I just realized that I don’t post as much to this blog as much as I used to. I just really haven’t had that much drama in my life lately. I’m not complaining. Drama and mental illness are vicious tag team partners that are always together. Normally with mental illness, it has been quite rare that I don’t have at least a minor flare up every few days. It’s just that as I have aged and matured I don’t act on these impulses nearly as much anymore. I have learned that yes, it is alright to feel bad. Yes, it is alright to fume and quietly rant to yourself. This is especially true if it helps me cope with mental illness and I don’t take out my issues on other people. Mental illness is scary enough for me. I can’t imagine how bad it is to someone who isn’t familiar with the ups and downs.
As it is as I have aged and been under treatment for most of my adult life, I have fewer ups and downs than I did in my teens and early twenties. It is actually quite nice to not have problems like I had in the past. Yet it did come at the cost of almost isolating myself for much of my life. Fortunately for myself I can keep myself in good company for days at a time if need be. It is kind of a lonely life, but at least I have always been one who preferred my own company or small groups as opposed to being Mr. Social Hour. I enjoy living a drama free life. At least, my life is as drama free as someone with schizophrenia is going to be.
It’s been quite quiet for me this summer. I haven’t had any flare ups or episodes. I haven’t even heard my neighbors arguing for weeks. Somedays I wonder if I even have neighbors it’s been so quiet in my complex. About the only time I see any of my neighbors is when I leave my apartment to run errands. I don’t sit outside too much anymore just because it’s been so hot. Fortunately we have only another six to eight weeks of hot weather left. But I have been enjoying the peace and quiet. I also enjoy not having flare ups or dealing with stupid and rude people all the time.
I used to have to deal with a lot of drama at work and in some friendships. I haven’t dated for several years simply because the drama and ups and downs just got old. Having schizophrenia while trying to date adds a whole another level of difficulty. And I came to the conclusion that I just don’t want to be bothered with it anymore. I have enough problems as is. I also had to cut negative people out of my life. Sure it meant ending a few friendships and being real careful about who I let into my life. And it also means much alone time. But it’s alright because the peace and quiet is worth it.
Another thing that helps me is that I am debt free. That is why I can live as a minimalist and not work. I just live on my disability pension. Right now I can budget it out that I don’t have to resort to credit cards to make it through the month. I don’t have to take a thankless and stressful job because I don’t need the money. As far as I’m concerned, the biggest reason to work for someone else is the money. Being an employee, especially in today’s ever shifting and toxic work environments, doesn’t seem to be much more than glorified serfdom. Why should any employee give loyalty to a company when the job can be taken over by machines, outsourced overseas, or just given to a younger person for lower wages? If you’re going to be an employee, it’s best to go to the highest bidder. An employer won’t look out for you. An employer doesn’t care about you either. Neither do most of your coworkers, at least that is my experience. A boss isn’t going to help you develop your career. You are on your own on that one. I can do this blog without getting paid for it because I don’t have to worry about income or paying off debts. And I absolutely love doing this blog. It doesn’t really seem like a job because it isn’t drudgery like I was used to in my working days. It feels more like a hobby that evolved into a life mission.
Since I don’t have debts and am content to live a minimalist life, I am quite free to write about what needs to be written. Life with a mental illness isn’t pretty much of the time. It is lonely, it can be frightening, it can be long bouts of depression and sadness, and sometimes I have found myself mourning over the career and lifestyle that never was because of this illness. But, having this illness made me resourceful and creative. It also made me smarter. It made me think about many things that most people never have to. It made me ask questions that most people would never think to ask.
Right now I’m dealing with a stretch where I haven’t had any real drama for months. It helps that I have been able to largely avoid toxic, negative, and stupid people. That’s no small accomplishment living in tight quarters like I do. I’m pretty content to just stay home much of the time anymore. I have gotten to where I feel naked without a good internet connection. I imagine that’s going to become more common in the next several years. I’m just ahead of the curve. And I don’t have to submit to a bad boss or bad coworkers or unreasonable customers to make money because I don’t need the money. I can get by just on my disability pension because I don’t have debts or expensive tastes. I won’t spend a hundred dollars on a pair of jeans or two hundred dollars on a pair of sneakers or buy a new iPhone every year or a different car every three years. I am content with what I have. I love being a minimalist. And that has helped me create a life with little to no drama in spite my mental illness.
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.
It’s been quiet on my end for the last few days. Haven’t had any real flare ups of schizophrenia or anxiety for several days. First time in weeks I’ve gone more than a couple days without any kind of flare up. It’s been strange not having drama in my life lately. It’s just something I’ve gotten used to. I’m actually amazed when I go through days when I don’t have to deal with some drama in my life or someone else’s overblown drama.
Even though it’s almost winter, I’ve been getting out of my apartment more. I make it a point to not socialize much in my apartment complex. I still have a few problem neighbors who like to keep the drama stirred. I never understood why there are people who can’t live without drama or irritating others. I was brought up that if I couldn’t get along with someone, it was best to leave them alone. Makes it tough to trust some people when I have trust issues.
Oddly, some of my best socializing comes just from bantering and joking with cashiers and store clerks. I didn’t do this in my twenties at all. But as I have gained social skills and figured out that not everyone out there wants to take advantage of others, it has gotten easier and even fun. Found that the ones I get the best reactions out of our night shift clerks and cashiers in the 25 to 45 bracket. The younger clerks take a little more priming before they’ll joke with me. The older clerks usually won’t joke with me at all. And this is even with my jokes not being of the unsafe for work categories. I’m finding that many younger people just don’t seem that confident at work. I certainly wasn’t when I worked in my twenties. I never thought that others had that problem. I didn’t gain any real confidence in myself or even appreciation for my abilities until I was thirty. That was also the age when I came to the conclusion that I did not have to tolerate poor and uncivil behavior from others. While I was still figuring my way through my delusions and irrational fears, I thought I was the only one who had these problems. I just never knew that even those without mental illnesses had problems with not having confidence. Unfortunately that’s stuff I couldn’t learn in any book.