I did go and do some shopping on Black Friday. That is, if grocery shopping counts. Bought enough food to last several days. I haven’t eaten fast food in a few days as I’m doing my own cooking again. I’ve also had some of my psych meds doses lowered as I’ve been stabilizing for a few weeks. I sleep a little less now. I’m staying up later again but I really don’t drink that much caffeine. I have all but given up coffee and I usually have only one or two soda pops a day. I notice I feel less tense and short tempered since cutting back on the caffeine.
I’m back to eating less too. For several weeks I was practically living off fast food and I have no doubt my health suffered. Now that I’m back to cooking my own meals and eating healthier I am gradually noticing small improvements. My stamina is beginning to come back, I am not as irritable, I am not as short tempered, my flare ups aren’t as bad, and I’m getting better sleep. I think I have also lost a few pounds as my clothes are fitting a little looser.
I’m looking forward to winter even though I missed the summer with back problems and had more stress than usual during the fall. I love the chilly weather, I don’t mind shoveling snow, I love spending time with family over Christmas, I enjoy watching college football games all day on New Year’s, and I like making cold weather food like potato and cheese soup and chili. My Christmas shopping is done as I just did everything online this year.
I didn’t get what I wanted accomplished health wise this year. I gained back much of the weight I had lost in 2014 and 2015. Some of this came after I hurt my back and lost a summer’s worth of exercise. Some of this came as I was more depressed and unstable this year than some of my previous years. But for the last few weeks I’ve been having more of a sense of stability than I have had for months. I’ve actually gotten some of my more healthy routines going again. I still don’t socialize much in my apartment complex as I’m trying to avoid negative and depressing people. I’m gradually getting back on Facebook. I avoided it as much as I could for most of the fall. But now that winter is almost here I’m getting to where I want to socialize to break up some of the colder, slower days.
Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving in my country. I’m currently at my parents house and it’ll be a real small gathering. It’ll be just me, my parents, and maybe an aunt or two. My brother and all my cousins will be at their spouses’ families for the holiday. I spent last Thanksgiving alone as I was having bad flare ups on and off for weeks before. My brother had his four kids at my mom’s house and I didn’t want to risk having problems around the kids. I may have had breakdowns on my parents, doctors, counselors, and friends but I’m not about to take my illness out on children. I know my flare ups wear on my friends and make my parents and extended family sick with worry. But even in the worst flare ups I ever had I never completely cut off family.
The holidays can be rough time for people. In many families past grievances are brought up and cause divisions within. It wasn’t until recent years did I realize just how unique my family was in that we never got to where we stopped talking to people. I think my situation is made easier by both of my parents spending their careers in the medical fields and most people on both sides of my family being above average smarts and pretty accepting of my mental health problems. My father has a cousin with bipolar I believe. He lives on his own but I don’t think he holds a permanent job. It helps that most of my extended family had previous experience working with mental health problems because of my father’s cousin. My family has had it’s disagreements and problems but we never got to where we just cut communication.
I’m not going out shopping on Black Friday. Did that probably twelve years ago. My father and I went to a home improvement warehouse and I was cured of ever wanting to do Black Friday again after about thirty minutes. And that place was quite mild compared to many places. I do most of my shopping online anymore. I wonder how the whole Black Friday madness ever got started. I worked in retail one Christmas and it certainly gave me a renewed appreciation for retail store clerks and what they go through from late October to late December.
As far as my Thanksgiving plans go, I’ll probably enjoy my parents company, maybe help them decorate their house with Christmas lights, and be appreciative that I weathered another year while fighting with schizophrenia. I’ll also be thankful for the science and tech advances made this year, some of which I have outlined in previous blog entries.
Been feeling quite stable the last several days. I still have my flare ups of anxiety and irritability but fortunately they are not as intense as they once were. I’m beginning to reduce some of the doses of my medications as I tend to do well mentally in the late fall and winter months. I’m even not as irritable about Christmas this year. I see people are already putting up their decorations. I haven’t decorated for holidays in years. I just don’t see the need to. I will no doubt continue to avoid the mall and the big box stores during the holidays as I can now do all my shopping online. Thank God for amazon and the postal service.
I did a little Christmas shopping for myself already in the way of a couple new books and a couple computer games. I don’t usually go all out for the holidays being on a limited budget. I don’t buy a lot of gifts for people for Christmas simply because I usually don’t have that much money. But then again, even Jesus hasn’t gotten Christmas gifts in 2000 years. Must be rough that everybody but you gets gifts on your designated birthday. No wonder practitioners of other faiths think Christians are odd 🙂
I have found myself eating less over the last week or so. I usually eat two meals a day and drink lots of water and caffeine between meals. Even though caffeine can make me irritable in large doses, it does act as an appetite reducer for me. It’s not necessarily a bad deal as I haven’t had to buy groceries in three weeks. I’m eating less, sleeping less than usual (but I don’t feel tired or sluggish), getting outside more often in spite the colder weather, and genuinely feeling better than I did this summer and early fall.
As of right now I don’t have any plans for Thanksgiving. My cousins already had theirs and my aunts are going to their kids’ places. It may be just myself this year again. I opted out of Thanksgiving last year as I wasn’t feeling mentally stable and didn’t want to have problems around my brother’s kids. I probably should volunteer at one of the community Thanksgiving dinners that groups like the Knights of Columbus or the local food pantry puts on. One year my entire extended family and I volunteered at a community dinner in my hometown. Found out there were more shut ins and family less people than I thought. But if it is just me I just may go to the KFC and buy one of their large family meals the night before and live off that for a day or two. A friend of mine traditionally has lobster instead of turkey.
Even though I may not be doing anything really special for the holidays I can always call or video conference with family and friends. Thanks to the internet and social media platforms if you don’t stay in contact with friends and family it’s your own doing. I’ve been getting back on Facebook more now that the hoopla of the election has finally died down. Regardless of whether I go to my mother’s place or not I’ll definitely make a point of keeping in touch with my parents. I talk to my parents usually twice a week even though I’m in my mid thirties. I talk to them more now than when I was in my late teens and twenties. I don’t know what it is but they seem more interesting now and less domineering now then when I was in high school. But I suppose since I don’t live in the same town and have proven I can be on my own for a dozen years it’s like they’re more old and wise friends rather than the authority figures they were when they were when I still lived in their house.
I just hope I never catch myself complaining about the younger generations when I get older. I’m seeing my friends in my age bracket complaining about teenagers and college students and I’m thinking “Dude, that was us twenty years ago. We didn’t know anything back then and we still turned out alright. Ease off.” If I ever find myself complaining about the “kids” and/or talking about how much better it was in the past, I hope someone comes along and slaps some sense back into me. I remember what it was like being a kid and listening to the elders complain about me and my cohorts. And back then I promised myself I would never voluntarily put anyone younger than I am through that. It sucks not being taken serious because of your youth. It sucks not being taken serious because of my mental illness. But that is a topic for another place and time.
It’s been a more peaceful and quiet week this week than most of my previous weeks. I still don’t leave my apartment more than a few times a day. But I am talking with my friends and family more over the phone and online. I am starting to cook most of my meals and am eating less now. For several weeks I was essentially living off fast food because I was too depressed to go grocery shopping. No doubt I gained weight. Now the struggle of taking that weight off begins.
Bought a couple new computer games and a couple new books this week. They came just in time for the weather to turn cold. We had our first snow in my hometown this week. It came about right on schedule after weeks of warmer than usual fall weather. I’ve been breaking up some of my old routines and reading more lately. I try to have one major reading or writing project every winter. One year I read a couple major philosophy works. Another winter I started writing a novel. And many winters ago the seeds that would later become this blog were planted when I started writing essays about life with schizophrenia.
I admit to being lazier than usual about writing this week. But things have been more peaceful and settled the last several days than they had been in months. I’m enjoying the colder weather and I have most of my winter provisions gathered again. Hopefully I won’t have to get out much this winter. I usually avoid travel if there is a lot of ice or snow on the roads. So getting these new computer games and books will go a long way in keeping me occupied this winter when it’s too cold to go anywhere.
One of my biggest problems of the last several months was keeping my mind occupied with things other than the circus side show that was the last election. I avoided a lot of people because that was all most people wanted to talk about. It got old several months ago and I started isolating. Unfortunately my mind being what it is craves mental stimulation. I have to find something to always be researching or looking up. For about two years I have been throughly researching science and technology advances. I had forgotten how much I loved science classes as a kid. But I have come to where I have researched those topics more in the last two years than most people do in a lifetime.
Before I researched science advances I was studying economic history. Spent a couple years studying old economics books and theories. It cured my itch for new knowledge and encouraged me to get out of debt and save some emergency money. And my thirst for science knowledge might lead me and my father to building some homemade solar panels for his cabin at the family acreage. He’s not going to go completely off the grid but he’s toying with the options that he could with a few adjustments if needed. Our family has always had back up plans on top of our back up plans. We don’t like leaving things to chance. So even though winter is near we are already making plans for next spring and summer.
It’s been a few smooth days for me mentally. I have made my plans for the winter. I plan on reading several books and mastering some new computer games. I will keep writing this blog. Fortunately with mental illness it’s not all depression and anxiety all the time. But the depression and anxiety do make me enjoy the calm and peacefulness more than most people who are well adjusted. I know that problems will come up again, probably sooner than I would like. But for now I’m just enjoying the few days of peace and calm.