Removing Myself From Social Media and Thoughts on Change

I decided I’m giving up social media.  I cancelled my twitter account and have put my facebook on inactive status.  I spend too much time on facebook and not enough time actually writing and researching.  I have only a couple close friends and a few cousins I really hear from anymore via facebook.  I would have given it up over a year ago if I wasn’t fearful I’d permanently lose contact with my friends and family.  I tired writing more emails several months ago, but got only one response from the dozen I sent out.  I suppose it feeds into my paranoia that my friends and family really don’t like me that much.  Every time I call my parents, the bulk of the conversation focuses on what I can do to improve myself and how to make my apartment more presentable.  I find this irritating.  I really do.  I can’t even just live anymore.  At this point in my life, I don’t care if I impress people or am popular.  I have never been popular, not even in college or high school.  But I had a good time in college because I got to spend time with people even more eccentric and academically oriented than myself on a daily basis.  I know many people condemn academic knowledge, scholarly pursuits, and intelligence.  I have endured this my entire life.  And I have given up on people ever changing their attitudes towards intelligence and wisdom.  I just want to live and be allowed to pursue my goals, which include learning as much as I possibly can about as many subjects as I can.  I don’t give a damn if I ever make a cent off my pursuits of knowledge and wisdom.  As long as I have enough money to make rent and keep my pantry stocked and myself clothed and my psych medications current, everything else is just add ons.  I don’t need a large house, a prestigious career, a trophy wife, lots of kids, a fancy car, designer clothes, or the respect of people I have nothing in common with.  I never have.  I was, like many ambitious teenagers, brainwashed into thinking I needed such nonsense to have a fulfilled life.  It took a serious mental illness and struggling for most of my twenties to realize that wasn’t what I wanted for myself.  And it took a few more years to where I got to the point when I no longer felt shame for not wanting a life I had no say in designing.

I don’t feel shame for not wanting to be rich or famous.  I don’t write blogs every few days with the idea I will get noticed and make a train load of money.  I write for a record of what it like to be a mentally ill man in early 21st century America.  I don’t write just for my current audience.  I write for future generations so there is at least one record as to what mental illness meant in the early stages of the Information Revolution.  And make no mistake, our species and our civilizations are going through a period of transition at very least as profound as the Agricultural Revolution thousands of years ago and the Industrial Revolution hundreds of years ago.  It should be no wonder so many people are afraid and angry.  Afraid of what’s happening and what is going to happen.  Angry that we found that much of what we learned in our youths and what worked well in previous generations is starting to no longer apply.

We are at a point in history when our science and tech is advancing faster than our institutions of government, religion, education, finance, industry, and social norms.  At this point in time (November 2019), the world is far different than the one I went to high school in during the 1990s.  I’ve recently rewatched some of the tv shows that were popular when I was a teenager, and it’s almost quaint looking at some of the tech that was considered cutting edge twenty five years ago.  Even in the Matrix series, there were no smart phones, social media, video sharing platforms, laptop computers, etc.  There were still phone booths in that series and that was made only twenty years ago.  I didn’t notice the subtle changes that were happening over the course of a year or two when things were happening.  But looking at it over the span of twenty years, I am as a 39 year old man living in a world that is foreign to the one I occupied at age 16.  I’m not even sure my niece and nephews have seen a VCR tape anywhere outside of a history show or museum.  I sometimes chuckle when I see older people who don’t research online as much as my cohorts do.  But my teenage nephews would chuckle that I have never run a 3D printer or used a VR headset.  One of my nephews recently bought a VR headset from money he raised working odd jobs for his parents and neighbors.  He set up a VR flying simulator for my father.  As for me, I’m waiting a couple of years for the prices to drop and the tech to get more user friendly.  As crazy as the changes I have seen in the last twenty years have been, I guarantee the next twenty will be even more so.  At this point I’m just content to buckle up and enjoy the ride from my apartment in small town Nebraska.

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Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Since the weather has been so hot the last several days, I’ve been running most of my errands at night.  Picked up some new medication that supposed to help with binge eating problems.  I am a binge eater.  I’ll go hours without eating and then gorge all at once when the hunger pains take over.  And that’s probably worse than snacking throughout the day.  Been on this new med for a few days and I think it’s starting to work.  I have eaten much less than normal and I even need less sleep too.

I still stay awake until dawn and usually sleep until noon, at least unless I have doctors’ appointments.  I’ve also been socializing more often.  Made friends with a new neighbor last night.  I went to take my trash out, sat down as she was coming out for a smoke, and the next thing I knew I had talked to her for over an hour.  I guess I didn’t realize how many new people moved into my complex this year alone.  I really haven’t been socializing because, until recently, I was too depressed and paranoid to.  I was happy to spend much of my days attending Youtube University and learning for my own personal vanity.  It’s amazing what one can learn in several months of intense study.  And I was able to pick up the social skills like I always had them.  It also helps that a few of our problem residents have moved out over the last several months.  Until recently I was too wrapped up in my own depression and paranoia to notice.

I socialize more on facebook too with old friends and extended family.  I had pretty much dropped off facebook for a year or so because of all the arguing and fighting during the last election cycle.  Hopefully these bad experiences have cooled many peoples’ passions and made us more tactful as a species.  But I definitely make it a point to avoid politics, child rearing, and money as these can divide friends and family even in good times.  I think I’m not the only one who wants to make social media fun again.

Improvements

Been feeling better physically the last few days.  I’m getting out of the apartment several times a day, I spend a little time outside everyday, I’m walking more again, and I’m eating less junk food too.  As a result I’m feeling fewer aches and pains and sleeping better.  I still sleep in my recliner as my back still acts up if I sleep in a bed more than a few hours at a time.  I’ll probably spend the rest of the summer in my recliner and just let my back heal.

I’ve been feeling well mentally all summer.  That’s a welcome relief as summers have traditionally been a rough time of year for me.  My best times tend to be springs and winters.  I do feel better in autumn than summer usually but I have had problems in autumn in the past.  So far this summer has gone along rather uneventful.  It has been quite hot this month so I usually won’t go outside in the middle of the day.  I do my shopping usually in the evenings or early mornings.  I don’t go out in the overnight like I used to but I am still an incurable night person.

Haven’t had any problems with depression for weeks.  Haven’t had issues with anxiety or delusions either.  The only real hallucinations I have experienced this summer are occasionally hearing footsteps in the hallway when no one is there and I’ll still have unexplainable itching on my arms like ants walking but nothing is there.  Overall I’m doing alright.  I think I have even managed to lose a few pounds in the last couple weeks.

Don’t really have much to report.  Mentally I’ve been feeling stable.  Physically I’m feeling better with each passing day and getting more and more active all the time.  Sometimes no news is good news.

Optimism and Good News

Been spending more time inside lately.  We’re currently in the hottest parts of the summer.  So far I’m managing alright.  I think it helps that I’m getting enough sleep and keeping my mind occupied through computer games and educational programs on youtube and curiosity stream.  I had to get a new phone a few days ago after my old one quit working.  So far it’s doing everything I need done.

In spite spending so much time indoors and not socializing much outside of internet and phone, I’m still feeling pretty decent.  I’m feeling actually quite optimistic overall.  Watching science programs and programs about what is actually going right in civilization while avoiding the negativity and background noise can do that to even a hardened mentally ill person like myself.  I do find it tragic that the advances in science and humanitarian efforts aren’t given more publicity in the media.  I get it that mass media isn’t a public service and they have to draw and audience like every other business.  And nothing draws a human’s attention like fear and anxiety.  There is actually far more going on right than most people will ever know.

Last Christmas I did a piece on science and tech advances that happened just in 2016.  I’m going to do this again at the end of 2017.  I really don’t think people pay enough attention to what’s going on in the realms of science, tech, and humanitarian efforts.  I wonder how many people know that over 90 percent of people in Africa have access to cell phones.  Granted the same CNN article states that only 63 percent of people in Africa have access to piped water and only 30 percent to flushing toilets.  But both of those numbers are better than many people in the developed world thought they would be.  And this article was written in 2016.

When my parents were first married in the early 1970s, many people were worried about overpopulation and as a result my parents decided to have only two kids.  Fast forward 45 years and many countries, especially in the developed world, are actually experiencing decreasing populations.  USA would have the same problem if it wasn’t for many immigrants still wanting to come here.  The fears of overpopulation didn’t come to fruition because as people became more prosperous and better educated, they started having fewer kids and investing more in the one or two kids they did have.  The population is still growing, yes, but that is far more because people no longer die like flies than breed like rabbits.  Smallpox is eradicated and polio is all but eradicated.

There were similar fears about acid rain in the 1970s.  But we as a species, especially scientists and engineers, saw that this could become a problem eventually and we adapted.  As a result, the worst didn’t happen.  Right now there are fears about climate issues and what could happen within the next several decades.  But few people realize that air pollution has actually gone down in many countries and industrializing countries like China and India are going forward with non polluting energy sources now that the prices are more competitive with traditional fuel sources.  My country may have pulled out of the Paris Agreements, but that was my federal government and not individual peoples or state governments.  And in the USA, regardless of individual political beliefs, most people do not approve of the leadership our federal officials are offering.  So many state and local governments are taking it on themselves to develop non polluting energy sources.  I may live in a state where many people aren’t sold on the sciences being climate changes but that doesn’t stop people from putting up wind generators and solar panels.  In my own family, my parents have been using solar panels since the 1980s.  Many people don’t know that the largest state for wind power generation is Texas, a traditionally oil rich state.  Just because a person may not be sold on the hard science doesn’t mean they can’t or aren’t doing their parts to bring about less toxic energies and use less fuel.  Can you imagine how bad pollution and oil issues would be if we had the same cars from the 60s and 70s?  When my father was in the military, he had a street racer car that got less than 9 miles to the gallon in gas.  Pickup trucks now get much better than that, let alone family sedans or smaller cars.  My dad said about his hot rod, “it would pass everything on the road besides a gas station.”  Science is saving our bacon right now, more so than governments or most other established large institutions.

I’m also encouraged by the prospects of private individuals and companies taking on space exploration.  We aren’t living my parents’ space race when it was just Russia and USA doing the work.  There are many things I am encouraged and optimistic about.  But I did not get this way getting information just from traditional sources.  I had to use search engines.  I had to go to science specific websites and journals.  I had to specifically look for the science information because most of it wasn’t being reported in traditional mass media.  But traditional mass media is in decline and will eventually break apart if they don’t adapt to the new realities.  And that doesn’t hurt my feelings at all.  I’m tired of hearing about what is going wrong all the time.  I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way.  I want to know what’s going well and what we’re improving.  I have dig deeper than most people, but I am finding out some of what’s going right.  Maybe more research labs and universities should hire publicity firms to better promote what’s going on.  I think many people would be interested providing the information is presented in the right ways.

Improvements

It’s been a few days since I saw my psych doctor.  We decided to add a third medication.  I think it’s starting to work.  I’m getting a little more active with each passing day, I’m starting to wake up earlier, I’m feeling less depressed, I’m feeling less paranoid, and I’m getting out of my apartment more often.  So I think the psych appointment was a good idea.  I see him again in a week.

I’m surprised at how fast I’m improving.  I haven’t felt this decent in a while.  I hope things keep improving.

Settling Into Changes and New Routines

Been making some changes in my routines since Christmas.  I am getting more physical activity, been eating less meat and more vegetables and rice.  I have eaten in restaurants only twice since New Year’s Day.  I have changed up my diet quite a bit.  I no longer cook a lot of grilled and baked chicken and beef.  Instead I pretty much eat mostly rice, vegetables, potatoes, and soup.  I still don’t eat much bread.  I get most of my carbs anymore through rice and potatoes.  Neither potatoes nor rice make me feel as lethargic or bloated as large amounts of bread.  Now I absolutely love sub sandwiches, but if I have more than one every couple days I’ll be feeling slow and sluggish.

I have been cleaning my apartment more often.  I had been kind of lazy about this for a few months.  But since I’m feeling much better and more stable I have found it easier to keep my place cleaner.  My place may not make Good Housekeeping, but it’s still better than most college dorm rooms.

I am getting more social activity via Facebook.  I had been kind of a ghost on social media besides promoting the blog for months because I didn’t want to be part of political discussions.  While it feels good to be back in contact with extending family and college friends, it is unnerving that friendships can be strained by things as petty as political opinions. But I am glad I don’t have to hear about it for another few years.

Haven’t dealt with hallucinations for weeks.  Haven’t had problems with delusions for awhile.  Haven’t had issues with depression for almost two months.  I am getting consistent sleep even though I tend to sleep in until late morning most days.  My medications don’t make me sleepy and I think I am more effected by caffeine than I was a few years ago.  Finding out the hard way that I just can’t drink as much caffeine as much as I used to.  That is another new reality I have to learn to adapt to.

I’m still not venturing out of the complex as much.  But it has been quite cold the last few weeks.  But I am definitely saving money on gas by not driving as much.  I drive only half of what I used to, so I buy gas only once a month anymore.  I don’t mind as gas prices are going back up and I can do so much online anymore.  I admit I spend a lot of time online anymore, far more than I did even five years ago.

Been reading much more lately.  I still like reading about science and technology advances.  I am finding that as fast as the advances are coming anymore, the science books I have are starting to become out of date even if they are only a few years old.  I am finding out that Bill Gates was right when he said that people overestimate tech advances short term but underestimate them long term.  Books I bought that were written even four years ago underestimated some of the advances we are seeing now.  So to meet my desire for science and tech news I have to read more online periodicals and science blogs.  I always liked science and wanted to make it my career since grade school.  I have gotten to where I like reading science sites more than I do watching sports.  I know I’m weird.

These are just a few of my new routines now that it’s winter and I’m feeling stability for the first time in months.  I’m just enjoying it right now and I’m going to ride this hot streak for all it’s worth.

Beginning of 2017 and So Long to 2016

The holidays have come and gone.  I’m glad for it.  The too loud Christmas music and fireworks on New Year’s Eve were getting to cause me sensory overload.  I’m glad that things are going to start to return to normal.  I haven’t experienced any normal for a long time.  2016 was indeed an odd year.  Many of the heroes of my childhood, namely John Glenn, David Bowie, Muhammed Ali, etc. died that year.  I guess the older I get the more I’ll see the heroes of my childhood die off.  But as old heroes die off, new heroes will step up and take their place.

I spoke to my counselor right before New Year’s.  He and I agreed that I’m doing well enough that I only need to see him only once a month.  As tough as 2016 was for me I did escape the year without having to go to the mental hospital.  I’ve now avoided that place for three years.  I think the older I get the more I am able to deal with the ups and downs of my mental illness.  The last breakdown I had was before Halloween and the last one I had before that was back in July 2016.  And both of these breakdowns were less intense and less long lived than breakdowns in previous years.  Maybe I am getting on top of this mess.

Talked to my landlord the other day.  She said I’ll be getting my new paint for my walls and new carpet by the end of January.  I have been anxiously waiting for new carpet and a new paint job for months.  I have lived in my current apartment for over ten years.  I haven’t have much done to the place since I moved in.  And the carpet and paint on the walls are probably over twenty years old.  They are due.  I haven’t complained about them in the past simply because I knew whatever complaints I made would be ignored and not taken seriously.  I have had legitimate complaints over the years not taken seriously by my bosses, coworkers, teachers, classmates, and even family members.  So I am now to where I don’t complain unless it’s a major crisis because, from past experience, I know I won’t be taken seriously.  I never understood way complaints of subordinates and renters were never taken seriously  by those in authority.  I may be in my mid thirties but I still don’t trust authority figures because for years my complaints were always ignored.  That could be one of the reasons I isolate and don’t socialize.  I just know from past experience that my opinions are just not valued.  They never have been.  I don’t expect them to ever be valued really.  I have just been burned too many times.

I am glad the madness of the holidays and the insanity of the election are over.  Both have made my life very difficult for many months.  I am tired of having to hold my tongue for fear of offending a friend who doesn’t think exactly as I do.  I am tired of always fighting crowds and traffic every time I want to leave my apartment. I am tired of always feeling like I have to hole up and hide out just to protect my sanity.  I am ready for some things to return to normal.  I won’t miss 2016.  I only hope 2017 is a better and more hopeful year.  I got tired of seeing angry and hopeless people every time I turned on the tv, logged on to Facebook, or left my apartment.