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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

To The Stars With Difficulty

The road to the life of our dreams is seldom a straight and smooth one.  I admit I don’t remind myself of that enough.  But life is mainly about how many times you get up after being knocked down.  I have been knocked down quite a bit in the last several months as my previous posts have shown.  But I have to keep getting up and moving forward.  Yes I lost a grandmother who was one of my closest confidants.  Yes my back got messed up in a car accident.  Yes I got lazy about losing weight and gained much of the weight I lost.  Yes I had difficulties and relapses with my schizophrenia.  Yes I became lazy in my social life.  Yes I developed a negative attitude about many things.  Yes I became depressed and lazy in my personal habits.  It’s all true.

But that does not define me any longer.  I won’t allow it to define me.  I do have problems I’ve been dealing with.  But I will solve them and keep moving forward.  I have solved problems in the past and I will solve my problems again.  No I may not make my goal of being at my high school weight within the time frame I set for myself two years ago.  But I won’t give up on pursuing that goal.  No I haven’t been able to exercise for two weeks because of my bad back.  Yes I made excuses not to exercise because the weather was lousy this spring.  Yes I lost a lot of my social safety net when I became paranoid and thought I could do all things on my own.  But that is changing starting here and now.  I am not going to go out without a fight.  I am not giving up on improving my health.  I lost seventy pounds in a little over a year only to gain at least forty pounds back in a year.  But I am stopping the bleeding.  I lost weight before and I will do it again.  I had good mental health before and I can gain it back even with a mental illness.  I have had good friends and lots of acquaintances before and I will have them again.  It starts here and now.  It starts today.  I am no longer going to be my past failures.  I have been through difficulties, some beyond my control and some even self inflicted.  I am going to be better all around.  And the road to the stars for me restarts here and now.