PTSD and bathroom renovations.

Depression ebbs and flows. You only believe its cyclical nature, however, when you’re trending up. When you’re sinking or at the bottom change seems like a pipe dream: black is all life will ever be.

I’m trending up these days. Luckily, I have other issues: perhaps now isn’t the best time to renovate my en suite?

My impulsivity makes that question moot: I didn’t ease in. That translates to, “demolition is mostly complete notwithstanding the absence of a plan.”

This morning, the project contributed to my mini, possibly medium-sized meltdown.  

I remind myself I’m trending up. This springs from the aforementioned other issues, PTSD or anxiety most likely. Maybe it’s an unholy mix: neuroses shouldn’t play together.

I’ve decided it’s seventy-thirty in favour of PTSD. It’s odd, having anxiety in second place. My fragility is the giveaway. Anxiety doesn’t leave me feeling ready to shatter and unstable in my skin. [i]

Not unstable in an “I’m dangerous” way. Unstable as in, I feel inherently unsteady. My inability to deal with frustration, another PTSD characteristic, also seems worse. My eating disorder was one of my coping tools but I don’t do that anymore.

Insomnia is making things worse. My doctor prescribed some opioids to deal with the part caused by pain but my antidepressants block their effectiveness. They’re about as strong as OTC aspirin now. Luckily, their toxicity remains the same, so I can’t increase the dose until it works. Mostly because I like my liver.

I’ve never renovated a bathroom before. I’ve painted rooms and removed a toilet but everything else I need to do is something I’ve yet to try. I’m grateful for the home repair articles and videos available online. I added a brand-new folder to my browser to keep them corralled.

I’m also poor. When you add “no money” to an underdeveloped skill set, a longish timeline seems logical. Early would be a win but setting the finish line in the distance lessens my chances of going over and hating myself. Any excuse to talk myself down. I’m planning on three months, despite the “do it over a weekend” enthusiasm on the home renovation shows I watch.

I wanted to share my demolition and renovation journey. Reporting would give me something to write about. Sharing on social media would give me validation: I suck that stuff up like a sponge. A good sponge, not the crappy, “we don’t absorb water” sponges I got from the dollar store.  

Step one was going to be uploading the pictures from my phone. I plugged my iPhone into the computer to get started. But the upload didn’t work and then it kept not working. Things got a little emotional after that. From the outside, it probably looked like a temper tantrum over stupid. From inside, it felt like the collapse of everything.

I wasn’t expecting a problem. I plugged in and waited for the dialogue box, waited for my computer to ask me what to do. Today, no dialogue box opened. OneDrive opened instead. [ii]

I don’t want OneDrive. I don’t like OneDrive. I want to upload to my hard drive, to the folder where all my images live. Second choice would be iCloud storage. OneDrive is choice, “way down the list”. How do I make this go away? Where’s the magic instruction box? I check the internet.

Google tells me this is not a problem. We can fix this. I’m heartened by the multitude of responses. Other people have been here and survived. I like making the same mistakes. I feel less alone.

Open settings in OneDrive.
Select, “camera upload”.
Turn it to “disable”.

There’s a post-script reminding me to turn off video uploads as well. I don’t have videos but I appreciate the concern. I open OneDrive, then settings. There’s no entry labelled, “camera upload”. I search the app. I reread the instructions on Google. I check settings again. Sigh. I scroll down to the next Google entry. My frustration level is still low though I’m aware of it in the background like a tickle in the throat. But I have faith. I’ve fixed many a thing via the internet.

Choice two reads as follows:

Open OneDrive.
Right-click on your profile and select “Settings”.
Go to the tab that says, “Choose folders.” The default setting is to back-up everything in the OneDrive folder. If you don’t want that, pick the “choose folders to sync” and uncheck any photo-related options.

I open OneDrive again, right-click on my profile, and select “settings”. No tabs. This means the rest of the instructions are useless. Maybe I’m in the wrong settings? I close the app. I Google, “how to open OneDrive” and follow the instructions. Maybe I did it wrong?

Hello again.

Maybe the problem is iTunes. Did I do something wrong there? I check the headings and subheadings. Nothing seems applicable. I search Google again with slightly different phrasing. “If all else fails,” one of the entries says, “log out of OneDrive.” Of course. Log out. Turn it on and then off. The failsafe computer solution. I’m relieved.

I log out of OneDrive, disconnect my phone, and close iTunes on the PC. This should do it. I take a deep breath and reconnect, once more waiting for the dialogue box. OneDrive again instead. I’m still logged in. Fragile is starting to crack. I can feel my sense of frustration growing exponentially and inappropriately. My eyes start leaking. Frustration is to PTSD reactions like fire is to gun powder. You want to keep those things separate. I start the lecture.

Stop. This is stupid. It’s just a set-back. I’m over-reacting. Calm down. Take a deep breath. It’s an inconvenience, nothing more. I can do this. I’m not a failure. I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I don’t have leukemia. [iii]

This is a shortened version but the basic gist is always the same: calm your jets and stop reacting to the situation like it’s a personal attack or the result of personal failures.

I breathe until I can unclench my muscles and lower my shoulders. I breathe until the tears stop. I breathe until I’m no longer thinking, “maim”. I always enjoy the first relaxed exhale. I put analyzing my over-reactions aside until later.

I decide to uninstall the preinstalled app I didn’t want in the first place. I check Google to make sure deletion won’t lead to cascade failure. I expect to learn that deleting it will turn my computer into a toaster, it’s been that kind of morning.

Things are looking up. OneDrive isn’t vital. It can go. I leave imaginary dust on the uninstall program. I can also still access the photos I’ve previously uploaded. This is welcome news: I didn’t check before agreeing to the uninstall because I desperately wanted it gone but I’m relieved in hindsight.

The computer is restarting, the final step in the process before I can at last upload the pictures. I need to get this done. My inside voice is getting mean.

I connect my phone again. I wait for the dialogue box. More rage and tears. The uninstall has failed. At least I’m still logged out. “Sign in again,” it asks? I don’t punch the screen.

I’m crying for real now which is stupid. I’m losing my nut which is also stupid but frustration and I are oil and water. “I will not break something” is all I can focus on, an important resolution to hold as I stomp my feet. I hate my at-times inability to deal with simple frustrations. I hate getting set off, I hate that everything becomes horrible, I hate that I feel insane.

It looks like a temper tantrum from the outside. I look out of control. I feel ridiculous and like a failure. I’m not out of control yet, though, not entirely. You can’t believe the amount of energy and effort I exert in moments like these to hold it together. For all that it looks like I’m not.

I open Twitter and drift over to Microsoft where I tell them what I think about their stupid OneDrive app. I give myself props for continuing to hold: I didn’t curse anyone out. Complaining is pointless because they won’t care. If they respond at all, it’ll be to provide the same suggestions I’ve tried that don’t work. That’s a problem with really big companies. No one has leverage; we’re statistically insignificant. I like to do it anyhow. It’s about me not them.

I periodically upload the occasional shot via Messenger for quick use but I can’t do that with the seven hundred photos on my phone and I resent the idea of trying. This should work. Connecting my phone to the computer should open a dialogue box and it isn’t doing that and I get stuck in loops sometimes when the “shoulds” fail to eventuate.

And now I hate everything.

How am I supposed to tackle a project when I can’t even deal with my phone?

Redesigning my bathroom was a stupid idea and I’ll likely fail.

But I think I’ll replace the vanity instead of painting it. I’d like something in a Craftsman.


Writing articles suggest thinking about the “why” of a piece is important. Why am I writing this? What am I trying to say or accomplish?

I have no idea. This is true most of the time. I write because words show up in my head. Sometimes, I direct the opening idea but those pieces are harder. The inspired ones have more flow. Before the upload debacle, it was going to be about redesigning my bathroom and passive-aggressive discouragement. It turned into a PTSD-snapshot because that’s how things played out.

No doubt there will be bathroom updates. It’s mostly torn down at this point. I’m having to pace myself, something I’m not good at. The consequence of not doing so, however, is some serious pain. So, I’m learning.


[i] The fact that I semi-recently came off the medication designed to help with the PTSD is also a clue.

[ii] The annoying thing, I realized later, is this happened because of something I did the last time I synced my phone with my computer (sunk my phone?). I must have selected OneDrive for the upload option with the “always use this program” box ticked as well. I wish I could solve the “how to undo”.  

[iii] My anxiety disorder ensures I tend to go to a dark place. It’s also what keeps me from going to the doctors when I’m actually sick: I worry I’m over-reacting due to my mental illness. I also worry about how I’ll be treated because of mental illness. I’ve been experiencing significant pain of late, more than my failing hips can account for, at least that’s what I think. The blood test showed anemia: they’ll test again in a couple of weeks. My brain knows this is one test and reminds me that I regularly flirt with anemia due to not eating much red meat. My anxiety is rewriting my will.

By Em

I like writing. Words help me unpack my thoughts so things start to make sense. I suppose that once I figure out life, the universe, and everything (my thanks to Douglas Adams), I'll have nothing left to say. "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing, and learn as you go." E. L. Doctorow

8 comments

  1. OneDrive is the worst! A few weeks ago any document on my computer would ONLY save to One Drive, which meant that I was not able to access it through the desktop. I never use OneDrive so it annoyed me. Then, I realized that I no longer have a computer. Everything was turned into OneDrive. The entire desktop, all of the folders, documents, etc, EVERYTHING was only accessible when online and signed into OneDrive. A total nightmare. As I was trying to fix it (by switching the computer off and on again), something else happened – Windows didn’t show my log in avatar. Instead, it asked to be “set up.” I about lost it. In the end, miraculously, it all worked out but it was maddening while it lasted.

    You are so on point when it comes to the power we don’t have against big corporations. They don’t care if a single person doesn’t use their product… If only the people around us banded together, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that sucks. I would be so frustrated. And probably bald from the hair pulling. I’m glad it came back together for you. Sometimes I think the only reason computers exists is to help us learn to practice our calm 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand your feelings perfectly. Often we have an idea but do not realize how limited our emotional energy is to follow through until something goes wrong. You’re already struggling with keeping your emotions on an upward trend, you’re clearly putting a lot of energy into renovating your bathroom, so by the time you got to the OnDrive issue your brain was like…it’s time to vent, there’s too much going on in here right now. I think writing this piece was exactly what you needed to do, and I hope you felt relieved afterward!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. This was so right. As I was reading this, I realized that at some point, I’ve stopped paying attention to my spoons.

      I did feel better after venting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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