was a bit of a struggle because of exhaustion. It wasn’t terribly long, but I went slowly, because of exhaustion and because PIMOJ asked me to take some photos so she could see where I was going. That was quite a nice thing to do “together”, but stopping and starting probably neutralised the exercise aspect. I’m also not terribly good (or, to be fair, experienced) at taking photos with my phone. Still, it was a nice thing to do. I think PIMOJ would be good at getting me to do little things like that to bond or to decrease my depression (the whole photo thing came about because I said I was feeling depressed today and she said to go on a walk and then added to take photos so she could see where I’m going). I guess my fear is that sometimes I want to withdraw to my Fortress of Solitude and work things through or just sit with my emotions rather than being cheered up. Sometimes that’s the right decision for me; other times I do actually need to be cheered up (like today). I think it may take us a while to work out how to tell which is which.

I don’t know whether it was the walk or the fact that my mood usually peaks in the afternoon/early evening, but I managed to do an hour of work on my novel (admittedly with procrastination) and finished my devar Torah for the week.With the devar Torah, after saying yesterday I wasn’t satisfied with it, I actually feel happier with it now, feeling I’ve got a reasonable balance between primary sources, secondary sources and my own interpretations. Strangely, with the novel I currently feel happier with the plot thread I’ve invented from scratch than with the part that is rooted in my own experiences (and which was the original idea for the novel). The truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction is better structured and probably more interesting. Also, I don’t really like the character based on me very much, which speaks volumes about my self-esteem.

This cartoon sums up a problem I’d already noticed in my novel. When I started writing a little over a year ago, I wrote an internal timeline of events (it’s a coming of age story that takes place over several years and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t accidentally have one character living through more time than the others by writing “a few months passed” too often), but I didn’t explicitly tie it to specific dates so that the book could be read as “roughly in the present” for a number of years. Then suddenly a massive, dramatic change to how we live occurred and I wonder if I should explicitly date it to be before COVID, otherwise the chronology doesn’t work. But then I worry it will feel almost like a period piece when (if?) we get to the other side of COVID.

***

I got an invitation, or a virtual invitation, to a wedding. It’s the daughter of one of my shul friends who is getting married. She is significantly younger than me as my friend is quite a bit older than me (a number of my friends are significantly older than me. I’m not sure if it speaks to my maturity or autism or something else). I’m glad I’m getting better at dealing with “older single in the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) community” element of my life. It’s still a bit difficult to get my head around it. I sit with my friend at shul (synagogue) and have been invited for Shabbat and Yom Tov (Sabbath and festival) meals on a number of occasions, so I do know him and his family quite well. It just feels strange to be going to a wedding for someone so much younger than me, and a Zoom wedding at that. I’m not quite sure what the protocol is regarding presents. I would struggle to go if it was an in-person wedding with noise and strangers (autism and social anxiety), but the fact that it’s over Zoom and just the ceremony makes that easier at least although I’m not sure how it will fit with my new job.

***

From a pamphlet of quotations from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov that PIMOJ gave me: “Whatever one is enduring, one must muster the inner strength, as the verse says, “If I ascend to the heavens, there You are, and if I make my bed in hell, here You are,” because even in the depths of hell one can become close to God, for He is there also.” (originally from Lekutey Moharan)

23 thoughts on “Sleeping, Walking, Writing

          1. Ya so some people start dancing with mental illness when they become vegetarians because they are people who need extra B12 and they don’t find a way to replace what they are no longer getting in their diet. Besides the fact that their genetics required more B12 then they could ever get from their diet anyways. I’m not saying quit being a vegetarian. I’m just saying find a kosher b12/methylB12 and test it to make sure you don’t need it. Also back to selenium and lithium. You know what selenium really helps with? Foot pain. Yep. So selenium and B12 help the body make energy so you can get up and run and the added perk is you can run without having sore feet. There are B12 transdermal patches. You know the story in the Tanakh about Naaman the Syrian and his leprosy? You know how he almost misses out on his healing because he is expecting the solution to be some hocus pocus spectacular thing and the prophet tells him to go dip in the Jordan 7 times? He laughs. He gets offended. Sometimes the solution is there but we don’t take it because it seems too simple. I will continue to be annoying nutrition girl to all my friends, lol. This is because I have literally seen children and adults practically raised from the dead before my very eyes and the resolving of severe medical conditions with higher doses of a specialized vitamin that they needed.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Sorry for the short answer before, I was going to elaborate, but PIMOJ called and I’ve only just got off from that call. I do eat some cheese. I used to eat a lot of cheese and egg, but I cut it down because I was getting high cholesterol, but I still eat some. I do have quite a lot of milk albeit on cereal. I do eat meat on Shabbat too.

              I will keep in mind what you say, but I do want to see what my psychiatrist says before I start introducing more changes.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. No problem. I just want to make sure it’s not a lack of information on my part that kept you from help. You know me. I think relying on the current healthcare system is like buying a ticket to board the titanic but somehow people keep doing it. Dr. Who called it The Voyage of the Damned. Lovely Christmas episode, lol. I’m definitely not the only person who thinks this way. Peter Lloyd Thomas is a scientist in the UK who has a son with autism who would also advise against taking that voyage and presents a lot more science based options on his blog:

                https://epiphanyasd.blogspot.com/2020/03/should-you-treat-severe-autism-yourself.html

                Liked by 1 person

  1. It is not normal for an adult to need 12 hours sleep a night though of course this could be medication related. But have you considered making sure there is nothing else that could be causing this – thyroid problems for example, or sleep apnoea? Would it be worth speaking to your GP who might do blood tests to check your thyroid function and iron levels? Depression and stress burnout can cause excessive fatigue as well, of course, but I wonder if this is sufficient to account for the hypersomnia.

    Sleep problems are a feature of autism as well and there is a growing literature on the links between these developmental disorders and sleep disorders. I have done a lot of reading around sleep disorders as my son suffers from chronic insomnia and sleep paralysis. It might be an idea to keep a sleep diary should you decide to take this further – maybe discuss it with the Maudsley in your follow up appointments.

    Try not to worry too much about the new job – I think you will adapt to the new routine. Remember you have worked more hours in the past and commuted. I think the anticipation of change and fear of failure is a significant stressor for you right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t normally sleep for twelve hours, but I do tend to sleep for nine or ten if left alone. I might mention it to the psychiatrist when I next speak to her, or at the Maudsley follow-up appointment.

      I didn’t know about the links between autism and sleep problems.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a lot of information on this out there on the links between ASD and sleep problems — the NAS has an article on it here: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/physical-health/sleep

        Insomnia is more common than hypersomnia in ASD but you can find links to both.
        Melatonin is often prescribed to AS people with sleep problems. Interestingly it is also used for hypersomnia as well as insomnia. It is a natural hormone and considered very safe. In the USA it is available over the counter but I think here it needs a prescription.

        Liked by 2 people

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