Perfect Storm

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Right now I’m in a headspace that I haven’t been in for some time.

For starters, today has been spent unsuccessfully fighting a persistent, nagging, unproductive cough left over from the cold. I feel constantly just on the edge of a coughing fit that makes me dizzy and causes pain in my right shoulder during the bad coughing jags. That’s been a wet blanket on my whole day, and honestly there’s nothing I can do about that except continuing to throw cough medicine at it and hope that it works for a while.

I’ve spent half the afternoon and evening being supremely frustrated at my algebra homework, and that’s led me to avoid reaching out to someone for help with what’s got me stumped. My brain’s been telling me “you go see the instructor tomorrow morning anyway, bring it up then” when there are multiple people that have offered to help me with any questions I may have. Continuing to avoid the situation has only served to make me more irritated at myself, which just serves to lock me into place regarding reaching out to someone. To top it all off, I’ve been dealing with someone online that I really dislike, and my mood from earlier has got me feeling quite confrontational – something that anyone that knows me well can tell you is very much not me – which is further aggravating my own anger at myself.

It seems practically everyone and everything is capable of getting under my skin tonight, and I’m apparently leading the charge.

It’s been months since I felt like this. I used to feel this way fairly regularly not that long ago. Since my mental illnesses have subsided in recent months, I’ve been virtually symptom-free, and it’s been glorious. To be going through this now, after such a long time of not experiencing this anger and frustration, feels like a bit of a setback.

But.

I know that what I’m going through is temporary. I know that even though I’ve basically lost most of today in productive study, I’m not quite yet in over my head, although my weekend plans are at risk if I don’t get this resolved quickly. The assignment that I feel so far behind on isn’t due until a week from tomorrow, so there’s time to recover, even though I’ve only barely started the assignment. (Note to self: time management skills are your friend. Use them next time.) Tomorrow morning instead of going into the classroom close to a half hour early, I’ll stop off at my instructor’s office to get things figured out, even though that means admitting I’m pretty much behind schedule. It’s not the end of the world. And my online frustration can be mitigated by not participating in and ignoring the conversation that’s got me so worked up. That’s an easy fix.

So while they’ve taken a little bit of time to get on board, my coping mechanisms are finally in place and my frustration and anger is easing off. Writing this post helped immensely with taking the edge off my emotions. Besides, the evening’s almost over, so it’s time for me to work on unwinding before bed and letting go of all that stuff that’s trying to ruin my day.

Tomorrow is a fresh start. I should be back to normal then.

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Confrontational

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WARNING: language

I’ve been confrontational all day. I don’t know why.

I’m fighting to fight, I’m responding to questions belligerently and I can’t stop myself, I’m angry at being angry at being angry, and it’s a never ending cycle that’s resulted in shouting matches and me getting absolutely livid at the drop of a hat. (Or, in one case, literally the drop of a fork as I was emptying the dishwasher.)

My wife challenged me to write about how I’m feeling today. I feel terrible. I feel subhuman. I feel like I don’t deserve her and I don’t deserve anything whatsoever decent of good. I deserve all manner of awful, terrible things happening to me because I hate myself today and I hate myself because I hate myself. I cannot stop this cycle, I do not have the tools in the tank to fight my own brain when it starts doing this.

And that’s about it. I’m not eloquent when it comes to my feelings. I can’t form more words than what I have here.

But at least I figured something to write about today so I don’t break my fucking streak.

Streaks Both Long and Short

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I have two learning apps on my phone. One, called Elevate, provides brain games that help expand vocabulary and quicken mental mathematics skills. The other, called Duolingo, uses a method similar to Rosetta Stone to teach foreign languages – in my case, Spanish. Both apps provide daily exercises and usually only take just a few minutes a day to complete. Both apps also track streaks of consecutive days used. Heading into yesterday, I had a streak of 119 days – nearly four months – of consecutive days used.

And then yesterday, on what would have been day 120, I forgot to do my learning.

When I looked at the clock a few hours ago (I’m up late – early? – nursing a sore back and a glass of water) and saw that it was past midnight and realized that I’d put my learning off long enough to break the streaks, I was furious with myself. Logically, I knew that this was no big deal in the scheme of things, that the 119 day streak started on day one and that today I could start a new, even longer streak. I was exceedingly proud that I had clocked 119 days straight. I was beyond embarrassed that I missed day 120.

My wife tried to remind me that it was no big deal, but the more she kept trying to convince me of that, the bigger of a deal it became, until the streak had been built up in my mind as the most important aspect of the exercise, rather than the incredible body of learning that I had strung together and had only taken one day off of in four months’ time.

I went to bed angry. I hate going to bed angry. In the bedroom there was an exchange of increasingly heated words as she became more frustrated at me for not listening to her and I became more stubborn about how this was a life-altering, unforgivable error that I had committed against the universe. Finally I got tired of trying to make my point and tired of not seeing hers and I strapped on my CPAP mask and laid there, fuming into the night. The longer I stared at the wall in silence, the cooler my temper became, and eventually I grabbed my phone to start a text conversation with my wife laying mere inches away. I apologized for my behavior, I apologized for not seeing things her way, and I apologized for sending her this apology via text and not vocally. (I can say short sentences with the CPAP mask on, but the longer I talk, the more choked I get trying to vocalize while air is being gently forced into my nostrils, and I had a lot of apologizing to do.)

I used the Nook app on my phone to read for a short while, continuing to cool off, and eventually we rolled into position and I spooned her, and that’s how we fell asleep.


Speaking of the CPAP mask, I haven’t reported on how things are going since picking up the machine on Wednesday. I’ve slept every night since with the mask on, throughout the night, and have been waking up with progressively better rest. Thursday I took two short naps after waking up around 9:30. Friday I took an hour long nap after waking at 7:00 am with my alarm. Yesterday I woke at 10:00, but didn’t nap at all throughout the day. We’ll see what happens after I go back to bed, now that the pain in my back has eased off and my glass of water is gone. It’s a streak of three days so far, but it’ll be 119 days on its own before I know it, and who knows what changes will have happened because of the improved sleep?