January 14 2023

I started losing weight again after Christmas. I’m down over ten pounds since then and almost 160 pounds overall in the last three years. My goal is to eventually get to my old high school weight. That will take at least a couple more years. But the slower I lose it, the more likely I am to keep it off.

I’ve officially graduated from regular physical therapy. I can now walk over 6 minutes without sitting down. I found out the other day that I can now navigate stairs. First time in over 4 years I could walk on stairs. I felt so accomplished. Heck, maybe by the time I find my new place in Oklahoma I won’t even need a wheelchair.

I use the wheelchair only for long distances now. I am able to make my own bed again. I can easily stand up long enough to brush my teeth. I used to sit on the toilet while brushing. Don’t need to do that anymore. I’m the lightest weight I’ve been since 2015. Lose another 30 pounds and I will be at my lightest weight in 10 years. I think it’s going to happen. Just a matter of time now.

I’ve put in applications to move into Section 8 low income housing in Oklahoma about two months ago. Amy, the case worker here at the nursing facility, has been making calls and writing emails on my behalf. Most of the nurses here think I no longer need long term care. I can make my own bed, get my own coffee, do my own showers and shaving, and sometimes I am asking the nurses for my meds even before they are ready to hand them out.

I still sleep for a few hours in the evenings after supper. I usually rattle around for a couple hours in the over night. Made several friends with the staff here. Most of my friends here are staff members. I guess it’s easier for me to relate to people my own age and younger now. Most of the staff is in their 20s to 30s. The head doctor is probably in his 50s. The charge nurses are mostly my age. Most people here don’t have me being in my early 40s. Most people think I’m ten years younger than that. But I do look younger now that I regularly shave and have lost a bunch of weight.

My best friend started a new job a few days ago. She works for a small real estate firm. They said they will help her get her realtors’ license this year. I’m so happy for her. She says the pay and the atmosphere of the office is already better than anything she has experienced in previous jobs. I wish you only the best dear friend.

Recently reestablished a friendship with an old college friend after a several year hiatus. We reestablished contact last summer and probably talk once a week on the phone. He lives in Missouri and has a steady girlfriend now. Both of them are on the autism spectrum and seem just right for each other. My friend’s wife died from ovarian cancer a couple years ago. He seems so happy to have found a romance interest again. Heck, maybe there is hope for me yet. I’d hate to think that I never found much success at romance because of where I was living. But I’ve lived in small towns my entire life.

I guess now that things are calming down between the pandemic and contentious politics, I’m reestablishing old friendships that had fallen by the wayside the last several years. Even though I currently live in an assisted living facility hundreds of miles away from most of my family and friends, I can honestly say I feel more hopeful for the future now than I have probably since 2014.

2015 to 2022 was a real rough time for me, as it was for most people. I honestly believe that the kids who grew up in the 2010s and the pandemic will talk about these events the same way their great grandparents talked about the Depression and World War 2. I mean, we’ve already had contentious politics all over the world, a covid pandemic that has killed many millions of people, really bad price inflations of everyday items in most countries, energy crisis in Europe, major war in Eastern Europe, and now food crisis in the Middle East and most African countries. People will talk about the 2010s and 2020s the same way their ancestors talked about the 1930s and 1940s or the Civil War here in America for decades to come. I think it will leave a major scar on the people who survive these years, especially those who are children and teenagers right now as well as those who worked in hospitals, drove trucks, worked in grocery stores, worked in warehouses, etc. I’m sad for all the millions of people who didn’t get to live to see some glimpse of hope that is now starting to come out of these dark times.

I’m sorry that I don’t write as often as I did before I moved to assisted living. It’s sometimes easy to get lost in the day to day and ignore the progress I’ve made in these last several months and years. When covid started, my knees and feet hurt so bad I could barely stand up, let alone navigate stairs. But I have lost 160 pounds in the last three years. Haven’t done any crazy exercise routine or diets or anything like that. Portion control, more protein, and less sugar has been enough to help me out. I’ve also done 30 to 40 minutes of physical therapy a day, three days a week, for the last four months. Other than that, I haven’t done anything crazy.

I think one of the reasons we have such a problem with weight gain is that we as a people have kept the same eating habits our ancestors did but do only a fraction of the physical labor that people did even 150 years ago. Our ancestors could eat several thousand calories every day and still not gain weight because old style farm and factory work required lots of physical labor. Now that much of that can be done by machines and computers, we no longer need to do the physical labor people in the 1800s had to just to survive. And we’ve adapted our eating habits only in recent years. It took me almost 40 years to unlearn the clean your plate no matter how much is on it mentality the pioneers had. It served our ancestors well as they never knew how much their next meal would be. But the same attitudes towards food without the physical activity has been killing us for a couple generations now. I hope the kids growing up today can adapt to eating less because our daily lives no longer need large meals every day. I guess save the large meals for the holidays.

My Social Activity and Dietary Habits

Another month is off to a decent start.  Got the bills and rent paid, my fridge and pantry is restocked, and I’m now set for awhile.  I don’t have much planned for this week.  I probably won’t be having guests until my cleaning person arrives in a few days.  Since my parents and most of my friends now live out of state, I don’t get much for company anymore.  But then, most of my friends are married and have families of their own.  They have families and careers.  Whereas with a mental illness, I was forced into early retirement I guess.  But even though I don’t have a paying job, I still try to stay busy.

I usually do this blog an average of twice a week.  It has been a regular thing for over five years now.  While I have no delusion I will ever earn enough to get off disability from my writing, I still write.  At this point I don’t really care if I do get discovered and make money.  I enjoy having creative freedom and having a niche audience.  I suppose I write this, in part, as cheap therapy and as a public journal.  It probably isn’t much more than the day to day struggles and victories of a rather ordinary man with schizophrenia.  Even after living with this illness since my late teens, I still don’t have it all figured out.  Some things change over the years.  I don’t do much driving or going out in public as I used to.  But I have less desire to wander and am less restless.  I find it easier to concentrate on mental tasks than even a few years ago.  I have also found I have lost some of my physical strength and endurance now I am almost forty.  But I don’t get sick as often anymore.  It’s been something like four years since I had a cold.  Haven’t had to take anti biotic medication in at least ten years.  Haven’t been to a mental hospital in six years.  Haven’t been an overnight patient in the hospital in almost ten years.  So I must be doing some things right.  As I have lost some strengths and abilities, I have also picked up others.

I guess I’m not bothered by the fact I am entering middle age as much as I thought I would be.  When I was in college, I found it easier to imagine myself as a seventy year old than a forty year old.  I guess the only thing about getting older that bothers me is how aches and pains can come up for no apparent reason.  I am now planning my days and activities with pains in mind.  Sometimes certain foods can make pain worse.  I have found too much caffeine can make my muscles tight and sore.  I found that eating too much grain based food can leave me lethargic and weighed down.  Too much sugar can make me jittery.  Lots of leafy green vegetables make me feel pretty decent as do most fresh vegetables and less sugary fruits.  Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese are about the only dairy products I like anymore.  And I don’t eat much for salty foods.  I occasionally get a craving for Doritos chips, but after a bag or two that craving will be satisfied for weeks.