Beginning of School Year and Maintaining Stability

It’s been fairly quiet in my complex the last few days.  The highlights of my week were when my cleaning person arrived for the weekly cleaning and the exterminator arrived to do his routine spraying.  Got groceries too so I’m set for the rest of the month.  I have been avoiding going out the last few days as school is starting back up again.  My town is a college town, so the streets are crowded again with several thousand college kids.  Even though I haven’t been a college student since 2005, I always enjoy when they come back.  I do regret that I don’t get out to the college as much as I used to for sporting events or activities.  I enjoyed going to the ‘taste of the world’ festival the college had every spring when the foreign students would make dishes from their home nations and some would even wear traditional clothing from their home nations too.  Even the American kids got in on this, with one group wearing get ups from the 1950s and serving hamburgers and fries.

Overall I’m doing well.  Still in a traditionally tough time of year for myself.  I sometimes have minor flare ups of anxiety and irritability a few times a week.  They don’t last very long and they aren’t as intense as they were in my younger years.  I have found if I avoid high amounts of caffeine and carb rich foods, I do better on those days.  I also avoid certain conversations and topics because some topics often make me irritable or anxious or I just feel probably too strongly about.  If I seem less social the last few weeks than normal, that is why.  It’s nothing personal but I just want to avoid potential problems as much as possible, especially during traditionally tough times.

So far I’ve been doing pretty well and I want to keep it that way.  I can be really tough on family during my bad flare ups.  I’m sorry those have happened.  I think it would be better for all involved if I could just break down sobbing rather than being angry and lashing out.  I don’t know how much of that is my illness, where and when I grew up, being a man, etc.  But it is easier talking about my problems now than even ten years ago.  And when I was first diagnosed almost twenty years ago, I was scared to tell even my college friends.  So yes, progress has been made in those regards.  Often doesn’t feel like it during the day to day grinds.

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Staying Calm With A Mental Illness

mental-health

For a few weeks now I have been feeling quite decent and not having any flare ups of my schizophrenia.  I had some minor flare up this afternoon.  I’m not sure what caused it but fortunately I remained calm and quiet and just let the feeling pass.  Traditionally during flare ups I call my family and just yell incoherent nonsense to them until I calm down, usually taking an hour or two.  Fortunately this time I kept calm and kept quiet.  I stayed in the apartment, turned off the tv and social media, put on a computer game, and kept myself distracted.  After about a half hour of this I calmed down I went to a fast food restaurant near my place and ordered a large dinner.  I brought it back to my apartment, ate quite well and drank lots of water. Oddly eating a protein rich meal can often make me more calm.  I haven’t been eating as much as I normally do as I’m trying to get that back under control.  For a week I had been eating protein only one meal per day.  I broke out of that today.  High protein foods like steaks and hamburgers have a calming effect on me, though I’m sure they’re not good when you’re trying to drop weight.  I am convinced I’d never make it as a vegetarian.

I’m glad that I was able to find another route to ward off my flare ups.  I’m glad that I was able to break out of past routines.  I’m sure me yelling incoherencies to my family isn’t easy for them.  My parents will be gone someday, probably sooner than I would like.  While it might be true that problems associated with schizophrenia lessen with age, I do know I can’t yell at random friends and therapists and hope to stay out of a mental hospital or even jail.  Perhaps my mental illness problems are starting to lessen.  I know that my interest in dating is far, far less than it was even five years ago.  I have heard that many men in their mid thirties start losing interest in sex and find more interest in their work or life’s calling. I’m also not as quick tempered as I was five to ten years ago.  I have also noticed that I can better deal with the minor annoyances and irritations of every day living than I could even a few years ago.  The flare ups I have had even going back to last Christmas weren’t as bad or frequent as the flare ups I was having in college.  Perhaps it is that as I age I am learning what will make things worse and just make points of avoiding those things.  Maybe this instance of just isolating and keeping myself distracted with as little noise as possible until I calm down is another tool in my toolbox.  And maybe I should think about eating fewer carbs than I have been the last few weeks.  But I am definitely glad I was able to prevent a flare up from becoming a full breakdown.