Easing Back Into Normal

Started spending a little more time on Facebook and talking with friends the last couple days.  I’m also starting to get out of my apartment more often.  There would be times in the last several weeks when I would leave my apartment only to get something to eat.  I’m cooking more of my meals now.  For a couple weeks I had fallen out of the habit of cooking and got quite lazy about my diet.  I’ve probably gained some weight over the last few weeks   so I’m going to address that.  Hopefully I can get back to eating less and making most of my own meals  and get used to that before the weather gets real cold.

I still haven’t gotten out of my hometown much these last several weeks.  I’ll probably go to my parents’ house within a week or two because my cousin is coming back to Nebraska for a couple weeks with her baby.  Her husband is career Navy so they have to live on the coast.  I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I would like.  I’m also going to my aunt’s place for Thanksgiving at the end of next month.

I’ve also been lazy about exercising and dieting the last several weeks.  No doubt I’ve gained weight.  I haven’t gotten much physical activity so I’m starting to get more unexplainable aches and pains.  I’m slowly easing back into activity.  I’m spending a little more time outdoors too.  It’s been nicer weather than typical late October so I’m enjoying this more.

Slowly I’m easing myself back into more normal routines.  Not much has been normal for me for months.  Between being in a car accident, spending the winter in chiropractic therapy, spending the summer with a bad back, and then spending the fall depressed and discouraged with how irritable people are over the election, I’m ready for some quiet and normal.

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Blasting Mental Illness Stigma and Giving Hope For the Future

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I suppose this could be filed under rant and frustration with normal people. There are times when I feel like I’m making some difference with this blog and that I’m making a positive impact on people.  Then there are times I feel like I just as well be talking to myself because I don’t seem to be getting through to people.  Right now I feel like I’m not making any kind of positive difference.  Most neurotypical people still think it’s alright to shun and discriminate against the mentally ill.  Many still think we are dangerous and to be locked up permanently out of sight and out of mind.  Mental illness is still stigmatized by popular culture and misunderstood by the public at large.  I’m sure I have people in my Facebook friends list who think I’m just dreaming up my problems because they think I’m weak, lazy, and don’t want to do any real work.  I am definitely not making these problems up.  I would gladly give ten years off the end of my life if it meant I never had to suffer from schizophrenia again.  I’ve been fighting this mental illness since age seventeen, so for over half of my life now.  I can’t remember what it’s like not to suffer from delusions, paranoia, depression, easy anger, and excessive fear.  I can’t remember the last time I talked with even close friends about things like politics and religion without fear of having a psychotic breakdown and ruining the friendship.  I can’t remember what it’s like not living in fear and paranoia of authority  figures, whether they were bosses, landlords, or police officers.

I never understood the mentality that nothing can go wrong with the human brain.  We don’t stigmatize people with heart problems, diabetes, blindness, deafness, or cancer.  We as a society accept that things can go wrong with every other organ in the human body.  But as a society we don’t seem to be as accepting that things can go wrong with the human brain, arguably the most complex instrument in the currently known universe.  I am somewhat hopeful with the programs began by the U.S. government and the E.U. that attempt to reverse engineer the human brain.  Maybe we can find out why some brains malfunction and develop mental illness.  I’m not delusional enough to believe I will ever be cured of schizophrenia, but perhaps better treatments can be developed and maybe future generations can find a way to cure mental illness.  As it seems to me, the brain is probably the final true unknown of medical science.

I imagine that my friends and readers get sick of me always writing about science and tech advances being the true benefactors of humanity.  But I get far more encouragement out of seeing science and engineering advances made on what seems a weekly basis now than listening to political debate or religious dogma.  There are cool things happening in science practically every day in this day and age.  I am thrilled to hear that private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin as well as NASA are seriously talking about sending people to colonize Mars within the next twenty years.  I am thrilled that we could soon have a vaccine for HIV, which I believe will be looked upon by future generations with the same horror we now look upon smallpox and bubonic plague.  I am happy that we are finding possible ways to treat anti biotic resistant bugs.  I know some of my farmer friends will want to crucify me for this, but the possibilities of vertical farming in big cities and lab grown meat intrigue me.  Supposedly there are medications in trials that could reverse obesity that have already been tested on lab rats.  Something like that, providing it doesn’t interfere with my psych medications. would be a life saver for me as I’ve been overweight since puberty.  That alone would reduce burdens on the health care system in many developed countries.  I am anxious to see lab grown replacement organs make the organ and tissue donor system obsolete.  I would love to see driverless cars take off and make owning your own car as much of a relic as the horse drawn carriage.

We are living in some of the most exciting times in human history, if not the most exciting times.  Yet these wonders seem to be lost on most people I interact with on a daily basis.  I don’t know why people lost their sense of wonder, creativity, and possibility.  To listen to most people we aren’t advancing at all, as if everything from hear on out is going to be down hill.  I don’t understand why most people are pessimistic and fearful.  I don’t see enough people saying ‘we have problems but we’ve solved problems in the past and we will continue to do so.’  Why is it considered normal and grown up to be worrisome and blind to the beauty and possibility of life?  That is yet another idea you normals seem to be born with that I wasn’t.  If I have to be constantly depressed, anxious, angry, and mopey to be considered an adult, then screw it.  I want no part of it.  I just see too much possibility and good things happening in the world to be consumed by worry.  Even your religious texts tell you to ‘not let your hearts be troubled’ and ‘don’t worry about the future.’  Seems to me these texts need to be spoken from the pulpits more than fear, hate, and wrath.

We are living in cool times with progress being made every hour of every day.  Breakthroughs in science, technology, health, and humanitarian efforts are being made all over the world.  It’s not just the U.S. who has advanced technology, advanced research, and freedom.  The world is not falling apart.  The world is not going to hell in a hand basket.  The past is not better than the present.  And I am saddened and tired of hearing  doom and gloom from people who don’t bother to look at the facts and numbers nor look out how far we’ve come just in the last few generations, let alone since we left the caves.  Make no mistake, we will continue to make progress in spite of your complaints and fears that the world is falling apart.  The doers and achievers of the world ain’t listening to the Chicken Littles of the world.  I may not be a great achiever but I’m not listening to the doomsayers either.  I have had enough.  I have heard doom and gloom my entire life.  I have no idea how many supposed end of the world type predictions I have weathered.  I laugh at such predictions now.  I find it annoying that many people are giving themselves needless grief and sadness simply because they can’t or won’t look up facts.  We have the quasi magic Google machine and Wikipedia that would put the Library of Congress to shame at our finger tips. We just have to use them.  Keep complaining and crying if you wish, but I will continue to look up the facts and the truth.  I will attempt to dispel the myths in this blog.  To paraphrase Jack Palance from the movie ‘City Slickers’, normal people “really do worry about a lot of crap that don’t matter.”

 

Social Media and News Vacation Part II

I’ve now spent almost a week avoiding Facebook and news broadcasts.  And I feel more calm and relaxed than I have in months.  I still don’t get out of my apartment very often as I’m still kind of paranoid about interacting with complete strangers.  So I have spent the last several days playing computer games, reading science and tech blogs, and watching a few movies over netflix.

Even though I feel more calm and relaxed, I’m still sleeping a lot and not getting much for physical activity.  I probably sleep 10 to 12 hours a night anymore.  I guess I’m still kind of stressed and anxious even with my news blackout.  I suppose old anxiety is tough to get rid of with schizophrenia.  I’m going to keep up with the news and social media blackout for at least the next two weeks.  Hopefully by then my anxiety will be lower and most of the insanity of the election will have passed.

Social Media Hiatus and Recovery

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In an attempt to help speed up my recovery from my bouts of depression and hopelessness, I’ve decided to avoid all social media in addition to regular news casts.  I’m now two days into this and I notice a positive difference already.  I’m less stressed and less despondent even after a couple days of media blackout.  I just got so tired of hearing nothing but bad news that I decided to unplug and drop out for at least a few days.  I will still be posting blog entries to Facebook and twitter because my posts automatically post to these anyway.

One thing I have noticed is inspite my vacation from news and social media, my life still goes on.  All life still goes on in fact.  Some things I’m probably happier not knowing quite simply because there is nothing I can do about it.  While I may not be happy with any of my elected officials, it’s not like I get an extra vote for every time I post to Facebook concerning the elections.  The U.S. Constitution never said anything about uber informed people getting extra votes.  On election day, I’m just going in and casting my votes and that is going to be that.  I’ll live with whatever the results are.  And I’ll still pay more attention to science and technology endeavors than I do to politics or popular culture.  Unless the Kardashians figure out nuclear fusion or cure cancer, I couldn’t care less about them.

While I may be unplugging from social media, I’m still keeping informed on things like science.  I am finding out the lights are still on and there’s still food in my pantry regardless of what nonsense a political figure says or whatever some troll writes.  Some pundit says something about the election, so what?  Nations are rattling their sabres and talking about wars, will my worrying prevent war?  I can only control my own life, what I see online, and how I choose to react to it.  And that is all I need.  Sure I’ll miss my friends during my hiatus from social media, but it’s probably for the best for the next several days.

 

Trying To Pull Out of Depression

It’s been a rough last several days for me.  I’ve been feeling quite depressed and hopeless for much of the last two weeks.  I still don’t cook much as I’ve been eating mostly fast food for the last two weeks.  That’s probably part of my problem right there; I just don’t have the motivation and energy to cook lately.  I’ve been sleeping probably twelve hours a night for the last two weeks.  Anymore I have to force myself to get out of bed and get out of the apartment.

Paranoia has been a problem too.  I usually spend most of my days in my apartment doing internet searches or reading books because I’m scared of people anymore.  I am afraid of them and my paranoid voices tell me that most people are stupid and not worth dealing with.  The voices also tell me that people are violent animals who don’t know how to settle issues without violence.  And then I go on Facebook and see violent news stories in my news feeds and people’s posts advocating violence against anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  After months of a steady diet of negativity which I didn’t seek out, I’ve become despondent and hopeless.  There are times anymore I don’t have any hope for the future of the human race or myself.  Sometimes I can’t figure out how we as a species have made it this long.  I hope I’m just paranoid and reading too much into news stories and people’s comments.  I really hope it’s the paranoia that’s going full power and not the way people really are.

With not cooking for the last couple weeks, I really don’t have a healthy diet.  No doubt I’ve gained a bunch of weight in the last few weeks.  At this point I really don’t care if I ever do lose weight and get physically healthy.  Losing weight isn’t going to cure schizophrenia.  Losing weight isn’t going to get rid of my depression.  I have no desire to work or date again.  I’ve seen what messes both those arenas are and I want no more part of them.  I really don’t care if I ever get healthy.  I’m tired of fighting a losing battle.  I’m tired of always having to watch my back.  I’m tired of people being mean and angry all the time.

In an attempt to try to help myself recover from my current depression, I am going to attempt to avoid Facebook for the next several days.  I’ll still have my blogs posted there as I’m on an automatic post to Facebook set up.  It’s just depressing to see people snipe at each other and myself over the most trivial of matters.  I’m depressed with how messed up most people’s priorities are.  At least their posts indicate their priorities are out of wack.  I guess I never completely learned that who people are online is not always who they are in real life.  That’s another lesson I missed while in school that most people seem to have gotten.  I’m just going to lay low and try to avoid social media until I’m feeling better.

 

I’m Tired

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I’m still feeling depressed and anxious most of the time.  Fortunately I don’t feel a lot of anger and frustration.  Maybe I’m just too depressed to be angry anymore.  I did manage to leave my apartment and do some shopping the other day.  Other than that about the only time I leave my apartment is to buy food.  I hate that I hole up so much, especially with as beautiful as the fall leaves are.  But even almost one year after my accident I am still scared to drive.  I have been to my parents’ house only once this entire year.  I skipped out on Easter because I was scared of the possibility of family conflict concerning politics and current events.  I hope I’m being excessively paranoid but with schizophrenia the feelings of paranoia are so overpowering it just as well be real.  And unfortunately most of my family are politics and news junkies.  All of my psychiatric breakdowns this year were due to stress caused by politics and current events.  I imagine most of my non mentally ill readers think I’m being weak for having breakdowns over politics and current events.  But I don’t care anymore.  I’ve had people tell me that I’m not a ‘real man’ because I don’t have a wife or paid employment.  Well, your Jesus didn’t have a wife or paid employment during his ministry.  I guess he was a loser too, eh? I just don’t want to deal with the lack of empathy and lack of understanding anymore.  I prefer to stay home anymore because I see only lifeless and angry faces on the people I meet in public anymore.  And a while back I was trolled by some jerk I had no connection to just because I was advocating for more peace and understanding in the world.  I’m just tired of fighting a losing battle.  I’m just tired of people always being mean and angry to each other.  I’m tired of not seeing progress.

New Normal verses Old Normal

A Life Of Mental Illness

When I was growing up as a precocious child in the rural corn belt of Nebraska, I was frequently asked “Why can’t you be normal”.  My classmates, the adults in my life, and even my own family asked me this frequently. I didn’t have the foresight or the courage then to ask “What defines normal” or even “Who defines normal”.

Looking back on it years later I know I never would have gotten any kind of direct answer simply because what qualifies as normal keeps changing.  In 1750 it was normal for two out of three children born in London, England to die before their fifth birthday.  Now in the developed world (and increasingly so in the developing nations) infant mortality is rare.  It is so rare now that if most of us were to look back five or six generations in our family tree, we would find that our…

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