Hermiting, Covid 19, and Schizophrenia

Been isolating and staying home for the last several days.  I do all my communication through social media and phone calls.  My cleaning lady had to have surgery so she’s out for probably a few months.  My neighbors come by and help out every few days.  Overall I’m burned out on dealing with people in person.  People actually scare me anymore.  The less I deal with them, at least in person, the better.

Currently working on audiobooks.  Recently listened to The Economic Singularity by Callum Chase.  Currently working on The Rise of The Robots by Martin Ford.  A friend of mine is trying to talk me into reading the Dune and Foundation series.  I read the first Foundation a year ago.  But I got soured on science fiction as a teenager when movies like The Terminator, Gattaca, and The Matrix were really big.  I have enough dystopia in my own life.  Why in the hell would I want to escape to that?  Recently read 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harrahi.

I spend almost all of my time avoiding people.  These are real scary times for me, especially living in low income housing, being on disability, and dealing with mostly angry, irrational, and illogical people.  It seems like most people I personally know just want to fight all the time.  I’m through with that.  I’m ready to move past the anger phase.  Too bad almost no one I know is.  I am thankful I don’t live in a large city.  I am thankful I can hermit and stay home.  I am thankful I don’t have to deal with angry and stupid people anymore than I already have to.  I don’t see how most people can deal with this.  I know I couldn’t.

Self Quarantine: May 16 2020

Had my parents and my brother as guests the last couple days.  Got a new recliner and my home was redecorated.  My new chair feels so good.  I think I could sleep in it if I wanted.  It feels good to have my paintings and flags rehung.  The walls looked barren the last several weeks with nothing up.

Been getting lots of rain the last few days.  I have my blinds open all the time to let sunshine in, at least whatever we can get.  The weather has turned warmer.  I’m glad winter is over.

Sleeping better the last few nights.  Been napping more too.  Spent much of today sleeping as I was awake late last night.  I get lots of sleep even if it is at odd hours.  And I don’t feel as stiff and sore when I wake up now.

Was feeling more paranoid and depressed until a few days ago.  Since the middle of the week, things have been more bearable.  The last two days with my family went excellent.

Got some groceries yesterday.  About the only thing I have problems getting now is ground beef.  Things are slowly starting to open back up.  The restaurants and bars in my town are reopening on the 18th of May.  I hope that those who lost jobs during the pandemic either get them back or find something better.

 

Routines During Pandemic

Been a few days since I wrote.  An update is in order.  Had groceries delivered Thursday afternoon.  Frozen meat is now in short supply.  My supermarket is limiting how much people can buy in one purchase.  I was able to get soup and cheese.  Been craving vegetables a lot the last few days.  I’m probably not getting enough in my new diet.

Got my meds refilled a few days ago.  I hope those don’t get in short supply.  I do have reserves but I hope I don’t have to resort to that.  Been sleeping more lately.  I have been stable overall though.  Maybe the extra sleep is keeping me this way.

I see that some places are starting to reopen.  I understand why places need to reopen, especially small family owned businesses.  But I am still worried, at least for myself, that this could start a second wave of infections.  I’m glad I have the option of staying at home even with the lifting of some restrictions.  I see that some of the big soccer leagues in Europe are reopening.  And there are talks here in USA about colleges being open for in person classes this fall.

It’s been an odd last several weeks for me.  It seems like time slowed to a crawl the day the covid 19 was officially declared a pandemic.  So glad that I and most of my friends and family got prepared early.  I feared this could become a major problem as early as late January.  It is encouraging that restrictions are being eased.  Sadly, I fear there simply is no way to keep mass quarantines in place until vaccines are mass produced.  Either way, we are going to take a beating.  Doctors have warned for years this was only a matter of when.

Been keeping in contact with friends and family more.  I call my parents several times per week.  I talk to old friends usually once or twice a week.  I call my brother a few times a month.  I guess if I can’t see people in person, I have to make do with phone calls and video conferencing.

20 Facts About Me

I’m going to take a break from posting about my day to day routines during the pandemic today.  I’d like to do another ‘just for fun’ post.  I suppose it’s one of those odd facts about me postings.

Odd facts about me

  1. Even though I spend most of my time alone, I actually like conversation.  Granted I have a tough time with idle chit chat and neighborhood gossip.  I will talk about things like history, geopolitics, economics, baseball stats, tech advances with almost anyone who is willing to engage in this type of conversation.  Even when my cleaning lady is here every week I’ll look up things online and tell her about some of the headlines, especially in tech.  Yeah, I’ll be telling her about something like advances in robotics while she’s mopping my kitchen or about possible medical treatments to slow down aging while she’s scrubbing my bathtub.  But she is either really interested or she’s really good at humoring the eccentric loner she cleans for every Thursday afternoon.
  2.  I really don’t watch a lot for traditional television shows, not even on streaming services.  I do watch a lot of interviews and round table conversations about science, tech, medicine, and economics on youtube.  I watch a lot of shows that sometimes are featured on channels like History Channel, Travel Channel, etc.  I subscribed to Disney+ mainly because they carry NatGeo shows.
  3.  I am far more interested in reading non fiction than fiction.  I’m not sure why.  Even my favorite comedy performers base their routines on pointing out how absurd every day life can be.
  4.  At least once a day, I will climb into bed, pull up my blanket, put on my CPAP machine, and just let my mind wander.  It seems to be a good way to declutter my mind and relax.  I try to do this for at least an hour a day, usually in the afternoons.
  5.  I really don’t like driving cars.  I never have.  I even sold my car last year because I didn’t use it enough to justify having it.  Thank God for grocery delivery and Amazon.
  6.  I do love computer games.  I especially love games like Civilization, Total War, Sim City, etc.  I have never really gotten into first person shooter games.
  7.  I no longer have music CDs or even pay for music streaming.  All the tunes I need I get for free on youtube or free Spotify.  I don’t mind sitting through ads every ten to fifteen minutes, at least as long as it’s not longer than thirty seconds.
  8.  I don’t have a Twitter or Tik Tok account.  I just can’t get my points and ideas across in a fifteen second video or a short tweet.  I have a hard enough time carrying on a decent conversation on facebook.
  9.  I don’t always carry my phone around when I’m in public.
  10.  If I’m in a state of depression or anxiety, I sometimes won’t answer my phone or my door.  I fear having a melt down over the phone or on a guest.
  11.  I’m still amazed at people who post articles on their facebook pages without doing a couple minutes of research to see even what the article says, let alone how reliable the source is.
  12.  I don’t use paper checks for anything besides my rent.  Haven’t for years.
  13.  I don’t check my mail every day.  90 percent is junk or things I already know through my online accounts.  Seriously, stop sending me coupons already.  I can just as good of deals with a few minutes of online research.  And businesses who try to advertise through direct mail make me not want to do business with them.
  14.  I’m surprised at how few people understand the concept of compound interest.
  15.  I sometimes get upset with youtube’s algorithms suggesting videos to me I have zero interest in.  Stop sending me links to conspiracy theory pages just because I watched a few videos on the history of banking or about buying gold coins.
  16.  I don’t enjoy long goodbyes.
  17.  I can often tell if the weather is going to change by how extra sore my knees are.
  18.  I think it’s too bad that chicken wings aren’t health food.
  19.  I think access to internet is no more a luxury than electricity or running water.  At one time, yes.  Then again, having a roof and four walls used to be a luxury too.  What century are my neighbors who think internet is a luxury living in?
  20.  I’m 39 years old and I still love heavy metal and hard rock music.  Always will.  If I make to be an 80 year old man and living in a retirement home, don’t be surprised if I’m still listening to bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin or the like.

Quarantine With Mental Illness: April 27 2020

Been under self quarantine for over six weeks now.  I’m still holding good on my necessary medications and most of my cleaning supplies.  Ran out of frozen meat yesterday.  I won’t get paid until May 1, but I have plenty of non perishable food.  I’ll make it through, it’s just a matter of doing it.

I try to talk to my family and at least one friend every day.  I haven’t been spending as much time on computer games lately.  Still listen to audiobooks and watch science and tech videos on youtube.  Sometimes I just want to sleep all the time, even with the warmer weather and longer days.

Been reading more online articles, mainly about science and tech.  I am convinced that many tech trends will be sped up because of this outbreak.  I still avoid news channels.

 

Quarantine Journal: April 23 2020

Woke up at 3 am.  Played some computer games until 7:30.  Went back to sleep until 11 am.  Talked to my parents and my neighbors this morning.  My cleaning lady will be arriving this afternoon.  So I guess I have my day more or less planned.

I occasionally have some knee pains, especially if I sleep too long or let my joints get too cold.  I’ve found myself keeping my legs under a blanket when I sit in my easy chair at my computer.  I think I’m more sensitive to the cold now than I was even a couple years ago.

Got my lease renewed yesterday.  I’ll be staying here for at least one more year.  I’ll find out my new rent rate within a month.  I expect it to increase some.  But then, the price on almost everything is going up.

I shop for groceries more often now.  I buy in smaller lots.  I have been having problems finding frozen meat the last few weeks.  I can still find soup mixes and non perishables alright.  I can imagine that home delivery for groceries will stay in high demand even after the outbreak ends.

I ordered some clothes through amazon a couple days ago.  They should be here early next week.  I’m still holding good on all my supplies besides frozen meat and Lysol spray.

Been listening to lots of audiobooks lately.  I listen to mostly history and finance books.  I get mine through youtube.

Mentally I’m back to mostly stable.  I do have momentary flare ups of anxiety and irritability.  Yet those usually burn out after a few minutes.  The mornings seem to be the worst time for those.

Haven’t been to the doctor since early December.  With the outbreak going like it is, I’m kind of paranoid to leave my apartment complex.  But I have a few months of medications on hand.  And I get my meds mailed to me now.  I won’t have to renew my prescriptions for months.

The NFL Draft is tonight.  I probably should watch that for some since of normalcy.  While I prefer college football to pro football, it is always fun to see what teams college stars end up going to.  And I especially love the guys from smaller schools that no one knows about who end up becoming big stars in the pros.  I am definitely going to miss the Olympics this summer.

Caring For Physical Health During Quarantine and Hope For The Future

Had a short lived breakdown a few days ago.  I think weeks of isolation finally got to me.  It was intense, but short lived.  In this case, I was able to vent over the phone to my family.  After I had vented for a half hour, I took a long nap.  I was grateful to have not had this breakdown in public.  I fear if I have a breakdown in public I’ll end up in jail.  It seems that in too many cases, people don’t understand mental illness.  I am convinced most people, even with the internet, may not realize just how prevalent mental illnesses really are.

I have some cool neighbors that, while they may not share many of my interests in science and literature, are excellent and understanding people.  They may not share my interests, but at least they don’t condemn me for having different interests.  I sometimes buy them groceries and keep them company while they help with my laundry and cook for me at least a couple times a week.  Even during a pandemic and bad recession, I still have cool neighbors and we help each other out.  It’s helped my physical health to have more home cooked meals and more variety then I normally get.

It’s been several weeks of self quarantine during this outbreak so far. It’s more manageable than it would be otherwise because I stay in contact with my neighbors, friends, and family.  I try to call my parents a few times a week.  I have a friend and some cousins I keep in contact with via Facebook.  I have cool neighbors who have helped me immensely over the last several months.  I just hope I can pay it back and/or forward someday.

Because of my bad back and knee, my mobility is not what it was even a few years ago.  Most jobs I ever had, like factory worker or janitor, I was on my feet for several hours at a time.  If there is anything from my twenties and early thirties I dearly miss, it’s how easy mobility was in those days.  There were many days in those years I would walk all over the neighborhood, the old downtown, and the parks in my town just to break up my days.  While I am happy with the experiences I’ve had in the past and the wisdom I now have as I’m only a few weeks away from my 40th birthday, I do miss my mobility.  I hurt my back in a car accident a few years ago and it was never the same even after rehab.  Granted, being overweight only made my problems worse.  At least I haven’t gained weight for over a year and a half.

While I don’t think I’ve lost weight lately, I don’t think I’ve gained either.  My clothes still fit the same as they did eighteen months ago even with less walking and standing.  I have made changes to my diet and routine that my be keeping me from really tacking on the weight.  I rarely eat carbs or sugars.  I lift weights most days.  I sleep probably nine to ten hours a night most days.  I avoid stressful situations and people as much as possible.  I meditate usually an hour a day.  For this I usually just lie in bed and do breathing exercises.  I turn on my CPAP machine and just do the rhythmic breathing.  I imagine people can get the same benefits through just focusing on their breathing with their eyes closed or through prayer.  It also helps that I eat more vegetables.  Even though most my vegetables are canned or in soups, it’s better than nothing.  I take a multivitamin every morning.  I take a vitamin C pill too.  I’ve heard it can help boost immune system.  While I still get colds, they are usually mild and last only a day or two at most.  Sometimes I will wake up with a bad running nose and sneezing.  After a vitamin C pill and extra fluids with breakfast, I’ll be fine within a few hours.  And my fluids are usually nothing more than just tap water or cold tea.

I still have aches and pains, usually in the mornings.  Sometimes actions as simple as getting up and moving around for a couple minutes can be enough to clear this up.  It can be cleared up with something as simple as getting out of bed, using the bathroom, and doing my morning wash up routines.  Warm baths can help with sore joints too.  My dad always said soaking his hands in warm water every morning helps with the pain in his fingers and thumbs.  Now that I’m starting to have sore knees, I understand why he does this every morning.  Many times the best thing I can do for sore joints is to force myself to move around.  Even when I’m working on a blog or watching a movie, I force myself to stand up usually once every hour no matter how busy I am.  I do the same thing when I’m reading a book in bed.  My joints thank me when I move around more regularly.  Maybe it was a good thing that I rarely had desk jobs in my younger years.

Even during a quarantine and major recession I try to stay optimistic and positive.  I usually make myself watch at least one encouraging video per day on Youtube.  I have been watching videos on positives that are coming due to the pandemic.  One positive for me is that I am forced to watch my physical well being more closely and I have more of a sense of urgency to stay in contact with family and friends.  In the past, I was sometimes guilty of being annoyed if a friend or family member called my phone when I was preoccupied.  I’m not nearly this bad anymore.  I don’t even really get that annoyed when someone calls and I’m in the bathroom or sleeping.  I’ve even found myself telling my friends when they found out I was asleep, “I needed to be woke up anyway.  Don’t feel bad.”

We are now several weeks into this crisis.  While I’m not naïve enough to believe we will have major sporting events even this fall, I am hopeful that we can weather this crisis.  To quote Matt Damon from ‘The Martian’, we will “have to science the **** out of this” but we are already doing this.  I am hopeful we can have a vaccine and or effective treatments for this corona virus by this time next year.  My mother remembers the polio crisis in the 1950s and getting vaccinated when she was a child. I imagine the generation that are children right now will be talking about the corona quarantines of 2020 even when they are old men and women.  Hopefully, a few of them can be talking about while living in colonies on the moon and Mars.  As bad as the job losses and conflicting information has been in 2020, I can’t imagine how tough this pandemic would have been had it happened back even in the 1980s before easy access to internet and the medical testing we have now.

Easter Sunday, Self Quarantine, and Mental Illness

It is Easter Sunday as I write this entry.  Happy Easter to all my Christian friends and readers!  Even though I haven’t been a regular attender of church services for several years, it just felt odd this year that attending Easter services and then going to my aunt and uncle’s farmstead for dinner and having my cousins’ kids hunt for Easter eggs and candy in my uncles large back yard wasn’t an option this year.  I heard even the Pope delivered his Easter Mass to an empty Vatican this morning.  But we are living in trying times that people will still be talking about even a century from now, much like we talk about the Spanish Flu outbreak of one hundred years ago.

We had a bad ice storm this morning.  The power went down for over three hours.  Luckily, the water still worked.  I wrapped in blankets and read some while I waited for the power to return.  Did some Skype with my mom and dad this afternoon.  Their church hosted Easter services online.  I heard that one of their church’s members died from coronavirus earlier this month.  I called a college friend of mine today too.  He said they had over twelve inches of snow in his hometown in South Dakota.  Both he and his wife are teachers at the local high school.  They are always busy with teaching their students online and taking care of their very active two year old daughter now.  He and I are both missing baseball right now.

With the exception of today, the weather has been pretty decent and typical of early spring in Nebraska.  It’s sunny during the days but still kind of chilly at night.  I usually have my windows open during the daylight hours.  Even though I don’t leave my apartment much besides picking up deliveries, I still get some sunshine through my open windows most days.

My neighbors made Easter dinner for me and a few other tenants this evening.  Had ham and cheese.  I don’t usually cook anything extravagant as I mostly cook only for myself.  I am still good on non perishables like soup mix, peanut butter, honey, ramen noodles, and canned vegetables.  I broke down and ordered some frozen meat through my supermarket.  That’s supposed to arrive Monday afternoon.

My cleaning lady arrived on Thursday.  She was wearing a mask and surgical gloves while she worked.  I wore a facemask while she was at my place.  I wear masks when I have guests or when I pick up deliveries.  So far, I’m holding good on supplies even after a month of self quarantine.  Back in early February, I was talking with my best friend and she mentioned that she was doing early preps in case things got bad.  She lives in Denver and works in an essential industry.  She’s out in this mess most days.  But she keeps a constant supply of hand sanitizer on her person.  A friend of mine who works in a pharmacy had to take a leave of absence from work because she was fighting sicknesses and has preexisting conditions that would have made coronavirus even worse.

I’ve been self quarantine for over a month now.  I am still holding pretty well overall.  While I occasionally have moments of flare ups and irritability, I haven’t had a full psych breakdown since before this mess started.  I still take my psych meds every day.  And I meditate and sleep more these days.  I still lift weights most days.  I eat healthy and avoid sugars for the most part.  I have weathered the last thirty days well.  Looks like I can look forward to at least another thirty days of self quarantine.  Yet, I still feel hopeful overall.  So far, we haven’t had mass unrest or civil problems, at least not here in the USA.  I am also encouraged by how people are helping each other out more.  I suppose the best I can do is stay home, stay sane, and write about my experiences.  Hopefully I can be an encouragement to those not managing as well as I am.

Quarantine April 8 2020

Been warmer and sunny the last two days.  While I didn’t go outside, I did have my windows open during daylight hours.  Even though spring has officially started, we are supposed to have some chilly weather starting this weekend.  My town has even a forecast for snow on Easter Sunday.

My neighbor gave me a facemask two days ago.  I wear it whenever I answer the door.  I haven’t had any deliveries for a couple days.  I’m sitting alright in terms of supplies and food.  So glad I listened when one of my friends mentioned back in early February that this could outbreak could get rough.  Allowed me to beat the rush when it came to getting supplies.

Social distancing hasn’t been much of a problem for me.  I was isolating and not going out as much for at least the previous year.  Now I no longer have to feel guilty for it.  I haven’t had any symptoms, at least not yet.  I do take vitamin supplements every morning with breakfast.  I still wash and disinfect my hands several times a day.

Talked to my cousin this afternoon over facebook.  She is married to a career Navy man.  She’s handling it alright, even with two young children.  My hometown has at least a couple dozen cases, but then I do live in a small town of less than 40,000 people.  It is a college town, and with the college going to only online classes, there aren’t as many people in town.  It feels quiet like summer around here, granted without the warm weather.  My town always comes back to life in late August when the college students come back.  Even though it’s been 15 years since I was a college student myself, I still have many happy memories from those years.  And I am grateful that facebook allows me to keep in touch with many of my old classmates.  My dad had always said he regretted not keeping in closer contact with his college and Air Force friends.  I hope people my age and younger don’t make the same mistake.

Sleeping well overall.  Been feeling stable for the most part.  I sometimes do get a little irritable.  I guess it was only a matter of time before some of the symptoms of my schizophrenia crept back in.  I don’t feel paranoid about my neighbors, landlady, or even the coronavirus.  But I guess I do sometimes get irritable about having to stay home all the time and just being so limited.  Yet I can deal with this.  Just press through.  If my grandparents’ generation had to go to war or work in war time industries, then the least I can do is stay home and stay healthy until the pandemic burns out.

I still take my psych medications every day.  I’m not about to ration those.  I have a set up with my doctor and my pharmacy where I get 90 day supplies at a time.  And I have been able to change over to having my medications mailed to my house so I don’t have to drive out in a blizzard or anything like that.  I also had some samples saved up from my doctor’s appointments.  I explained to the doctor why I wanted to do it this way.  I was completely up front in saying in case I couldn’t get out for several days I wanted an emergency supply.  I’m grateful he agreed.  I guess growing up in a farming community and having lots of farmers and small business owners on both sides of my family, we took emergency preparation seriously.  No, we didn’t build a fallout shelter in my cellar or listen to conspiracy theories when I was growing up.  But, with the nearest Wal Mart over an hour drive away and the nearest grocery store being a 15 minute drive away, we knew very early on if we had some emergency, whether a natural disaster, etc., we would have to be on our own for at least several days.  Every farmer I knew had either a gas powered generator, solar panels for emergency electricity, or both even back in the 1980s.  Having a plan for emergencies is a good insurance policy.  I sleep better at night knowing I can weather at least some crisis.

 

Self Quarantine April 6 2020

Woke up shortly after sunrise this morning.  Talked to mom for almost an hour.  Wrote to some friends but haven’t gotten any responses yet.  Talked to a college friend last night.  He’s a school teacher and said that teaching online classes and watching his two year old daughter keeps him busy most of the time.  Found out a friend of mine in Omaha and her husband are now both working from home.  She said the only time she leaves her house is to get groceries and go to the pharmacy.

Still working on some classic literature.  I try to read for at least an hour every day.  Have gone easy on the coffee and tea for the last few days.  I am usually less irritable on days I don’t have a lot of caffeine.

Ordered some groceries that are supposed to be delivered this morning.  Meat is getting tough to find these days.  I’m having especially hard time finding pork and chicken.  I’ll probably be eating more soup until this crisis passes.  I was able to find ice cream.  Haven’t had ice cream since last autumn.  Been craving sweets lately.  So glad I have a jar of honey to cover this.

I still don’t watch much news.  I do search youtube a little every day for videos with the theme of positives that are coming from the pandemic.  One positive is that more places will be offering more work at home options.  Another is that we, as a society, are realizing just how important people like grocery store workers, truck drivers, nurses, doctors, etc. really are.  And the reason I’m able to stay calm in this crisis is largely due to internet and easy access to communications.  I mean, I live on poverty level wages (at least for American standards) and I’m still able to weather the worst pandemic we’ve seen probably since Spanish Flu one hundred years ago.  My life would be much harder if I couldn’t keep in contact with old friends, family, and order groceries for next day delivery.