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.

Self Quarantine: March 28 2020

It’s raining and overcast in my home town.  On the surface it looks like a typical early spring day.  Not much traffic on the highway outside my place.  Bought some cleaning supplies yesterday.  Been doing more reading these days.  Contacted a few family members I hadn’t talked to in a while.

Still holding on alright mentally.  I haven’t left my apartment except to pick up deliveries in almost two weeks.  Been watching a lot of comedy and history channels on youtube the last few days.  I try to check the news only a couple times per day.  I’ll have to drop off my rent check in a few days.

Still sleeping a lot.  But sleep is good for the immune system.  And having to avoid people doesn’t bother me as much as it would most people.  Overall things are still going alright.

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.

February 21 2020

Overall I’m feeling pretty decent.  I usually make a point of leaving my apartment at least once a day or host guests.  Whenever I have delivery people come, I usually meet them on the ground floor lobby instead of wait in my apartment.  Been doing this for a week.  It gets me out of the apartment and forces me to socialize more.

Started reading more again.  Had been lazy about that for almost two weeks.  I usually go to bed around 9pm and wake in the middle of the night.  I stay up for usually two to three hours and then go back to sleep, usually until 7am.

I have been fighting a minor cold for a few days.  Just taking vitamin C pills and drinking hot fluids until this clears.  Second cold I’ve had this winter as I had one around New Year’s.

Spring is a few weeks away.  This winter hasn’t seemed as long as some previous winters.  I’m looking forward to warmer weather again and not having to sit under a blanket most of the time.

Mentally I feel pretty decent for the most part.  I sometimes have moments of anxiousness and irritability.  Fortunately I can break out of it usually after a few minutes.  I’m glad I haven’t had problems in front of neighbors or family lately.  Sometimes breathing exercises and just disconnecting for several minutes is enough to let it pass by.

I still talk to my parents two to three times per week.  I call my brother two to three times a month.  He’s usually pretty busy with work and taking kids to sports practices or school activities.  My oldest nephew is a freshman in high school.

Talk to my friends more often.  I have a couple I try to reach out to at least once a day on facebook.  I don’t do much with my groups other than just read posted articles.  I just no longer have the energy or desire to engage in long discussions online except with friends and family.  I see my neighbors a few times a week.  They were kind enough to make dinner for me earlier in the week.

Don’t have much planned for the weekend.  Probably just go outdoors for awhile if the weather isn’t too bad.  Might sleep in too.

Adapting to Changes of Middle Age

Been sleeping more the last few days.  I think I’m trying to fight off a cold, again.  Been hitting the fluids and vitamin C.  Hopefully this passes quickly.  I haven’t been socializing as much the last few days either.  I have been to tired to be much for decent conversation.  I have gone easier on reading the last few days too.  I essentially want to sleep as often as possible.

I getting to where I’m ready for spring.  Spring is usually my happiest time of year, especially in May and June.  For some reason I just don’t well in the heat of late summer.  August is traditionally a tough time for me.  I think I’ve gotten my fill of winter.  Fortunately it hasn’t been as tough of a winter this year as last.  We haven’t had much snow in my town since the first of the year.  The air hasn’t felt dry, it just hasn’t snowed or rained much in my town the last several weeks.

A lot of sickness has been going around my complex and my town this winter.  Other than a bad cold around the first of the year, I have avoided it.  Even though I still don’t socialize much in person, I’ve been making a point of leaving my apartment at least once a day the last few days.  I think I’m just wanting to be out and about more.  Even when I have deliveries to my place, I now meet them in the lobby rather than wait for them at home.  I usually have a decent idea of what time my delivery guys will arrive, so I usually go to the lobby a few minutes before they arrive.  It gives me an extra reason to move around more and gets me out of the apartment, at least for several minutes.

My mother’s birthday was yesterday.  She’s now in her seventies.  I was talking to her yesterday and she said her age doesn’t get her as much as having her youngest son (me) going to be forty this summer.  I guess being forty doesn’t traumatize me as much as I thought it would.  I do regularly shave now as I was noticing a few gray hairs in my beard.  That I spent much of my thirties with a beard.  I haven’t been losing hair but I’ve noticed my hair doesn’t grow as fast as it once did.  The only real part of being middle aged that bothers me is that I just don’t have the endurance I did even a few years ago.  I used to walk 3 miles a day all the way until my mid 30s with no problems.  Most of the jobs I ever had required me to be on my feet most of the time.  I now understand why people look for desk jobs once they hit their late 30s.  My mind is as strong as ever, but the body just isn’t keeping up anymore.  I’m still adapting to this.

I have now accepted that there isn’t any embarrassment in asking for help, especially with physical tasks.  It took me awhile to adapt to this.  For as long as I can remember until a couple years ago, I was the one who was doing physical tasks for others on a daily basis.  When I worked retail, I didn’t mind lifting heavy items or stocking shelves.  I didn’t mind the lifting and walking involved in factory work.  I enjoyed being on my feet when I worked as a janitor for a few years.  But that kind of endurance has faded over the last few years.  I was so used to helping others I didn’t bother to keep track of what I did to help others.  I didn’t mind living on the top floor of an apartment complex and parking as far away as possible from the front door just because I was quite mobile.  Not anymore, at least the mobility part.  I still try to help people, even if it’s as simple as keeping clutter off the floor so my cleaning lady can get her work done quicker.  For years I helped others and didn’t think of doing otherwise.  But I guess now I can ask for help as needed.  See, it does pay to help others.