Plugging Along Through Summer With A Mental Illness

Mentally I’m still stable for the most part.  I sometimes have moments of irritability and anxiety.  They usually last for only a few minutes.  I’m glad I haven’t lashed out at anyone because of these bouts.  I fear with as on edge as most people are these days, my lashing out at even family wouldn’t go over well.  So far I’ve been able to fit and fume to myself and keep these flare ups from blowing up into breakdowns.

My cleaning lady is back on the job.  She comes back in a couple days.  I miss my neighbors.  I was sad to see them leave.  But I am coping alright.

The college football season is all but cancelled in the US.  I’m sad to see this happen but I hope it can come back next fall and we have a mass produced vaccine before long.  I have heard that Russia already has one that they are trying to mass produce.  Reports like this give me hope that the rest of the world can have vaccines soon.  Several other countries, including the US, already have vaccines in human trials.  A hospital in my state was looking for volunteers to test out a possible vaccine.  If I didn’t have a mental illness, I probably would have signed up.

Been sleeping well lately.  I usually sleep four or five hours at a time in the night.  I usually wake at least once to visit the restroom.  If I pace myself and stretch before I get out of bed, I can avoid the worst of the morning aches and pains.  It does take a few minutes, but if I stretch my legs and back before I get out of bed I can get around alright in the mornings.  I still take some advil with breakfast every morning.  I usually take it only once a day.  The daily aches and pains are about the only part of being middle age I don’t care for.  I do miss my easy mobility but I do like the idea of becoming a wise elder. Maybe I can put my knowledge to work afterall.

 

Maintaining Mental and Physical Well Being During A Pandemic

It’s the middle of August.  The weather is still quite hot, so I spend most of my time indoors with a fan running.  Overall I’m feeling stable and content.  I think it helps that I avoid irritable and rude people as much as possible.  I’m now at least a week into giving up coffee.  I’ve replaced it with black tea.  I feel less irritable and paranoid.  I think the caffeine effects me more negatively now than it did even a couple years ago.  I used to drink over six cups of coffee a day with no problems.  Those days aren’t coming back.

I am staying up later and waking up later now.  I usually go to bed at midnight and wake for good at 9am now.  I usually eat only twice a day, with my biggest meal usually being lunch.  I think I’ve lost weight during this pandemic.  I know my clothes fit better and I recover from aches and pains faster.  And I usually make a point to leave my apartment several days a week, even if it’s something as simple as going to the library on my floor or picking up my mail.

As far as my diet goes, I have given up most sugar and carbs.  I eat mostly meat, canned vegetables, soups, etc.  I seem to be less lethargic and irritable with this diet.  I almost never eat bread or pasta anymore.

Had my prescription medications renewed at my last psych doctor’s appointment a couple weeks ago.  We did a teleconference.  So my meds are taken care of for another few months.  Since I get them mailed to my home, I don’t even need to go to the pharmacy anymore.  I do most of my shopping online these days.  If I need anything from a store that doesn’t deliver, I can usually sweet talk one of my neighbors or my cleaning lady to pick it up.

My cleaning lady is back to work.  She had to had surgery two months ago.  Yesterday was her first day back.  I’m glad to see her again.  I get a cleaned home and some conversation while she’s here.  She’s real chatty so she actually likes chatting when she works.  I usually just sit in my recliner and stay out her way when she works.

Overall I’m doing alright in spite the pandemic and economic woes, at least for now.  I’m hopeful as there are several possibilities for vaccines in trials right now.  And we didn’t even know what covid 19 was one year ago.  It’s quite amazing how fast researchers were able to get that work done.  I know some of my friends don’t take covid 19 as seriously as they should, saying things like “it’s not the Black Death.”  Thank God it isn’t.

August 4 2020

Had an appointment with my psych doctor this morning.  We did a conference with an app similar to Zoom.  While my hometown has gotten it easy (so far) as far as the pandemic goes, my doctor offers this service to his patients.  We didn’t make any changes and I’m supposed to see him again in two months.

Been reading much more lately.  I not only read on my e-reader, but I am also reading some of my old hardback books.  Reading some of my old poetry books for the first time in several years.  I usually read in bed as it’s more comfortable for me.

Found out my neighbors are moving out.  I’m sorry to see them go.  We’ve had lots of people come and go this year.  I recently celebrated my 14th anniversary in this complex.  I’m now becoming one of the longest tenured residents in here.  I admit I usually don’t pay much attention to the comings and goings of people unless they’ve been here for a few months.

Been staying up later lately.  I usually stay awake until midnight and wake for good at 8am.  I still wake up at least once in the middle of the night most nights.  My aches and pains are less than usual lately.  Even my morning aches and pains are more bearable.  I usually take some advil in the mornings and that’s all I need.

Mentally I’ve been stable.  I avoid most news channels and social media these days.  I avoid the drama in my complex too.  I no longer have the patience for drama and nonsense.  I can’t remember the last time I watched cable news.  Almost no one I know does anymore.

I’m now almost five months into weathering this pandemic.  I can stay isolated for a long time if necessary.  Able to do this with some planning and buying extra food and supplies every time I get paid.

Quarantine Journal: July 16 2020

Been getting out of my apartment for short periods of time the last few days.  For awhile I had been afraid to leave my place except to pick up deliveries.  A pandemic and a tendency to be afraid of being in public are a nasty mixture.  I’m lifting weights again.  I had taken a few weeks off.  I’m having fewer aches and pains, even in the mornings.  I’m listening to more music again.  Listening to mostly material I liked in high school and college.  It just makes me feel good, maybe it reminds me of when I was in better health and had a better social life.

Starting to sleep less again.  Been staying up later most nights.  I’m now usually up until at least 11pm most nights.  For most of the spring I was going to sleep shortly after sunset and waking up for good shortly after sunrise.  I usually now sleep from 11pm to 8am, with a wake up around 3am to visit the bathroom.

We’ve had pretty hot weather since mid May.  I’m starting to look forward to autumn again.  I usually spend my afternoons reading and watching youtube shows.  Mentally I’ve been feeling stable for the last few weeks.  It helps that I’m not on social media much these days.  Most people I can either call or write emails to.

Paranoia and Fear With Mental Illness

I’ve now spent two months in self quarantine.  While things are opening back up, I’m still staying home.  I’m still paranoid about leaving my apartment.  And I sometimes have anxiety problems.  At least they don’t last very long.  I’ve had only one breakdown since self quarantine started.  That was about a month ago.

I find myself wanting to sleep more.  Sometimes I sleep just out of depression.  Sometimes I’ll just lay in bed for a couple hours in the afternoon just to let my mind wander.  I occasionally have hallucinations, especially as I try to fall asleep.  I often hear footsteps of people that aren’t there.  I sometimes hear knocks on my door when no one is there.  I sometimes hear doors open and close.  And I’m beginning to get paranoid around some of my neighbors.  I sometimes fear they secretly don’t like me and want to get me evicted.  I sometimes fear people will try to break into my place and rob me, sometimes even during daylight hours.  I’m scared my neighbors will try to pick arguments and fights with me sometimes.  It just seems that people are more angry and quicker to fight lately.

I no longer find socializing enjoyable.  I spend most of my time at home.  I’ll sweet talk my neighbors into picking up my mail once a week just so I don’t have to be forced to socialize.  I’m scared I’ll get into a heated conversation that I wanted nothing to do with in the first place.  I don’t even find socializing over the phone very enjoyable anymore.  I fear people will think I’m rude if I don’t want to talk.  So I sometimes lie and say I have another call or someone knocking on my door if I need to end a conversation quickly.  I just don’t want to socialize anymore.  Some days I want to spend all day in bed.  But I don’t simply because I’m paranoid that someone will knock on my door or call my phone and I’ll be expected to answer at a moment’s notice.  I fear people get angry with me if I have to make them wait at all.  I’ve had this fear for most of my life.

Routines During Pandemic

Been a few days since I wrote.  An update is in order.  Had groceries delivered Thursday afternoon.  Frozen meat is now in short supply.  My supermarket is limiting how much people can buy in one purchase.  I was able to get soup and cheese.  Been craving vegetables a lot the last few days.  I’m probably not getting enough in my new diet.

Got my meds refilled a few days ago.  I hope those don’t get in short supply.  I do have reserves but I hope I don’t have to resort to that.  Been sleeping more lately.  I have been stable overall though.  Maybe the extra sleep is keeping me this way.

I see that some places are starting to reopen.  I understand why places need to reopen, especially small family owned businesses.  But I am still worried, at least for myself, that this could start a second wave of infections.  I’m glad I have the option of staying at home even with the lifting of some restrictions.  I see that some of the big soccer leagues in Europe are reopening.  And there are talks here in USA about colleges being open for in person classes this fall.

It’s been an odd last several weeks for me.  It seems like time slowed to a crawl the day the covid 19 was officially declared a pandemic.  So glad that I and most of my friends and family got prepared early.  I feared this could become a major problem as early as late January.  It is encouraging that restrictions are being eased.  Sadly, I fear there simply is no way to keep mass quarantines in place until vaccines are mass produced.  Either way, we are going to take a beating.  Doctors have warned for years this was only a matter of when.

Been keeping in contact with friends and family more.  I call my parents several times per week.  I talk to old friends usually once or twice a week.  I call my brother a few times a month.  I guess if I can’t see people in person, I have to make do with phone calls and video conferencing.

May 3 2020

Got some groceries this weekend.  I was able to get the frozen meat I needed.  I picked up some more cleaning supplies.  I have an order of facemasks coming in a few days.  Those have been tough getting.

Still spending all of my time at home.  It’s starting to get to me a little.  I find myself easily irritated and a little paranoid occasionally.  Glad it doesn’t last long.  I still sleep a great deal.  I usually sleep ten hours a day now.  I have started taking naps in the afternoon again.

Mornings are my toughest time for aches and pains.  I don’t move as quickly as I used to.  My aches are primarily in my knees.  A few minutes of moving around seem to help as much as anything.

Haven’t been to a doctor since December.  I imagine most doctors aren’t seeing anyone for anything unless it’s an emergency.  I can’t imagine how tough this pandemic has been on mentally ill people without regular treatment.  It’s tough enough for me and I take meds every day.

Caring For Physical Health During Quarantine and Hope For The Future

Had a short lived breakdown a few days ago.  I think weeks of isolation finally got to me.  It was intense, but short lived.  In this case, I was able to vent over the phone to my family.  After I had vented for a half hour, I took a long nap.  I was grateful to have not had this breakdown in public.  I fear if I have a breakdown in public I’ll end up in jail.  It seems that in too many cases, people don’t understand mental illness.  I am convinced most people, even with the internet, may not realize just how prevalent mental illnesses really are.

I have some cool neighbors that, while they may not share many of my interests in science and literature, are excellent and understanding people.  They may not share my interests, but at least they don’t condemn me for having different interests.  I sometimes buy them groceries and keep them company while they help with my laundry and cook for me at least a couple times a week.  Even during a pandemic and bad recession, I still have cool neighbors and we help each other out.  It’s helped my physical health to have more home cooked meals and more variety then I normally get.

It’s been several weeks of self quarantine during this outbreak so far. It’s more manageable than it would be otherwise because I stay in contact with my neighbors, friends, and family.  I try to call my parents a few times a week.  I have a friend and some cousins I keep in contact with via Facebook.  I have cool neighbors who have helped me immensely over the last several months.  I just hope I can pay it back and/or forward someday.

Because of my bad back and knee, my mobility is not what it was even a few years ago.  Most jobs I ever had, like factory worker or janitor, I was on my feet for several hours at a time.  If there is anything from my twenties and early thirties I dearly miss, it’s how easy mobility was in those days.  There were many days in those years I would walk all over the neighborhood, the old downtown, and the parks in my town just to break up my days.  While I am happy with the experiences I’ve had in the past and the wisdom I now have as I’m only a few weeks away from my 40th birthday, I do miss my mobility.  I hurt my back in a car accident a few years ago and it was never the same even after rehab.  Granted, being overweight only made my problems worse.  At least I haven’t gained weight for over a year and a half.

While I don’t think I’ve lost weight lately, I don’t think I’ve gained either.  My clothes still fit the same as they did eighteen months ago even with less walking and standing.  I have made changes to my diet and routine that my be keeping me from really tacking on the weight.  I rarely eat carbs or sugars.  I lift weights most days.  I sleep probably nine to ten hours a night most days.  I avoid stressful situations and people as much as possible.  I meditate usually an hour a day.  For this I usually just lie in bed and do breathing exercises.  I turn on my CPAP machine and just do the rhythmic breathing.  I imagine people can get the same benefits through just focusing on their breathing with their eyes closed or through prayer.  It also helps that I eat more vegetables.  Even though most my vegetables are canned or in soups, it’s better than nothing.  I take a multivitamin every morning.  I take a vitamin C pill too.  I’ve heard it can help boost immune system.  While I still get colds, they are usually mild and last only a day or two at most.  Sometimes I will wake up with a bad running nose and sneezing.  After a vitamin C pill and extra fluids with breakfast, I’ll be fine within a few hours.  And my fluids are usually nothing more than just tap water or cold tea.

I still have aches and pains, usually in the mornings.  Sometimes actions as simple as getting up and moving around for a couple minutes can be enough to clear this up.  It can be cleared up with something as simple as getting out of bed, using the bathroom, and doing my morning wash up routines.  Warm baths can help with sore joints too.  My dad always said soaking his hands in warm water every morning helps with the pain in his fingers and thumbs.  Now that I’m starting to have sore knees, I understand why he does this every morning.  Many times the best thing I can do for sore joints is to force myself to move around.  Even when I’m working on a blog or watching a movie, I force myself to stand up usually once every hour no matter how busy I am.  I do the same thing when I’m reading a book in bed.  My joints thank me when I move around more regularly.  Maybe it was a good thing that I rarely had desk jobs in my younger years.

Even during a quarantine and major recession I try to stay optimistic and positive.  I usually make myself watch at least one encouraging video per day on Youtube.  I have been watching videos on positives that are coming due to the pandemic.  One positive for me is that I am forced to watch my physical well being more closely and I have more of a sense of urgency to stay in contact with family and friends.  In the past, I was sometimes guilty of being annoyed if a friend or family member called my phone when I was preoccupied.  I’m not nearly this bad anymore.  I don’t even really get that annoyed when someone calls and I’m in the bathroom or sleeping.  I’ve even found myself telling my friends when they found out I was asleep, “I needed to be woke up anyway.  Don’t feel bad.”

We are now several weeks into this crisis.  While I’m not naïve enough to believe we will have major sporting events even this fall, I am hopeful that we can weather this crisis.  To quote Matt Damon from ‘The Martian’, we will “have to science the **** out of this” but we are already doing this.  I am hopeful we can have a vaccine and or effective treatments for this corona virus by this time next year.  My mother remembers the polio crisis in the 1950s and getting vaccinated when she was a child. I imagine the generation that are children right now will be talking about the corona quarantines of 2020 even when they are old men and women.  Hopefully, a few of them can be talking about while living in colonies on the moon and Mars.  As bad as the job losses and conflicting information has been in 2020, I can’t imagine how tough this pandemic would have been had it happened back even in the 1980s before easy access to internet and the medical testing we have now.

April 5 2020 Quarantine

Slept quite late this morning.  Made some ramen noodles for lunch.  Broke into an old computer game I hadn’t played in months.  Currently working on Rome Total War.  Been listening to more music too.  Playing some blues classics on my spotify account.  Lifted weights this morning.  Thinking about redecorating my apartment.  Taking some vitamin supplements as my diet has gotten pretty basic the last couple weeks.  I don’t buy a lot of things, like fresh vegetables, that can spoil quickly anymore.

Haven’t talked to my friends this weekend.  Talked to mom and dad for a long time last night.  I haven’t had visitors to my apartment since my neighbors helped with my laundry a few days ago.  I have some more groceries coming tomorrow morning.  I usually make smaller orders more often.  Sometimes things I order aren’t in stock.  I guess it was only a matter of time before supply chains became disrupted.

April 2 2020

Went to bed right after sunset last night.  Must have slept for over 10 hours.  I had some groceries and medications delivered yesterday.  I have some more groceries coming on Friday morning.  So far I haven’t had a problem getting food.  Cleaning supplies, especially Lysol spray is a different story.

There are now at least a few cases in my town.  Don’t know much else about details.  As far as I know, no one in my complex has gotten ill.  I still haven’t gone out in public since mid March.  I check in on my neighbors every day.  I usually just call them or knock on their door and chat for a minute or two.  I still lift weights.  I can feel the old strength starting to come back.

Been watching an ancient history series on Netflix the last couple days.  Halfway through the series right now.  I think I’m going to watch The Men Who Built America this weekend.  History Channel put out some pretty good series about 8 to 10 years ago.

I have my cleaner coming this afternoon.  Even during a crisis, the place has to stay cleaned up.  I usually just sit in my recliner just to stay out of her way.  She seems to enjoy chatting while she works.

I still talk to my mom and dad every day, usually in the mornings.  My brother and his wife often work from home now.  A friend of mine and her husband are both working from home now in Omaha.

I saw that like six million people in the US alone have filed for unemployment.  Certainly tough times for lots of families.  None of my friends have had to file yet.  A friend of mine in Lincoln has been having coughing and fever for a few days now.  Since she works at a pharmacy she has been taking sick leave.  She was wearing face masks and gloves in public weeks before it became a thing here in the US, especially as she takes public transit to work.

One of my neighbors is planning on planting a vegetable garden once the weather warms up for good.  My mom has already put in a vegetable and flower garden at her house in Oklahoma City.  Most homeowners I personally know are doing this.

Been kind of lazy about reading traditional books this week.  I am reading a lot of online articles even though I try to avoid the news.  Not much I can do besides stay home and wash my hands several times a day.  Been buying groceries more often but in smaller batches.  I don’t buy for two weeks at a time anymore.  I have plenty of non perishables already.  About all I need to buy any more is fresh meat and vegetables.

I saw that the feds approved a stimulus check for most US citizens.  I don’t know if I’ll get a check.  But as I’m debt free and can do alright on my disability pension, I have no clue what I’m doing with it.  Won’t get much letting it sit in a savings account.