Taking Care of Physical Health With Mental Illness

Image

Took some time today to take care of my physical health by going to the dentist for my annual check up.  Had no cavities or problems besides one of my older fillings needing replaced.  I’ll get that done in a couple weeks.  Everything checked out fine at the dentist.  I wasn’t expecting any problems as I don’t eat much for sugary food anymore.  Anytime I drink soda pop it’s sugarless soda anymore.  It does feel good to have that taken care of for another year.

I haven’t been eating nearly as much these last two months.  I especially haven’t eaten much this month.  I usually eat only two meals a day and it’s mainly because I’m just not that hungry.  I’ve noticed my food cravings really went down once I started taking a daily multi vitamin.

Mentally I’m feeling pretty stable.  I occasionally feel short periods of anxiety and irritability.  These usually happen shortly after I wake up.  I’ve traditionally done better at night than day.  I don’t take my anti anxiety medication anymore.  Just haven’t needed it lately.

I’m exercising and getting outside some everyday.  It helps that the weather is cooling off. Hopefully I can get a few more weeks of outdoor activity in before the cold weather hits.

 

 

Advertisements

I’ve Lost Interest In Politics but Gained Interest In Science

whybenormal

I must be the only man in America who won’t be watching the Presidential Debates tonight.  I’ve had my fill of politics months ago.  I am so tired and frustrated how hateful and divided politics has become.  I can’t even talk about politics with close friends and family any more without feeling frustration.  But politics and sports are all many people I know want to talk about anymore.  There is a lot more going on in the real world than politics and sports.  But it’s the abnormal that gets the most attention.  Few people can throw a football 80 yards or charm thousands of people in a speech.

I readily admit I do not understand neurotypical thinking.  I have spent years trying to figure the average people out and have even point blank asked people why they think the way that they do.  Alas, I haven’t gotten any concrete answers or come to any real conclusions.  I definitely believe the Tommy Lee Jones line from ‘Men In Black’ when he said, “The individual is smart but people are dumb and panicky animals.”  I see this everyday.  I do much better dealing with only one or two people at a time rather than trying to deal with crowds.  I don’t understand why for the last year and a half about all I see on my newsfeed and friends’ Facebook comments have to do with politics.  Some pretty cool stuff has happened in other fields just in that time, namely in science and technology.  But no one likes to discuss any of that.  About the only people I can discuss science with are my parents who had extensive science backgrounds because of working in the medical fields.  Even then I am convinced they don’t like discussing science that much and do it just to humor me.

I have always been interested in science and technology.  I pursued a career in medical research until it became painfully obvious that my mental illness wouldn’t allow me to continue this path.  It helped that I had some good science teachers in school that were willing to put up with my endless questions.  But after spending over a dozen years in the adult world, I painfully realized that most people didn’t have that luxury.  Most people do not see the beauty and wonder of science and the natural world.  I think that if people like this were to take a few evenings to watch some presentations by the late Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku on youtube instead of whatever sports ball game or political news is trending this week, we’d have a much more informed and enthusiastic populace.  We’d also have more interesting people too.  And isn’t being interesting a worthy goal?

Since the fall of communism and the rise of information tech in the early 1990s, we have lived in some really interesting times.  It seems hardly a week goes by anymore that some breakthrough is happening.  Sadly, most people I associate with on a daily basis are blind to these wonders.  And it seems that the few that are paying attention are worried about some dystopian future.  Personally I am very angry with Hollywood and popular culture for selling people these horrible visions of the future.  Visions like that are intellectually lazy and probably dishonest. And it’s not like there isn’t a market for good science fiction that shows a possibly cool future.  Star Trek has been around for fifty years and is going as strong as ever.  People are worried about machines that have no empathy or compassion?  Please, most people I know lack empathy and compassion and our world still works.

I guess in my ranting frustration I have to take heart in the fact that the entire world doesn’t have to be inventors or scientists or artists or humanitarians.  The politicians, freaks, cranks, and creeps may get the lion’s share of the attention from the media.  But it’s the scientists, engineers, health care workers, artists, humanitarians, and incurable dreamers that make living better and more meaningful.  I end this article with a few thoughts from the late Buckminster Fuller about how it often doesn’t take a great multitude or following the crowd to make a positive difference. buckminster-fuller-earn-living-technological-breakthrough

Calmness and Routines With Mental Illness

238943_v1

It’s been a pretty quiet last several days for me.  I haven’t been having much for depression and anxiety.  I admit to not getting out of my complex much for the last week or so.  Need to run some errands but I have been putting them off.  While I haven’t been suffering from depression or delusions lately, I also haven’t felt much need to leave my apartment complex this week.  I did spend some time outside this morning cleaning out my car and just enjoying the early fall.  The leaves are starting to turn even though it’s been warmer than normal for a week.  Sometimes no news is good news.

I see my psych doctor next week.  Things are going alright mentally so I don’t see much need to change anything medication wise.  I haven’t been taking the anti anxiety medication regularly for a few weeks.  I might even be able to go off the anti anxiety medication entirely.  I have made it through the traditionally worst parts of the year for myself.

October is usually a good time of year for me.  The weather is cooling off, football is in full effect, playoff baseball is going on, and I have always liked Halloween.  Some years I volunteer to hand out candy to kids that come to our complex.  We don’t let the kids go from room to room, so we just give them candy at the main entrance.  I think I’ll volunteer for it again this year.

Things have been going quite well for me.  I have taken steps to lower anxiety and stress in my life during the last few weeks.  I meditate some every day.  I am taking a daily multi vitamin.  I avoid stressful and irritable people.  I keep in contact with friends and family.  I don’t watch the cable news and have edited my news settings on my internet to where I don’t get much for bad news.  I don’t think I need to know and worry about every travesty and tragedy that goes on.  I also don’t think modern times are more violent and immoral, they’re merely more televised.  If it’s not happening locally I try not to worry about it as there really isn’t much I can do about things happening halfway across the world.

All in all things have settled down and stabilized during the last few weeks.  I feel mentally stable and content.  It’s been going well and I see no reason for things to not continue to go well.

Aging With Mental Illness

i_love_being_an_adult_gel_mouse_pad-rdf5772e3730c4232bec1f092b56c2455_amb63_8byvr_324

As summer fades into fall I think I have passed through the toughest time of year for myself.  Other than a couple problems I have escaped this summer without any kind of serious breakdowns.  I consider this a victory.  Perhaps it means that after fifteen years of dealing with a mental illness diagnosis I’m able to manage even the worst parts well.

I have heard from my psych doctors and other people in the know that problems with schizophrenia often lessen with age.  When I was going through the worst of my illness in the early years I didn’t pay any attention.  I was hurting bad enough with the depression, hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, and paranoia that any possible improvements years later seemed a hallow promise.  I was barely able to function for much of my twenties so the prospect that things would start to get better in my late thirties or early forties didn’t matter at all.  All I knew was I had lost every dream I ever had because of schizophrenia and I would be living on the fringes of society for the rest of my life.  It was no consolation that I might get better in twenty years.  I knew that my prospects for a productive and meaningful life were over.

At least that’s what I thought a dozen years ago when it became obvious to me that I would never be able to hold any kind of meaningful full time employment.  I filed for disability insurance through Social Security and moved into HUD housing.  During my stay in HUD housing and my two stints in a mental hospital, I met many people who were in worse shape than I ever was.  I met people who still didn’t want to take their medications even after twenty years of a diagnosis.  These people refused to take their meds even when it was obvious they weren’t functioning at all without them.  I met people who had severe physical health problems because of smoking and drug abuse in addition to their mental health problems.  I met some people who were just angry and irritable all the time and a few of them even had a mental health diagnosis.

Over the years I also met some pretty cool people with mental illness and or living in HUD housing.  I met one lady who had a pretty high end corporate job until her problems started in her forties.  She was quite an artist too.  I met the pastor friend of mine who knew Hebrew and Greek in HUD housing.  While I miss him and haven’t found any friends like him since he died two years ago, I imagine someone just as good will come along in my apartment complex given enough time.  We have had a few jerks and cranks move in during my ten years here.  We have had many move out or get evicted too.  On a long enough time scale the jerks and cranks usually get what they earn.  Even the ones who didn’t get evicted got shunned by the tenants at large.  One way to make a stay in an apartment complex really unpleasant is to always be mean and or act like the rules don’t apply to you.  Fortunately I haven’t had those problems.  I know that some of the older tenants were resentful of me moving in to the complex ten years ago when I was so young. Previously my complex had been reserved for the elderly.  But, seriously, where else was I going to go?  Long term hospitalization isn’t a highly utilized option anymore.

Of course as good as some of these psychiatric medications have gotten over the last couple decades, long term hospitalization isn’t needed for many psychiatric patients.  Of the three medications I am currently prescribed, two of them didn’t exist even five years ago.  And the DNA tests I took earlier this year indicated that these medications would work quite well given my DNA.  Sure enough these tests were right.  Since I can’t process stress and anxiety well enough to hold a full time job anymore, I’m approaching my life much like a retiree.  I am grateful for the time I have.  I am grateful for being able to live a low stress life.  I am grateful to be able to come and go as I please.  I am grateful I have learned to live on not much money.  And I am especially grateful that I am still able to write about my mental illness and be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.  It’s been an up and down last fifteen years with a diagnosis.  But I think I have seen the worst parts of the illness and am settling into middle age.  I can hardly wait to see what the next fifteen years brings me personally and the treatment of mental illness at large.

 

 

Stability With Schizophrenia

I’ve been on my current medications for about five months.  In that time I was able to avoid my traditional late summer breakdowns.  I’ve also gotten more physically active and more careful about what I eat.  In short I’ve entered a prolonged state of stability that I haven’t experienced in a few years.  It’s a good feeling.

I have been feeling much less easily irritated for the last couple months.  I’m back to a regular sleep pattern.  I am convinced that regular sleep only helps with mental illness.  I tend to be more irritable and have more hallucinations when I haven’t been sleeping well. I have been doing quite well the last several weeks.

I have taken three medications for my mental illness for the last five months.  One of the meds is an anti anxiety medication I take as needed.  It really works to alleviate anxiety but it does make me sleep a lot.  But it was one of those medications I had to take only as necessary.  I haven’t needed to take it for over three weeks.  I have been doing well in terms of dealing with anxiety.  I get out of my apartment more often and am able to run my errands.  I still don’t socialize as much as I had in the past.  Much of my socializing comes online anymore.  But many people’s social lives are based online these days.

In short things have gone quite well the last couple months.  I made it through the summer, I’m back exercising again, I’m eating healthier again, I’m getting better sleep, I’m managing my anxiety and depression better.  It’s going really good right now.  I hope to keep it going.

Midnight Rants Against Stupidity

 

82957300_zps9ce11709

It’s the middle of the night as I write this. I’m going off the regular path and just going to rant for this entry. I just got back home from a midnight deli run so my stomach is full and I am wide awake.  Been seeing a lot of people online and in real life complain lately.  Some people complain about how much their jobs suck.  Some people complain about their marriages or relationships.  Many people complain about politics, especially during this election year.  People are just complaining about the dumbest nonsense but not doing anything to change their situations.

I know people who have so much “stuff” in their houses they accumulated over the years they can barely move or find anything.  They acknowledge they need to get rid of some things.  But they never do.  People complain about how dumb their coworkers are, how unreasonable their customers are, and how corporate policies hinder productivity and suck the life out of them.  But do they ever consider quitting their lousy job and starting their own business?  Of course not.  People complain about their significant others but do they ever consider fixing the relationship or opting out of relationships at least temporarily.  No, not at all.  Some people are even longing for the “good old days” of yesteryear.

For those who long for the past, what parts of the past are to be yearned for?  Do you want to bring back Jim Crow laws and children working in mines and factories to go along with gas costing only ten cents a gallon and most people spending Sundays in church?  Do you think modern medicine is a mess when people die from cancer or heart disease in their sixties or seventies while ignoring that many people died from infectious diseases at much younger ages just a few generations ago?  Most marriages did last for a lifetime in the old days, but most lifetimes didn’t last that long to begin with. They never had the time to grow apart and get divorced.  Many families were mixed in the old days, not from divorce, but from parents dying at young ages.  One of my favorites is modern medications make people sick and are ineffective.  People are living longer than ever in spite higher rates of obesity, largely because of medical advances.  Good old days my foot!  The good old days sucked, especially if you were a woman, racial minority, religious minority, or a child.

As a mentally ill man who has spent many years observing nuerotypical people and the things they do much like a zoologist studying a pack of apes, I’ve come to the conclusion that normal people often act in incredibly stupid ways. What’s even more amazing is that some of these people know these are stupid actions yet keep on doing them anyway. You hate your job, then quit and try something different.  You can’t stand your significant other, drop them and maybe be single for a while.  There’s no law saying you can’t be single.  We’re not taxing bachelors or throwing them in jail.

As far as politics go, if you think your politicians are morons and sell outs to big money interests, then vote for third party unknowns who aren’t taking money from lobbyists.  Or better yet, realize that a politician isn’t going to do anything to enrich your life.  They are just along for the ride. Slavery and serfdom would have never gotten abolished if there wasn’t first grass roots sentiments that thought these needed to go.  Same goes for civil rights. They don’t act unless there is sentiment among the citizens that change is needed.  All politicians can do are pass laws and spend tax money.  Even Hitler and Stalin would have never gotten away with what they did if there weren’t those kinds of sentiments among the populace of their countries to begin with.

Simply put, politicians can’t engineer better computers or design structures that won’t fall apart in earthquakes.  Politicians can’t bring clean drinking water to rural Africa or even inner city America.  Politicians can’t build better infrastructure.  If things are to improve, it’s going to be scientists and engineers who develop better and cheaper ways of doing things.  I would love to live in a world where scientists, engineers, architects, doctors, teachers, etc. are better known than politicians and athletes.  Uber just started putting out self driving taxis this week. The Gaia satellite has identified one billion more stars in our galaxy.  We recently found a possible Earth like planet just a few light years away.  Virtual Reality tech is set to take off big any time now.   Yet all that anyone wants to talk about are athletes who won’t stand up for ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ or whatever unfulfillable campaign promises a politician made when speaking at a union hall this week.  Seriously, normal people priorities suck.  I am glad I am not normal.  After studying normal people for most of my life, I see that they are obsessed with the stupid and mundane and they are really out of touch with what is really going on in the world around them.  I never want to be normal.

Thoughts on Passing A Milestone and Advocating for the Mentally Ill

I had my 10,000th visitor to this blog earlier this week.  I’m also getting my first visitors from China.  In three years of doing this blog on a regular basis I’ve had over 10,000 visitors from over 90 different countries.  Thank you to everyone who has taken time to read my musings, ramblings, and rantings.  I hope to keep this blog a regular thing and see what can be made of it.

I think as more stigmas and myths about mental illness are being dispelled and broken more bloggers and podcasters will come forward and tell their stories about their wins and losses with mental illness.  Most stigmas about other traditionally marginalized groups are being broken down all the time.  In 1950 who would ever thought that USA would have a black president?  In 1970 who would have ever thought two of top four candidates for US president would be women?  In 1990 who would have ever thought that rights and protections for the LGBT communities would be pressed for?  And many people now still think mentally ill people should keep quiet and stay on the fringes of society.  Why should we stay stigmatized and dismissed?  Why is it in 2016 and after 20 years of easy internet access that there are people who are still convinced that mental illness is not real?  I don’t suppose I’ll ever convince those people that mental illness is real and that it sucks.  But I will still be writing blogs and essays about it for years to come. I might even start a youtube channel and a podcast about life with a mental illness in the coming years. These critics will move out of influence and die before I stop writing and being open about my mental illness.  Fight to keep mentally ill people marginalized all you want, but you will lose this fight and you will be on the wrong side of history.  People who fought to keep racial and religious minorities marginalized failed.  People who opposed opportunities and freedoms for women lost.  People who aim to keep people of different sexual orientations down are losing their battles.  In the coming years we will see the same thing for mental illness.  Fight us all you want but you will lose.  We will not keep silent anymore.  We are not going away.