Thoughts on Invisible Illnesses

An old college friend of mine posted this on his Facebook page.  Wish I knew where he found it so I could give proper credit.  So true….

 

Ignorant (lacking in knowledge) people can be so cruel!! I’m posting this because recently I have been mocked and laughed at for things beyond my control… I have two of these illnesses as do some of my friends…. Not one of my Facebook friends will copy and paste (but I am counting on a true family member or friend to do it). If you would be there for me no matter what then copy and paste this. I’m doing this to prove a friend wrong that someone is always listening. I care. Hard to explain to someone who has no clue. It’s a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. Please put this as your status for at least 1 hour if you or someone you know has an invisible illness (IBS, Crohn’s, Schizophrenia, PTSD, Anxiety, Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease, Bipolar, Depression, Diabetes, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, MS, AS, ME, , Epilepsy, hereditary angioedema , AUTISM, Borderline personality disorder, M.D.,D.D.D., CFS, Histiocytosis, O.D.D, A.D.H.D, RSD, PBC,RLS ,COPD etc.) Never judge. I care! And am praying for all those that are fighting these invisible illnesses. This is for a few friends of mine and all who suffer in silence!I

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Thoughts On 2015 and Looking Ahead to 2016

Another year has come to pass.  We humans have survived yet another lap around the mother star.  2015 has had, like all years, it’s ups and downs.  Some really cool stuff happened like the sending a space probe to Pluto, vertically landing a rocket (I knew I should have bought SpaceX stock several months ago), and discovering water on Mars are just a few of the highlights I can think of right off hand.  This was ‘the future year’ of Back To The Future II.  My enjoyment of the internet and wearable electronics outweigh my disappointment of not having a flying car and not having a computerized Ronald Reagan taking my order at a 1980s nostalgia restaurant.

Looking back on 2015, I accomplished most of my goals.  I set goals every year instead of resolutions.  I actually write down my goals (i.e. make at least 30 blog posts, get my amateur radio license, get rid of my clutter, etc.) and I rewrite them at the end of every month in a journal just to remind myself to keep going.  The two goals I’m most proud of are getting my Amateur radio license and having more visitors to this blog in 2015 than 2014.  The only real goal I didn’t accomplish was losing another sixty pounds.  I started off well as I lost fifteen pounds in the winter months to start 2015.  But things fell apart about late May.  Having a college buddy visit for a whole week in June when we went out to eat and hit sports bars several nights in a row didn’t help the cause.  Things got even worse after the week in the Black Hills for Matt’s wedding.  I’m not blaming my lack of staying on track with diet and exercise on my best friend but friends do sometimes get you in trouble.  But those are the friends you should hang onto.  If the worst Matt causes me to do is eat like a horse for much of a summer, well there are worse things he could have involved me in.  But he’s one of these tall guys who’s skinnier than a rail and can eat whatever he wants and not gain an ounce.  He’s only a few pounds heavier than when he graduated college thirteen years ago.  I simply won’t even try to keep up with guys like him anymore.  In August, my last living grandparent died.  Went through several weeks of pulling all night internet research and computer game marathons at least three nights per week.  That caused even more weight gain and mental health issues.  My car wreck in late October didn’t help the effort any as it made exercise nearly impossible as I had a few weeks of chronic back pain.  But that’s all cleared now.  It wasn’t until mid November did things return to a sense of normal.  And now I’m where I started 2015, at least weight wise.

I also decided to get somewhat more cultured in 2015.  To this end I watched a few foreign movies on Netflix.  Also watched some classic movies like Citizen Kane, some Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The only Stanley Kubrick movie I saw previously was Full Metal Jacket.  I guess my impression of 2001 was it looked like a mashup of Jane Goodall, Buckminster Fuller, and Carl Sagan on bad acid trips.  This was the sixties after all.

For 2016 goals, I want to lose at least sixty pounds.  I also want to post to this blog at least forty times.  I want to have more visitors to this blog in 2016 than 2015. I want to write poetry again as I’ve been lazy about that for two years.  I want to revive some of my older writing ideas.  In years past I wrote rough drafts for two truly lousy novels. I’m going to see if I can find those old files and dust off the cobwebs.I want to continue to save at least ten percent of my monthly pay.  I’m saving up in part because I want to take a couple good old fashioned American road trip in a few years.  I haven’t been to the East Coast before.  That is one place I want to visit.  I’d love to see autumn in New England and visit some of the old Revolutionary and Civil War battle sites in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  Sometime within the next five to seven years I’d love to visit the Deep South too.  I have a couple college friends from Alabama who are always raving about the barbecue places and good diners down there.  Here in Nebraska, we don’t really have a specialty besides steaks and prime rib.  In short I have a few goals for 2016 and beyond.

 

Confessions of a Schizophrenic and Christmas

santa

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy Birthday Sir Isaac Newton!  In short, just have a good day overall regardless where you live or how you believe.  I spent a few days in my childhood home village in rural Nebraska.  Didn’t really go anywhere because there really isn’t that many places to go there.  My parents and I had our Christmas celebration this afternoon over ham and pumpkin pie.  I hadn’t been anywhere outside of my current hometown for any real length since my grandmother’s funeral.  I almost forgot how much I enjoy road trips and traveling.  This was the first Christmas I didn’t have any living grandparents.  But most people lose their grandparents long before they hit their thirties.

Overall, besides of a short lived but hard hitting psychotic break a few days ago, this year was a quiet and rather uneventful holiday season.  I was purposely avoiding shopping malls and box stores.  Things are beginning to get back to more normal with my life.  Had my first psychotic break of 2015 in early October that was rather nasty but thank God short lived. Unfortunately, my psychotic breaks involved a lot of anger and shouting.  I never developed the ability to just break down and sob for my break downs.  I think many men with mental illness take out their issues on others in scary and unsettling ways.  For me, it’s actually a cry for help and desire for releasing tensions instead of wanting to come across as threatening and dangerous.

I am afraid that after my family passes away I’ll lose a major source for releasing tension and anxiety.  They are also a source of interesting and intelligent conversation as they are quite intelligent too.  Tragically I don’t relate that well to most people because I am not interested in the mundane and the issues of daily living.  I just cannot stand to rehash current events for hours on end.  I see five minutes of a minor news story that gets replayed dozens of times over a few days of a news cycle and I no longer wish to discuss it.  I also have little desire to complain about anything I can’t do anything about.  That’s why I don’t vent about politics, current events, the failures of my favorite sports teams, etc.  And it’s almost painful for me to listen to conversations between average people.  Especially so when people bring up the same problems over and over they have no interest in making better.  I fear the death of my family members as much as I fear the death of my best friends.

I have never gotten violent during even the worst of my breakdowns, at least never to other people.  When I was in college I used to punch wood doors and shelves.  But I have never gotten violent towards anyone even after almost twenty years of mental health problems.  I haven’t been in a fight with anyone since I was thirteen years old, and most of those fights were with my older brother and cousins.  I am afraid of winding in prison or getting seriously hurt in the wrong circumstances during a future breakdown.  In my case while the fire burns hot and bright, it also goes out quite quickly.  I only hope symptoms and problems with schizophrenia get less severe with age, especially if an outright cure is never found. I know some people with mental health issues like autism spectrum and others don’t care to be cured.  For me I would give practically anything to be cured from schizophrenia.  I would even sign up for experimental treatments and procedures if they ever became available.

In other news, I have gotten more focused and serious about dieting and exercise.  I lost thirteen pounds in the last two and half months.  I am back into exercising almost every day as my back is no longer hurting from my car accident.  I got my car fixed as good as ever.  I’m also sitting down and planning out my goals for 2016 as the year 2015 is drawing to a close in a few days.  I accomplished several of my goals for this year, namely getting my amateur radio license back, having more blog posts and visitors this year than 2014, got to be in my best friend’s wedding party, read a few dozen books and audio books, completed a couple free courses on khan academy,  stayed out of debt, and built up my savings more.  The biggest goal I didn’t accomplish was my goal of losing sixty pounds.  I weigh the same now as I did at the end of 2014.  So while I didn’t accomplish my biggest goal, I didn’t completely give up the lifestyle change.  I just have to do better in 2016.

Weight Loss With Mental Illness

It has been quite hectic for several months for myself.  Between my friend’s wedding, my grandmother’s death, my typical rough late summer and early fall flare ups, my car accident, and the stomach problems, it has been quite eventful since early summer.  As a result I got stressed out and lazy about my exercise and diet routines.  I wound up gaining 35 pounds from Memorial Day to Halloween.  But after my back problems cleared and I changed my diet because of my stomach problems, I’m losing weight again.  I’m now down 12 pounds in the las six weeks.  Over all since I started the routine of diet, exercise, and lifestyle change I’m down  50 pounds.  Still want to lose at least 100 more pounds.  But I knew this was a complete lifestyle overhaul when I got started in March 2014.  This is going to take years of work and a lifetime of maintenance.  Yet I am back on the right track again.  On top of that I feel mentally more stable.  It’s amazing what a few weeks of stability and less drama can do.

Good Things Coming From Bad Events

After a couple decent snow storms and cold winter like weather for much of November, I figured that winter was coming early this year.  That was until the recent warm up we had over the last few days.  So I’ve been able to get outdoors more this month than last month, especially since my back is feeling so much better.  Been doing the chiropractic treatments on my back for six weeks.  I didn’t realize how much I was being hindered by low grade back pain.  I even had an old injury that had been giving me fits  since age fifteen clear up.  Too bad I had to get my car wrecked to get into this treatment.  But good things can come out of bad events.

Another good thing that came from a bad event was learning I had some talents besides science classes.  Almost all the electives I took in high school were in biology , chemistry, and physics.  I spent the first two years of my college career with the goal of going into medical research.  But the problems from the mental illness prevented this from happening.  In desperation I switched to a business major.  I knew nothing about any kind of money or finance besides being able to balance a checkbook.  I got good enough grades in my business classes to graduate, but it wasn’t the mostly A’s I got in high school.  But I still learned how to budget and how basic economics worked.  As my college career was winding down I found I had a natural talent for writing.

I didn’t do much writing as a kid besides what was required for my classes.  I quit keeping a journal after a few months in junior high after I caught my older brother reading it one day.  I guess I was paranoid even before I became ill.  So that was one of those unknown and untapped talents I discovered in college.  I wrote every day for several throughout the rest of my twenties.  And looking back on those writings, I didn’t realize just how raw and unrefined they were.  How I got even a few poems published in my twenties is beyond me.  But I guess anything worth learning is worth doing poorly at first.

I didn’t learn how to write all at once.  It has taken almost a dozen years of cranking out material to get even where I’m at now.  I wrote for three years before I got a guest article published in the local newspaper.  I wrote for five years before I self published a novel (which was truly lousy even though it was semi-autobiographic).  I wrote for seven years before I sold a few dozen self published books.  And it was over ten years before I had any kind of traction on alifeofmentalillness.wordpress.com.  Even now I’m still learning the writing game.  And I do it even though I don’t get paid for this.  While it would be cool to get paid for some of my work, it’s not the end game of my writing.  I’ll continue to do this blog and anything after this for years to come.  As far as money goes, while I like money as much as anyone it’s not the reason I write.  I write because I can’t imagine not writing.  And this is a thing that, had I never become mentally ill, I would have never discovered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drama Free, Socializing, and Confidence

It’s been quiet on my end for the last few days.  Haven’t had any real flare ups of schizophrenia or anxiety for several days.  First time in weeks I’ve gone more than a couple days without any kind of flare up.  It’s been strange not having drama in my life lately.  It’s just something I’ve gotten used to.  I’m actually amazed when I go through days when I don’t have to deal with some drama in my life or someone else’s overblown drama.

Even though it’s almost winter, I’ve been getting out of my apartment more.  I make it a point to not socialize much in my apartment complex.  I still have a few problem neighbors who like to keep the drama stirred.  I never understood why there are people who can’t live without drama or irritating others.  I was brought up that if I couldn’t get along with someone, it was best to leave them alone.  Makes it tough to trust some people when I have trust issues.

Oddly, some of my best socializing comes just from bantering and joking with cashiers and store clerks.  I didn’t do this in my twenties at all.  But as I have gained social skills and figured out that not everyone out there wants to take advantage of others, it has gotten easier and even fun. Found that the ones I get the best reactions out of our night shift clerks and cashiers in the 25 to 45 bracket.  The younger clerks take a little more priming before they’ll joke with me.  The older clerks usually won’t joke with me at all.  And this is even with my jokes not being of the unsafe for work categories.  I’m finding that many younger people just don’t seem that confident at work.  I certainly wasn’t when I worked in my twenties.  I never thought that others had that problem.  I didn’t gain any real confidence in myself or even appreciation for my abilities until I was thirty.  That was also the age when I came to the conclusion that I did not have to tolerate poor and uncivil behavior from others.  While I was still figuring my way through my delusions and irrational fears, I thought I was the only one who had these problems.  I just never knew that even those without mental illnesses had problems with not having confidence.  Unfortunately that’s stuff I couldn’t learn in any book.