Below is a short description of my morning so far. Each day is different but every day has common themes and today highlights some of the more common problems: quick and sudden oscillation between moods; unpredictable reactions; symptoms, especially from PTSD, interfering with normal tasks; physical symptoms; and that some things that trigger my symptoms are absurdly small and innocuous.
I awoke at about 7 am. I was disoriented this morning because last night I didn’t intentionally fall asleep. It seems that at some point last night I fell asleep, probably when I was working last night and I felt overwhelmed so I put my head down on the blanket. This morning, I was laying in an odd position, my computer was open and playing music, and window was closed: all of which are unusual.
I woke up because I was having a nightmare, but it was relatively mild. Despite the nightmare, the odd sleeping arrangement, and my initial disorientation, I had a full 7.5 hours of sleep, which is not typical, and I felt refreshed and had a good mood after I figured out what happened.
I accomplished numerous small tasks on my website, and I even completed a major project I started yesterday. (“Completed” is relative: it is complete enough for now.)
Once I completed all of the obvious tasks, I had to decide what to work on next. I feel as if my rational mind is quite slow and I feel confused by things that normally wouldn’t confuse me. This symptom comes and goes, and I only recently learned that it was connected with my PTSD. For a comparison, when I woke up two days ago, I was sharp and focused and I was able to perform a somewhat complex analysis using tools that I’ve not used before. This morning, however, I couldn’t remember the plans I had made last night and I couldn’t figure out what my next step should be. I feel that my rational mind is working at half capacity.
A short time ago, I noticed a dead bug on the floor. I only have one phobia, in the clinical sense, and this bug is my phobia. It was dead. It was small. It was on my floor and I could easily move away from it. When I was healthy, I would have a strong negative reaction to it, but I would be able to manage it. This morning, I jumped up and went to the door to the dorm room. I was paralyzed by indecision. Should I ask the staff to clean it up? If so, should I be in the room or not? Should I ask them to change the sheets and do other housekeeping tasks so that it would be efficient? Should I try to clean it up myself? Each time I made a decision I would take a physical step towards the door or towards the bug and then I would be filled with doubt again and stop and reanalyze everything. After a few minutes of this process, I managed to use some old paper to clean it up and put it in the trash.
I started to work again, and I kept trying to figure out what task I wanted to do next. I did some research and did a few small things. There are flies in my room and they keep landing on me and it greatly annoys me. My incapability to decide what to do, combined with the other stressors, big and small (i.e., flies, dead bug), gave me a horrible stomach ache.
That is when I decided to write this post, and it took me about 15 minutes to write. Interestingly, while writing it, some of my symptoms have improved. My stomach ache is gone, and my anxiety feelings are noticeably lower. My rational mind is still hobbled, though.
Every hour of every day, I must battle through events and symptoms such as above. No task, no matter how trivial, is guaranteed to be simple or easy. If I did not have to cope with my broken emotional reactions and my intermittently-hobbled rational mind, then I could certainly rise out of my poverty and other problems. But my emotions are out of control and my rational mind sometimes refuses to cooperate, so I am stuck in this downward spiral of poverty and mental illness.