Winter Routines and Stability

I haven’t written in a few days.  I have been staying home for the last few days.  My neighbors drop by usually once or twice a day.  They were kind enough to cook dinner for me last night.  Having good neighbors can dramatically improve an apartment complex or neighborhood.  I’m fortunate I have good neighbors now.  It makes living in low income housing more bearable.

Still reading quite a bit.  I’m probably a quarter of the way through Wealth of Nations.  I haven’t done much on audiobooks but have been listening to more music.  Been listening to a lot of jazz and blues lately.  Haven’t been playing computer games as much the last couple weeks.  I still do a little every day, but I tend to read and listen to music more.

Been keeping in contact with old friends more.  Granted talking to friends over facebook just isn’t the same as meeting people in person, it does help keep people in touch when used properly.  I haven’t been on my tech and futurist groups much other than to read articles.  I don’t usually join in discussions and I never leave comments unless I have something positive or funny to say.  It’s keep me out of online arguments for months now.

Been sleeping in my new bed for two weeks now.  It sleeps better than my old one.  I have fewer aches and pains in the morning.  I’ve even had several days when I don’t take pain pills.  Besides my psych medication, the only thing I take every day anymore is a multi vitamin pill with breakfast.  It turns out I don’t need as much sleep now.  I usually sleep six to seven hours at night and maybe an hour in the afternoon.  I used to sleep twelve hours a day in the fall.

I guess I don’t have much planned for the next few days.  I haven’t gone anywhere off the complex property for a few weeks.  Too cold and I really have nowhere within walking distance I want to go.  I am having groceries and cleaning supplies delivered tomorrow morning and my cleaning lady will be here tomorrow afternoon.  Got several loads of laundry done earlier this week.  I’m pretty much set for awhile after tomorrow.

Been feeling quite stable the last several days.  I imagine more consistent sleep, avoiding negative people and places, and staying in touch with friends and family at least once a day helps.  It also helps that I don’t watch the news or visit news sites.  No reason to get worked up over things that I can’t do anything about.  Winter has always been a calming time for me.

 

January 7 2020

It’s been a good day overall.  Got a bunch of house hold chores done ahead of maintenance coming to my apartment tomorrow afternoon.  Took a nap and am generally ready to face the night.  We’re supposed to have two warmer than normal days before things start getting cold again right in time for the weekend.  Had a good chat with my best friend last night and my neighbor this morning.  She hadn’t been spending as much time here the last couple weeks due to the craziness of the holidays.  But she came over and we had a good chat.

My new bed sleeps well.  I have now gotten used to the bed being taller than my previous beds.  It is the right combination of soft and firm for me.  It isn’t so soft I sink in and it isn’t so firm it feels like I’m sleeping on the floor.

When my parents came to visit a few days ago, we got all my old flags hung on the walls.  I now have a pirate flag hanging behind my recliner and a British flag hanging behind my dresser.  My 13 colonies American flag is hanging right behind my tv.  I’m glad I didn’t buy more flags.  They, in addition to the artwork my best friend made, take up most of my wall space now.  My house now feels like a home again.  For a few years after I went minimalist I didn’t have much on the walls.  It’s amazing how much one year and weekly maintenance and cleaning can do to improve the surroundings and my morale.

I find myself sleeping less at night and even staying up later.  Yet I don’t feel tired.  I may be getting less sleep than I did during the summer and early fall, but I think it’s better quality sleep.  I changed out the parts on my cpap machine and I think that has made a big difference in my sleep quality.  Some days I don’t even need to nap anymore.

Between getting my cpap new parts, redecorating my house, getting a new doctor, having a regular cleaner come help me out, having regular contact with my neighbors even though I don’t leave my apartment some days, and having these lingering maintenance issues resolved, it feels good to be getting some tasks accomplished I had been neglecting.  I think much of this neglect was do to the paranoia aspect of my illness.  Sometimes all the tasks needing to be done were so numerous and overwhelming I didn’t know where to start.  I’m glad I got some outside help to help with my projects.  I’m starting to get over my fears of asking for help.

Christmas 2019 and Mental Illness

It’s only a few days until Christmas.  My parents are coming up to Nebraska for a couple days, weather permitting.  Unfortunately, weather is always a factor in winter travel in my part of the country.  But I’m actually enjoying Christmas more this year than most other years.  I think many of my friends are the same way.  It helps me that I no longer have to fight the crowds whenever I need to buy something from a store.  I get most of my purchases delivered to my home anymore.  My grocery store has next day delivery and, even though I live in a remote small town, Amazon usually has two day delivery.  I have been playing Christmas music via YouTube and Spotify the last couple weeks.  I haven’t seen any real Christmas movies yet besides a documentary on the Christmas Truce of World War I between German and British soldiers in the trenches.

Overall I am doing okay.  I hired a couple home health aides after my doctor’s appointment.  I have a nurse who drops in every week and a physical rehab specialist who drops in twice weekly.  I don’t have much physical stamina anymore, but fortunately I retained most of my muscle strength.  Odd deal I suppose.  But I am slowly rebuilding my heart and lung strength.

My blood pressure is better regulated now.  And I feel less stressed and anxious overall too.  I leave my apartment to walk in the hallways with my physical therapist.  But I still stay home a lot.  I no longer stay home because of stress and anxiety.  I do it mainly because I am used to keeping myself occupied at home.  I can easily keep in contact with friends and relatives via facebook and phone.  I talk to my parents at least a couple times per week.  I have reestablished contact with my brother.  I wasn’t angry at him or anything, we just don’t have much in common.  He has a high end career, a wife, four kids, a house in the suburbs, etc.  I guess I don’t know how to relate to much of that.  I am grateful to be on good terms with his kids.  I’ll probably never have kids of my own, but I am happy with being Uncle Zach to those kids.

I’ll be watching football most days for the next two weeks with the college football bowl game season and the end of the pro season.  Unfortunately my Huskers didn’t make a bowl game this year.  But they are a young team that shows potential.  Winters are often a slow time for me.  But they are a time when I get a lot of writing and reading done.  Haven’t decided what my reading project will be for this winter.  I may do some philosophy works as it’s been a few years since I read good philosophy.  Since I no longer own a car, I won’t be going anywhere unless I can get a ride.  But it is easier to spend time at home than even five years ago.

 

November 26 2019

Today is the first major snow storm of the season in my town.  I’m enjoying staying at home, listening to the wind howl, and watching the snow fall.  I’m glad I’m not traveling in this mess.  It’s a good night to just stay home and stay bunkered down.

Even though I still spend most of my time at home, I get more visitors.  My neighbors visit usually once a day.  They were over here all afternoon on Sunday.  After a few weeks of having more regular company, I’m less paranoid about people in general.  I still spend most of my time at home, but it’s not as a defense mechanism. I usually stay home because I want to.  And I have plenty of books to read and things to keep me occupied in my apartment.  I am enjoying the longer nights.  I usually go to bed about 9 or 10 pm and wake about 4 am anymore.  I sometimes nap in the afternoons too.

I don’t have much planned for Thanksgiving.  I’m spending it with my neighbors.  My parents are coming to my place a few days later.  I haven’t decided what I’m doing for Christmas. I guess I really don’t want to go anywhere, but I’m up for hosting a few family members.  I just don’t like to travel much anymore.  I imagine much of this is due to the illness.  I am glad I got to travel in my younger years.

My illness has changed over the last few years.  Some things really upset me now that didn’t used to.  I am more prone to want to be left alone.  I am less tolerant of being treated poorly by others.  I have zero patience for gossip and drama.  But I am more likely to seek help before things become crisis.  I’m more honest with myself and others.  I’m more accepting of my quirks and hangups.  And I no longer feel I have to hide my mental illness.  And I feel more hopeful overall.  While I’m not delusional enough to believe I will get cured, I have learned how to adapt to the illness and plan accordingly.  I guess I don’t know how I would adapt to life without a mental illness.

I don’t know what I would do if I ever was cured.  It would probably mean I’d have to get off social security disability and find work again. Because of the illness, my work skills have deteriorated to almost nothing.  Few jobs are available anymore that don’t require college degrees or moving to an urban area.  I don’t want to go into debt to get a degree that will probably be obsolete before I pay it off.  I certainly don’t want to get married at this point.  I’m almost 40 years old.  I don’t want kids at this point.  I didn’t have kids or get married because I feared I would be a lousy father and husband.  I just knew myself too well.  I don’t really care about become rich.  I certainly don’t want to become famous. I’ve seen too many high achievers get built up only to get torn down later.  I always thought that it was stupid how we praise high achievers only to condemn them later for making mistakes and being human.  I don’t want to be famous, at least not in my lifetime.  Right now I’m content to be an independent scholar, write my blogs, write my journals, and have a few close friends and some family.  I really don’t want much more than that.

Sometimes I don’t even really mind living in a large apartment complex, especially as long as I can stay out of sight and out of the way of drama.  I don’t want to hear gossip anymore.  I don’t care about who did or said what to whom anymore.  The easiest way to make me happy is to not harass me and even just leave me alone unless you have good news.  I’m happy to see my neighbors because they are almost always in good moods.  I’m happy to see my cleaning lady every week because she doesn’t mind the conversation while she works.  And I’m usually happy to chat with my friends and family, at least as long as they aren’t knit picking me.

November 1 2019

Saw my parents over last weekend.  Picked up some supplies I was needing and had a good visit with them.  Also decided to sell my car.  I wasn’t using enough to justify having it.  Besides my town now has Uber service in addition to a shuttle bus service.  And I can still get my groceries and medications delivered to my place.

I’m spending more time with my neighbors.  One of them volunteered to help me out with laundry once a week for a small monthly charge.  After having them over a few times I now realize how much I was missing from not socializing much.  I still don’t leave my apartment very often but I do make a point of standing up and walking around at least once an hour.  It seems to help keep the back and knee pain at bay.  I took a few days off from lifting weights but am starting back on that today.

Decided to shave my beard and trim my hair.  I buzzed my hair quite short.  Any shorter I’d look bald.  Haven’t had my hair this short in a few years.  I also haven’t gone clean shaven for a few years too.  But I figure if some people can update their look a few times a week, I can update mine every couple years.

Overall things are looking alright as we press closer to winter.  We got our first snow a couple days ago.  We had patches of snow still during Halloween.  I didn’t do much for Halloween besides play some background music via youtube for much of the morning.  I was going to watch Dracula (the Francis Ford Coppola version) as I own that on my amazon account but didn’t get to it.  Chatted with a couple old friends last night on facebook.  I’m still going to bed earlier and waking up for a few hours in the middle of the night.  I get my sleep and I’m still able to enjoy the quiet hours.  Best of both worlds for me.  Haven’t had any bad flare ups for a week now.  For awhile I was having them pretty bad for a couple days.  But I changed my routines some, changed my diet some, and got more consistent sleep.  So far it’s working.

Starting To Feel Better After A Rugged Patch

While it has been a rough last several days for myself I think I’m beginning to pull out of it.  To help myself pull out I’ve been going to bed earlier, limiting myself to only one cup of coffee per day, avoiding foods that are tough on my stomach, trying to avoid less than positive people and news stories.  As much research as I do online for the blog and my own intellectual nourishment, it can be a steep climb.  Fortunately I’m getting back to where if I see a news story or a friend’s posting that irritates me I’ll be fine after a couple minutes of silent contemplation.  I also spend more time meditating too.  I usually have a couple times per day I just lay in bed with my cpap and just pay attention to my breathing.  It seems like the best way to do meditation, at least for myself, is to not concern myself with whether I’m doing it right.  It’s trying to reduce stress and calm down, not building a steel bridge.  There probably isn’t one right way to do it for everyone.  I don’t even really think of it as traditional meditation or prayer that much, I just look at it as decluttering my mind or taking out my mental garbage.

I am sorry for the blow ups I had over the last week.  I wish I could find a more constructive and less threatening way to let go of my fears and anxiety.  Yet I do know it could be worse.  I could just have just as easily turned to alcohol, narcotics, gambling, arguing with complete strangers, etc.  But in all my years with dealing with schizophrenia I have never laid a hand on anyone, no matter how bad it got.  Hopefully I never go down that dark route.

During this time of increased distress for myself I am grateful to family and friends who haven’t given up on me.  I know I can be real difficult to deal with some times.  Hopefully that is all the illness and that I’m not a malicious man by nature.  I have some friends who also deal with depression and anxiety issues.  I also have friends stressed real bad over debts and stagnating careers.  Right now for many things feel hopeless.  It is easy for anger and depression to come into play in these cases.

I’m feeling more upbeat than I have in a while.  My parents will be in town today.  Hopefully they can help me get some things straightened out I have let slide over the last few months.  I’m happy to be getting company.  I don’t get company much anymore.  Maybe moving to be near my brother and his family would be best for me.  I do feel kind of apprehensive about the move as my brother and I have never gotten along.  We are just complete opposites I guess.  And my diseased mind makes it real tough to let go of the past sometimes.  Having a near photographic memory doesn’t make things any better.  But I just can’t do this life thing alone anymore.

My Online Confessions

I’m going off subject for this article.  It has been too long since I wrote a just for fun piece.  For this one, I’m going to disclose some facts about myself.  Some will be funny, some may be unpopular, but all of them are true.  So here goes:

  1. My three favorite hobbies are computer games, writing, and weight lifting.
  2. I love nonfiction science books.
  3. I can’t stand dystopic novels or movies (which, unfortunately, is most of tv in recent years).
  4. My favorite pizza toppings are pepperoni and Italian sausage
  5. I can’t stand most fast food.  I haven’t even had a Big Mac in over two years
  6. I get very irritated when people ask me “when are you getting married?”  Sometimes I want to retort to them, especially if they are older than I am, “when are you going to die?”
  7. I don’t like watching sports as much now as I did when I was in my teens and twenties.  But I do mainly so I can have something to talk about with family and friends.
  8. I can’t stand most cable news channels.  I like some business news channels, namely Bloomberg, because they report on things like science and tech breakthroughs more than politics and disaster.
  9. I don’t tolerate rudeness from others in my online interactions.  And I never give second chances to people I don’t personally know.  No exceptions.
  10. I often go out of my way to defend younger people, especially college age and those just starting out in adulthood.  I remember how bad it hurt being stereotyped as a “damn kid” even when I was in grade school.  When I was a teenager I promised myself I would never put anyone else through what I was forced to endure.  Certainly makes me unpopular with my elders and even people my own age.
  11. I don’t understand why it’s popular to be dumb.  Never have and never will.
  12. I don’t understand why it’s evil to be smart.  Never have and never will.
  13. When I write, I find writing in the first person point of view far easier than third person.  Always have.  My best material has always been with myself serving as the narrator.  Even most of my early poems and novel rough drafts were in the first person.
  14. I once had an outline for a science fiction series of novels.  It was mainly about humanity several thousand years with various human settlements declaring independence from an interstellar empire.  Pretty much think Star Trek, Dune, and a touch of the American Civil War.  Sadly I no longer have those notes.
  15. I once had the goal of becoming a best selling writer where half of all my writing and speaking profits would go to philanthropy, namely mental illness research and to the college I graduated from.
  16. High school was some of the toughest years of my life.
  17. College was one of the few places I felt that I wasn’t a complete outcast.  It was one of the only places I met people more eccentric than I am.  I loved college.  Kind of too bad I can’t live in a communal type setting with other researchers, academics, and eccentrics.
  18. One of the few parts I don’t like about being an adult is how tough it is just to spend time with friends.
  19. One thing I absolutely love about being an adult is that I don’t have to act like I care what other people think about me, at least as long as I’m not breaking the law.
  20. I don’t understand the whole ‘Oh God It’s Monday’ and the ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ nonsense.  I never thought it was funny.  Never will.
  21. I don’t understand why it’s funny to hate your in laws or argue with your spouse.  My two best friends I’ve known both for over twenty years.  I can count the number of major arguments I’ve had with the two combined on less than five fingers.  And it certainly doesn’t make our friendships sterile or lifeless or meaningless.  The only time I argue with my parents is during psychotic breakdowns, usually only a couple times per year.
  22. I absolutely despise the phrase “man up.”  I think it’s possibly the stupidest phrase in the English language.  I have never heard anyone tell a woman to “woman up” or an old grandfather to “young down.”  I don’t even hear adults tell kids to “grow up” very often.
  23. I get irritated when I present facts and statistics in a discussion only to be blown off or told I am a lair.
  24. My favorite ice cream is vanilla, simply because it goes good with most toppings and favorings.  It mixes with almost anything.
  25. I like poetry, particularly poems about war, struggle, and overcoming challenges.
  26. I don’t understand why many people can’t see that mental health problems are real.  I mean, the human brain is the most intricate and complex piece of machinery we know about.  Yet, too many people act like nothing can go wrong with it.  Shows a lack of critical thinking on many people’s part.
  27. I am extremely distressed by most education systems not teaching kids how to critically think or be adaptable.  We have known our schools weren’t adapting to the challenges kids would face as adults as far back as the 1980s (at least).  Yet we still teach our kids in 2019 like it was 1919.  I am convinced that is why so many people are anxious and depressed about their lives as adults, simply because they weren’t taught how to adapt to the current realities.  In short, we train kids and teenagers for a local and stable world only to dump them out in a global and rapidly changing world in their early twenties.  And then we have the gall to wonder why they are anxious and struggling in their lives.  We trained them for a world that no longer exists, often to the tune of many thousands of dollars in student debts that will take most of a career to pay off.  If that isn’t child abuse, then nothing is.
  28. I am sometimes lonely.  But I don’t socialize because I don’t want to hear my family and friends endlessly complain.  About the only people in my life who don’t unload their problems on me are my two best friends and my mother.  And it weighs on me and can cause me to be resentful.
  29. I hate being told I’m lucky.  I hate it almost as much as I do being told to “man up.”
  30. I don’t understand why the only manliness most people respect comes out things like war and violence.  Personally, I think Einstein and Newton were every bit as manly as George Patton and Napoleon.  Why is being a thinker considered a sign of weakness?  Hell, if it weren’t for thinkers, there would be no civilization and humanity would probably be extinct.  Think about that the next time you condemn someone for resorting to their brains before their fists or guns.
  31. I don’t understand zero sum thinking.  The idea that someone has to lose for me to gain a benefit is a load of crap.
  32. Don’t discuss politics with me.  Ever.
  33. I have never thought having lots of sex makes a man manly or a woman immoral.  Some people just like sex more than others.
  34. I have lost more jobs and friendships than I can remember because I never gave up on trying to think for myself.  Found out the hard way the world doesn’t respect original thinkers, at least not before they make major breakthroughs.
  35. I am convinced societies love their living tyrants but condemn their living benefactors only to reverse it once their children become the leaders of society.  So maybe there is a sense of justice, even if it’s only in history books and the minds of future generations.
  36. I don’t believe in most conspiracy theories. But I do believe that just enough of them have just enough truth to them to make the entire subject a dark, addictive, and dangerous one.
  37. I believe we live in one of the coolest times in human history, at least as long as you don’t watch the news channels.  News channels report only negative news precisely because that is what we are hard wired to pay attention to.  Good news sites fail, not because they are “fake news”, but because no one pays attention.
  38. I believe we as a human society can solve our problems (or at least adapt so to minimize the impact) and have a really cool future that we, even in 2019, will be jealous of.