Anyone with a chronic illness will tell you that they have good days, bad days, and awful days.  Add mental illness to a physical chronic illness, and you have the potential for disaster.

On good days, things go well.  You feel decent.  You may not be in much pain.  You feel organized and ready to get things done.  On bad days, things don’t go as planned.  You feel crappy.  You may be in enough pain to want to throw the towel, but you function.  On awful days, nothing goes as planned.  You feel incredibly crappy.  You are in enough pain to not even throw the towel, because that hurts.  And you can’t function.

Recently, I had a nightmare of which the contents I do not remember.  All I know is that I woke up screaming, gasping for air, cold sweats, panic, anxiety, chest heaviness, shakiness, and well, the whole enchilada.  Now, with PTSD, which I have, nightmares are not out of the norm, but even then, nightmares can get the best of you.

I had not had such a terrifying nightmare in a very long time… months.  I thought the nightmares were a thing of the past, but they are not, and they came back to remind me.  This nightmare, even though I do not remember the contents, threw me a curve.  I was not prepared for it.  I was not prepared for it to send my psychosis into overdrive.  I was not prepared to have a few awful days in a row, and I was certainly not prepared to deal with the consequences.  I let my guard down (which in PTSD recovery is a good thing, but that’s stuff for another post).

I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread.  It occupied everything I did.  I took my medication as prescribed, to no avail.  I could barely put coherent sentences together.  And I started dissociating (also another thing I thought I had under control).  I lost track of time, chores, and life in general.  It’s like my life unplugged from the world, but the world didn’t stop running.

I put myself somewhat together within a few days, and now I am able to function somewhat normally (my normal, anyway).  But now I am back at being hypervigilant, and terrified of the games my mind plays with me.  Today, I was having a good day, until suddenly, as if struck by lightning, I started having a bad day.  My body ached more than normal, and I am feeling like mentally something is wrong, very wrong.  And I am afraid of going to sleep, because well, I am afraid of nightmares again.  I don’t want to be shaken to the core.  I don’t want to have my psychosis go awry.  And I don’t want that feeling of wasting my life managing symptoms.

However, in order to have good days, I must be very vigilant of my health, my feelings, my thoughts, and any games my mind decides to play with me, and this takes time and energy.  And it leaves me with very little to play with.  In order to feel well, I have to spend a lot of time managing symptoms with effective, healthy interventions, under close supervision of my doctors and therapists.

On good days, I don’t have to manage many symptoms.  On bad days, a good considerable chunk of my day is employed in managing symptoms.  On awful days, however, it seems like no matter what I do, all I do is manage symptoms.

As you know, I design and make jewelry. I design more than I make, but that’s probably for another post. I do end up with quite a bit of jewelry that I’m not sure how to store.

Well, following my own advice, I went and bought the little black dress jewelry organizer at Bed Bath & Beyond. It was $20. Funny thing is, it doesn’t hold all my inventory (not counting earrings… I have like literally one ton of those). So maybe I should get another one. But I really need to work on my studio, too. It’s craziness in there. There’s barely standing room. I need to rearrange furniture and find places for things.

But as usual, (maybe in my subconscious I sabotage myself) whenever I have the energy, I don’t have the time, and when I have the time, I don’t have the energy.

Anybody out there with any ideas on how to manage time and energy and make them sync?

I want to organize my tiny studio space to be able to fit a small twin bed or futon, as it is also my thinking cave. Throwing out supplies is not an option, but I have some extra space in other rooms for extra supplies. It is just a tough thing to tackle for me. Organization takes creativity, commitment, and, well, organization. I have chaos, fear of commitment, and some creativity. Would I be able to do it? Who could help? I don’t have many friends, and the few I have are housebound or pregnant or out of state.

I will post some pictures of my chaos and how it evolves. The biggest challenge I face is me. I see my jewelry supplies and immediately start creating new pieces. Crazy how that works.

Pictures of the initial chaos forthcoming this weekend. Voices be damned!

As I had said in my post from September 1, 2013, I did not invent the term, but the fact that Painsomnia has made it to the urban dictionary gives us chronically ill people a little validation.

Here, check it out for yourself!

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=painsomnia

So there you have it.  I didn’t invent the term, but it exists in some level.  Maybe health care professionals will get in with the program, and understand that painsomnia is real.

I wonder how long it will take to go from neologism/slang to an actual word.

One of my new year’s goals had been to de-clutter, because organization is key to less stress.

When you are depressed or having an episode of PTSD or other mental illness, out is very easy to become disorganized and cluttered.

I know I’m guilty of that.  I have enough energy and motivation to start the laundry but not to fold it and put it away.  Next thing you know, there’s piles of clean laundry in every room, wrinkling and collecting cat hair.

I’m guilty of buying a second set of something because I lost it, only to find it a couple of weeks later.  (Like sunglasses…)

I used to lose my keys all the time.  Until my super organized husband came up with a simple solution.  We bought and installed a key hanger.  Now the keys have a place to live and I don’t lose them anymore.  That was an easy fix, but then there’s the clutter.

Here are some things that have helped me control it. 

Problem:
Falling behind on the mail.

Suggested solution:
I grab the mail and go through it over the trash can.  All junk mail goes straight there.  Except in the case of things that need to be shredded.  Then I sort it out by recipient.  If it’s not mine, I put it in their pile.  If it’s mine, then it goes into a “to do” box.  That means, I need to read it, pay it, reply, or whatever action is required.  If I can do it right away, I do it. But if for some reason I can’t do it right away, it’s neatly piled up in a pretty box.  Then I have a “done” file archive.  This is where I put bills paid, cards I want to keep, file away coupons and keep a little notebook with a log of when I did what with each piece of mail.  The reason for that is to keep track of things.  I otherwise don’t remember, and if something I sent didn’t make it to its destination, I can back track and figure it out.

Problem:
No more space in the closet and too much stuff floating around in the house, cluttering it.

Suggested solution:
Go through your closet and figure what to keep, what to throw away and what to donate, and if you’re into selling your stuff in a garage sale or yard sale,you can figure that out too.

Get heavy duty plastic bags and color-code them with post it notes

For example, pink is keep. Blue donate. Green is sell, and yellow is throw away.  That way, when you’re done sorting, you know what bag goes where.  Pink into the closet, blue to goodwill (or charity of your choice), green is to be stored for the next garage/yard sale, and yellow goes straight to the trash.  You can do this in little spurts or in one big go.  Color coding the bags (or boxes) like that will help you pick where left at a later time, too.

Problem:
you put stuff in neatly stacked boxes but can’t figure out where an item is in the sea of boxes.

Suggested solution:
Grab a label maker or labeling stickers and list what’s inside.  It will save you time and frustration!

Problem:
Too much jewelry stuffed in the drawer/jewelry box.

Suggested solution:
Buy a jewelry organizer, like the Umbra little black dress jewelry organizer from Bed Bath and Beyond.  It only takes the space of one dress in your closet and it displays your jewelry in individual transparent pockets so you can easily find them when you want/need to dress up.

This is by as means not all inclusive, but it will help us live a little better.  Less clutter in our homes will help us save time and money, frustrations, stress and anxieties.

Do you have any more ideas?

Here are a couple of shots from today’s expedition down the Las Vegas strip.  The remarkable thing here is that I did it by myself in the midst of the crowds.  I was anxious, but deep breathing helped a lot.  I also met a (homeless) navy veteran, and that helped so much! This total stranger gave me a sense of connectedness, and our talk made me feel more confident.  And it was just a pleasant experience, in spite of the anxiety.

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This is the Paris.  I love how it looks.  Sure wish out was the real Eiffel Tower.

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Lady Liberty.  If it only were the one in NYC!

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Siegfried and Roy.  Very appropriate for Vegas…

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The sun setting behind the Palm trees.

So there you have it. A little taste of my phone photograph capabilities.  These pictures are not edited at all.

I don’t know if I have posted before that doing something creative is a good outlet for me.  I can work my emotions, I can feel less frustrated, I can let my ideas grow.  It’s a fantastic thing to be inspired.

I’m not particularly inspired right now.  Had a very early wake up for a Sunday.  But it’s okay.

I’m traveling with my husband and going on a trip to chase inspiration.

Jack London had been quoted as saying that You must not wait for inspiration to come. You must chase it with a club.

In this case, I’m chasing it with a camera.

So the hubby lost part of the deal on his job, but not all is lost.  At this point, things are back to normalish.  I was worried he would appeal into a depression, but I was worrying about nothing.  He doesn’t have major depressive disorder. I do.  And while anyone can fall into a depression, that doesn’t make it true that any adversity will bring someone down to the clutches of depression.

I talked a bit about seeing him blinded by the options laid in front of him.  To analyze, to a certain point, he was catastrophizing, thinking in all-or-nothing/black and white mode, and predicting.  People with mental illness fall into these thinking patterns way too often, myself very much included.

What is catastrophizing?  Everything reasonable somehow gets to the conclusion that will be the end of the world.  All or nothing?  Pretty self explanatory.  Black or white. No gray zones, no in between, no fine print or choices.  And predicting, well, unless you’re a very gifted clairvoyant, you just can’t predict what will happen.  And these ways of thinking magnify our worries and driver us nutty.

I did it too, you can read on my previous posts.