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.

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Beginnings of Spring and New Routines

Even though it’s been a little more winter like the last few days, I can tell that spring is on the way.  I’m starting to sleep less and even wake up earlier.  I haven’t pulled an all nighter in over a week.  I’m starting to do grocery shopping at night like I did in the past instead of at like 3 am.  I’m chatting with friends more and starting to sort out my apartment.  I had gotten lazy about cleaning since Christmas, so that was needing to change.

Mentally I’m as stable as I have been in a long time.  I still don’t socialize much in person even if I make it a point to leave my apartment several times a day.  Sometimes I leave for something as simple as getting soda pop at the convenience store just to get out of my apartment.  I haven’t had any real bad flare ups for weeks.  I don’t know if it’s because I don’t socialize that much or if I’m settling into a calm period.  Late winters and springs are usually the most stable times of year for me.  Late summers and early falls are always tough.

In other news, my niece and three nephews are coming to Nebraska for a few days over spring break.  I haven’t seen those kids since last summer.  It’ll be fun to touch base with them.  I don’t get to see them very often.  I do wish I lived closer to my brother and his family.  Even though my brother and I weren’t close when we were growing up, I still think it’s important to keep touch with family members.  Besides my parents are in their late 60s and they aren’t getting any younger.  After a friend of mine told me her mom had cancer, it made me realize that easily could be my parents struggling with their health.  And it got me thinking about my own health.  Working against a chronic mental illness for twenty years has taken a toll on my physical health.  I don’t get sick with viruses or infections very often, but I can tell I don’t have the physical strength I had even ten years ago.  And people with schizophrenia tend to have shorter life spans to begin with.  I can tell the stress of the mental illness is starting to wear me down.  There is a connection between mental health and physical health I am convinced.

The winter is essentially over.  We will probably have a couple more snows but they won’t be the type that stay around for weeks.  I’m already starting to make plans for spring.  And I’ll probably start spring cleaning and maintenance next week.  I have a couple projects I need to get done that I’ve been putting off for weeks.  It’s time to come out of my hibernation and winter exile.

Social Media Hiatus and Recovery

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In an attempt to help speed up my recovery from my bouts of depression and hopelessness, I’ve decided to avoid all social media in addition to regular news casts.  I’m now two days into this and I notice a positive difference already.  I’m less stressed and less despondent even after a couple days of media blackout.  I just got so tired of hearing nothing but bad news that I decided to unplug and drop out for at least a few days.  I will still be posting blog entries to Facebook and twitter because my posts automatically post to these anyway.

One thing I have noticed is inspite my vacation from news and social media, my life still goes on.  All life still goes on in fact.  Some things I’m probably happier not knowing quite simply because there is nothing I can do about it.  While I may not be happy with any of my elected officials, it’s not like I get an extra vote for every time I post to Facebook concerning the elections.  The U.S. Constitution never said anything about uber informed people getting extra votes.  On election day, I’m just going in and casting my votes and that is going to be that.  I’ll live with whatever the results are.  And I’ll still pay more attention to science and technology endeavors than I do to politics or popular culture.  Unless the Kardashians figure out nuclear fusion or cure cancer, I couldn’t care less about them.

While I may be unplugging from social media, I’m still keeping informed on things like science.  I am finding out the lights are still on and there’s still food in my pantry regardless of what nonsense a political figure says or whatever some troll writes.  Some pundit says something about the election, so what?  Nations are rattling their sabres and talking about wars, will my worrying prevent war?  I can only control my own life, what I see online, and how I choose to react to it.  And that is all I need.  Sure I’ll miss my friends during my hiatus from social media, but it’s probably for the best for the next several days.

 

Taking Care of Physical Health With Mental Illness

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Took some time today to take care of my physical health by going to the dentist for my annual check up.  Had no cavities or problems besides one of my older fillings needing replaced.  I’ll get that done in a couple weeks.  Everything checked out fine at the dentist.  I wasn’t expecting any problems as I don’t eat much for sugary food anymore.  Anytime I drink soda pop it’s sugarless soda anymore.  It does feel good to have that taken care of for another year.

I haven’t been eating nearly as much these last two months.  I especially haven’t eaten much this month.  I usually eat only two meals a day and it’s mainly because I’m just not that hungry.  I’ve noticed my food cravings really went down once I started taking a daily multi vitamin.

Mentally I’m feeling pretty stable.  I occasionally feel short periods of anxiety and irritability.  These usually happen shortly after I wake up.  I’ve traditionally done better at night than day.  I don’t take my anti anxiety medication anymore.  Just haven’t needed it lately.

I’m exercising and getting outside some everyday.  It helps that the weather is cooling off. Hopefully I can get a few more weeks of outdoor activity in before the cold weather hits.

 

 

Stability With Schizophrenia

I’ve been on my current medications for about five months.  In that time I was able to avoid my traditional late summer breakdowns.  I’ve also gotten more physically active and more careful about what I eat.  In short I’ve entered a prolonged state of stability that I haven’t experienced in a few years.  It’s a good feeling.

I have been feeling much less easily irritated for the last couple months.  I’m back to a regular sleep pattern.  I am convinced that regular sleep only helps with mental illness.  I tend to be more irritable and have more hallucinations when I haven’t been sleeping well. I have been doing quite well the last several weeks.

I have taken three medications for my mental illness for the last five months.  One of the meds is an anti anxiety medication I take as needed.  It really works to alleviate anxiety but it does make me sleep a lot.  But it was one of those medications I had to take only as necessary.  I haven’t needed to take it for over three weeks.  I have been doing well in terms of dealing with anxiety.  I get out of my apartment more often and am able to run my errands.  I still don’t socialize as much as I had in the past.  Much of my socializing comes online anymore.  But many people’s social lives are based online these days.

In short things have gone quite well the last couple months.  I made it through the summer, I’m back exercising again, I’m eating healthier again, I’m getting better sleep, I’m managing my anxiety and depression better.  It’s going really good right now.  I hope to keep it going.

Taking Care of Physical Health with Mental Illness

Started exercising more consistently a week ago.  I’ve been keeping track of what I eat again.  It seems every time I track what I eat I end up losing weight even if I’m not doing much activity.  Unfortunately I tend to be unmindful of how much I eat when I’m not tracking what I eat.  If I’m going to lose weight again I have to track.  It’s worked before and it can work again.

I’m walking more again and lifting weights again. I’m also doing stretches every day.  I still stretch after lifting weights but I decided to do it more often.  I never was very flexible even as a child.  I get minor muscle pulls pretty easily and that’s probably not getting any better as I age. Weight lifting has been mainly a winter activity for the last few years.  But I decided to get a couple month head start this year.  Weight lifting by itself isn’t a fun activity so that is why I watch tv while I lift.  I started taking a multi vitamin along with Vitamin C and D.  Vitamin D especially is supposed to help alleviate depression.  I’m thinking about starting on Fish Oil but am concerned about it thinning my blood.  I’ll bring it up when I see my psych doctor in two weeks.  I also see my dentist for a regular check up.  Besides having to have some wisdom teeth pulled a few years ago I’ve had good luck with my current dentist.  I was in rough enough shape when I had those taken out I missed two days from work.

I’ve been getting outside more since the weather started cooling off a week ago.  I have my windows open most of the time now.  I’ve shut off my air conditioner and probably won’t have to use it again until next summer.  I’m still avoiding stress inducing people and situations as much as possible.  That really helps me.

I still don’t get as much socializing as I would like.  The writers’ support group I used to go to disbanded this month.  So I’m looking for another group.  I’m considering going back to my mental illness support group that meets once a week.  I haven’t been a regular for a few years.  I usually drop in a few times a year to update people.  I really haven’t needed that much support most of the time as I have long since accepted my mental illness and come to terms with the lost career and lost opportunity for a family of my own.  Instead I have settled for old friends and some friends I have made through the groups I participate in online.  I look at friends as the pseudo family that you can choose.  As my physical health improves I’ll look for more opportunities to socialize.

 

Feeling Good With Mental Illness

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Been feeling pretty good for the last few weeks.  I haven’t had my traditional summer break down.  Hopefully I can get through the next couple weeks without any issues.  I usually start feeling better in early September with the passing of the warmest weather of summer.  I never have dealt well with the heat of summer.  I had problems with summer heat even before I had a mental illness diagnosis.  I have always enjoyed winter and spring more than summer.

It might help that I really haven’t been outside much this summer.  When I do exercise it’s usually walking the hallways of my apartment complex.  I didn’t go outside much this summer so I was never truly exposed to the heat and humidity.  I have driven less this summer and driving does sometimes cause me aggravation.  I definitely try to avoid driving anywhere when I’m going through excessive paranoia and depression.

I think the change in psych medications has helped me greatly this summer.  I was having flare ups every several weeks before I switched over.  Haven’t had any prolonged breakdowns since.  I switched over to a medication my DNA testing said would really benefit me.  I know I have been less physically active but I have also been more mentally stable this summer than previous years.  It’s a pity that I have to choose between physical health and mental stability.  But years ago my only options would be long term hospitalization with no way to alleviate my symptoms or homelessness.

In spite my previous problems I am still hopeful for the future.  Of the three medications I am currently on, two of them didn’t exist even five years ago.  The DNA tests that told me what medications would be most effective didn’t exist until recently.  When I was first diagnosed in 2000 we had to try medications at random and hope that something took.  We were wandering in the dark in that regard.  I am glad that I wasn’t born in 1930 instead of 1980 with this diagnosis.  Back then my only treatments may have been long term hospitalizations and electroshock therapy.  As it is I can essentially live alone, granted with a government sponsored disability pension and taxpayer sponsored medical treatment.  But it could be that this route is cheaper than long term hospitals like the 1950s.  Being on anti psych medication, having a small routine, having enough money to cover food, rent, and minor entertainment, living on my own, etc. is certainly more humane than being long term hospitalized, prison, homeless, or dead.  For most of human history I would have been dead with this illness before my 36th birthday.  As it is my worst problems now are occasional flare ups and my sleep apnea.  I am thankful for medical science and it’s advances.  I probably have a shorter life expectancy with this mental illness than I would normally, but I plan on staying around for awhile and seeing what I can accomplish in spite of this illness.

When I first applied for disability insurance ten years ago, I pretty much thought my life was over.  I thought I would be regulated to a short and brutal life of being anonymous, poor, tormented, and unknown outside of family and a few friends.  I didn’t plan on writing a blog about the experiences I’ve had over the years.  But even with this diagnosis I didn’t want to waste my talents.  I didn’t want my losing my shot at a career and a family to have been in vain.  I didn’t want this mental illness to destroy everything.  That’s why I blog as much as I do.  I suppose if I knew anything about making videos I would start a small youtube channel about life with a mental illness.  But that is probably a future project.