Getting Ready For Winter

Been spending more time at home since the weather is turning cold.  Haven’t had any real snow yet, but that probably won’t last long.  Avoiding the stores and crowds of holiday shoppers.  I have never done well in crowds and it seems to get worse as I age.  Found out that one of my local grocery stores offers home delivery.  I have used this a few times as I really don’t like driving on crowded streets anymore.  Found out I do just fine on rural highways when I went to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving.

Overall I’m feeling pretty stable.  Haven’t done much since cleaning my apartment over the weekend.  Haven’t really been in the mood to talk to many people, so I keep to myself most of the time.  Besides talking to a few friends and my parents, I haven’t had much for a social life for the last week.  Now that I have winter supplies stocked again, I really don’t have to leave my complex for at least a few days if I don’t want to.

Between getting out my winter coat and stocking up on cold weather food, I think I’m ready for the next three to four months of winter.  Even though spring is my favorite time of year, I’ve also enjoyed winter in years past.  I usually get a lot of reading and writing done on cold days.  I don’t feel guilty for not wanting to go outside in the cold.  I am ready for winter.

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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.

Fear and Mental Illness

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I have dealt with a mental illness since my late teens.  But even after so many years with schizophrenia I still find there are things I fear greatly.  I have had a severe fear of heights since this illness became full blown.  I haven’t ridden in an airplane since my early twenties and I don’t foresee ever doing so again.  I know that flying is statistically much safer than driving but it’s the heights that still cause that tingling feeling of fear to corkscrew down my spine.  I can’t even climb ladders or get on roofs.  I am sure my bosses were very unhappy with me that I didn’t work well on ladders.  But a fear of heights has developed since I became mentally ill.  I have tried to conquer my fears of heights by forcing myself to be in high places but this almost triggered a full fledged psychotic breakdown more than once.

In addition to heights, I have a severe fear of confrontations and arguments.  I have gotten to where I hate logging onto social media because of the stupid and immature arguments and things even my family and friends get into.  With this being an election year people in my family and friends circles are especially on edge and combative.  I have unfollowed dozens of people because I don’t want to hear the arguments anymore.  I have unfollowed people I even agree with.  I especially hate when I post something on a friend’s page and someone has to post some negative and angry comment on my thread.  I have experienced enough to know that most people are not mean and malicious by nature.  But even some of the most mild mannered people I ever knew can turn vicious online.  Have you forgotten you are talking to a real person on the other end?  And I know you wouldn’t be that mean if you were having a conversation in person.  Some of things I have read on many people’s sites would get them arrested or ostracized if they said those things in public.  I would love to see the day that we have the same civility online that we have with the people in real life.  I would also love to be cured of schizophrenia and not have to deal with these fears anymore.  A man can dream, can’t he?  I’m just thankful that this maliciousness doesn’t spill over into everyday life very often.  We just hear about the few times it does, thanks to always being connected.

I have always had a fear of driving, especially in large cities and express ways.  I literally haven’t driven on the Interstate in almost ten years.  Too fast traffic, too much going on, and too many people not paying attention.  I was almost in another car accident yesterday when a driver ran a red light when I was driving through an intersection.  This isn’t the only close call I’ve had lately.  I am getting to where I’m scared just to drive to the neighborhood gas station.  Some days, between the fears of driving and fears of my argumentative neighbors, I just don’t want to leave my apartment.  Being out among angry and sullen people just isn’t my idea of a good time.  It’s like some of these people want to argue and even fight.  I have grown tired of it.  I am weary.  I am ready for winter again when I am not expected to be out of my apartment.  Besides I do better mentally in winters than summers anyway.  I just don’t want to deal with these fears.