Summers and Mental Illness

We are now a couple weeks into summer.  I can notice already that the days are a little shorter than they were a few weeks ago.  I got a new air conditioner as my previous unit broke down.  It was the original unit from when my complex was built.  So I don’t have to rely on fans and cold baths anymore.

Summers are traditionally a rough time for me, especially July and August.  So far I feel stable and calm.  I haven’t had problems with depression or paranoia since I changed my medications.  And I even sleep less than I did during the winter and spring.  I still don’t socialize much outside of phone calls and internet.  But I have been enjoying the summer anyway.  I still play a lot of computer games.  I’m also listening to a lot of audiobooks on youtube.  I’m currently working on the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov.  I usually play Civilization or Medieval Total War on my PC while listening to audiobooks on my Mac.

I have beens staying up later the last several nights.  But I am still getting eight hours of sleep a night.  I still sleep in until late mornings.  I just stay up later and sleep less.  I like staying up late as I have been a night person as long as I can remember.

 

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Postive Changes, Independence Day, and Diet Changes

After two weeks of a medication change, I’m beginning to notice differences already.  Normally with psych medication, it’ll take a month at least to see any real effects.  I’ve noticed that I’m sleeping less, I’m listening to more audiobooks, I’m less quick to anger and anxiety, I’m less depressed, I’m a little more active, and I think I’m eating less.  For months I would eat two really large protein rich meals a day.  I’m now eating three smaller meals per day.  I’m also taking probiotics and multivitamins.  I’m noticing fewer unexplainable aches and pains.  I still sleep in my recliner because I’m just used to it now.  My father slept in his recliner for years because of back problems.

I don’t have any plans for Independence Day at the moment.  But I’ll probably stay near my apartment and watch the night fireworks from my apartment window.  I’m probably going to keep my windows closed and my fans running during the days to block out the sounds of firecrackers.  I no longer like the booming fireworks or the ones that sound like gunfire.  There are a few Vietnam war veterans living in my complex who do the same things to try to block out the fireworks that sound too much like gunfire.  My father is a Vietnam veteran himself and he tries to avoid loud fireworks too.  I feel bad for these guys being spooked by fireworks that remind them too much of war.  I imagine there are many people of my generation and younger now coming back from the Middle East who are starting to feel the same way too.  It’s sad that in celebration of my nation’s beginnings that we often stress the ones who were in the military in the process.

I’m thinking about grilling some steaks on my electric grill that day too.  I’ve gotten to where I dine out only once a week.  I’m a decent cook and have come to the point where I prefer my own cooking over fast food.  But it’s not like I can afford to eat in restaurants every day anyway.  But I am eating my own cooking more and I think I feel better because of it.  At least my diet now is a little more balanced.  I still eat a lot of grilled meats, but I’ve also added some more vegetables and far more water.

I feel quite decent overall.  I hope that by changing my medication routine that I am able to avoid the summer problems I have had in the past.  August is usually the roughest time of year for me.  But after twenty years of mental illness, I have figured out what to avoid and what to look for.  I hope this summer goes better than previous summers.  So far it is.

Starting New Routines

A few days ago my family came to visit me.  We spent the day cleaning my apartment.  Once that was done I went to see my psych doctor.  We decided to add a third medication and I’m supposed to see him again in two weeks.

Other routines that have changed is I’m waking up earlier and not staying awake all night like I used to.  Since I’ve been having pains in my lower back again I’ve been sleeping in my recliner more.  I still spend the bulk of my days in my apartment and alone.  I still don’t want to leave my place very often.  Even though I’m sleeping less I find myself wanting to sleep at the oddest times.  I want to sleep but fortunately I can’t fall asleep whenever I want.

I’m still keeping in contact with old friends and family.  At least that hasn’t fallen apart.  But other than that I still don’t socialize much.  I guess I’m only now starting to realize how far I have declined in the last year and a half.

No News Is Sometime Good News

It’s been rather uneventful for the last few days in my life with mental illness.  I really haven’t had any mental health issues.  Been feeling pretty quiet and content for at least a week.  After four weeks of medications changes I am now to where I can feel anger without fear of going psychotic.  Haven’t been able to exercise much because we’ve had lots of rain and chilly weather.  But in spite of not being able to exercise I have been feeling well.  I do feel a little cooped up as I haven’t been able to get out and about much, just because of the rain.  But the forecast looks hopeful.  Maybe I can get back outside exercising every day again soon.  May and June have always been my best months mentally.  April was decent considering I was undergoing a medication change.  I see my psych doctor again at the end of May to see what future medication changes are needed.  So far things are looking uneventful but hopeful.  I’ll keep you posted.

Changes

It’s been one week since I started the medications change.  I’m noticing big differences already.  For one, I make it a point to leave my apartment multiple times a day whereas I may have left only once or twice a day if at all.  Not only am I getting out more, I actually want to get out more.  Driving doesn’t cause me as much agitation now, so it’s easier to get across town.  Been to the park most days this last week.

I am more motivated and less lazy too it seems.  Finally shaved my winter beard.  I looked more like a mad prophet than a mountaineer with my growth.  I never looked good with beards.  I rearranged my apartment.  I even find myself watching baseball every night, especially since the season started a few days ago.  I used to go weeks without watching regular tv as I thought it was mind numbing and soul killing.  I still think most tv is mind numbingly stupid but I no longer swear off it entirely.

The only real negative I have seen is that I do get hungry more frequently.  Used to be I could eat a large breakfast, a small afternoon snack, and a decent dinner and that is all I would need for the day.  Now I have eat smaller meals every five hours it seems.  I’ve also developed a bad craving for sugary food.  This may make my weight loss tougher but then I have always been a naturally very large person.  I was one of these heavy kids in high school and college who had a lot of muscle in addition to being a little fat, so I looked a lot better than my measurements would have indicated.  I have had female friends for years tell me I was handsome despite how big I am.  I never put much stock in it until I hit my thirties because, really, how many teenagers and twenty somethings are satisfied with their looks even on a good day?  I guess my sugar cravings have replaced my cravings for caffeine.  I have drank maybe three cups of coffee in the last week.  I used to drink that many before noon most days.  I don’t have problems with blood pressure or cholesterol, at least not enough to be on medications.  But maybe my decreased want of caffeine will lower my blood pressure and reduce my anxiety level.

It has been an eye opening first week of a medication change.  I normally don’t experience this many changes this soon when switching medications.  But I hope the positive changes keep coming and the negative ones can be compensated for.

Changing Meds and Other Changes

I started the process of changing to new medications a few days ago.  And I’m noticing some changes already.  I have found I actually need a little less sleep now.  Used to be I got 8 hours a night like clock work, now I need only 6 to 7 hours.  I have even been making a point to get out of my complex more.  Went to the park for an hour and chatted with a bunch of neighbors on Saturday.  Found out three tenants are moving out within a month. One of those tenants was the grumpiest and angriest man I ever met in my entire life.  I mentioned him in a previous blog.  He’s one of these old guys who doesn’t believe in mental illness.  He believed that people like me were just making these problems up because we “are lazy and don’t want to do any real work.”  I hate people like that.  Guys like that are petty people and just have to make everyone else miserable.  Needless to say I won’t miss this ornery old man.  His impending departure was the happiest news I have heard in weeks.

Got out quite a bit today.  It was quite warm here today, more like late spring than early spring.  Currently have a baseball game on in the back ground.  I enjoy watching baseball.  It is more relaxing than football, that’s why I enjoy it more.  I’ve been out more the last few days than the previous two weeks.  In addition to wanting to get out and about more I’ve been wanting to socialize more.  I actually felt lonely today for the first time in months.  I previously haven’t minded the solitude and have actually wanted it.  But now I’m starting to actually want to socialize.

I’ve been listening to more music too.  Found out I like some of the newer dance, techno, and dubstep music.  Normally an older guy like myself would like only music they grew up with.  But I have never cared about when music was made.  Good music is good music, I don’t care if it’s Mozart, Louis Armstrong, old Delta Blues, John Lennon, hard rock, hip hop, or techno.  I never did like these old guys who always complained about the “lousy kids.”  So I vowed at age thirteen that when I became an old guy myself, I’d go easier on the kids than my elders did.  Been watching a little more tv too.  I’ve been watching ‘Marco Polo’ on Netflix.  If you are turned off by violent shows, I don’t recommend it.  But it is a cool show about how different cultures interact with each other.  Another series with similar themes I’ve been rematching is ‘Hell on Wheels’, which is about the building of the first transcontinental railroad in America immediately after the Civil War.  I still watch ‘Star Trek’ every so often.  But with wanting to socialize outside my apartment more, I may be finding myself with less down time.  And that would definitely be a change.