Return To Normal

Had maintenance come to my apartment yesterday.  Had to spend a few hours out of my place.  I just spent the afternoon in my complex’s library.  I met a couple of my newer neighbors.  I think both of them were younger than I.  I suppose after living in the same place for over thirteen years it was only a matter of time when I would be older than some residents.  I was twenty six when I moved to my current place.  I was one of the youngest renters here.  Now I’m beginning middle age and one of the longer tenured residents in here.  I admit I am guilty of not noticing new tenants in here until they’ve been here for a few weeks.  I don’t get out as much as I used to as I tend to keep to myself and a few of my immediate neighbors.  My neighbor made some chili and French fries yesterday and brought me a plate.  Chili and potatoes are among my favorite cold weather foods.

I am now staying up later and sleeping less.  Most days I am not in bed until 11pm or midnight.  But I am usually awake for good right before sunrise.  I still nap for an hour in the afternoon, but usually only three times a week instead of every day.  I still have moments of anxiety and irritability, but those usually last only a few minutes.  I can usually do well if I can just take a step back and just let it pass.  Mornings are usually the toughest for me.  I still have a cup of coffee, usually at noon instead of first thing in the morning now.  I usually eat one large meal a day, usually lunch, and have something small for dinner.

I don’t have much planned for the next few days.  My cleaner is scheduled to arrive this afternoon and I’m expecting a package over the weekend.  It’s a late Christmas gift to myself I bought with my Christmas money.  I got a few cheap games for my PlayStation.  They should be here either Saturday or Monday as most places don’t make Sunday deliveries, at least not here in USA.  There are some playoff football games this weekend I may drop in on.  And I have my books on my e-reader I’m working on.  I’m now a few hundred pages into ‘Wealth of Nations’ by Adam Smith.  I’m also working on Plato’s ‘Republic’ and Machivelli’s ‘The Prince.’  I read all three in my twenties.  I figure after about fifteen years I could stand rereads.

Overall things are going alright.  I feel like I’ve returned to normal after the holidays.

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.

Flare Ups During The Holidays

I’m not doing well today.  I just feel irritable, paranoid, and short tempered.  I cancelled all my plans for the rest of the week.  I am no longer doing well.  I think the stress of the holidays and my home health aide work has gotten to me.  My home health aide things didn’t go well.  I had people dropping in my apartment several times a day.  It got to be too much.  I have accepted that I’m not going to get better, physically or mentally.  I don’t know why no one else can accept this.  I don’t know how much longer I have in this life, I may die of a heart attack in my forties or I may just keep limping along until old age.  I don’t know.  I’m at the point I just want to enjoy whatever time I have left.  I don’t really enjoy the company of most people.  I never have and it has only gotten worse the older I get.  I know most people think I live a terrible life or “below my potential”, but I no longer care.  I have spent most of my life worrying about what other people think and their expectations.  I am sick of it.  I have come to the conclusion that nothing I do or say will ever be good enough for anyone.  It never seems to have been before.  Hell, I can’t remember anyone ever telling me they were proud of me.  I remember many of the compliments because, well, I rarely get them.  I am tired of having to plug away all the time, day after day, year after year, and not only not make progress but not even please anyone.  It burns me to no end.  If I don’t please you or anyone else, keep it to yourself.  I no longer care.  I’m tired of fighting a fight that, even if I win, the victory won’t be good enough for anyone.

Removing Myself From Social Media and Thoughts on Change

I decided I’m giving up social media.  I cancelled my twitter account and have put my facebook on inactive status.  I spend too much time on facebook and not enough time actually writing and researching.  I have only a couple close friends and a few cousins I really hear from anymore via facebook.  I would have given it up over a year ago if I wasn’t fearful I’d permanently lose contact with my friends and family.  I tired writing more emails several months ago, but got only one response from the dozen I sent out.  I suppose it feeds into my paranoia that my friends and family really don’t like me that much.  Every time I call my parents, the bulk of the conversation focuses on what I can do to improve myself and how to make my apartment more presentable.  I find this irritating.  I really do.  I can’t even just live anymore.  At this point in my life, I don’t care if I impress people or am popular.  I have never been popular, not even in college or high school.  But I had a good time in college because I got to spend time with people even more eccentric and academically oriented than myself on a daily basis.  I know many people condemn academic knowledge, scholarly pursuits, and intelligence.  I have endured this my entire life.  And I have given up on people ever changing their attitudes towards intelligence and wisdom.  I just want to live and be allowed to pursue my goals, which include learning as much as I possibly can about as many subjects as I can.  I don’t give a damn if I ever make a cent off my pursuits of knowledge and wisdom.  As long as I have enough money to make rent and keep my pantry stocked and myself clothed and my psych medications current, everything else is just add ons.  I don’t need a large house, a prestigious career, a trophy wife, lots of kids, a fancy car, designer clothes, or the respect of people I have nothing in common with.  I never have.  I was, like many ambitious teenagers, brainwashed into thinking I needed such nonsense to have a fulfilled life.  It took a serious mental illness and struggling for most of my twenties to realize that wasn’t what I wanted for myself.  And it took a few more years to where I got to the point when I no longer felt shame for not wanting a life I had no say in designing.

I don’t feel shame for not wanting to be rich or famous.  I don’t write blogs every few days with the idea I will get noticed and make a train load of money.  I write for a record of what it like to be a mentally ill man in early 21st century America.  I don’t write just for my current audience.  I write for future generations so there is at least one record as to what mental illness meant in the early stages of the Information Revolution.  And make no mistake, our species and our civilizations are going through a period of transition at very least as profound as the Agricultural Revolution thousands of years ago and the Industrial Revolution hundreds of years ago.  It should be no wonder so many people are afraid and angry.  Afraid of what’s happening and what is going to happen.  Angry that we found that much of what we learned in our youths and what worked well in previous generations is starting to no longer apply.

We are at a point in history when our science and tech is advancing faster than our institutions of government, religion, education, finance, industry, and social norms.  At this point in time (November 2019), the world is far different than the one I went to high school in during the 1990s.  I’ve recently rewatched some of the tv shows that were popular when I was a teenager, and it’s almost quaint looking at some of the tech that was considered cutting edge twenty five years ago.  Even in the Matrix series, there were no smart phones, social media, video sharing platforms, laptop computers, etc.  There were still phone booths in that series and that was made only twenty years ago.  I didn’t notice the subtle changes that were happening over the course of a year or two when things were happening.  But looking at it over the span of twenty years, I am as a 39 year old man living in a world that is foreign to the one I occupied at age 16.  I’m not even sure my niece and nephews have seen a VCR tape anywhere outside of a history show or museum.  I sometimes chuckle when I see older people who don’t research online as much as my cohorts do.  But my teenage nephews would chuckle that I have never run a 3D printer or used a VR headset.  One of my nephews recently bought a VR headset from money he raised working odd jobs for his parents and neighbors.  He set up a VR flying simulator for my father.  As for me, I’m waiting a couple of years for the prices to drop and the tech to get more user friendly.  As crazy as the changes I have seen in the last twenty years have been, I guarantee the next twenty will be even more so.  At this point I’m just content to buckle up and enjoy the ride from my apartment in small town Nebraska.

Confessions of A Mentally Ill Blogger

Going off subject for this post.  I decided to bring more of my online confessions.  Yes, there is a real live middle age man behind the scribblings and musings of A Life of Mental Illness.  So here goes:

  1.  I’ve had the same best friend since high school.  And my best friend is a woman my age.  I didn’t understand the whole ‘males and females’ can’t be friends trope back then.  I still don’t.  Just because I am a man and she is a woman doesn’t mean we have been or ever will be romantically involved.
  2. I never understood why just because I am a man that I’m supposed to want sex all the time.  I never have, not even as a teenager.  And I used to get such a hard time from my school mates because of it.  I got it worse from my female classmates than I did even from my teammates on the football team.
  3. I never enjoyed dating.  And it wasn’t just because I was most of the time turned down even for something as simple as a cup of coffee at the college student center.  The few times I did date, I always felt like I was under investigation for the pettiest offenses and slip ups.  It was nerve wracking and not worth it.  Angered me that I couldn’t just be honest with women I found attractive.
  4. I don’t understand adults who forget what it was like being kids.  Even though I’m almost 40 years old and starting to get a few gray hairs in my beard, I still remember vividly what is was like growing up.  I don’t romanticize those days nor do I completely condemn them.  I had some good times and I went through some serious trials I never want to go through again.
  5. I don’t understand adults who hurt children.  I think it’s cowardly that some adult would do anything to a kid they wouldn’t dare dream of doing to an adult.  I have less respect for adults who abuse children than I do just about anything else.
  6. I don’t understand the mindset of bullies, especially adult bullies.  I can’t understand how messed up a person’s moral compass has to be in order to feel like they are powerful for messing with people who can’t fight back.  It doesn’t show power in my mind to yell at, berate, manipulate, and abuse people.  It shows a complete lack of character and courage as far as I’m concerned.
  7. I don’t understand people who think that yelling, insulting, threatening, and throwing temper tantrums are the signs of a good leader.  They aren’t.  The only reason people, myself included, put up with this kind of nonsense is that we have no choice.  At least not temporarily.  All the while I am agreeable to someone who is a verbally abusive boss or leader, I am silently bidding my time until I have an opportunity to where I no longer have to deal with them.  I have quit several jobs just because I got tired of dealing with abusive bosses.  And I refuse to go back to any job if I get the sense that a work place tolerates abusive bosses.  Thanks to my disability and my pension, I can say ‘screw you’ to bad bosses.  I am convinced if enough people could get several months worth of living expenses saved up and just start walking out on abusive and toxic workplaces in large numbers, we’d see these employers attitudes improve pretty fast.
  8. I never accepted why workplace politics are what they are.  Never have and I never will.
  9. Sometimes I am convinced that the adults act worse than the kids.  But it didn’t seem this way when I was growing up.  Maybe it’s something that goes in generational cycles.
  10. I don’t understand how weekly news and sports magazines are still a thing even after almost thirty years of the world wide web.
  11. I don’t understand why people still write checks.  I still have to write checks for my rent.  Irritates me to no end.  What century is this anyway?
  12. I don’t understand people who go on and on about the ‘good old days.’  When exactly were these good old days?  And if I make it to age seventy I’m sure I’ll hear some fools talking about the 2010s as ‘good old days.’  The good old days never existed.  They were just when you still had good health and weren’t held back by constant aches and pains.
  13. I’m glad I was never popular or cool.  I don’t want to be popular.  I just want to make people think.
  14. I don’t begrudge twenty somethings who still live with their parents.  Multi generational housing was more normal in previous eras than now.  Sometimes I would love to live with my elderly parents or my brother or my aunts.  At least we could look after each other easily.  And I wouldn’t have to deal with some of the screw balls and loose nuts who come with living in an apartment complex.
  15. At this point in my life, I’m tired of living in an apartment complex.  I would so buy my own house and not deal with land lords and close by neighbors if I could afford it.  I just want some privacy and not have people looking over my shoulders all the time anymore.  Dormitory living was more fun at age 19 than at age 39.
  16. I often fear that I don’t get through to people.
  17. I often fear my friends and family secretly don’t like me.  I hope it’s the illness talking.
  18. I sometimes go days at a time without leaving my apartment.  I’m just burned out on the stress of dealing with irritable, angry, and rude people all the time.  Socializing with most people is toxic for me anymore.  At this point I’d rather deal with a machine than most people.  At least machines won’t give me a hard time or tell me how bad of a person I am.  People sometimes suck.
  19. I love to sleep.  I’d sleep even more if I didn’t wake up with aches and pains every morning.

Losing Friends and Mental Breakdowns or I’m Sorry For Having Feelings

Haven’t been writing lately.  Been having a rough go the last several days.  Finally had a breakdown a few days ago and a second one just yesterday.  I still feel like I’m putting the pieces back together.  I hate that I have breakdowns.  Unfortunately, it seems the only way I can let go of much of the pain and depression that comes with my mental illness.

I get that it’s not socially acceptable for me to rant and rave as a way of dealing with my mental illness.  But it is also unmanly for me to cry or even show any sign of weakness.  I can’t even cry at this point in my life.  I haven’t broke down and cried in over fifteen years.  I didn’t cry at any of my grandparents funerals or even my nephew’s funeral.  I guess after years of being told to ‘man up’, ‘straighten up’, ‘snap out of it’, ‘what you whining for’, and ‘I’ll give you something to cry about’ I am literally unable to express sadness.  It’s not manly to cry so I don’t.  Yet I put off expressing any distress as long as I can because it’s not socially acceptable to rave and verbally express anger.  Of course this is a vicious cycle that has become predictable to me.  I only fear that someday when I’m having a breakdown at home, my neighbors will call the cops on me and I’ll lose my apartment.  And having a breakdown in public would be even worse, knowing my countrymen’s attitudes towards carrying concealed firearms and violence.  I fear for my own life anymore.  I can’t vent about my problems in a cathartic way for fear of repercussions and even physical violence against myself.  And if I were to get shot by anyone, my side of the story would never be heard by anyone, not even my family.  Hell, the person that shoots me will be hailed as a hero even though I am never armed.  Tell me again how we are a compassionate and civilized society.

It’s because of fears and anxieties like this I almost never leave my home.  I still sleep a lot but some days that’s all I want to do.  I want the fear and pain to go away.  I want to stop living in fear of my neighbors and people I talk to online.  I even fear my relatives anymore.  I haven’t gone to family reunions in several years for fear of having a breakdown in case the conversations turn to controversial things.  I have ended contact with a significant portion of extended family members because of their hateful attitudes about politics, science, and religion.  I haven’t even spoken to my own brother in over two years.  It seems like I do better with complete strangers I meet only online than I do with most of my old friends and family.  About the only people I hear from on a regular basis I have known for more than five years are my parents, my best friend from high school, and my best friend from college.  I ended the friendship with my second best friend from college because of his attitudes towards politics and religion.  I asked him to tone it down, at least online, he told me to stop being triggered and he didn’t care what I wanted.  So I ended the friendship.  Angers me that most people care far more about politics and religion and money than they ever did even their best friends and family.

I really don’t know why I put myself out there like this.  It only makes me look weak and needy.  But I am burned out from always having to be on guard even around those I love.  I am tired of losing friends and family members.  Even before the whole world decided to go insane all at once I had troubles making friends.  I didn’t have the same interests as most people and I find it impossible to dumb down for most people.  I have to vent, even if no one in my friends and family has any empathy.  I have to for my own sanity.