Social Media Detox, Caffeine Detox, and Holding Onto Close Friends and Family

Mentally I’m feeling stable, at least as stable as a schizophrenic can be during a pandemic and economic depression.  I think it helps that I don’t watch the news or spend much time on social media anymore.  I have a few friends I hear from on facebook, but I no longer participate in any groups.  I may read posted articles about science and tech, but I no longer comment on them.  Too many people just looking for arguments.  And I’m burned out on it.  I no longer have the patience to deal with people I never met who wouldn’t dare act that way to someone in person.  Over the last few years, I’ve also purged close to 80 percent of my friends’ list.  So much for social media bringing people together.  At least I still hear from old friends and some family.

Been out and about a few times over the last week.  I still keep to myself mostly.  My neighbors moved out a week ago.  I’m sad they are gone.  They were the best neighbors I ever had in my entire life even going back to childhood.

I have been staying up later and waking up later the last few weeks.  I usually stay awake until midnight, wake up in the middle of the night at least once, and them am awake for good by 9 am.  I have odd dreams, but they aren’t scary.  Mostly they are about having to redo high school or college or about friends from my past.

Been cutting back on caffeine.  I’m giving up coffee.  It’s makes me too irritable.  I mostly drink just water anymore.  I rarely eat carbs.  I don’t even buy bread.  Most of the groceries I buy are frozen meat, canned vegetables, soups, etc.  I haven’t been having problems getting what I need lately.  But I still stock up on non perishables in case there are shortages again.  I fear we still have a long way to go for this pandemic and depression to be over.

Mind Health, Body Health, Placebo Effect, Expectations

I imagine this entry is some continuation of my last post.  I am absolutely convinced there is actually quite a bit of crossover between how one feels mentally and that can influence physical health and well being.  Likewise I am convinced there is a crossover in how one’s physical health and influence mental health and stability.  About the only real ‘scientific’ evidence I can truly point to support my convictions are ‘placebo’ effects.  In some medical studies where the patients, and sometimes even the primary doctors, believed that they were getting real medications but were in fact actually getting pills that actually had no real medication.  Many of the results of these tests found that the patients who received the placebo, or inert, pills often did just as well as the patients who were taking the real medications.

I will state up front, I am not a doctor.  I am by no means suggesting that anyone, mental illness or no, should go off any medications without a doctor’s supervision.  I am not qualified to treat, diagnose, etc. anyone.  I have issues even with my own problems and life. 

What I am getting at is that sometimes something, whether it be a treatment, medication, set of beliefs, set of actions, etc. works for us as individuals because we believe they were work and we want them to work.  I suppose it’s sort of like if someone thinks they do well at a job because they look and act the part, then that is true for that person.  I would even venture to say this applies to even basic human emotions, such as love and anger.  If you think you are in love, or angry, with someone, then you are.  I guess that if you think something works for you, then maybe it does for you.  Some of the wisest ideas I ever came across can be expressed by this short statement, “I think, therefore I am.”

Think about this for awhile.  If you, or someone you know, are always complaining about things that you either have or control over or won’t do anything to change, why should you expect to have any happiness at all?  I’ve heard many philosophers, gurus, experts in many fields, etc. state that what a person thinks about will come about.  That’s only part of the equation.  What is really should read is something like, “What a person thinks about and acts about will come about.”  I suppose the phrase “I think, therefore I am” should be coupled with “By their deeds you will know them.”

I didn’t really start feeling really good mentally until I, along with my writing and promise to myself that I would never stop learning, decided to improve my physical health.  Yes, reforming my previous coach potato ways were tough.  I even failed at these attempts the first few times.  Yet, I can tell you that after the first four months of getting as serious about my physical health as I am about my mental health, it is more than worth the work I’m putting into it.  Though I am not close to making my ultimate health (and weight) goal, I am far better off physically and mentally than I was even four months ago.  I personally believe the improved physical health is breathing new life into my mental health.  Likewise the renewed mental health is fueling the improving physical health.

No, I don’t have more scientific evidence that mind-body, body-mind health effect each other besides the placebo effect.  But I know in my own life, and experience, there is a connection.  I truly am convinced of this.

Inactivity, Depression, and Seasonal Components to Mental Illness

 

In this life with schizophrenia, I have had my ups and I have my downs.  Lately, actually for the last three months at least, I have been more inactive than I should be.  I haven’t been exercising every day like I should be.  Usually I go for short walks everyday and lift hand weights two to three times a week.  Haven’t been doing that as often lately.  And I can tell it’s starting to take it’s toll.  I don’t have as much energy to accomplish everyday tasks as I once did.  I also have been lacking the motivation to work on my writings,  unlike a few months ago.  In addition to these blog posts, I also write poetry, journals, and am working on a novel.  I currently have two books of poetry self published through lulu.com.  I figured if I don’t have a regular job, I need to find some way to keep myself occupied and somewhat productive.

As a result of my inactivity I can tell my physical health has suffered.  I have more aches and pains than someone in their early 30s should.  I attribute this to way too much inactivity.  I am convinced my inactivity was initially brought on by a bought of depression that was bad enough that I checked myself into a mental health hospital for four days back in September.  After I got out of the hospital I would sometimes sleep twelve to fourteen hours a day.  Some days I would sleep just out of depression, while others I would sleep out of boredom.  It became a nasty cycle.  I would sleep out of depression and I would be depressed that I was missing out on what was going on around me.  I would be too tired and or depressed to do my exercise and my socializing.  And I would be tired and depressed because I wasn’t exercising or keeping up with friends and family.

Even though I have been depressed and inactive for a long while, I feel like I’m starting to pull out of it.  Maybe it’s the change of the seasons or the hope of the upcoming new year that’s helping me out of my current depression.  Or it could be one of the phases of my individual illness.  This isn’t the first time I have gone through a period of inactivity and depression.  I went through one similar to this about six years ago, back in the fall of 2007.  

One of the positives about having had a mental illness for over half of my life is that I can recognize many of the patterns of the illness.  Not only can I recognize the triggers and know what places, types of situations, and people to avoid, I know a lot of the short term and even some of the long term patterns.  Many people with mental illness have a seasonal component that goes along, where they do worse during some periods than others.  For me, I have always done bad in late summer, usually August and early September.  For others it’s during the winter.

I always have had to remind myself during these days of depression during the last three months that I’ve been through these times before.  I’ve come through these times before.  And I will come through them again.  Better times will be ahead.

Medical Advances, Nutrition, and Mental Illness

It’s been a long while since I last posted to this blog, so an update is in order.  This post will be about medical advances and mental illness.  This is another reason for those of us with mental illness to hope that the future will be better than the present.  Many of the medications that are being used to help treat mental illnesses now didn’t even exist fifteen, twenty years ago.  

New discoveries are also being made in nutrition and how full body health effects mental health.  If you don’t get proper nutrition, the body won’t function well.  If the body doesn’t function well, the brain won’t either.  We all need to make it a point to eat healthier and more balanced, mental illness or no.  Let’s not kid ourselves, the typical American diet of highly processed foods and fast food isn’t healthy.

If you are under treatment for mental illness, always tell your doctor about all of the over the counter supplements you are taking.  Some of these, especially herbs and anything with alcohol in it, can cause serious side effects when mixed with anti-psych drugs.  Know what you are getting into.  Stay informed.  Read all of the handouts that come with your anti-psych drugs.

There are rapid advances being made in research.  These advances can and will find better treatments, perhaps sooner than we think.