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.
It is that time of year again, graduations and the end of the school year. As it’s been chillier and damper then usual this spring, it doesn’t feel like early May yet. It still feels like early April to me. This year will mark twenty years since I graduated high school and fifteen since I graduated from college. My class is having their twenty year reunion this summer. As I have a family reunion out of state during the same weekend, I won’t be able to do both. Haven’t decided which one I’m going to yet. I haven’t been to any of my class reunions besides the five year.
I guess I just don’t have much in common with some of my old classmates or people in my childhood hometown. Sure I had cool friends and enjoyed school activities like playing football and doing speech. Yet I never felt like I really fit in back during my younger days. Could have had problems with paranoia even as a child. It also didn’t help that I spent the last two years of high school with a developing mental illness and not seeking help for it. But we didn’t know back then. We didn’t have the information easily available to us twenty years ago, certainly not like now. I definately loved college, in part because I was seeking help and getting regular treatments.
I am trying to get out of the habit of offering recent graduates advice other than “stay flexible.” I don’t tell anyone what career fields to look into anymore. For beginners, we don’t know what jobs will be in demand in ten years anymore. Many people can’t afford even going to state university without going into heavy debt anymore. I’m glad I had good scholarships in college and got help from home. I graduated debt free and that has saved my hide more than once.
It’s sad that so many people have crushing debts from school before they even begin a career. I have far too many friends struggling with student debts even in their thirties. And it’s absolutely asinine and unforgivable that student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. I don’t think college is viable for most kids anymore simply because of how out of control the costs have become. An eighteen year old right out of high school would be better off doing an apprenticeship, going to trade school, or joining the military in most cases it seems. Some kids might be better off moving overseas and looking for work in East Asia or Europe anymore. A college friend of mine teaches high school in Netherlands and absolutely loves it as far as I can tell. A cousin of mine lived in Japan for three years while her husband was stationed over there in the military. It might not be such a bad idea. National borders mean less now than they did even twenty years ago.
I try not to offer advice, not because I don’t care. It’s because we no longer know what the future holds, at least not in terms of in demand careers. I blog on a regular basis yet that was in it’s early days when I was in high school and college. Youtube or social media didn’t exist when I was in high school. Amazon was just getting started in the 1990s. And of course smart phones didn’t exist and AI was nowhere near as good as it is now. Renewable energy tech like wind and solar are becoming more affordable and in many cases now competitive with old style fossil fuels. That wasn’t the case even fifteen years ago. While many older jobs are definitely going away or getting drastically reduced, there are likely going to be others taking their place. What if instead of economic Armageddon we were actually heading for one of the biggest industrial and economic booms in history? What if instead of ecological collapse we solved the problems of air and water pollution? We have people working on those problems, and many others as I write this. I once read that in America during the Great Depression of the 1930s, more self made millionaires were made in that decade than in any other before that. Yet we often think it was a hellish time. For many people, it was. Yet for others, it was a time of opportunity as well.
It seems to me that during times of distress and upheaval (like we are living now) there are also opportunities as well. I may be mentally ill, but I also have an outlet to talk about it and hopefully offer help others that I didn’t have in my younger years. I have pretty decent treatments when had I grown up in my grandmother’s generation I would have spent the rest of my life in an institution or prison. Sure I have gained a lot of weight over the course of this illness and my physical health has declined, yet I still have a sharp mind and am stable in spite the illness. Overall I’m pretty happy. Maybe not all the time, but then no one is continually blissful at all times anymore than people are always physically healthy. I doubt I would have ever become a blogger if I didn’t become mentally ill.
With it being a Friday, I am reminded of posts by friends of how much they love weekends and how much they hate their jobs. Maybe I got lucky by having a severe mental illness and being on disability. Perhaps I did, especially with how much I read about how people hate their jobs and their spouses. I also probably got lucky in that becoming disabled made me not marriage material. Yet, as it were, losing everything civilization told me to value made me fearless and optimistic. Once you lose everything, you are free to do anything it seems.
Been uneventful for a few days. I’m no longer staying awake all night and sleeping most of the day. Most of my waking time anymore is during daylight hours. Mentally I feel stable. I am starting to get a few more aches and pains I can’t really explain. But I have been more active than usual. I’m reading more books again. For awhile most of what I was reading was online articles and audio books. I’m currently reading ‘The Inevitable’ by Kevin Kelly. It’s a future tech trends book.
I watch more live tv now, mostly baseball and soccer. I still don’t watch most news as most of it is just bad news meant to catch our attention. All the news that fit to be print, right? I don’t have any regular shows I watch besides some Star Trek reruns on Netflix. I do watch a lot of history shows on youtube. I recently watched Crash Course’s entire world history series. I always did get a kick out of John Green.
While I do get out more often, I still don’t stray too far from my neighborhood. Haven’t really been outside of my hometown for almost six weeks. But I am just comfortable and content to stay close to home and did most of my business here.
I think I’m losing weight again. I notice my clothes fit looser and I can walk a little farther than I could even a few weeks ago. I think my aches and pains are from more physical activity than usual. I can also lift more weight than usual. Weight lifting does make a difference even after a month.
Been kind of depressed and irritable for the last several days. Haven’t been sleeping well either. About the only thing going really well for me is my renewed diet. I am eating less than I normally do and getting more activity. I get my activity in the afternoons even though I’m in the habit of sleeping until noon again.
I also no longer want to socialize. And this time I don’t feel guilty for it. I am tired of people who are in foul and angry moods trying to drag me down into their own mindlessness and petty vendettas. Unfortunately, anymore, if it weren’t for negativity and fighting, there would be few conversations and certainly no social media. I hate how I just can’t have a civilized conversation with even people I partly agree with anymore. And good luck trying to talk to anyone who doesn’t view the world the same way you do. I’m beginning to think that many people have mental health problems just because of the way we treat each other and the stress of modern living. Granted, a person doesn’t have to be chronic like those of us on disability to have problems. I have had a mental illness for almost twenty years now. And only recently are people starting to talk about the effects of stress, anxiety, and chronic mental illnesses. For the first several years of my diagnosis I didn’t talk about my mental health to anybody. And I think I lost several good friendships because my friends didn’t understand that my depression and anger were nothing personal, they were manifestations of the sickness.
For the first several years of my illness I just didn’t talk about it, not even to friends or employers. Back in those days mental illness was shrouded in more mystery and ridicule than even now. I have no idea how many times I was told to ‘suck it up’ or ‘man up’ in those early years. ‘Man up’. Now there is a stupid phrase I can’t figure out. What does it even mean? Is there really only one type of manliness? And why is it the only type of virtues in a man we appreciate are those that involve the John Wayne frontier mentality that violence is the only way to solve all problems? I think this is stupid, very stupid. A mentality like that will make our species extinct. And quite honestly, I enjoy living too much to sit idle while this type of barbarian behavior is honored and encouraged. I would rather not go back to the Stone Age. I hated all the ‘Mad Max’ movies and I definately don’t want to experience them in real life.
Another thing, we don’t females to ‘woman up’ and we don’t tell senior citizens to ‘young down’ nor do we tell terminally ill people to ‘hurry up and die.’ It’s little things that normal people just take for granted that I don’t understand and that I often see the dumbness and hypocracy in. But most people seem pretty cool with dumb things and hypocracy anyway, at least when it comes from sources they like. Unfortunately I never understood this line of thinking. It’s probably why I have problems socializing with the public at large. And of course having a chronic mental illness that people are still ignorant about doesn’t help either.
In closing, as a thought experiment, I was wondering what would happen if someone (or a group of individuals) just went about their daily lives being as rude and condescending to physical people as we are to people in our online interactions. I would love to see some psychiatrist conduct this experiment. I think the results would be either very interesting or very disturbing.
Things are starting to return to normal for me. Got my lease renewed, so I get to stay for another year. The weather is turning warmer and things are really greening up outside. Spring was slow in getting started but it is certainly here.
And yet my sleep patterns are changing once again. I’m back to wanting to sleep much of the day now. I still fight it as I don’t sleep as much as I did during the winter. But I feel tired more often now and I just want to spend as much time asleep as possible. I’m still fighting against it by forcing myself to stay awake. I have found myself falling asleep in front of my computer a couple times as a result. Maybe I just wasn’t getting quality sleep for the last few weeks when I was sleeping only 6 hours a night. I do know that getting good sleep can make my mental illness problems less severe. Maybe I should just sleep as much as I can for the next few days as kind of a reset. I traditionally have problems with depression, anxiety, and irritability from July until September. My best and most stable months are usually January to June. I just don’t do well mentally in hot weather.
Been forcing myself out of my comfort zones more the last few days. I’ve been leaving my apartment more often and forcing myself to socialize. Ran many errands I had been neglecting during the winter. Getting stocked up on house supplies and cleaning agents so I can do my spring cleaning more properly. Going to get that started in a few days. After a few warmer than usual days we are back into winter. While I knew this was going to happen, I’m still a little disappointed in myself for not taking more advantage of the warmer weekend. But in terms of supplies and things I’ve been putting off for the last few weeks I’m pretty much caught up.
Been feeling a little less at ease as I’ve been forcing myself to expand my horizons. That’s probably why I’m a little more irritable than usual. That and I’m attempting to readjust my sleep patterns so I don’t sleep all day while being awake all night. I could tell this routine was starting to take a toll on me. I don’t understand how people who work night shifts for years do it without losing their sanity. I used to work night shifts at a factory. While the work was simple enough and the pay good, I just couldn’t adapt to sleeping all day and working all night five nights a week. After several weeks my work started to suffer and I had to leave the job once my request for a different shift was denied. I could tell a breakdown was coming if I stayed there.
While I’ve been socializing more I have found I really haven’t lost my social skills in spite spending weeks essentially alone. I still prefer to spend most of my time alone, but sometimes things like this come and go in phases. Sometimes I’ll want to sleep all the time and sometimes I won’t want to sleep at all. Sometimes I’ll want to socialize every day and sometimes I’ll want to go entire days where I talk to no one. But at least at this point in my life with mental illness I can recognize this and plan accordingly.