About alifeofmentalillness

I write about my experiences with mental illness and life in general. I am also currently under going 'lifestyle changes' (I hate the term 'dieting' as it's sounds so temporary) and have lost 70 pounds since spring 2014. I've put my poetry and novel writing on lower priority since I started losing weight and blogging more seriously.

January 17 2022

Been having more frequent flare ups lately. Usually happens several times a day. So I spend most of my time alone. My flare ups involve lots of irritability and paranoia. I also have flashbacks to past incidents.

To remedy these new flareups, I sleep more. I probably sleep twelve hours a day now. Most nights I fall asleep around 9pm and wake up around 9am. I avoid people most of the time now. I rarely leave my apartment for anything anymore.

I sleep in my recliner most nights now. It’s a lot easier on my knees and lower back. I now understand why my dad slept in his recliner for years.

Still listening to audiobooks every day. I still have some sense of routine even with the increased flare ups. Sleep seems to be the best therapy for bad flare ups.

The Pains of Socializing While Mentally Ill

I don’t leave my apartment complex very often these days. Sure it is painful to be constantly lonely. But the pain of being around arrogant, angry, and rude people is even worse. I’m actually scared of socializing with people I don’t know. I literally do not have the ability to read people. Never have. I don’t know how to pick up on social cues, don’t know when people are angry with me without them yelling at me, don’t know when people are happy with me unless they specifically say so, and I certainly have no ability to pick up on things like power dynamics. It makes socializing with most people almost impossible. The pandemic and deepening divisions within society over the last several years have made it even worse.

I haven’t had a day without paranoia for several years. I get paranoid when I hear footsteps in the hallway. I get paranoid having to interact with my neighbors and landlady. I get paranoid even hearing people call my name. For the vast majority of my life, the only time people wanted to see me was to condemn me or point out what I was doing wrong. Most of this was quite nasty. I don’t enjoy socializing. It’s a nightmare for me.

Naturally I hate talking about my problems. First of all, seems like no one cares. Second, nothing ever changes when I do complain. I’ve had maintenance issues in my apartment that have taken over five years to solve. They got solved only when my family got involved. I don’t understand that. Why is it my complaints are ignored but when multiple people, namely my family, get involved, suddenly it’s like things start getting done. Even my doctors have never listened to me. It’s why I don’t go to doctors unless it’s an emergency. It’s just a waste of time if they aren’t going to listen to you and nothing ever changes.

I feel the same way about politics. I can’t understand why people are so rabid about their political beliefs when politicians are notorious for not getting things done or making effective change. The politicians themselves don’t decrease my quality of life, it’s the people who have a religious like fervor for their political beliefs that do. Sadly, that is most of my family and many of my friends. I’ve lost most of my friends over the last several years because of how serious they took politics. They care about it more then they care about their own children it seems.

I am tired of constantly feeling lonely. I don’t isolate because I am anti social, even though even my own parents accused me of this all the time while growing up. I am not anti social, I just have different interests than most people. Always have. Always will. I can’t even watch a football game anymore without hearing friends and family complain about the players, the coaches, the officiating, the strategy, etc. Most of this complaining comes from people who haven’t played even junior high sports. I don’t know anything about quantum physics or engineering, but I am not going to criticize those who spend their entire careers to such fields. My brother is an electrical engineer by trade. He has probably forgotten more about computers and electronics than I could learn in five lifetimes. I refuse to comment on his work. Yet people, who’s only experience with competition was playing dodgeball in grade school PE, feel they have a God given duty to complain about star athletes and coaches. Is it because we as a species value physical strength more than we do wisdom and knowledge? Probably.

As far as feeling lonely, it’s not because I hate people. When I find someone with similar interests, I can talk to them for hours. But if all people want to do is talk about how much they hate their jobs, how disrespectful the kids are, or the weather, I’ll be looking to end the conversation within a few minutes.

End of Holidays and Sticker Shock

Another holiday season has come and gone. And we are now in full winter. Supposed to get some snow in my town tomorrow night. Makes me glad I have enough supplies I don’t have to go out.

This was kind of a let down holiday season. I spent Christmas alone as I told my parents I didn’t think it was safe for them to travel several hundred miles when the pandemic was picking back up. The case numbers have skyrocketed in my country. So I stay close to home most days. I haven’t seen my family since Thanksgiving. I can hardly wait for this pandemic to burn out.

I drop in on a couple neighbors at least once a day. Found I have a new neighbor a couple doors from me. She seems nice. Seems like we’re getting more and more younger people in here all the time. I was the youngest when I moved in 15 years ago. There are plenty of residents older than me but only a handful who have been here longer than I.

Found out my internet bill went up this month. Cancelled my cable several months ago because of price increases. Cancelled Netflix too. I watch mostly youtube and Amazon Prime. I get most of my news reading free online journals and newspapers. I definately suffered some sticker shock the last time I bought groceries. I’m looking for ways to cut expenses. I can’t really increase my income without social security disability cutting back on benefits. I definately do not want to lose Medicaid right now. I’m sure my three week stay in the hospital would have cost a fortune if not for Medicaid.

I keep myself occupied by reading books, watching educational videos on youtube, and reading online journals. Currently working on a Ray Dalio book. I’m not sure what my next project will be.

December 27 2021

Another Christmas has come and gone. I spent this one alone as I was afraid of having my elderly parents travel several hundred miles to see me on Christmas. First time in my life I spent Christmas alone. My cleaning lady was kind enough to drop off two plates of traditional Christmas dinner. She does this for all of her clients who are shut ins. I stayed home, listened to Christmas music while playing computer games, and watched the old movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ It could have been worse. I friend of mine and her spouse spent Christmas sick with the flu while their neighbors suffered from covid.

This month has been warmer and drier than usual this year. We’ve had snow only twice in the last eight weeks. So it’s been drier too. Supposed to get cold this weekend. New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. Something about the old ending and the new beginning has always appealed to me. I used to go to local concerts on New Year’s Eve. I always made a point of leaving well before midnight to avoid drunk drivers.

Still lifting weights three times per week. I’m starting to sleep less too. Most nights I go to bed around 9:30 pm and wake up at 5am. I got a new cpap machine so I’m good to go on that for at least several years. I’m still losing weight as my clothes are looser and my endurance is increasing with each passing week.

I still talk to friends, neighbors, and family at least once a day. Even though I spend most of my time at home, I’m not lonely. I drop in on my neighbor across the hall once a day on average.

Been lazy about reading the last several days. I guess it comes and goes in cycles. I’ll probably start back up by the end of the year. I still have the Audible account. I probably won’t give that up anytime soon.

Been more paranoid than usual the last several days. Probably from the lack of sleep. My illness seems to get worse when my sleep patterns change. Sleep has always been good therapy for me.

December 16 2021

My homestate had some really weird weather yesterday. Several towns had tornado warnings, some places got snow, and we had hurricane force winds almost all day. A part of my town lost power. I got mostly high winds, a little rain, and a little snow. I was able to avoid most of the issues. There were also a few range fires in my state and even dust storms before the rain arrived. The airport in Lincoln, Nebraska reported wind gusts of over 100 mph.

I managed to weather the storm all right. I have several flash lights, several blankets, battery powered radios, and several days worth of water in case of emergencies. Didn’t have to break into any of that, at least not this time. I always keep a flash light on my desk and my night stand.

Really weird weather for mid December.

December 12 2021

Started lifting weights again a few weeks ago. I’m starting to notice a difference. I’m taking vitamin C and fish oil suppliments. Still fighting off a cold but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was last week. I can stand for longer periods of time without pains. It’s easier to do chores around my apartment than even three months ago.

Changed up my diet some. I’m eating more burritos these days. I hadn’t been getting much for fiber in my high protein diet lately. I was needing a change as I was getting tired of the same routine every day. I’m going to go easy on restaurant delivery. That stuff is getting expensive, like everything else.

Sleeping in my recliner for the time being. My cpap machine finally broke down and I’ve been having chronic stiffness in my legs most mornings. I’m currently trying to get my machine replaced. But I’ll probably have to sleep in the recliner for at least the next few days until I can get a replacement.

Haven’t had bad flare ups of my mental illness in months. I’ve had a few minor ones and sometimes get kind of irritable. I’ve been stable for the most part this year. I see my psych doctor every two months via teleconference. I still spend most of my time alone. I still contact friends and family on a daily basis. But a lot of people are on edge lately, more so than usual. I just try to avoid the drama. Kind of sad it feels like I’m hiding out. But what’s the point of socializing with people who are going to make you feel bad? I no longer have time or patience for drama and nonsense.

Listen to audiobooks at least one hour a day. I’m getting close to finishing a couple of my recent purchases. For some odd reason, it’s just easier for me to focus on audiobooks than traditional books anymore. This wasn’t the case until a couple years ago.

I still do computer games some every day. I love the Civilization and Total War series of games. I’m also spending some time on Cyberpunk 2077 and Skyrim on my PS5. I still can’t believe my brother found that console. There are still shortages from what I’ve heard.

My clothes are fitting really loose these days. I’ve even had cases where I get snagged on dresser handles and door latches because of how much more loose my clothing now is. I have simple tastes as I prefer t shirts and sweat pants. I like hoodies but don’t wear them unless I’m outside as I’m more sensitive to heat than most people. Colder weather doesn’t really bother me, at least not as long as I have central heating, fleece blankets, and hot coffee. I’m going to start saving my money so I can buy new shirts and sweat pants. The ones I have right now are getting real loose. I know I have lost at least 80 pounds between December 2019 and October 2021. If the way my clothing fits is any indication, I’ve lost some more since October.

Christmas is coming in a couple weeks. The big thing I want this year is a new microwave. The PS5 was my blockbuster gift last year. As much as I appreciate my brother being able to find it, I appreciate spending time with family and friends even more. Christmas is more about spending time with family and celebrating the birth of Jesus anymore. Even though I haven’t regularly attended church services in several years, I think there is a great value to things like spirituality, community, and just treating other people with kindness and empathy. There will probably always be aspects of the cosmos and human experience that can’t be explained by even the best science.

In spite staying close to home and keeping physical contact with people to a minimum, I’m doing alright both mentally and physically. 2021 has been better for me than 2020, even with spending three weeks in the hospital. That time in the hospital allowed me to address health issues I neglected previously.

Nearing The End of 2021

2021 will be fading into 2022 in a few weeks. It’s been a year of changes and challenges for myself. I spent three weeks in the hospital for blood pressure and heart problems. Will be on meds for these for the rest of my life. I’m continuing to lose weight. Most of my clothes fit loose enough on me now that I may have to buy a whole new wardrobe if the weight loss continues. Several of my neighbors have moved away. I don’t even recognize many of the newer faces in my complex. I haven’t driven a car in over 2 years. I just don’t trust myself on the road anymore. I get sensory overload even in my own apartment now. I more or less quit socializing with my neighbors with a few exceptions. I just don’t have much in common with my neighbors. I guess I’m content to keep to myself with my books and hobbies. I no longer have a stomach for drama and pettiness. I’m just too tired for that anymore.

Been warmer and drier than normal the last few weeks. Seems like every day I hear firetrucks going out to range fires. We’re supposed to get some snow by the end of the week. We’ll see about that. We certainly need it.

My sleep patterns are returning to more normal. I usually go to bed around 10pm and wake up for good by 6am. I’m experiencing less severe aches and stiffness in the mornings. I still have odd dreams, but they aren’t scary. Just odd.

Using audiobooks a lot lately. Probably use those 2 to 3 hours per day. Still working the Ray Dalio one that came out last week. Have some Yuval Harrari and Parag Khana going right now too. I don’t know why, I just prefer non fiction to fiction. I always have. I never did get into science fiction even though I think I would have loved Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series had I discovered it in my youth as opposed to my late thirties. The science fiction I grew up on were stories like Terminator, Matrix, and Judge Dread. Basically really lousy futures that aren’t worth living in. I had enough drama and horror in my own personal life, I didn’t need horror and drama as an escape. Hell, I needed an escape from the horror and drama of real life. I have actually never bought a comic book.

Canceled my cable service several months ago. I don’t miss it one bit. I don’t even watch ballgames much anymore. Just seems pointless and I no longer enjoy it. And I haven’t watched cable news in over ten years. How is cable news still a thing? Most of what I watch anymore is youtube and Amazon Prime. I don’t even have Netflix anymore. I used to follow the Castlevania, Borgia, and Altered Carbon series. But I guess I just have a lot of reading I want to catch up on these days. I find learning fun. That makes me weird, I know. Maybe I just went to a good school in that they didn’t beat the love of learning out of me. I think it helped that I had parents who always kept books in our house and I was walking distance to the local library. When I was a kid, I wanted to buy that library, work in their full time, and just live in the basement. That was one of my aspirations as a kid. Another was to be rich enough that me and my friends could play Monopoly with real money. But isn’t being a real estate tycoon Monopoly in real life?

December 2 2021

Been having quite a bit of maintenance work done in my apartment this week. Most of it was routine things that were put off due to the pandemic. I might be getting new appliances too this winter. Both my refrigerator and stove are over thirty years old. I need a new microwave too.

I rearrainged in my apartment. Moved most of my furniture to different parts of the living room. Better use of my floor space I guess. It’s easier to walk around in my apartment now.

With all of the additional guests and inspections we’ve had lately, I’m ready for things to quiet down again. Can’t remember the last time I spent an entire day alone. I enjoy those days once in awhile.

Been mentally stable for weeks now. Had an appointment with a psych doctor right before Thanksgiving. I don’t see him again until late January.

Been into audiobooks lately with my Audible account. Currently listening to some Ray Dalio and Yuval Noah Harrari. I’ll usually have an audiobook going while I’m playing computer games.

Have been fighting a cold for over a week now. I guess it is that time of year again. It’s more of an annoyance than anything right now.

Sickness, PS5 games, exercise, friends, family, and end of 2021

Been fighting off a cold for the last few days. Since I’m coughing up a lot of mucus and haven’t lost my sense of smell or taste, I’m sure it’s not covid. I mask up whenever I have guests or meet the delivery man out of common courtesy. My neighbor was sick for a few days. He thinks it was the flu. The cases of covid are starting to go up in my home state, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before we have masks in public places again. So glad I still have a box of masks and extra disinfectant.

Bought some PS5 games over the course of the autumn. Currently working on Cyberpunk 2077. I think it’s a cool game. But, if you aren’t into sci fi or violent games, I don’t recommend it. I recently bought the Skyrim 10th Anniversary update package. I hope they make a new college football game next year. It’s been several years since one was made by EA Sports.

Getting more physically active. I make a point to stand up at least once an hour for several minutes. Started getting serious about arm weights again. With the exception of Thanksgiving week, I’ve been pretty strict about my diet. Still avoiding carbs and sugar most days. I’m avoiding coffee too. It makes me too irritable anymore. Upsets my stomach too. Haven’t had coffee in over two weeks.

Sometimes I’ll sleep in my recliner. It seems to be easier on my back and knees. I still get my best sleep between 5 and 8 am. I still wake up with back and knee pain every morning. But it seems to be far more manageable when I sleep half of the night in my recliner and the other half in my bed.

I still hear from my close friends a few times a week. My friend in Denver is quite busy with her job and her arts and crafts. Recently made some sales. She has problems with getting enough sleep. She also has chronic joint pains. We tell each other it’s a pity that we started falling apart exactly when we figured out how to be adults. My friend in South Dakota is busy with his teaching job, marriage, and two daughters. I called him this morning. We talked mostly baseball. He has a few weeks until final exams right before Christmas.

My mom and dad are doing alright. Enjoying the retired life and spending time with grandkids. I try to call them a few times a week. I hosted them for Thanksgiving last weekend. They said they’d be back here before Christmas. I really need a new microwave. That’s all I ready need this year.

I don’t feel as negative about Christmas this year as most years. It’s good that I don’t have to venture out into the stores for shopping. I think surviving 2020 when large in person gatherings weren’t advisable before covid vaccines and treatments really made me appreciate in person gatherings more. And since I know some people who died from covid, it makes me appreciate life even more. Spending three weeks in the hospital this fall gave me better perspectives on everything. It allowed me to treat problems I couldn’t have treated on my own. I’m grateful to be on the road to recovery. I’m grateful to still be alive.