Staying Calm With A Mental Illness


For a few weeks now I have been feeling quite decent and not having any flare ups of my schizophrenia.  I had some minor flare up this afternoon.  I’m not sure what caused it but fortunately I remained calm and quiet and just let the feeling pass.  Traditionally during flare ups I call my family and just yell incoherent nonsense to them until I calm down, usually taking an hour or two.  Fortunately this time I kept calm and kept quiet.  I stayed in the apartment, turned off the tv and social media, put on a computer game, and kept myself distracted.  After about a half hour of this I calmed down I went to a fast food restaurant near my place and ordered a large dinner.  I brought it back to my apartment, ate quite well and drank lots of water. Oddly eating a protein rich meal can often make me more calm.  I haven’t been eating as much as I normally do as I’m trying to get that back under control.  For a week I had been eating protein only one meal per day.  I broke out of that today.  High protein foods like steaks and hamburgers have a calming effect on me, though I’m sure they’re not good when you’re trying to drop weight.  I am convinced I’d never make it as a vegetarian.

I’m glad that I was able to find another route to ward off my flare ups.  I’m glad that I was able to break out of past routines.  I’m sure me yelling incoherencies to my family isn’t easy for them.  My parents will be gone someday, probably sooner than I would like.  While it might be true that problems associated with schizophrenia lessen with age, I do know I can’t yell at random friends and therapists and hope to stay out of a mental hospital or even jail.  Perhaps my mental illness problems are starting to lessen.  I know that my interest in dating is far, far less than it was even five years ago.  I have heard that many men in their mid thirties start losing interest in sex and find more interest in their work or life’s calling. I’m also not as quick tempered as I was five to ten years ago.  I have also noticed that I can better deal with the minor annoyances and irritations of every day living than I could even a few years ago.  The flare ups I have had even going back to last Christmas weren’t as bad or frequent as the flare ups I was having in college.  Perhaps it is that as I age I am learning what will make things worse and just make points of avoiding those things.  Maybe this instance of just isolating and keeping myself distracted with as little noise as possible until I calm down is another tool in my toolbox.  And maybe I should think about eating fewer carbs than I have been the last few weeks.  But I am definitely glad I was able to prevent a flare up from becoming a full breakdown.


Arguing and My Schizophrenic Mind



I personally hate arguing with others, listening to arguments, and even reading an online forum argument. I hate these as much as I have ever hated anything in my entire life.  I never could understand people who feel a need to yell, curse, and scream at others.  It is one of those things that simply overwhelms my already massively overstimulated and sometimes way too anxious and paranoid mind.  There are times it is so bad, for me anyway, that it literally triggers the ages old ‘fight or flight’ instincts.  There were times early in the course of my illness, I would just either walk out on someone trying to argue with me or tell them off so bad and so personally it ruined any chance I ever had with being friends with those people.  And it wasn’t because I was trying to prove a point or win the argument, it was because I was so mentally overwhelmed (not only with the argument itself but also with my paranoias and the auditory hallucinations that were arguing with me as well) that walking out and telling off this person was what stopped me from physically assaulting these individuals.  

Some, especially among the chronically normal, may think this is a terrible way to live, having to avoid arguments or overly strong emotions for your own mental health’s sake.  For me it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  It has kept me out of a lot of trouble even though some accuse me of being weak, stupid, and refusing to stand up for what I believe in.  Yet I believe, I’ve always believed, that there are far more types of strength than the getting in someone’s face or looking for fights routine.  The quiet strength and confidence that refuses to boast, the kind that people like Ghandi, Jesus, Buddha, Einstein,Newton, along with many of history’s greatest heroes doesn’t seem to be valued in the modern world. And I guess I don’t understand people well enough to know why.

To listen to any kind of debate, whether it’s politics or religion or science or anything else is far from my idea of having a good time.  It is actually torture for me to listen to most news programs where there are two people trying to be heard as well as fight it out with each other.  And I certainly cannot stand to read any kind of online arguments, especially if it’s a hot button topic like politics, religion, economics, or even college football fan forums.  I definitely have my beliefs about all these things and think I can contribute to a rational discussion, but I flat out refuse to be in any kind of arguments about them.  With my schizophrenic mind, which desperately craves reason, order, and mutual respect, being part of any of this will quickly upset the stability of mind I’ve worked a long time to attain. 

As far as interpersonal conflict goes with friends and family, I attempt to avoid this as much as possible too.  I have had friends that I have known for over thirteen years that I have literally never had a shouting match with.  I know that sounds like a crock to most people but it’s true.  We have our disagreements, to be sure, but we also know when not to press the issues.  I’d much rather thought to be wrong then to kill a friendship.  Because I get so overwhelmed during an argument, I haven’t dated in almost eight years. I will never date again or even consider the possibility of marriage.  It’s not that I’m not interested in love or romance, it’s just that it’s not worth all the arguments, up and down emotions, and questioning where I stand with a significant other (due to my natural paranoia).  At least for myself it isn’t worth it.

I simply cannot stand to be in an argument, especially a heated or emotionally charged one.  This is due to the sensory overload, anxiousness, paranoia, and even auditory hallucinations that come with schizophrenia.  It isn’t that I’m devoid of beliefs, convictions, and emotions. Far from it.  I feel strongly about my convictions.  I have my beliefs.  I definitely have my emotions, especially when I don’t show them or I keep silent.