I readily admit to being eccentric and having unconventional ideas. I have never completely subscribed to any one school or tribe of thought, instead choosing to cherry pick the best ideas from all sides while throwing out the rest. I get that some people consider me a hypocrite or even not having principles for picking and choosing ideas from the various schools of thoughts when it comes to things like economics, science, politics, and even religion. Since I hold views from many different sources, and have for years, I have found myself in conflict with most conventional and normal thinking people. Most of my friends, regardless of what their political dogma, find it extremely strange that my views don’t line up directly with either right or left schools of thought. Some call me unpractical and even a hypocrite. I call it ‘thinking for yourself.’ I get that people that don’t hold conventional thoughts or try to figure out ways to improve on currently used systems of politics or science or business or anything else are not going to make many friends. One of the most painful truths I had to accept about myself and life in general was that I will never have a great deal of friends or popular simply because I look at the world in ways most people can’t picture. I can see the world from multiple angles. I even try to see it from the points of view of people that would consider me an enemy of all they hold dear. My religious friends think I’m strange in that I love science and technology. My science minded friends think I’m odd in that I find value in many aspects of religion and spirituality.
I have never understood why I have to be all one thing or another. That shows a lack of thinking as far as I’m concerned. I have never been much of a conformer, which has gotten me in serious trouble with my teachers and family, ostracized by peers and coworkers, fired by bosses, etc. But, at least being a non conformist frees me to look at problems from many angles and contemplate more than one possible solution. I do not believe violence and war solves all problems. Also, I believe some people cannot and will not be negotiated with and only understand force and violence and death. I think one of the greatest tragedies of early 21st century civilization is how inflexible and unadaptable many people, especially people in leadership of business, government, education, religion, and sadly sometimes science, are in their thinking and views of existence. I don’t give anyone any career advice anymore because we don’t know what careers will be around in even fifteen years. Many jobs will become automated and computerized and many industries and commodities and skills will be made either free or almost free within the next generation or two. And our rigid and uncompromising ways of thinking and looking at the world are going to hurt individuals, families, communities, and entire nations in the coming years.
Change is coming. We can either embrace it, grudgingly adapt to it, or rage against it to no avail. We can’t stop science and tech changes, not even a major collapse in our civilization’s economy can stop it, at least as long as infrastructure and the thought processes of movers and shakers remains in tact. We all read in school about the Depression of the 1930s and major pockets of civilization being without work and destitute. Yet, many self made fortunes in business and science advances came out of those dark days too. And if the money system does fall apart like I’ve heard from my economist and prepare friends, well it will be replaced by something else. It’s not like we haven’t had failures in the money system before. I know this isn’t normal thinking. But so what. I am not normal. Never have been and hopefully never will be. I may not have many friends because of my abnormal and eccentric thought patterns, but the friends I do have are amazing. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Normal does not change the world or individuals for the better. Normal doesn’t improve anything. Normal is decay and death, especially in our time and age. And normal and stasis is only going to make things worse for individuals as time goes forward. Normal sucks.
Had a few house guests last night at my apartment. Granted it was my parents and one of my aunts but it’s the first time in weeks I’ve hosted people in my apartment. I’m normally kind of nervous about hosting people as I am self conscious about my place and possessions. I feel paranoid that I’m constantly being measured and condemned for the way I keep my apartment and even the books on my book shelf. I moved my book shelf to my bed room just so fewer people would see it. As I have a wide range of interests I keep a wide range of what would be considered by many people of scholarly books. When my retired pastor friend died a few years ago, his family offered me some of his ancient history, history of religion, and philosophy books. Since many of his works were in ancient languages like Hebrew and Greek I had to turn most of what would have been really interesting down. I know a little Spanish from my high school years but haven’t used it enough lately to have any kind of working knowledge of the language.
As it is now, I can keep some of my more scholarly works in ebook form. I’ve downloaded hundred of free history, philosophy, religion, etc. books onto my computer and iPod. Yes I still have an iPod but it mainly serves as backup for my computers. I’ll probably never get to read many of these books but I’m glad I have them. I even picked up some sci fi and horror books. About the only real horror author I can get into is H.P. Lovecraft. I did read a couple Stephen King books but I never developed much of a taste for his work. As far as sci fi goes, I really like Issac Asimov and Cory Doctorow. I read mostly science fact books by people like Michio Kaku, Ray Kurzweil, Kevin Kelly, and Carl Sagan as I’m typically more interested in seeing sci fi become science fact. I don’t read much for fantasy novels but my brother and his kids are big fans of J.K Rowling and J.R.R. Tolken. I guess I always considered real life interesting enough. That’s probably why the two fiction novel drafts I wrote flopped. I don’t have much of my writings from the first ten years I was working on the craft. What I do have, well, I’m glad didn’t get published.
Since I’m spending more time alone since the weather turned colder, I’m spending more time reading articles and watching documentaries. I don’t really go out except to check the mail and break up the routine. I haven’t even socialized with friends much the last couple weeks. It’s gets lonely at times. About the only thing I hate about being an adult is that I can’t just spend time with my friends at a moment’s notice. As much as I couldn’t stand some aspects of high school, that is one thing I definitely miss.
Getting out of the apartment several times a day now. Have been for the last several days. Catching up on the news of what’s been going on around the complex and meeting some of the new residents who moved in during the summer. Seems like we have a few really cool people move in lately, and some of them are even in my age bracket and younger. So I might be rebuilding some of my social safety nets that had fallen apart over the last few years.
I haven’t been as social over the last three years as I had been previously. I think some of it started when three of my friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other. Then we had a few problem residents come in that gave problems to everyone. So I started isolating to avoid the drama. Then my grandmother died, which I think I took harder subconsciously than I realized at the time. My car accident in late 2015 left me scared to drive and not able to trust other drivers on the road for a long time. 2016 is a lost year as far as I’m concerned. The drama and emotions from the elections caused me so much grief and anxiety. I also lost some good friends and lost contact with some extended family because of those emotions running hot.
After months of hot emotions and people going insane over the pettiest things, 2017 was another tough year. I spent most of that year alone. I rarely visited friends or family. I went entire days without leaving my apartment. I more or less lost my ability to see anything decent in other humans, especially people in my immediate life. I devoted most of 2017 to my writing and self directed scholarly endeavors. Seeing some of the advances that were rapidly being developed was one of the few things that gave me hope in those dark years. Like a fool I tried to share this information with people, but almost no one took me seriously. I had some jerks tell me I was “fake news” and a liar. “Fake news” is another stupid phrase I despise. After a few episodes of this, I became real despondent. I lost myself in computer games and youtube videos and just became annoyed and irritated with people in general. The less I had to deal with flesh and bone people, the better as far as I was concerned.
But after almost three years of depression imposed exile and hermitage, I am slowly becoming more social. I actually want to socialize now. I truly believe that the type of people one surrounds themselves with can effect your mental and even physical health. I have believed this for years. But since most people I knew and ran into on a daily basis were in foul and angry moods, it just seemed better to just isolate, stay out of sight, and hope to God that people eventually came back to their senses. I’m thinking that people, at least the ones I associate with, are starting to come back to their senses. I certainly hope so. The last three years were lonely years. The only years I would rather relive less is my late teens and early twenties before I was being treated for mental illness.
Even though I haven’t been socializing much in person lately, I still make a point of calling friends and family often. I visited my parents in person a couple times already this summer. I saw my nephews and niece on my birthday last month. I call home at least twice a week. And I try to contact old college friends a couple times a month. Even though the last time I saw some of my college friends was three years ago, I still pick up with them like I never left off. And I’m getting better about dropping in on friends on facebook more often. I had been avoiding socializing over facebook for a year or two because of how contentious things could get even among friends. But I think people are starting to adapt and use more caution and tactfulness when online now. But two or three years ago, it was practically a nasty free for all that I wanted little to do with. I wound up unfollowing most of my friends and family (and unwisely ended a few friendships too) just because I was tired of all the divisions and fighting.
Originally facebook was a godsend for someone like me who wanted to stay in contact with people but wasn’t exactly sure how to do it. I readily admit I don’t have great social skills. I never really have. But I do get lonely at times, even when I don’t show it. Sometimes the best thing a person can do with someone who struggles with mental illness and socializing is to make the first move and just ask us how are things going. I am convinced that much of the stress of modern living is due to us not having as strong as personal social bonds as even our grandparents had. Life may have been shorter and more physically demanding during the Depression, the World Wars, and definitely during the frontier days, but they were made bearable because people had living and breathing friends they could count on for things as mundane as playing a game of cards or having dinner together after a long day in the fields. I think if we ever rediscovered the joy of having nearby friends in our neighborhoods and communities, we would see fewer cases of suicide, violent crimes, and drug addictions. I am convinced that much of these happen because some people don’t have that sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.
Even though I haven’t been to church services regularly or been part of civic organizations for a few years, I understand why things like church, local sports teams, neighborhood associations, and civic clubs like the Elks Lodge or the Masonic Lodge are popular among those who participate; they give a sense of belonging and community. I guess I get my sense of community from shared interests in a few of the science groups I’m part of via facebook and through my blog. I used to be a member of a local writers’ guild. It’s too bad that group kind of faded away after a few of our members moved away. A sense of community is important for people. We are by nature social animals, have been long before recored history. Even the most introverted humans are more social than many animals in the wild.
Decided to spend a few days at my parents’ house. Getting some much needed rest and relaxation. Haven’t gotten in the conversations as much as I would like mainly because I have been sleeping so much. Even after two days of unwinding, I can tell things are starting to improve. I’m glad that I don’t have the temper I did even five years ago with this mental illness. Maybe some people do mellow and relax with age. I believe I have.
This trip to my parents’ place made me realize how much I miss travelling and visiting people. I haven’t travelled as much as I used to primarily because of chronic back pain. But since I’ve lost some weight and just forced myself to get more active, I think I’m somewhat more mobile now than I was over the winter. I still have to take it easier than I would like, but even that is starting to go away.
I have been so used to eating alone over the last several years I almost forgot what dinner conversation could be like. Have had a few of those with my parents since I came to their house. I forgot how much even a few minutes of face to face interaction could make me feel better. I am convinced it was and is the paranoia aspect of my illness that doesn’t allow me to interact with others as much as I should. I know I would be better grounded mentally and physically if I spent more time interacting with other people in person.
Getting some other things taken care of I had been neglecting for too long. I have put things off when I was alone because I didn’t have either the motivation to get things done or the help to get things done. One thing I still have to force myself to do is ask for help. I have always had hard times asking for help, as if it made me feel inadequate and weak. But I suppose as I age I’ll have to just ask for help more often.
It’s been a relaxing couple days out of the routine. I imagine I’ll spend another couple days here at least before I try to go back and face my usual routine again. But even the strongest people need to rest and relax once in awhile.
I have my birthday coming up in a few days. My birthday doesn’t mean as much to me anymore as it did when I was in my youth and early adulthood. I’ve made my peace with the fact that I’m not going to get younger or stronger as I age. I accept that things on my body are going to start wearing out. I’ve even accepted that I may become forgetful and not have as rapid mental recall as I did in my younger years. But this mental illness has become easier to manage than it was even five years ago. Even my current problems aren’t overbearing like they were years ago. Now they are irritable occurences that I just deal with until they pass by. I really think my mental illness is easier to deal with now in my late 30s than it was when I was in the prime of my health.
I don’t worry about getting older. I actually welcome it. I’m not really that nostalgic about the past and I really don’t have that many regrets about my past. I avoided all the major mistakes and learned from the minor ones. I’m not tied down as much as many people I know. I know people from my classes in high school and college who have gone through divorces, stuck in dead end jobs, paying off massive debts, in unhappy marriages, have addiction problems, and generally not having a very good time in their thirties. My only true problem is I can stand to lose about 100 pounds. I’ve already lost at least 25 pounds since New Year’s. All I really did was give up fast food, give up most sugar, give up most bread, and drink only water and coffee. Even my chronic back pain is gone. I do occasionally allow myself thin crust pizza, but I go heavy on vegetable toppings when I do.
As cool as my college years were, in spite of the schizophrenia, in some ways my late 30s are even more amazing. I stay in contact with my college friends via facebook and instagram. I have all the music I spent a small fortune on in my teens and twenties for free on youtube and spotify. And I even listen to some of the newer material that comes out too, not just what I grew up with. When I was a teenager I promised myself that regardless of how my life or career turned out, I would never allow myself to become a bitter old man. That’s why I don’t complain about the “lousy kids” or pine for the “good old days.” I do have a few regrets, but the big one (not having much of a relationship with my brother), even that can be reversed once he and I start to put the effort into it. We may not talk much, but that isn’t because we hate each other. We just have totally different lives and day to day experiences.
I may not have dated many women, but I did have some roller coaster ride romances I don’t regret. I asked out all the women I had crushes on in my life, got turned down by most of them, but I’m not wondering ‘what if’ about the one I let get away. Just because I asked was a victory in some regards. I’m glad for the dates I had, even the really lousy ones. I don’t regret being stood up by women, or being rejected, or watching one woman I liked date one of my close friends. And I don’t regret being unmarried at this point in my life. I definately don’t regret not paying alimony or child support. If, at some point down the road, I do meet my forever instead of my usual until whenever types, I’ll consider it an added bonus. But I am not worried about being an old man and alone. By the time I get to be an old man, I may have a robotic assistant that does everything that a professional care giver would anyway. I’ve lived 38 years at this point and experienced some cool things. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
I’m currently at my parents’ house. Been here for a few days. I’m using this time away from city and apartment life to reset and recharge. I haven’t been anywhere outside of my current home city since Thanksgiving. I had gotten stale and stuck in my routines. I imagine this happens to a lot of people in their mid thirties with careers and families where it sometimes becomes month after month of nothing but job and family responsibility. It happened to me and I don’t even have a family or a traditional job. I spent so long doing the responsible adult routines that I forgot why I was doing them or what I was living for. I have found that it sneaks up on all too easily. I haven’t even been fishing for over two years and I used to go fishing almost every weekend during the summers as far back as high school. I want to do more of that once the weather warms again.
While I haven’t been subject to nasty psych breakdowns for months, I have been having problems with anxiety, paranoia, and depression. Because of these issues, I had been not leaving my apartment except when absolutely necessary for several weeks. I finally had enough of this and came to the conclusion that changes were needed. To help this change along, I left my apartment and came to my parents’ house in the small village I grew up in. In my younger years, I used to travel some at least once a week. Sometimes I would come to my parents’ place for a day or two or I would just go places with friends. Once I got serious about the blog and started having issues with chronic pain, those travels became almost nonexistent. I haven’t seriously road tripped since before my car accident in October 2015. I think as a result of not seeing anything different and just seeing the same neighbors day after day made me stale and more closed minded than I would have liked. I even ran into the rut of only eating in the same three or four restaurants when I did dine out, did that for two years. Routine can be settling for mentally ill people, yet too much for too long can be mentally and physically unhealthy. It was even starting to make me a jaded and bitter old man far before my time. So glad I was able to break out and see something different for a few days, even if it is just my childhood home.
Another Christmas has come and gone. I hosted Christmas at my apartment again this year and I got to celebrate with my parents. We had a big dinner and exchanged a few gifts. I got some clothes. As a child I wouldn’t have been excited about getting clothes, but clothes were what I was needing this year. Now the gathering of family and friends means more to me than getting and giving gifts. I guess since I live alone, if I need something I’ll usually buy it myself. And since I am a minimalist by nature and necessity, I usually don’t need very much most of the time.
In other news, one of my computers crashed on me recently. It depends on what’s wrong with it whether I’ll get it fixed or buy a new one. I’ve had that computer for two years and it’s crashed on me twice already. My Mac had issues at the same time. Fortunately I was able to save it without going to the shop because it was a fairly minor problem that took only a couple hours to solve.
Winter has officially arrived in my town. It’s been quite cold for several days and we had several inches of snow the weekend before Christmas. It looks like it will stay very cold for the next several days. Probably be staying home until this cold spell is over. It’s alright as I have some reading to catch up on. I usually do a lot of reading and writing when it’s too cold and snowy to be outside for long.
I have been quite stable for the last couple weeks in spite the changes in my sleep patterns. I’m sleeping less and waking up earlier. I’m now usually awake at sunrise, sleep for a couple hours in the afternoon, and stay awake until midnight. I haven’t noticed any changes in my moods or mental states yet. I’m glad things have been quiet in that regard.
Overall, I’m ready for winter. I won’t feel guilty about wanting to stay home for the next three to four months. Winter and spring are my favorite times of year.
Haven’t been writing much lately but that is mainly because I haven’t had much to report. I have been quite stable for weeks. Haven’t had any real bouts of delusion or paranoia. The excessive anger doesn’t come up very often. The hallucinations have subsided for the most part. The ones I do have are more annoying than fear or anger inducing.
I don’t leave my apartment as much as I would like, mainly from the holiday crowds all over the place. It doesn’t help any that many people I know seem to be in perpetual foul moods all the time. It seems the older I get, the less tolerance I have for irritable people. At this point, there is no way I could go back into working in customer service. I can no longer stomach rude and angry people, even if I get paid for it. Money is poor compensation for having to deal with uncivilized behavior all the time.
Even though I spend most of my time alone and at home, I still keep occupied. Been reading a lot of science journals online and watching science programs on youtube and curiosity stream. It’s too bad that more people aren’t interested in science and tech. Both fields are fascinating, especially the last few years with as fast as these fields have been advancing. The sad thing is I wouldn’t know about any of these advances if I didn’t specifically make a point of seeking this information out. The media, at least easily accessible media, really does a poor job informing people to the current state of science and technology. As much as people use these things, I would think people would be interested in hearing about these things. I get that people are naturally drawn to bad news, it’s how we are wired. I must be weird in that I just got tired of hearing about bad news and tragedy all the time and started seeking out what was going right and well. I get enough bad news and negativity just from being mentally ill, I just don’t need outside sources adding to this.
In other news, Christmas is only two weeks away. I readily admit to being tough to shop for as I am a practicing minimalist. I really don’t require that much to keep me occupied and entertained. I’m sure my family doesn’t find it very thrilling that I ask for things like clothes and home decorations. I like electronics, but there are only so many I need as my computers do most of what I need. I don’t need music CDs as I get most of my music through youtube and spotify anymore. I don’t need movie DVDs as I can get everything through amazon and netflix. I have got to say, having a high speed wireless internet connection has really decluttered much of my life. Besides spending money on food, I just don’t spend as much money on miscellaneous things anymore. Maybe the Star Trek economy where money doesn’t really matter that much isn’t three hundred years away. We could be witnessing the early stages of it already.
I may not make much money but I still live what I consider a fulfilled life. I know that many people of my generation and younger lament that many of us don’t have as much money or material possessions as our parents’ generations, but with much of living being digitalized, do we really need the whole four bedroom house with the picket fence and two automobiles in the garage? What my computer and smart phone can do would have been worth millions back in the 1970s. I probably wouldn’t even own a car except for occasional road trips. As it is, I may not have a lot (not by American standards anyway), but I don’t feel lacking or poor. It was just a matter of realizing what’s really important and adjusting accordingly. It’s a pity that it took for myself becoming mentally ill and losing a career to realize all of this.
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.