Wanting To Socialize Again

We got several inches of snow over the weekend.  Of course with it being mid April the weather warmed up again within a day or two and I didn’t have to shovel my car out of the snow.  Hopefully it will warm up for good now.  Been spending too much time indoors and avoiding the cold for the last few months.  And I think I’m finally getting cabin fever because of it.  Took four months but it is finally starting to creep in.

I admit to staying home and not getting out much this winter.  Other than a few days at my parents’ house in February I haven’t been outside of my town this winter.  I’m glad my town is big enough to have everything I need and good delivery service.  Yet it’s small enough it’s easy to navigate around when I’m inclined to want to drive.  After many weeks of not wanting to leave my complex, I am now the total opposite.  I want to get out and about.  I think I’m getting burned out on phone calls, computer games, internet research, keeping in contact via social media, etc.  I am ready to get out and interact in person again.  I’ve spent enough time hibernating in my “cave.”  I need to get out and about again.

 

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I Want To Shake Things Up and Get More Active Again

whybenormal

My back has healed up.  I’m back to essentially a more normal routine.  Because of the colder weather and being housebound for two weeks, I got to do some thinking about changing things in my life.  I have essentially been in a rut for the last couple years where it’s pretty much the same old every day, day in and day out.  I haven’t done any real traveling for almost three years, spending much of my time self educating via youtube and Khan Academy and reading books.  I gained back the weight I lost within two years of my car accident back in 2015.  Now I’m getting more serious about my health again.  I don’t eat fast food anymore.  I’m starting to get out of my apartment more and walk a little every day.  I do arm weights three times a week.  And about the only things I drink anymore are water and coffee.  I feel like I’m beginning to see some results.  I started this new routine shortly after New Year’s.  Because my back slowed me down for two weeks, I just cut back on what I ate.  I’m to where I now eat meat only once a day, usually for breakfast.  The rest of the meals I eat things like spinach leaf salads, soups, peanut butter, and meatless pasta.  I think my routines are starting to work.  I feel like I have more energy.  I feel more mobile.  I’m starting to have fewer aches and pains.  And I am sleeping better too.

I’m also thinking that after I have lost some weight, I’m going to have to get out and about more.  I am in desperate need of shaking up my routines and adding more spice to my life.  A few years ago I said that I would like to do some traveling eventually.  I still have my savings that I built up a few years ago.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to see my old college friends again.  I don’t have a definite time line set just yet as this is still in the dreaming before making plans phase.  I have always wanted to get my passport and travel through Europe and see places like Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, London, etc.  Part of me would, if I get back to the same weight I was in college, love to travel on some of the old Silk Road from eastern Europe to China or vice versa.  When I was in high school I spent a couple weeks in Mexico with my Spanish class.  It was the most enjoyable vacation I had in my entire life.  Now that I am an adult, debt free, committed to getting back into good physical health, and have a little bit of a savings, I’m going to have to do this traveling before I get too old to enjoy it.  Since I am single, have a safety net in my disability pension, and I can do my blog from anywhere that has WiFi internet, I’m starting to hear the faint beckoning call of the open road again.

When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I did a little traveling every year.  My senior year of college, my parents and I went to San Antonio for Christmas.  I got to see The Riverwalk lit up for Christmas, visited the Alamo, got to see one of the Air Force bases my dad was stationed at during the Vietnam War, and got to see my Nebraska Huskers play a post season bowl game.  And an old college friend and I used to go to Denver to see Colorado Rockies baseball games, one of those games being a World Series game.  Spent all winter paying off the cost of that quick weekend trip, and even though the Rockies lost the Series, it was worth the trip.  I visited an old college friend in Minnesota for a week several summers ago.  I was amazed at how beautiful Minnesota is (I wouldn’t care to fight their winters). My friends and I used to go to minor league baseball games every summer.  We were able to get front row seats, a couple hot dogs, and a couple soda pops for less than $25 a person.  Just thinking about these old times while I was house bound for the last two weeks got me to realize just how much I missed travel and seeing different places.

I know that before I can fulfill these dreams of traveling, I have to lose some weight.  I have done it before.  And by God I can do it again.  I know it’s going to take at least a few years before I can get to doing the travel overseas like I dream of doing.  But I have pretty much gotten to where I have played all the computer games and done most of the self study I care to do.  I took a couple years doing that and I have gotten it out of my system.  Now it is time for a different chapter in my life.  It’s time to lose some weight and prepare to hit the road again.

Chronic Back Pain with Schizophrenia

In my part of the country, the weather is warming up enough to get rid of the ice and snow we’ve had since before Christmas.  It is a welcome relief that I can leave my complex without too many problems.  Got out and about a few times this weekend.  I ran a few errands, so I am set for the next couple weeks.  I still don’t socialize as much as I would like because the paranoia still remains.  Sometimes it was strong enough I would go entire days without leaving my apartment.  Physically, I’m having back problems again.  I can’t stand for more than ten minutes at a time without lower back and upper leg pain.  I can still get around if I walk for ten minutes, take ten minutes to sit, and repeat.  But this isn’t practical when navigating out in public.  I’ll have to go back to the chiropractor or some other doctor to see what I can do about my failing back.  I’ve been fighting back problems on and off since my car accident in 2015.  I imagine I’ll be fighting it for the rest of my life from now one.  It’s a pity that I start falling apart physically right at the time when I start figuring things out mentally.  At this point I wouldn’t mind just being a head in a jar attached to a machine body, like in Futurama 🙂

With my back being messed up, I am more house bound than I would like.  I miss the things I was able to do even just a few years ago that, due to my bad back, I can’t do anymore.  I miss walks in the park, I miss going swimming, I especially miss not worrying if sitting on a hard chair will mess me up.  I even have a hard time getting in and out of my car anymore because of back pains.  So I don’t drive unless it’s necessary now. I am now starting to see what I get to look forward as a senior citizen.  Golden years, yeah right.

The positive side to having such limiting back pain is mentally I am still stable.  I have remained stable for months.  In the past, physical pain and illnesses have made my mental health worse.  It doesn’t seem to anymore.  Maybe as I become an old man I have learned to cope with the hangups and stresses of mental illness better.  I do miss having a good strong back.

Change in Seasons and Change in Routines

Spring started a few days ago.  We’re starting to get more rain and the weather is warming up.  Saw my first lightning of the season yesterday.  My fantasy baseball league had it’s draft last night.  Since we’re spread out all over the country now we have to have our league hosted by yahoo.  It’s been an annual tradition for me for the last ten years.  I’ve never won my league as I’m pretty average compared to the eleven other guys in our league.  It’s a diversion for me and an excuse to pay attention to games I wouldn’t normally watch.  The first baseball games start the first Monday in April.  Winter is over.

I saw my psych doctor earlier this week.  According to his scale I gained a pound since my last appointment six weeks earlier.  Hopefully I have stopped the losing streak in terms of gaining weight.  Unfortunately I have gained a lot of weight since my car accident a year and a half ago.  For a long time I was afraid to drive and didn’t go anywhere except to buy groceries and run errands.  I can tell the lack of socializing has hurt me.  I know I’m less patient with people then I used to be.  I am not as spontaneous as I used to be either.

I complained to my psych doctor about my lethargy and lack of motivation.  We increased the doses of some of my medications.  He also suggested I buy some probiotic pills.  He had read a lot of literature stating that people with mental illness problems often have gut health issues too.  He said that gut health and mental health can affect each other.  After a few days on the probiotic pills, I’m noticing I am having some more energy.  I am also not sleeping as much even after only a few days.  I am also having fewer unexplained aches and pains.  I hope this only continues to improve.  My only true complaint about the probiotic pills is they are pricey.  But I am starting to feel better and more energetic overall.

As stable as I usually am during the winter, I am glad that winter is over.  The weather is starting to warm up and I’m not just wanting to stay home and hide out all the time.  I am feeling a sense of hopefulness for the first time in months.  I really think things are starting to settle down.  I haven’t had much settled for me for a long time.  This sense of normalcy is a welcome relief.

No News Can Be Good

It’s been a rather quiet last several days for myself.  Besides running errands and seeing my psychiatrist earlier this week, I really haven’t done much besides sleep and stay out of other people’s business.  I’m finding myself just wanting to sleep a lot.  I probably sleep twelve hours a day anymore.  Not only do I sleep a lot, I am also not doing a lot of physical activity when I am awake.  My psych doctor is concerned and thinks I could have some underlying physical health symptoms.  So I imagine a trip to my family doctor is in order soon.

Haven’t been watching the news lately.  I don’t spend much time on social media either.  And I think I’m feeling better because of it.  I just had to unplug.  Knowing about every bit of bad news going on wasn’t helping me.

In short, no news can be good.  I guess I really don’t have much to report for this week.

Health Routines In Winter With Mental Illness

Weather has been nicer the last few days so I’ve been getting out a little more.  Got restocked in time for the next round of snow to come through.  I’ve been kind of lazy about writing more recently.  But that’s really because I haven’t had much to report.  I’ve been quite stable for a long time now.  This is the longest unbroken period of stability I’ve had in almost two years.  My mental health loves it but my writing routine is suffering because of the stability.

I’ve been eating less the last few weeks than usual.  But that is by design.  Even though I’m still not exercising very much, I am noticing small differences from the last few weeks.  I make it a point to leave my apartment and drive my car a little each day.  I used to go two to three days in a row without driving, especially early in the winter when it was so cold.

About the only real complaint I have is I sleep more than I would like.  I usually stay up quite late and then sleep most of the morning.  Some days I even sleep past noon.  Needless to say this messes with my routines and my socializing.  Since it still gets dark early I usually don’t get much sunlight.  Sure I can read and get a lot done in the overnight hours, but I don’t get to socialize much because of my odd sleep patterns.  I still get enough sleep and I keep mentally stable.  It’s too bad I have no one to share this stability with outside of the internet.

Hosting Christmas With A Mental Illness

I twisted my knee a few days before Christmas bad enough I could barely walk.  Fortunately after a few days of rest and ibuprofen I’m as good as new.  Since I couldn’t navigate stairs over Christmas, my parents came to my apartment on Christmas.  They brought Christmas dinner and a few gifts.  I hosted them for a few hours and they then went to Oklahoma to visit my brother’s family for a few days.  I was glad they left some left over turkey and pie.  Those were my meals the day after Christmas.

I didn’t get much for Christmas.  But I might be getting a FitBit in a few days once the crowds settle into the winter doldrums.  After my car accident I got lazy about exercising and dieting.  As a result I gained back most of the weight I lost in the previous two years.  I’m starting over.  I hope the FitBit can help in this regard.  I found out my general practice doctor retired recently.  So I’m in the market for a different doctor.  My psych doctor and therapist are also older men who are starting to think retirement too.  I’ve had my current psych doctor for over ten years and my current therapist for two years.  One of the problems of having a chronic illness like schizophrenia is that the illness outlasts even the best doctors because schizophrenia doesn’t retire.  Sure in my case the problems have gotten less severe over the years.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve mellowed as the years have passed or I’m just getting better at managing the illness.  Either way I’m glad I have a routine that more or less works and has kept me out of the mental hospital for three years.

Another holiday season has come and passed.  I did pretty well mentally but I think that’s because I avoided crowds and shopping malls.  I’ve learned what I can and cannot handle over the years through trial and error.  It was a successful holiday season as far as I’m concerned even though I didn’t get to see my extended family.  It actually felt pretty good hosting a small gathering over Christmas this year.  I might have to do this more often if I can limit the size of the gathering.

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.

Exercise and Depression

It’s been a little over a week since I started tracking what I eat and exercising every day.  It took some adjusting but I am finding myself eating less and getting more physical activity after only one week.  It was cool enough today I was able to walk outside after dinner.  I’m still out of shape compared to where I was one year ago but I am making progress.  I definitely got rusty and out of practice during the weeks I was limited because of my back.  I’m beginning to get back on track with my exercise again.  It feels like an uphill battle as I have been forced to be inactive since late spring.  But I have won battles like this before and I can do so again.

I’m beginning to spend more time outside of the complex again.  I chatted with some of my neighbors this afternoon while avoiding the grouches.  It can be kind of tough avoiding grouchy people in the tight quarters my complex offers but it can be done.

Some things I have found myself doing these last several days is avoiding sugar and eating more vegetables.  I still get cravings for carbohydrates but I have met this need by adding more rice to my diet.  I cook most of my own meals and I have found I feel more clear and less depressed on days I don’t eat lots of wheat or fast food.  I still like the occasional delivery pizza but I have found I’m not as weighed down and bloated if I order the thin crust pizza as opposed to traditional.  I still get upset stomach and feelings of lethargy when I eat lots of breads or pastas.  So I wouldn’t be much fun dining at a high end Italian restaurant 🙂  I haven’t had much soda pop over the last several days.  I think I’ve had only two diet sodas in the last ten days.  I still get caffeine in the form of coffee and iced tea.  I guess caffeine is one of my guilty vices.  But I do feel mentally less irritable and less sluggish on days I don’t drink soda pop, even diet soda pop.  I really can’t drink too much regular soda pop because of too much sugar.  I do like Mexican Coca Cola when I go to Mexican restaurants though.  But that is only a rare treat.

I have spent most of the summer more inactive than I would have liked.  As a result I have gained some weight and lost a lot of my stamina.  But things are starting to come back after a week of exercise and better diet.

 

Getting Back To Stability

It’s been almost three weeks since I threw out my back.  I can get around pretty decent for the most part.  The mornings are the only difficulty, especially the first time I stand up after waking.  In spite of my back issues I’ve been socializing more.  I went to a writers’ support group on Monday night for the first time in over a year.  Told people about my blog.  My blog is the primary writing activity I have right now.  I do occasionally write poetry but there is such a limited market for poetry.  I haven’t written any kind of fiction for almost three years.  But then I’ve always preferred reading nonfiction to fiction.

Mentally I’ve been very stable for quite awhile.  I call at least one person over the phone every day now.  Usually family or close friends.  Things have gotten a little less contentious  at my apartment complex in recent months.  We’ve had a couple problem residents I haven’t seen in weeks so I’m guessing they moved out.  After ten years in the same complex I really don’t pay much attention to who moves in and who moves out.  I just pretty much keep to myself and the handful of friends I have here.  The friend I made back in the winter moved out a month ago.  But I’m kind of used to that by now.

I rejoined my old writers support group.  I’m probably going to rejoin my mental illness support group as soon as my back clears up.  There is a second writers’ support group that meets twice monthly at the local library that I’m joining starting next week.  In short I’m beginning to put myself out there socially.

Been seriously tracking my diet for a week.  I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost.  Probably not as much as I normally would as I’m not yet very active.  I won’t be very active until my back completely heals.  The best I can do right now is put strict limits on what I eat and keep a positive mind set.

Today is also my birthday.  I am now 36 years old.  I don’t have much planned today besides going out to lunch with my family.  Can’t really do a great deal for at least the short term.  But the back has cleared immensely since two weeks ago.  I just have to keep doing things to encourage the healing process until I’m back to full speed.