Easter Sunday, Self Quarantine, and Mental Illness

It is Easter Sunday as I write this entry.  Happy Easter to all my Christian friends and readers!  Even though I haven’t been a regular attender of church services for several years, it just felt odd this year that attending Easter services and then going to my aunt and uncle’s farmstead for dinner and having my cousins’ kids hunt for Easter eggs and candy in my uncles large back yard wasn’t an option this year.  I heard even the Pope delivered his Easter Mass to an empty Vatican this morning.  But we are living in trying times that people will still be talking about even a century from now, much like we talk about the Spanish Flu outbreak of one hundred years ago.

We had a bad ice storm this morning.  The power went down for over three hours.  Luckily, the water still worked.  I wrapped in blankets and read some while I waited for the power to return.  Did some Skype with my mom and dad this afternoon.  Their church hosted Easter services online.  I heard that one of their church’s members died from coronavirus earlier this month.  I called a college friend of mine today too.  He said they had over twelve inches of snow in his hometown in South Dakota.  Both he and his wife are teachers at the local high school.  They are always busy with teaching their students online and taking care of their very active two year old daughter now.  He and I are both missing baseball right now.

With the exception of today, the weather has been pretty decent and typical of early spring in Nebraska.  It’s sunny during the days but still kind of chilly at night.  I usually have my windows open during the daylight hours.  Even though I don’t leave my apartment much besides picking up deliveries, I still get some sunshine through my open windows most days.

My neighbors made Easter dinner for me and a few other tenants this evening.  Had ham and cheese.  I don’t usually cook anything extravagant as I mostly cook only for myself.  I am still good on non perishables like soup mix, peanut butter, honey, ramen noodles, and canned vegetables.  I broke down and ordered some frozen meat through my supermarket.  That’s supposed to arrive Monday afternoon.

My cleaning lady arrived on Thursday.  She was wearing a mask and surgical gloves while she worked.  I wore a facemask while she was at my place.  I wear masks when I have guests or when I pick up deliveries.  So far, I’m holding good on supplies even after a month of self quarantine.  Back in early February, I was talking with my best friend and she mentioned that she was doing early preps in case things got bad.  She lives in Denver and works in an essential industry.  She’s out in this mess most days.  But she keeps a constant supply of hand sanitizer on her person.  A friend of mine who works in a pharmacy had to take a leave of absence from work because she was fighting sicknesses and has preexisting conditions that would have made coronavirus even worse.

I’ve been self quarantine for over a month now.  I am still holding pretty well overall.  While I occasionally have moments of flare ups and irritability, I haven’t had a full psych breakdown since before this mess started.  I still take my psych meds every day.  And I meditate and sleep more these days.  I still lift weights most days.  I eat healthy and avoid sugars for the most part.  I have weathered the last thirty days well.  Looks like I can look forward to at least another thirty days of self quarantine.  Yet, I still feel hopeful overall.  So far, we haven’t had mass unrest or civil problems, at least not here in the USA.  I am also encouraged by how people are helping each other out more.  I suppose the best I can do is stay home, stay sane, and write about my experiences.  Hopefully I can be an encouragement to those not managing as well as I am.

Self Quarantine: March 27 2020

Stayed up later than usual last night.  I was chatting with an old friend via facebook.  Woke up to a foggy and damp morning.  Had my cleaning lady arrive yesterday.  So I’m set for a few days.  Had to order some cleaning supplies and those should be coming this afternoon.

I’m making a point of reading the news only once or twice daily.  I saw that the Prime Minister of England has now tested positive for covid 19.  Other than that I haven’t read much.  I haven’t been feeling sick or anything like that.  Maybe the self isolating is helping.

I have been reading more.  I guess I’m getting burned out on looking at a computer or tv screen much of the time.  I make it a point to do meditation and breathing exercises at least twice a day.

At this point I’m still holding up well.  Just waiting and taking everything one day at a time like most of the world at this time.

Emergency Preparation and Disability

A few years ago I wrote a couple articles about emergency preparations.  Now that COVID 19 has been officially declared a pandemic, now is a good time to review this.

Some musts people must have include several days worth of emergency food, mainly non perishables that require little to no preparation.  Things like beans, rice, canned foods, jerky, peanut butter (if you are not allergic), honey, several days worth of bottled water in case the water goes out are a good place to start.  The best are things that don’t need to be kept cold and or won’t spoil for a long time.

Other things that will be needed are extra over the counter medications like pain pills, cold medicines, flu medicines, nasal spray, and a first aid kit.  With as overwhelmed as hospitals could become, you may have to rely on yourself, family, and neighbors for anything that isn’t life threatening.

Prescription medications are a problem.  Most places won’t allow you to fill several months worth of medications at once.  It’s simply against the law.  Prescription meds are a tough call.  As for me, I have a set up where I get my meds filled for 90 days at a time.  I also had some samples from doctor’s appointments.  Do not go off your meds, especially anti psych meds.  We’re all already under stress as is.  Going off psych meds during a crisis like we are facing will make things even worse.

Having cash on you may be a good idea, especially if the power goes down or there are bank runs or ATMs run out of cash.  Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when away from home.

Get on good terms with neighbors and family if you aren’t already.  If things get really bad, like survival type situations, you will be glad you have a close by network of neighbors, friends, and family to fall back on.  I am limited mobility now, but I am on good terms with most of my neighbors and my land lady.  It helps that I helped out lots of people when I was still healthy and very mobile.

Also, wash your hands with soap and water.  I can’t stress this enough.  Avoid going out in public if you feel like you have a fever or are getting sick.  Stay home if you have to.  Wearing a face mask is not going to keep you from getting sick.  What it can do is, if you are sick, reduce the spread of germs from you to everyone else.

Finally, we are living in a time and place where history is being made on a daily basis.  Our descendants will be talking about these days years after all of us are gone.  Stay calm and avoid large crowds as much as possible.  Don’t be touching other people unless necessary.  We are living during stressful times.  But most will make it through.

Pain and Depression

Haven’t been writing much the last few days.  Starting to sleep more again. Been fighting a cold for several days too.  Been waking up with unexplainable aches and pains the last several mornings.  This morning, my ankle hurt so much I could barely walk.  Pretty much spent the day sitting down or in bed just from the pain.  I couldn’t even answer the door or get to the phone because my ankle hurts so bad.  Oddly, pain pills and even ice don’t seem to do much for it.  It’s been a frustrating last few days.

Haven’t been having much anxiety lately.  But I have been having problems with depression and irritability.  I sometimes get irritated when I’m physically sick.  I’m not usually very good company when I’m sick or hurting.  I’m sorry for that.

Been discouraged and depressed more lately.  I make efforts to find what is going right out there.  Sometimes that can tough to find.  I haven’t had much for conversation the last few days.  Just haven’t been in the mood.  I feel lonely yet I don’t enjoy socializing, at least I haven’t lately.

Thoughts on Isolation

Been isolating a lot lately.  I sometimes have entire days when I don’t even leave my apartment anymore.  I’m just burned out on people in general.  Even though I sleep at night I find myself wanting to sleep almost all the time anymore.  Seems like the only time I don’t feel anxious or depressed is when I’m asleep.  I have gotten to where I am anxious every time I even hear people talking out in my hallway or even when I hear footsteps in my hall.  My neighbors had an argument this morning I could hear through my wall.  Made me definitely not want to leave my apartment today.

I know that eventually I’ll just have to gather my courage and force myself to leave my apartment just to do laundry and check my mail.  But I really have gotten to where I no longer trust anyone it seems.  I’m afraid of people more or less.  Seems that everyone I meet is in a foul mood all the time.  Of course going online to look my friends up doesn’t help any as foul moods and arguments are the rule online anymore.  A friend of mine once suggested I start a youtube channel and just do voice over videos.  Not a chance.  YouTube comment sections are even nastier than twitter or facebook.  We have near god like capabilities with our current state of tech yet we act completely uncivilized online.  If I acted a fraction that rude in public, I’d expect to get a beating or a jail cell.  Though knowing my countrymen’s attitudes about guns, I’d probably get shot rather quickly.

At this point I don’t feel sorry for isolating or having all my groceries delivered to my apartment.  I don’t regret that it’s been two months since I had guests in my apartment. I don’t regret rarely leaving my apartment.  I don’t regret being lonely.  I’d much rather be lonely than made miserable by other miserable people.  In some ways I am glad I am an outcast and an outsider on mainstream civilization. I’m burned out on all the fighting and negativity I see every hour of every day.  I’m tired of people being ugly and evil to each other all the time.  I’ll interact with some people via phone or online chat.  The rest of humanity is welcome to keep it’s distance until they come back to their senses and act like civilized people again.

Being Physically Sick With A Mental Illness

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I’ve been fighting off a real bad cold for the last several days.  While not as bad as some sicknesses more common in the winter months, it has taken a lot of strength out of me.  Since I also have mental illness issues, the decreased physical wellness has effected the mental health some.  I imagine many people with a mental illness diagnosis have flare ups of their problems when they are also physically sick.  I am no exception as my physical health impacts my mental health.

As a result of the constant coughing, sneezing, hacking, muscle aches, and general all around feeling of blah, I have made it a point to keep isolated.  Not just so I don’t get anyone else sick, but I am also prone to easier mental irritability and sensory overload.  I get sensory overload even on a good day, especially when I go to large public places like a shopping center, a ballgame, a concert, or even watching tv programs.  My family members can’t believe how low I keep the volumes on my tv, my iPod, etc. while I have a hard time trying to figure out how most people can have such dulled senses and notice almost nothing that goes on around them.  Some think I’m being hyper vigilant, but I just easily notice things that few can.  But when I’m sick, I really do get easily overloaded, notice even more of what goes on around me, as well as more observant of my own physical health.

It is my observation with schizophrenia are that many of the problems (namely short temper, depression, and a sense of being overwhelmed) become more easily triggered while I have a cold, a flu virus, strep throat, or any kind of infection.  Oddly, I don’t get these problems when I have abnormal physical pain.  But I rarely feel abnormal physical pain as I do have a higher tolerance for physical pain than most people I personally know, which from what I’ve researched isn’t uncommon for people with a schizophrenia diagnosis.

I am interested to hear from others with mental health issues, and it doesn’t have to be an actual diagnosis, whether or not having physical illnesses can make mental issues worse.  In my case, being sick makes it easier for me to be prone to irritability and depression.  Yet it has yet to lead to a complete psychiatric break.  I think being physically ill takes enough out of me mentally and physically to get one of those going, thank goodness.  Any thoughts on physical illness mixed with mental health issues?