Early Thanksgiving and Changes

Hosted my parents for an early Thanksgiving celebration last Sunday.  They brought the food and I provided the place.  They spent most of the day here.  I also received a stationary exercise bike from them.  Since they are moving to a suburb and are getting rid of some of the things they have no need for now, I got an exercise bike and a couple desk chairs from them.  Used the exercise bike a few times already.  It’s good to be exercising regularly again.  I had fallen out of the daily exercise habit after my back started flaring up a few months ago.  I was pleasantly surprised that peddling on a stationary bike doesn’t hurt my back like walking does.  Used to be most of my exercise was walking in the park or old downtown.  I would usually walk the hallways in my apartment complex when it was too icy or cold to walk outside.  But I’m starting to feel more decent after only a few days of regular exercise again.

While I enjoyed hosting my parents for Thanksgiving, it was also a bittersweet gathering.  That was the last time I get to see them when they are living nearby.  Even as much as I don’t like driving, I could still get in my car and be at their house in less than two hours.  But now that they are moving I won’t be getting to see them on a whim.  At least until I find a low income place that’s not in a tough neighborhood.  I may have to find a place in a small town nearby if the places in the city and the suburbs are too questionable.  I have been lucky to have had the good luck with low income housing that I have experienced in the last twelve years.  I’ve been fortunate to have good managers who will quickly and decisively deal with people who don’t pay the rent or are troublemakers.  I don’t have any true complaints about my complex.  I can be left alone when I want to be.  I can socialize when I want to.  And most people don’t give me problems and I try to avoid being a problem for others.  It’s seemed to work or I wouldn’t still be here after twelve years.  The only place I’ve lived in longer than my current apartment is my childhood home.

I haven’t bee out much for the last few days.  I guess I’m still adapting to my parents moving to be near my brother and his family.  I hope to be joining them eventually.  But right now I probably won’t be making any moves, at least not until the end of winter.

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Voting, Family Time, and Possibly Moving

Got out and voted Tuesday after dinner.  Since I went later in the day, I missed the crowds.  I was able to get in and get out pretty quick.  As I’ve been having lower back problems recently, I was able to get a chair to sit in while I worked the ballot.  All I had to do was ask.  Sometimes I think people in general don’t get the assistance that could make things easier just because they don’t ask for help.  For years I had problems asking for help as I instead preferred to give help instead.  Only within the last year or so have I gotten comfortable asking for help whenever I have a problem I can’t easily solve on my own.  I guess that I, like many men, am a problem solver.  And sometimes it was tough for me to admit I could use an extra set of hands or extra mind working on a problem.

In other news, my parents are in the process of moving out of state.  They bought a small house in the same town my brother and his family live in.  As all their grandkids are in school now they want to see them grow up and participate in activities and school functions.  I think that once they get settled in permanently in their new house, I’ll look to relocate nearby.  As where they are moving to is in a suburb of a metroplex, I imagine I’ll need to be careful about what kind of low income housing I move to.  My brother has already told me a few neighborhoods that are rougher than others that I should avoid.  As they hope to be relocated by the end of November, I will be hosting them for a Thanksgiving dinner this weekend.  I’ve been spending much of my day after the midterm elections straightening and decluttering my home.  I had been kind of lazy about clutter for the last few weeks.  But I want the place to be presentable as it will probably be our family’s last gathering in Nebraska.

I guess I have mixed emotions about leaving the small farm towns I have known as home my entire life.  I am excited about the possibility of moving to a larger area where I could meet more writers and people with my interests in person.  I am excited about going somewhere that is growing and not so out of the way.  But I am concerned about starting over in my late 30s, especially with mental illness issues.  I am also concerned about fitting in at a different social environment.  I’ve had problems fitting in even among people I grew up with my entire life.  So I am kind of scared of the social aspects as I have problems socializing even in my hometown.

Other than getting to see my nephews and niece more often, I hope my life doesn’t really alter that much.  I do hope I can have a closer friendship with my brother and his wife.  My brother and I weren’t close growing up.  Part of that was traditional sibling rivalries, and another part was that we were such opposites personality and interests wise.  I don’t have any animosity toward him, I just don’t have common interests.  I consider not having a close relationship with my only sibling one of the few regrets I have about my life up to this point.  Sure I regret becoming mentally ill but there isn’t anything I could have personally done to prevent it.  As it is, I have worked around it for twenty years.  I’ve been hospitalized only twice and have avoided trouble with the law.  So I’m doing something alright.

Overall, the last several months of quiet monotony have come to an end.  My parents are relocating and I probably will be too within the next several months.  I am both excited and apprehensive at the same time.  The only true constant if life is change.  But with change comes the possibility of new opportunity.

Recovering From Rough Patches

Spent the last couple days out of my hometown while visiting family.  It was pleasant to unplug and unwind while enjoying the company of my parents.  Didn’t get much done on this trip other than unwind and touch base with family.  I was needing at least a couple days of different surroundings.  I visited my family at the acreage.  It was good to be back around nature and less rush.  While I am a self admitted city slicker even though I grew up in a rural area, it was still fun to be outside again for a couple hours at a time without being paranoid of being watched by nosy neighbors.

I sometimes get paranoid around even individual people nearby, especially when I want to be alone.  When I was in college, I used to take my trash to a dumpster on the other side of town because I was afraid that people where going through my trash.  I used to be afraid that neighbors and even family were listening in on my conversations.  But the real paranoia I am working against now is that I fear that I am losing favor with my neighbors and fellow tenants in my complex.  I may not be the greatest tenant in my complex, but I still try hard to be friendly with people and just avoid arguments as much as possible.  Fortunately in my over ten years at my current address, I have had real arguments with only three tenants that I can think of right off hand.  Fortunately those cleared up really quick and the problems were resolved shortly afterwards.

Paranoia is indeed strange.  I know in the reasonable part of my mind that my paranoias aren’t real and that I’m essentially worrying over nothing that can’t be easily resolved.  But, the irrational part of my mind keeps replaying these paranoid thoughts on an endless loop.  Drowning out the paranoid thinking process with positive news that is actually happening helps. Positive thoughts help, especially if they can be shown to be true.   That’s why I spend a lot of time researching science advances and medical news. Yet, even then, occasionally the paranoia gets the better of my reasonable side.  The problems I had over the last few days, fortunately, tend to get more rare and even less intense than even a few years ago.  I was happy that I was able to go through this last round of problems without yelling and acting out.  I’ve notice the breakdowns I do have anymore don’t seem to be as intense.  I hope I have gotten better with letting off a little at a time rather than holding it in for a major meltdown.

I was more depressed and weary than angry and irritated these last few days.  I guess that depression and weariness are becoming stronger than irritation and anger at this stage in my life.  I’m glad that it takes more to anger me than in years past.  I no longer avoid driving because of fears of going into road rage; I avoid driving now partly because I find it kind of boring and I don’t like being on the lookout for people who just aren’t paying as much attention to the road as they should. It doesn’t make me angry, but it does make me think ‘how bad do I really want to go out tonight when I can still contact friends from home.’ I used to love to travel.  But I don’t enjoy the travel as much now.  I enjoy the company of friends and family more now.

Incentives and Rewards

I haven’t been paying any attention to the news for months now.  At least I haven’t payed attention to anything outside of science and tech lately.  It’s too bad that there aren’t any news channels that really devout any of their schedule to talking about science news.  As popular as Anthony Bourdain’s international travel and food shows are on CNN, I really think there would be an audience for these such shows.  As it is I get most of my news online anymore.  I even get my local news online now.  If I can keep the internet going and my computers don’t crash, I can stay well connected and I don’t even have to leave my living room.  I’m doing a job (or at least a public service) and I’m wearing gym shorts and no shoes right now.  Good luck trying to do volunteer service around your community without putting on pants or shoes 🙂

I enjoy tech and science.  I always have.  My brother and I used to take apart some of my dad’s old electronics equipment just to see how they were put together.  Since my dad has been a ham radio operator for years (my brother and I have our ham radio licenses too), he always had some pieces of equipment with circuit boards and wires we could take apart and see if we could put them back together again.  My parents gave us lots of building toys and brain builders every Christmas.  Seems like we could always count on getting Lego sets or brain games or books for Christmas and birthdays.  I suppose I just took having medical professionals for parents that really made learning fun and stressed the importance of doing well in school for granted.  It wasn’t until I was in college did I realize just how rare having books and enrichment games at home really was.

If there is any point to my previous two paragraphs, it is that we get what we reward.  My parents and my friends’ parents rewarded creativity and intelligence.  It really helped me in college when I had an academic scholarship that paid for half of my college expenses.  I don’t think there were any people in my high school class that got any athletic scholarships to college.  Unfortunately too many people, at least in my country, think that their tickets out of the slums or dying rural towns are through athletics or being entertainers.  Sure mediums like youtube have made it possible for people to make middle class wages with a decent following.  But even the ones making middle class income are few and far between out of the millions of producers on youtube.  In short, we don’t need armies of youtube comedians or singers, but we can definitely use more scientists and engineers.

 

Holidays, Friends, and Family with Schizophrenia

Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving in my country.  I’m currently at my parents house and it’ll be a real small gathering.  It’ll be just me, my parents, and maybe an aunt or two.  My brother and all my cousins will be at their spouses’ families for the holiday.  I spent last Thanksgiving alone as I was having bad flare ups on and off for weeks before.  My brother had his four kids at my mom’s house and I didn’t want to risk having problems around the kids.  I may have had breakdowns on my parents, doctors, counselors, and friends but I’m not about to take my illness out on children.  I know my flare ups wear on my friends and make my parents and extended family sick with worry.  But even in the worst flare ups I ever had I never completely cut off family.

The holidays can be rough time for people.  In many families past grievances are brought up and cause divisions within.  It wasn’t until recent years did I realize just how unique my family was in that we never got to where we stopped talking to people.  I think my situation is made easier by both of my parents spending their careers in the medical fields and most people on both sides of my family being above average smarts and pretty accepting of my mental health problems.  My father has a cousin with bipolar I believe.  He lives on his own but I don’t think he holds a permanent job.  It helps that most of my extended family had previous experience working with mental health problems because of my father’s cousin.  My family has had it’s disagreements and problems but we never got to where we just cut communication.

I’m not going out shopping on Black Friday.  Did that probably twelve years ago.  My father and I went to a home improvement warehouse and I was cured of ever wanting to do Black Friday again after about thirty minutes.  And that place was quite mild compared to many places.  I do most of my shopping online anymore.  I wonder how the whole Black Friday madness ever got started.  I worked in retail one Christmas and it certainly gave me a renewed appreciation for retail store clerks and what they go through from late October to late December.

As far as my Thanksgiving plans go, I’ll probably enjoy my parents company, maybe help them decorate their house with Christmas lights, and be appreciative that I weathered another year while fighting with schizophrenia.  I’ll also be thankful for the science and tech advances made this year, some of which I have outlined in previous blog entries.