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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I never accepted why workplace politics are what they are. Never have and I never will.
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.
I don’t understand how weekly news and sports magazines are still a thing even after almost thirty years of the world wide web.
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?
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.
I’m glad I was never popular or cool. I don’t want to be popular. I just want to make people think.
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.
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.
I often fear that I don’t get through to people.
I often fear my friends and family secretly don’t like me. I hope it’s the illness talking.
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.
I love to sleep. I’d sleep even more if I didn’t wake up with aches and pains every morning.
One true complaint I have is that I get lonely more often than previously. I guess with the weather turning warm I can get out of my complex every day now but I really have no one to share it with. And most friends I know don’t seem to interact as much online anymore as in the past. Sometimes I go entire days without talking to anyone now. It’s kind of sad actually. I am told to reach out to friends and family but when I do I’m too often ignored. It’s a good thing that I’m an introvert by nature with this illness if no one has the time or energy to communicate. I guess I had to learn to be self reliant even at an early age, and I’m glad that I had to. Prepared me well for my adulthood. And even when my friends take the time to socialize, it’s mostly negativity or pettiness that won’t matter down the road. I’m told I’m lucky in that I don’t have to work a job for my living as I’m on disability pension. In the next breath I’m told I’m a freeloader, lazy, and a drain on society because I can’t work or pay taxes.
To listen to some people, the only worth people have is as workers and taxpayers. Yet, these same people complain about paying taxes and how much they hate their jobs. The worst part about working when I was still in the workforce wasn’t the job itself, it was dealing with irritable and divisive coworkers and bosses and customers who were impossible to please. It isn’t the work itself I hated, it was other people’s poor attitudes I hated. Even though I haven’t held a socially acceptable job since 2012, I still can’t stand people when the negativity flares up in them. I’ve ended friendships with people for being too negative. I’ve even told off my parents when they got too negative for my tastes.
And why shouldn’t I? People told me off all the time when I was in a poor mood and had moments of weakness, especially in childhood. Sure, there were plenty of times I earned getting in trouble for my less than stellar attitudes. But, let’s hold everyone to these standards. It seems like we hold children and sick people to higher standards than regular people. And the celebrities and elected officials we personally like, well, we hold to zero standards. Very hypocritical. I don’t even know why I bother with people some days. I never really desired to be a hermit. I made myself one because most people I know are impossible to please and just not interested in improving anything, especially themselves. That too is very hypocritical. Hold everyone to standards you won’t hold yourself too.
Been staying close to home the last several days. Did get outside for a couple hours today just to replenish on sunshine even though it was barely above freezing. I am staying occupied even if I don’t leave my house much. Cleaned some in my apartment this weekend. I also cut my hair. I bought myself a hair trimmer for Christmas and wacked off my hair. I had let it grow shoulder length. With that length of hair and my full beard I was looking like an extra from Game of Thrones. Now I look like a military recruit at the start of Basic Training.
Been exercising at home lately. I got a stationary exercise bike from my dad before he moved out of state. I use that several times a week. My stamina is slowly coming back. And, unlike walking, it doesn’t really bother my lower back. My sleep patterns have changed too. Anymore I usually go to bed around 9 or 10pm usually to wake up at 5 or 6 am. Most of my awake time is spent in daylight hours now even though it is late autumn.
I still don’t know what I’m doing for Christmas. It depends largely on the weather. I would love to go see my parents’ new house and my brother’s family. I saw his kids over the summer but I haven’t seen him or my sister in law since Thanksgiving 2017. I guess if I can’t go see them in person I’ll have to dust off my Skype and talk to them that way. I am looking forward to the college football holiday bowl season. That has always been one of my favorite sports events over the years. I enjoy watching football and it gives me a chance to see teams I don’t see very often.
Been chatting with old friends more often lately. I guess now that the end of the year holidays are here, people are taking more time to reconnect to family and friends. Even though I don’t usually talk to many people in person, it’s not because I hate people. I usually don’t talk to people in person as much if I don’t have common interests. I have always thought it would be cool if there were entire communities of people with similar interests and passions living together, much like college dormitories or artists’ communes. But I guess good luck getting such set ups for science and history enthusiasts together without the considerations of money or jobs. Maybe in future centuries there will be such places. For now, I guess hobbies and interests groups on social media are the next best thing.
I have spent much of my life alone because I have rarely known people with my kind of interests and passions. College was fun in that I did meet many people with my interests. It was also a place where being eccentric and quirky wasn’t condemned but generally tolerated. I miss that about living in the adult world, not many people with my interests and generally little tolerance for being different than the norm, especially in work places and social settings.
I was never a conformist as a kid and I certainly refuse to be one now. Sure it has made me lonely over the years and on the receiving end of much harassment and abuse, especially in the work place. But I can’t stand the thought of being just another soulless empty suit in an office or another cog in an industrial wheel. Maybe disability was the best thing that could have happened to me in this regard. As much as I didn’t fit in during my teenage years, I fit in even worse in the workplace and adult dating scene. But I no longer regret either one. In fact, I am thankful for this.
I am no longer sleeping ten to twelve hours a day. Instead I’m now averaging about six to eight hours of sleep. Even though I usually sleep only three hours at a stretch, I still feel pretty rested overall. I’m getting a little more active with each passing day now the days are long and the weather is getting warmer. I have noticed I have some aches and pains, namely in my back and thighs that make walking for more than several minutes at a time painful. Obviously the inactivity of a hard winter took it’s toll on me. I changed my diet a couple weeks ago. I think I’m starting to notice some difference. I’m not as lethargic, I don’t get irritable as easily, I need less sleep, and I’m getting to where I actually want to socialize a little every day. I still have days I want to just stay home, read books, watch youtube, and play computer games. But with the better weather, I actually want to get out of the house.
I’m currently in the middle of my spring cleaning. It’s kind of slow going as I still have the unexplainable aches and pains that don’t allow me to work as long as I once could. Even as recently as five years ago I could spend several hours on my feet without a break. Not so anymore. I now understand why older workers aspire to desk jobs once their careers get going strong. At this point I’m glad I can do a blog while sitting down. I just can’t be on my feet all day like I could even a few years ago. I’m sure a lot of this is due to weight gain. And I gained the weight through inactivity while depressed and anxious. Many of the psych meds out there do have weight gain as a side effect. But I guess I would rather have a sharp and stable mind with a weakened body as the other way around. It’s sad that mental illness often involves trade offs like this.
I am adjusting to the warmer weather and increased activity of spring. It is a slow and sometimes painful process as my body doesn’t recover from pain as fast as it once did. I knew this was going to come eventually, but I was hoping I could have put it off for a few more years. It’s kind of a pity that I start falling apart physically right at the time I am figuring out what I’m good at and where I fit in society. But I suppose every one goes though this as they transition into middle age. I miss the vitality I had in my early twenties but I certainly don’t miss most of the younger years drama. I’m ready to move into mid life.
I’m currently at my parents’ house for a couple days for the Thanksgiving holiday. My brother, his wife, and their four kids are here too. We have seven of us sleeping in the basement but at least I get my old bedroom. That way I can retreat and regroup if need be. But my brothers’ kids are well behaved and old enough they shouldn’t give me many problems.
This is the first time in months I have been back to my old childhood home. A lot has changed in this town since I moved out in 2005. For one, all of my old high school friends have moved away. The cousins that stayed have families of their own. Most of my old teachers have retired or moved to bigger schools. All my grandparents and a couple of my uncles have died. My old grade school was torn down. The retail store I worked in during the summers went out of business. In many ways this isn’t the same town I grew up in during the 80s and 90s. I haven’t been getting back to my parents’ place much the last several years as none of my old friends live around here anymore. In many ways, this is no longer my town. It doesn’t feel like home and it hasn’t for several years.
I bring up growing up and the changes my parents’ place have gone under because, with my mental illness, those years I grew up here seem like someone else’s life. I started having problems with depression and anxiety when I was seventeen. I was doing quite well in school and involved in many different activities. It seemed like I was on the fast track to a career and life of my dreams, at least that was until the depression and anxiety started. Twenty years later, my seventeen year old self wouldn’t even recognize the thirty seven year old man I am now. I imagine my seventeen year old self would have seen who I am today as a failure. Back then I knew nothing of mental illness and disability. Like many teenagers, I also didn’t have as much empathy as many adults who have had their ups and downs, wins and losses.
If nothing else, fighting this mental illness for twenty years has taught me how to have more empathy for people different than myself. It has taught me patience and how to accept things I can’t change. It has taught me that, contrary to popular belief, life isn’t about keeping up with other people. Life is mainly about competing with your self and being the best you that you are capable of being. He who dies with the most toys is just as dead as anyone else in the cemetery.
I haven’t been giving much time to reflecting on the past for the last few years. I have mainly been focused on the present and future possibilities. I normally have little use for nostalgic thoughts. But I’m sure having them now that I’m at my childhood home for the first time in months. I guess the nostalgia has shown me how much I lost because of this mental illness. Yet, in spite of the life that never was, I think I still have a great deal to stay alive for. I’m interested to see what the next twenty years in this life of mental illness will show me. I can only guess what changes will have come by the time 2037 rolls in.