Dealing With Paranoia and Shame

Even though I have been feeling quite stable overall, I have very little desire to leave my apartment complex except when necessary.  I am still a little paranoid about people I meet in public.  And I am somewhat that way about people within my own complex.  It’s sad to say, but I think I have developed a phobia of people in general.  I really don’t interact with anyone in person unless necessary.  Anymore I prefer to communicate by phone or social media rather than in person.  I didn’t used to be like this.  But anymore I am paranoid and scared to venture out in public, sometimes leading me to neglecting to run errands unless absolutely vital.  Anymore when I do leave my apartment complex, it’s usually at night so I don’t have to deal with crowds or strangers.  I’m even starting to become afraid of the people in my complex.  I am scared that many people in my complex don’t like me.  I suspect some of the elderly residents don’t like younger people on disability living in here.  But I hope that’s my paranoia being in high gear and nothing more.

My illness has changed over the course of the years.  I can more easily deal with the delusional thoughts, hallucinations, and anger.  But dealing with the paranoia and problems socializing have gotten slightly worse.  Anymore I desire to be alone most of the time.  Most people I don’t want to socialize with.  And it’s often because I am afraid of them. My fear stems from not being able to read unspoken cues and body language.  I also have no concept of how to deal with office politics and the nonsense social games that many normals seem to fair well under.  I don’t understand office politics. And it has cost me several jobs over the years.  I have no desire to “man up” and go back to a regular job mainly because of office politics.  Personally, I hope that automation takes a lot of these jobs and people will have to find other ways to define themselves besides job titles and money.  I had to once it became painfully obvious that my hopes of a career were killed by my mental illness.  Adaptation is the best strategy in living rather than holding on to a past that isn’t coming back.  I’m not going to regain my ability to work a forty hour a week job and I have accepted that.  And I no longer feel shame when anyone tells me I’m making my problems up or that I’m not worthy of living because I don’t have some remedial and repetitive job that will probably be taken over by machines in not too many years.  I know what I have been thorough and have dealt with.  No one else has.  So these people can condemn all they want, but their condemnations mean nothing to me.


Just Because It’s Not Paid Work Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Valuable Work


Some of my critics will love to point out that I don’t have a “real job” and that I’m only able to stay alive because I am “leeching” off the taxpayers of my country.  To which I respond, “Let’s see you fight through a mental illness for twenty years that no one can understand and some even deny exists and then you tell me how much of a leech and a cancer on society I am.”  I have had people who I previously thought were my friends tell me I’m “wasting my life” not working some minimum wage drudgery because it’s the “useful”, “honorable”, and “manly” thing to do.  I have had former friends tell me my blogging about mental illness is “a waste of time.”  Needless to say such short sighted jerks I no longer keep in contact with.

Who gets to define what is honorable and useful to begin with?  I don’t remember getting to vote on such ideas.  By what right do now former friends get to tell me I am wasting my life and time blogging about living with a mental illness?  I can illustrate what living with a mental illness is like.  Many who are mentally ill are unable to articulate what living with it is like.  It’s a lonely existence.  It’s a turbulent existence.  It is a horrible feeling knowing I will never be able to attempt to achieve my dreams.  It is terrible knowing I will never have a family.  It sucks knowing that through no fault of my own I’m always going to be on the fringes of society.  And it scares me that I’m always going to be in poor health and probably die at a younger age than most people.  The public at large needs to know what life is like for the forgotten mentally ill people.  Many mentally ill people rotate in and out of jail because they aren’t getting the kind of treatment they need.  Many mentally ill people are homeless and not by choice.  Some, like myself, have to live on the outside of society looking in because we are not accepted by society as a whole.  It can be a very dreary and dark existence.  I don’t wish the ups and downs of mental illness on anyone, not even my worst enemies.

Why is paid drudge work considered honorable yet unpaid volunteer work, such as what I do with this blog, isn’t?  Why do I have to work as a janitor or a convenience store clerk to “earn my keep?”  As easily as we can grow food, build shelters, and harvest energy anymore, we don’t necessarily need what economists call ‘full employment.’  We don’t need several layers of bureaucracy or managers of managers or ‘inspectors of inspectors’ as Buckminister Fuller put it many years ago.

We don’t have 90 percent of our workforce on farms or factories like we did during the Industrial Revolution because we have machines and scientific processes that can grow crops and make goods far better than we could in bygone years.  I am convinced that holding on the antiquated and obsolete idea that everyone has to have a job is actually hurting us as a society and holding us back as a species.  Besides, when I was working I heard my coworkers and bosses complain and whine about how much they hated their jobs.  It seems to me that everyone enjoys complaining about how much they hate their jobs.  Hating your job, it seems to me, is more American than apple pie, the Stars and Stripes, or baseball. I never understood why normal people took pride in their misery and anger.  That doesn’t seem mentally balanced at all to me.

If there is a point to this post, it’s that maybe we as developed nations should seriously consider letting machines and automation take over as much drudgery work as possible, tax the workings of said machines and automations, and just give people a regular stipend just for being citizens of a post industrial nation.  Pretty much just free people up from the idea of having to have a repetitive and boring job just to eat and pay rent.  These boring and repetitive jobs should have been outsourced to machines and automations a long time ago.  And they will be assigned to the machines eventually.  No politician can prevent the automation revolution that is already underway.

How many kids grow up dreaming of being convenience store clerks, working at Wal Mart, or working on an assembly line?  No, kids grow up dreaming of being things like astronauts, artists, scientists, explorers, performers, etc.  It’s when we start telling these kids they need to ‘quit dreaming’ or ‘get a real job’ that they stop striving for the stars and quit fulfilling their potential. And I think that telling these kids to kill their dreams to do something just for the money is immoral and monstrous.

In closing, the next time you hear some supposedly wise grown up tell a kid or young adult that they need to get a real job or work for money, just remember that the most important job in the world doesn’t pay a dime of money to any of it’s workers.  That job is, of course, parenthood.


Midnight Rants Against Stupidity



It’s the middle of the night as I write this. I’m going off the regular path and just going to rant for this entry. I just got back home from a midnight deli run so my stomach is full and I am wide awake.  Been seeing a lot of people online and in real life complain lately.  Some people complain about how much their jobs suck.  Some people complain about their marriages or relationships.  Many people complain about politics, especially during this election year.  People are just complaining about the dumbest nonsense but not doing anything to change their situations.

I know people who have so much “stuff” in their houses they accumulated over the years they can barely move or find anything.  They acknowledge they need to get rid of some things.  But they never do.  People complain about how dumb their coworkers are, how unreasonable their customers are, and how corporate policies hinder productivity and suck the life out of them.  But do they ever consider quitting their lousy job and starting their own business?  Of course not.  People complain about their significant others but do they ever consider fixing the relationship or opting out of relationships at least temporarily.  No, not at all.  Some people are even longing for the “good old days” of yesteryear.

For those who long for the past, what parts of the past are to be yearned for?  Do you want to bring back Jim Crow laws and children working in mines and factories to go along with gas costing only ten cents a gallon and most people spending Sundays in church?  Do you think modern medicine is a mess when people die from cancer or heart disease in their sixties or seventies while ignoring that many people died from infectious diseases at much younger ages just a few generations ago?  Most marriages did last for a lifetime in the old days, but most lifetimes didn’t last that long to begin with. They never had the time to grow apart and get divorced.  Many families were mixed in the old days, not from divorce, but from parents dying at young ages.  One of my favorites is modern medications make people sick and are ineffective.  People are living longer than ever in spite higher rates of obesity, largely because of medical advances.  Good old days my foot!  The good old days sucked, especially if you were a woman, racial minority, religious minority, or a child.

As a mentally ill man who has spent many years observing nuerotypical people and the things they do much like a zoologist studying a pack of apes, I’ve come to the conclusion that normal people often act in incredibly stupid ways. What’s even more amazing is that some of these people know these are stupid actions yet keep on doing them anyway. You hate your job, then quit and try something different.  You can’t stand your significant other, drop them and maybe be single for a while.  There’s no law saying you can’t be single.  We’re not taxing bachelors or throwing them in jail.

As far as politics go, if you think your politicians are morons and sell outs to big money interests, then vote for third party unknowns who aren’t taking money from lobbyists.  Or better yet, realize that a politician isn’t going to do anything to enrich your life.  They are just along for the ride. Slavery and serfdom would have never gotten abolished if there wasn’t first grass roots sentiments that thought these needed to go.  Same goes for civil rights. They don’t act unless there is sentiment among the citizens that change is needed.  All politicians can do are pass laws and spend tax money.  Even Hitler and Stalin would have never gotten away with what they did if there weren’t those kinds of sentiments among the populace of their countries to begin with.

Simply put, politicians can’t engineer better computers or design structures that won’t fall apart in earthquakes.  Politicians can’t bring clean drinking water to rural Africa or even inner city America.  Politicians can’t build better infrastructure.  If things are to improve, it’s going to be scientists and engineers who develop better and cheaper ways of doing things.  I would love to live in a world where scientists, engineers, architects, doctors, teachers, etc. are better known than politicians and athletes.  Uber just started putting out self driving taxis this week. The Gaia satellite has identified one billion more stars in our galaxy.  We recently found a possible Earth like planet just a few light years away.  Virtual Reality tech is set to take off big any time now.   Yet all that anyone wants to talk about are athletes who won’t stand up for ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ or whatever unfulfillable campaign promises a politician made when speaking at a union hall this week.  Seriously, normal people priorities suck.  I am glad I am not normal.  After studying normal people for most of my life, I see that they are obsessed with the stupid and mundane and they are really out of touch with what is really going on in the world around them.  I never want to be normal.

Trying to Understand ‘Normal’ With Mental Illness

This is going to be an open letter from one schizophrenic man to chronically normal people at large.  Or, at least, to the handful of you who happen to read these passages.  It is not meant to be angry or ranting.  Instead, think of it as a few honest questions about why you do what you do.  As a mentally ill man, I want to try to understand you neurotypical people a little better.  Yes, much of this will be tongue and cheek.  But these are questions I have nonetheless.

Dear Mr. and Ms. Normal, If I may be honest with you, as a mentally ill man I do not understand you.  I do not understand how you think or why you act the ways you do.  I do not understand why you socialize the way you do.  I do not come even close to understanding your office politics.  I would love to have at least some insight into mysterious ways of the normal.

The way you think is somehting I don’t understand.  I consider myself relatively intelligent, at least above average.  But there are things about your thought process I don’t get.  I have a hard time understanding why you normals may know what is good for you yet don’t act on it.  It makes sense why I, as a schizophrenic, don’t always know what’s best as I have a few voices in my mind competing for my attention. These voices are often giving contradictory advice.  I have voices in my mind that don’t agree on anything that not only argue with me, but often with each other.  As far as I can tell, you neurotypicals don’t have this disadvantage.  So I can’t figure out why you don’t always act in ways that benefit you and those around you.  You don’t hold several different opinions at the same time, do you?  So what is your excuse for knowing what is good but not acting on it?  You have only one voice within your mind, right?  Or is cognitive dissonance a bigger problem with the chronic normal than with the mentally ill?  I’m hopelessly confused.  Somebody please help me 🙂

The word schizophrenia is derived from a word meaning ‘split mind.’  Not only does my mind have a hard time perceiving the difference between what others say and what they actually mean, but I also have an inability to accurately read and understand a person’s body language and voice inflection.  Body language I simply cannot read.  If someone tries to tell me something with their body language, they just as well be speaking ancient Egyptian.  I also have problems interpreting voice inflections in that my default mode of operation is to assume most people are not happy with me and are actually quite disgusted with me.  It is my experience that when my boss or any authority figure wants to talk with me one on one, they are doing it to tell me what I’m doing wrong and that I am in serious trouble.  I’ve had too many of these less than constructive criticism sessions to believe you have anything but malicious intent when you do call me onto your turf to chat.  It is never for small chit chat or for them to tell me how thrilled they are with my work.  As a result, I don’t trust authority figures of any kind.  I can only guess where they are coming from and what their motives are.

I am unable to get inside someone’s head and try to figure out what they are thinking.  Yet, I feel like my mind’s a completely open children’s picture book for all comers to pick apart and dissect.  So, please understand how paranoid this makes me feel.  I know this is just my mental illness distorted view of looking at things, but I really feel like I am at a severe disadvantage in any social situation because you chronic normals ‘know’ what I am thinking whereas I can only guess what you are thinking.  Imagine what it would be like for you to be interrogated by the police and the cops haven’t yet told you what they are accusing you of.  I feel exactly like this every time an authority figure or coworker wants to talk with me in private and they refuse to tell me what it’s about.  In short, I hate office politics.  My inability to understand the game of office politics  that you chronic normals know by heart is one of the reasons I don’t have a regular job anymore.  It may be just a game to you neurotypicals, but for most of us mentally ill it isn’t fun and games.  And it never will be because you normals are apparently born knowing these rules and we the mentally ill aren’t.

As little as I understand the games of office politics and social interaction, I don’t understand the games of dating at all.  I wasn’t born knowing these rules.  No one bothered to sit me down and explain the rules of dating.  Or maybe it was explained during one of the ten days or so I missed from school between the ages of six and eighteen.  I missed very few days during my school career, but I apparently missed some extremely important material during those days.  Why couldn’t I have missed the days of school when all we discussed was the difference between ameobas and diatoms or when we were discussing anti-trust laws in the gilded age?  I would much rather know how to tell if a woman wanted me to ask her out then who was president when the Standard Oil trust was busted up.  I really have had practically no success with dating.  And it wasn’t just getting a girl to go on a date and then she wouldn’t go on a second date.  If only it was that problem. My problem was getting a girl to say yes to even a first date.  I actually had a girl laugh at me my freshman year of college when I asked her out.  I was thinking ‘I was just asking you to hang out off campus some Friday night.  I didn’t realize it was amateur comedy night at the Apollo.’ That is just one of my stories.  I’ve been shot down by women more than the Luffwaffe got shot down by the Royal Air Force.  I knew my game stunk just from my results.  But I never got told by anyone what I was doing wrong.  Was it some knowledge that I simply wasn’t born with?  Is it my Shrek like physical appearance?  Are people intimidated by physically strong men who are quite intelligent?  I don’t know.  My disappointing failures in the dating game eventually led me to giving up entirely.  The last time I was on even a casual date, a Texan was taking up residence in the White House.  So I’m probably at a severe disadvantage in the dating game anymore I don’t even know where to start. I’m not even sure if I am meant to date, to tell you the truth.

In short, I am living the life of a mentally ill man who’s clueless in the ways of love, socializing, and office politics.  I often feel like I would be better off living as a medieval Catholic monk and I’m not even Catholic.  I already have the vows of poverty, service, and celibacy down pat.  I live those every day.  I don’t think I could do the vow of silence so well.  But I hope you now know a little better why I have problems socializing and dating with neurotypicals.  I hope this explains to you, Mr. and Ms. Normal, why we the mentally ill often seem a bit off socially.  Yours truly, your humble mentally ill correspondent.