So far so dark

Writing has become more difficult lately, not least because I’ve been busy clocking hours to make up for the lost income over the past 2 months but also the topics I plan to write about are somewhat painful. Since June, I have sent out 22 job applications but only one interview. Even though I’m getting more work from my existing 2 employers, hence there is less urgency in finding a new job now, the fact that I haven’t got any positive response from my job applications has put a dent in my confidence. The only one interview I had, I was asked if I’d have any problem working alongside a team of people younger than me. I thought it was a strange question, I never thought about that before, then it hits me that I have reached a stage where my age might start to pose a problem, especially given the type and rank of positions I’m applying for, and of course, the fact that I’m quite directionless in where I’m heading in terms of my career.

There is a reason why I take remarks like “things will change for the better” with a pinch of salt. Almost 8 years have passed since I got my psychological assessment report. Back then, I used to hike with a group of people every weekend. Compared to now, it’d seem that I’ve changed a lot ~ my intolerance to noise and crowd means that I’m now hardly out of the house unless necessary and work location is a factor I take into account when applying for jobs. How did I change so much since? How was I able to deal with the daily commute? How was I able to tolerate all that chaos back then? I keep questioning myself over, wondering if I’m using my autism and sensory sensitivity as an excuse, whether I’m not pushing myself enough. Every now and then, I re-read my assessment report because it’s amazing how much I’ve forgotten and that I needed to refresh my memory. And so it is, I found the answer I’ve been questioning myself in my report. Contrary to the fact that I’ve changed so much, it strikes me how little has changed over these years. The following words ring truer than ever.

Currently, she works 2 part-time jobs to support her living… [she] described herself as a loner since she was very young and lately, she found herself more unwilling to interact with other people. She had low tolerance to noise and became easily impatient with people in the street. As a result, she rarely wanted to leave her apartment…”

I said that almost 8 years ago, before I heard of Tony Attwood, before I knew that sensory sensitivity is a characteristic of autism (I thought it was more of a tolerance issue than a sensitivity issue), before I stop hiking in a group, before I stop leaving the house unless necessary. Almost 8 years ago, I have (unconsciously) foretold what’s going to become of me now. I didn’t do anything to prevent it. I let it happen.

First, I haven’t always worked 2 part-time. In between, I have had full-time jobs. I knew I was lucky but I didn’t realise I was that lucky. Most research grants have only adequate funding for a research assistant post for a year or even less. I’m also increasingly seeing part-time or shorter time period. If it is only for 3 months, this means that I’d have to start looking around for another job the same time I start my new one. I guess the employers don’t realise how bad this is for morale.

Second, my noise sensitivity has always been there, it’s not something I grow out of, it’s not something I got used to, it’s merely something I’ve tolerated and the thing with tolerance is, it runs out gradually.

And so it is, contrary to the fact that I’ve changed all of a sudden and rather than saying ‘little has changed’, change is slowly taking place in the sense that my tolerance is running out. And this is worrying me because 8 years from then, how much more can I endure without the prospect of a change in environment? I fear I’m reaching my tolerance limit.

“Here I am thirty-four years old, and yet my life is almost wholly unexpanded. How much is in the germ! There is such an interval between my ideal and the actual in many instances that I may say I am unborn. There is the instinct for society, but no society. Life is not long enough for one success. Within another thirty-four years that miracle can hardly take place… My spirit’s unfolding observes not the pace of nature. The society which I was made for is not here. Shall I, then, substitute for the anticipation of that this poor reality?”

—Henry David Thoreau, July 19, 1851

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6 thoughts on “So far so dark

  1. Certainly can understand where you’re at. I see my tolerance diminishing. Yet, I know the struggle was always there. Perhaps, it is giving ourselves permission to feel what we feel at long last. Unfortunately, I know that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to navigate the neurotypical world. Hoping for the very best for you. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure if this is part of alexithymia, not being able to tell if I’ve reached my tolerance limit and what’d happen when it comes to that stage. I’m sorry if you feel the same. Thank you for your wishes and hoping the very best for us and everyone ❤️ 💛 💚 💙 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I look back at parts of my life and wonder how the heck I did all the stuff I did. Simple answer is I did it because I had to. Probably the same with you. Of course, once I got through all the chaos and had a chance to breathe I fell apart and had to recover from a depression episode/flare/whatever.
    By not forcing yourself to deal with the intolerables you probably saved yourself a lot of stress related health problems.
    Hurting your health, mental and/or physical, won’t make you more productive. I’ve heard the job market is horrible everywhere.
    Good luck to you my fellow kitty loving hermit! Hugs!💐😽🐈🐾🍀🌟🌈✨🌼🌺🌸🌷

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Your post and the replies so far have said it all; not much need be added, just that I’m in full agreement with y’all, and I can relate 🌸🌼. Here again, you’re not alone; it’s tough out there and tougher for some of us than for others. Virtual hugs to you as you like! Pulling for you, in full support ✨🌟🌷🌺

    Liked by 2 people

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