A Few Thoughts On The Changes Brought During 2020

This day is starting out well overall. I went to bed early last night and wound up sleeping on and off for almost twelve hours. Woke up stiff and sore but at least it was manageable. Thursday is one of my favorite days of the week as my cleaning lady arrives in the afternoons and there are usually a couple football games on tv too. It’ still strange watching ballgames without a crowd in the arena. I’ll be glad when this health crisis burns out.

Started writing a journal by pen yesterday. It might be helpful to have a means to write down my thoughts and observations that I wouldn’t normally put on a blog I try to keep family friendly. Mentally I am still feeling stable. I do have rough patches but fortunately they don’t last long nor are they bad enough for me to act on.

I make a point to leave my apartment at least once a day even if I don’t have deliveries coming. Met my new neighbor and got back in touch with some old ones. I don’t know much about my new neighbor except that he looks younger than I and keeps pretty quiet for the most part. I rarely hear him except for when he has guests and I can occasionally hear laughter. So maybe he’s a funny guy.

While the health crisis and economic problems have been rough on me, at least I haven’t had problems I couldn’t manage. I still see my psych doctor every two months via a service similar to Skype or Zoom. I’m scheduled to see him again in a couple weeks. I can get anything within reason delivered to my apartment via Amazon or one of the local supermarkets. I started having my groceries delivered about three years ago when I came to the conclusion I wasn’t as safe behind the wheel of a car as I used to be. I think I was one of the first people in my complex to have groceries delivered to my place on a regular basis. While I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since before the shutdowns started, I still occasionally get delivery pizza and can sometimes sweet talk my neighbors or cleaning lady into picking something up for me, as long as I pay for it of course.

I’m still kind of paranoid about being out of my apartment for long periods of time because of the virus. Some people aren’t always wearing face masks or properly washing their hands. I may be only 40, but being overweight and mentally ill probably puts me in high risk category already. So I socialize with friends and family on a near daily basis via my phone or facebook account. I keep my facebook account primarily to keep in contact with old friends and extended family I may not other wise. Perhaps that was the original intent of Mr. Zuckerberg and his partners, not so much the arguments and trolling that is still too common.

Been seeing more articles and videos online about people working from home. Even my brother and his wife sometimes work from home with their engineering jobs. I think I could have gotten into working from home had it been available when I started my working life in my early twenties. I found out the hard way as a teenager working in restaurants and retail stores that I don’t easily pick up on social cues or office politics like many of my coworkers. Sometimes it got me into trouble with coworkers and customers. But I think the mental illness problems were more to blame than anything. While it was tough to realize I lost my career due to problems beyond my control, I’m glad I went through the struggles in my twenties when I was still healthy and wasn’t set in my ways. Even though I’m 40 and still try to keep an open mind about most things, I found I don’t adapt as fast as I did even ten years ago. I may have had an easier time with office politics had I started my career from home. But I’ll never know. I’ve made my peace with my lost career and the family I’ll never start.

As tough as this crisis has been for me, I can’t imagine how tough it is for people with families, people who lost jobs and now can’t make their rent payments, for small landlords who can’t pay back their loans because their renters can’t make rent, for small businesses ranging from restaurants to dentists, and especially for the kids. I told one of my teenage nephews I wasn’t going to insult him by trying to imagine how tough this all is for him and his friends. My niece and nephews are at the age where kids learn how to socialize beyond family and classmates. And since much in person interaction is now no longer there, I think it will have a lifetime of effects on these kids. It might be similar to what my grandparents’ generation went through growing up during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. My grandparents frequently talked about the struggles of not having money or having to fix things that wore out because they couldn’t afford to replace them. And one grandmother always said “It will happen again.” I’m so glad my brother and I payed attention when my grandparents talked about life during the Depression and World War 2. I’m also glad I listened to my parents stories about growing up during the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movements.

I recall a podcast back in April when the host said something like “We are going to witness ten years of changes in the next ten weeks.” Between the increased emphasis of working towards effective vaccines, work from home being a thing, private space flight becoming common, civil rights protests in almost every major city (not just in America) on a near daily basis, drone delivery getting approved by the Federal Aviation Association, and of course major wildfires on the West Coast and the South taking a beating via hurricanes and heat waves making people take the threats of climate change more serious, I think the ten years of change in ten weeks was an understatement. We will eventually emerge from these crises. We will come out changed people on the individual and national levels. The next few years will probably be brutal for most people. Hopefully we can emerge better people and stronger societies as a result.

Quarantine Journal: August 24 2020

When it rains, it pours it seems. My two neighbors who moved out a few weeks ago are now under quarantine for the next two weeks because someone they were helping out is showing classic covid symptoms. And these neighbors helped me out a great deal over the last couple years as I’ve lost my mobility. My cleaning lady recently came back to work but she is still slowed from her surgery. Had a breakdown over the weekend. Sometimes the only thing I can do for those is to just vent to someone until it blows over. I feel bad that I take this out on family, but who else can I talk to? I’m too paranoid and scared of my fellow tenants to ask for help. I don’t qualify for any extra aid from the state. My family and friends live too far away to offer assistance at a moment’s notice. I originally moved out of my home village for better healthcare and job opportunities and better social connections. Now that I have no car (I’m too scared and paranoid to be safe behind the wheel), my help is gone, and we are now in the middle of both a pandemic and economic depression, I’m essentially on my own with no immediate back up. I can’t ask for help from my other neighbors as they are irritable and hateful on even good days. I’m limited mobility because of chronic pains. I guess that twenty plus years of schizophrenia is taking even a physical toll. I’m even scared to answer my door.

Plugging Along Through Summer With A Mental Illness

Mentally I’m still stable for the most part.  I sometimes have moments of irritability and anxiety.  They usually last for only a few minutes.  I’m glad I haven’t lashed out at anyone because of these bouts.  I fear with as on edge as most people are these days, my lashing out at even family wouldn’t go over well.  So far I’ve been able to fit and fume to myself and keep these flare ups from blowing up into breakdowns.

My cleaning lady is back on the job.  She comes back in a couple days.  I miss my neighbors.  I was sad to see them leave.  But I am coping alright.

The college football season is all but cancelled in the US.  I’m sad to see this happen but I hope it can come back next fall and we have a mass produced vaccine before long.  I have heard that Russia already has one that they are trying to mass produce.  Reports like this give me hope that the rest of the world can have vaccines soon.  Several other countries, including the US, already have vaccines in human trials.  A hospital in my state was looking for volunteers to test out a possible vaccine.  If I didn’t have a mental illness, I probably would have signed up.

Been sleeping well lately.  I usually sleep four or five hours at a time in the night.  I usually wake at least once to visit the restroom.  If I pace myself and stretch before I get out of bed, I can avoid the worst of the morning aches and pains.  It does take a few minutes, but if I stretch my legs and back before I get out of bed I can get around alright in the mornings.  I still take some advil with breakfast every morning.  I usually take it only once a day.  The daily aches and pains are about the only part of being middle age I don’t care for.  I do miss my easy mobility but I do like the idea of becoming a wise elder. Maybe I can put my knowledge to work afterall.

 

Social Media Detox, Caffeine Detox, and Holding Onto Close Friends and Family

Mentally I’m feeling stable, at least as stable as a schizophrenic can be during a pandemic and economic depression.  I think it helps that I don’t watch the news or spend much time on social media anymore.  I have a few friends I hear from on facebook, but I no longer participate in any groups.  I may read posted articles about science and tech, but I no longer comment on them.  Too many people just looking for arguments.  And I’m burned out on it.  I no longer have the patience to deal with people I never met who wouldn’t dare act that way to someone in person.  Over the last few years, I’ve also purged close to 80 percent of my friends’ list.  So much for social media bringing people together.  At least I still hear from old friends and some family.

Been out and about a few times over the last week.  I still keep to myself mostly.  My neighbors moved out a week ago.  I’m sad they are gone.  They were the best neighbors I ever had in my entire life even going back to childhood.

I have been staying up later and waking up later the last few weeks.  I usually stay awake until midnight, wake up in the middle of the night at least once, and them am awake for good by 9 am.  I have odd dreams, but they aren’t scary.  Mostly they are about having to redo high school or college or about friends from my past.

Been cutting back on caffeine.  I’m giving up coffee.  It’s makes me too irritable.  I mostly drink just water anymore.  I rarely eat carbs.  I don’t even buy bread.  Most of the groceries I buy are frozen meat, canned vegetables, soups, etc.  I haven’t been having problems getting what I need lately.  But I still stock up on non perishables in case there are shortages again.  I fear we still have a long way to go for this pandemic and depression to be over.

Quarantine Journal: July 16 2020

Been getting out of my apartment for short periods of time the last few days.  For awhile I had been afraid to leave my place except to pick up deliveries.  A pandemic and a tendency to be afraid of being in public are a nasty mixture.  I’m lifting weights again.  I had taken a few weeks off.  I’m having fewer aches and pains, even in the mornings.  I’m listening to more music again.  Listening to mostly material I liked in high school and college.  It just makes me feel good, maybe it reminds me of when I was in better health and had a better social life.

Starting to sleep less again.  Been staying up later most nights.  I’m now usually up until at least 11pm most nights.  For most of the spring I was going to sleep shortly after sunset and waking up for good shortly after sunrise.  I usually now sleep from 11pm to 8am, with a wake up around 3am to visit the bathroom.

We’ve had pretty hot weather since mid May.  I’m starting to look forward to autumn again.  I usually spend my afternoons reading and watching youtube shows.  Mentally I’ve been feeling stable for the last few weeks.  It helps that I’m not on social media much these days.  Most people I can either call or write emails to.

Quarantine Journal: July 13 2020

Today is the four month anniversary of when I started my volunteer quarantine for this coronavirus pandemic.  I haven’t gone out much these last four months except to pick up deliveries and check my mail.  Been fortunate that I had a couple neighbors help with my laundry and apartment cleaning.  I am starting to get more mobile again as I have fewer aches and pains.  Even the mornings aren’t too bad if I just give myself a couple minutes to loosen my muscles after sleeping.

Haven’t had any symptoms of the virus yet.  There have been dozens of people in my town who have been sick.  Mentally I am sometimes stressed.  Glad I don’t have much for paranoia these days.  Summers can be tough for me to begin with, especially August and early September.  I think it’s helped that I limit my time on social media and limit my exposure to regular news.  I get most of my news online instead of regular cable channels.  I do occasionally watch Bloomberg online via youtube.  But that is more business and tech news than anything.

I keep in contact with friends and family on a daily basis.  Talked to my nephews and niece this afternoon.  They are visiting the grandparents right now.  I sometimes envy my parents being so close to the rest of the family and living in a larger area with more options for medical care, entertainment, etc.  But I probably couldn’t enjoy much of this as I no longer have a car.  I still have my drivers’ license but I haven’t driven in almost a year.  I just got too much sensory overload and I didn’t feel like I was safe operating a car.  Besides, I’ve rediscovered the joy of staying at home, eating home cooked meals, and hosting guests in my own home as a result.

Haven’t watched much new for tv.  Did finish Upload on Amazon a few weeks ago.  Been listening to audiobooks quite a bit.  Started a new video game, well new to me anyway.  Been working on Final Fantasy 15 for the last few days.  I like games like that and Skyrim.  They are a good change up from the Civilization, Total War, and Sim City games that are my usual fare.

My best friend from college and his wife are expecting their second child in less than two weeks.  They have a two year old daughter.  And my oldest nephew will be taking his drivers’ license test in a few days.  It’s fun watching these kids grow up and develop traits and personalities of their own.  Yet I am thankful I didn’t have children of my own, at least with my mental illness.  Maybe I could have made a decent father and husband had I never become schizophrenic.  I’ll never know.  I rarely dwell on the ‘what could have been’, certainly not like I did ten years ago.  The only times I do the what if game is when I am in a mental breakdown.  Glad those don’t happen very often, usually only a few times per year.  As it is, if I can’t be a father and husband, I can do the next best thing and be a great friend, a great uncle, and a great son to my parents.  Even as a middle aged man getting a few gray hairs in my beard, I will always be my mom and dad’s son.

 

Hermiting, Covid 19, and Schizophrenia

Been isolating and staying home for the last several days.  I do all my communication through social media and phone calls.  My cleaning lady had to have surgery so she’s out for probably a few months.  My neighbors come by and help out every few days.  Overall I’m burned out on dealing with people in person.  People actually scare me anymore.  The less I deal with them, at least in person, the better.

Currently working on audiobooks.  Recently listened to The Economic Singularity by Callum Chase.  Currently working on The Rise of The Robots by Martin Ford.  A friend of mine is trying to talk me into reading the Dune and Foundation series.  I read the first Foundation a year ago.  But I got soured on science fiction as a teenager when movies like The Terminator, Gattaca, and The Matrix were really big.  I have enough dystopia in my own life.  Why in the hell would I want to escape to that?  Recently read 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harrahi.

I spend almost all of my time avoiding people.  These are real scary times for me, especially living in low income housing, being on disability, and dealing with mostly angry, irrational, and illogical people.  It seems like most people I personally know just want to fight all the time.  I’m through with that.  I’m ready to move past the anger phase.  Too bad almost no one I know is.  I am thankful I don’t live in a large city.  I am thankful I can hermit and stay home.  I am thankful I don’t have to deal with angry and stupid people anymore than I already have to.  I don’t see how most people can deal with this.  I know I couldn’t.

Self Quarantine: May 16 2020

Had my parents and my brother as guests the last couple days.  Got a new recliner and my home was redecorated.  My new chair feels so good.  I think I could sleep in it if I wanted.  It feels good to have my paintings and flags rehung.  The walls looked barren the last several weeks with nothing up.

Been getting lots of rain the last few days.  I have my blinds open all the time to let sunshine in, at least whatever we can get.  The weather has turned warmer.  I’m glad winter is over.

Sleeping better the last few nights.  Been napping more too.  Spent much of today sleeping as I was awake late last night.  I get lots of sleep even if it is at odd hours.  And I don’t feel as stiff and sore when I wake up now.

Was feeling more paranoid and depressed until a few days ago.  Since the middle of the week, things have been more bearable.  The last two days with my family went excellent.

Got some groceries yesterday.  About the only thing I have problems getting now is ground beef.  Things are slowly starting to open back up.  The restaurants and bars in my town are reopening on the 18th of May.  I hope that those who lost jobs during the pandemic either get them back or find something better.

 

May 3 2020

Got some groceries this weekend.  I was able to get the frozen meat I needed.  I picked up some more cleaning supplies.  I have an order of facemasks coming in a few days.  Those have been tough getting.

Still spending all of my time at home.  It’s starting to get to me a little.  I find myself easily irritated and a little paranoid occasionally.  Glad it doesn’t last long.  I still sleep a great deal.  I usually sleep ten hours a day now.  I have started taking naps in the afternoon again.

Mornings are my toughest time for aches and pains.  I don’t move as quickly as I used to.  My aches are primarily in my knees.  A few minutes of moving around seem to help as much as anything.

Haven’t been to a doctor since December.  I imagine most doctors aren’t seeing anyone for anything unless it’s an emergency.  I can’t imagine how tough this pandemic has been on mentally ill people without regular treatment.  It’s tough enough for me and I take meds every day.

February 21 2020

Overall I’m feeling pretty decent.  I usually make a point of leaving my apartment at least once a day or host guests.  Whenever I have delivery people come, I usually meet them on the ground floor lobby instead of wait in my apartment.  Been doing this for a week.  It gets me out of the apartment and forces me to socialize more.

Started reading more again.  Had been lazy about that for almost two weeks.  I usually go to bed around 9pm and wake in the middle of the night.  I stay up for usually two to three hours and then go back to sleep, usually until 7am.

I have been fighting a minor cold for a few days.  Just taking vitamin C pills and drinking hot fluids until this clears.  Second cold I’ve had this winter as I had one around New Year’s.

Spring is a few weeks away.  This winter hasn’t seemed as long as some previous winters.  I’m looking forward to warmer weather again and not having to sit under a blanket most of the time.

Mentally I feel pretty decent for the most part.  I sometimes have moments of anxiousness and irritability.  Fortunately I can break out of it usually after a few minutes.  I’m glad I haven’t had problems in front of neighbors or family lately.  Sometimes breathing exercises and just disconnecting for several minutes is enough to let it pass by.

I still talk to my parents two to three times per week.  I call my brother two to three times a month.  He’s usually pretty busy with work and taking kids to sports practices or school activities.  My oldest nephew is a freshman in high school.

Talk to my friends more often.  I have a couple I try to reach out to at least once a day on facebook.  I don’t do much with my groups other than just read posted articles.  I just no longer have the energy or desire to engage in long discussions online except with friends and family.  I see my neighbors a few times a week.  They were kind enough to make dinner for me earlier in the week.

Don’t have much planned for the weekend.  Probably just go outdoors for awhile if the weather isn’t too bad.  Might sleep in too.