I’m writing this down because the process of putting my thoughts into words usually unloads some of my anxiety.
I haven’t been doing well recently; I tolerate very little, I get overwhelmed with intrusive thoughts of deletion that searches for targets everywhere, although more often than not it looks inward, and I want to switch my brain off as often as possible, either by sleeping or by closing my eyes whenever I’m forced to sit or stand in a vehicle. I suspect that I’m going through another depression.
I happen to work as an IT guy at a hospital. A garbage job: you never know what you’ll have to deal with that day, any single problem can balloon into a monster that you’ll have to struggle with for potentially weeks, and worst of all, it forces you to interact with many people. I’m autistic, so I’m simply unsuited for it. I understand that dealing with our users, who are mostly doctors and nurses, has to be troublesome potentially, because they wouldn’t contact us if they didn’t have a problem. What I shouldn’t need to tolerate is wasting eight hours in an office where three guys keep yapping like children during recess, very loudly, forcing us to endure their infuriating prattle about football, TV series and such stuff, as well as constant “jokes” about how fat one of them is.
The worst part of it is: the worst one is my brother. Back when I was seven, my parents seemingly concluded that my birth was a mistake, and they forced me to vacate my room and “share” a bedroom with my older brother. I spent eleven years treated like an unwanted guest. I couldn’t hear the music I wanted, I couldn’t put on the TV the programs I could have liked, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t study. I’m autistic and noises kill me, yet that guy needed constant noise to muffle his internal thoughts. He even had the TV and the radio on at the same time throughout the night; the radio speaker was installed maybe a foot and a half away from my head. Whenever I complained to my mother about it (my father was virtually non-existent), the answer was always the same: “You gotta understand it, he has problems.”
For those eleven years my mental health deteriorated into straight psychosis, and I only survived because I’m a fucking coward and I didn’t dare to kill myself like I wanted. After an argument that nearly ended in blows, my parents agreed that I could move out of my brother’s bedroom into my previous one (this country, as well as most of Europe, isn’t like the US, where you are expected to leave your parents’ place at eighteen years old; here the average age for that is about thirty. Housing is way too expensive anyway).
After that day, I have wished that I wouldn’t spend a single minute in the same room as him. Because my life is a fucking cosmic joke, the only job that has called me regularly these last two years and a half is the one that my brother works at. I’m thirty-seven years old, half-crazy and out of options. I can’t imagine myself finding another job that would pay similarly.
Having to endure my brother talking at an obnoxiously loud volume about utter garbage, as well as laughing like a clown, causes in me something akin to PTSD flashbacks, on top of the sensory processing issues that autism involves. My health worsened recently: I went through an episode of atrial fibrillation that triggered (and I doubt that it was a coincidence) during a particularly thorny problem I had to handle at work and that I knew would involve having to interact with pissed off users. Whenever the adult schoolchildren at the office start yapping again, my anxiety spikes from already high levels. Our boss hears them, but has never reprimanded them. Nobody else has complained, perhaps because they don’t want to bring attention to themselves and become a target.
Anyway, recently I considered that I needed to create an island of isolation for myself at the office, so I bought some noise-cancelling headphones. In summary: today, maybe half an hour after those bastards started yapping, apparently someone tried to get my attention, but I didn’t notice. The woman who was taking calls was seated to my left and she would have tapped me on the shoulder if someone on the phone had asked for me. I didn’t have any ticket assigned, so it wasn’t related to one of the problems I was already told to handle. Either I had the really bad luck that the big boss went out of his way to address me from the other end of the office and yet nobody pointed it out to my oblivious self (and in that case the boss gave up shortly after), or more likely, someone tried to get my attention so I would listen to an inane comment. That person could have likely been one of the clowns.
In any case, after today’s drudgery, someone pointed the “incident” out to me, and said that it would be better if I didn’t wear headphones, because it could cause issues. So from now on I won’t feel comfortable wearing them at the office, because the people I work with would consider that me isolating myself from sources of such noise is worse than the fucking people creating the noise contamination during work hours.
I haven’t gotten any writing done this afternoon. My state of mind has reverted to the current of thought that constantly flows under the desperate efforts I make to distract myself: the voice that repeats I need to die, I need to die, I need to die, I need to die. My mental health is that fucking brittle. And I do want to be dead, as I have wanted to be since I was a child, back when I dunked my head in cold water so it would flood my lungs and take me to a faraway place.
For as long as I remember, every morning I have woken up into a nightmare. Everything feels like an unbearable struggle. I’m trapped as an “adult” that has to waste himself at a job that ruins my creative energies and that frays my nerves, and it’s not like any of that is ever going to change, because I won’t earn remotely enough money writing, and I’m too mentally incompetent to figure out some alternative.
Now that I’ve written these thoughts down, maybe I’ll get enough sleep tonight. And tomorrow, after I get off work, maybe I’ll be able to disappear into the reverie of writing the current chapter of my novel, so I can forget for a while that I’ve existed for thirty-seven years as someone that I don’t want to be.