I visited with my nephews and niece a few days ago. I got to see my parents too for the first time since Christmas. I had a good time with the kids. They are ages 12, 10, 8, and 5. They are old enough they don’t get into a lot of trouble and can be quite entertaining. Seeing those kids grow up and develop interests and personalities of their own is bittersweet. I am happy that my brother and his wife were able to have several kids, are able to take care of them, and raise them to be respectable and well behaved kids. But it does make me realize some of what I have lost and will never be able to experience on my own because of my schizophrenia.
I have written a lot in the past about alternating between being sad, angry, and depressed about the career and life opportunities I lost in the name of mental illness. I have written much less about being sad and depressed about never being able to marry or have kids. Outside of my best female friend, I really have little experience with dating. I was turned down every time I ever asked a girl out on a date in high school and most of the time when I was in college. By the time I was halfway through college I gave up on the idea of ever marrying because it just seemed like a lost cause and wasted effort. I never could figure out why I did so poorly with women. But I haven’t really cared for years as I know that ship set sail a real long time ago and that I just as well make the best of being single and lonely for life.
For many years I was making the best of it. After seeing some of my classmates go through rough divorces or slog through unhappy marriages, I was grateful I never did marry. But after seeing my brother’s kids mature through the years and come into their own, I am beginning to realize that if children are raised well, they can be the greatest things that ever happened to you.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized just how lonely I am most of the time. I really don’t talk to that many people in person any more. I almost never socialize outside of close family and friends. I still sleep ten to twelve hours a day. I think that is a subconscious way of dealing with the loneliness. I really am lonely most of the time. Have been for the last couple years since three of my older friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other.
As much as I hated the office politics of a job, at least I was able to find a few moments of joyful interactions everyday with other people. As much as I didn’t like the social aspects of high school, I still had my friends and some friendly acquaintances. I don’t have any of that anymore. I can understand how some people, men especially, lose a lot of joy in their lives and much of their identity when they retire or get laid off from a job. I would consider going back to work except that mentally I’m too unstable and too discouraged to work a traditional job. Besides much of what I could do in a traditional job will probably get automated within the next several years anyway. Perhaps that is why I devote so much time to this blog. It gives me identity and it could be my legacy since I’ll never be able to get married or have kids. Things have often been lonely and discouraging the last couple years. Being mentally ill is a death sentence to anyone’s social life.