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  1. My online journal kept for a few years. I thought about it on a whim and decided to see if it was still there - it was, and I remembered the password, so I logged in. It started the year I left for college. It was strange to read through those four years - I was great for a while, but I could see when I started to have issues, when my moods started swinging from depressive to manic, when my social anxiety was causing me to nearly hallucinate - my first and worst panic attacks, the paranoia, the pain. Drugs and alcohol and betrayal. It was awful. I was able to see the progress I have since made, at least. I journaled about having the worst time of my life, even though I stopped writing in it in 2007 - that was when I was working with a therapist and a nurse practitioner to try to get medications to help me. What I never got to journal about was the year after when I cut myself off my meds, then REALLY had the worst time of my life. I could see the beginning of all of it, though, the things I should never have done, episodes that my manic brain thought were just the most fun and intelligent adventures ever. My anxiety building to a breaking point, causing trouble with my friends, my family, my job... I felt so sad for that girl. But I was off my meds and spiraling downward and I didn't know. I just didn't know. I started writing a paper journal sometime in 2008 but I'm afraid to look at it because 2008-2009 was the very worst of my disorders. It's five years later and I still struggle, but I am stable. I struggle with anxiety more than anything, but the wild up-and-down mood swings have become mild and rare. I had a great life, spiraled down into daily hell, and somehow walked out the other side, a little scuffed up but functioning and am currently not medicated (except a little alprazolam as needed for panic attacks - which, thankfully, I have only had to use a few times.) I have coping techniques to lean on and am no longer so afraid to seek out trusted others when I am having a bad time. That's all, really. Just needed to share finding this artifact from such traumatic days. It was fascinating and heartbreaking to know that those words were written by my own hands- I recognized my voice in them, but it was still like an entirely different person. It was painful to read and already know what was going to happen. So many regrets for which I have fought hard to forgive myself, and tried to make peace with those involved - I mended some relationships and lost others, but that's okay. I still journal pen-and-paper style when I have the time and I am thankful when I am able to identify these patterns of healing and progress.
  2. Beginning of January. Coworker gets her hair dyed. It looks great, and I consider that I have never had my hair colored by anyone professional. Got the name of the salon, made plans to make appointment. One, two, three weeks go by, name of the salon printed neatly in the corner of my day planner. Nah, I'll do it next week. Nah, I'll do it next week. Okay. Today is the day. Today I will do it. It's 8AM. What time do they open? Google search. Salon has no website. Curse. Salon has phone number. Curses curses. Are they open at 8AM? Some places don't open until noon. Some salons are afternoon/evening only. But some salons are morning/afternoon only. Maybe I should wait until 9. 9AM. Well, maybe I should wait until 11. That seems like a reasonable time. Wait. At 11 they might be at lunch. How many people even work there? Is it one person? Lots of people have one stylist that they've used for years, maybe this is one of those situations. Google search. Nothing. If it's one person and she is at lunch I should probably call after lunch. 12 noon. No. 1. 1PM. I have to go to work for a conference call. I'll call after. 2:30PM Okay. Time to do this. Gonna do this. Number is right here. 3PM Still looking at number. This number looks strange. Is it a cell phone? What kind of salon has a cell phone for a contact? Google search. No, it's a business number. Hmm. 3:30PM Okay. Go time. Call number. 3:31PM Hang up. It was an answering machine. I didn't rehearse what I was going to say to an answering machine! 3:32-4PM Rehearse answering machine message. Seriously, let's go, brain 4:01PM Call salon. Get answering machine. Leave hurried but seemingly coherent message. 4:03PM SALON IS CALLING ME BACK, WHY, WHY!? Deep breath deep breath deep breath hello? 4:05PM Find out salon has an opening for an appointment, at the end of March and I don't have my work schedule for then so I'll have to get back to them maybe, or try to find another place and repeat this whole process over again. 4:06-4:30PM Endure usual nervous hiccups and have nothing at all to show for it. Annnd that's how it took me two months to make one phone call. Anyone else procrastinate like this? Well it's not procrastinating exactly, because it was on my mind the whole time. Like heavily on my mind, for no reason. I always worry disproportionately to the task at hand, but particularly when it comes to things involving the phone. Arg.
  3. astralis


    In so many ways, stuck In this place, stuck- in my head, these numbers, stuck- existentially, stuck- mentally, physically, stuck. Trapped. Frozen. Unable to move forward, unable to go back. What follows is a random collection of thoughts. The first thing I noticed this morning was how slow my pulse was. Probably a nice calm 60 or lower, following hours of much needed and well-deserved sleep. Slow, strong, steady, and it soothed me back to sleep for an hour or so. This would not last. I live with my grandfather. He has been having health issues lately. His mental and physical states vary from 'average' to 'poor.' His hygiene suffers. I work in healthcare and if it has given me anything, it has taught me the differences in aseptic, sterile, 'clean', and everything else - I know what lurks on doorknobs, bathroom floors, countertops. Somewhat contrarily, it is with this lifestyle that I have become unable to bear these hygiene issues. For those with weak stomachs, pause here--- -- it is not uncommon for him to leave a trail of diarrhea most of the way through the house. I don't know if this is a bowel control issue or what, but I feel it is normal to want to scream in this situation. My mom calmly pulls out the carpet shampoo machine (which she is forced to do several times per week) but I cringe, I pull myself into a ball and try not to cry. My pulse is racing. Grandpa walks the house naked or near-naked while finding new clothes to wear. I know that he doesn't wash his hands. Even if he hasn't had some kind of intestinal episode, he is constantly scratching, scratching, scratching his belly, his ***, his head, whatever, because of some strange rash he's had for some time now that no doctor can identify or treat. Whenever he digs his filthy hands into our freezer ice, or a cookie jar, I feel myself swell inside my skin, and I want to scratch, claw it all off. Everything, contaminated. Mom comes to the dining room, where there is a stack of freshy-laundered towels, and grabs one. The striped one. My favorite one. She is going to clean up the diarrhea with it. I didn't know she used those towels. I ask her which ones she usually uses. "Just the old ones usually," she says. Like the striped one. My favorite one. I fight the urge to vomit and I leave the house. By the time I reach Wal-Mart to buy myself some individual towels I am breaking out in hives on my back and arms. Heart pounding. I can't take it. The very towels I've been using to dry myself have been used on multiple occasions to clean crap from the floor. Moments before I left she came in to add two wash cloths to the rest of the soiled items in the washer. Wash cloths I might have used. A washer into which I load all my clothes. All of it contaminated. No matter how much I wash, I can't keep myself from having to touch fixtures, light switches, door knobs, furniture. Food. Air. It's all bad. I went to the library today. I looked up some books that started with the numbers 612 and 613. I tried to remember them but instead they became trapped in my brain. All day, driving, reading, watching tv, I've found myself saying over and over 612, 613, 612, 613, 612, 613... Normally when a number gets stuck in my head I ritualize. I tap things. I pluck hairs. I make notches with a safety-pin. But this number is so high that I end up paralyzed, because only a crazy person would pluck 613 hairs from their legs, right? 300 is not crazy, somehow, but 613 draws the line? My mom is on a date tonight. The same guy who screwed her over so bad three or four years ago. The guy she started dating when all my anxiety problems hit. The guy she abandoned us all for, when she went through her little second teenage midlife crisis whatever-that-was. She doesn't know that MSN search leaves a list of 'recently searched terms' and that I would see the word 'fisting' on there. She's been gone seven hours now. I have a wonderful boyfriend. He wants to marry me, and he makes me very happy. He lives far away. He is my ticket out of here, to another part of the country, a new life, a new start, but for so many reasons I feel stuck here, like if I leave, my mom is the only one who is here to deal with grandpa's problems. But what am I going to do? Wait for him to die? Another thing my job has taught me is that people who get sick don't die. They stay sick for decades. Mom has put her life on hold forever because of this family loyalty and she radiates the resentment and self-pity. Why do I feel such loyalty to her? It's not like I'm really that much help here. I want to go back to school and immerse myself in some kind of new career but the last degree I got has proven to be all but unemployable in this job market, so I hesitate to dial up more education debt. Before I get to that point I have to decide what, exactly, I want to do with my life. Instead I sit here stewing with my millions of thoughts. 612, 613. 612. 613. What the hell am I supposed to do here?
  4. Hi all, This may trigger, so I'll space down a bit. ********************************************* I live with my grandfather and he seems to have a skin-picking disorder. He is going to the doctor on Thursday and I brought this to their attention to maybe evaluate him for dermatillomania symptoms. He claims he has an allergy and that he itches terribly, but I think it's a cover story - we have tried every antihistamine, we have eliminated every possible allergen, he has seen half a dozen doctors and specialists and allergists and every time he gets a new cream or lotion it works miraculously for a few days, and then he's covered in sores again because when they begin to heal he just can't leave them alone. My own suspicion is that he is just aging and anxious and lonely because our family doesn't visit as often as I think they should, plus I think he enjoys the special treatment he gets with all the doctor visits and so on - not saying that he is starving for attention or that it's a bad thing to enjoy the treatment, but that's just my theory. Anyway, I am having trouble coping with this. I swear I can hear him picking and picking and scratching and picking and it makes me want to claw my own skin off. I personally do not have this problem, so it is not particularly triggering, but I do have a lot of generalized anxiety and I just can't relax when I know he's in there digging at his skin. I swear that I can hear it. He sits and watches TV and I see him run his hand down his arm, find a rough spot, Sorry if that was kind of gross. I can't be around when he does this. I would separate myself from the situation completely except that he is always in the house and I am afraid of everything I touch. I'm afraid to walk on some floors, touch some surfaces. I would die if someone made me sit in his chair, I just don't know what to do at this point because I can't escape this and even thinking about it makes me itch all over and want to crawl out of my own skin. He's 83 years old and I feel like he will be very resistant to any kind of behavior therapy, but I will wait to see what the doctors say. I try to tell him to stop, so he's aware that he's doing it, get him to do other things with his hands to keep busy, etc, but he just grumps about it and says he can't help it and gets angry if we remind him too much. Any ideas?
  5. The title sums it up, really. I thought I was strong enough that I wouldn't have to go down this road again. Mentally, maybe, I am stronger, but it looks like physically I am not. The first time I was medicated for anxiety I was feeling the symptoms mentally, with the racing thoughts and the feeling of doom and so on. This time around the symptoms are completely different and the most disturbing ones have been physical. This is new to me. I don't get it. I eat well. I work out hard and often. I am not depressed. But this last week I had anxiety attacks almost daily, with symptoms I have never experienced - pounding chest, headaches, butterflies in the stomach, and most disturbingly, chest pain and extreme muscle tension/ache and a weird, unsettling awareness of every breath I drew. I was put on Paxil 20mg with .5 Xanax as-needed in case I have those attacks. The very idea of starting this over again makes me very anxious because I really did not enjoy my last experience with SSRIs. Getting off that medication was hell, and the weight gain was ridiculous. I finally just got back to a healthy weight after gaining 30lbs on Celexa, and I heard Paxil is the worst for weight gain. I guess I'll have to see how it goes. Sigh. I feel like such a failure. I know this is something that never truly goes away, but I felt like I had everything under control. Was I just too cocky? Do I deserve this?
  6. Hi all. I'm wondering what you folks do when you have a day off from work. I recently (as of January) have a new job and, while I am happy to have employment, I find it quite stressful. The job isn't what I'd consider difficult, but there are long long hours and it is fast-paced and important (working in a clinic) - the most challenging part for me is the social aspect. My coworkers are very strong personalities and while it's no use getting into specifics, I have been reamed by said coworkers on a handful of occasions for what I consider to be trivial things. Each time I have had to leave the area to have a bit of a hyperventilating fit and as many of you know, anxiety attacks kind of derail your whole day after that. Very upsetting. I try to just not draw attention to myself, but sooner or later this one girl will find some reason to blow up at me. Anyway, I have two days off work per week and though I am happy for a break, I usually spend the whole time extremely anxious about returning to work. I get torn between trying to get personal things done and being frozen in anxiety, often accomplishing nothing for the day. I do have hobbies and exercise and they help tons, but those events are usually on days when I also work, so my days off are quite empty. How do you enjoy a day with no work and escape that work dread? I hate this feeling of guilt that comes with a wasted day, and the exhaustion that follows a day of pre-emptive anxiety. It seems like I spend my whole week just trying to get to my next off day, and then it's over before I ever had a chance to really relax. Thanks for any advice.
  7. astralis


    I can always hear my grandfather pray. It's not on purpose. His room is right near mine and his voice is quite deep, so it carries, even though he speaks so softly. He prays for his health and the health of our dog, of all things. He gives thanks for everything that's been done for him and our dog. Not sure why I find this interesting. My aunts were here today. I'm working six days a week and finally, Sunday arrives - my day off, my day to sleep, my day to relax, and I'm woken up at 8 by them barging in here. It's odd and sad how my mother and I are like wallpaper, background figures, scenery. They don't give a s*** about us. It's rare that they even come by to visit grandpa but some elderly woman they knew recently passed away and I guess that spurred them into coming by. I don't get any hi, how are you, how's the new job, any real acknowledgment that I'm there, except that they hold their cups up when I offer them coffee. We're here, my mom and I. We maintain the house as best we can while both working full time jobs. We keep the dog entertained and keep food in the house and make sure grandpa is happy and as healthy as we can, but my aunts get really excitable when something happens and we are the first to blame. He isn't eating well? It's our fault. The house is a mess? Oh, it must make him so SAD, and it's our fault. They call from time to time to Biotch us out for the state of the house. I feel bad about it too, and really, it's a clean mess - just (clean) laundry sitting out, etc - but 12-hour work shifts make it hard to clean. Boo hoo right? I know I'm not the only one with this problem but that doesn't make it any easier. Sigh. Caretaking is rewarding and difficult. And the thing is, he is in pretty great health for a man who is nearing 84 years old. His tests come back great and aside from some minor allergies he is doing well - I think the winters depress him, but the winter is almost over, and he gets around with little trouble. Not bad, I have to say. But it's funny how we catch the remnants of my aunts' self-loathing. They're afraid of the day he won't be here and they're looking for someone to blame. They say, if he's lonely we are here. If he needs anything we are here. My mom and I. But what they don't realize is that we are wallpaper. He doesn't pray for us. We are scenery. We don't count as company anymore - we are here all the time. What he wants is for his other four kids to come visit or at least call. Not sure what to do about this. All I know is someday they will be sorry that they didn't come by more often. It's a common story. And I'm sure the family will erupt in a blame game and that we will catch most of the fire. At least we can say we tried and that we were here.
  8. Got my first breath of warm sunny air this week and that strange haunted feeling came rushing through me. By haunted I mean slightly dizzy, frozen in space, tunnel vision, kind of jamais-vu. Most people find that their depression is eased by warm weather - sunlight is mostly good for you, more time to spend outdoors or with fresh air coming in, the list goes on, but that feeling of warm balmy air always makes me feel strange and distant. It reminds me of summers spent alone at home, where my depression and anxiety problems flared badly due to isolation and family frustration. It reminds me of summers after college where I found myself without friends, without employment, and without any outlet for mental turmoil. More or less, every time the weather has gotten warm, another cycle of mental crap has stirred up for me, either due to some subconscious trigger recalling bad times, or something else, whatever that may be. Suddenly I feel the same way I always did coming home from school for the summer - aimless, floundering, isolated, out of my body, like I don't belong here. I wish I knew what caused this. It's been a long winter, a dark snowy awful ordeal, and I was so glad to see a little warm sunlight. But when the air changes, I just start feeling all wrong.
  9. astralis

    Change, Etc.

    I like to think that I enjoy change. It is uncomfortable, but I always have this dim hope that a new situation will be favorable. I guess the biggest change is that I have a new job, and these feelings coming back to me is like some old familiar recurring nightmare. It's in healthcare, which I find pleasantly ironic. I try to be optimistic. Oh, I can help sick people, awesome. I get paid well for work that is actually interesting and requires critical thought, also awesome. The patients I work with are generally friendly. But the whole situation has left me feeling haunted. Mechanically, this job isn't beyond me. I run dialysis machines. I am a tech and I work under nurses. Machines, computers, these things I understand. People, I do not. I struggle with people. Not the patients - they are there for a service, most are very elderly and very pleasant. I have managed to survive thus far (about two months) but looking around, it's like I can see my future. Everyone who works in this field seems so depressed. One nurse has anxiety so bad she scratches her own skin off. The others are in such chronic bad moods that they snip and snap and so on. They get together and whisper and talk and since I am new, I don't belong yet. I don't really want to belong. Those behaviors, the whispering, the exclusion, being treated like I know nothing, the lack of trust, these things set my social anxiety aflame. I haven't felt like this in a few years, and it's particularly sad that I can feel it creeping up after I've been better for so long. Just push it down, I tell myself. Push it down and down and deal with it later. But I've done that before and I remember how it ended up. One day at a time, I tell myself. One day at a time. This isn't what I want to do, but it is what I am doing, and I should be grateful, right? The thing that haunts me most is I get to see the future with my job. I watch people turn into ghosts of their former selves, into husks, shadows of people. Bodies that require forty pills a day and machines and devices to keep them living. I browse their charts and their histories. They come for all kinds of reasons - Genetics. Trauma. Diabetes. Chemotherapy. Agent Orange. Tonsillectomy in 1932. Hysterectomy in 1960. Colon cancer. Bowel resection. Colostomy. Kidney failure. No function below the waist, empty. Pills to make them eat, make them sleep, make them wake up, breathe, digest, make the heart beat, make the lungs pump. Enough antidepressants and anxiolytics to keep them sedate. Wide-eyed confusion on the faces of people who can only be understood by their own aging offspring who wheel them from treatment to treatment and are somehow thankful for every pained moment of life left in their beloved family member. I am getting awfully morbid, aren't I? I look at them and I know that in there, somewhere, is a personality, a long story of a life, trapped in someone who can barely communicate with the outside world - they don't know where they are, what they're doing there, who these people are... I wonder what it's like? I see the husbands, the wives, the children, bringing their relatives for these life-sustaining treaments, see the dignity there, the pride, and I wonder what it must be like to see a lifelong companion deteriorate into such a state. For better or worse, indeed. I hope I die in a plane crash or something exciting, rather than slowly and expensively fade away over a dozen or so years, become a burden on those around me. On the bright side, they are very thankful for those moments. For life in general. And I get to help sustain that. I suppose that's the good thing that I get to do. Sorry that was such a downer. Back to the original topic - it is interesting how many of these people who work in healthcare are so unwell themselves. The stress, I guess? I wonder what the statistics are, regarding nurses and the like and mental disorder, whether the condition was pre-existing or brought on by the profession. I suppose some research is in order.
  10. Hello. I just thought I'd share my empathy. It is strange how college is a little bubble in time. Revisiting the people I met then and seeing how they have moved out and moved on has been troubling to me as well. We were always told we had such potential. It felt like half the time I was conditioned to believe I could be something great, but I was surrounded by so many people who made me feel so small - you know how they beat you down just to build you up? I guess I never got back up. I'm not sure how best to deal with this feeling, but I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel like time and circumstance have had their way with me.
  11. This is a little long, but so very important... I was right. Haha! About the boy. Ha... it's fantastic yet bittersweet. A few weeks ago I got to see a lot of my friends at my college, the annual homecoming celebrations. It's been two years since I graduated so it was great to see a lot of my college family, my sorority sisters and so on. Among the crowd was The Boy - I have written about him before. The one that just kind of disappeared. The one that answered another girl's phonecall during the last time we were intimate. The one that requested I design a tattoo for him, said he loved it, and a year later decided to just print something similar off the internet and go get inked without saying a word. (I later found out that he went to get tattooed with the aforementioned phone girl.) The boy who said he cared about me so much, yet could only bother to send me a single text maybe once or twice a month, or even less. He was there, looking great as ever. He was very friendly to me. Said he was so happy to see me. He seemed to miss me. A lot of people said I looked amazing - I have lost a lot of weight since I left school, and I began my fighting training, so I have to admit I am in great shape compared to when many of them last saw me. Six or seven people didn't even recognize me and then raved about the change, and that made me feel really great. Anyway, as the liquor began to flow throughout the night, the story of what really happened last year started to come out. I didn't even probe for it - people just started talking. And I found that I was correct. About the boy, and about that girl. I guess she led him around like a puppy on a leash, and he was sleeping with her. And she's engaged, to her highschool sweetheart, but I guess his moral compass always points toward his pants. I don't know. By the middle of the night that girl had consumed so much alcohol that she could barely get off the ground, kept whining for the same boy to come help her, but he was off drunk somewhere else, and she spent the rest of the night nearly passed out on some bathroom floor. (Yeah there were people taking care of her, and she turned out okay, but she was in bad shape.) A few years ago something like this happened to me regarding my mom. I didn't want to believe that she was meeting up with random men and probably having sex with them and generally being really sleazy. I had this strong feeling that she was lying and sneaking around but at the same time I tried to convince myself that I was wrong. I spent a long torturous time bouncing back and forth between obsessing over her habits and at the same time convincing myself that I was stupid for obsessing and that I need to get a grip. Then I found out I was right. It's funny, when you spend so much time telling yourself to stop obsessing and that you're being stupid and paranoid, and then you find out that you were right. You then have to decide what to do with that knowledge. I always thought when I found out this boy was sleeping with someone, the boy whom I'd loved and loved, who left me pathetic and starved for his attention, I thought I'd blow up, I'd tell him how much he hurt me, that all the pain would come to the surface and I'd make some display of how miserable I'd been. I had been so afraid of seeking closure with this boy because I figured closure would mean some kind of confrontation and that I'd basically be closing that whole chapter of my life, and the thought of doing so was unimaginable to me then. I couldn't fathom that kind of pain and loss. We never did get closure - he slept with me, answered that phone call, then nearly fell off the edge of existence. But I have to say... closure has never felt so fantastic. I didn't get mad. All I could really do was go... huh. I was right. I KNEW I was right. And I'm really glad that I was right and that I took those necessary steps to get over him while he was off frolicking with some engaged girl. It hurt a lot, yeah, and I pretty much had to mourn him as though he had died - the boy I used to know IS gone, and his absence did feel like he'd simply disappeared. By the time the truth came out (he told me himself- "Did it happen? Yeah.. Does it mean I feel good about it? No.." in some lame attempt to sacrifice his own dignity, I think) I was so over it all that I finally felt that door close and I felt that heavy heavy weight lift off me. The thoughts in the back of my head, the doubts, the remnants of that pain, gone. Turned to total delicious apathy toward him. I could really care less what he does or who he sees, in a totally nonviolent way - he can do what he wants and I no longer feel that it affects me in any way. It's surreal. I was right, and I'm no longer afraid of trusting my gut feelings. That inner voice is strong and accurate and never again will someone keep me on their hook for such a long time. Rarely can I actually measure such growth in myself. I'm free! Finally!
  12. For those who don't know Dr. Phil, he's one of those daytime-TV gurus who thinks he knows everything about everyone. Right now I'm watching some poor girl who is severely anorexic being grilled by him and her whole family - he is reaming her for not being honest, when all she is doing is explaining her story the best she can. She has trouble admitting that anorexia is somewhat about control, but instead of maybe explaining his opinion thoroughly, presenting some evidence, something she might be able to understand, all he's doing is telling her how much she's hurt her whole family, calling her a tyrant, letting her family call her things like 'monster' ... this makes me so sad for this girl, and so angry to see what people like him will do to boost ratings. I get that he's not letting her play the victim, but to call her a monster? Seriously? She's in that stage of really primal survival thought, it seems like. I can see the grip it has on her, the distortion of the thoughts, I think she can see somewhat through that distorted lens, but not clearly enough to fully know how to ask for help. I really hope they help this girl and stop pouring the guilt trip on top of her already wounded and desperate spirit. Her family has turned their back on her already, and now they're portraying her as a stubborn attention-seeker instead of someone who is desperately ill and crying out for help. Sigh. So frustrated for her.
  13. I have struggled with sleep problems too, especially aggravated by college studies - I know how you feel! It's very tough, combined with varying types of anxiety. I know a few people who swear by Melatonin, a natural sleep supplement - they swear it works every time. My sleep problem followed a very long strange path but somehow regulated itself on its own, even though it took quite a long while and I got very frustrated in the meantime. It was an underlying anxiety I'm sure, and when that worry eased I was able to get back to a more normal schedule. I know it isn't always convenient to change your surroundings when your days are dictated by study, but it was when I was able to change my surroundings (physical and social) and my habits (particularly dietary and physical) that I saw the best change in my sleep. Try to take time to do things you enjoy and maybe find a way to burn off some extra energy if you can, by taking a walk, or some exercise. (It sounds pretty but sometimes the most simple answer is the best.) For early morning waking, I tried to simply be productive - read a little bit of a book, make a list of the day's tasks, something like that, because I would wake up with my mind in a crazy whirlwind of nervous energy. In that state it's almost impossible to get back to sleep, so I would make the best of my energetic state by trying to make myself feel a little more organized. Perhaps doing these things at night (laying out the next day's "strategy") before sleep will afford you a bit more rest? I hope you find some remedy, as I very much feel your pain in this!
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