New Year’s Day 2019. Feels kind of strange to say it’s 2019 already. It’s been 19 years since the “Y2K” fears didn’t materialize, 18 years since 9/11, 11 years since the Great Recession came close to becoming Great Depression part II, 7 years since the Mayan Apocalypse came and went, etc. Yet, for me it sometimes doesn’t seem that long ago any of these things happened. But, when I look at people in my niece and nephew’s generation, they weren’t even born when Y2K or 9/11 or the Great Recession took place or at least not able to remember these events. Makes me wonder for these youngsters what events will be taking place in their adolescence and early adulthood they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. I was born in 1980, so too late have living memories of Vietnam or Watergate or the Apollo programs but early enough I can remember first hand stories of the Dust Bowl, World War II, and the Civil Rights movements from my grandparents and their friends. One thing I have learned from surviving my home world making almost 40 laps around the mother star is that the only real constant in our lives is change.
I am 38 years old. As far as life expectancy is concerned, barring any major medical breakthroughs coming, my life as a human is statistically half over. Having a mental illness, I’m probably closer to the grave than even that. I can tell there are some changes happening in myself already. Physically I am beginning to slow down and get unexplainable aches and pains that don’t always clear up as fast as they did even three years ago. Being overweight makes this only worse, no doubt. But, as far as signs that I am in middle age, my physical strength gets sapped faster than previously, I no longer have much of an interest in sex, I don’t feel much of a need to compete against anything beyond my personal bests, have come to accept and appreciate who and what I am, etc.
As it is, I am glad to have been able to experience and witness the changes my civilization and my personal self have gone through. Makes me wonder what changes the next 38 years will bring. If I’m still around and blogging is still a thing in the 2050s, I hope to be able to write about even these changes.
Currently going through a prolonged period of stability. My levels of depression and anxiety have been quite low lately. When I do have such issues, they don’t last long and aren’t very bad. I haven’t had a breakdown of any kind in months. Haven’t been hospitalized for almost five years now. I was having feelings of depression and paranoia earlier this year but I wasn’t overly concerned about it as I wasn’t having the anger or aggression issues that traditionally went with it. Sure I would go days without leaving my apartment, but I wasn’t excessively angry or looking for arguments. So I wasn’t as worried as I should have been. Not wanting to socialize for long stretches of time isn’t normal for me. Sure I have had stretches when I wanted to be left alone for several hours or a day at most. But I was going sometimes entire weeks when I’d leave my apartment only two or three times the entire week.
Naturally some of my neighbors became concerned. I may have never been Mr. Popular but I made it a point to be polite and thoughtful to everyone I met. Yet as I wasn’t even socializing, nor did I want to, that wasn’t normal for me. I have never been one to just bunker down for days. I had gotten to that point, particularly during the winter. It wasn’t my traditional problem with mental illness, but it was a different one.
People do tend to change some with age. I imagine mental illness issues are probably not much different. Aspects of my personality and habits have altered over the years. I’m not as hot tempered as I was even five years ago. I laugh more often now than I did in my twenties. I enjoy the little things of life more. Overall, I’m happier now in my late 30s than I was in my late 20s. And this is despite my physical health not being as good as it was ten years ago or my being more social than I am now. I think I have gotten happier and more calm with age. And I quite enjoy it.
Stayed home this weekend and cleaned in my apartment. I had to take more frequent breaks than I used to in years past. I’m just not as energetic as I was even two years ago. I guess this is what I get to look forward to as I continue to age. I decided I’m hiring a cleaning service to give my place a complete going over as soon as possible and then have them come back regularly. I haven’t decided if I’m going to have them do it weekly or every two weeks. It depends on prices.
I wish I didn’t have to go this route. But then, I wish I wasn’t schizophrenic either. There are things that I’m not going to be able to do alone, especially as I get older. The idea that I can’t be as independent in my late 30s as I was even in my mid 30s is the hardest part of aging that I have had to come to accept. I always had an independent streak in me that didn’t want the help of others and wanted to be my own boss. I think it runs in my family. My father, my grandfathers, and I think most of my great grandfathers were self employed small business owners or farmers. I am starting to understand that there are things now that I can’t do alone anymore. I now understand why almost all of my friends got married or partnered up by this point in their lives. Even the people I know in their forties that never married are closer to their extended family then they were in their twenties and thirties. I suppose that seeing my limitations and losing some of my old physical abilities are a part of myself having to accept my own mortality.
I have heard from older men in my social circles that when they hit their mid to late 30s, that was about when their physical strength and interest in sex started to wane and decline. That is also about the time when their careers started to take off, they assumed leadership roles in their jobs, social organizations, churches, and communities too. This is when their careers, family lives, and leadership skills started to show. Some men also had their ‘mid life crisis’ and life changing events like divorce and or death of parents occur during their thirties. I guess this is when many people start realizing they are going to lose their physical strength and eventually die. Traditionally forty represented the middle point of life even in ancient times, barring deaths from accidents, disease, or war. At about age forty, that is when people traditionally go from rank and file members of society and start assuming more leadership roles.
In my case, I have found myself a home as a mental illness blogger. It certainly wasn’t my dream job nor what I thought I would be doing when I was twenty one. Back then, I had changed my college major from pre medicine to business management. At the time I was really interested in personal finance and investing, so I thought I wanted to be a financial advisor and help people plan for their retirements, etc. I interviewed at a few of these types of firms my senior year of college, but was never offered any job. I had to accept that I wouldn’t be using my business training in a traditional job. I have accepted that and made my peace with it. I couldn’t say that ten years ago. As it is, the blog is reaching more people than I thought it would when I started five years ago. It certainly took me further than traditional publishing would have taken me. And this means of work didn’t even exist when I was in grade school. It makes me wonder what new jobs will be springing up in the next twenty to thirty years.
I am starting to come to the acceptance that I am losing my physical strength. I probably will never be able to do things quite like I did in my early twenties unless some miracle of modern science and medicine comes along, which as much as I love science, I won’t bet my life savings on 🙂 I’m starting to come to the acceptance that I’m not going to as spry as I once was. I have to be more careful about what I eat and activities I involve myself. I guess I’m moving into middle age. Hopefully I can avoid the whole mid life crisis deal as I’ve had to come to accept many hard truths about myself and life in general years ago when the schizophrenia really started.
In my part of the country, the weather is warming up enough to get rid of the ice and snow we’ve had since before Christmas. It is a welcome relief that I can leave my complex without too many problems. Got out and about a few times this weekend. I ran a few errands, so I am set for the next couple weeks. I still don’t socialize as much as I would like because the paranoia still remains. Sometimes it was strong enough I would go entire days without leaving my apartment. Physically, I’m having back problems again. I can’t stand for more than ten minutes at a time without lower back and upper leg pain. I can still get around if I walk for ten minutes, take ten minutes to sit, and repeat. But this isn’t practical when navigating out in public. I’ll have to go back to the chiropractor or some other doctor to see what I can do about my failing back. I’ve been fighting back problems on and off since my car accident in 2015. I imagine I’ll be fighting it for the rest of my life from now one. It’s a pity that I start falling apart physically right at the time when I start figuring things out mentally. At this point I wouldn’t mind just being a head in a jar attached to a machine body, like in Futurama 🙂
With my back being messed up, I am more house bound than I would like. I miss the things I was able to do even just a few years ago that, due to my bad back, I can’t do anymore. I miss walks in the park, I miss going swimming, I especially miss not worrying if sitting on a hard chair will mess me up. I even have a hard time getting in and out of my car anymore because of back pains. So I don’t drive unless it’s necessary now. I am now starting to see what I get to look forward as a senior citizen. Golden years, yeah right.
The positive side to having such limiting back pain is mentally I am still stable. I have remained stable for months. In the past, physical pain and illnesses have made my mental health worse. It doesn’t seem to anymore. Maybe as I become an old man I have learned to cope with the hangups and stresses of mental illness better. I do miss having a good strong back.
Besides my family and one college friend, I haven’t kept in strong contact with most of my friends the last couple weeks. My best friend’s mother died a few weeks ago and I haven’t talked to her much. I decided to let her do what was needed and not bother her much. She probably wasn’t much in the mood for talking the last few weeks. I haven’t had a parent die yet. All of my grandparents and a couple uncles have died. But I wasn’t really torn up by their deaths as I was just happy that such people had lived. At my grandparents’ funerals, the immediate family was mostly spending the time retelling stories of the cool and funny things they did during their lives. We weren’t crying that much but instead were celebrating their lives. There was almost as much laughter as crying at my grandfather’s funeral as the immediate family were retelling stories of my grandfather’s jokes and funny things he did during his life. And my last grandmother to pass away was quite sharp and aware until she had a stroke about two weeks before she died. But she was in her late nineties and had real bad arthritis to where she could barely walk. She had said for the last few years of her life that she wasn’t afraid of dying and that she was ready at any time. I think that maybe she was sad seeing most of her friends and family die over the years. Fortunately I was able to handle the grandparents’ funerals without any flare ups of my mental illness. I was a pall bearer for both my grandmothers.
I guess that as I have now crossed into my late thirties, I’m beginning to think about my own mortality a little. This has been especially true the last few months as I’m getting more unexplainable aches and pains and I can’t lift as heavy as items as I could previously. It also doesn’t help that schizophrenics, statistically speaking, have shorter life spans than mentally healthy people. If I were to die prematurely, I think I want to donate my body to science. I figure that something good should come from my having schizophrenia effect my mind and destroy my career.
I’m sorry for sounding morbid with this entry. But I have been thinking about how several people who have influenced me in my young years are now dying off. Even my own parents aren’t in the greatest health. But I guess they are in their late sixties. I’m thirty seven and that would have made me an elderly person in the Stone Age. But I suppose it doesn’t really matter how long you live as long as you make the most of the days you have.
Knee pains have finally passed. Felt good enough to go out and buy groceries this morning. So I’m set for another couple weeks. I was getting tired of having to eat out and do drive thru because of my bad knee. I can tell that when I eat fast food regularly my physical and mental health suffer some. Also started taking some multi vitamin pills a few days ago. That seems to help with some lingering pain. Makes me feel a little more energetic.
I’m back to where I’m not sleeping as much as I did over the winter and spring. Maybe it’s the longer daylight hours. Maybe losing a few pounds has helped with my sleep patterns. I still can’t walk as far as I could even two years ago. But I think if I keep doing the two high protein meals a day, avoid sugar as much as possible, and keep drinking lots of water I can get back into better health.
Since I’m not experiencing knee pains anymore, my mood has improved. I’m not as depressed as I once was. I’m getting out of my apartment more. I’m breaking up some of my in home routines. I’m trying out some new computer games I bought a few months ago I only dabbled in. I guess I finally got burned out on Civilization, Sim City, and Skyrim. I still read a lot, granted mostly online articles, blogs, and science journals. I trying to get back into more contact with old friends. And I want to bring some old friends back into the fold I lost contact with over the last few years.
Next week is my birthday. I’ll be 37 years old. Mentally I’m more sharp than ever and the mental illness doesn’t have the ups and downs it used to. Physically I don’t have the endurance I did even a few years ago. I get unexplainable aches and pains more often. I wake up more in the middle of the night. I’m even more cold sensitive then I used to be. Being a fat man, I could easily go through much of a fall or even winter with just a light jacket unless it was blizzard conditions. Finding that I can’t do that as well anymore. I have found that I am sometimes more set in my ways than I would like. I tend to shop in the same stores, eat in the same four or five restaurants, eat the same things all the time, watch similar types of shows on youtube and netflix, etc. At least I haven’t yet gotten to where I’m complaining about the kids all the time. I remember what it was like being ragged on by my elders all the time when I was growing up. I hated it then and I still hate it when people in my age bracket rag on their kids. I just hope that as I age and my physical health starts to decline even more that I don’t become one of these bitter and angry old men I see too much of. I hope I can be an encouragement to people to all ages. I just want my little corner of the world to be a better place because I was alive.
Been having knee pains again for the last several days. It’s the same knee I hurt near Christmas. About the only thing I can do for it is soak in a warm bath every morning and take a couple pain pills every few hours. This has definitely slowed me down for the last week. I can’t even run errands because I can’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time. So I pretty much just stay home even though the weather has gotten good.
As bad as the knee pain is, it really hasn’t effected my mental health. Mentally I have quite stable for months. Hopefully I can keep claiming this. Late July to early September have always been the roughest times of year for me. It’s a pity that my body starts falling apart right about the time I’m beginning to figure things out mentally. Maybe some elderly people are grumpy mainly because of the constant aches and pains. I’m seeing what I get to look forward to in old age.