I’m Lonely But I Fear Socializing

Been staying home most days lately. I have started sleeping less overall. I do most of my socializing online and over the phone. Most of my friends are struggling during the pandemic. Two of my friends had to apply for rent assistance and are relying on food pantries. And this is while working full time jobs. Another friend of mine has had several nervous breakdowns, has stress induced migraines almost every day, and is afraid her company will start layoffs. Another friend of mine isn’t taking the pandemic very serious and thinks all the protesters are complaining over nothing and that we should lift all restrictions on everything and let the virus take it’s course. I have been avoiding him for the last few weeks. I had a major falling out with one of my best friends because he had become very nasty about his political and anti science beliefs. I haven’t talked to him in over three years.

I keep my social interactions very limited now. I find it frightening how hateful, spiteful, short sighted, and hopeless most people I know have become. About the only hopeful person I know is my own mother. Even my father is very pessimistic and depressing, but at least he isn’t hateful. I don’t talk to my brother and his family much because they are so busy with their careers. But then my brother and I never had a relationship. We just have nothing in common. Never did.

I’m in that part of my depression where I’m lonely but I fear socializing. I don’t want to die but I am afraid that the future will only be worse than it is now. Even though the science, tech, and medicine keep improving, the people I know keep getting angrier and spiteful. It’s draining. I hate not having much of a social network. But, what’s the point of having a social network if most people are just going to make me feel worse? I guess I swing from hopeless optimism to hopeless pessimism, often several times a day.

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.

Quarantine Journal: July 28 2020

Staying home almost all of the time anymore.  When I last got out for several hours, I was disappointed to see most people were not wearing masks.  Are people stupid?  Do they not take this virus serious?  Do most people this is some kind of conspiracy or prank?  I don’t get most people.  I never have.  And it’s only gotten worse the older I have become.

As of right now, with so many of my neighbors not wearing masks or taking sanitation seriously, I won’t leave my apartment or welcome guests unless absolutely necessary.  I no longer want to deal with rude and inconsiderate people.  And since that seems to be what most people I know are, I will just keep to myself unless necessary.

I have to wonder if other countries are having similar problems with people not taking this virus serious.  It’s disappointing.  For years I have heard this “love it or leave it” nonsense.  As if there isn’t anything from the rest of the world my countrymen can learn from other peoples.  It saddens me to see so much arrogance and prideful ignorance among the people I live around.  And now many countries won’t even accept travel from my country.  Even if many people wanted to leave, they couldn’t do so.  Too many people I know are arrogant and out of touch with reality.  I can’t imagine that it was always this way.  It’s discouraging.  And I fear that it is the same way everywhere.  Normal people suck, especially in times of crisis.  Thank God I’m not normal.

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.

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.

Memorial Day Weekend 2020

Been feeling pretty decent overall the last few days.  My neighbors hosted a cookout.  We had barbecued pork.  It was exactly what I needed.  Been having fewer aches and pains the last several days.  My parents bought me some new furniture.  My new recliner is several inches higher than my previous ones.  It feels good to finally have a chair where I’m not sitting so low.  Getting in low chairs was never a problem, but getting out was becoming a problem with my sore knees.

Still sleeping more.  I often sleep during the days.  I sometimes wake up for a couple hours in the overnight.  Mentally I feel more stable.  I saw my parents and my brother last week.  I hadn’t seen my brother in a couple years.  It was good to touch base with him.  We weren’t really close as kids.  But at least we are making up for that as adults.

Paranoia and Fear With Mental Illness

I’ve now spent two months in self quarantine.  While things are opening back up, I’m still staying home.  I’m still paranoid about leaving my apartment.  And I sometimes have anxiety problems.  At least they don’t last very long.  I’ve had only one breakdown since self quarantine started.  That was about a month ago.

I find myself wanting to sleep more.  Sometimes I sleep just out of depression.  Sometimes I’ll just lay in bed for a couple hours in the afternoon just to let my mind wander.  I occasionally have hallucinations, especially as I try to fall asleep.  I often hear footsteps of people that aren’t there.  I sometimes hear knocks on my door when no one is there.  I sometimes hear doors open and close.  And I’m beginning to get paranoid around some of my neighbors.  I sometimes fear they secretly don’t like me and want to get me evicted.  I sometimes fear people will try to break into my place and rob me, sometimes even during daylight hours.  I’m scared my neighbors will try to pick arguments and fights with me sometimes.  It just seems that people are more angry and quicker to fight lately.

I no longer find socializing enjoyable.  I spend most of my time at home.  I’ll sweet talk my neighbors into picking up my mail once a week just so I don’t have to be forced to socialize.  I’m scared I’ll get into a heated conversation that I wanted nothing to do with in the first place.  I don’t even find socializing over the phone very enjoyable anymore.  I fear people will think I’m rude if I don’t want to talk.  So I sometimes lie and say I have another call or someone knocking on my door if I need to end a conversation quickly.  I just don’t want to socialize anymore.  Some days I want to spend all day in bed.  But I don’t simply because I’m paranoid that someone will knock on my door or call my phone and I’ll be expected to answer at a moment’s notice.  I fear people get angry with me if I have to make them wait at all.  I’ve had this fear for most of my life.

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.

Dealing With Loss, Isolation, and Declining Health

Haven’t written for a few days.  I’m only now recovered from the holidays.  I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it’s 2020.  I am understanding why my grandmother said that time only goes faster the older you get.  I’m going to be 40 this summer.  Mentally I don’t feel any decline.  If anything, I feel mentally sharper and stronger than ever.  Physically, my body can no longer keep up with my mind.  It’s been this way for a couple years now.  I would love to be able to road trip and visit friends in person and go to concerts and ballgames at a moment’s notice like I did in my late 20s and early 30s.  But the body can no longer keep up.  I don’t know how much of it is aging, how much of it is the toll of two decades fighting a severe mental illness, how much of it is being overweight, etc.  At this point I guess it doesn’t matter either way.  I am pretty much content to stay home, chat with my old friends online, read my books, mess with my computers, and watch the events of our time and place unfold from my apartment.

Found out right before Christmas one of my college classmates died.  He was only 40.  He worked at a mental health hospital and was a compassionate man.  I hadn’t talked to him much since graduation.  I’m glad we found each other on facebook and were able to reestablish contact shortly before he died.  And then just yesterday I found out another college friend’s cancer has come back.  This time it’s terminal.  The doctors told her she has two to five years at most.  Starting to lose my own friends now.

Seeing most of my friends struggle financially has taken a toll on me.  And now that most of them are in declining physical and mental health and even starting to die is making this only worse.  It has gotten me to think about my own mortality far more than ever.  At my last doctor’s appointment, I was relieved to find I was not diabetic.  The only real problem they found was high blood pressure.  I no longer have much for stamina.  That’s one of the reasons I stay home so much.  Going out in public is now enough of an ordeal that I no longer enjoy it.  Add to this that most people I know are more stressed and short tempered than ever, I have no want to leave my apartment.  I have enough problems of my own to catch an ear full from my neighbors and landlord.  Sometimes I get in trouble even just staying at home.  Most people in my complex think I’m moving out or getting evicted because I never go out in public anymore.  Naturally, lots of rumors are going around.  No I’m not moving.  As far as I know, I’m not in danger of being evicted.  Though for the last few years I’ve lived in near constant paranoia that I was.  It’s mainly because most people are just so angry and short tempered constantly.  It didn’t used to be this way.  I actually used to enjoy socializing.  Then three of my best friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other in 2014 and 2015.  From there my social life fell apart.  Other than a few neighbors, I literally have no friends within a fifty mile radius.  I don’t think most people know or care how tough socializing is for a middle aged man with a disability and no immediate family nearby.  I just keep to myself anymore.  I would rather be alone than have to fight with neighbors, coworkers, and complete strangers all the time.