Recovering From Back Pain

I’ve been limiting my physical activity for the last three days because of my ailing back.  I’m sleeping in a recliner again.  That seems to ease the pain as does taking ibuprofen and warm showers every morning.  Since the weather is turning cold and snowy again, it looks like I’ll be homebound for the next few days even with my back feeling better.  Mentally I’m still stable.  I think keeping in daily contact with friends and family helps me stay stable during these times when I’m not able to do much physically.  I think a few more days of rest and ibuprofen and I should be alright.  I think I’m going to sleep in my chair for the foreseeable future.  I think sleeping on my back isn’t helping my back.  And my back has been messed up on and off since my car accident two years ago.  If this doesn’t clear up within a few days, I’ll have to suck it up and go back to the chiropractor.  That helped the last time my back was messed up.

 

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Staying Calm With A Mental Illness

mental-health

For a few weeks now I have been feeling quite decent and not having any flare ups of my schizophrenia.  I had some minor flare up this afternoon.  I’m not sure what caused it but fortunately I remained calm and quiet and just let the feeling pass.  Traditionally during flare ups I call my family and just yell incoherent nonsense to them until I calm down, usually taking an hour or two.  Fortunately this time I kept calm and kept quiet.  I stayed in the apartment, turned off the tv and social media, put on a computer game, and kept myself distracted.  After about a half hour of this I calmed down I went to a fast food restaurant near my place and ordered a large dinner.  I brought it back to my apartment, ate quite well and drank lots of water. Oddly eating a protein rich meal can often make me more calm.  I haven’t been eating as much as I normally do as I’m trying to get that back under control.  For a week I had been eating protein only one meal per day.  I broke out of that today.  High protein foods like steaks and hamburgers have a calming effect on me, though I’m sure they’re not good when you’re trying to drop weight.  I am convinced I’d never make it as a vegetarian.

I’m glad that I was able to find another route to ward off my flare ups.  I’m glad that I was able to break out of past routines.  I’m sure me yelling incoherencies to my family isn’t easy for them.  My parents will be gone someday, probably sooner than I would like.  While it might be true that problems associated with schizophrenia lessen with age, I do know I can’t yell at random friends and therapists and hope to stay out of a mental hospital or even jail.  Perhaps my mental illness problems are starting to lessen.  I know that my interest in dating is far, far less than it was even five years ago.  I have heard that many men in their mid thirties start losing interest in sex and find more interest in their work or life’s calling. I’m also not as quick tempered as I was five to ten years ago.  I have also noticed that I can better deal with the minor annoyances and irritations of every day living than I could even a few years ago.  The flare ups I have had even going back to last Christmas weren’t as bad or frequent as the flare ups I was having in college.  Perhaps it is that as I age I am learning what will make things worse and just make points of avoiding those things.  Maybe this instance of just isolating and keeping myself distracted with as little noise as possible until I calm down is another tool in my toolbox.  And maybe I should think about eating fewer carbs than I have been the last few weeks.  But I am definitely glad I was able to prevent a flare up from becoming a full breakdown.

Days of Calm and Keeping Busy

My back is essentially healed up by now.  I can walk normal speed again and do my normal errands.  I’m spending more time out of the apartment.  Been to the park a couple times in the last week, chatted with a few neighbors, called a couple old friends, and gotten some sunshine.  This was a far cry from where I was just three weeks ago.  When I first hurt my back I didn’t leave my apartment for three days just from the pain.  Fortunately I managed to keep myself occupied with computer games, reading, youtube videos, phone calls to friends and family, and watching soccer and basketball on tv.

I was following the Copa America tournament over the last several days. Been watching a little of the Euro 2016 tournament too.  I saw all of USA’s games.  I haven’t traditionally made it a point to watch much soccer except when USA is playing.  I may be changing that as  the US put up a decent showing until when they ran into Argentina.  It helps that I have a nine year old nephew and a seven year old niece who are big soccer players.  My brother encourages his four kids to do numerous activities.  He won’t let them play football but I don’t blame him, especially with all the injuries.  I hurt my back in a football game when I was fifteen and I couldn’t sit without pain for months afterward.  Yet I didn’t tell the coaches or even my parents.  I suppose it went with the whole macho mentality that pain is just a part of football.  Plus playing football was the only thing I did in high school that most people considered normal.  The older I get the more I feel guilty about watching football.  It’s essentially people maiming themselves for my amusement.  But I guess it’s not as bad as ancient Romans cheering while lions eat Christians.  It’s just not as entertaining as it was ten to twenty years ago.

I still like baseball though.  Don’t watch it every night like I used to.  Even then I usually had it on in the background while I was doing chores, writing, reading, or doing something on my computer.  I still participate in a fantasy baseball league with some old college friends and friends of friends.  I met most of those guys when I was at Matt’s wedding in the Black Hills last July.  So I finally got to meet some of the guys I’ve only known by their screen names.  It is a competitive league but no money changes hands.  And my Rockies are doing a little better than normal, just slightly below fifty-fifty.

I may have been limited for the last few weeks but I still managed to keep busy.  And now that the back is cleared up I’ll be able to do even more.  Fortunately I haven’t had any flare ups of the mental illness in the last month.  I haven’t had any true flare ups since late March actually.  The one main medication I am on was shown by the DNA test I took to be more effective than most for me.  It certainly has proven that.  I’m reading more again.  I had been lazy about reading for a couple weeks when my back hurt real bad.  I was watching educational videos on youtube and reading blogs instead.  But it does feel good to see things falling back into place after weeks of hard work and rehabilitation.

 

 

Getting Back To Stability

It’s been almost three weeks since I threw out my back.  I can get around pretty decent for the most part.  The mornings are the only difficulty, especially the first time I stand up after waking.  In spite of my back issues I’ve been socializing more.  I went to a writers’ support group on Monday night for the first time in over a year.  Told people about my blog.  My blog is the primary writing activity I have right now.  I do occasionally write poetry but there is such a limited market for poetry.  I haven’t written any kind of fiction for almost three years.  But then I’ve always preferred reading nonfiction to fiction.

Mentally I’ve been very stable for quite awhile.  I call at least one person over the phone every day now.  Usually family or close friends.  Things have gotten a little less contentious  at my apartment complex in recent months.  We’ve had a couple problem residents I haven’t seen in weeks so I’m guessing they moved out.  After ten years in the same complex I really don’t pay much attention to who moves in and who moves out.  I just pretty much keep to myself and the handful of friends I have here.  The friend I made back in the winter moved out a month ago.  But I’m kind of used to that by now.

I rejoined my old writers support group.  I’m probably going to rejoin my mental illness support group as soon as my back clears up.  There is a second writers’ support group that meets twice monthly at the local library that I’m joining starting next week.  In short I’m beginning to put myself out there socially.

Been seriously tracking my diet for a week.  I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost.  Probably not as much as I normally would as I’m not yet very active.  I won’t be very active until my back completely heals.  The best I can do right now is put strict limits on what I eat and keep a positive mind set.

Today is also my birthday.  I am now 36 years old.  I don’t have much planned today besides going out to lunch with my family.  Can’t really do a great deal for at least the short term.  But the back has cleared immensely since two weeks ago.  I just have to keep doing things to encourage the healing process until I’m back to full speed.

Normalcy Is Within Reach

My back is now all but completely healed.  I think I’ll sleep in the recliner another two or three nights before I try to sleep on my back again.  Cleaned my apartment over the last two days.  The place needed it as I hadn’t been able to do much for two weeks.

My mental health has remained stable for the most part during this back injury.  Other then a few bouts of irritability and a couple bouts of depression I was able to stay mentally healthy.  I have kept positive especially the last several days.  I attribute my stability and positivity to keeping in contact with friends and family.  Over the last week I spent an average of two hours a day on the phone talking with friends and family.  It’s important to stay in touch when things are rough.  Fortunately this back injury should be completely healed within a couple days.

Healing From Back Pain With Mental Illness

My back has mostly healed by now.  About the only time I feel any kind of pain is when walking longer than five minutes at a time.  Probably doesn’t sound like much but ten days ago I was getting this shooting pains that felt like electric shocks in my back almost every time I stood up.  I still haven’t gotten brave enough to try to sleep on my back.  I’ll probably sleep in the recliner for another night or two.  But today is the first day I haven’t put ice on my back at all for almost two weeks.  I have definitely been limited by this back injury.  I imagine I would have been fired for missing so much work had I still been working.  Part of the reason I don’t mind not working; I can heal at my own natural speed.

I saw the chiropractor on Tuesday.  She was happy that I was making good progress.  She seems to think I’m recovering faster than normal.  I don’t go back in for at least another month but that should just be basic maintenance.  I’m glad I was able to get my back mostly cleared after only three visits.

The worst part about this back injury was I couldn’t exercise and I got lazy about my dieting.  I’m sure I gained several pounds over the last two weeks.  Today is the first day in awhile I’m tracking everything I’m eating again.  It’s worked in the past.  It’s the biggest thing that worked in the past.  No reason it can’t work again.

The days have been kind of boring these last two weeks as I healed from my back problems.  I played more Civilization 5 and Skyrim in the last two weeks than the previous three months.  As much as I like computer games, even a geek like myself knows there’s far more to life than just sitting in front of a computer.  I have been getting outside more the last three days.  I make it a point to stand up every two or three hours and walk around for a few minutes.  Ran some errands yesterday and bought a few shirts.  Since I’m not fashion obsessed I can get by pretty cheap on clothing.  Most of the stuff I get is pretty plain.  I wear mainly t-shirts and occasionally polo shirts.  I don’t have much for dress clothes since I worked mainly manual labor jobs most of my adulthood.  I think I look like one of the hired thugs from ‘The Sopranos’ when dressed up anyway.  Regardless my wardrobe was due for a few updates.

The back is almost completely healed.  I probably have another few days of nagging pains.  So I may be taking it a little easier until the weekend.  Since I started tracking what I eat again (I had been lazy about that for several weeks), I’m ready to get back on track with the weight loss.