Chronic Back Pain with Schizophrenia

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.

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Looking Forward To Fall

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Now that my back has completely healed I’ve been getting out of my apartment more the last couple weeks.  At my most recent doctor’s appointment I found out I gained 15 pounds this summer.  Most of this is no doubt due to lack of physical activity and my eating too much comfort foods.  I did spend  this summer with alternating periods of depression and irritability.  I spent too much time indoors and exercising my mind and not enough exercising my body.  In short, this summer has been a loss in terms of physical health and activity.  The only positive of this summer is that I’m posting more on this blog and have gotten some more audience.

But fall is just a few weeks away.  I can already tell the days are getting shorter.  We also are no longer having several days in a row with nothing but scorching heat.  Looking ahead I see that we’re supposed to have some more cooler weather over the next several days.  I have spent most of my afternoons indoors avoiding the heat.  Since I spent the first month of summer on the mend I never adjusted to the warmer weather.  I normally have bad times during the summer.  Besides the blow ups on a couple friends I haven’t had any real serious problems this summer.  I know that I still have another three to four weeks of traditionally bad times ahead.  Hopefully I can make it through without anything else major.  I made it through last summer before having problems in October but I think working through my grandmother’s death made me more resilient because I had no options.  So my problems last year weren’t avoided as much as they were delayed.  So far things look good mentally.

I have been bored by the forced inactivity this summer.  Besides seeing my family a few times I really haven’t had much for social activity since Memorial Day.  But with the weather starting to get cooler and the nights starting to get longer, maybe my social activities will increase in the coming weeks.  I admit I am not sorry to see this summer go. I’m ready for cooler weather again.

 

Finally Some Routine

I have not had my typical summer experience this year.  After hurting my back I couldn’t exercise for six weeks.  I couldn’t even sleep in a regular bed for almost two months.  I didn’t travel anywhere for the first month of summer because I’d get back pain even from driving.  I still haven’t been outside of my hometown much this summer.  I plan on spending a weekend in the middle of August at the family acreage so I can watch the late summer meteor showers.  That has become kind of a tradition for me for the last several years.  I really haven’t done much in terms of fun activities and socializing this summer.  And it was mainly due to hurting my back at the start of the season.

I finally built up enough stamina to get a good exercise in the park done.  I went on one of the hiking trails for awhile.  Hopefully I can get some good exercise in so I can build back my stamina by the time the weather cools off for autumn.  I am so far behind and I’m sure I gained weight during this six weeks of forced inactivity.

Had my twice monthly therapy session this morning.  It doesn’t really feel like stereotypical therapy as I’m not lying on a couch and confessing my darkest fears and thoughts to a Sigmund Freud look alike.  It kind of feels like I’m talking to an old friend as far as therapy goes.  I know it’s his job to listen and offer feedback as necessary so I know he’s not a traditional friend.  But I do consider him a rent a friend.  I haven’t been feeling really depressed or agitated for over two weeks.  I think it helps that I’m not drinking as much caffeine anymore and I have somewhat of a more healthy diet.  Forcing myself to get out of the apartment and get even twenty minutes of sunshine and a few minutes of walking isn’t hurting either.

Talked to my landlady this afternoon.  The request for my new carpet has been approved.  She also wants to repaint my walls and even replace my stove.  So I’ll probably have to vacate my apartment for a few days just to let them work without me being in the way.  Kind of tough to believe I’ve lived in the same apartment for ten years.  I lived in the same house for the first nineteen years of my life, but I changed bedrooms a couple times in that span.  I have lived in this apartment longer than anywhere besides my childhood house.  Barring any major holdups I’ll have new carpet, new wall paint, and a new stove by the end of the month.

I’m back to exercising again.  I’m back to feeling less depressed and aggravated.  I’m getting my apartment remodeled.  My insurance case from last year’s auto accident is all but settled.  I’m even losing my slight phobia of driving.  It’s as if a bunch of unresolved issues in my life are begin resolved all at once.  And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

Getting Back To Stability

It’s been almost three weeks since I threw out my back.  I can get around pretty decent for the most part.  The mornings are the only difficulty, especially the first time I stand up after waking.  In spite of my back issues I’ve been socializing more.  I went to a writers’ support group on Monday night for the first time in over a year.  Told people about my blog.  My blog is the primary writing activity I have right now.  I do occasionally write poetry but there is such a limited market for poetry.  I haven’t written any kind of fiction for almost three years.  But then I’ve always preferred reading nonfiction to fiction.

Mentally I’ve been very stable for quite awhile.  I call at least one person over the phone every day now.  Usually family or close friends.  Things have gotten a little less contentious  at my apartment complex in recent months.  We’ve had a couple problem residents I haven’t seen in weeks so I’m guessing they moved out.  After ten years in the same complex I really don’t pay much attention to who moves in and who moves out.  I just pretty much keep to myself and the handful of friends I have here.  The friend I made back in the winter moved out a month ago.  But I’m kind of used to that by now.

I rejoined my old writers support group.  I’m probably going to rejoin my mental illness support group as soon as my back clears up.  There is a second writers’ support group that meets twice monthly at the local library that I’m joining starting next week.  In short I’m beginning to put myself out there socially.

Been seriously tracking my diet for a week.  I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost.  Probably not as much as I normally would as I’m not yet very active.  I won’t be very active until my back completely heals.  The best I can do right now is put strict limits on what I eat and keep a positive mind set.

Today is also my birthday.  I am now 36 years old.  I don’t have much planned today besides going out to lunch with my family.  Can’t really do a great deal for at least the short term.  But the back has cleared immensely since two weeks ago.  I just have to keep doing things to encourage the healing process until I’m back to full speed.

Healing From Back Pain With Mental Illness

My back has mostly healed by now.  About the only time I feel any kind of pain is when walking longer than five minutes at a time.  Probably doesn’t sound like much but ten days ago I was getting this shooting pains that felt like electric shocks in my back almost every time I stood up.  I still haven’t gotten brave enough to try to sleep on my back.  I’ll probably sleep in the recliner for another night or two.  But today is the first day I haven’t put ice on my back at all for almost two weeks.  I have definitely been limited by this back injury.  I imagine I would have been fired for missing so much work had I still been working.  Part of the reason I don’t mind not working; I can heal at my own natural speed.

I saw the chiropractor on Tuesday.  She was happy that I was making good progress.  She seems to think I’m recovering faster than normal.  I don’t go back in for at least another month but that should just be basic maintenance.  I’m glad I was able to get my back mostly cleared after only three visits.

The worst part about this back injury was I couldn’t exercise and I got lazy about my dieting.  I’m sure I gained several pounds over the last two weeks.  Today is the first day in awhile I’m tracking everything I’m eating again.  It’s worked in the past.  It’s the biggest thing that worked in the past.  No reason it can’t work again.

The days have been kind of boring these last two weeks as I healed from my back problems.  I played more Civilization 5 and Skyrim in the last two weeks than the previous three months.  As much as I like computer games, even a geek like myself knows there’s far more to life than just sitting in front of a computer.  I have been getting outside more the last three days.  I make it a point to stand up every two or three hours and walk around for a few minutes.  Ran some errands yesterday and bought a few shirts.  Since I’m not fashion obsessed I can get by pretty cheap on clothing.  Most of the stuff I get is pretty plain.  I wear mainly t-shirts and occasionally polo shirts.  I don’t have much for dress clothes since I worked mainly manual labor jobs most of my adulthood.  I think I look like one of the hired thugs from ‘The Sopranos’ when dressed up anyway.  Regardless my wardrobe was due for a few updates.

The back is almost completely healed.  I probably have another few days of nagging pains.  So I may be taking it a little easier until the weekend.  Since I started tracking what I eat again (I had been lazy about that for several weeks), I’m ready to get back on track with the weight loss.

Keeping A Positive Mental Outlook

Been on the mend from a bad back for a week and a half.  Today was a good day.  I was able to get outside a few times today and get a little sunshine.  I’m still doing the ibuprofen and ice.  I walk short distances every few hours to break up the boredom.  My back is much better than this time a week ago.  But it will probably be another few days of ice and rest before I’m back to normal.

Fortunately I’ve managed to keep from slipping into prolonged depression during these last several days.  Haven’t had hallucinations or delusions either.  Been playing more computer games and watching more youtube in the last week than I really wanted.  I had to get outside a few times today.  I needed to rework my legs a little.  My back has healed enough that I can walk short distances with no problem.  I can’t do my serious walking and exercise routines yet.  But I do what I can.  I have another chiropractic appointment tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully won’t need much more.  I can tell the back is much better now.  I see that a return to normal is within sight.

Back Pains and Missing Out on Summer

I’m still healing from my back pain.  I’m able to walk short distances again.  I was able to run some errands three days ago so I don’t really have to leave my apartment for the next several days.  But since my back is clearing up I really think I should be back to normal within a few days.  I’ve been sleeping in a recliner the last few nights to rest my back.  The last time I try to sleep on my back I could barely get out of bed.  My routine has definitely been thrown off since I hurt my back.  And the worst part is I don’t know what I did to cause my back pain.

The weather has gotten much warmer just about the time I hurt my back.  Haven’t been able to get out and enjoy it at all.  I usually go to the park several times a week during the summer.  Haven’t been able to do this for almost two weeks.  Makes me feel like I’m missing out.  But I can’t rush this recovery.  I tried to rush things a few days ago and it set me back at least a day.

Been holding up mentally during most of this process.  I’ve had a few moments of depression and irritability during those times of weakness.  When I first hurt my back I thought I’d need two or three days of ibuprofen and ice and I’d be back to normal.  Didn’t turn out that way.  I haven’t had crushing bouts of depression during the last week and a half I’ve been mending from this injury.  I’ve had more boredom than anything.  But even with the boredom I haven’t called friends much during this injury.  I just haven’t had much to talk about with my friends during the last several days.  That’s probably the most depressing part of the whole deal.  Being on the mend has made me really feel like I’ve lost connection to my neighbors, my community, and my friends.  I haven’t done anything socially since I hurt my back.  It really has been boring.  Fortunately I haven’t had any relapse of the psychiatric problems in these last days.

I have pretty much spent most of my days playing computer games, watching youtube videos, and watching baseball games.  Not exactly really thrilling but there’s only so much I can do until my back returns to normal.  I have called my parents every other day to have some resemblance of a social life.  I can’t wait until my back finally clears up.  This certainly has made me appreciate my physical health more.