Saw my parents a couple times over the last few days. It was good to have visitors for an extended time. I hardly get any visitors anymore. I guess I have hit the age where most of my friends are busy with their careers and families. Other than a few friends who are divorcees, I have only one close friend right who has never been married. Unfortunately he is quite busy with work and lives in another country.
I feel like I miss out on a great deal because I don’t have a family and can’t work. Most of my friends conversations revolve around work, spouses, and children. And sadly, many of my friends are also depressed and anxious. I guess with most of my friends being in their late 30s and early 40s, I imagine many are experiencing mid life crisis type things. That and pretty much everyone is more stressed now anyway. There are times I am quite stressed too even though I have no job or wife or kids. I spent most of this spring in a deep depression where I would go entire days without leaving my apartment. Some days I slept twelve to fifteen hours a day because sleep was the only time I didn’t feel anxious or depressed or irritable. I was isolating from neighbors and avoiding people because I was depressed and anxious and I was depressed and anxious because I was lonely all the time. And on it went in a vicious cycle.
I miss my friends and family. I miss having in depth and meandering conversations that cover many different topics. About the only person I have those with anymore are my mother. Everyone else seems to be hung up on work, debts, family, etc. They have become too busy earning a living that they forgot why they stay alive. Naturally I can’t talk to any of my friend about this. Because they are too stressed living paycheck to paycheck to engage in anything besides work and sleep it seems. And I have been having a great deal of paranoia lately that my friends really don’t like me that much.
This paranoia might spring from that most of my friends don’t reach out to me, at least not lately. Anytime I try to reach out to friends, I usually get no response. When I do get responses, they are usually short answers or complaints about how bad their lives are and how lucky I am. It’s really discouraging and sad. We tell people in distress to reach out for help all the time. Yet, what is the point of reaching out when most of time we are ignored or made fun of? And people wonder why, in spite of our prosperity and having all but conquered absolute poverty, we are unhappy and depressed. We are unhappy and depressed precisely because we don’t make efforts to connect to people or answer those who are lonely. We bought into the whole rugged individualism to where we believe we have to just bear it if we can’t solve our own problems. This is really heartless and stupid. In our age, we are far more interdependent than any of us as individuals or nations realize. And until we acknowledge this and adapt accordingly on an individual, civilizational, and species level, we will only see our issues of anxiety, depression, and loneliness become far worse. We are already seeing epidemic levels of stress related illnesses. If mental health problems got even a fraction of the attention that physical illnesses like cancer got, we would be well on our way to alleviating these problems. Yet, we as a society and individuals choose to make them worse in those around us and in ourselves.
Even though I’ve been sleeping more than normal the last several days, I think I’m starting to settle down and return to normal. Sometimes a few days of extra sleep and minimal caffeine can help me recharge. Got some of my disability pension money this morning, so I had to buy some groceries. I don’t think I’ve been getting enough vitamins and minerals from my usual winter diet, so I picked up some vitamins, fish oil pills, and fresh fruits. Haven’t had much for fruit this winter. Could be why I’ve been more irritable than usual the last couple weeks.
Haven’t talked with much of anyone the last several days. Been feeling short tempered and paranoid enough that I’ve more or less just kept to myself this week. It does get boring and lonely at times. But, unfortunately, so many people in my apartment complex and my life in general have just been feeling moodier than usual lately. All of the bad weather and floods the last couple weeks have kept me in my town. I really don’t want to go anywhere now or see anyone. I just no longer want to be bothered by toxic and negative people. Those types just drain the life and joy out of me. At least online I can block those people and opt out of conversations without causing a scene. Yeah, I’m the one trying to remain upbeat and optimist and people claim I’m anti social. Anymore I’m my own best company, some days my only company.
Had a few house guests last night at my apartment. Granted it was my parents and one of my aunts but it’s the first time in weeks I’ve hosted people in my apartment. I’m normally kind of nervous about hosting people as I am self conscious about my place and possessions. I feel paranoid that I’m constantly being measured and condemned for the way I keep my apartment and even the books on my book shelf. I moved my book shelf to my bed room just so fewer people would see it. As I have a wide range of interests I keep a wide range of what would be considered by many people of scholarly books. When my retired pastor friend died a few years ago, his family offered me some of his ancient history, history of religion, and philosophy books. Since many of his works were in ancient languages like Hebrew and Greek I had to turn most of what would have been really interesting down. I know a little Spanish from my high school years but haven’t used it enough lately to have any kind of working knowledge of the language.
As it is now, I can keep some of my more scholarly works in ebook form. I’ve downloaded hundred of free history, philosophy, religion, etc. books onto my computer and iPod. Yes I still have an iPod but it mainly serves as backup for my computers. I’ll probably never get to read many of these books but I’m glad I have them. I even picked up some sci fi and horror books. About the only real horror author I can get into is H.P. Lovecraft. I did read a couple Stephen King books but I never developed much of a taste for his work. As far as sci fi goes, I really like Issac Asimov and Cory Doctorow. I read mostly science fact books by people like Michio Kaku, Ray Kurzweil, Kevin Kelly, and Carl Sagan as I’m typically more interested in seeing sci fi become science fact. I don’t read much for fantasy novels but my brother and his kids are big fans of J.K Rowling and J.R.R. Tolken. I guess I always considered real life interesting enough. That’s probably why the two fiction novel drafts I wrote flopped. I don’t have much of my writings from the first ten years I was working on the craft. What I do have, well, I’m glad didn’t get published.
Since I’m spending more time alone since the weather turned colder, I’m spending more time reading articles and watching documentaries. I don’t really go out except to check the mail and break up the routine. I haven’t even socialized with friends much the last couple weeks. It’s gets lonely at times. About the only thing I hate about being an adult is that I can’t just spend time with my friends at a moment’s notice. As much as I couldn’t stand some aspects of high school, that is one thing I definitely miss.
Still feeling slightly more irritable and paranoid than I previously had for the last few days. Having a false fire alarm in my apartment complex over the weekend didn’t help to ease tension much. All it accomplished was getting me out of the house for a couple hours during the heat of the afternoon. That was over the weekend and I have essentially kept a low profile since. It’s been too hot to do much else. But fall will be here in a few weeks as will cooler days and chilly nights.
Haven’t really kept in contact with friends and family as much as I normally do. But then, I guess I don’t have much to report. My life has been uneventful other than trying to avoid drama and keeping the creeping symptoms of the illness at bay. I pretty much sleep ten hours a day now, not that I want to but I know I need to. Otherwise I might be having more issues.
I still have another few traditionally tough weeks ahead before things will settle into a more normal and calming routine. For now I’m taking things day by day and not really looking too far ahead. I’m just deep into routine on top of routine now. About the only thing I don’t like about being an adult is that it’s practically impossible to socialize with old friends and family. And of course good luck making new friends at this point in life. Everyone I know that would have similar interests are either busy with families or work life. I’ve lost contact with lots of friends this way. Some I haven’t heard from for a few years and then the next thing I hear is that they’re divorced and starting over. Or they got laid off from a job and they still have student loans and kids to raise. To people like this I feel kind of guilty in that I don’t have that level of drama or issues. Sometimes I feel like an outcast because I didn’t make decisions like marrying the wrong person, having kids I couldn’t afford, or taking a job that got automated or outsourced. But if miserly loves company, than wisdom is the loneliest. And I don’t even consider myself that successful or accomplished. My only real accomplishments I’ve had are avoiding major life crippling mistakes and making my peace with my life of mental illness. It’s not like I had several kids, make massive amounts of money, or have a lot of positive influence and prestige. I just managed to avoid serious screwups. But I guess there is a great deal of power in freedom in not messing up.
Been feeling quite lonely for the last few days. I’m actually craving attention from other people, especially from people with similar interests and in my age bracket. Haven’t heard from any of my old high school or college friends in weeks. Seems like many of my friends got busy with family and careers and forgot about their old friends. As far as I can tell, I am one of the only single friends in my circle of friends. Some of my friends have even gone through divorces by now. I almost never hear from my brother. But he has four kids and a serious career, so I guess we have nothing in common. And to make things even worse, we weren’t close at all growing up. We were just completely different people with nothing in common except that we had the same parents. Not having a relationship with my brother is one of the few true regrets I have about my current life that I could have done different.
Having a serious mental illness taught me that there is more to life than having a career. Unfortunately, too many people don’t realize this until they are retired and most of their life is behind them. This is probably why so many people feel depressed and useless once their careers are over, especially older men. Like most boys, I was constantly asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I usually answered something in the sciences. But the mental illness came creeping in just right before I could cash in on my brains and use them in a career. Thank God I found a small niche online as a mental health blogger/philosopher. I don’t even want to think what would have happened had I been born in my grandparents’ generation and not had this outlet. It also makes me wonder how many mentally ill geniuses were lost over the centuries because they had no outlets to use their smarts.
I wanted to be a scientist when I was a child. As it turned out I became a writer with interests in science. I developed lots of interests and hobbies over the years, but never became profecient enough to turn these interests into careers. For awhile as a child I flew model airplanes with my dad. I did quite a bit of fishing and survival training when I was in Boy Scouts. I made model cars for awhile. I collected coins and baseball cards for a few years. Still have all of my baseball cards from my youth. I taught myself some basic computer coding. That probably could have turned into a job, at least until computers can regularly code themselves. Who knows, maybe in the future the majority of people won’t have regular jobs simply because machines and programs can do them better and make many things cheaper.
While I wouldn’t mind a future like this, I do understand why some people are apprehensive about what could be coming in the next couple decades. For generations, people have identified with the work they did to live. Everybody was interested in work and a person who didn’t need or want a regular job was an outcast. I have been an outcast in this regard for the last several years in that I don’t have a regular job, and really don’t need one as I can live just on my disability pension. I no longer feel the need for a lot of money. What I want at this point is to do work that makes a difference to people, the kind of work that “puts a dent in the universe” as the late Steve Jobs used to say.
While I am not delusional enough to believe I’m sure to get famous just from blogging, I do want to make a positive difference in the lives of the people who happen to read these postings. I suppose that since my basic needs are met by my disability pension, I can now move onto meaningful work and self actualization on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Self actualized and I make poverty level (for American standard) salary, only in the early 21st century. The closet I can think that anyone else in history was to this while living at low wages is probably medieval monks and scholars. No need to be entertained with lots of money when my own mind can keep me company.
Not much has happened in the last few days. We’re bracing for a snow storm to come in over the next couple days. I’m still sleeping in my recliner as I’m still nursing my bad back. Mentally I guess I have been okay even with fighting off the occasional bouts of boredom and anxiety. I still feel kind of paranoid about people in general. Since I have pretty good hearing, I can hear everything that goes on in the hallway outside of my apartment. I don’t like unanticipated visitors as I have always been paranoid about that. I enjoy visiting people, but I can’t stand someone coming over unannounced when I am already self conscious about myself and my place. My entire life I have had a fear that I don’t measure up in anything and that nothing I do will be good enough. And since I’ve been fired from a few jobs in the past for things I didn’t know I was doing wrong and have lost friendships over people being annoyed with me being eccentric, many of my paranoias have been confirmed. At least they are confirmed in my diseased mind but probably not in anyone else’s. And since I don’t have the ability to read people very well, socializing has become a nightmare I would rather avoid.
Other than a few bad days and one really bad day, I have been doing quite well for months. I imagine part of this has to do with avoiding angry and rude people. Sure I may not have much of a social life, but at this point in my life I no longer want to deal with rude and irritable people. I suppose I have hit my limit and don’t want to deal with it anymore. This kind of scares me as I am fearful that limiting my socializing will make me jaded and mean spirited as I age. I have known irritable and mean older people my entire life. I promised myself a very long time ago I would not turn out to be an angry and bitter old man. Maybe the only way I can do this is to severely limit who I socialize with anymore. I don’t post anything to Facebook or twitter anymore besides these blog posts. I finally became burned out on all the negativity, drama, etc. I have enough problems in my mentally ill mind that I don’t need my friends and family adding to them. I don’t see many of my friends online anymore either. I suppose they became burned out too. I hope that all this negativity and anger isn’t a new normal.
I really don’t enjoy socializing with most people anymore. I don’t want to socialize with negative and rude people anymore. Yet that is what all I seem to see anymore, online and in my own community. I try to tell my friends and family about what is actually going right, but I get mostly dead silence from these people. The few that do respond usually tell me I’m a liar. Seems to me normal people love to be immersed in anger and negativity. I don’t understand people. Then again I never have. I suppose I never will. I’m just tired of all the anger and negativity. From now on I’ll keep my optimism to myself.