After six weeks of being on a different medication I am now adapting to the changes brought about. I usually don’t need as much sleep so I now usually wake up earlier. I have found myself slightly more sensitive to caffeine. So I usually shut off the coffee and black tea after four p.m. unless I want to be up most of the night. I have been spending more time outdoors and restarted the exercise routine a few days ago. I am still kind of rusty but I hadn’t been doing much exercise for three weeks because of the weather and medication changes.
I am also regaining some of my lost emotions. I have felt a little loneliness over the last few weeks. For months I have been content to spend the vast bulk of my days in isolation with as little interaction as possible. I never did well at socializing, especially growing up in a small farming village where most people didn’t share my type of interests. But I am now wanting to socialize again. I find myself leaving my apartment at least a few times a day. Previously I used to leave my apartment only once or twice a day if at all. I have had days I didn’t leave my apartment, especially in the winter. I also feel a little more happiness. Used to be the only real feelings I had for a couple years were anger and quiet contentment. I didn’t relax and feel happiness because I didn’t know how. But the ability to feel happiness is beginning to come back. I am now able to feel a little anger and irritation without fear of going psychotic. I haven’t had a psychotic break since I changed my medication. I switched back to an old medication I had been on for several years. The DNA tests I took shown that this medication worked really well for me. So it confirmed something I already suspected. I’ll see my psych doctor again at the end of the month and we’ll look into changing a second medication then. I knew this would be a long process when we started. But it’s certainly better than having psychotic breakdowns every six weeks.
I admit my physical health and exercise has taken a lower priority since I started this medication change. I have gained a few pounds in the last few weeks. My endurance has really dropped off. It’ll probably take several more exercise sessions before it really starts coming back. But I’m getting back into exercise again, especially since the weather is warming up.
Things have been more or less consistent the last several days. I’m still getting out and exercising as I’m breaking in a new pair of heavy duty hiking boots most days. Started lifting weights at least 3 times per week again. Still working through educational programs and khanacademy.org . Been watching shameless amounts of old tv shows through Netflix. I’ve plowed through half of season 1 of Star Trek: Enterprise just in the last week. In short things have been going pretty good and steady for 90 percent of the time.
Sadly, I still have that 10 percent of the time that still causes me problems. Many of these problems are partly due to a new neighbor in my complex. This man has been irritable to almost everyone in our complex. I refuse to go into details but this individual is the angriest and most closed minded man I have ever met. He doesn’t believe in mental illness at all. I will say no more.
I haven’t filed any complaints against this tenant because I’ve previously filed complaints against tenants that we’re being uncivil with no results. Usually problems like these have wound up being solved when these tenants would move or get evicted over violating terms of the lease. I’ve been at my current apartment for several years and I have had problem neighbors come and I’ve seen problem neighbors go. Nothing new.
It bothers me at times and sometimes provokes emotions ranging from mild irritability to a nagging sense of anger. I don’t enjoy having these nagging senses of anger. I’m not a confrontational or violent man by nature. And confronting others will only make things worse. I refuse to get evicted or committed over annoying and irritable people who will, in time, get a massive dose of karma courtesy of their own actions. As uncomfortable as that nagging sense of anger is, I just allow it to pass in a controlled and limited burn. I no longer try to force myself to be happy nor do I fear this anger anymore. What I do instead is allow myself to feel angry without acting on it. I don’t fear getting angry because I have the good sense to let it go gradually and constructively rather than allow it build up for days. Just because I feel anger doesn’t mean I’m going to act on it. I enjoy having the escape valve of free will and self control.
Learning to manage anger with schizophrenia is not a skill that can be learned in one day. It is a trial and error process that is ongoing and never ending. I am much better at it now than I was 15 years ago. And I plan on being much better than I am now with the passing of another 15 years. Feeling anger is not bad or evil. It is how anger is channeled or acted on that determines whether anger is constructive or destructive. It is also important to note that what we do send out will come back on us over a long enough time line. Or as one of my college friends crassly put it “Karma’s got a large boot and kicks asses harder than we can.”