Thankfulness Despite Mental Illness

I’ve spent almost twenty years dealing with mental illness problems.  Even though I have now spent more than half my life dealing with these problems, I am still pretty happy and content with how my life turned out.  Sure I would be better off losing some weight or having more friends in my hometown, but overall I’m enjoying my life even though I have to deal with schizophrenia.  At least I enjoy it the 99 percent of the time that I’m not having problems with hallucinations, delusions, and excessive anxiety.  I think the older I have gotten, the more I have learned how to work around the illness.  I do have to avoid stressful people and situations.  I have to do most of my shopping either online or in early morning hours to avoid crowds.  I won’t have the high paying and prestigious career like my brother has.  I will never have a wife and kids or the big house in a good suburb.  But as I have aged and seen in my own self and others with mental illness, I could be a lot worse.  If I was born in 1920 instead of 1980, I probably would have been living permanently in a mental hospital or homeless.  That is why I am thankful that medications and social safety nets exist that didn’t exist even fifty years ago.  Some of the medications I’m on didn’t exist even ten years ago.

Even though I don’t have a lot of nearby friends and don’t make much money, I’m still pretty happy overall.  I have been able to pursue what makes me happy and content despite being on disability insurance and living in low income housing.  Happiness for me is talking with friends over the phone, or participating in the futurist groups I’m part of on Facebook, or just grilling cheap steaks and watching college football on chilly fall afternoons.  I am fortunate that I have simple tastes.  Even though both my parents were medical professionals and made good money, they didn’t spoil my brother and I.  We were expected to either have after school and summer jobs or be involved in school activities year round.  I wasn’t uncommon for me to play a football game on Friday nights and spend my Saturday afternoons working as a shelf stocker at a general store when I was in high school.  During the summers, my brother usually reported to work at a fast food place every morning by 4 am to provide spending money so he could get his engineering degree.  I didn’t understand why my parents expected so much out of us when we were growing, but now I do.  And I’m glad for it.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  If I were able to raise children, I would be the same way.

If anything, I am thankful for what I have even if it isn’t what it could have been.  I’m glad that I can write about my experiences.  I write for those who can’t speak for themselves and to let others with mental illness know that they are not alone and things can get better.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of time but things can become quite stable even with a mental illness.

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Physical Pain and Aging with Mental Illness

Knee pains have finally passed.  Felt good enough to go out and buy groceries this morning.  So I’m set for another couple weeks.  I was getting tired of having to eat out and do drive thru because of my bad knee.  I can tell that when I eat fast food regularly my physical and mental health suffer some.  Also started taking some multi vitamin pills a few days ago.  That seems to help with some lingering pain.  Makes me feel a little more energetic.

I’m back to where I’m not sleeping as much as I did over the winter and spring.  Maybe it’s the longer daylight hours.  Maybe losing a few pounds has helped with my sleep patterns.  I still can’t walk as far as I could even two years ago.  But I think if I keep doing the two high protein meals a day, avoid sugar as much as possible, and keep drinking lots of water I can get back into better health.

Since I’m not experiencing knee pains anymore, my mood has improved.  I’m not as depressed as I once was.  I’m getting out of my apartment more.  I’m breaking up some of my in home routines.  I’m trying out some new computer games I bought a few months ago I only dabbled in.  I guess I finally got burned out on Civilization, Sim City, and Skyrim.  I still read a lot, granted mostly online articles, blogs, and science journals.  I trying to get back into more contact with old friends.  And I want to bring some old friends back into the fold I lost contact with over the last few years.

Next week is my birthday.  I’ll be 37 years old.  Mentally I’m more sharp than ever and the mental illness doesn’t have the ups and downs it used to.  Physically I don’t have the endurance I did even a few years ago.  I get unexplainable aches and pains more often.  I wake up more in the middle of the night.  I’m even more cold sensitive then I used to be.  Being a fat man, I could easily go through much of a fall or even winter with just a light jacket unless it was blizzard conditions.  Finding that I can’t do that as well anymore.  I have found that I am sometimes more set in my ways than I would like.  I tend to shop in the same stores, eat in the same four or five restaurants, eat the same things all the time, watch similar types of shows on youtube and netflix, etc.  At least I haven’t yet gotten to where I’m complaining about the kids all the time.  I remember what it was like being ragged on by my elders all the time when I was growing up.  I hated it then and I still hate it when people in my age bracket rag on their kids.  I just hope that as I age and my physical health starts to decline even more that I don’t become one of these bitter and angry old men I see too much of.  I hope I can be an encouragement to people to all ages. I just want my little corner of the world to be a better place because I was alive.

Road Trip

Went on a road trip to see my parents at their place over the weekend.  It was the first time in months I had been outside of my hometown.  It was good to have a change of pace and get away for a couple days.  My parents are clearing out some of their old clutter as they are preparing to move.  It’s looking more like we’re going to move to be near my brother’s family all the time.  Mom and Dad are looking at different places online almost everyday.  So it looks like if they get their house and the acreage sold, then we’ll be moving probably in late summer.

Mentally I’m looking forward to possibly be living in a larger area.  I have lived in small towns my entire life.  But I have always wanted to live in or near a major city at least once in my life.  Now it looks like it might happen.  I definitely feel like I’m missing out on my brother’s family as I see his kids only a few times a year.  And I regret that my brother and I aren’t close.  We weren’t close as kids and unfortunately that carried over into adulthood.  I don’t dislike him or anything like that, it’s just that we don’t have much in common.  I guess we never have.

In other news, things have been kind of quiet for the last several days.  I may be sleeping less than I did during the winter, but that is fine by me.  Mentally I’m feeling quite stable.  Haven’t been having problems with hallucinations or delusional thoughts for weeks.  I also don’t have problems with depression or anxiety.  Things have become quite stable.

Spring Routines

I’m glad that spring is finally back.  I’ve been getting outside a little more often, I’m keeping my place a little cleaner, I’m watching baseball most nights, and I’m even eating less too.  I’m still not as physically active as I would like but I think it’s starting to come back.  After my car accident in October 2015 I gained back most of the weight I had lost in the previous two years.  I think I’m finally back on the right track.  Since I still don’t have a great deal of stamina yet, I’m cutting back on calories as much as I can.  This means I’m giving up most sugar and eating meat only once a day.  I am also doing my best to avoid fried foods.  After several weeks of eating less than usual, I think I’m in a new routine.  I can’t even eat as much as I could last summer.  One of my problems was, after my accident, I got depressed and lost much of my confidence.  From there I just got lazy and ate a lot.  I have made efforts over the last several weeks to break out of this vicious cycle.  And I think I’m starting to see results.

I’ve also noticed my habits are getting better too.  During the winter I had gotten kind of lazy about shaving and cleaning up as there were entire days I didn’t leave my apartment complex.  I’m back into good habits like these again.  I would hate to think I let my personal appearance slide just because I was depressed by lousy weather.  But mental illness can do odd things to a person.

I’m starting to socialize some again.  Not so much with my neighbors as I am family and old friends.  I still don’t enjoy the fact that many of my neighbors are grumpy and irritable most of the time.  I have been around that kind of negativity for years and I don’t want it dragging me down.  I spent enough of my life being depressed, irritable, and a pessimist.  I just don’t want that anymore.

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.

End of Winter

The weather is starting to warm up and the days are getting longer.  Spring will be in full effect within a few weeks.  I am enjoying the warmer weather.  I’m getting out of my apartment a few times a day to enjoy the warmer weather.  During the course of the winter I have gotten lazy about cleaning my apartment.  So a few days worth of spring cleaning is in order.  Unfortunately I let my house kind of slide for the colder winter months.

Baseball will also be starting in a few weeks.  I still have several days to do some research before I have to pick my fantasy league baseball team.  Been watching a few pre season games the last few days.  First time I really watched regular tv since the Super Bowl.  February has always been a slow time of year for me.

Been feeling pretty stable mentally overall.  I have started to wake up earlier as I no longer sleep until noon every day.  I don’t sleep as much and I think my body and mind are starting to reenter spring mode again.  I’m not staying up as late either.  Seems to me that my overnight mentality is strongest in the darker days of winter.

I can tell that spring is almost here and winter is all but done.  The weather is warming up, the nights aren’t as long, daylight saving time will begin next weekend in my country, the trees are starting to bud, the grass is a little greener, and it seems that the people around me are getting in better moods as the weather warms and the days get longer.  I had dealt with so many foul moods over the last few months I pretty much isolated for most of the winter.  I just didn’t want to deal with angry people anymore.  But even the people in my life are starting to act more cheerful and optimistic.

Even though I have been making a point to leave my apartment several times every day I still haven’t worked up to taking an extended road trip.  I haven’t been outside of my town since last fall.  I actually made it through the winter with having to fill my gas tank only once I drove so little this winter.  But I think since the weather is starting to warm I may have to make a few trips.  It has gotten old spending most of my time at home and having the bulk of my social interactions taking place over phone and internet.

I am looking forward to spring.  I am glad that winter is all but over.  Won’t be long now.

No News Can Be Good

It’s been a rather quiet last several days for myself.  Besides running errands and seeing my psychiatrist earlier this week, I really haven’t done much besides sleep and stay out of other people’s business.  I’m finding myself just wanting to sleep a lot.  I probably sleep twelve hours a day anymore.  Not only do I sleep a lot, I am also not doing a lot of physical activity when I am awake.  My psych doctor is concerned and thinks I could have some underlying physical health symptoms.  So I imagine a trip to my family doctor is in order soon.

Haven’t been watching the news lately.  I don’t spend much time on social media either.  And I think I’m feeling better because of it.  I just had to unplug.  Knowing about every bit of bad news going on wasn’t helping me.

In short, no news can be good.  I guess I really don’t have much to report for this week.