A Few Thoughts On The Changes Brought During 2020

This day is starting out well overall. I went to bed early last night and wound up sleeping on and off for almost twelve hours. Woke up stiff and sore but at least it was manageable. Thursday is one of my favorite days of the week as my cleaning lady arrives in the afternoons and there are usually a couple football games on tv too. It’ still strange watching ballgames without a crowd in the arena. I’ll be glad when this health crisis burns out.

Started writing a journal by pen yesterday. It might be helpful to have a means to write down my thoughts and observations that I wouldn’t normally put on a blog I try to keep family friendly. Mentally I am still feeling stable. I do have rough patches but fortunately they don’t last long nor are they bad enough for me to act on.

I make a point to leave my apartment at least once a day even if I don’t have deliveries coming. Met my new neighbor and got back in touch with some old ones. I don’t know much about my new neighbor except that he looks younger than I and keeps pretty quiet for the most part. I rarely hear him except for when he has guests and I can occasionally hear laughter. So maybe he’s a funny guy.

While the health crisis and economic problems have been rough on me, at least I haven’t had problems I couldn’t manage. I still see my psych doctor every two months via a service similar to Skype or Zoom. I’m scheduled to see him again in a couple weeks. I can get anything within reason delivered to my apartment via Amazon or one of the local supermarkets. I started having my groceries delivered about three years ago when I came to the conclusion I wasn’t as safe behind the wheel of a car as I used to be. I think I was one of the first people in my complex to have groceries delivered to my place on a regular basis. While I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since before the shutdowns started, I still occasionally get delivery pizza and can sometimes sweet talk my neighbors or cleaning lady into picking something up for me, as long as I pay for it of course.

I’m still kind of paranoid about being out of my apartment for long periods of time because of the virus. Some people aren’t always wearing face masks or properly washing their hands. I may be only 40, but being overweight and mentally ill probably puts me in high risk category already. So I socialize with friends and family on a near daily basis via my phone or facebook account. I keep my facebook account primarily to keep in contact with old friends and extended family I may not other wise. Perhaps that was the original intent of Mr. Zuckerberg and his partners, not so much the arguments and trolling that is still too common.

Been seeing more articles and videos online about people working from home. Even my brother and his wife sometimes work from home with their engineering jobs. I think I could have gotten into working from home had it been available when I started my working life in my early twenties. I found out the hard way as a teenager working in restaurants and retail stores that I don’t easily pick up on social cues or office politics like many of my coworkers. Sometimes it got me into trouble with coworkers and customers. But I think the mental illness problems were more to blame than anything. While it was tough to realize I lost my career due to problems beyond my control, I’m glad I went through the struggles in my twenties when I was still healthy and wasn’t set in my ways. Even though I’m 40 and still try to keep an open mind about most things, I found I don’t adapt as fast as I did even ten years ago. I may have had an easier time with office politics had I started my career from home. But I’ll never know. I’ve made my peace with my lost career and the family I’ll never start.

As tough as this crisis has been for me, I can’t imagine how tough it is for people with families, people who lost jobs and now can’t make their rent payments, for small landlords who can’t pay back their loans because their renters can’t make rent, for small businesses ranging from restaurants to dentists, and especially for the kids. I told one of my teenage nephews I wasn’t going to insult him by trying to imagine how tough this all is for him and his friends. My niece and nephews are at the age where kids learn how to socialize beyond family and classmates. And since much in person interaction is now no longer there, I think it will have a lifetime of effects on these kids. It might be similar to what my grandparents’ generation went through growing up during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. My grandparents frequently talked about the struggles of not having money or having to fix things that wore out because they couldn’t afford to replace them. And one grandmother always said “It will happen again.” I’m so glad my brother and I payed attention when my grandparents talked about life during the Depression and World War 2. I’m also glad I listened to my parents stories about growing up during the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movements.

I recall a podcast back in April when the host said something like “We are going to witness ten years of changes in the next ten weeks.” Between the increased emphasis of working towards effective vaccines, work from home being a thing, private space flight becoming common, civil rights protests in almost every major city (not just in America) on a near daily basis, drone delivery getting approved by the Federal Aviation Association, and of course major wildfires on the West Coast and the South taking a beating via hurricanes and heat waves making people take the threats of climate change more serious, I think the ten years of change in ten weeks was an understatement. We will eventually emerge from these crises. We will come out changed people on the individual and national levels. The next few years will probably be brutal for most people. Hopefully we can emerge better people and stronger societies as a result.

Finding Happiness in 2020

Even though I don’t socialize much in person anymore, I try my best to stay connected to family and friends. Talked with my parents over FaceTime this morning. My dad had a check up on his heart and he does not need stints or surgery. He is joining a neighborhood gym as he wants to get more active again. I started lifting weights again on a regular basis last week. Even after a few sessions I can feel the strength and endurance starting to return.

In bad news, two of my friends in Omaha tested positive for covid. They are under quarantine for the next two weeks. They aren’t able to work and they sleep most of the time. One friend is a delivery man so he obviously can’t be going anywhere until this clears. Fortunately they seem to be doing better now than a few days ago. I imagine eventually I’ll catch this too. I just hope it’s mild. Even though I’m only 40, I am overweight and mentally ill.

Got some groceries coming this morning. I’m rebuilding my winter supplies. The leaves are starting to change in my hometown. I usually have my windows open during the day but run the furnace at night as it’s starting to get chilly after dark.

I’ve been forcing myself out of my apartment a couple times a day for almost a week now. Sometimes it is as simple as just standing in the hallway for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll even set up a chair in my doorway so I can sit and try to chat with whomever shows up.

I nap more during the days. I am usually my most active in late mornings and overnights these days. My sleep patterns can change with the seasons and they change if my illness changes too. Haven’t had any serious breakdowns for a few weeks. I still have minor flare ups at least once or twice per day. They don’t usually last long. I have gotten to where I can just let them pass and not feel bad they happen.

I have a couple packages from amazon coming this afternoon. I imagine kids growing up today look forward to the amazon delivery man as much as I did going to the mall when I was growing up.

Changed the parts on my cpap machine yesterday. Slept really well last night. I try to change out the parts a few times a year just to keep the machine properly working.

I don’t have much else planned for the rest of the week. My cleaning lady arrives on Thursday afternoon. I like her. She engages me in conversation while she works. I usually just stay sat down and out of her way while she cleans. I supply the cleaning agents and she does the rest. And she at least tolerates my eccentric sense of humor 🙂

Avoiding Social Interactions

Been pretty stable lately. I imagine much of this is due to avoiding news sites and negative people. I’ve also all but abandoned social media. I have only a handful of people I even try to contact on facebook. If it weren’t for them, I would have cancelled my account years ago. I no longer comment on youtube videos or anywhere else. People are just so mean and angry all the time. It makes for a lonely existence some days. I get told all the time I need to socialize and reach out to people. There is no point to socialize and reach out if these people just make you feel worse. I’m too tired and burned out to argue about stupid crap that doesn’t matter. Anymore I feel happier when I am not forced to socialize. So much for people coming together during times of crisis. I refuse to give negative and rude people any time or effort or second chances anymore. If you can’t figure out that being angry and rude to people isn’t helpful by now, it’s never going to happen.

Labor Day Weekend

With the Labor Day weekend upon us, the seasons will be changing again soon. Got a ballgame on in the background. First football game I’ve seen live since the start of the pandemic. I am ready for some resemblance of normal again. Ordered some chicken wings and I’ll be watching football all day. One of my friends is hosting his in laws this weekend and smoking several pounds of pork for the weekend. Weather is supposed to start cooling off in a few days. Mentally, I’ve always done better in cooler weather.

In addition to American football, I’ve been watching some of the UEFA tournament the last few days. It’s usually on in the mornings here in USA. Makes me long for the Olympics next summer. I’ll be glad when the vaccines are perfected and the pandemic burns out. 2020 has been a trying year for most people. At least I can stay connected via internet.

Transition from Summer to Fall

It’s the first day of September and I’m looking forward to cooler weather, getting to wear sweatshirts, the changing of the leaves, corn harvest, and all the other trappings of fall. While I am disappointed that my Nebraska Huskers’ fall sports season is cancelled due to coronavirus, I understand why. I just hope we can mass produce a vaccine and that enough people can safely use it soon. I am concerned about the flu season being extra rough with coronavirus going around at the same time. It’s one of the reasons I volunteer to stay home. One of my relatives said to the effect our grandparents were asked to fight wars halfway across the world, we are asked to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. This isn’t the first pandemic we have dealt with. Won’t be the last either. I hope we learn from this one and manage the next one better.

Besides a short lived breakdown a couple weeks ago, I am doing alright. I’m not needing as much sleep anymore. I wake up with fewer aches and pains, and even those are more manageable. I see my psych doctor by teleconference again in a month. I haven’t had to have a change in my meds for over a year. I also think I’m losing weight.

I talk to my parents on an almost daily basis. They are doing alright. They don’t go out much besides running errands and visiting my brother’s family. My nephews and niece started school again a couple weeks ago. They seem to be doing alright considering everything. My brother and his wife work from home part of the time.

I have been lazy about reading for a couple weeks. I’ll probably pick that up again soon. I haven’t been watching the news lately. Too depressing these days. I want to know what’s going right, not everything that is going wrong. The information on what is going well is out there, you got to look for it though.

Quarantine Journal: August 26 2020

Been feeling better since I last wrote. Got a shower chair from UPS this morning. Got it tested out. I guess I live a mundane life when the highlight of my morning was the UPS man bringing me that package. While I do prefer baths to showers, I am convinced I get cleaner in showers and in less time. But as much as my knees sometimes hurt, especially in the mornings, getting out of the bathtub after a long soak was getting to be a chore. Getting in was no problem, getting out was.

Found out an old friend of mine has to have a medical implant removed because it has gotten bad infections. Her surgery is tomorrow. I wish her only the best. My former neighbors are still under quarantine but haven’t shown any covid symptoms yet. I hope they stay well and safe.

Been really hot here the last several days. Supposed to start cooling off over the weekend. To help pass the time I’ve been watching old football games on youtube. I am saddened that much of college football season is cancelled due to the pandemic, but I also understand why. Hopefully this will just be a one year deal. But between the pandemic, wildfires in Australia and the USA, economic depression, protests, major elections, etc., 2020 has already been a year people will talk about long after I’m dead. I think this is the most eventful year I’ve ever lived. And we still have four months to limp through.

Quarantine Journal: August 24 2020

When it rains, it pours it seems. My two neighbors who moved out a few weeks ago are now under quarantine for the next two weeks because someone they were helping out is showing classic covid symptoms. And these neighbors helped me out a great deal over the last couple years as I’ve lost my mobility. My cleaning lady recently came back to work but she is still slowed from her surgery. Had a breakdown over the weekend. Sometimes the only thing I can do for those is to just vent to someone until it blows over. I feel bad that I take this out on family, but who else can I talk to? I’m too paranoid and scared of my fellow tenants to ask for help. I don’t qualify for any extra aid from the state. My family and friends live too far away to offer assistance at a moment’s notice. I originally moved out of my home village for better healthcare and job opportunities and better social connections. Now that I have no car (I’m too scared and paranoid to be safe behind the wheel), my help is gone, and we are now in the middle of both a pandemic and economic depression, I’m essentially on my own with no immediate back up. I can’t ask for help from my other neighbors as they are irritable and hateful on even good days. I’m limited mobility because of chronic pains. I guess that twenty plus years of schizophrenia is taking even a physical toll. I’m even scared to answer my door.

Plugging Along Through Summer With A Mental Illness

Mentally I’m still stable for the most part.  I sometimes have moments of irritability and anxiety.  They usually last for only a few minutes.  I’m glad I haven’t lashed out at anyone because of these bouts.  I fear with as on edge as most people are these days, my lashing out at even family wouldn’t go over well.  So far I’ve been able to fit and fume to myself and keep these flare ups from blowing up into breakdowns.

My cleaning lady is back on the job.  She comes back in a couple days.  I miss my neighbors.  I was sad to see them leave.  But I am coping alright.

The college football season is all but cancelled in the US.  I’m sad to see this happen but I hope it can come back next fall and we have a mass produced vaccine before long.  I have heard that Russia already has one that they are trying to mass produce.  Reports like this give me hope that the rest of the world can have vaccines soon.  Several other countries, including the US, already have vaccines in human trials.  A hospital in my state was looking for volunteers to test out a possible vaccine.  If I didn’t have a mental illness, I probably would have signed up.

Been sleeping well lately.  I usually sleep four or five hours at a time in the night.  I usually wake at least once to visit the restroom.  If I pace myself and stretch before I get out of bed, I can avoid the worst of the morning aches and pains.  It does take a few minutes, but if I stretch my legs and back before I get out of bed I can get around alright in the mornings.  I still take some advil with breakfast every morning.  I usually take it only once a day.  The daily aches and pains are about the only part of being middle age I don’t care for.  I do miss my easy mobility but I do like the idea of becoming a wise elder. Maybe I can put my knowledge to work afterall.

 

Maintaining Mental and Physical Well Being During A Pandemic

It’s the middle of August.  The weather is still quite hot, so I spend most of my time indoors with a fan running.  Overall I’m feeling stable and content.  I think it helps that I avoid irritable and rude people as much as possible.  I’m now at least a week into giving up coffee.  I’ve replaced it with black tea.  I feel less irritable and paranoid.  I think the caffeine effects me more negatively now than it did even a couple years ago.  I used to drink over six cups of coffee a day with no problems.  Those days aren’t coming back.

I am staying up later and waking up later now.  I usually go to bed at midnight and wake for good at 9am now.  I usually eat only twice a day, with my biggest meal usually being lunch.  I think I’ve lost weight during this pandemic.  I know my clothes fit better and I recover from aches and pains faster.  And I usually make a point to leave my apartment several days a week, even if it’s something as simple as going to the library on my floor or picking up my mail.

As far as my diet goes, I have given up most sugar and carbs.  I eat mostly meat, canned vegetables, soups, etc.  I seem to be less lethargic and irritable with this diet.  I almost never eat bread or pasta anymore.

Had my prescription medications renewed at my last psych doctor’s appointment a couple weeks ago.  We did a teleconference.  So my meds are taken care of for another few months.  Since I get them mailed to my home, I don’t even need to go to the pharmacy anymore.  I do most of my shopping online these days.  If I need anything from a store that doesn’t deliver, I can usually sweet talk one of my neighbors or my cleaning lady to pick it up.

My cleaning lady is back to work.  She had to had surgery two months ago.  Yesterday was her first day back.  I’m glad to see her again.  I get a cleaned home and some conversation while she’s here.  She’s real chatty so she actually likes chatting when she works.  I usually just sit in my recliner and stay out her way when she works.

Overall I’m doing alright in spite the pandemic and economic woes, at least for now.  I’m hopeful as there are several possibilities for vaccines in trials right now.  And we didn’t even know what covid 19 was one year ago.  It’s quite amazing how fast researchers were able to get that work done.  I know some of my friends don’t take covid 19 as seriously as they should, saying things like “it’s not the Black Death.”  Thank God it isn’t.

Social Media Detox, Caffeine Detox, and Holding Onto Close Friends and Family

Mentally I’m feeling stable, at least as stable as a schizophrenic can be during a pandemic and economic depression.  I think it helps that I don’t watch the news or spend much time on social media anymore.  I have a few friends I hear from on facebook, but I no longer participate in any groups.  I may read posted articles about science and tech, but I no longer comment on them.  Too many people just looking for arguments.  And I’m burned out on it.  I no longer have the patience to deal with people I never met who wouldn’t dare act that way to someone in person.  Over the last few years, I’ve also purged close to 80 percent of my friends’ list.  So much for social media bringing people together.  At least I still hear from old friends and some family.

Been out and about a few times over the last week.  I still keep to myself mostly.  My neighbors moved out a week ago.  I’m sad they are gone.  They were the best neighbors I ever had in my entire life even going back to childhood.

I have been staying up later and waking up later the last few weeks.  I usually stay awake until midnight, wake up in the middle of the night at least once, and them am awake for good by 9 am.  I have odd dreams, but they aren’t scary.  Mostly they are about having to redo high school or college or about friends from my past.

Been cutting back on caffeine.  I’m giving up coffee.  It’s makes me too irritable.  I mostly drink just water anymore.  I rarely eat carbs.  I don’t even buy bread.  Most of the groceries I buy are frozen meat, canned vegetables, soups, etc.  I haven’t been having problems getting what I need lately.  But I still stock up on non perishables in case there are shortages again.  I fear we still have a long way to go for this pandemic and depression to be over.