24 February 2011

Getting back on track, with a little help

One of the hardest parts about PTSD is not always realizing that little things are building up. One day you slide, just a little. You'll make up for it tomorrow. Then comes the day when you don't, and the pattern develops and repeats. One day you wake up and realize you're probably in academic deep shit.

That makes you more anxious. Then you start doing things like staying home and not going to class. Not going to the library to study. Not doing homework. Things get very hopeless, very quickly. Pretty soon, you're (for all intents and purposes) not functioning.

That's when it's hardest to ask someone for help. Once you get wrapped up in the cycle of depression and anxiety and flashbacks and nightmares... you're afraid to do anything, much less go to a professor's office and tell them you're falling apart. I think this is another case of "you can't get there from here".

You can't just jump from being all messed up to being fine again.

I had a midterm exam tonight, which I was completely freaked out about. The past few days, it kept getting closer on my calendar. Tonight was actually a make-up exam, set up for students who couldn't (or didn't want to) take the exam last night. (I was working and doing another assignment at work last night.) So I looked at the homework, even the stuff I didn't do, and found out which sections were covered on the exam, and realized that it wasn't a lot of material. I also realized that all of the material was a duplicate of a class I took last semester. That's when I started to think I might be able to pull this off. I looked at the book, and my study guide from last semester's class, and pretty much knew all of the material.

I got lucky. If this had happened in another class, I'd have completely bombed that midterm.


I also talked to my contact at the campus disability resource center today and explained what's been going on this semester. It turns out that when a student is dealing with visions and nightmares and being afraid of leaving his/her apartment, that's considered a part of your disability. My paperwork was updated today to include a letter explaining what my disability is, and how it affects classes; it also suggests extending deadlines for assignments. (Me: Really? Seriously?) Faculty aren't required to grant you such extensions, but having a letter helps when you go to their office to ask.

It took a while for me to go ask for help; I knew I needed to go, but I couldn't make myself go.

It's taken a lot of trying, but I'm feeling a bit better- having a midterm out of the way is certainly a burden that's been lifted. I've tried to stabilize my sleeping pattern (bedtime 0230ish, up at 0930ish). I've tried to stabilize taking my medications, taking bupropion at the same times every day, and taking my sertraline and trazodone earlier in the evening (so I'm not as groggy when I wake up).

Welcome to my life.

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