Spring is here finally. Mentally feeling good for the most part. I sometimes have flare ups of paranoia and irritability, but fortunately those quickly pass. I have noticed that as I have made changes to my diet and sleep patterns, the bouts of paranoia and irritability get less severe and easier to deal with.
Been lifting weights and eating healthier for three weeks. I’m starting to notice some positive changes. I find myself eating less overall. I lost most of my cravings for sugar and carbs. Some days, like today, I don’t eat meat (big change for me). On days like this I get my protein from things like peanuts and beans. I haven’t eaten fast food in months even though I live within walking distance of at least six restaurants. And I used to eat fast food three times per week. It just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It just leaves me feeling weighed down and lethargic. I feel the same way about soda pop. I have cut back on my caffeine to where I usually have only one or two cups of coffee in the morning and that is it.
Anymore I try not to spend much time on social media except to chat with people. I almost never look at other people’s profiles, preferring to chat via groups or personal messaging. It has helped lower my anxiety and irritability. Besides, I have no need to know everything even my best friends and family do on a minute to minute basis. It seems like many people I know aren’t as active on social media as previously. But, I have always preferred quality to quantity in terms of conversations. Just because I can know something about even friends doesn’t mean I want to. Some things I am just not interested in. I just don’t have enough time or energy to respond to things I like, let alone everything else. I don’t get mad over every piece of advertisements I get in my mail box (and most of what I get in the mail anymore is junk mail), so I feel the same way anymore about when my friends or family post things that I am not interested in. I rarely post comments on youtube or twitter anymore, let alone read comment sections. I just don’t have time to. I’m too busy finding things I enjoy and doing things I like to engage with people I’ll probably never meet. When I do engage with people I’ll never meet, it’s over shared interests and I try to act as if I’m talking to these people over a cup of coffee in person rather than just behind a computer screen and keyboard. My online interactions have become more enjoyable and civil once I tricked myself into believing I have having these conversations with someone sitting in the same room with me. It doesn’t always work, but my online interactions are less contentious and stressful than even three years ago.
I think I’m finally breaking out the depression and anxiety fuel irritability that I have been fighting for almost two weeks. Got some good sleep the last few days, granted at odd times. I still sleep eight hours a day, but I usually sleep from 8pm to midnight, rattle around for a few hours in the middle of the night, then sleep from 4 am to 8am. Even though I have an odd sleep pattern anymore, everything isn’t going completely bad. I started lifting arm weights in my home about two weeks ago. The first couple sessions were tough as I hadn’t lifted regularly for over a year. But I think it’s beginning to come back. Picked up some multi vitamins, fish oil pills, etc. the last time I bought groceries. I have to think some of my lethargy, aches and pains, etc. were made worse by an unbalanced diet. For most of the winter I ate lots of lean meats, some soups, yogurts, canned vegetables, rice, and occasional baked potatoes. I wasn’t getting much for fresh fruits or vegetables this winter. So I been eating more fresh fruits and vegetables lately. I’m beginning to notice a positive difference. I don’t have as many unexplainable aches and pains and I feel mentally sharper and less scattered overall. My favorite fruit is probably red grapes. My favorite vegetable has to be tie between green peas and carrots.
I still don’t travel outside of my hometown due to the flood problems. Many places are still cleaning up and still in danger of even more flooding. I won’t be surprised if food prices start going up later this year. It’s been pretty rough for a lot of people but I have been spared much of it so far.
Been changing up my routines now the weather is staying warm. Went outside a few times today. First time was something as simple as taking my trash out and then spending an extra ten minutes outdoors. Then this late afternoon I spent almost an hour outdoors. When I do spend time outside lately, it’s usually for about a half hour at a time in the middle of the afternoon. I have been doing that for the last week or so.
I also decided to get serious about my diet again. Today was the first day of tracking what I eat. By that I mean I wrote down everything I ate today. Ate only two meals today just because I got tired of writing everything down. I know now that the only surefire way to lose weight in my case is to write down everything I eat. I lost seventy pounds in less than a year doing that a few years ago. I quit tracking after my car accident, got depressed, and started eating a lot. Gained back the weight I lost. I want to lose weight because there are still things I’d love to do in my life. I already have a strong mind, I just as well get the body to go with it. I imagine with my build being what it is, I will never be able to run marathons. I’m naturally barrel chested and stocky with short limbs. But I could easily walk four to five miles a day when I was in college. I want to lose weight largely because I think that is the only way my back is ever going to completely heal. I’m tired of dealing with back pain. I’ve lost weight before. It’s a matter of doing it again.
I also hired a house cleaning service. They are currently scheduled to come to my apartment every two weeks. They’ll be here tomorrow afternoon. My place is looking better than it was even a few weeks ago. One of the things that caused me such depression, I think, was living in a cluttered house. I was depressed because the house was cluttered and the house stayed cluttered because I was too depressed to do anything about it. Mental illness can be such a vicious cycle that it tough to pull out of. But I think I am pulling out of my winter depression and anxiousness. I am so glad I haven’t had the anger and anxiety that I’ve had in years past.
I weathered yet another snow storm this winter. Fortunately this one is starting to melt off already after only a couple days. If I wait long enough, maybe I won’t have to shovel the snow off my car 🙂 Been staying close to home and generally getting less than I would like accomplished. If I haven’t written as much the last month it’s only because I have less to report than usual. We’ve had a couple new people move into our complex. So far they seem to be working out. I haven’t been outside of my hometown since before Christmas and I haven’t had house guests since our family’s Christmas party.
My back seems to be doing better. I can walk further distances but not as far as I would like. I’m still lifting arm weights to make up the difference. I’ve been sleeping more. I am convinced this is due to cutting out caffeine for the last few days. I haven’t gotten jittery and irritable from withdraw, at least not yet. I’m probably going to get out and buy some coffee within the next day or two once all the ice is melted. We’ve had snow cover for over a month now. And usually here in Nebraska winters are bitterly cold but dry.
One month of winter has come and gone. And I really don’t feel like I got much accomplished from all of my indoor time. I do go see my psych doctor early in February. I guess I really don’t have much to report to him besides being more or less stable though a little paranoid around people. But even that paranoia has been lessening within the last few days. I don’t foresee any medication changes coming in the near future.
It’s been a quiet and uneventful winter for me so far. But I am beginning to look forward to spring. Just another two months to go.
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.
My life has been essentially quiet and uneventful since Christmas. We had a pretty cold January and early February so I didn’t really go anywhere except to pick up groceries and house supplies for the last two months. We had our traditional mid winter thaw the last week or so. So I’ve been spending some time outside watching the squirrels and birds. I see the cranes and Canadian geese are starting to migrate back. They are usually quite thick near my town from the last week in February until middle March. I’m going to take a few hours sometime next week and just watch the birds along the Platte River just outside my town like I do every March.
I traditionally love to travel and see new places. But I haven’t been outside of Nebraska since my friend Matt’s wedding almost two years ago. And I can tell that the lack of travel and new experiences are making me stale and itchy. Believe it or not, I really don’t like the sedentary lifestyle. When I still held traditional jobs, I usually did my best at jobs where I was moving a lot and it didn’t matter if I got sweaty or dirty. I admit that since I had the sedentary lifestyle forced on me, first by my car accident and then spending a summer with a messed up back, I have gotten lazy. And by getting lazy I can tell I have lost much of my stamina and enjoyment of just doing simple things like walking around the park or going to the all night deli to pick up some Chinese food. I have recently started going back to the all night deli more often, especially if I’m going to be up late.
I am still not as active as I would like to be, but I can tell that it is beginning to come back. I am traditionally not very active during winters, at least not physically. I usually read a lot and have traditionally done some of my best writing work during the winter. Most of the books I read this winter were about future technology trends and popular science. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks and current events type lectures on youtube. I tend to utilize youtube and my books more in winter than the spring or fall. Traditionally during the summers I do most of my errands in the morning than spend the hottest parts of the afternoon reading and writing. But I still do the bulk of my brain work during the winter.
I can tell that the lack of physical activity and travel is making me easily bored. It is also tough in that I haven’t seen my close friends or family at all since Christmas. I fear that I’m losing my social skills. I don’t socialize much with my neighbors in my complex as I have little in common with them. Most of my neighbors are senior citizens or people with physical disabilities that can’t do much of anything. I don’t know many people in here with mental health issues who are still in reasonably good physical health. It is kind of lonely in here as far as socializing goes. I can also tell that the lack of socializing and physical activity has taken a toll on my physical health. I just hope that once spring sets in a few weeks from now, I’ll be able to get more active again.
I twisted my knee a few days before Christmas bad enough I could barely walk. Fortunately after a few days of rest and ibuprofen I’m as good as new. Since I couldn’t navigate stairs over Christmas, my parents came to my apartment on Christmas. They brought Christmas dinner and a few gifts. I hosted them for a few hours and they then went to Oklahoma to visit my brother’s family for a few days. I was glad they left some left over turkey and pie. Those were my meals the day after Christmas.
I didn’t get much for Christmas. But I might be getting a FitBit in a few days once the crowds settle into the winter doldrums. After my car accident I got lazy about exercising and dieting. As a result I gained back most of the weight I lost in the previous two years. I’m starting over. I hope the FitBit can help in this regard. I found out my general practice doctor retired recently. So I’m in the market for a different doctor. My psych doctor and therapist are also older men who are starting to think retirement too. I’ve had my current psych doctor for over ten years and my current therapist for two years. One of the problems of having a chronic illness like schizophrenia is that the illness outlasts even the best doctors because schizophrenia doesn’t retire. Sure in my case the problems have gotten less severe over the years. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve mellowed as the years have passed or I’m just getting better at managing the illness. Either way I’m glad I have a routine that more or less works and has kept me out of the mental hospital for three years.
Another holiday season has come and passed. I did pretty well mentally but I think that’s because I avoided crowds and shopping malls. I’ve learned what I can and cannot handle over the years through trial and error. It was a successful holiday season as far as I’m concerned even though I didn’t get to see my extended family. It actually felt pretty good hosting a small gathering over Christmas this year. I might have to do this more often if I can limit the size of the gathering.