Sometimes I really hate my brain. Today, as a totally random example, has been utterly awful. I woke up out of a nightmare half an hour before my alarm, spent the next 20 minutes fishing around for someone to distract me so I would make sure I didn’t fall back asleep (and resume being pursued by a creepy monster while stringing multiple men along romantically and trying not to miss a ferry) and the next hour trying to persuade myself to start my day. I spent most of my morning with my thoughts flitting from topic to topic without focus or clarity while trying to guess how long it would take to solve problems I hadn’t figured out what was wrong with yet so that we could measure how badly we were going to miss our deadline by. I couldn’t pull my head out of the haze of panic and fear and guilt and recrimination that started with a dumb dream, until I’d been at work for hours. I couldn’t even manage to work without blaming co-workers for creating the problem to begin with, which is hypocritical at the very least and both mean and a bad example for my peers. I spent so much energy trying to human and utterly failed at not being an asshole while I did it.

Sometimes my head feels like it has its own internal alarm and no one gave me the code to turn it off. I go through days where I can’t hear anything through the shriek of SOMETHINGISWRONG FIXIT KILLIT HIDEHIDEHIDEHIDEHIDE PLEASELEAVEMEALONE PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE! Sometimes my heart races and my lungs squeeze and my brain halts just because I read something that makes me uncomfortable or I snapped a little too harshly at someone. All that mental noise translates to physical tics and I pluck at my eyebrows and yank on my hair and fiddle with putty. Sometimes the alarm turns off but it turns off the main power line while it’s at it and I can’t even boot up. Sometimes I can’t remember how to be a human, and I eat the bare minimum to keep me going, don’t wash my hair for days, and stop falling asleep before 4 AM.

I find giving these things names to be really hard. Was it a panic attack if it ended quickly and I didn’t hyperventilate? Is it depression if I neveractually attempt to kill myself? How compulsive does an action have to be before it’s worth really worrying about? My sense of scale is out of whack and it makes it hard to tell what to get help with, what to forgive myself for, what is unacceptable.

This lack of objective perspective makes days like today really hard. Objectively, I didn’t eat well, but I ate something three times, so if you count potato chips as lunch, I had 3 meals. I plan to wash my hair when I’m done writing here. I slept last night and expect to tonight. I fixed two bugs I had been struggling with and reproduced the next one on my list. I took my meds, both this morning and this evening. But it was all such a fight to accomplish. Is it really a win if you spent the first two thirds of your day fighting yourself down, and the last third patting yourself on the back for accomplishing the bare minimum required for being a human in society? It sure doesn’t feel like it.

A twitter buddy of mine is committing to writing 500 words a day on some topic, and invited others to join her. Feel free to write alongside us, exercise those grammar muscles, and do a little wordsmithing. The hashtag on twitter is #500wordsAbout.