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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a week since I had my esophagus scoped and was started on two news medications for my EoE problems. I’ve changed my diet too. I have severely cut back on bread and most processed foods. I’m beginning to notice that my mental health is improving in addition to having a more settled stomach. I haven’t had real problems with delusions and auditory hallucinations since this change.
As EoE is made worse by food allergens, I’m thinking about switching to foods with less gluten or gluten free entirely. Been doing some research on gluten free foods and found that there are gluten free alternatives for many foods. Found that some places even have gluten free beer and I didn’t think that was even possible.
So my shopping routine has considerably changed. For several years I had been buying groceries only twice a month with buying mostly things that had long self lives or could be frozen. Since I’m buying more fresh vegetables and making smaller purchases, I’ve been to the grocery store at least three times just in the last week. But I do feel better physically and mentally overall.
Been going to the chiropractor for three weeks. My back is feeling better already. I had a tailbone injury as a teenager that for years would flare up on occasion. But even that has gone away. I think the chiropractic routines are working.
It’s been an eventful last five to six weeks for my physical and mental health. I’m still adapting to buying more fresh vegetables and foods with fewer preservatives. I’m now having to read labels for everything I buy, not just for calorie content. I don’t think many people realize just how many preservatives are in many supermarket foods, at least here in USA. Regardless, healthier eating that doesn’t flare up food allergies can be done. It takes more planning, but it can be done. I’m still learning how to do this. I’ll keep everyone posted.