End of January Updates

Had a quiet weekend overall.  Watched a couple movies on amazon and talked to family and a few friends.  Spent the entire day Thursday out of my apartment while maintenance was being done.  So I was out and about all day.  Caught up with a few of my neighbors.  Had some good conversations, the kind when I talked so much my throat was sore at the end of the day.  Been a few years since I had a day like that.

Overall I’m less paranoid these days than I was during the fall.  I think things began improving about late October to early November.  That’s about the time I got to know my neighbors better.  We usually talk once a day just to see how each other is doing.  I usually leave my door unlocked when I am awake now.  I used to leave my door locked all the time.  Sometimes if I was really paranoid and anxious I wouldn’t answer the door.  I don’t notice people walking and talking in the hallways as much as a few months ago.  I used to be real paranoid about that.  I think it helps alleviate the anxiety and paranoia even more getting in touch with my neighbors.  I still have occasionally have days I just want to stay in bed.  But those are becoming fewer and less frequent.

I’m also having fewer problems with aches and pains.  I started taking some supplements for my joints a few months ago.  I now have fewer aches and am more flexible.  I don’t wake up nearly as stiff and sore as I used to.

I’m starting to need less sleep again.  I usually go to sleep around 11pm and wake for good by 6am.  I occasionally nap in the afternoon.  I feel better rested overall than even two months ago.

I’m still lifting arm weights three to four times per week.  I’ve been adding more exercises and reps the last several weeks.  I started regularly lifting weights last March.  It  was a slow go the first few months.  Gradually I built up strength and endurance.  Eventually I added more exercises and reps.  I definitely notice a positive difference in my strength and stamina in less than one year.  I want to keep this up.  Can hardly wait to see what the next year will bring.

I’m having fewer flare ups the last several weeks.  Sometimes I even go entire days without flare ups.  And the flare ups I do have are shorter lived and less intense.  I think it helps that I have connected more with my neighbors and old friends in the complex.  It helps that I avoid negative people and situations, in person and online.  I don’t spend much time on facebook anymore except to chat with a few old friends.  I don’t even participate much in my tech and science groups.  If it weren’t for a few old friends and promoting my blog, I wouldn’t even have a facebook page anymore.  One of my close friends is thinking about closing down their account.  I was off facebook for a week over the autumn.  It helped me to alleviate stress and irritability.  Other than a couple friends I just don’t get much out of it anymore.  I guess after 10 to 12 years I’m finally ready to truly cut back.  I still have my email address.  Besides, the friends I stay in contact with are the types I don’t need to keep in contact with on a daily basis.  This isn’t high school anymore.

Between getting back in touch with my neighbors and friends in the complex, exercising on a regular basis, keeping in contact with friends and family, reading books on a regular basis, watching more movies, and getting even more active with this blog, it’s been an eventful and fruitful last couple months since the weather turned colder.  I guess we still have another ten weeks of cold and dreary weather.  But I have held up well the last several weeks.  I can face the next several weeks too.

I Care, That’s Why I Don’t Stay Silent

People are often told to speak up if they are having struggles or problems.  But what is the point of opening up to others if you are met with the whole others have it worse trope.  But, for me, what is even worse than being told others have it worse, or I’m lucky, or that I should quit complaining, is being met with complete silence and indifference.  Being met with silence is by far the worst for me.  I’ve experienced it many times in my life, even from my own family.

I don’t know how to read someone going silent on me when I tell them something.  Do you think I am a liar?  Are you too heartless to say even “I’m sorry you’re hurting”?  Are you too dumb to know how to react?  Do you just not care?  Do you think I am stupid? Or do you not know how to communicate?  Or are you just being rude?  Do you think I’m overblowing the problem?  All of this is going through my head all at the same time when I confess my problems to people and I’m met with a stone wall of silence.  I already suffer in silence for a lot of the struggles with my mental illness.  Have since my teenage years.  When I open up to you, I often do so because I crave feedback.

I know I appear weak in many people’s eyes just for talking about my problems.  But, I have probably appeared weak, odd, eccentric and weird to everyone I have ever met since childhood.  “I am the weirdo” to quote Fairuza Balk from “The Craft.”  Some probably thought I was weird for having emotions other than anger or lust as a man.  Many have thought it weird that I take pride in being well read and active in seeking knowledge.  I never understood why it was cool to be stupid and immature.

Others think I’m weird for caring about others and humanity as a whole.  I cringe every time I see one of these “the importance of not giving a ####” articles, videos, and books.  Apparently it hasn’t occurred to most people that the reason they live mediocre lives, are stuck in dead end jobs, with dead end relationships, have mediocre leaders in government, have mediocre bosses, live paycheck to paycheck, and never getting better is because they don’t care enough, certainly they don’t care enough to attempt to change things.

I’ve tried many times to change myself for the better.  Sure I have failed at most of those attempts, but at least I have gleaned some bits of wisdom and some interesting experiences from those endeavors.  I may still be mentally ill, but I can manage it pretty well, better than the majority of people.  I may not be in good physical health, but at least I’m still fighting to keep some maintenance and stability.  I will probably never be rich, unless by some act of God this blog and my writings get picked up by some group who wants to pay me for work I’ve done, sometimes at great personal expense, for years.  I refuse to give up.  I refuse to stop caring about humanity, nature, my friends, my family, my neighbors, etc.  Asking me to stop caring is the same as asking a fish to stop swimming.  Caring about others and trying to provide insight and assistance through my own personal experiences living as a man with mental illness is what I do.  It’s who I am.  It’s my Definite Chief Aim, according to Napoleon Hill.  Or my Massively Transformative Purpose, according to Peter Diamandis.

Even if by some miracle of medical science I do get cured of mental illness, or at least get the symptoms knocked down enough they no longer affect my lifestyle, I’m still going to find ways to use my mind, my knowledge, and my compassion for others to make life more bearable and meaningful to others.

January 21 2020

Been an uneventful week so far.  Too cold to really go outside for long.  So I’ve been staying home and catching up on reading.  I’m now a third of the way through ‘Wealth of Nations’ and halfway through ‘The Prince.’  I’ve also watched some educational videos on youtube the last few days.

I’ve found myself being a little more easily irritable for a couple days.  So I cut back on caffeine and forced myself to nap a little more during the day.  It’s beginning to work.  Talked to my parents for over an hour last night.  Watched some football on Sunday.  As far as the Super Bowl goes, I guess it really doesn’t matter to me who wins.  I just want to see an exciting game. And I talk with friends on facebook a little every day.  I sometimes forget it wasn’t always this easy to keep in touch with friends and family.  I don’t participate much in my groups these days as I mostly use facebook to talk to old friends and extended family.  I don’t watch news anymore.  I guess I don’t know many people under age 50 who do watch news on a regular basis anymore.

As far as tv watching goes, I watch mostly youtube anymore.  I did watch a couple superhero movies on my amazon account over the last several days.  I saw the first Iron Man and Man of Steel over the last few weeks.  Saw Black Panther a couple months ago.  Saw Avatar a few weeks ago.

Haven’t talked to my neighbors for a few days.  I am probably going to call them this afternoon and see how they are doing.  One of my neighbors had surgery a month ago and has been more or less house bound since.  His wife occasionally makes dinner for me, usually a couple times a week.  Haven’t been outside the complex for awhile.  Just too cold to be out.  Even though I live within walking distance of a couple restaurants, I don’t eat much fast food anymore.  I haven’t even eaten at McDonald’s in over a year.

I still lift weights three to four times a week.  As I get stronger, I add new exercises and more reps.  While I may not be losing weight, I know I am getting stronger.  I still get winded sometimes but I recover much faster now than a year ago.  I may not leave my apartment every day, but I do make a point of getting up and walking around at least once an hour.  About the only time I have aches and pains anymore is when I wake up or have eaten too much sugar and caffeine.

I guess I’ve fully entered my winter routines.  I don’t mind the cold weather, especially since I no longer have to drive in ice and snow anymore.  And sleeping under fleece blankets feels so good.

January 7 2020

It’s been a good day overall.  Got a bunch of house hold chores done ahead of maintenance coming to my apartment tomorrow afternoon.  Took a nap and am generally ready to face the night.  We’re supposed to have two warmer than normal days before things start getting cold again right in time for the weekend.  Had a good chat with my best friend last night and my neighbor this morning.  She hadn’t been spending as much time here the last couple weeks due to the craziness of the holidays.  But she came over and we had a good chat.

My new bed sleeps well.  I have now gotten used to the bed being taller than my previous beds.  It is the right combination of soft and firm for me.  It isn’t so soft I sink in and it isn’t so firm it feels like I’m sleeping on the floor.

When my parents came to visit a few days ago, we got all my old flags hung on the walls.  I now have a pirate flag hanging behind my recliner and a British flag hanging behind my dresser.  My 13 colonies American flag is hanging right behind my tv.  I’m glad I didn’t buy more flags.  They, in addition to the artwork my best friend made, take up most of my wall space now.  My house now feels like a home again.  For a few years after I went minimalist I didn’t have much on the walls.  It’s amazing how much one year and weekly maintenance and cleaning can do to improve the surroundings and my morale.

I find myself sleeping less at night and even staying up later.  Yet I don’t feel tired.  I may be getting less sleep than I did during the summer and early fall, but I think it’s better quality sleep.  I changed out the parts on my cpap machine and I think that has made a big difference in my sleep quality.  Some days I don’t even need to nap anymore.

Between getting my cpap new parts, redecorating my house, getting a new doctor, having a regular cleaner come help me out, having regular contact with my neighbors even though I don’t leave my apartment some days, and having these lingering maintenance issues resolved, it feels good to be getting some tasks accomplished I had been neglecting.  I think much of this neglect was do to the paranoia aspect of my illness.  Sometimes all the tasks needing to be done were so numerous and overwhelming I didn’t know where to start.  I’m glad I got some outside help to help with my projects.  I’m starting to get over my fears of asking for help.

Dealing With Loss, Isolation, and Declining Health

Haven’t written for a few days.  I’m only now recovered from the holidays.  I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it’s 2020.  I am understanding why my grandmother said that time only goes faster the older you get.  I’m going to be 40 this summer.  Mentally I don’t feel any decline.  If anything, I feel mentally sharper and stronger than ever.  Physically, my body can no longer keep up with my mind.  It’s been this way for a couple years now.  I would love to be able to road trip and visit friends in person and go to concerts and ballgames at a moment’s notice like I did in my late 20s and early 30s.  But the body can no longer keep up.  I don’t know how much of it is aging, how much of it is the toll of two decades fighting a severe mental illness, how much of it is being overweight, etc.  At this point I guess it doesn’t matter either way.  I am pretty much content to stay home, chat with my old friends online, read my books, mess with my computers, and watch the events of our time and place unfold from my apartment.

Found out right before Christmas one of my college classmates died.  He was only 40.  He worked at a mental health hospital and was a compassionate man.  I hadn’t talked to him much since graduation.  I’m glad we found each other on facebook and were able to reestablish contact shortly before he died.  And then just yesterday I found out another college friend’s cancer has come back.  This time it’s terminal.  The doctors told her she has two to five years at most.  Starting to lose my own friends now.

Seeing most of my friends struggle financially has taken a toll on me.  And now that most of them are in declining physical and mental health and even starting to die is making this only worse.  It has gotten me to think about my own mortality far more than ever.  At my last doctor’s appointment, I was relieved to find I was not diabetic.  The only real problem they found was high blood pressure.  I no longer have much for stamina.  That’s one of the reasons I stay home so much.  Going out in public is now enough of an ordeal that I no longer enjoy it.  Add to this that most people I know are more stressed and short tempered than ever, I have no want to leave my apartment.  I have enough problems of my own to catch an ear full from my neighbors and landlord.  Sometimes I get in trouble even just staying at home.  Most people in my complex think I’m moving out or getting evicted because I never go out in public anymore.  Naturally, lots of rumors are going around.  No I’m not moving.  As far as I know, I’m not in danger of being evicted.  Though for the last few years I’ve lived in near constant paranoia that I was.  It’s mainly because most people are just so angry and short tempered constantly.  It didn’t used to be this way.  I actually used to enjoy socializing.  Then three of my best friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other in 2014 and 2015.  From there my social life fell apart.  Other than a few neighbors, I literally have no friends within a fifty mile radius.  I don’t think most people know or care how tough socializing is for a middle aged man with a disability and no immediate family nearby.  I just keep to myself anymore.  I would rather be alone than have to fight with neighbors, coworkers, and complete strangers all the time.

Return to Routine After Holidays

Today was the first really routine day since a couple days before Christmas.  Even though I played Christmas music on youtube and watched a couple Christmas movies since the day after Thanksgiving, it didn’t truly hit that it was Christmas until a week before Christmas.  I had some flare ups a couple days before Christmas Eve, so I had to reschedule my plans.  I did talk to my brother and his family on Christmas Day as well as my parents and a few friends.  I had my Christmas celebration on New Year’s Day when my parents came to town.  I got a few shirts, a few pairs of sweat pants, a fleece coat, and a heavy duty bed frame.  The frame is all metal and a lot firmer than my previous frames.  Yet it seems to sleep better.  I went to bed at 11pm last night and woke up at sunrise and I didn’t have much for pain.  I still fit a little stiff, but that’s been normal for the last several months.  I didn’t even take pain meds this morning.  I do take some gloucosimine every morning with breakfast as I sometimes have sore joints in the morning.  That and a short soak in a hot bath every day seems to work wonders on my joints.

I hosted my parents yesterday, watched some New Year’s college football, and bought some groceries.  My cleaning lady arrived this afternoon.  Talked to a couple friends this evening.  A college friend of mine and his brothers went skiing on New Year’s Day in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  I never did any skiing or snow boarding, not even as a kid.  I was always into warmer weather activities like fishing, playing football, and running track and field.  My favorite winter activities involve drinking coffee, lifting weights, and reading.

Found my old e-reader two weeks ago.  I’m rereading a couple of the classics I read in my younger years.  I’m currently working on Plato’s “Republic” and Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations.”  Last summer I reread “Art of War” by Sun Tzu.  I also listened to a few audiobooks on youtube over the autumn, mostly science and tech books.  Read the first of the “Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov last summer.  While it didn’t seem like I got as much reading done as I would have liked, I guess I did a bit once the whole year was taken into consideration.

End of the Year

Been a bit of an up and down year for me.  I’ve had several positives like finding a new general practice doctor and restarting my weight lifting routine.  Even though my lungs are still weak, my physical strength is almost as good as it was when I was in my late twenties.  I have employed a cleaning lady for a year.  The apartment feels more like a home than a hide out.  I redecorated my apartment.  I put up some art work done by friends and a few classic battle flags.  My personal favorites are the old U.S. Betsy Ross flag and the Pirate Ship flag.  I ordered several through amazon as they were on sale. While the flags look excellent, they are also bigger than I expected.  I currently have three on my walls. I’d love to hang all of them but I don’t think I have enough wall room.

As far as drawbacks go, I lost confidence in myself to drive my car.  So I sold my car to one of my dad’s friends.  It was an older, but lower mileage, car.  I no longer drove enough to justify having it.  And it was doing no one any good just sitting in a parking space.  I still isolate some, but I have reestablished contact with some of my old college friends and extended family I had lost contact with over the last few years.  I suppose after being a regular on social media for a few years, I have figured out what to post and what not to mention.  I think most people are at least starting to adapt.  I’ve noticed I’ve been involved in fewer online arguments than even three years ago.

I almost never have back pain anymore.  But I still get short of breath if I’m really active.  My physical therapist said I retained most of my physical strength even if I lost a lot of my lung capacity and my heart needed to get stronger.  In addition to lifting weights, I also make a point of walking around and doing stretches in my apartment every couple hours.  I am now on a blood pressure medication.  I have noticed I don’t need as much sleep as I did before I started the medication.  I’m also regaining stamina more quickly than before.

As far as science news goes for 2019, there were some really cool happenings.  A probe was landed on the dark side of the moon by the Chinese.  A few more probes were sent to Mars.  Self landing and reusable rockets are becoming almost common occurrences.  The world now has almost five billion people with access to the internet.  Strides in life extension medicine have been made.  There is now at least one company, started by a young man in his twenties, that is now removing garbage from the Pacific Ocean.  Plans are being made to start cleaning up orbital space garbage.  I bet my grandparents when they were watching the USA vs USSR space race back in the 1960s didn’t think this would become a problem so soon.  And now private companies and small countries are sending up probes.  Definitely not my parents’ space race anymore.

Even an electric powered pickup truck is now in development by the guys at Tesla.  I joked about that a few years ago.  Maybe my joke about custom making a fishing pole on a 3D printer or buying camping supplies with Bitcoins aren’t far behind.  And I’m sure there are already people who can build computers and moon shine stills from scratch (see my Nerdy Redneck posts).  Now it looks like it is starting to happen.  I also saw that a cross country self driving truck delivery was made here in USA a few weeks ago.  There was a driver present but the only time he took over was for things like refueling and maybe road construction.  Ten years ago this was science fiction.  Looks like I’ll be telling my brother’s kids to not consider being a truck driver or taxi cab driver.  Even the small college town I live in has a few Uber drivers now.  Before my car accident I applied to Uber, thinking I could make a few dollars ferrying around college kids on the weekends.  I was turned down because my car was too old.  One of my friend’s, her husband works for an Uber like company.  Made decent money but worked long hours and was rarely home.

2019 has been an eventful year overall.  Much of it has been good news, some of it bad.  The bad news is going to get more attention simply because that is what the human mind notices first.  Brilliant survival strategy in the Stone Age but can drive us insane when most of the basics are already met for most people in our world.  According to a scholar named Yuval Noah Harrai, our world now has more people suffering health problems from eating too much as opposed to not getting enough food.  Our great grandparents would have never imagined that.  As much as I enjoy futurism and tech predictions, I would be foolish to say what isn’t possible for the citizens of 2120, especially after how much change I’ve personally witnessed since I graduated high school in 1999.  My best friend and I were among the first families in our small farming town to subscribe to internet.  I didn’t have my own email address until I was 18.  And it was my friend who taught me how to get free music (which I never did) and free dirty pics (guilty as charged).  My eight year old nephew is enamored with my mother’s old mechanical type writer.  I never used one myself but learned how to type on an electric type writer when I was in junior high.  The change over to computers was easy in comparison.  Maybe my nephew’s kids will be surprised that we had to type on computers, rather then just think and communicate that way.  Or it could be something completely out of the blue we can’t imagine yet.  If the 2010s are any indication, the 2020s will be even more eventful and sometimes chaotic.  It’s only going to get more interesting and eventful.