It's a thing I didn't have a phrase for until recently, but something I've experienced since I was a kid.
Decision fatigue it what happens when every single damn choice you make throughout the day has, if not life or death consequences, then rent or food consequences. Eventually your brain just says "fuck you, I'm out." and the smallest, stupidest decisions become paralyzing exercises in stress and futility.
So a few weeks ago I bought a $10 pair of shoes on Ebay. The seller sent the wrong pair and wants me to send them back. She'll even pay for postage. But the tiny decisions needed to facilitate this return have been causing my stomach churning anxiety for the last week. My bus stop is closed for the next 6 months, so to get to the post office do I 1) Kill myself with the long uphill hike to the nearest functioning bus stop or 2) spend another $10 bucks on a cab ride that won't be reimbursed by the seller. Decision 2 Where does the money I have to front for postage before the seller reimburses me come from? Do I borrow it from the Kid, who made a little money working for the boyfriend. No I can't do that. That's gross. 3) Do I even respond to the email(s) from the seller. I feel bad for her. My shoes were supposed to go to someone else. I can't even wear them, they are the wrong size. But everytime another unread email shows up my stomach clenches.
And the thing is, these shoes are not at all important. I don't actually give a fuck. I am freaked out because I am taking home less money than I was a year ago thanks to increased health insurance costs plus the unreimbursed expenses of working from home that I didn't have when I worked in the office. And of course while trying to figure out how to deal with this, I stopped receiving child support. Again. Fucking fuck that fucking fucker. Kid's deadbeat dad is the original shit monster.
So the overwhelming non-decision about what to do about the shoes is just the result of the real freak out. I paid rent yesterday. My paycheck alone wasn't enough to cover the whole amount. So I cleaned out the remaining balance of my savings account. Rent paid, but electric, food, and internet (which I have to pay for because of work) are going to have to wait till the 20th. I have no idea how we are going to get though the next 6 months. I would ask for a raise, but that keeps getting put off because of outside things like the company being sold or the boss being on maternity leave or the client being a big tantrum throwing baby.I'd look for a new job, but my stupid broken body won't be able to make the daily slog up the huge hill to the bus stop to go to a new job. So I am waiting, and trying to figure out how the ever loving fuck we are gonna make it until next Spring, when I can dump my tax return into my savings account (again) and have a little cushion.
And from my neighbors, I hear the same thing. Which food bank is the good food bank and who can drive to get there. Who hasn't paid rent and is waiting for the 3 day notice to be stuck to their door. You all know all this. You've heard it or said it yourselves.
Which is maybe why it is so hard for people to give up legacy politics. It's a relatively easy decision. Elephant or donkey? Shit sandwich, shit sandwich with pickle. A tiny decision, built up to be some grand action of self-determination. I choose who has power over me! And my choice it right and yours is wrong and (fingers in ears) "lallallallallallalllalla I CAN'T HEAR YOU".