When it rains, it pours it seems. My two neighbors who moved out a few weeks ago are now under quarantine for the next two weeks because someone they were helping out is showing classic covid symptoms. And these neighbors helped me out a great deal over the last couple years as I’ve lost my mobility. My cleaning lady recently came back to work but she is still slowed from her surgery. Had a breakdown over the weekend. Sometimes the only thing I can do for those is to just vent to someone until it blows over. I feel bad that I take this out on family, but who else can I talk to? I’m too paranoid and scared of my fellow tenants to ask for help. I don’t qualify for any extra aid from the state. My family and friends live too far away to offer assistance at a moment’s notice. I originally moved out of my home village for better healthcare and job opportunities and better social connections. Now that I have no car (I’m too scared and paranoid to be safe behind the wheel), my help is gone, and we are now in the middle of both a pandemic and economic depression, I’m essentially on my own with no immediate back up. I can’t ask for help from my other neighbors as they are irritable and hateful on even good days. I’m limited mobility because of chronic pains. I guess that twenty plus years of schizophrenia is taking even a physical toll. I’m even scared to answer my door.
Staying home almost all of the time anymore. When I last got out for several hours, I was disappointed to see most people were not wearing masks. Are people stupid? Do they not take this virus serious? Do most people this is some kind of conspiracy or prank? I don’t get most people. I never have. And it’s only gotten worse the older I have become.
As of right now, with so many of my neighbors not wearing masks or taking sanitation seriously, I won’t leave my apartment or welcome guests unless absolutely necessary. I no longer want to deal with rude and inconsiderate people. And since that seems to be what most people I know are, I will just keep to myself unless necessary.
I have to wonder if other countries are having similar problems with people not taking this virus serious. It’s disappointing. For years I have heard this “love it or leave it” nonsense. As if there isn’t anything from the rest of the world my countrymen can learn from other peoples. It saddens me to see so much arrogance and prideful ignorance among the people I live around. And now many countries won’t even accept travel from my country. Even if many people wanted to leave, they couldn’t do so. Too many people I know are arrogant and out of touch with reality. I can’t imagine that it was always this way. It’s discouraging. And I fear that it is the same way everywhere. Normal people suck, especially in times of crisis. Thank God I’m not normal.
It’s been several days since I last wrote. I feel that my posts were getting stale and I was running out of material. I was needing some time away to recharge. A lot has changed over the last several years since I started this blog. That change has only accelerated over the last several months during the pandemic. I thought I would do a post about things that I am glad that are changing. This isn’t meant to be definitive by any means and is merely a thought exercise carried out via a blog entry. So here goes.
Things I Am Glad To See Change
- The increase of the work from home options for office jobs.
- The rise of home delivery services, especially for groceries.
- Increased appreciation for delivery drivers and store clerks.
- Increased appreciation for nurses and doctors.
- The decline of the commute to the office.
- The decline of air pollution
- Less emphasis on senseless consumption
- Increased appreciation for empathy and compassion
- Increased awareness that not everything on social media is true
- The decline of 24 hour cable news
- The increased appreciation for baking and cooking at home
- The decline of retailers who couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt
- Increased awareness of prejudices in our institutions
- Increased awareness of prejudices in culture
- Increased awareness and appreciation for medical science
- Private space flight
- Plans to return astronauts to the moon
- The mass realization that there are some problems politicians can’t solve
- Increased applications for renewable energy
- More people realizing the importance of work life balance
- Streaming services
- Increased learning from home via Khan Academy, etc.
- Increased awareness of how social media can be abused
- 3D printing
- CRISPR Cas 9
- Self Driving Cars
- The rise of the electric car
- Increased awareness of mental health issues
Been isolating and staying home for the last several days. I do all my communication through social media and phone calls. My cleaning lady had to have surgery so she’s out for probably a few months. My neighbors come by and help out every few days. Overall I’m burned out on dealing with people in person. People actually scare me anymore. The less I deal with them, at least in person, the better.
Currently working on audiobooks. Recently listened to The Economic Singularity by Callum Chase. Currently working on The Rise of The Robots by Martin Ford. A friend of mine is trying to talk me into reading the Dune and Foundation series. I read the first Foundation a year ago. But I got soured on science fiction as a teenager when movies like The Terminator, Gattaca, and The Matrix were really big. I have enough dystopia in my own life. Why in the hell would I want to escape to that? Recently read 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harrahi.
I spend almost all of my time avoiding people. These are real scary times for me, especially living in low income housing, being on disability, and dealing with mostly angry, irrational, and illogical people. It seems like most people I personally know just want to fight all the time. I’m through with that. I’m ready to move past the anger phase. Too bad almost no one I know is. I am thankful I don’t live in a large city. I am thankful I can hermit and stay home. I am thankful I don’t have to deal with angry and stupid people anymore than I already have to. I don’t see how most people can deal with this. I know I couldn’t.
Haven’t left my apartment since last weekend. Been sleeping more too. 2020 has been an insane year, to say the least. Pandemics. Protests. Quarantines. Broken supply chains. Private space flight takes astronauts to the space station. Yes, 2020 will be a year for the history books.
While all these things are overwhelming for me, I try to stay grounded and positive. I try to tell people around what’s actually going right. I tell people that I am hopeful that all of our current troubles are hopefully the birth pains of a more humane and balanced way of living and interacting with the world. We were foolish to base so much of our manufacturing overseas, especially essential medicines and protective gear. Militarizing the police was not a good idea. The uncomfortable conversations about bigotry have been put off for far too long. Our governments spending too much money and passing the debts off to future generations have gone on for too long. The gaps between the wealthy and the poor have gotten unmanageable. The middle class, a key ingredient in any stable and free society, has been under siege financially for too long. Many people in their twenties and thirties don’t see how they can ever afford a house or children when they already have a small fortune in student loans. They were told, like I was, a college degree was necessary to get any jobs beyond frying chicken or pumping gas. Then they get out of college and the good paying jobs their parents and grandparents had aren’t there. And now automation is probably going to take over a significant portion of jobs in most industries. Any wonder most people are scared and angry?
Most of this has been building for at least a couple decades now. Workers in my parents’ generation knew that social security wasn’t going to be enough to cover their retirements. Yet, too many of them didn’t save and invest enough to make up the difference. Now they can’t afford to retire and creating a log jam of millions of younger people overqualified for the entry level jobs they have available. We knew that too many police officers weren’t being held accountable for using excessive and deadly force, primarily in black and brown neighborhoods, yet we wouldn’t hold them or corrupted local politicians and judges accountable. Doctors and scientists have been warning us for decades a major pandemic was extremely likely in our lifetimes. We knew, but we refused to prepare. We knew about the potential dangers of climate change since at least the 1960s. Sure, rivers are less polluted in many countries, electric cars are becoming reliable, solar and wind power becoming cheaper than coal in many countries, power storage is becoming more feasible, and nuclear fusion is in development. But we are starting to see the effects of what scientists have been warning for decades. We knew a major stock market crash was due once my parents’ generation started retiring and selling off their retirement funds. We didn’t do enough to prepare, either as nations or individuals. Wages for most workers haven’t budged in terms of inflation since at least the early 80s, even though workers have gotten more productive and are demanded more from employers. We treated customer service workers like garbage for decades. I saw it everyday I worked. I even received enough abuse from customers, bosses, and coworkers alike I will never work in customer service again. I don’t care if my disability does get cut off, I’d rather starve to death than be treated worse than an animal.
2020 is indeed a very stressful year for most people. It was made worse because problems we’ve known about for decades were either never addressed or addressed inadequately. Hopefully 2020 will be a year when we start to make right the wrongs and bad decisions of previous decades and eras. I don’t know what it’s like to be black or any other racial minority. And I never will. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman either. And I never will. I don’t understand their problems. But I do want be empathic and be part of making right the wrongs of the past and present.
I was a sophomore in college when I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia. That was in the fall of 2000. I had been struggling with depression, paranoia, and anxiety for a few years before I had my diagnosis. At first I thought it was mainly just teenage angst and moodiness. I was still doing well in school and was able to at least appear like I had everything together. I was still on the football and speech teams, I was still making honor roll most of the time, I still had some friends, etc. But inwardly I was a wreck. I was fearful of going to the school guidance counselor as I attended a really small high school of less than 90 students. Back then, almost no one talked about mental illness or depression issues. It had far more stigma back in the 1990s than it does now. The internet was still in it’s infancy, there was no youtube, and blogging was still a few years away. So I suffered in silence and in solitude.
I didn’t talk about my internal problems until they became unbearable because, first, I was certain no one would believe me. Two, I still had images of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in my head as to what mental problems meant. Three, I was often told to “suck it up” and “others have it worse than you” even while in grade school. Four, I feared appearing weak. So I just suffered in silence for a few years.
As far as I know, no one knew about what was going on in my mind. If people did, they never asked. And I was too paranoid to tell anyone. For the first years I had problems, I was still going to school full time and working on the weekends and during the summers. I was so anxious and paranoid about going to work, I would vomit before my shifts several times a week. Since I had spent my entire life listening to people complain about how much they hated their jobs (like they were proud of how much their jobs sucked), I was scared to tell anyone. I just suffered in silence.
Finally in fall 2000, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and major depression. It was actually a kind of relief for me in that I wasn’t the only one having these problems. I didn’t realize that mental illnesses were more common than diabetes until after I was diagnosed. No one ever talked about mental illnesses in our family or my town.
For the next few years, I took full time classes and worked during the summers. When I wasn’t in classes or spending time with friends, I was in the college library reading the philosophy and classical literature books that everyone talked about but very few actually read. I’m glad I got to do that. I doubt I could have done that had I not went to college first, at least not until the internet really got going. But spending all those evenings in the campus library instilled a love for learning in me that still burns to this day all these years later. Sure I wasn’t graded on what I studied and I didn’t get a diploma that stated I had learned such material. But I knew that I did. That’s all that mattered to me.
After I graduated from college and worked for a few years before qualifying for disability, I still read a lot of books. I still do lots of reading, granted it’s mostly online articles, e-books, and audiobooks. And, no, I don’t have any certificate that says I learned this material. But it doesn’t matter. The most fun I ever had at a “work” task is doing what I’m doing right now, writing blogs about navigating my life while working with a mental illness. I don’t consider it “work” or “a job” because it doesn’t have the stress of any of my traditional jobs. I love writing about my experiences and trying to be of assistance to others even though it doesn’t pay at all. I don’t care that it doesn’t pay. Sometimes, I’m glad it doesn’t. For I fear if I ever were to accept a writing job or get pay for writing, I would be at the whims and mercy of those paying me. Screw that. I want to tell the truth, the good, bad, and mundane of living in the modern day with schizophrenia. I know what living with schizophrenia is like. I’ve done it since at least my late teens. I doubt any book editor or manager at a blog service has that kind of first hand experience.
I fear I couldn’t be completely truthful if I did accept pay. I fear some boss would want me to “Hollywood up” my writings by exaggerating or being more dark just so I could get more readers. I don’t want that. I want this blog to be an educational tool and a means to communicate to others what it’s like to be mentally ill without it being threatening or divisive. I do have good days with mental illness. I have bad days with mental illness. Some days getting out of bed and calling my parents is the best I can do. Others, it’s writing a blog entry that resonates with some of my readers and getting a lot done. Some days I just want to stay home and keep to only my thoughts. Others I would road trip for several hours to visit friends out of state or go to baseball games, concerts, etc. Some days I can talk for hours on end with almost anyone. Some days I don’t want to even hear the sound of another human voice. It’s ebb and flow, high tide and low tide.
I’m going to take a break from posting about my day to day routines during the pandemic today. I’d like to do another ‘just for fun’ post. I suppose it’s one of those odd facts about me postings.
Odd facts about me
- Even though I spend most of my time alone, I actually like conversation. Granted I have a tough time with idle chit chat and neighborhood gossip. I will talk about things like history, geopolitics, economics, baseball stats, tech advances with almost anyone who is willing to engage in this type of conversation. Even when my cleaning lady is here every week I’ll look up things online and tell her about some of the headlines, especially in tech. Yeah, I’ll be telling her about something like advances in robotics while she’s mopping my kitchen or about possible medical treatments to slow down aging while she’s scrubbing my bathtub. But she is either really interested or she’s really good at humoring the eccentric loner she cleans for every Thursday afternoon.
- I really don’t watch a lot for traditional television shows, not even on streaming services. I do watch a lot of interviews and round table conversations about science, tech, medicine, and economics on youtube. I watch a lot of shows that sometimes are featured on channels like History Channel, Travel Channel, etc. I subscribed to Disney+ mainly because they carry NatGeo shows.
- I am far more interested in reading non fiction than fiction. I’m not sure why. Even my favorite comedy performers base their routines on pointing out how absurd every day life can be.
- At least once a day, I will climb into bed, pull up my blanket, put on my CPAP machine, and just let my mind wander. It seems to be a good way to declutter my mind and relax. I try to do this for at least an hour a day, usually in the afternoons.
- I really don’t like driving cars. I never have. I even sold my car last year because I didn’t use it enough to justify having it. Thank God for grocery delivery and Amazon.
- I do love computer games. I especially love games like Civilization, Total War, Sim City, etc. I have never really gotten into first person shooter games.
- I no longer have music CDs or even pay for music streaming. All the tunes I need I get for free on youtube or free Spotify. I don’t mind sitting through ads every ten to fifteen minutes, at least as long as it’s not longer than thirty seconds.
- I don’t have a Twitter or Tik Tok account. I just can’t get my points and ideas across in a fifteen second video or a short tweet. I have a hard enough time carrying on a decent conversation on facebook.
- I don’t always carry my phone around when I’m in public.
- If I’m in a state of depression or anxiety, I sometimes won’t answer my phone or my door. I fear having a melt down over the phone or on a guest.
- I’m still amazed at people who post articles on their facebook pages without doing a couple minutes of research to see even what the article says, let alone how reliable the source is.
- I don’t use paper checks for anything besides my rent. Haven’t for years.
- I don’t check my mail every day. 90 percent is junk or things I already know through my online accounts. Seriously, stop sending me coupons already. I can just as good of deals with a few minutes of online research. And businesses who try to advertise through direct mail make me not want to do business with them.
- I’m surprised at how few people understand the concept of compound interest.
- I sometimes get upset with youtube’s algorithms suggesting videos to me I have zero interest in. Stop sending me links to conspiracy theory pages just because I watched a few videos on the history of banking or about buying gold coins.
- I don’t enjoy long goodbyes.
- I can often tell if the weather is going to change by how extra sore my knees are.
- I think it’s too bad that chicken wings aren’t health food.
- I think access to internet is no more a luxury than electricity or running water. At one time, yes. Then again, having a roof and four walls used to be a luxury too. What century are my neighbors who think internet is a luxury living in?
- I’m 39 years old and I still love heavy metal and hard rock music. Always will. If I make to be an 80 year old man and living in a retirement home, don’t be surprised if I’m still listening to bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin or the like.
Had a short lived breakdown a few days ago. I think weeks of isolation finally got to me. It was intense, but short lived. In this case, I was able to vent over the phone to my family. After I had vented for a half hour, I took a long nap. I was grateful to have not had this breakdown in public. I fear if I have a breakdown in public I’ll end up in jail. It seems that in too many cases, people don’t understand mental illness. I am convinced most people, even with the internet, may not realize just how prevalent mental illnesses really are.
I have some cool neighbors that, while they may not share many of my interests in science and literature, are excellent and understanding people. They may not share my interests, but at least they don’t condemn me for having different interests. I sometimes buy them groceries and keep them company while they help with my laundry and cook for me at least a couple times a week. Even during a pandemic and bad recession, I still have cool neighbors and we help each other out. It’s helped my physical health to have more home cooked meals and more variety then I normally get.
It’s been several weeks of self quarantine during this outbreak so far. It’s more manageable than it would be otherwise because I stay in contact with my neighbors, friends, and family. I try to call my parents a few times a week. I have a friend and some cousins I keep in contact with via Facebook. I have cool neighbors who have helped me immensely over the last several months. I just hope I can pay it back and/or forward someday.
Because of my bad back and knee, my mobility is not what it was even a few years ago. Most jobs I ever had, like factory worker or janitor, I was on my feet for several hours at a time. If there is anything from my twenties and early thirties I dearly miss, it’s how easy mobility was in those days. There were many days in those years I would walk all over the neighborhood, the old downtown, and the parks in my town just to break up my days. While I am happy with the experiences I’ve had in the past and the wisdom I now have as I’m only a few weeks away from my 40th birthday, I do miss my mobility. I hurt my back in a car accident a few years ago and it was never the same even after rehab. Granted, being overweight only made my problems worse. At least I haven’t gained weight for over a year and a half.
While I don’t think I’ve lost weight lately, I don’t think I’ve gained either. My clothes still fit the same as they did eighteen months ago even with less walking and standing. I have made changes to my diet and routine that my be keeping me from really tacking on the weight. I rarely eat carbs or sugars. I lift weights most days. I sleep probably nine to ten hours a night most days. I avoid stressful situations and people as much as possible. I meditate usually an hour a day. For this I usually just lie in bed and do breathing exercises. I turn on my CPAP machine and just do the rhythmic breathing. I imagine people can get the same benefits through just focusing on their breathing with their eyes closed or through prayer. It also helps that I eat more vegetables. Even though most my vegetables are canned or in soups, it’s better than nothing. I take a multivitamin every morning. I take a vitamin C pill too. I’ve heard it can help boost immune system. While I still get colds, they are usually mild and last only a day or two at most. Sometimes I will wake up with a bad running nose and sneezing. After a vitamin C pill and extra fluids with breakfast, I’ll be fine within a few hours. And my fluids are usually nothing more than just tap water or cold tea.
I still have aches and pains, usually in the mornings. Sometimes actions as simple as getting up and moving around for a couple minutes can be enough to clear this up. It can be cleared up with something as simple as getting out of bed, using the bathroom, and doing my morning wash up routines. Warm baths can help with sore joints too. My dad always said soaking his hands in warm water every morning helps with the pain in his fingers and thumbs. Now that I’m starting to have sore knees, I understand why he does this every morning. Many times the best thing I can do for sore joints is to force myself to move around. Even when I’m working on a blog or watching a movie, I force myself to stand up usually once every hour no matter how busy I am. I do the same thing when I’m reading a book in bed. My joints thank me when I move around more regularly. Maybe it was a good thing that I rarely had desk jobs in my younger years.
Even during a quarantine and major recession I try to stay optimistic and positive. I usually make myself watch at least one encouraging video per day on Youtube. I have been watching videos on positives that are coming due to the pandemic. One positive for me is that I am forced to watch my physical well being more closely and I have more of a sense of urgency to stay in contact with family and friends. In the past, I was sometimes guilty of being annoyed if a friend or family member called my phone when I was preoccupied. I’m not nearly this bad anymore. I don’t even really get that annoyed when someone calls and I’m in the bathroom or sleeping. I’ve even found myself telling my friends when they found out I was asleep, “I needed to be woke up anyway. Don’t feel bad.”
We are now several weeks into this crisis. While I’m not naïve enough to believe we will have major sporting events even this fall, I am hopeful that we can weather this crisis. To quote Matt Damon from ‘The Martian’, we will “have to science the **** out of this” but we are already doing this. I am hopeful we can have a vaccine and or effective treatments for this corona virus by this time next year. My mother remembers the polio crisis in the 1950s and getting vaccinated when she was a child. I imagine the generation that are children right now will be talking about the corona quarantines of 2020 even when they are old men and women. Hopefully, a few of them can be talking about while living in colonies on the moon and Mars. As bad as the job losses and conflicting information has been in 2020, I can’t imagine how tough this pandemic would have been had it happened back even in the 1980s before easy access to internet and the medical testing we have now.
Got my social security payment this morning. I ordered a few groceries and supplies. Mostly meat and cleaning agents. I should have those delivered this afternoon. I have to drop off my rent check and do laundry today. I do my laundry at least once a week.
Still doing well mentally. I haven’t had a breakdown in over a month now. I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m holding it together in spite the stressful time we’re in. I think it helped that I got prepared earlier than most people. I haven’t even had to leave my apartment complex in over two weeks. I sleep a lot now. I usually sleep at least ten hours a day. I’ve heard sleep helps boost immune defenses and, for me, reduces stress. I was doing breathing exercises in bed yesterday and was relaxed enough I fell asleep for over three hours.
I actually don’t have much problems with aches and pains except for when I wake up in the mornings. I make a point of standing up at least once an hour no matter what I’m doing. I haven’t read much other than online articles this week. I still watch some youtube videos. Much of what I watch are videos on the line of what positives will come from this pandemic and what tech will advance faster because of covid 19. One thing I do see happening is that more companies will allow more work from home options. Another is that grocery and medication home delivery services will become real popular. I also see that fewer people will harass others via social media interactions. I was starting to see this already. It isn’t as bad now as it was three to five years ago.
I started lifting weights every day. I just don’t work the same muscles two days in a row. When I was seriously lifting in high school and college, I usually lifted five to six days a week but worked individual muscles no more than three times a week.
The days are starting to go quicker now. For the first week of the self quarantine, the days felt like weeks. It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t leaving my apartment complex, it was that even that option went away. But, like many things, I adapted within several days. I do still have some minor maintenance issues in my place that could be taken care of quickly. But, for now, only vitally necessary maintenance is getting done. So glad I got my new floor and paint before all this mess hit.
I have spent most of my life alone. The last time I had a roommate was my senior year of college in 2004. Lived alone ever since. Some days it’s all right, being free to do whatever I want and whenever I want. Some days it is almost unbearable though. The worst days are when I make multiple attempts to reach out to people only to be ignored. Sometimes when I want to talk to someone, I’d rather it not be family. As much as I love my family, they can be narrow minded and judgmental about some things. Sometimes I feel like I can’t be my true self around them. I severely censor myself or keep my problems to myself because I’m in no mood for a lecture or being condemned. Irritates me that, even after twenty years of mental illness, I’m still blown off and told to “quit whining”, “be a man”, or “you’re so lucky.” I still hear all of these quite often. And people wonder why so many men never talk about their problems or make emotional connections to anyone. Having a mental illness makes this only worse.
People have often asked me when I’m getting married. I don’t usually have the stomach to tell them never. Most of the time I want to tell them to shove off. I never want to get married. For one, my mental illness would make me a lousy husband and father. Second, my mental illness makes it impossible for me to hold a job. And let’s face it, almost no one respects a stay at home dad. Third, I fear getting divorced and losing my family, my friends, my home, my prestige, just because I made the mistake of marrying the wrong person. Fourth, why should I? My entire life I heard this “I don’t need a man” or “You go girl” or “girl power”, etc. Which I really have no problem with except that too many people build others up by tearing others down. Why is it when I say I don’t need a woman living in my house I’m seen as weird and weak? Why do women get to expand their roles beyond the traditional nurturers and home managers but men are expected to just stay in the moldy old days? I don’t understand that. It makes no sense. What does the world really lose because I choose not to marry, have kids, or get myself an early grave trying to prove my worthiness for life at a job that ultimately means nothing? Why do I have to prove myself all the time? Why do I have to earn my humanity and manhood? I really want to know. And why, oh why, can’t we just leave people that don’t fit in alone and stop bugging them? Will civilization collapse if everyone isn’t doing the exact same thing all the time? No. So stop expecting everyone to fit into some subdivision.