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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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

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It seems that all I talk about on here sometimes are my little victories over my health struggles, how I have this great little tool, how I believe that things will get better. Last night would not be one of these little victories.

I had a pretty serious meltdown. When I was a teenager, I was yelled at when someone was angry with me. Oftentimes, the yelling was accompanied by hitting, either with a belt, switch, or paddle. Last night, I started to panic about leaving the house today (I have both my medication management and my therapy appointments this afternoon) and I was “going into my head,” an expression we’ve started to use whenever I stop listening to, or more accurately can’t hear, what someone is saying, and before the other person can finish their thought, my brain responds with the worst case scenario. This caused frustration in my wife, and she began raising her voice, since in her upbringing, you kept escalating volume until the other person acknowledged and validated what you were saying. Our pasts collided with one another as they usually do, with me unable to hear what she was saying in order to validate it, her yelling at me to get her point across, and me terrified that sooner or later, the hitting would start. I became a child again, mentally speaking, and that part of me was very scared at all the ruckus.

Eventually we calmed back down, and things got back to normal, but it took time and a lot of silence between us.

This morning, I’m not quite so panicked about my appointments, though the extraneous stops I was planning to make while I was out got tabled due to stress over money and effort. (While still fairly light, lugging my 17.3″ gaming ultrabook around, along with its cooling pad, power cord, mouse, headset, books to read, paper to take notes on, diabetes supplies, checklist books, pencils and erasers, and meds for the day suddenly became a lot more effort than I wanted to put into a trip to Starbucks. I can cut that down to the laptop, the mouse, my Bluetooth headset, my meds, my Moleskines, and my writing implements if I’m not planning a big trip, but the intent was to spend the morning out of the house, and a trip that long would eventually require battery power. Anyway, this is not a blog about my obsession with electronic gadgets, so let’s get back to the meat of the post, shall we?) I’m still planning my day around my two appointments, which means eating at a time that will allow me to check my glucose between appointments and not while in one or the other, and I’m still planning to pick my wife up from work (whenever I have the car, due to my agoraphobia, we usually plan on a plan B to get her home just in case; it’s been necessary about a third of the time).

If I can just make those two appointments, that will be the biggest single accomplishment that I’ve made in weeks. It’s difficult measuring your accomplishments not on the scale of getting a promotion at work (something that’s occurred precisely once in my life) or graduating from college (something that’s never occurred and likely at this point in my life never will) but on the scale of making it to your doctor and your therapist without completely freaking out and hiding under the covers in bed. It goes a long way to making me feel like my life has been and will continue to be a failure, but I have to remind myself that I have several chronic illnesses, and my body and brain are just not cut out for greatness measured in the way others measure it. As much as I’d love to say I’m going to get off disability, the fact of the matter is that right now I’m actually worse than I was when I was going through the application process, and I barely made it through that. With the way that my illnesses have been progressing, I see an extension of benefits in my future, not a career.

Yet there have been some astounding strides made to help me. I found out that my 30 year old bipolar diagnosis was either incomplete or incorrect, and that I’ve been treated using insufficient modalities all this time. I’ve learned a lot about my new borderline personality disorder diagnosis, and I’m continuing to educate myself on an almost daily basis. I’ve found that there are others out there who support me while I struggle to find some sense of normality in my life, and discovered who my true friends really are.

Maybe one day things will change. Maybe one day I can get back into the work force, doing something that I’m passionate about and can really set my mind to succeeding at. (I’ve wanted for over a year now to work toward certification and work as a peer support specialist, because the greatest resource I can offer many people is my life story and how I succeed in managing my symptoms through all I’ve experienced.) But today is not that day. Today is a day to conquer going through the door, out into the cold, bright day, facing my fears head on.

One step back. Two steps forward.

Lights On, Blinds Open Kind of Day

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Faithful readers of this blog might have noticed my absence over the last week. That’s been partially due to recurring panic attacks over attending my intensive outpatient therapy (since put on hold until I can talk this over with my therapist) and a sudden inability to manage my blood glucose (which we think we’ve gotten worked out, but time will tell). It’s also been due to a slide in my mood that’s gotten me to hyperfocus on computer games to keep from thinking about all the bad thoughts in my head. I haven’t written, I haven’t read in my borderline books, I haven’t walked, I haven’t slept much, yesterday I did the bare minimum on my checklists which was to take my medications. I didn’t even keep an eye on my blood glucose. It’s been that kind of week.

Today is a “lights on, blinds open” kind of day, one that I really prefer there be no dark corners in the house. Having the lights on and the blinds open puts the maximum amount of light in the house, and helps to boost my mood artificially. Once again, I’m back to gaming. Tomorrow, though, that’s the day I turn things around and get back on track.

Good thoughts and well wishes would be appreciated while I quest forth and destroy zombies and other foul undead creatures. Today I barely want to do even that.