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.

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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.