I’m currently at my parents’ house for a couple days for the Thanksgiving holiday. My brother, his wife, and their four kids are here too. We have seven of us sleeping in the basement but at least I get my old bedroom. That way I can retreat and regroup if need be. But my brothers’ kids are well behaved and old enough they shouldn’t give me many problems.
This is the first time in months I have been back to my old childhood home. A lot has changed in this town since I moved out in 2005. For one, all of my old high school friends have moved away. The cousins that stayed have families of their own. Most of my old teachers have retired or moved to bigger schools. All my grandparents and a couple of my uncles have died. My old grade school was torn down. The retail store I worked in during the summers went out of business. In many ways this isn’t the same town I grew up in during the 80s and 90s. I haven’t been getting back to my parents’ place much the last several years as none of my old friends live around here anymore. In many ways, this is no longer my town. It doesn’t feel like home and it hasn’t for several years.
I bring up growing up and the changes my parents’ place have gone under because, with my mental illness, those years I grew up here seem like someone else’s life. I started having problems with depression and anxiety when I was seventeen. I was doing quite well in school and involved in many different activities. It seemed like I was on the fast track to a career and life of my dreams, at least that was until the depression and anxiety started. Twenty years later, my seventeen year old self wouldn’t even recognize the thirty seven year old man I am now. I imagine my seventeen year old self would have seen who I am today as a failure. Back then I knew nothing of mental illness and disability. Like many teenagers, I also didn’t have as much empathy as many adults who have had their ups and downs, wins and losses.
If nothing else, fighting this mental illness for twenty years has taught me how to have more empathy for people different than myself. It has taught me patience and how to accept things I can’t change. It has taught me that, contrary to popular belief, life isn’t about keeping up with other people. Life is mainly about competing with your self and being the best you that you are capable of being. He who dies with the most toys is just as dead as anyone else in the cemetery.
I haven’t been giving much time to reflecting on the past for the last few years. I have mainly been focused on the present and future possibilities. I normally have little use for nostalgic thoughts. But I’m sure having them now that I’m at my childhood home for the first time in months. I guess the nostalgia has shown me how much I lost because of this mental illness. Yet, in spite of the life that never was, I think I still have a great deal to stay alive for. I’m interested to see what the next twenty years in this life of mental illness will show me. I can only guess what changes will have come by the time 2037 rolls in.
Been getting out a little more the last few days in spite the cold. Saw my psych doctor on a cancelation appointment the other day. We made some adjustments in the psych medications. I added a third med. I also saw a general practice doctor yesterday. We decided to add a blood pressure medication. I’m not really surprised as high blood pressure runs in my family. So it looks like I’m getting out and about more and starting to get back on top of my health. I let a lot of that slide over the last several months when I was sleeping a lot and had no energy.
I haven’t been reading as much as I would like lately. I’ve also been kind of lazy about writing. Mentally I have felt quite stable. Haven’t had any real bouts of depression or anxiety for a long time. The delusions and hallucinations are at a minimum. I still don’t socialize much in person, but I just don’t isolate as much anymore either. I hope I can make more progress with the holidays coming up. It’s been too long since I last had real good socializing.
Been getting more regular sleep the last few days. So I’m returning to some of my old routines. Started lifting weights again. No doubt it’ll take a few weeks to get back into the routine of lifting weights three times a week. I’m eating healthier again. I used to eat fast food about once a day. Haven’t had the stuff for two weeks now. Been getting up around eight a.m. the last several days. Still napping for a couple hours in the afternoons. But I am no longer staying awake most of the nights.
Been going outside a couple times a day for the last few days. Starting to socialize again too. Found out that some of our more problematic residents have moved out. One of the reasons I isolated so much over the last year or so was to avoid these people. I can freely socialize again without fear of running into negative and angry people all the time. Too bad this didn’t happen a few months ago. Some of these individuals were really taxing my sanity and well being.
Had some changes in my medications. So far they seem to be working. As it is I have a several week supply of meds built up in case of emergencies. I think that after several months of less than optimal times, things are starting to look good again.
Since I’m starting to sleep less and more regular hours again, I’m finding myself with more free time. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with this new found freedom and energy. I have pretty much been withdrawn and homebound for awhile. I imagine I need to start contacting friends and family again. I haven’t been a regular on Facebook for over a month. I want to get back in touch with people again. I’m even starting to look forward to the holidays for the first time in a long time. I’m glad to be back on the mend and more active again.
I want to start losing weight again. I’ve been real lazy about diet and exercise since my car accident two years ago. As a result I gained back all the weight I had lost previously. I haven’t been drinking sugared sodas for a couple weeks and I’m cutting back in other places too. I’m eating more vegetables too. Started lifting weights again. Been lazy about that for a long time. So glad I kept my old hand weights during my minimalist purges. Overall things are looking better than usual. Even during my exiles I stayed positive for the most part. But now I am more social and outgoing, it can get even better.
Had some workers do some roofing work at my apartment complex today. So I didn’t get to sleep as much during the day as I normally do. But it was a beautiful day for that kind of work. I’m glad it was done before first snow. Maybe today will help break me of sleeping in the day and being awake at night.
Still staying awake much of the night. This has to be effecting me more than I realize. I still get sleep, it’s just when I get it that’s different from everyone else. I hope this is a phase that will pass before long. Mentally I’m still stable. I don’t have many bad days or flare ups. I still don’t like venturing out on the streets and driving much. It’s kind of tough just wanting to stay home all the time. I didn’t use to be this way. I was always going somewhere as a kid. I preferred going to friends’ houses instead of having them come to mine. Now I have to force myself to leave my apartment every day. Don’t want to get too house bound.
I’m so glad I’m not having bad hallucinations with this current trend of fearing leaving my apartment. I sometimes hear footsteps that aren’t there in addition to the phone ringing when it’s not. At this point it’s more annoying then frightening. I’m glad I’m not dealing with all my past problems in addition to my new ones.
About the only real positive coming out of me staying home more is that I eat less fast food now. So I am eating healthier and cheaper too. I am glad I was taught how to cook when I was growing up. I guess I can find some positives in my current situation.
Started to restock my winter supplies and emergency food. I am now set to the point that I don’t have to venture out for several days if needed. Lately I have been content to stay close to the complex besides running errands. Mentally I have been stable even if I am staying awake most of the night and sleeping in the mornings. Maybe that is why I am so stable.
I have gotten to where in my illness that socializing makes me paranoid and irritable. I no longer enjoy socializing with my neighbors. I no longer enjoy driving, not even across town. I’m pretty much content to just keep to myself anymore. Anymore I am my own favorite company. I hope this is mainly paranoia and the illness, but I really can’t stand to be around most people anymore. I would rather socialize over the phone or online than in person anymore. With the holidays coming in a few weeks, I may be forced out of this isolation routine that has worked so well for me. I’m not looking forward to losing my routines. I am definitely not looking forward to the holidays. I really don’t feel like celebrating much of anything anymore. And I certainly no longer care to celebrate merely because the calendar and society as a whole tells me I have to. Maybe schizophrenia really does get worse with age in some aspects. I don’t have much for hallucinations or angry outbursts anymore. But I do still have paranoia, delusions, and just prefer to be left alone almost all the time. I hope it’s my illness messing with my mind, but I just can’t stand to socialize in person anymore. I definitely can no longer hold a job. I can barely venture out into my hometown without problems anymore. I can only hope this illness stops getting worse as I age. It has definitely screwed with every aspect of my life.
Other than a few bad days and one really bad day, I have been doing quite well for months. I imagine part of this has to do with avoiding angry and rude people. Sure I may not have much of a social life, but at this point in my life I no longer want to deal with rude and irritable people. I suppose I have hit my limit and don’t want to deal with it anymore. This kind of scares me as I am fearful that limiting my socializing will make me jaded and mean spirited as I age. I have known irritable and mean older people my entire life. I promised myself a very long time ago I would not turn out to be an angry and bitter old man. Maybe the only way I can do this is to severely limit who I socialize with anymore. I don’t post anything to Facebook or twitter anymore besides these blog posts. I finally became burned out on all the negativity, drama, etc. I have enough problems in my mentally ill mind that I don’t need my friends and family adding to them. I don’t see many of my friends online anymore either. I suppose they became burned out too. I hope that all this negativity and anger isn’t a new normal.
I really don’t enjoy socializing with most people anymore. I don’t want to socialize with negative and rude people anymore. Yet that is what all I seem to see anymore, online and in my own community. I try to tell my friends and family about what is actually going right, but I get mostly dead silence from these people. The few that do respond usually tell me I’m a liar. Seems to me normal people love to be immersed in anger and negativity. I don’t understand people. Then again I never have. I suppose I never will. I’m just tired of all the anger and negativity. From now on I’ll keep my optimism to myself.
Fall is here. The leaves are turning, the nights are getting longer, and the weather is cooling. Had to run my heater the last few nights. I do enjoy this time of year. It’s been several days since I last wrote. Updates are in order.
I haven’t had much to report the last few days because I have been feeling quite stable since my last breakdown a couple weeks ago. I now make a point to leave my apartment at least once a day. I usually buy groceries for two weeks at a time. Since winter is only a couple months away, I’ll have to start restocking my cold weather supplies soon. I haven’t been to my therapist for a few months simply because I really don’t have much to talk about with him. At this point in my illness, I really don’t have much of a desire to be social to strangers. I don’t really desire to leave my apartment much after dark, not because I live in a bad neighborhood, but because I don’t like driving at night anymore. It’s been a couple years since I went to the movie theatre as it seems that half of what’s shown anymore are remakes I saw the first time in my youth. If I want to watch something anymore, I just go to youtube or netflix. If I want to socialize I just call up my friends and family on the smart phone. I still avoid Facebook some as some people still can be quite nasty to each other over the pettiest differences of opinions. But I’d rather people be jerks to each other online than in person. I think one of the problems is that much can be lost in translation just with written text. I have thought about starting a youtube channel and doing a podcast through that as I think some of what I write can be lost in the reading.
I don’t mind not socializing much at this point in my life. I have always been an introvert who preferred having a few truly loyal friends and family members as opposed to having lots of casual friends. In my family, it seems that people are either extreme extroverts or extreme introverts. But sometimes I am my favorite company. I don’t mind going entire days without talking to people. I do like technology enough that I’m not going to be a modern Henry David Theorau and build a cabin on a lake and retreat from civilization. It can be tough being an introvert in a place and time that values “people person” types and extroversion. I have gotten in lots of trouble over the years for trying to keep to myself and just do my tasks at almost every job I ever had. It just isn’t enough to do the job and do it well anymore. But I know in previous eras I wouldn’t have had a job, I’d be in a mental asylum and probably would have had a short and chaotic life. It would have been much rougher in the past for someone like me. That’s why I’m not nostalgic.