Finding Happiness in 2020

Even though I don’t socialize much in person anymore, I try my best to stay connected to family and friends. Talked with my parents over FaceTime this morning. My dad had a check up on his heart and he does not need stints or surgery. He is joining a neighborhood gym as he wants to get more active again. I started lifting weights again on a regular basis last week. Even after a few sessions I can feel the strength and endurance starting to return.

In bad news, two of my friends in Omaha tested positive for covid. They are under quarantine for the next two weeks. They aren’t able to work and they sleep most of the time. One friend is a delivery man so he obviously can’t be going anywhere until this clears. Fortunately they seem to be doing better now than a few days ago. I imagine eventually I’ll catch this too. I just hope it’s mild. Even though I’m only 40, I am overweight and mentally ill.

Got some groceries coming this morning. I’m rebuilding my winter supplies. The leaves are starting to change in my hometown. I usually have my windows open during the day but run the furnace at night as it’s starting to get chilly after dark.

I’ve been forcing myself out of my apartment a couple times a day for almost a week now. Sometimes it is as simple as just standing in the hallway for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll even set up a chair in my doorway so I can sit and try to chat with whomever shows up.

I nap more during the days. I am usually my most active in late mornings and overnights these days. My sleep patterns can change with the seasons and they change if my illness changes too. Haven’t had any serious breakdowns for a few weeks. I still have minor flare ups at least once or twice per day. They don’t usually last long. I have gotten to where I can just let them pass and not feel bad they happen.

I have a couple packages from amazon coming this afternoon. I imagine kids growing up today look forward to the amazon delivery man as much as I did going to the mall when I was growing up.

Changed the parts on my cpap machine yesterday. Slept really well last night. I try to change out the parts a few times a year just to keep the machine properly working.

I don’t have much else planned for the rest of the week. My cleaning lady arrives on Thursday afternoon. I like her. She engages me in conversation while she works. I usually just stay sat down and out of her way while she cleans. I supply the cleaning agents and she does the rest. And she at least tolerates my eccentric sense of humor ūüôā

Transition from Summer to Fall

It’s the first day of September and I’m looking forward to cooler weather, getting to wear sweatshirts, the changing of the leaves, corn harvest, and all the other trappings of fall. While I am disappointed that my Nebraska Huskers’ fall sports season is cancelled due to coronavirus, I understand why. I just hope we can mass produce a vaccine and that enough people can safely use it soon. I am concerned about the flu season being extra rough with coronavirus going around at the same time. It’s one of the reasons I volunteer to stay home. One of my relatives said to the effect our grandparents were asked to fight wars halfway across the world, we are asked to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. This isn’t the first pandemic we have dealt with. Won’t be the last either. I hope we learn from this one and manage the next one better.

Besides a short lived breakdown a couple weeks ago, I am doing alright. I’m not needing as much sleep anymore. I wake up with fewer aches and pains, and even those are more manageable. I see my psych doctor by teleconference again in a month. I haven’t had to have a change in my meds for over a year. I also think I’m losing weight.

I talk to my parents on an almost daily basis. They are doing alright. They don’t go out much besides running errands and visiting my brother’s family. My nephews and niece started school again a couple weeks ago. They seem to be doing alright considering everything. My brother and his wife work from home part of the time.

I have been lazy about reading for a couple weeks. I’ll probably pick that up again soon. I haven’t been watching the news lately. Too depressing these days. I want to know what’s going right, not everything that is going wrong. The information on what is going well is out there, you got to look for it though.

Plugging Along Through Summer With A Mental Illness

Mentally I’m still stable for the most part.¬† I sometimes have moments of irritability and anxiety.¬† They usually last for only a few minutes.¬† I’m glad I haven’t lashed out at anyone because of these bouts.¬† I fear with as on edge as most people are these days, my lashing out at even family wouldn’t go over well.¬† So far I’ve been able to fit and fume to myself and keep these flare ups from blowing up into breakdowns.

My cleaning lady is back on the job.  She comes back in a couple days.  I miss my neighbors.  I was sad to see them leave.  But I am coping alright.

The college football season is all but cancelled in the US.¬† I’m sad to see this happen but I hope it can come back next fall and we have a mass produced vaccine before long.¬† I have heard that Russia already has one that they are trying to mass produce.¬† Reports like this give me hope that the rest of the world can have vaccines soon.¬† Several other countries, including the US, already have vaccines in human trials.¬† A hospital in my state was looking for volunteers to test out a possible vaccine.¬† If I didn’t have a mental illness, I probably would have signed up.

Been sleeping well lately.¬† I usually sleep four or five hours at a time in the night.¬† I usually wake at least once to visit the restroom.¬† If I pace myself and stretch before I get out of bed, I can avoid the worst of the morning aches and pains.¬† It does take a few minutes, but if I stretch my legs and back before I get out of bed I can get around alright in the mornings.¬† I still take some advil with breakfast every morning.¬† I usually take it only once a day.¬† The daily aches and pains are about the only part of being middle age I don’t care for.¬† I do miss my easy mobility but I do like the idea of becoming a wise elder. Maybe I can put my knowledge to work afterall.


Thoughts on My Upcoming Birthday

My birthday is this Sunday.¬† I will be forty years old.¬† I guess the thing I’ve noticed about getting older is that I do have more aches and pains, especially in the mornings.¬† I have to be more careful about what I eat too.¬† I’ve noticed that too much caffeine makes me irritable and short tempered.¬† Too much carb rich food like bread and pastas will make me lethargic and sleepy.¬† Too much milk will unsettle my guts.¬† It’s also easier for me to fall asleep.¬† I do wake up at least once a night to visit the bathroom.¬† I don’t desire sugar as often.¬† I have little to no interest in sex, certainly not enough to start dating again.¬† I have come to be more accepting of my weaknesses and drawbacks.¬† I’ve learned to compensate and work around those weaknesses and drawbacks.¬† Instead of looking for what’s going wrong in the world, I spend much of my time trying to figure out what’s going right.¬† Even though I’m middle aged, I have more empathy for kids and young adults.¬† I didn’t have much empathy for kids and young adults when I was a kid and a young adult.¬† I’ve come to accept that everyone has their own struggles and problems, so it’s best to go easier on people overall.¬† I’ve developed more of an appreciation for customer service workers like waitresses, cashiers, delivery drivers, shelf stockers, gas station clerks, etc.¬† I have found that a good cup of coffee and a home cooked meal will give me more joy than going to clubs and chasing women ever did.¬† And I learned that we as humans are far more adaptable and able to change than we realize, especially in the long term.

Quarantine Journal: April 22 2020

Got my lease renewed for another year this afternoon.¬† The land lady knew I was paranoid to be out and about during this pandemic and was kind enough to bring the necessary paper work to my apartment.¬† Took about fifteen minutes to fill everything out.¬† I should be finding out my new rent rate by June 1st.¬† One of the things I like about my current apartment complex is that, since we have mostly disabled and senior citizens here, most people understand why I don’t get out as much as I used to.

My neighbors hosted a cookout yesterday.¬† While I didn’t attend, they were kind enough to save me some smoked chicken.¬† It was exactly what I needed.¬† Having good neighbors and understanding management at my complex has made this pandemic easier to navigate than it would have been in most places.

Bought two pairs of sweat pants through amazon yesterday.  They should be here within a few days.  Probably should order some facemasks soon.  I hope those are available.

Been having a hard time finding frozen meat lately.¬† I’m glad I can still find soup mixes, oatmeal, peanut butter, etc.¬† I’ll be real happy when this pandemic burns out.¬† Talked to an old friend last night.¬† I think the quarantine is starting to get to him.¬† I understand.¬† It got to me and I had a short lived breakdown last week.¬† So glad it got over quickly.¬† It is annoying I can’t be out and about.¬† But, as I’m immune compromised with my mental illness and weight problems already, I have to leave that to a different time and place.¬† I understand the quarantine recommendations.¬† I just hope this mess passes soon.¬† It is encouraging that places hit hard early in the winter like China are starting to reopen.¬† I think most places here in USA are right in the middle of it right now.¬† Could be rough sailing for another couple months.

Saw on the news feeds this afternoon that human trials of a covid 19 vaccine are supposed to start in a few days over in Germany.¬† Sure hope it works.¬† It is good to know there are already a few possible candidates for a vaccine even after only a few months of this outbreak.¬† If I heard the term covid 19 a year ago, I would have guessed it was the name of some obscure punk rock band.¬† I wouldn’t have guessed it was a new virus that would infect a few million people by April 2020.

So far I haven’t shown any of the symptoms.¬† I did have a bad cold back in December that made me feel rough and sluggish for a few days.¬† So far, staying home, washing my hands several times a day, avoiding touching my face, and doing what I can to boost my immune system seem to be working.¬† We’ve had at least a few dozen cases in my hometown already.¬† But I think Nebraska is going to hit it’s peak later than most cases.

I’ve been on quarantine for almost six weeks already.¬† I have lost track of the days.¬† I don’t usually socialize in person much besides my neighbors.¬† I still talk to family and friends almost every day.¬† This pandemic is easier to bear as I have easy access to communication and internet.

End of the Year

Been a bit of an up and down year for me.¬† I’ve had several positives like finding a new general practice doctor and restarting my weight lifting routine.¬† Even though my lungs are still weak, my physical strength is almost as good as it was when I was in my late twenties.¬† I have employed a cleaning lady for a year.¬† The apartment feels more like a home than a hide out.¬† I redecorated my apartment.¬† I put up some art work done by friends and a few classic battle flags.¬† My personal favorites are the old U.S. Betsy Ross flag and the Pirate Ship flag.¬† I ordered several through amazon as they were on sale. While the flags look excellent, they are also bigger than I expected.¬† I currently have three on my walls. I’d love to hang all of them but I don’t think I have enough wall room.

As far as drawbacks go, I lost confidence in myself to drive my car.¬† So I sold my car to one of my dad’s friends.¬† It was an older, but lower mileage, car.¬† I no longer drove enough to justify having it.¬† And it was doing no one any good just sitting in a parking space.¬† I still isolate some, but I have reestablished contact with some of my old college friends and extended family I had lost contact with over the last few years.¬† I suppose after being a regular on social media for a few years, I have figured out what to post and what not to mention.¬† I think most people are at least starting to adapt.¬† I’ve noticed I’ve been involved in fewer online arguments than even three years ago.

I almost never have back pain anymore.¬† But I still get short of breath if I’m really active.¬† My physical therapist said I retained most of my physical strength even if I lost a lot of my lung capacity and my heart needed to get stronger.¬† In addition to lifting weights, I also make a point of walking around and doing stretches in my apartment every couple hours.¬† I am now on a blood pressure medication.¬† I have noticed I don’t need as much sleep as I did before I started the medication.¬† I’m also regaining stamina more quickly than before.

As far as science news goes for 2019, there were some really cool happenings.¬† A probe was landed on the dark side of the moon by the Chinese.¬† A few more probes were sent to Mars.¬† Self landing and reusable rockets are becoming almost common occurrences.¬† The world now has almost five billion people with access to the internet.¬† Strides in life extension medicine have been made.¬† There is now at least one company, started by a young man in his twenties, that is now removing garbage from the Pacific Ocean.¬† Plans are being made to start cleaning up orbital space garbage.¬† I bet my grandparents when they were watching the USA vs USSR space race back in the 1960s didn’t think this would become a problem so soon.¬† And now private companies and small countries are sending up probes.¬† Definitely not my parents’ space race anymore.

Even an electric powered pickup truck is now in development by the guys at Tesla.¬† I joked about that a few years ago.¬† Maybe my joke about custom making a fishing pole on a 3D printer or buying camping supplies with Bitcoins aren’t far behind.¬† And I’m sure there are already people who can build computers and moon shine stills from scratch (see my Nerdy Redneck posts).¬† Now it looks like it is starting to happen.¬† I also saw that a cross country self driving truck delivery was made here in USA a few weeks ago.¬† There was a driver present but the only time he took over was for things like refueling and maybe road construction.¬† Ten years ago this was science fiction.¬† Looks like I’ll be telling my brother’s kids to not consider being a truck driver or taxi cab driver.¬† Even the small college town I live in has a few Uber drivers now.¬† Before my car accident I applied to Uber, thinking I could make a few dollars ferrying around college kids on the weekends.¬† I was turned down because my car was too old.¬† One of my friend’s, her husband works for an Uber like company.¬† Made decent money but worked long hours and was rarely home.

2019 has been an eventful year overall.¬† Much of it has been good news, some of it bad.¬† The bad news is going to get more attention simply because that is what the human mind notices first.¬† Brilliant survival strategy in the Stone Age but can drive us insane when most of the basics are already met for most people in our world.¬† According to a scholar named Yuval Noah Harrai, our world now has more people suffering health problems from eating too much as opposed to not getting enough food.¬† Our great grandparents would have never imagined that.¬† As much as I enjoy futurism and tech predictions, I would be foolish to say what isn’t possible for the citizens of 2120, especially after how much change I’ve personally witnessed since I graduated high school in 1999.¬† My best friend and I were among the first families in our small farming town to subscribe to internet.¬† I didn’t have my own email address until I was 18.¬† And it was my friend who taught me how to get free music (which I never did) and free dirty pics (guilty as charged).¬† My eight year old nephew is enamored with my mother’s old mechanical type writer.¬† I never used one myself but learned how to type on an electric type writer when I was in junior high.¬† The change over to computers was easy in comparison.¬† Maybe my nephew’s kids will be surprised that we had to type on computers, rather then just think and communicate that way.¬† Or it could be something completely out of the blue we can’t imagine yet.¬† If the 2010s are any indication, the 2020s will be even more eventful and sometimes chaotic.¬† It’s only going to get more interesting and eventful.

December 9 2019

Been on my new meds routine for almost a week now.¬† I’m beginning to notice some positive differences.¬† I need less sleep, it takes more to become irritated, I move about more, and I even have better concentration.

My lab results came back too.  I am not diabetic (thank goodness), and all my other vitals checked out within normal ranges.  My cholesterol was in the 220s, so I will have to watch that closer.  I picked up replacement parts for my cpap machine.  I also started the paper work to try to get a home health aide to drop in on me every few days.  Overall, things are beginning to look brighter.

2019 has been both a good and a tough year for me.¬† I gave up most fast food and sugary foods.¬† I lift weights three times a week.¬† I’m less tolerant of people who try to mistreat me.¬† But I’ve also had some tough times too.¬† I isolate a lot more.¬† I no longer want to socialize with most people.¬† I go through bouts of hopelessness and depression more.¬† Somedays all I want to do is sleep.¬† I sold my car.¬† I gave up driving, just too much sensory overload and too stressful.¬† I guess I have gotten to a point in my life where I have almost zero tolerance for stupidity and rudeness.¬† And I have a lot of these the last few years, more so than usual.

2019 was a tough year in some respects.¬† I fear 2020 won’t be any better, at least not as far as socializing goes.

Taking Care of Physical Health With Mental Illness

Had a couple doctor appointments the last several days. ¬†I’ve decided I need more help getting back on top of my physical health. ¬†So I now have a regular general practice doctor at a clinic only a few blocks from my home. ¬†For the last few years I had been going to doctors only for emergencies. ¬†But now that I’m not as young as I once was, I imagine I’ll have to make regular appointments more often. ¬†I just don’t bounce back physically as fast now as I did even five years ago. ¬†One of the changes we made was to the blood pressure medication. ¬†As blood pressure issues run in my family, I always knew it was only a matter of time before I started having problems. ¬†I get that new regiment started today and check back in two weeks to see exactly where I stand.

Mentally I feel stable even though some times all I want to do is sleep. ¬†And when I don’t want to sleep, I usually want to stay home. ¬†Since I’ve been home the last few days, I’ve been watching some of the World Cup games. ¬†I readily admit to knowing little about soccer, but I can see how much of the world can like it. ¬†And I constantly have to remind myself that in soccer, there are no television timeouts like in baseball or basketball. ¬†More than once I have been in the restroom or getting something to eat in my kitchen only to miss a goal. ¬†One of our family friends is an immigrant from Mexico and they are doing quite well in the early going. ¬†I was happy to hear that the USA, Canada, and Mexico will be hosting the World Cup in 2026. ¬†I would love to get back in good enough health to attend one of those games or at least one of the festivals in a host city. ¬†Hopefully a city near me, like Kansas City or Denver gets to host a game or two. ¬†I got to see a World Series baseball game in person in 2007. ¬†That was one of the highlights of my mid 20s. ¬†I’m so glad one of my college buddies was able to score a couple tickets.

Other than watching the World Cup tournament and getting back on top of my health, I really haven’t been up to much else. ¬†But with Independence Day coming in a little over a week, I’m sure I’ll be seeing (and hearing) fireworks any day now.

Wanting To Socialize Again

We got several inches of snow over the weekend.¬† Of course with it being mid April the weather warmed up again within a day or two and I didn’t have to shovel my car out of the snow.¬† Hopefully it will warm up for good now.¬† Been spending too much time indoors and avoiding the cold for the last few months.¬† And I think I’m finally getting cabin fever because of it.¬† Took four months but it is finally starting to creep in.

I admit to staying home and not getting out much this winter.¬† Other than a few days at my parents’ house in February I haven’t been outside of my town this winter.¬† I’m glad my town is big enough to have everything I need and good delivery service.¬† Yet it’s small enough it’s easy to navigate around when I’m inclined to want to drive.¬† After many weeks of not wanting to leave my complex, I am now the total opposite.¬† I want to get out and about.¬† I think I’m getting burned out on phone calls, computer games, internet research, keeping in contact via social media, etc.¬† I am ready to get out and interact in person again.¬† I’ve spent enough time hibernating in my “cave.”¬† I need to get out and about again.


October 20, 2017

Had some workers do some roofing work at my apartment complex today. ¬†So I didn’t get to sleep as much during the day as I normally do. ¬†But it was a beautiful day for that kind of work. ¬†I’m glad it was done before first snow. ¬†Maybe today will help break me of sleeping in the day and being awake at night.

Still staying awake much of the night. ¬†This has to be effecting me more than I realize. ¬†I still get sleep, it’s just when I get it that’s different from everyone else. ¬†I hope this is a phase that will pass before long. ¬†Mentally I’m still stable. ¬†I don’t have many bad days or flare ups. ¬†I still don’t like venturing out on the streets and driving much. ¬†It’s kind of tough just wanting to stay home all the time. ¬†I didn’t use to be this way. ¬†I was always going somewhere as a kid. ¬†I preferred going to friends’ houses instead of having them come to mine. ¬†Now I have to force myself to leave my apartment every day. ¬†Don’t want to get too house bound.

I’m so glad I’m not having bad hallucinations with this current trend of fearing leaving my apartment. ¬†I sometimes hear footsteps that aren’t there in addition to the phone ringing when it’s not. ¬†At this point it’s more annoying then frightening. ¬†I’m glad I’m not dealing with all my past problems in addition to my new ones.

About the only real positive coming out of me staying home more is that I eat less fast food now.  So I am eating healthier and cheaper too.  I am glad I was taught how to cook when I was growing up.  I guess I can find some positives in my current situation.