This summer has been anything but routine for me. I hurt my back in late May and I was out of commission for six weeks. I rarely spent any time outside and didn’t travel. I went to the park maybe three or four times in the six weeks my back was mending. Normally I go to the park three or four times per week during the summer. I haven’t done any traveling as I haven’t been outside my hometown since late May. I haven’t driven much and have actually developed a slight phobia of driving. I guess I never gained my confidence back from my accident last October. While I got my car fixed I still haven’t heard anything back from if I can get any kind of settlement. Progress is insanely slow in some cases.
I haven’t been outside around the complex much this summer. It seems that most of my neighbors have been more short tempered and irritable the last several months. I don’t know what to make of that. I still have the one neighbor who always in a foul mood and never has anything nice to say about anyone. Apparently he won’t be moving out any time soon. It’s kind of tough living in here anymore. Three of my most interesting friends in here died in 2014 and 2015. Since I live in low income housing, who we get as neighbors is luck of the draw. There are days when I’m depressed I would love to move out and start over. But I don’t think any where else in my hometown would be any better. With my mental illness and disability pension I can’t afford to move to a larger city. I don’t want to move back in with my parents as their hometown has far less to offer than my current town. I really don’t know if I can move to my brother’s hometown because of my disability pension and transferring to a different state. If I were to move to another city, I’d love for it to be to a place with reasonable public transit. I hate driving anymore. I’d never drive again if I had the choice.
I don’t suppose schizophrenics do well in large cities. I hear horror stories about people with mental illness ending up homeless or in jail in large cities. My schizophrenia being what it is, it’s not like I can start over with a job that pays enough to give me a decent living if I were to leave disability. I was anxious working as retail store clerk and factory worker. I used to have panic attacks so bad I’d vomit from the anxiety before I went to work. I fear the idea of working with the public. I have been verbally abused enough by customers and coworkers in my previous life as a customer service worker that I never want to experience that again. And blogging about mental illness will never pay the bills even if I am providing a good service for others.
It’s not the money I care about, it’s what the money can buy that I’m concerned about. I don’t need the status of a high paying job to satisfy my ego. I don’t need the large house in the suburbs or the high end penthouse in a skyscraper. I don’t need the large pickup truck or high end foreign car. I can get around just fine in a twelve year old four door sedan that is as good on gas mileage as anything besides the really small Japanese cars. If I need to move something with a pickup truck, that’s why I have friends and family members with pickup trucks. It’s amazing what one can accomplish with a phone call, a little elbow grease, and offering to buy lunch or a tank of gas.
I really have my basic material needs but I can get by with almost no splurging. I have learned to live inexpensively on my disability pension without a job. I am happy wearing t-shirts, sneakers, and pants from K-mart and Wal-Mart. I can get all the music I want for free via youtube or pandora radio. I don’t even have music CDs anymore. I haven’t even downloaded music from iTunes in over a year. I would rather watch Netflix at home, sit on my own couch, and eat a delivery pizza than go to the movie theatre. I would rather go for a walk in the park or shovel snow in the winter than spend heaven knows how much on a gym membership.
Splurging for me is grilling bratwursts and spending cool and overcast autumn Saturday afternoons watching Nebraska Husker college football games on my flat screen tv. Splurging for me is buying a bucket of KFC and a couple side dishes instead of eating off the dollar menu. When I need new furniture I talk to friends and family who are moving or having estate sales. I got my couch, lamps, and recliner after my grandfather died. I got my bed and dresser after my grandmother died. I got my house plants from helping my mother. All I had to do was help my family clean out their places for a weekend. The most I gave for a piece of furniture was $50 for my all purpose heavy duty table I eat from and use my computer on. So a person can live quite inexpensively if you use your family and friends’ connections and help people out once in awhile. The only time I go to restaurants that aren’t fast food is when I’m entertaining out of town family and friends. I have stayed out of debt for two years even without a job. I managed to save up some emergency money that could fund my life for a couple months even without a disability pension.
So I’m not concerned about getting rich. For the first few years I was serious about writing, I was hoping to make some money as a writer, travel on the speaking circuit, and donate a bunch of money to my college as some of my happiest memories are from my four and a half years at York College in York, Nebraska. Now that I know how to live on less than I thought I could and I see how much stress my brother is under with his job, I know it’s not the high paying job or successful business that I need or even want. The big thing that I want now is for my experiences and writings to make a positive difference for whomever happens to read these entires. I have no delusions I’ll make much money writing a mental illness blog. Schizophrenia my involve delusions but that’s not one of my delusions. I don’t care if I make money off my writings and blogging. I really don’t even care if I make above poverty level wages. I just want to make a positive difference in the lives of whomever reads my blogs, whether you be a mental health patient, support person, or just someone who cares about the problems of the mentally ill. I don’t desire riches. I desire to make a positive difference in at least a few lives.