Being A Man With Mental Illness

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.

Late Winter Updates

Been doing alright the last few days.  Staying close to home except to meet delivery people on ground floor of my complex.  It gives me a reason to leave the house.  I usually get a few deliveries per week, whether it’s groceries, items I order through Amazon, or the pizza guy.

I’m getting new flooring next week.  My parents are visiting for the weekend too.  I’m also getting my walls repainted and having some work done in my bathroom.  I’m actually happy about getting a new toilet.  Yes I am middle aged.  I’m looking forward to having my place remodeled, but I am not really looking forward to having be out of my nest for a few days.  But I can put up with it to have the problem solved for 15 years.

The weather is starting to warm up.  The last few days it hasn’t been below freezing except at night.  The snow we had over the winter is melted.  The tree outside my window is starting to bud.  And the migratory birds are coming back.  I often hear geese flying overhead and my town is a big spot for cranes returning this time of year.  When I still had a car, I’d drive around out on the county roads near the river and just look for cranes.  They would just be sitting in the fields and be so thick you couldn’t see the grass.

Baseball season starts in a few weeks.  My fantasy league draft is in a week and a half.  I haven’t done very well the last couple years.  My best finish was a second place finish in a league of twelve a couple years ago.  Hopefully the Rockies can do better this year.  Regardless, I am ready for some spring.

It has been a long winter for me even though I haven’t had breakdowns since before Christmas.  I did a lot of reading over the last few months.  I usually pass my days with reading, computer games, staying in contact with family and friends, and keeping up with my neighbors.  I usually see my neighbors once or twice a day.  They usually make dinner for me once a week.  They make some excellent Mexican dishes.

I usually do most of my own cooking.  I think it’s been two years since I ate at McDonalds.  I just don’t really like fast food that much anymore.  Makes my stomach unsettled.  And I’m a pretty decent cook, at least for myself.  I can make some pretty good bratwursts and barbecue chicken on my electric grill.  I don’t do much baking as I don’t eat much bread or carbs anymore.  I eat a lot of grilled meats, vegetables, and soups.  Pretty simple tastes I suppose.

I don’t drink as much caffeine anymore.  I usually have a cup of coffee with breakfast and that is often it.  I sometimes get jittery and irritable on days I have too much coffee.  Plus I am convinced it makes my muscles tight and makes me breathe harder.  An uncle of mine rarely drank anything with caffeine because he said it “cuts your wind”, meaning it made him breathe hard.

Don’t use social media much except to keep in contact with close friends and family.  I had to cut down my friends list and change some of the settings because it was getting too overwhelming to manage.  It’s not that I am upset with people, it’s that I can still contact them if needed.  The good thing about facebook is that it’s easy to drop in on old classmates.  I do my best to avoid being part of arguments.  I already have too much chaos running around my mind to intentionally add to it.  Sadly, mental illness has put limits on my ability to socialize.

March 1 2020 Rants

Been more discouraged than usual lately.  I stay home almost all the time anymore.  It’s too discouraging venturing out among people now.  I’m scared of people in general anymore.  I’m even scared to do anything on social media besides talk to a couple friends.  Sometimes I’m even scared to write in this blog anymore.  I’m tired of being condemned a snowflake or triggered just for the crime of having feelings and emotions.  Triggered am I?  Just try living with schizophrenia for 30 days, let alone 20 years, and you will see triggered.  I find it odd that we don’t value emotion, reason, and logic in people but are trying to build machines with these abilities.  We want our machines to be human and we want our humans to be machines.  Why is this?

I have long since given up on using reason and logic in trying to figure out my fellow humans.  I can’t make sense of people.  I have never been able to.  I don’t understand office politics.  I never have.  That’s why I failed in every job I ever had.  I don’t understand why it makes some people feel important and powerful to degrade and bully others.  I despise bullies.  Have my entire life.  Being a jerk to others, especially those not in position to fight back, has never impressed me.  But it does lots of people for some reason.  And from what I’ve seen, the grown ups are far worse than the kids.  Yet, the adults feel like it’s their God given duty to treat young people like trash and the end of civilization.  What gives?  I swear for being an advanced species, we truly hate our offspring.  And people wonder why I will never have kids.  Even though I’m almost 40, I still remember being the scared stiff 11 year old getting bullied for being smart and unathletic.  It seems to me most adults don’t remember what it was like to be kids.  Either that or they don’t care if kids suffer.  The kids are better than the adults now.  I mean, why else would 70 year old politicians slander teenagers and college kids trying to make a world a better place?  It seems that the higher up people get in places of power, the more we allow them to abuse us.  Stockholm Syndrome, anyone?

And these kids that we gladly unload on, they are right in seeing how absurd most of what passes for acceptable behavior from our elders and leaders really is.  While I am in favor of using physical discipline on children (at least as long as it doesn’t get excessive or is used every day), most adults I know could use a few whippings themselves.  I swear we hold six year old children to higher standards than we do presidents, popes, CEOs, etc.  Personally, I think this is absurd.  But what do I know?  I’m just an unemployable middle aged schizophrenic on the internet.

Happiness in Being Alone

Been pretty quiet the last several days.  I keep in contact with friends and family a little every day even if I don’t spend much time on social media lately.  Spending much of my time reading any more.  Been reading regularly again since Christmas.  I talk to my neighbors a few times a week but haven’t left my apartment for a few days.  I’m usually content to stay home most of the time.  I don’t mind visitors but, outside of my neighbors, I don’t get them very often.

I don’t venture out in public much.  I’m just afraid of most people any more.  I am burned out on dealing with rude people.  And I no longer have much tolerance for mundane chit chat.  I just no longer enjoy it.  It’s the same thing over and over as far as I’m concerned.  Naturally, this makes me look aloof and standoffish to most people I meet.  But, sometimes I am my own best company.  It’s probably why I spend so much time alone and it doesn’t bother me as much as most people.  The fact it doesn’t bother me much is probably unnerving to some people.  I am just to tired and burned out to deal with pointless drama.  Have been for a long time.

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.

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.