The time between July 1st and middle September has traditionally been the toughest time of year for me. I can expect at least one major psychotic break during this time of year every year. That is the way it has been ever since I was diagnosed with a mental illness in 2000. The first time my parents witnessed me having a psychotic breakdown was in the summer of 2000. I committed myself to a mental hospital in September 2006 and again in September 2013. I had a bad breakdown in August 2014 when I almost committed myself. If it would have went on for another two hours I would have gone to the hospital. Late summers have been tough for me my entire adult life.
It’s not uncommon for people with mental health issues to have times of year that are tougher for them than usual. Many people often feel depressed and sad during the darker winter months. But my toughest times have always been during the late summers, usually around the time the school year starts. Where I went to school, we usually started the third week of August rather than wait until early September. My therapist has suggested maybe the idea of school starting again brings me added anxiety and aggravation.
I really didn’t enjoy school that much even back in grade school. I hated the social aspects of school from about second grade on. And sometimes I was bored in class because much of what was covered I had read on my own already. I was not popular at all in school. I was essentially the non athlete who was not socially savy enough to hide the fact that he was smart. I got a real hard time for years because I didn’t like sports and I loved reading. The close friends I had experienced the same thing. Since I went to a really small school, I just couldn’t hide out with other nerdy kids. As a result I never developed traditionally nerdy interests. I have never bought a comic book. The only real science fiction I like is Star Trek. I don’t like fantasy novels and movies. I never played Dungeons and Dragons. I can’t program or build computers. I wasn’t socially savy enough to fake interest in popular culture and sports. I played football only because I was big. If I wasn’t 6’2″ and 270 pounds I would have never made the team. I was usually the slowest man on the team and I couldn’t even bench press my own body weight.
Besides my best friend (who was female) I didn’t date much in high school. There were rumors that I was homosexual because I did so poorly at dating. It wasn’t a matter of not getting a second date, it was a matter of not even getting a first one. Needless to say all of this effected my outlook and probably my personality. One of the reasons I went to a college where no one from my high school attended was so I could rebuild and start over. Even though I was going through the worst of my mental illness in college, it was far more bearable socially because I wasn’t the only odd man on campus. I was in an environment for once in my life I wasn’t penalized for being smart. I met some people so smart even I couldn’t keep up with them. I also met people who were C average students in high school suddenly pulling all A’s because they had a purpose for once in their lives. I met people even quirkier and eccentric than I. I still didn’t date much but years later I found out there were a few women who wanted me to ask them out. Had I not been so badly burned in junior high and high school, I might have picked up that these women were interested in me.
As it is now, at age 36, I have lost all interest in dating. I am more focused on blogging, reading, learning, and my other pet projects. Having talked to older men in my life, I have found that many of them started having less interest in sex and chasing women and became more focused on their work and outside interests about the time they hit their early to mid 30s. That’s about right for me. I started getting really interested in writing for public consumption and became cool with the fact I didn’t have to date or get married about five years ago. In my twenties I was distraught that I wasn’t getting a lot of dates or was attractive to women. I readily admit I am not attractive. I look like a cross between Shrek and Tony Soprano 🙂 Never have been handsome and never will be. But I’m all right with it. I’ve accepted while I’ll never get married and have kids, it’s okay. I’m cool with it. I’ll throw my efforts into blogging, writing, reading, researching, learning, being a good friend, being a good uncle to my niece and three nephews, being a trustworthy son to my now elderly parents, and becoming the best Skyrim and Civilization player I can possibly be.
I kind of want to be a Most Interesting Man even though I’m not classically handsome or a world traveller. I may have not travelled the world outside of USA and Mexico, but my writings certainly have. Earlier this month I added up how many nations I’ve had readers from and it’s around 90 different countries where I’ve had at least one reader. My parents as health care providers can’t claim to have treated people in that many countries. My brother the engineer can’t claim to have designed projects in that many. And that’s in only three years, two hundred blog posts, and about $100 in advertising. Long live the internet. If I thought I was photogenic at all I’d start a youtube site. Maybe I could just do voice overs and feature my friends’ artwork 🙂 It’s a few ideas worth kicking around.
I am very curious after reading this…do you know why july through sept are the hardest times and the times when you’ve had breakdowns in the past? I have been thinking a lot about why feb-july are the highest anxiety for me. Wondering did something happen in childhood during these months and subconsiously i remember so i go on anxiety alert during those times.. But i just am not sure. Ive heard of winter months like you mentioned but for me it’s spring , and you summer. Can you correlate it with anything if you dont mind me asking?
I can’t say that I had any one traumatic thing that happened to me in late summer or any time for that matter as a kid. I was bullied all the way through school, sure. But many kids are bullied and turn out better than their tormenters. My parents were supportive though they weren’t aware of how bad the bullying or my social problems were. Anymore I’m my own best company a good chunk of the time. I actually prefer to socialize via internet and cell phone rather than in person. It’s easier to leave if you need to than in person. Plus some people I have to socialize with, at least near me, just aren’t that interesting. I guess I crave intelligent conversation and mental stimulation worse than any alcoholic craves his booze. Does make for a kind of lonely and frustrating life, but I know I would even more frustrated in a marriage or even with a roommate. I’ve lived alone for over twelve years now and I hope it doesn’t change. I prefer solitude mainly because I just can’t adjust to many ‘normal’ people.
Hey, 200 blogs and 90 countries is a big accomplishment!!! Congrats Zach