Being A Sports Fan With Mental Illness

Things have settled down a great deal the last couple weeks.  So I guess I haven’t had much to report.  Been staying close to my complex and avoiding the mid summer heat wave.  And the days are starting to get shorter.  School will be starting in about three weeks in my home state.  Fall sports practices start in a few days.  Pro football’s training camps are already going.

Football is probably my favorite overall sport to watch, followed by baseball, soccer, and basketball.  I love the strategy involved in football.  I like baseball in that it is played almost everyday and is more relaxed than football and basketball.  I always did enjoy going to baseball games.  When I was in college, I used to go to my college’s home baseball games all the time, at least when I didn’t have classes those afternoons.  It helped that I had a few friends on the team and my best friend played baseball in high school.  My college didn’t have a football team, but the local high school played their home games near our campus.  So a few of us who were football players in high school would go to a few games a year.  We did have a soccer team.  I didn’t start following soccer until a few years ago when the U.S. women’s team won the World Cup.  If the U.S. men’s or women’s team is on, I’ll make it a point to watch.  But I really don’t have a favorite pro team.

I do like watching football.  For several years it was the only reason I kept my cable hook up.  But now I can get most of the live games I want to watch online.  For a few years I would have the Nebraska Huskers game on my tv and another game going on my computer.  October is always a favorite time of year for watching sports for me.  Football season is going, baseball playoffs are starting, the European soccer leagues are going, basketball practice is starting, and hockey is going too.

I bring all of this up to mention that even mentally ill people can like sports.  One of my old friends from one of my support groups was a living football almanac even though I don’t he ever played outside of youth leagues.  Huge Kansas City Chiefs fan.  And we had a lady who was the exact same way but a huge Denver Broncos fan.  Naturally the group leader occasionally had to redirect the discussions to include everyone else.  And we had a third man who was a huge baseball fan.

Granted sometimes the ribbing between fans online and in person can wear on me, especially if I have been having a rough time with the mental illness.  I admit I take things more personal than is healthy.  But this is the nature of the illness.  I usually excuse myself from such discussions.  At least sports fans aren’t as hostile to each other as people are about politics, not from my experience anyway.  Because of the ribbing some fans give each other, and sometimes I get kind of jittery during close games, I usually don’t watch ballgames with anyone besides close friends and family.  I’ve been to sports bars and restaurants with friends, but usually not when my Huskers or Rockies were playing.  I know some people really love how a sports team can bring a diverse community together, but I guess it is a solo intellectual pursuit for me (as are most things).

I do love watching a good sporting event.  But I guess I can do with less heckling and trolling from other fans.  But since I can’t control everyone else, I just don’t engage in that kind of activity to start with.

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Mid Winter and Push For Spring

It’s been a good weekend and I’m looking forward to the start of this new week.  Got most of the issues from my last post resolved.  Had to focus more than usual and just spend more time than usual resolving things.  Being free to fit and fume helped too. Sometimes I just have to get a good rant off my mind and out of my system.  I’ve been having as many rants as previously but, fortunately, they have turned into breakdowns only once in the last year.  I don’t know if I’m getting calmer in my middle age years or if I’m just getting better at coping with the hang ups of schizophrenia.  Either way it feels much better than even five years ago, certainly more than fifteen years ago when I was still figuring out what limitations the illness placed on me.

Tomorrow, February 12, is the birthday of one of my cousins and one of my best friends.  My father had a birthday earlier in the month and my mother’s is in a few days.  For being the shortest month of the year, I sure know lots of people with February birthdays. I guess birthdays are a good reason to celebrate during the otherwise cold and drawn out days of middle winter.  Baseball spring training games start in a couple weeks, so I look forward to that.  My Rockies made the playoffs the last two years, but lost out early on both times.  Hopefully they can put together something special this year.  I attending one of their World Series games in Denver with a college friend in 2007.  Even though the Rockies lost the Series, seeing that game in person and experiencing that type of atmosphere is one of the highlights of my twenties.

In other reasons to look forward to spring, my best friend is a huge Game of Thrones fan.  The new season will be starting on April 14, ironically the day before tax deadline here in USA.  I don’t watch the series only because I’d rather not pay to get HBO, but I have seen enough highlights on youtube that I do know some of the characters and story lines.  Sometimes I like to give her a little ribbing about GoT fans being as crazy as some of us football and baseball fans, but I mean it all in good fun.  Just from watching highlights on youtube I can understand how people can follow the series like they do.  I play Skyrim a great deal and joke it’s similar to an interactive version of GoT.  I intentionally tried to design the character I’m currently using to look like Jon Snow.  While it kind of does, my character does bare a striking resemblance to Daniel Day-Lewis in the old Last of The Mohicans movie, which is one of my all time favorite movies.

It’s been a long and cold winter it seems.  Have been lucky to avoid the snow amounts most of the country has gotten so far.  But I’m looking forward to warmer and sunny weather again.  I forced myself outside into prolonged sunlight at least once a week no matter how cold it is just to get some Vitamin D.  It seems to help alleviate the boredom of winter.  But spring officially starts in only five weeks.  We’re more than halfway through winter, or summer for my Southern Hemisphere readers.

August 7, 2018

Been uneventful for a few days.  I’m no longer staying awake all night and sleeping most of the day.  Most of my waking time anymore is during daylight hours.  Mentally I feel stable.  I am starting to get a few more aches and pains I can’t really explain.  But I have been more active than usual.  I’m reading more books again.  For awhile most of what I was reading was online articles and audio books.  I’m currently reading ‘The Inevitable’ by Kevin Kelly.  It’s a future tech trends book.

I watch more live tv now, mostly baseball and soccer.  I still don’t watch most news as most of it is just bad news meant to catch our attention.  All the news that fit to be print, right?  I don’t have any regular shows I watch besides some Star Trek reruns on Netflix.  I do watch a lot of history shows on youtube.  I recently watched Crash Course’s entire world history series.  I always did get a kick out of John Green.

While I do get out more often, I still don’t stray too far from my neighborhood.  Haven’t really been outside of my hometown for almost six weeks.  But I am just comfortable and content to stay close to home and did most of my business here.

I think I’m losing weight again.  I notice my clothes fit looser and I can walk a little farther than I could even a few weeks ago.  I think my aches and pains are from more physical activity than usual.  I can also lift more weight than usual.  Weight lifting does make a difference even after a month.

Rebirth of Spring and Readjusting Accordingly

Now that spring has started and the days are longer than the nights, I’m going to attempt to readjust my sleep schedule.  I’m in the second day of this so I think it will be kind of a bumpy ride for the next few days.  I just woke up and got out of the bath tub and it’s right at 3 am as I write this.  I went to bed around 12 am but decided to get up once I could no longer sleep.  Usually taking my medications earlier in the night helps me to fall asleep sooner.  I did fall asleep at midnight instead of the usual 6 am.  But of course I didn’t sleep the night through.  But I have always had problems sleeping an entire night even as a child.  So my mom gave me a reading light so I could read and stay quiet while everyone else in the house slept.  By the time I got to high school I didn’t have a traditional bed time, I just had to be up by 7 am every morning so I didn’t miss school.  But I am starting to adjust to sleeping at night rather than in the day.

Yesterday I spent much of the day with unexplainable aches and pains, namely in my back.  First time in weeks I had such problems.  But after a couple hot baths and a few advil pills I was back to normal.  I have also noticed I feel fewer aches and pains on days when I don’t eat sugar or lots of processed foods.  Usually if I stick to water, vegetables, and fresh cooked meat I can do quite alright.

I am so looking forward to the warm weather and long days of spring.  Baseball starts in a week so I’ll have games on in the background when I’m doing my evening activities.  My Rockies had a decent season last year and bigger things are expected this year.  I hope they don’t disappoint.

Now the weather is getting better, I usually keep my windows open during daylight hours.  Since I’m awake in the day light hours more than I was this winter, I had forgotten how much I enjoy the smell of fresh air and the feel of a light breeze.  There are a lot of trees on my property and in my hometown and they are starting to bud again.  I’m sure we will have at least one quick hitting April blizzard like we usually do.  But I am glad winter has passed.  It was a tough winter for me, at least in terms of socializing and moving around.  It was tough that I would sometimes go entire days without leaving my apartment.  Hopefully that nonsense is over.  I’m ready for warmer weather, flowers in the park, and the occasional sun burn.  No season is perfect but at least I won’t be seeing nothing but ice, snow, and gray sky for weeks on end anymore.

Late Summers, Changes in Diet, and Mental Stability

Late summers have traditionally been a tough time for me dealing with mental illness.  I usually have to be real careful from late July to early September.  So far this year has been different.  It could be due to reducing my stress levels and avoiding stressful people and places.  It could be due to the medication changes I made a few months ago.  And it could be due to changes in my diet.  I now don’t eat much wheat or anything that’ll upset my stomach.  I have found that I feel better on days I don’t eat bread than on days I do.  I have had stomach problems in the past.  Stomach issues aren’t uncommon in people with depression and mental health issues.  I pretty much limit myself to lots of protein and vegetables anymore.  About the only grains I eat on a regular basis anymore are rice based foods.  Rice seems to be easier on me than wheat and other grains.

When I do go to restaurants I don’t order things like french fries or most other fried foods.  I do occasionally treat myself to chicken strips at KFC.  I have pretty much also cut out sugar too.  When I do crave caffeine, I usually opt for green tea, coffee, or diet soda.  I notice I’m less irritable on days I limit sugar consumption.  Easing back on the caffeine was tough the first several days as I would occasionally sleep more than I would like and sometimes experience slight headaches once a day.  But I think I have gotten past the worst of the caffeine withdrawal.  I used to drink four to six cups of coffee a day, certainly not healthy when dealing with mental health problems.

I have found myself eating more vegetables than usual.  Even when I order delivery pizza, I make it a point to get the mostly vegetable pizzas.  I don’t feel as weighed down and bloated after a few slices of vegetable pizza as compared to the all meats or cheeses pizzas.  Since I’m on a limited budget I have to be careful about buying fresh vegetables that won’t spoil within a couple days.  So I usually eat a can of vegetables every days, usually green peas or green beans.  I have had some good sweet corn, a Midwest late summer tradition.  When I was growing up, it wasn’t uncommon to have sweet corn with dinner three nights  a week during the month of August.  Most of our meals during late summer involved locally grown sweet corn, tomatoes from our garden, and bacon sandwiches.  My parents have introduced my nephews and niece to this August tradition too, even though it will be another few years before the kids develop a taste for tomatoes.

Overall I have felt really decent this summer.  I don’t have much drama to report.  I’m glad that the push for the playoffs in baseball is starting.  I’m also looking forward to the start of football season here in the US in a few weeks.  Fall practice has already begun and school will be starting again in a few days.  I saw that many countries started their soccer seasons this weekend.  I have made a habit of following the US national team since the last World Cup.  I hope we make it to the next one coming up in 2018.  Since the World Cup will be hosted by Russia next summer, I imagine I’ll be watching soccer at a lot of odd hours to adjust for the time differences.  I have kind of gotten into soccer as I have two nephews and a niece who play the game.  Even as a kid I was a slow runner but  didn’t mind getting hit or hitting others.  So that’s why I played football in high school. So that’s why I still watch football in the falls.  But we have made it through the long stretch of summer and fall will be here soon.  It helps that it has been cooler than usual the last several days in my part of the US.  Makes me hopeful for fall and the return of cooler weather.

Change in Seasons and Change in Routines

Spring started a few days ago.  We’re starting to get more rain and the weather is warming up.  Saw my first lightning of the season yesterday.  My fantasy baseball league had it’s draft last night.  Since we’re spread out all over the country now we have to have our league hosted by yahoo.  It’s been an annual tradition for me for the last ten years.  I’ve never won my league as I’m pretty average compared to the eleven other guys in our league.  It’s a diversion for me and an excuse to pay attention to games I wouldn’t normally watch.  The first baseball games start the first Monday in April.  Winter is over.

I saw my psych doctor earlier this week.  According to his scale I gained a pound since my last appointment six weeks earlier.  Hopefully I have stopped the losing streak in terms of gaining weight.  Unfortunately I have gained a lot of weight since my car accident a year and a half ago.  For a long time I was afraid to drive and didn’t go anywhere except to buy groceries and run errands.  I can tell the lack of socializing has hurt me.  I know I’m less patient with people then I used to be.  I am not as spontaneous as I used to be either.

I complained to my psych doctor about my lethargy and lack of motivation.  We increased the doses of some of my medications.  He also suggested I buy some probiotic pills.  He had read a lot of literature stating that people with mental illness problems often have gut health issues too.  He said that gut health and mental health can affect each other.  After a few days on the probiotic pills, I’m noticing I am having some more energy.  I am also not sleeping as much even after only a few days.  I am also having fewer unexplained aches and pains.  I hope this only continues to improve.  My only true complaint about the probiotic pills is they are pricey.  But I am starting to feel better and more energetic overall.

As stable as I usually am during the winter, I am glad that winter is over.  The weather is starting to warm up and I’m not just wanting to stay home and hide out all the time.  I am feeling a sense of hopefulness for the first time in months.  I really think things are starting to settle down.  I haven’t had much settled for me for a long time.  This sense of normalcy is a welcome relief.

End of Winter

The weather is starting to warm up and the days are getting longer.  Spring will be in full effect within a few weeks.  I am enjoying the warmer weather.  I’m getting out of my apartment a few times a day to enjoy the warmer weather.  During the course of the winter I have gotten lazy about cleaning my apartment.  So a few days worth of spring cleaning is in order.  Unfortunately I let my house kind of slide for the colder winter months.

Baseball will also be starting in a few weeks.  I still have several days to do some research before I have to pick my fantasy league baseball team.  Been watching a few pre season games the last few days.  First time I really watched regular tv since the Super Bowl.  February has always been a slow time of year for me.

Been feeling pretty stable mentally overall.  I have started to wake up earlier as I no longer sleep until noon every day.  I don’t sleep as much and I think my body and mind are starting to reenter spring mode again.  I’m not staying up as late either.  Seems to me that my overnight mentality is strongest in the darker days of winter.

I can tell that spring is almost here and winter is all but done.  The weather is warming up, the nights aren’t as long, daylight saving time will begin next weekend in my country, the trees are starting to bud, the grass is a little greener, and it seems that the people around me are getting in better moods as the weather warms and the days get longer.  I had dealt with so many foul moods over the last few months I pretty much isolated for most of the winter.  I just didn’t want to deal with angry people anymore.  But even the people in my life are starting to act more cheerful and optimistic.

Even though I have been making a point to leave my apartment several times every day I still haven’t worked up to taking an extended road trip.  I haven’t been outside of my town since last fall.  I actually made it through the winter with having to fill my gas tank only once I drove so little this winter.  But I think since the weather is starting to warm I may have to make a few trips.  It has gotten old spending most of my time at home and having the bulk of my social interactions taking place over phone and internet.

I am looking forward to spring.  I am glad that winter is all but over.  Won’t be long now.