Lack of Activity in Winter with A Mental Illness

With the really cold weather I have had for the last several days, I rarely left my apartment between Christmas and New Year’s.  I started my car a few times and shoveled out the snow so I can now get out if necessary.  I’m going to have to get out within the next few days as I am running low on supplies and groceries.  Being shut up inside has made me a little restless and bored.  But it’s supposed to start warming up within a day or two.  Maybe I can get out more often now.  But it has been a lonely and tedious several days just staying home, watching football, and playing computer games.  I hope to have a new routine started soon.

Haven’t gotten to talk to anyone besides my parents and a couple close friends since Christmas.  I haven’t been on facebook much the last few months.  Seems to me even my friends are starting to avoid social media.  So much for reconnecting people.  It has been kind of a lonely go the last several days.  I did host Christmas but haven’t had guests since.

Even though mentally I have been stable for months, I don’t have much for enthusiasm in anything anymore.  I used to be able to spend hours on end reading online articles or wikipedia in addition to educational programs on youtube and curiosity stream.  I haven’t found much joy in these activities for a few weeks now.  Not sure what the issues are.  For all I know the reduction in doses of some of my psych meds could be the culprit.  I may not have the ups and downs, but I am also losing many of my interests.  I have also become quite lazy now, I’m embarrassed to admit.  I imagine it’s just a matter of readjusting and adapting in order to get my old interests back.  At least I haven’t lost my interests in writing.  I may not post as often as I used to but that is because I have less to report.  Most of this is from lack of flare ups and a lack of socializing.

Fortunately socializing doesn’t make me annoyed anymore.  Now I have the problem of being scared to socialize. I guess the hostility is being edged out by the old paranoia issues.  I am scared to socialize in most instances anymore besides with close friends and family members.  I am not as afraid to drive my car anymore.  I just don’t want to anymore.  Driving just seems kind of pointless anymore.  I haven’t really had much reason to laugh much lately.  I just don’t make a point to watch comedy shows as much as I should.  I just don’t make a point to watch much of anything anymore.  Been a few weeks since I watched anything on netflix and I haven’t done an audiobook for almost a month.  If it wasn’t for football for the last two weeks I wouldn’t have watched much of anything this winter.  And since I need less sleep than I used to, the days and nights seem to stretch out forever.  I hope the rest of winter isn’t this long or bleak.  I hope it warms up a little soon.  I’ve about hit my breaking point with having to stay inside all day because of the snow and cold.

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Late Summers, Changes in Diet, and Mental Stability

Late summers have traditionally been a tough time for me dealing with mental illness.  I usually have to be real careful from late July to early September.  So far this year has been different.  It could be due to reducing my stress levels and avoiding stressful people and places.  It could be due to the medication changes I made a few months ago.  And it could be due to changes in my diet.  I now don’t eat much wheat or anything that’ll upset my stomach.  I have found that I feel better on days I don’t eat bread than on days I do.  I have had stomach problems in the past.  Stomach issues aren’t uncommon in people with depression and mental health issues.  I pretty much limit myself to lots of protein and vegetables anymore.  About the only grains I eat on a regular basis anymore are rice based foods.  Rice seems to be easier on me than wheat and other grains.

When I do go to restaurants I don’t order things like french fries or most other fried foods.  I do occasionally treat myself to chicken strips at KFC.  I have pretty much also cut out sugar too.  When I do crave caffeine, I usually opt for green tea, coffee, or diet soda.  I notice I’m less irritable on days I limit sugar consumption.  Easing back on the caffeine was tough the first several days as I would occasionally sleep more than I would like and sometimes experience slight headaches once a day.  But I think I have gotten past the worst of the caffeine withdrawal.  I used to drink four to six cups of coffee a day, certainly not healthy when dealing with mental health problems.

I have found myself eating more vegetables than usual.  Even when I order delivery pizza, I make it a point to get the mostly vegetable pizzas.  I don’t feel as weighed down and bloated after a few slices of vegetable pizza as compared to the all meats or cheeses pizzas.  Since I’m on a limited budget I have to be careful about buying fresh vegetables that won’t spoil within a couple days.  So I usually eat a can of vegetables every days, usually green peas or green beans.  I have had some good sweet corn, a Midwest late summer tradition.  When I was growing up, it wasn’t uncommon to have sweet corn with dinner three nights  a week during the month of August.  Most of our meals during late summer involved locally grown sweet corn, tomatoes from our garden, and bacon sandwiches.  My parents have introduced my nephews and niece to this August tradition too, even though it will be another few years before the kids develop a taste for tomatoes.

Overall I have felt really decent this summer.  I don’t have much drama to report.  I’m glad that the push for the playoffs in baseball is starting.  I’m also looking forward to the start of football season here in the US in a few weeks.  Fall practice has already begun and school will be starting again in a few days.  I saw that many countries started their soccer seasons this weekend.  I have made a habit of following the US national team since the last World Cup.  I hope we make it to the next one coming up in 2018.  Since the World Cup will be hosted by Russia next summer, I imagine I’ll be watching soccer at a lot of odd hours to adjust for the time differences.  I have kind of gotten into soccer as I have two nephews and a niece who play the game.  Even as a kid I was a slow runner but  didn’t mind getting hit or hitting others.  So that’s why I played football in high school. So that’s why I still watch football in the falls.  But we have made it through the long stretch of summer and fall will be here soon.  It helps that it has been cooler than usual the last several days in my part of the US.  Makes me hopeful for fall and the return of cooler weather.

Being A Sports Fan With Mental Illness

I confess to spending a shameful portion of my free time watching sporting events on tv.  I had the Olympics on every night they were on.  I often have a baseball game going on in the background when I’m doing internet research.  I have been a member of a fantasy baseball league for the last several years as well as participating in college football bowl game picks.  Money doesn’t change hands as most of my friends and I just do it to make the games more interesting.

The college football season starts this weekend.  The state’s university football team, the Nebraska Huskers, is practically a state religion.  I like watching the games even though the older I get the more I feel guilty about watching young men injure themselves for my entertainment.  Plus many people in my home state take winning and losing too serious for my tastes.  That’s why I avoid fan forums and online discussions, especially during years the team doesn’t do well.  Last year was one of those years when the team had a losing record with a new coach.  When the whole state follows something like that it’s impossible to avoid discussing it in conversations.  Sometimes this causes me undo stress and anxiety, much like people discussing politics.  Politics and sports fanaticism are two things I really hate because people just aren’t rational about either one.  While I like watching football and baseball, I do think most fans have messed up priorities when it comes to supporting their teams.  I know this isn’t unique to America as I’ve heard stories about soccer riots in England and South America.  And just today I saw a news article stating a school district in Texas is going to spend over $60 million to build a high school football stadium.  Seriously, how many high school players go on to play even in college, let alone the pros?  I can’t imagine any school district spending that kind of money to improve their academics.

In short I do like watching sports as a diversion but I don’t take them so serious that it messes up my priorities.

 

Start of Baseball Season and Spectator Sports With Mental Illness

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Today is Easter Sunday, one of the major events and celebrations of the Christian religion. For baseball fans in America, like myself, it is also the start of the Major League baseball season.  Hope springs eternal for the fans of all teams, even for Rockies fans like myself.  While I am hopeful that we can put up a better showing, especially after two disaster seasons, the logical part of my brain tells me it will be a typical Rockies season: Be competitive until Memorial Day, have a lousy June and July, and start thinking about Broncos football after the All Star Break.  But I got hooked on the Colorado Rockies after going to a few games with college friends and my family over the years.  I became a die hard after going to a World Series game in Denver in 2007.  Even though we lost to the Red Sox in a four game sweep, it seemed that fans in Denver were so psyched to have made it that far that it was Christmas before they realized they were swept in the Series.  In all fairness and respect, the Red Sox had such a great team in those years that almost no one would have had a chance.

As much as I like watching live sports, especially baseball and college football, in many cases I prefer to watch at home or a friend’s place on a HDTV as opposed to watch games in person.  As a life long Nebraskan, I’ve been to several Husker football games over the years.  My family has season tickets and my dad graduated from the University.  Haven’t been to many since my mental illness problems really set in.  Part of this is due to I don’t handle large crowds in small spaces well.  And 90,000 people in a football stadium qualifies as large crowd in a small space.  As tough as I find large crowds in open air arenas, enclosed crowds like basketball games and music concerts are even tougher.  I get overwhelmed easy and I have fears of heights and enclosed spaces.  I get air sick climbing a ladder, let alone sitting in the third tier of the cheap seats.

So to get my fix of live entertainment without the stresses of dealing with large crowds, I go to things like open air concerts in the city parks, minor league baseball games in Omaha (go Storm Chasers!), and high school football games on Friday nights.  My friends and I can get seats right behind the dugouts for a minor league game in Omaha for only 12 dollars apiece.  Parking isn’t pricey either.  If you watch yourself at the concession stands, you can have a real good time at a minor league ball game for less than 25 dollars per person.  And you might even able to say ‘I saw such-and-such hot shot pitcher/outfielder before he was a star.’

I am glad to see the start of baseball season.  Many no doubt think it’s a boring game where things happen only when you’re not paying attention.  But I like it because it’s played every day, so it’s a more relaxed mentality than football or soccer.  Some may be upset because of the high salaries the players make.  All I can say is if I was one of the top 1,000 people in the world at blogging or any profession, I’d be making ridiculous amounts of money too.  Some of top people on youtube make over a million dollars per year.  I’d be making a lot of money too if thousands of people paid to see me work or if I had millions of viewers and got a few advertisers.  But I’m digressing.  I enjoy the relaxed nature of baseball, I enjoy the history, and I enjoy the uniqueness of the game.  For all I know, this could be the Rockies year.  If not, Wait ’till Next Year!