Returning to Normal Routines

After several days of colder than average weather, it finally warmed up a little today.  At least it warmed enough for me to run some errands.  It feels good to be able to leave my apartment again without worrying about frostbite.  I had spent several days staying at home, watching college football, playing computer games, but doing little of anything else.  I need to get back into some regular routines.  To that end I started lifting weights again today.  I had been lazy about lifting this summer and fall.  I had been quite lazy about exercise ever since I hurt my back.  Sadly I gained back the weight I had lost a few years ago.  I’m starting over in this regard.  I know I can lose the weight again, it’s just a matter of doing so.

Still not sleeping as much as I used to.  Which is alright with me as I used to sleep twelve hours a day during the summer.  Now I’m getting like six hours a sleep every night.  Yet I still feel quite rested.  And I usually try to take an hour nap in the afternoon.  Even with my reduced sleep, I rarely stay up all night now.  Used to be I stayed up all night three nights per week and then sleep in the mornings.  My sleep is returning to more normal patterns.

Been spending a little more time on social media the last few days, mainly to find out about people’s holidays’ plans.  I don’t know if I’ll be back on facebook and twitter more from now on.  It seems to me that many of my friends have just gotten burnt out on all the drama and fighting that has been so prevalent for the last few years.  I wound up unfollowing many people because of the drama, including family members.  So much for making people more connected.  I think the older I get, the less use I have for drama and nonsense and the more uses I have for logic and intelligence.

Now that the weather is starting to break out of the cold spell and the holidays are over, I am at a crossroads.  I realize I now have more freedom than I used to.  During the holidays I avoid the stores because of the crowds and loud Christmas music and too bright displays.  I’m also at a loss now that I won’t have much going on until spring.  January through April has always been a slow but stable time of year for me.  Mentally I am usually my most stable during the winters.  And I usually get a lot of reading and writing done during the colder parts of year.  I admit I love to read for my own enlightenment more than I do my entertainment.  I consider learning entertainment.  I know I am weird in that regard.  But learning new things gives me joy, I don’t care if being an intellectual makes me a social outcast.

Since the holidays are now over, I can get back to some resemblance of normal routines. I plan on doing many audiobooks on youtube this winter.  I’m thinking about using my Khan Academy account to learn some subjects I wish I had taken when in school.  And I plan on doing more outside my apartment so I can have more material to write about.  Overall I plan on making 2018 an excellent year.


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.


Stretch Run To The Holidays

It’s been colder than normal December, especially the last several days.  So I’ve pretty much stayed home, caught up on my reading, watched some videos on youtube, and played some computer games.  I’ve even eaten less these last several days but did rediscover my caffeine habit through coffee and diet soda pop.

Mentally I have felt surprisingly stable in spite not being able to get out of my apartment complex.  We haven’t had the bad snow that many places have but it’s just been so cold.  I’m pretty much content to curl up under a blanket and read most evenings.  But I haven’t had problems with anxiety, depression, or hallucinations for a long time.  I think it helps that I have made it a point to avoid the mall and Wal Mart this Christmas season.  I just don’t like crowds, bright lights, and loud music even on a good day.  I can’t imagine how tough sensory overload is for autistics during the holidays.

In spite the cold I still keep in contact with friends and family.  I’m calling someone at least once a day and I drop into Facebook a few times a day to check on friends and family.  I have been on Facebook more since the end of the election.  I’m so glad that people have more or less settled down from that madness.  It was actually quite unbearable for awhile knowing that every time I logged onto Facebook I was going to get a sermon from my friends about how the Republicans or Democrats were going to be the death of us all.  I just got so sick of hearing about it that I let many of my social connections go by the wayside.  I’m only now beginning to socialize again.

Christmas will be here soon.  I’m looking forward to the return to normal.  2016 has been anything but normal for me. Spent the first part of the year in chiropractic treatment.  Got burned out not the election even before the end of spring.  Spent the entire summer out of commission with a bad back.  Spent eh fall depressed and angry about how irritable and angry my friends were about the election.  And now I’m dealing with the stretch run for the end of the holidays.  My life has been unsettled since my car accident last October.  I’m just ready for things to settle down again.  I’m sick of all the needless drama and upheaval.

Adapting To The Holidays

Aurora lights up sky over log cabin
Alaska. The Aurora Borealis lights up the northern sky with a log cabin in winter. PR

The weather is turning colder and the days are really short now.  As a result I haven’t been leaving my apartment complex much the last several days.  And I don’t feel guilty at all about it.  I never did well around the crowds of shoppers during the holidays.  I just don’t like fighting crowds and waiting in long lines just so I can buy a few items.  I think one of these days I’m going to do most of my shopping online and see if I can just get things delivered to my door.

As a result of my quasi hibernation for the last week and a half, I am spending more time reading.  I have plenty of books I bought months ago that I’m only now getting into.  I have found that I am eating much less too.  Most days anymore I eat two meals a day and that’s really about it.  I also rarely drink coffee and I used to have a solid four to six cup a day habit.  When I do drink soda pop it’s mostly diet anymore and only with meals.  I find that in spite the longer nights I’m staying up later and waking up later.  I usually experience only a few hours of sunlight a day.  It doesn’t really bother me.  I really don’t like getting out and fighting traffic and crowds during Christmas.

Christmas really doesn’t mean that much to me as I don’t have kids.  I rarely go to Christmas programs and I haven’t decorated for years.  I just usually go spend a couple days at my parents’ place and that’s about it anymore.  My brother and his kids have  their own traditions so they rarely come to Nebraska for the holiday.  But Christmas really hasn’t meant much to me other than a few days of vacation and weeks of faux cheery music, too many lights, and too many bells.  Now I do like a few Christmas movies like ‘A Christmas Story’ and ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’  I can’t imagine how tough Christmas is for autistic children who have problems with sensory overload problems.  It’s tough for me as an adult with schizophrenia who can voluntarily withdraw when needed.

I really don’t send out Christmas cards as I keep in regular contact with most of my old friends via Facebook.  I won’t go to the complex Christmas party again this year.  Seems like most people have been in a more foul mood than usual this year.  And I just don’t want to experience that during the holidays.  Sure it’s tough essentially spending the holidays in self imposed exile because of sensory overload and fear of crowds.  But I just don’t see any other options.  2016 has been a more rough than usual year and I’m sure the holidays this year will be worse than normal.  I’m just ready for things to go back to some sense of normal.  I haven’t experienced normal and prolonged periods of calm for a long time.

Easing Back Into Normal

Started spending a little more time on Facebook and talking with friends the last couple days.  I’m also starting to get out of my apartment more often.  There would be times in the last several weeks when I would leave my apartment only to get something to eat.  I’m cooking more of my meals now.  For a couple weeks I had fallen out of the habit of cooking and got quite lazy about my diet.  I’ve probably gained some weight over the last few weeks   so I’m going to address that.  Hopefully I can get back to eating less and making most of my own meals  and get used to that before the weather gets real cold.

I still haven’t gotten out of my hometown much these last several weeks.  I’ll probably go to my parents’ house within a week or two because my cousin is coming back to Nebraska for a couple weeks with her baby.  Her husband is career Navy so they have to live on the coast.  I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I would like.  I’m also going to my aunt’s place for Thanksgiving at the end of next month.

I’ve also been lazy about exercising and dieting the last several weeks.  No doubt I’ve gained weight.  I haven’t gotten much physical activity so I’m starting to get more unexplainable aches and pains.  I’m slowly easing back into activity.  I’m spending a little more time outdoors too.  It’s been nicer weather than typical late October so I’m enjoying this more.

Slowly I’m easing myself back into more normal routines.  Not much has been normal for me for months.  Between being in a car accident, spending the winter in chiropractic therapy, spending the summer with a bad back, and then spending the fall depressed and discouraged with how irritable people are over the election, I’m ready for some quiet and normal.

Finally, Some Normalcy!

Since the holidays have come and gone, things are starting to slow down and return to normal.  At least, things are as normal and quiet as a life with mental illness is going to get.  Haven’t felt anxious or irritable for a few days.  Things are more quiet then they’ve been in months.

Went to the Wal-Mart yesterday for the first time since early November.  I have avoided large box stores and the mall during the year end holidays for a few years.  I buy from local stores to avoid the crowds.  I worked as a retail clerk during the Christmas rush about a dozen years ago.  It gave me a renewed appreciation for retail workers and anyone who works in customer service. I didn’t deal with some of the horrors that minimum wage service employees in many places but I still have a few stories.  Anyone who has worked in retail or low wage service jobs has stories.  I think someone could have a decent book or blog idea if they’d go undercover and work as a retail store clerk or fast food worker for a couple years and take notes everyday.  It might even open some eyes much the same way Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ did about conditions in meat packing plants.

As out of the ordinary as holidays have been in the past, I’m always glad for a return to normalcy.  Quiet and normal routines are good for those of us with mental illness.  Been back on my diet and exercise routines for a week.  My back is feeling good as new after two full months of chiropractic treatments.  I have only three more full treatments left.  I’m back to doing arm weights again.

Been reading more too.  Currently working through two print books and one audiobook on youtube.  And I ordered three more books through amazon with Christmas gift cards.  Should keep me occupied book wise for the rest of winter.  I never really could get into fiction books, unless it was a classic or historical fiction work.  I can’t even write good fiction or suspense.  When I was in grade school, our teacher wanted us to write some kind of ghost story for Halloween.  Mine was more comedy than drama.  I don’t read fantasy.  I wasn’t into C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, or even Dr. Seuss as a kid.  I was into science and history books but not real heavy into science fiction.  I have read some old Jules Verne, a little Isaac Asimov, and recently some Corey Doctorow audio books and stories.  I have always found what really happened more interesting than fantasy.

Since I can’t spend as much time outdoors now that it’s winter, I’ve been messing with computer games more. Unlike books, I do like fantasy video games like Skyrim and the Final Fantasy series.  But my favorite video and computer games are Sim City, Railroad Tycoon, and Civilization. So I suppose even in my mindless entertainment I still like brain builder and strategy games.

My life is starting to return to some resemblance of normal.  After months of stressors and setbacks the normalcy is much appreciated.

A Sense of Calm During the Holidays

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a sense of calm and normal.  But things are finally starting to settle and slow down.  I’m progressing enough in my chiropractic therapy I go in only twice a week.  My EoE is being treated and I’ve altered my diet to account for many possible food allergies.  So my stomach feels better and I’m not as easily irritable as I was earlier this fall.

After a couple hectic and stressful days last week, things started calming down yesterday.  I made no attempt to fight the mobs on Black Friday.  Instead I stayed home, watched football, listened to audiobooks on youtube, and drank a few cups of black tea.  Found that black tea is easier on my stomach and gives me just enough caffeine to keep sharp for those late night research sessions.  I’ll probably switch over entirely this winter.

My back isn’t hurting anymore.  Even the tail bone injury I had years ago in high school has cleared up.  I always thought it was one of those things I was doomed to live with.  Too bad I didn’t get it worked on shortly after it happened.  But chiropractic treatments were even less mainstream then now.

Now I have my car back and it looks as if the accident never happened.  I have also more or less begun my winter routines.  We’ve already had a couple light snows.  Found my car handles well on ice.  That was one of my concerns going into the first winter with a different car.  But this car is low enough miles it should last me at least ten to twelve years.

I’ve now come to the acceptance part of my grandmother’s death.  I was more easily irritated and depressed for probably three months, which I think was part of my grieving process.  But she was a positive influence on my life for years.  And I was talking to her right until she had a major stroke about ten days before she died.  She was mentally sharp at her birthday party in June but she wasn’t very mobile because of physical health problems.  It has to be tough being mentally sharp but feeling your body fall apart.  It was bad enough for myself knowing my ability to process stress and social situations because of my schizophrenia while my cognitive ability remained relatively changed.  Being in a car accident didn’t help with the irritability and short temperedness.

I’ve also come to the acceptance that, barring some miracle of future science and medicine, I’m not going to ever be able to handle any kind of job where I can use my natural intellect.  Coming to this acceptance has only happened recently and it was by far the toughest aspect of my life I had to accept.  I grew up believing that if one found their niche and developed that niche, then good things would happen.  Found out at a very early age I had some unusual intelligence.  I also learned I had almost no bodily coordination and hated athletics.  So I never had any dreams of playing pro football.  I wasn’t very good with my hands but was excellent with ideas and scientific concepts.  I decided I wanted to be a scientist even before I started kindergarten.  Unfortunately that dream didn’t come true.  After gutting through almost two years of biology and chemistry classes while fighting a mental illness, it became painfully obvious that I wouldn’t get to pursue the dream any more.

The worst part of coming to this acceptance was knowing that I did everything right in life and I still would never use my ability.  I didn’t drink, I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t have sex, let alone date much, etc.  I spent most of my weekends and evenings studying for my classes while many of my classmates were out partying and screwing around.  And I was well on my way of making something positive out of myself.  But it never happened because of schizophrenia.  It took pretty much everything from me.  And it even messes with your mind, unlike most physical diseases.  Well schizophrenia is the result of brain issues.  It was rough seeing everything I worked for gradually destroyed piece meal.  For a long time I tried to figure out what I did wrong.  Once I came to the conclusion I did nothing wrong, I blamed others for the illness happening.  Once I got past that and accepted it was what it was, I have settled in for the long haul.  Now I’m trying to keep even keel and make the best of a lousy situation.