September 23, 2017

After several rougher than usual days, I’m starting back on the mend.  Feeling depressed, anxious, and paranoid really drains me.  I still don’t socialize much other than phone calls and blogging.  I have recently gone entire days without leaving my apartment.  And it saddens me.  I am afraid to travel, so I don’t get to see many friends or family.  I don’t even like driving across town to buy groceries and house supplies anymore.  I’m just so afraid and paranoid much of the time anymore.

Maybe the problems I traditionally have in late summer finally caught up to me.  I just usually want to just curl up under a heavy blanket and try to sleep much of the time.  It’s usually hunger that causes me to get out of bed.

In spite my recent issues I attempt to stay optimistic.  Granted I haven’t been real successful at this lately.  I attempt to avoid angry and irritable people as much as possible.  It would be better for me and everyone involved if I just wasn’t as sensitive to these kinds of things as I am.  Yet, for better and worse, it is how I am wired mentally.  Losing my sensitivity, compassion, and empathy would involve destroying who I am mentally.  It would mean being someone I have never been.  I just can’t do it.  I now understand why I never succeeded in a workplace environment.  I just have too much compassion and empathy.

Advertisements

Thoughts on Normal People and Bad News

ftchagrin-11-23-13_zpsb5feb807

Just been in the mood to avoid people as much as possible the last several days.  I leave my apartment only a couple times a day and check Facebook only once or twice a day.  It’s not that I think I’m on the verge of a mental breakdown, it’s that I want to avoid planting the seeds for one.  Listening to most people lately is like listening to a skipping MP3 (or broken record for my readers over fifty).  I don’t want to hear about the weather, or how much you hate your job, or how much of a thoughtless jerk your significant other is, or how everyone who doesn’t agree with you on politics or religion or economics is the devil’s minion.  I just really no longer want to hear it.  I’ve had my fill of negativity and snark.  Talk is cheap and snark is free but wisdom is ignored it seems.

One of the reasons I got back into science in a big way was that I got tired of hearing how bad people sucked and that civilization was going to collapse any day now.  I also watched all these doomsday scenario shows like The Day After, Red Dawn, Armageddon, Independence Day, 2012, The Terminator series, etc. that said we were all going to die any day now.  At this point  in my life, after seeing “88 reasons for the return of Jesus in 1988”, Y2K fizzle out, 9/11 and the resulting never ending wars, the Great Recession, the Mayan Apocalypse of 2012, Occupy Wall Street come to nothing, and the election of our current crop of politicians, I just yawn and laugh at every other predicted end times or end of civilization b.s. I see every other week.  You normals really have an amazing ability to believe any type of nonsense that gets repeated enough.  I find it tragic because many normals are worrying themselves sick over things that never come to pass or are easily solveable.

After years of hearing nothing but doom and gloom, I wanted to hear what was going well for a change.  Growing up, I rarely heard anything positive about the world from my elders or teachers.  I had heard from about second grade on that American students were the dumbest in the industrialized world.  If that was so, I reasoned, then why don’t we improve the school system and stop blaming the kids.  The looks of anger I got from my elders were like I just said the Ten Commandments were bogus.  I never did get an answer from my elders.  I also never got answers from my elders when I asked if things suck so bad, why doesn’t anyone do anything to change them.  I swear, the mark of a chronically sane individual is to gripe and moan about a problem but not do any thing to solve said problem.  I’ve seen it my entire life.

Even today when I try to tell people about what is going right in the world (often through science, technology, humanitarian efforts, etc.), I’m usually met with deafening silence or people telling me I’m a liar.  I’ve been called a liar my entire life, especially when I was right.  So it’s nothing new.  Not even my close friends really respond to the good things I tell them.  I’d get more responses if I took pictures of what I had for dinner it seems or posted some snarky stuff about how people that don’t think like I do are the devil’s servants.  I know things are going better in this world than most people think.  Even after Hurricane Harvey knocked out most of the Houston area, there were people from all over on the way to clean up the damage and help those in need within hours of the storm hitting.  It’s a pity that it takes a calamity for many people to see through their petty illusions of what is wrong and actually do something right.

I have decided I’m essentially unplugging from the illusions that the press and social media present.  I’m keeping my interactions on Facebook and other outlets to a bare minimum from now on.  I don’t want to hear political sermons or diatribes about how bad young people suck worse than ever anymore.  I signed up for Facebook because I wanted to keep in contact with my college and high school friends, not to listen to people gripe and moan about whatever grievance is popular this week.  For my younger readers, try not to take the garbage the press and your elders say about you personally.  They were saying the same thing about my cohorts and myself twenty years ago and we turned out just fine.  Their elders said the same things about them back in the 1960s during the Vietnam War protests and race riots.  And sadly, come 2030 or so, many of you will say the same idiotic things about your kids.  I swear our species is the only species that actively despises it’s own offspring.  Yet despite our hangups, we are advancing.  That is why I think, in spite our petty squabbles and complaints, I think humans in general are pretty cool.  I just think the illusions our squabbles create are tiresome and I’m content to watch our species advance from a distance for the time being.

I just don’t want to be bothered with it anymore.  I don’t want to hear that civilization is heading to hell in a hand basket when all the data (for those who will actually do a few minutes of google searches) says other wise.

Social Media Hiatus and Recovery

1964774_443177475822906_1840970712569486523_n

In an attempt to help speed up my recovery from my bouts of depression and hopelessness, I’ve decided to avoid all social media in addition to regular news casts.  I’m now two days into this and I notice a positive difference already.  I’m less stressed and less despondent even after a couple days of media blackout.  I just got so tired of hearing nothing but bad news that I decided to unplug and drop out for at least a few days.  I will still be posting blog entries to Facebook and twitter because my posts automatically post to these anyway.

One thing I have noticed is inspite my vacation from news and social media, my life still goes on.  All life still goes on in fact.  Some things I’m probably happier not knowing quite simply because there is nothing I can do about it.  While I may not be happy with any of my elected officials, it’s not like I get an extra vote for every time I post to Facebook concerning the elections.  The U.S. Constitution never said anything about uber informed people getting extra votes.  On election day, I’m just going in and casting my votes and that is going to be that.  I’ll live with whatever the results are.  And I’ll still pay more attention to science and technology endeavors than I do to politics or popular culture.  Unless the Kardashians figure out nuclear fusion or cure cancer, I couldn’t care less about them.

While I may be unplugging from social media, I’m still keeping informed on things like science.  I am finding out the lights are still on and there’s still food in my pantry regardless of what nonsense a political figure says or whatever some troll writes.  Some pundit says something about the election, so what?  Nations are rattling their sabres and talking about wars, will my worrying prevent war?  I can only control my own life, what I see online, and how I choose to react to it.  And that is all I need.  Sure I’ll miss my friends during my hiatus from social media, but it’s probably for the best for the next several days.

 

Resolving Lingering Problems

RZ33mHt

Found out I’m getting my new carpet in the apartment next week.  I have started rearranging and cleaning my apartment so the work can go faster.  I still have another day or two of work before the place is ready to go when the work crew gets here.  I imagine I’ll have to vacate my apartment for a day or two while work is being done.  But I have needed new carpet for years.  Hopefully this can get done quickly.

I am now completely adjusted to my new medications after being on the new plan for four months.  I definitely feel a positive change in my mental health.  I am slower to anger and less apt to fall into depression.  I have fewer hallucinations.  The only time I have hallucinations is when I’m under high stress.  I don’t just go out and wander nearly as much as I used to.  While I am doing better mentally I did gain a lot of weight after hurting my back.  Too little activity and too much comfort food.  Since my back finally healed up a month ago I have recommitted to eating healthier and getting more exercise.  I have given up sugared drinks and most unhealthy eating out.  When I do eat out, it’s usually sub sandwiches or wraps at a deli.  I’m still rebuilding my stamina after two months of inactivity.  It is a slow and frustrating process.  When I was rearranging my apartment I had to take more breaks than I am used to.  It’s going to take a long time to get back to where I was before my car accident I think.

Speaking of car accident, I got my settlement from the accident a few days ago.  I put most of it into savings as I pretty much already have most of what I want.  I did buy some used books from amazon.  They were some books I had my eyes on for awhile but was waiting until the settlement cleared.  These will be my fall reading.  I got lazy about reading when my back was hurting.  I’m only now starting to get back into the reading routine.  My car is still running well even though I still don’t drive as much.  I guess since I became more content with my life and what I already have, I haven’t felt the need to go a lot of places and spend a lot of money.  Buying books on amazon is the most frivolous purchase I have made in months.  I just no longer feel the need to own a lot of things. I’ve been a minimalist for probably two years.  It certainly makes it easier to clean my apartment and keep track of things.  I am glad to no longer have to deal with clutter and junk.  I refuse to be like those people on ‘Hoarders.’

This month of August has involved tying up loose ends and resolving long standing problems.  I’m scheduled to get my carpet and blinds replaced.  I got my settlement from the car accident.  My back is healed.  I’m back to exercising and eating healthier.  I made it through the hottest parts of summer with fewer mental health problems than previous years.  I’m adjusted to my new psych medications.  I’m back to contacting my friends and family more often.  I’m making a regular thing out of this blog.  I’m thankful for the messages I get from you readers.  I know I’m not always diligent about responding to everyone who writes to me.  But thank you everyone who has read this blog and thank you everyone for the words of encouragement.  Maybe I am making a positive difference with this blog.

 

Solving One Problem Only To Go Onto Another

Finally got over my injured back.  I can do everything now I once could.  Took almost a month of ice, ibuprofen, tylenol, and chiropractic treatment.  I’m so glad I didn’t have a job when this happened as I probably would have been fired or forced into burning all my sick leave.  I’m so glad those issues are gone.

Now I am on to other problems.  My pc crashed this morning. No doubt the warranty is already expired. Seriously folks, I don’t know why you’re worried about murderous and evil AI, Terminator robots, HAL, and Skynet. Just wait a few months and their software will inevitably crash, especially if they are running Windows. That’s how the humans will win the ‘war against the machines.’  Fortunately I also have a Mac.  I’ve had macs for years and had only one crash on me.  Yet it was under warranty and I didn’t pay a dime to get it fixed.

Naturally, my pc had to crash on a weekend and at the end of the month when I’m low on funds.  Rarely can you schedule this stuff to crash at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, though that is when my car crash happened 🙂  Some people are probably thinking Murphy’s law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”  Personally I’m also thinking Peter Diamandis and his take on this: “If anything can go wrong, fix it.  To hell with Murphy.”  Throwing a hissy fit simply isn’t going to make Monday come any sooner or reboot my dead in the water computer.  Sometimes you just got to roll with it.

Worry and Stress

ftchagrin-11-23-13_zpsb5feb807

Worry and stress hinder the mentally ill and the neurotypical alike.  No one can escape it.  It served us as a species well for most of our history when hunter gatherers needed successful hunts and fight other bands.  Otherwise they would die.  Worry and stress are natural to us.  It allowed humans to go from barely surviving to modern civilization.

Yet our natural inclinations to worry are deteriorating our quality of life.  The old fight or flight mentality isn’t serving us as well.  We are seeing more people going through depression, panic attacks, anxiety problems, and physical health problems brought on by mental stress.  We haven’t yet developed the ability to mentally let go of worry.  This skill is not natural to us.  It has to be learned.

Learning how to let go of stress and worry, even with years of practice, won’t be perfect.  I have been taking steps to lessen my worry for several years and I occasionally slip into old habits.  Things I have found helpful include keeping journals, engaging with negative people as little as possible, venting slightly on occasion, and never watching news broadcasts.

When I keep journals, I don’t hold back. I write my frustrations, my anxieties, my annoyances, my fears, and the delusional thoughts that sometimes accompany my mental illness.  I get it out of my mind and onto paper.  But I don’t share these with anyone.  It does me much better to vent on paper rather than hold these worries in and drop them on someone else all at once.  Many of our problems with stress, I am convinced, come from the idea that we aren’t allowed to vent or have to put up a good front at all times.  I can’t change how anyone expects to act in public.  What I can do is vent in the form of pen and paper, get it out of my mind, and then move on.  Once the notebook is full, I throw it away.  Been doing this for at least two years.  It helps.  Sure I occasionally have problems and just dump my frustrations on family members.  But that’s the nature of the beast of mental illness and I do my best to minimize those blow ups.

I vent to my friends and family as needed to.  I used to be one of these people pleasers who listened to and try to solve everyone’s problems.  But I wouldn’t tell my problems to anyone.  It made me resentful and feel like I was being used.  I can’t remember when it was but during a conversation with someone I finally said, “I’ve heard enough of your problems.  Now you’re going to hear about mine.”  Fortunately for this relationship I wasn’t malicious about it.  But being resentful of listening to others problems while I didn’t stand up enough to have others listen to mine cost me at least a couple friendships.  My friends have problems.  I have problems.  We are now more balanced in talking about our issues.  I don’t just do all the giving while not taking some of my own anymore.

I don’t watch any of the 24 hour news broadcasts.  Haven’t for a few years.  Why should I?  I already know there is a lot of trouble and mess out there.  Always has been.  Always will be.  I have no need or desire to know every little bit of trouble going on, whether it’s halfway around the world or halfway across my country.  Seriously, why give myself more stress and anxiety then I already have?  I can’t solve all the world’s problems.  I’m not that good.  Anyone who has any kind of awareness knows that there are serious messes in the world around them.  Just because the world is messed up doesn’t mean I have to be.  Since I learned to let go of things I didn’t personally cause and can’t prevent, my life has had fewer worries and fewer stresses.

Trouble Isn’t New

It’s been quite some time since I last posted.  For that I apologize.  I thought that a repost was in order.

You see it on the news all the time.  In fact, it’s all you see anywhere on TV, the internet, or any kind of media.  Of course I mean absolutely nothing but bad news.  If all you ever saw or experienced was what was being shown on the major networks, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc., it would be understandable why so many people are sad, depressed, and convinced the world was heading to hell in the proverbial hand basket.  It would be easy to believe that all this trouble and chaos is something new and that the past eras were far more stable and peaceful if all we saw was what was shown on modern media.

Oh how sentimental we are.  As someone who grew up in the 1980s, I remember some of the Cold War and the thought that we Americans and the Russians could start a nuclear holocaust.  Three of the earliest movies I remember seeing were ‘War Games’, ‘The Day After’ and ‘Red Dawn.’  As a child, for awhile I was dead convinced that we would get nuked any day.  That was until my parents explained how they had the same fears growing up in the 1950s.  They even told me about the ‘duck and cover’ drills they used to do in school.  My father and grandfather, on separate occasions with almost the same words, finally told me something that stuck with me ever since.  “Trouble ain’t anything new and the good ol’ days ain’t all they’re cracked up to be.”

Let that sink in for awhile.  Sure we have problems.  We’ve had problems.  We’re always going to have problems.  Let me tell you about a little about a time in America’s past.  We had an unpopular war going on.  We had a president, who was hated by some and revered by others, get murdered.  We had draft dodgers and race riots. We had magnificent technologies that got going strong.  Which era am I talking about?  If you thought the 1960s, you’re wrong.  I was actually talking about the 1860s.  Simply replace Vietnam with the Civil War, JFK with Abraham Lincoln, and replace Watts with New York City, the Space Program with The Transcontinental Railroad, and we have the same story line but in entirely separate centuries. 

Sure we have our problems with the NSA issues, debt issues (both national and individual), endless wars, poverty, new sicknesses, etc.  But would we rather have the threat of foreign spies in our highest levels of government (like America did in the 1950s) or the KGB  (as communist Russia had)? Or the debt issues that much of the world outside America has? Or the endless wars that were the Crusades, the 100 Years War, or the such long wars of empire building that ancient Greece and Rome had?  Or would we rather deal with Swine Flu or the Bubonic Plague that claimed close to 1/3 of Europe in the Middle Ages or even the Flu Outbreak of 1918?

I don’t write this to demean the problems we have right now.  I simply write to state we’ve found solutions in the past to past problems and the human spirit that resonates in every one of us has, is, and will keep finding solutions to our problems.  Just as there has always been trouble in the world so will there be people at all levels of societies working on the solutions.