All things start with a plan; here's how I'm going to handle this, here's how I'm going to handle that. Many plans include a schedule; at this time on this day I'm going to do this, at that time I'm going to be here, this assignment is due on such and such date. Then the plan changes, a bus gets missed, you get home later than you thought you would from work, the amount of homework you have to do is more than you expected. You have to make adjustments. Take this from here, put it there, put this off, swap this and that. Once you're organized for the moment, the idea is that you concentrate on accomplishing the task at hand.
Okay- so I have my schedule, including sleep, working out, social life, classes, work, assignments, etc., all entered in Google calendar and synced to my smartphone. I have reminders, a task list, priorities, and alarms. I know where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to do. I can get to campus, get to the right building, have all of what I need in my pack, get it all out, arrange it on the table...
Did I turn off the coffee pot? I need to go grocery shopping. Remember that time I did something stupid at work in 1998? I have a booger. Can anyone else see? Wonder what the weather is like in Riyadh right now? Where am I going to live once my lease is up this summer? There's something I have to do at work. People are looking at me. I'm going to die. Then I'm going to fail this class. No, I'm going to fail first, and then die. What if there's a fire, how do I get out of here? What would happen if someone with a rifle was on top of the building? What is the current version of the Linux kernel? I need to check my email and see what my calendar says tomorrow and make a list of all of the homework I have to do. And then I need to check Facebook again. Did I lock my apartment door?
*blink* *blink* Ohhhhkay... back to work... hmm, it's an hour later now, and I don't have time to get my assignment done, and it's going to be late.
I'm going to fail this class. I'll never get caught up. WTF. I know I need to talk to my professor but how do I explain? Extenuating circumstances? How do I say that I have PTSD and that's the reason my homework isn't done? Will he care? Will it matter? Can I make up the assignment?
All right, get some coffee and try again... section 4.2, #1.
I'm tired. I need to get to bed early tonight. What time do I have to get the bus? Refresh the page and make sure. Check email again.
(Deep breath) Okay. Relax. Be here. You can do this.
I'm gonna fail. Everyone else here is locked on, dialed in, jammin' on whatever they need to do. I feel like Homer Simpson ("Oooh, shiny things!") whenever anyone walks by. It's my fault. I can't do this. I don't belong here. I suck. Maybe I need medication. Maybe I need more therapy, but what good is more therapy? I can't concentrate. Maybe I'll just go home, get some sleep, a shower, and try again in the morning. Keep on trying. One foot in front of the other.
Man, the tricks that worked last semester aren't working this semester. Help.
(I'm not giving up-- I'm working with a counselor on campus, and have an appointment to meet with the same VA doctor that took me through PTSD therapy. I don't know what the next step is going to be, but I do know that I want to succeed. I don't just want to get through and survive, I want to enjoy the ride.)