All my troubles seemed so far away. But distance is all subjective. They felt so far away because my partner and I had enjoyed one good evening in each other’s company. It made the world of difference.
But it didn’t last. It never lasts. I embarked on what was actually an incredibly tough day, with little to no support from anyone around me – least of all him.
It began at 8.30am, attending an open surgery at a new GP clinic, to ask about anti-depressants. The counsellor I’ve been seeing through my University has encouraged the idea, though it was my idea to begin with. My partner came and waited with me, but was so incredibly reluctant to come into the room with me that all I could do was try and respect his wishes and manage it myself.
In the event, it was as difficult as I expected, but not in the ways I expected. She was not resistant to the idea of medication, and she listened keenly to me as I answered her questions, but… There was a turning point, mid-way through. She asked me why it was I thought I was on the autistic spectrum. She said, “I mean, obviously there’s some evidence there, for you to have had the diagnosis, but… What was it that led you to think it might be autism? Because, I mean, you’ve never met me before, and you’re doing well, so you’re obviously OK meeting new people…”
This forced me to confront perhaps my greatest fear – on the spot, on my own: the fear that… What even are my problems? Maybe they are all in my head, and I just need to try harder, and I’ll just get over it… It was a horrible, panicking moment of absolute, crushing self-doubt. I could remember nothing of the diagnosis; my summary report; my daily life. For more than a split-second I froze and felt like a fraud. I could not quite explain it – no, justify it. Defend it. I am sure she meant no malice, but it was the worst possible thing to ask of me, I think.
She did, though, agree with my perspective on my standing, and has prescribed citalopram. I am not Googling it.
From there, though, there was an hour’s gap before a four-hour shift at work, on a checkout, in a busy supermarket. I have long since accepted this is an horrendous working environment for some on the spectrum, myself included, but it is hard to shake off. As it was, I sat and struggled beneath the dazzling lights, forcing smiles and small-talk with people I had no wish to be near. The end could not come quickly enough.
Just forty minutes after finishing my shift, we had an appointment at the vets’ for the dog. So I changed, we gathered ourselves and off we went. To sit beneath more fluorescent lights, slightly worried, and then in a room to make more small-talk with the vet at the same time as trying to accurately express our concern. It wasn’t easy.
From there we visited my parents, and sat chatting for longer than was intended. As we drove home, my partner reminded me of the original plan for when we left there, and it threw me into chaos. It hadn’t been confirmed, or readdressed, or even spoken of since early that morning. Plus I thought he had changed it, he insisted he hadn’t. Standoff.
Not two hours later, a friend of mine visited. Truthfully, my only friend. We seem to get on OK but I do not enjoy the interactions. It feels, like many of my experiences, like a game to be danced around, and I always somehow feel judged or condescended to. My own discomfort and expectation of the dynamic disarms me and I blurt out things – information – I don’t mean to. Thus perpetuating the cycle.
She left and we went shopping, at 9.40pm. It needed doing. And it was part of the plan, earlier on. So we went. And when we got there, we had no pen for the list. I could not cross things off. I was sent to get milk and my partner vanished, gone to get something else, without the list, not in order, no routine, no support, no comfort…
When I caught up with him I threw what I had into the trolley, spat at him “do this your fucking self” and stormed to the car where I cried.
I think I had a meltdown.
Arriving home, I flung myself on the bed. A few tentative attempts to raise me from him and he was gone. I woke at 5.04am and he wasn’t beside me. He’d fallen asleep on the couch. And left me alone, all night. That probably shouldn’t matter. And I was mad as Hell at him anyway. But it did. It made a massive difference. And as such, we’ve continued to argue and frustrate one another all day today, wasting our two days off together.
I’m heartbroken. But he is so far away from me now, emotionally, that I can do nothing about it. Once again, I need him to find a way to fix it. I haven’t the strength. I haven’t the capacity in my tired, aching brain.
I’m tired. And I’m trapped. I don’t want tomorrow; nor do I want yesterday.