Haven’t written for a few days. I’m only now recovered from the holidays. I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it’s 2020. I am understanding why my grandmother said that time only goes faster the older you get. I’m going to be 40 this summer. Mentally I don’t feel any decline. If anything, I feel mentally sharper and stronger than ever. Physically, my body can no longer keep up with my mind. It’s been this way for a couple years now. I would love to be able to road trip and visit friends in person and go to concerts and ballgames at a moment’s notice like I did in my late 20s and early 30s. But the body can no longer keep up. I don’t know how much of it is aging, how much of it is the toll of two decades fighting a severe mental illness, how much of it is being overweight, etc. At this point I guess it doesn’t matter either way. I am pretty much content to stay home, chat with my old friends online, read my books, mess with my computers, and watch the events of our time and place unfold from my apartment.
Found out right before Christmas one of my college classmates died. He was only 40. He worked at a mental health hospital and was a compassionate man. I hadn’t talked to him much since graduation. I’m glad we found each other on facebook and were able to reestablish contact shortly before he died. And then just yesterday I found out another college friend’s cancer has come back. This time it’s terminal. The doctors told her she has two to five years at most. Starting to lose my own friends now.
Seeing most of my friends struggle financially has taken a toll on me. And now that most of them are in declining physical and mental health and even starting to die is making this only worse. It has gotten me to think about my own mortality far more than ever. At my last doctor’s appointment, I was relieved to find I was not diabetic. The only real problem they found was high blood pressure. I no longer have much for stamina. That’s one of the reasons I stay home so much. Going out in public is now enough of an ordeal that I no longer enjoy it. Add to this that most people I know are more stressed and short tempered than ever, I have no want to leave my apartment. I have enough problems of my own to catch an ear full from my neighbors and landlord. Sometimes I get in trouble even just staying at home. Most people in my complex think I’m moving out or getting evicted because I never go out in public anymore. Naturally, lots of rumors are going around. No I’m not moving. As far as I know, I’m not in danger of being evicted. Though for the last few years I’ve lived in near constant paranoia that I was. It’s mainly because most people are just so angry and short tempered constantly. It didn’t used to be this way. I actually used to enjoy socializing. Then three of my best friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other in 2014 and 2015. From there my social life fell apart. Other than a few neighbors, I literally have no friends within a fifty mile radius. I don’t think most people know or care how tough socializing is for a middle aged man with a disability and no immediate family nearby. I just keep to myself anymore. I would rather be alone than have to fight with neighbors, coworkers, and complete strangers all the time.
Been feeling decent overall the last several days. I haven’t had much for flare ups lately. I think it helps I cut back on caffeine and sugar. Too much of either can make me irritable and sluggish. One of my neighbors recently moved out so it’s been quieter than usual lately in my complex. I signed another lease last week, so that’s finally taken care of. I guess I was delaying and worrying over nothing. Since I emailed my bank and social security disability information to my landlady a couple weeks earlier, all I had to do was sign a bunch of papers. It took maybe fifteen minutes overall. I was fretting and worrying over something that turned out to be far easier than I thought. As I had been fighting excessive paranoia and anxiety this winter and spring I was worried about the whole process. I was even worried I might get evicted.
I guess I have experienced too much negativity in my life that I pretty much expect the worst anymore. I have lost jobs and friends for some very petty reasons. After going through that several times, I became convinced anyone in authority can mess me over for whatever reason they see fit and there isn’t anything I can do about it. It didn’t help any that, in the past, when I asked for help, I was too often denied help and even condemned for asking for help. It came to where I had zero trust of authority figures for anything. Anymore I just try to stay low and out of sight. I can’t stop authority from messing me over, I can only lower the chances that they do. I never understood why it makes some people feel important when they screw over someone who can’t fight back. And I never will.
Overall I try to stay out of sight, out of mind with almost everyone who isn’t friend or family anymore. I am tired of putting up with irritable and angry people. And I especially hate sarcasm and snark. Neither are original anymore. I think empathy and compassion is the new edgy and rebellion. It sickens me how most people I know and hear from every day have no empathy for others. And it spills into all aspects of life. I’m tired of dealing with it. I’m going hermit until people come to their senses. If you have nothing decent to say or are just going to be a pessimist all the time, don’t waste my time. I lost years of my life being a pessimist and believing everything sucked and was only getting worse. I hate pessimists. They just drain the life and joy out of everything they encounter. And they certainly never propose solutions. And I no longer want to hear it. I have dealt with schizophrenia for over twenty years, yet I am more optimistic than most neurotypical people I know.
Looks like spring has finally sprung after a couple false starts. As long and tough as this winter has been, it feels almost surreal that it is finally over. I had been so used to such bitter cold and snow for a long time. It’s actually odd that I can now go somewhere without having to worry about the weather. Haven’t been able to do this for a very long time. I became used to spending entire days indoors and sleeping sometimes over 10 hours a day just to pass the time. Of course such long periods without sunlight or travel or face to face human interaction took its toll on me.
I think I developed some cabin fever during the long days and weeks when I was homebound. I had some bouts of depression, paranoia, anxiety, and even some hallucinations creeping back in. Sometimes I’d hear footsteps in the hallway that weren’t there. Sometimes I’d hear knocking at my door when no one was there. I’d sometimes hear people talking in the hallway when no one was there. And these were always at their worst when I was really tired and about to go to sleep.
Fortunately things are improving. I can’t say exactly when things starting turning around. Changes have always come gradually for me, too gradual for most people it seems. For years it seems like most people got frustrated with me because I have a hard time making changes at a moment’s notice. I also have a bad habit of wanting to know why such changes are being made. Needless to say, that didn’t make me a model student or employee. I just have to know the ‘why’ behind things. I’ve always been that way.
Looks like spring is finally here. And I plan on enjoying it.
I just don’t talk to anyone much anymore. But then it seems like people have been avoiding me too lately. I hope this is just my paranoia creeping in. But it does seem like almost no one has time or energy to just chat lately. I fear that I’m becoming this way too. I try to stay optimistic overall but it is tough. First, I’m not an optimist by nature as I wasn’t raised to be one. I was almost never told anything positive about the world or life in general from my elders as a kid. Made me wonder why anyone had kids if the world was falling apart as much as my parents, teachers, and church elders told me it was. But that was before I got out on my own and came to the realization that most people are more ruled by short term emotion than by long term logic. As someone who is part artist and part science enthusiast, I find my emotion and logical sides at conflict quite often. I have spent the better part of the last five years training up the logical part of my mind. It isn’t easy and it’s often frustrating. Bill Gates once stated that people tend to overestimate change in the short term but underestimate it in the long term. Getting to see what cool stuff happens next is one of the things that keeps me going. It’s the scientist, the engineer, the doctor, the humanitarian that gives me as much hope as most of my friends get out of their political parties. I try to explain to my friends that politicians can pass budgets, pass favorable laws, and then get out of the way. That’s about all they can do. I have never seen a politician build a power plant or figure out how to grow more crops with fewer chemicals. Many problems of modern civilization are science and engineering issues, not political or even social ones.
I just as well be speaking ancient Sanskrit to my friends in that they’re not coming around and probably never will. I would love to live in a world where the scientists and doctors were as well known and respected as pro athletes and big shot Hollywood stars. But I suppose that’s a pipe dream that won’t come true in my lifetime, if ever. As it is I am a mentally ill unemployed man trying to make sense of the madness in the people around me. At this point I’m glad I don’t have a regular job in that it would probably drive me to complete break down. I’m glad for the safety nets I have. It saddens and sickens me that there are people who want to remove even these. We live in a post industrial civilization where we can feed everyone, not some Stone Age Darwinian survival of the fittest setup our ancestors already overcame. Yet, it seems like some people are bent on bringing back the Stone Age. I hope it’s just my paranoia creeping in but it does seem like there’s too many people losing hope and giving up right before things get real interesting. As far as any politicians of any country go, they are merely “momentary masters of a fraction of a dot” to quote Carl Sagan. We would be wise to regain such perspective in our own lives.
Spent some time outdoors enjoying one of the last few days of summer. Also doing some cleaning in my apartment and rearranging furniture. It’s now a little easier to maneuver around, especially in the living room. Previously I had my computer desk in the middle of the room so I could watch ballgames and work on my computers at the same time. I now have a better setup as I won’t be tripping over power cords and wires as much now that I’ve moved my desk to a corner. I have my computers set up so I can watch them like a television from my recliner. I moved my couch so I watch tv from the couch. Previously I had used my recliner for everything. I use my regular tv mainly for play station games and live ballgames. Playoff baseball starts in a couple weeks and my Rockies have a shot of making the playoffs again this fall. We lost out in the first round last year.
After three months of changed eating patterns I think I’m seeing some positive differences. I am actually wanting to be active now rather than just spend entire days reading online articles or books. I socialize more often. I make it a point to now chat with other tenants at least three times a week. I rarely stay awake all night anymore. I am not as paranoid and anxious about my neighbors as I was this spring. I have fewer aches and pains. I still get winded sometimes when moving heavy furniture but I recover faster now. I still sometimes get stiff after sleeping, but it usually takes only a couple minutes of sitting up to be back to normal. And my clothing fits better.
Previously, from spring 2014 to summer 2015 I had lost slightly over 70 pounds in that time. I stagnated for a few months and then I had my car accident in fall 2015. After that I gained it all back. Oddly it took over two years to gain it all back, so it took longer to gain it than it did to lose it in the first place. I don’t really have any set goals as of right now.
I still sleep more than I would like. But so far it has helped me from having relapses. This has been a more pleasant than usual summer. Now the leaves are beginning to change and the weather will start cooling off any day. In Nebraska we usually get our first frost in mid October, so in three to four weeks if the averages hold out. I really don’t want to change much of my routine as it seems to be working. Sure I would like to travel more, but I’ll leave that for another time.
After a few days of preventative maintenance and taking more note of my mental well being, I think the feelings of anxiety, irritability, and depression are starting to dissipate. Sure I had to isolate for a couple days and I did sleep more than usual, but it seems to have worked. Overall I’m feeling more stable and I did leave my complex a couple times yesterday just to get some sunshine and make sure my car still runs properly. I don’t drive as much as I used to. But then I can do most of my socializing at home via phone calls, social media, and my blog. I don’t deal with nearly as much negativity as I once did. Two years ago, it was almost unbearable. But I have since learned who and what to avoid and I don’t closely follow anyone besides family, close friends, and discussion groups I’m interested in. Thank goodness for the unfollow buttons. I lost a few friends before I discovered what useful and tactful tools they could be. Even though the tempers have cooled some since the darkest days, I’m still kind of afraid to reestablish contact with people I’ve cut out or have cut me out. Hopefully it’s just the paranoia talking and not hard reality.
As it is anymore I rather enjoy staying home. I sometimes don’t even mind hosting guests. I’ve hosted college friends several times over the years. And I even hosted the previous two Foster family Christmas celebrations. The only real request I have is give me at bare minimum a few days notice. I am self conscious about my place and have come to accept that no matter how much I do with it, it isn’t going to please anyone but me. I never did just subjective crap like that when the goal line wasn’t universal but different for everyone. Even in high school speech and one act plays, I didn’t care about the awards and trophies. I mainly wanted to hear the audience laugh and think because of my performances.
I’m glad that summer is all but over. We have had some cooler and cloudy days lately mixed in the excessive heat typical of a Nebraska August. Makes me think that fall and winter are on the way. And I’ve always done my best writing and creative work during the cold weather. I also like some of the not so over the top Christmas decorations, New Year’s Day college football games, and being able to buy discounted chocolate after Valentine’s Day. I think that winter and spring are my favorite times of year. That is one thing I like about living in Nebraska; we get to experience all the seasons. Sure we don’t have the beautiful foliage of New England, the massive snows of Minnesota, or summer in it’s full hot and humid glory like the Southern states, but we get a little of everything here. And yes, the conditions of my mental illness do change with the seasons. But I usually have my worst times in late summer and my best times in late winter and spring. I do love the changes of the seasons.
Spent the last couple days out of my hometown while visiting family. It was pleasant to unplug and unwind while enjoying the company of my parents. Didn’t get much done on this trip other than unwind and touch base with family. I was needing at least a couple days of different surroundings. I visited my family at the acreage. It was good to be back around nature and less rush. While I am a self admitted city slicker even though I grew up in a rural area, it was still fun to be outside again for a couple hours at a time without being paranoid of being watched by nosy neighbors.
I sometimes get paranoid around even individual people nearby, especially when I want to be alone. When I was in college, I used to take my trash to a dumpster on the other side of town because I was afraid that people where going through my trash. I used to be afraid that neighbors and even family were listening in on my conversations. But the real paranoia I am working against now is that I fear that I am losing favor with my neighbors and fellow tenants in my complex. I may not be the greatest tenant in my complex, but I still try hard to be friendly with people and just avoid arguments as much as possible. Fortunately in my over ten years at my current address, I have had real arguments with only three tenants that I can think of right off hand. Fortunately those cleared up really quick and the problems were resolved shortly afterwards.
Paranoia is indeed strange. I know in the reasonable part of my mind that my paranoias aren’t real and that I’m essentially worrying over nothing that can’t be easily resolved. But, the irrational part of my mind keeps replaying these paranoid thoughts on an endless loop. Drowning out the paranoid thinking process with positive news that is actually happening helps. Positive thoughts help, especially if they can be shown to be true. That’s why I spend a lot of time researching science advances and medical news. Yet, even then, occasionally the paranoia gets the better of my reasonable side. The problems I had over the last few days, fortunately, tend to get more rare and even less intense than even a few years ago. I was happy that I was able to go through this last round of problems without yelling and acting out. I’ve notice the breakdowns I do have anymore don’t seem to be as intense. I hope I have gotten better with letting off a little at a time rather than holding it in for a major meltdown.
I was more depressed and weary than angry and irritated these last few days. I guess that depression and weariness are becoming stronger than irritation and anger at this stage in my life. I’m glad that it takes more to anger me than in years past. I no longer avoid driving because of fears of going into road rage; I avoid driving now partly because I find it kind of boring and I don’t like being on the lookout for people who just aren’t paying as much attention to the road as they should. It doesn’t make me angry, but it does make me think ‘how bad do I really want to go out tonight when I can still contact friends from home.’ I used to love to travel. But I don’t enjoy the travel as much now. I enjoy the company of friends and family more now.