Discouragement

I spent several days at my parents’ place last week.  I was needing the peace and quiet and a little encouragement.  Unfortunately the encouragement left as soon as I got home. I have been convinced for years that the environment a person lives in and the type of people they are forced to associate with on a day to day business can greatly effect a person’s happiness and overall well being.  Most people have thought I was full of it for believing this as the majority of people I know believe you can will yourself out of depression, mental illness, and a bad situation.  You can’t will yourself out of mental illness anymore than an amputee can will his leg back.  In this day and age of advanced medicine and science, the people that think such things think them mainly because they choose to remain ignorant about science, technology, and illness.

I don’t get encouragement from being around my neighbors.  Haven’t for a long time.  I certainly don’t find encouragement when I try to contact even close friends and family online anymore.  Even family and close friends too often act like barbarians online, and don’t even get me started on random strangers and friends of friends.  About the only real intelligent and rational conversation and interactions I have anymore on my tech enthusiasts groups and my parents.  And my parents are both advanced in age and not in great health, so they will probably be dying within twenty years.  When they go, I’ll lose the vast majority of my social outlets and supports.  Tell me again why I want to live to old age?

I’m not sorry for being discouraged and sounding off about it.  Why should I?  Everybody else feels free to gripe and complain and generally drag anyone within ear shot into the cesspool that is socializing.  Even Superman has his kryptonite.  And lately I have been exposed to near lethal doses of it.  I’m tired from fighting and not seeing any results.  I’m tired of trying to encourage people with good news that doesn’t make the press only to be told I am a liar and that I’m a peddler of fake news.  I’m tired of always having to keep my head down in the dirt when we as a species were meant to reach for the stars.  Normal people are discouraging, you really are.

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Pessimism and Optimism

Haven’t been outside of my neighborhood for almost two weeks now, mainly because of the bitter cold, snow, and ice.  I haven’t even gone outside this week because it’s been so cold.  Hopefully it doesn’t stay this bad all winter because I’m beginning to get kind of tired of being housebound all the time.  And I don’t think I’m the only one.  Seems to me that even my family are starting to get short tempered and irritable over the cold weather.  My neighbors are getting short tempered too.  And of course the people on social media have been short tempered and joyless ever since social media was opened to the public at large.  At this point I’m not sure I want to stay in touch with anyone besides family and a few close friends.  It just seems that humans get some kind of sadistic joy out of being angry all the time.  Personally I’m burned out on all the anger and pessimism.  Have been for a long time.

I almost never heard anything good about my fellow man or the world in general from my teachers and elders while in school or even in college.  I had one teacher in junior high who seemed to get joy out of ranting about how the “cold cruel world” was going to kick our thirteen year old butts.  And of course I rarely heard anything good about people in general from the news stations or even church service.  After observing these happenings until I was in my mid twenties, I started taking notice of what was actually happening compared to what I was being told by my elders and bosses.  After the economic crisis of 2008 and hearing that civilization was fixing to collapse any day, I payed attention and took notes.  Of course it didn’t happen and the people who stayed in the stock market and didn’t panic are now making major money.  That is when I came to the conclusion that the crowd is usually wrong. The whole ‘wisdom of crowds’ usually comes to nothing or mob mentality.  The world didn’t end with Y2K, or 9/11, or the housing bust of 2008, or the Mayan calendar of 2012, or when the conservatives were in power, or when the liberals were in power, or when social media became a festering cesspool for people to gladly wallow in negativity and pessimism.  After years of hearing that the world was going to end any day now and that younger people (or older people depending on who you ask) would be the death of us all, that’s when I had enough.  Enough is enough.  I have had it with fear mongering and pessimism about things that never come to pass or turn out to me more manageable than we previously thought.

Many worries are much to do about nothing and come to nothing.  And everything else seems to be more manageable than previously thought.  If our species can survive world wars, crippling famines, plagues that kill off millions of people, ice ages, tyrants, incompetent leaders, and even science used for evil purposes, some people can survive just about anything barring a comet hitting our planet or the sun going out.  I probably wouldn’t survive most major events, primarily because of my mental illness and declining physical health as I age.  But it’s okay as far as I’m concerned.

I can say that I have lived a pretty good life considering the circumstances of having a mental illness my entire adulthood.  I have a good relationship with all my family members, I got to know my nephews and niece, I got to know quite a bit of my family history, and preserve it, before my grandparents died, I have cool friends who are willing to at least put up with my eccentric behavior and mental breakdowns, I haven’t been to jail or homeless, the longest I spent in a mental hospital was one week (and I have been working with a mental illness since age seventeen), and until recently was in good physical health in spite of fighting weight problems.  When I was a teenager I was able to go scuba diving and climb an Aztec pyramid when I visited Mexico.  In my early thirties I could walk five miles a day easily in spite weighing over 300 pounds.  I got to hike and camp in the mountains of Colorado.  I got to see B.B. King preform live a couple years before he died.  I got to see country music acts like Brad Paisley, Reba Macintyre, Sarah Evans, etc. preform live before they became big stars.  I have been able to live on my own with a mental illness for almost fifteen years.  And I got to learn about some of the cool things that science and tech are doing that will be coming to fruition within the next ten to twenty years.  My only true regret is that I might not live long enough to see some of the really cool things coming, like colonies on the moon or the first people on Mars or life extension tech or nuclear fusion plants.  But I am convinced that such things are coming in most people’s lifetimes.  And I am not an optimist by nature.  I had to force myself to become this way until eventually it became second nature.

Adapting to Mental Illness and Better Coping

Little by little I’m getting into spring.  I’m starting to spend more time outdoors and I have had my windows open every night for the last several days.  I’m starting to feel like I have more energy.  I’m also sleeping less.  I’m staying awake later now but still keeping occupied.  I’m beginning to socialize more in person again.

Mentally I occasionally have had flare ups the last couple weeks.  Usually these don’t last very long.  Fortunately I don’t act out on these feelings of frustration and paranoia.  I have gotten to where I can feel bad and have bad days but not have complete breakdowns.  It has been this way for the last two months.  It is a confidence boost knowing that I can have a bad day and yet not act out on it.

Things are greening up in my hometown.  The weather is getting nicer with each passing day.  I’ll probably start going to the park again in a few days.  I’m getting to where I want to be outside again.  I have spent a little time outside everyday for the last few days.

Even though I occasionally have feelings of irritability and frustration and paranoia, I have learned to better cope with them.  If at all possible I just let them pass.  I no longer feel guilt for having feelings like this.  One of the things that helps me live better with mental illness is that I don’t have to feel bad for having rough patches.  I really don’t have to feel bad unless I act out in public or become destructive.  It took me a long time to come to this realization.  I don’t have to feel bad for having bad days.  I don’t have to feel bad to have moments of weakness.  I can’t always be at the top of everything at all times. And neither can any nuerotypical person.  And I no longer feel guilt about having moments of weaknesses.  That has helped considerably as I have worked with the mental illness over the course of my life.

Trying to Break the Cycle of Depression and Loneliness

I spent a couple days at my parents’ house in the middle of this week.  It’s the first time in weeks I left my hometown.  It was good to get to see my parents and a few extended family members.  My cousin is back from the coast with her baby.  I’m glad I got to see them.  It was good to finally get some good face to face interaction with other people.  I had almost forgotten what that was like.

I’m glad the election is over.  But I am saddened and disappointed that some people just won’t let it go.  We have people on the left protesting and we have some people on the right mocking the lefties for protesting.  Never mind that many of these said righties were buying extra guns and stockpiling ammo and watching ‘Doomsday Preppers’ reruns after the last two elections.  I saw some people mocking the fact (which is probably hearsay if anyone bothered to look it up) that some colleges are making mid term exams optional because of the election.  FYI: many colleges made final exams optional some semesters in the 1960s because of Vietnam War protests.  My father’s college was one of these said places.  So this is nothing new if it’s even a thing.  My God, you normals are acting insane about this election.  I have a mental illness.  What is your excuse?

Needless to say all of these tense emotions are making it more difficult for me to get back into socializing.  I want to connect with other people so bad I want to cry over it.  But most people are content to either moan or gloat over the election that it’s impossible to carry on any kind of conversation.  I am very angry that this is what my fellow humans have come to.  I can’t even relate to most people anymore.  It’s lonely.  And it looks like it’s going to be lonely for a long time.  I don’t understand you normal people.  And at this point I don’t want to anymore.  Quit arguing and fighting and acting stupid already.

It Pays To Stay Silent Sometimes

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I’ve been having problems with trolls on my personal accounts the last few days.  I don’t understand why complete strangers act as if it’s their God given responsibility to harass and torment people they don’t agree with.  It got especially bad last night when I was talking with an old friend of mine and I was getting trolled by one of her friends just because we didn’t agree on some things.  Can’t even have a conversation with a friend without being harassed it seems.

Anyway last night, mainly out of frustration and depression, I wrote an anger laced blog entry but fortunately thought better of posting it.  Once I got that depression out of my system I decided I wouldn’t post the entry.  I learned about this strategy years ago from an old Dale Carnegie book.  I was angry and hurt but posting that entry probably would have made things worse.  I got my words out of my system, spoke until I had peace, and then trashed the entry so I couldn’t post it.

With a mental illness feelings of anger, sadness, and anxiety are going to be stronger than the general population.  I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis.  Some things that other people may forget about after a few minutes I’ll agonize over sometimes for hours.  I have also been known to remember slights and hold grudges for years.  I’m sorry for this.  It is one of the curses of having a good mind and a mental illness at the same time.

In short, having feelings of frustration and depression is part of having a mental illness.  Sometimes a person needs to vent.  One of those ways is to write it down long handed and then trash the notes.  Another is through counseling where you vent to the counselor.  They are trained to deal with strong and unpleasant emotions, far more so than average people.  By writing down your feelings and fears or talking about them with a professional counselor is a safety valve way of expressing your feelings with as little damage as possible.  Harsh and unkind words cannot be unspoken and anything written on the internet is practically irreversible.