I read somewhere about how it can be a good idea to decide on a theme for the week and then structure your posts with that in mind. I don’t do this because I don’t like the pressure and the sense of expectation it creates. Plus I enjoy the randomness of seeing what I’m going to write about because certain posts aside, such as Jogi’s picture posts or film related ones, I don’t usually decide in advance what I’m going to write about. Most posts start out one of two ways, either from an idea I’ve made a note of on one of the ever growing pile of notes next to my bed or from just sitting down and seeing what I feel like writing about. Either way randomness rules the day and that’s how I like it.
Regardless a theme seems to have developed this week of its own accord. That of socialising and the problems associated with it.
This is the fourth draft of this post, and each draft has taken a different direction than I originally intended whilst I tried to work out what exactly my point was. Three drafts later and I’m still not entirely sure, nor have I fully solved what the problem is.
The original idea for the post came from a letter I read in the quarterly autism magazine, the theme of the issue was the late diagnosis of AS. The letter was from someone who was diagnosed as an adult and the main point of his letter was about the social norms that are forced upon autistic people. The idea that humans are all or should become social creatures, which is the view a lot of autism experts he had seen in documentaries. He wonders if he had been diagnosed as a child, if he would have been forced to comply with such thinking and if he had he thinks it would have caused him mental health problems.
I can say he is right on that count, being forced to be more of a social creature than you really are can cause a person problems. I can also say that it was only people stopped attempting to force me to partake in social activities that I began to view them somewhat more favourably. It was only then that I found out for myself that sometimes socialising can be fun.
It’s an interesting idea, especially in light of the fact that lately I’ve been trying to work out the right amount of social interaction. With each draft of the post I came to a slightly different conclusion as to the amount of time I want to spend with other people. Then I realised I was asking the wrong question, it’s not about how much time I want to spend with other people, it’s about how much time I’m capable of spending with other people.
More and more lately I’ve found myself getting annoyed with someone, it seemed odd, that they had suddenly gotten more annoying lately. Then I realised that it wasn’t them but me. I was the one who didn’t have the capacity to deal with this stuff.
Last week I thought I was getting back on track schedule wise, but it was just a diversion. The excitement of the international break carried me through the week and gave me an excuse to avoid dealing with the issue. Now that there is no such thing this week I have nothing to avoid the inevitable. I’m tired and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise. I’m burnt out I guess. From having too much social time, from too much time spent putting on some pretence of normality, from using more resources than are available to you.
Except I haven’t been having that much social time lately, this isn’t a recent problem. It goes back all the way to last summer. It’s the reason that since then I’ve been trying and failing to get back to something resembling good sleeping habits. Ever since then I’ve been avoiding the solution to the problem, what I usually need to do when such a thing occurs. That is to completely retreat from the outside world. The last time I got burnt out I did this, it was after I tried college again and it didn’t work out. I spent the next three months maintaining a completely nocturnal schedule and doing nothing but playing video games. I didn’t see or talk to anyone for those three months.
But I don’t want to completely retreat, I don’t want to spend the next three months inside, nor do I want a three month long video game marathon. It’s partly my own fault, if I had just acknowledged that I was using more resources than I had to use, I wouldn’t have got to this point. The past two days I’ve spent more time asleep than awake and as much as I hate that, I have to at least temporarily make my peace with that. I have to decide what I want to allocate my limited resources to, what’s important and what isn’t And being around other people in real life does not make the list, at least not when the person in question is as emotionally demanding and frustrating as one of them is.
It’s interesting to see what made the cut and what didn’t. Playing video games and watching TV aren’t that important to me right now. Nor are films that important, at least not watching them at home, going to the cinema is still important if not because it’s the only time I get out. What I did consider important is football, reading, writing and stickers. German is obviously important as well, but I’m not going to put any pressure on myself in regards to that right now. It requires active concentration, something I’m lacking in a little at the moment.
With the not wanting to be around other people and the sleep issues I know that some people may point to depression as a possible cause. I was worried about that myself a short while ago, about it creeping up on me again. I honestly don’t think I’m depressed right now, if I were I would be thinking that there is no point to everything and I wouldn’t care about anything. That’s not how I feel right now and it’s not how I’m thinking, of course it’s possible that I am and I just don’t want to acknowledge that. But tiredness and social problems aside, I actually feel quite content right now, especially since I decided not to see anyone for the next two weeks. I’m a little frustrated I will admit, because of how little I feel like I can get done right now and because of how strange everything feels. I just have to remember to be patient with myself, to not expect too much, and to remember that sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. To bring football into it, both Dortmund and Freiburg have been bottom of the league this year. And for Dortmund things got better, after a horrid start (their previous good form in Europe aside) they are beginning to find their feet again. And Freiburg are showing signs of improvement as well, whether or not it will be enough to save them from getting relegated is of course another question all together.
That aside, I feel relieved that I’ve decided not to keep up the pretence, that I’m just going to allow myself to merely exist for the time being and not be anything I’m not. I’m going to sleep as much as I need to and spend the rest of the time as I please, without beating myself up for not doing anything constructive or not working through enough pages in my German book.
It’s not all bad, Freiburg play Köln tomorrow and after that is what is sure to be one of the games of the season, Dortmund v Bayern at Signal Iduna Park, it doesn’t get much better than that and with Dortmund’s improvement in form since the last time they met, it should be even more of a formidable encounter than the first time. It was a tightly contested affair that time, one that most likely would have ended in a draw had it not been for that penalty. I allowed myself the luxury of rewatching the game last night, just in case I wasn’t excited enough all ready. It’s funny that this week I got Lewandowksi’s sticker because he is the one who scored the equaliser for Bayern in that game. And of course the joke that I can’t forget, Bayern fans at half time, we always lose when Jogi Löw is watching, then Dortmund fans at full time, we always lose when Jogi Löw is watching. And now here are not just my stickers of the day, but of the week, getting Lewandowski was important enough to designate him the capture of the week: