Jim Whimpey read my last post and shared exactly how he feels when consumed with a software problem:
After hours without progress you go to bed thinking about it. Thinking about it makes you angry and frustrated but you can’t stop thinking about it. You spend so long at the computer you lose all perspective and follow paths that take you further from the solution. With each minute you spend banging your head against the problem you think less clearly and the possibility of solving the problem decreases. It is frustrating.
This is exactly what happened with me. I think there's only so many times you can work like this before you burn out. It's important to learn from those moments and develop a sense for when they begin to arise, so you know when it's time to step back and short-circuit the cycle.