Getting out of the apartment several times a day now. Have been for the last several days. Catching up on the news of what’s been going on around the complex and meeting some of the new residents who moved in during the summer. Seems like we have a few really cool people move in lately, and some of them are even in my age bracket and younger. So I might be rebuilding some of my social safety nets that had fallen apart over the last few years.
I haven’t been as social over the last three years as I had been previously. I think some of it started when three of my friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other. Then we had a few problem residents come in that gave problems to everyone. So I started isolating to avoid the drama. Then my grandmother died, which I think I took harder subconsciously than I realized at the time. My car accident in late 2015 left me scared to drive and not able to trust other drivers on the road for a long time. 2016 is a lost year as far as I’m concerned. The drama and emotions from the elections caused me so much grief and anxiety. I also lost some good friends and lost contact with some extended family because of those emotions running hot.
After months of hot emotions and people going insane over the pettiest things, 2017 was another tough year. I spent most of that year alone. I rarely visited friends or family. I went entire days without leaving my apartment. I more or less lost my ability to see anything decent in other humans, especially people in my immediate life. I devoted most of 2017 to my writing and self directed scholarly endeavors. Seeing some of the advances that were rapidly being developed was one of the few things that gave me hope in those dark years. Like a fool I tried to share this information with people, but almost no one took me seriously. I had some jerks tell me I was “fake news” and a liar. “Fake news” is another stupid phrase I despise. After a few episodes of this, I became real despondent. I lost myself in computer games and youtube videos and just became annoyed and irritated with people in general. The less I had to deal with flesh and bone people, the better as far as I was concerned.
But after almost three years of depression imposed exile and hermitage, I am slowly becoming more social. I actually want to socialize now. I truly believe that the type of people one surrounds themselves with can effect your mental and even physical health. I have believed this for years. But since most people I knew and ran into on a daily basis were in foul and angry moods, it just seemed better to just isolate, stay out of sight, and hope to God that people eventually came back to their senses. I’m thinking that people, at least the ones I associate with, are starting to come back to their senses. I certainly hope so. The last three years were lonely years. The only years I would rather relive less is my late teens and early twenties before I was being treated for mental illness.
Currently going through a prolonged period of stability. My levels of depression and anxiety have been quite low lately. When I do have such issues, they don’t last long and aren’t very bad. I haven’t had a breakdown of any kind in months. Haven’t been hospitalized for almost five years now. I was having feelings of depression and paranoia earlier this year but I wasn’t overly concerned about it as I wasn’t having the anger or aggression issues that traditionally went with it. Sure I would go days without leaving my apartment, but I wasn’t excessively angry or looking for arguments. So I wasn’t as worried as I should have been. Not wanting to socialize for long stretches of time isn’t normal for me. Sure I have had stretches when I wanted to be left alone for several hours or a day at most. But I was going sometimes entire weeks when I’d leave my apartment only two or three times the entire week.
Naturally some of my neighbors became concerned. I may have never been Mr. Popular but I made it a point to be polite and thoughtful to everyone I met. Yet as I wasn’t even socializing, nor did I want to, that wasn’t normal for me. I have never been one to just bunker down for days. I had gotten to that point, particularly during the winter. It wasn’t my traditional problem with mental illness, but it was a different one.
People do tend to change some with age. I imagine mental illness issues are probably not much different. Aspects of my personality and habits have altered over the years. I’m not as hot tempered as I was even five years ago. I laugh more often now than I did in my twenties. I enjoy the little things of life more. Overall, I’m happier now in my late 30s than I was in my late 20s. And this is despite my physical health not being as good as it was ten years ago or my being more social than I am now. I think I have gotten happier and more calm with age. And I quite enjoy it.
Even though I haven’t been socializing much in person lately, I still make a point of calling friends and family often. I visited my parents in person a couple times already this summer. I saw my nephews and niece on my birthday last month. I call home at least twice a week. And I try to contact old college friends a couple times a month. Even though the last time I saw some of my college friends was three years ago, I still pick up with them like I never left off. And I’m getting better about dropping in on friends on facebook more often. I had been avoiding socializing over facebook for a year or two because of how contentious things could get even among friends. But I think people are starting to adapt and use more caution and tactfulness when online now. But two or three years ago, it was practically a nasty free for all that I wanted little to do with. I wound up unfollowing most of my friends and family (and unwisely ended a few friendships too) just because I was tired of all the divisions and fighting.
Originally facebook was a godsend for someone like me who wanted to stay in contact with people but wasn’t exactly sure how to do it. I readily admit I don’t have great social skills. I never really have. But I do get lonely at times, even when I don’t show it. Sometimes the best thing a person can do with someone who struggles with mental illness and socializing is to make the first move and just ask us how are things going. I am convinced that much of the stress of modern living is due to us not having as strong as personal social bonds as even our grandparents had. Life may have been shorter and more physically demanding during the Depression, the World Wars, and definitely during the frontier days, but they were made bearable because people had living and breathing friends they could count on for things as mundane as playing a game of cards or having dinner together after a long day in the fields. I think if we ever rediscovered the joy of having nearby friends in our neighborhoods and communities, we would see fewer cases of suicide, violent crimes, and drug addictions. I am convinced that much of these happen because some people don’t have that sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.
Even though I haven’t been to church services regularly or been part of civic organizations for a few years, I understand why things like church, local sports teams, neighborhood associations, and civic clubs like the Elks Lodge or the Masonic Lodge are popular among those who participate; they give a sense of belonging and community. I guess I get my sense of community from shared interests in a few of the science groups I’m part of via facebook and through my blog. I used to be a member of a local writers’ guild. It’s too bad that group kind of faded away after a few of our members moved away. A sense of community is important for people. We are by nature social animals, have been long before recored history. Even the most introverted humans are more social than many animals in the wild.
Even though I have been feeling quite stable overall, I have very little desire to leave my apartment complex except when necessary. I am still a little paranoid about people I meet in public. And I am somewhat that way about people within my own complex. It’s sad to say, but I think I have developed a phobia of people in general. I really don’t interact with anyone in person unless necessary. Anymore I prefer to communicate by phone or social media rather than in person. I didn’t used to be like this. But anymore I am paranoid and scared to venture out in public, sometimes leading me to neglecting to run errands unless absolutely vital. Anymore when I do leave my apartment complex, it’s usually at night so I don’t have to deal with crowds or strangers. I’m even starting to become afraid of the people in my complex. I am scared that many people in my complex don’t like me. I suspect some of the elderly residents don’t like younger people on disability living in here. But I hope that’s my paranoia being in high gear and nothing more.
My illness has changed over the course of the years. I can more easily deal with the delusional thoughts, hallucinations, and anger. But dealing with the paranoia and problems socializing have gotten slightly worse. Anymore I desire to be alone most of the time. Most people I don’t want to socialize with. And it’s often because I am afraid of them. My fear stems from not being able to read unspoken cues and body language. I also have no concept of how to deal with office politics and the nonsense social games that many normals seem to fair well under. I don’t understand office politics. And it has cost me several jobs over the years. I have no desire to “man up” and go back to a regular job mainly because of office politics. Personally, I hope that automation takes a lot of these jobs and people will have to find other ways to define themselves besides job titles and money. I had to once it became painfully obvious that my hopes of a career were killed by my mental illness. Adaptation is the best strategy in living rather than holding on to a past that isn’t coming back. I’m not going to regain my ability to work a forty hour a week job and I have accepted that. And I no longer feel shame when anyone tells me I’m making my problems up or that I’m not worthy of living because I don’t have some remedial and repetitive job that will probably be taken over by machines in not too many years. I know what I have been thorough and have dealt with. No one else has. So these people can condemn all they want, but their condemnations mean nothing to me.
Been getting out a little more the last few days in spite the cold. Saw my psych doctor on a cancelation appointment the other day. We made some adjustments in the psych medications. I added a third med. I also saw a general practice doctor yesterday. We decided to add a blood pressure medication. I’m not really surprised as high blood pressure runs in my family. So it looks like I’m getting out and about more and starting to get back on top of my health. I let a lot of that slide over the last several months when I was sleeping a lot and had no energy.
I haven’t been reading as much as I would like lately. I’ve also been kind of lazy about writing. Mentally I have felt quite stable. Haven’t had any real bouts of depression or anxiety for a long time. The delusions and hallucinations are at a minimum. I still don’t socialize much in person, but I just don’t isolate as much anymore either. I hope I can make more progress with the holidays coming up. It’s been too long since I last had real good socializing.
Been going through changes the last several days. I finally broke my habit of staying up all night and then sleeping much of the day. Took a few months to break that habit. Now I’m usually up around 6 am and in bed by 10pm. And yet my routines don’t feel that different. I’ve been getting out of the apartment more and spending time outdoors. It helps that the weather has turned cooler.
Even though I leave my apartment several times a day, I still haven’t been outside of my hometown for several weeks. While I still have a little phobia about driving, I do drive more than I used to. It’s just that it’s all in town and stop and go driving. I really don’t have much choice but to overcome my fear of driving as my hometown doesn’t have good public transit. Fortunately I can everything I need within city limits. That’s one of the advantages of living in a college town that the farm village I grew up in never had. As it is, I have to buy fuel for my car only once a month anymore. Used to be I had to buy every week when I lived with my parents when I was in high school and college.
Didn’t go out for Halloween. I stayed home and watched a few supernatural thrillers and listened to the old ‘War of the Worlds’ radio broadcast on youtube. Spent most of my nights in October watching playoff baseball. So I guess I have to find a new way to spend my evenings.
Overall I feel pretty calm and content. I still have auditory hallucinations a couple times a day, usually hearing footsteps that aren’t there or my phone ringing when no one is calling. The real odd thing is that most of my hallucinations now come shortly after I wake up and before I get out of bed. I still get enough sleep. I think the consistent sleep helps keep me stable. I still avoid rude, obnoxious, and irritable people as much as I can. That definitely helps keep me stable even if it does hurt my social life.
At this point of my life, I have come to the conclusion that small talk and casual acquaintances are overrated. Most people simply don’t have deep and connecting conversations with very many people. I would rather bond to some family members and a few close friends as opposed to have lots of meaningless casual conversations with legions of fair weather friends. I love being an introvert. Most of my friends are deep thinking introverts. Being a people person is something that does not come natural to me. On top of that, I think it’s overrated. It doesn’t bother me that I sometimes spend entire days alone without talking to anyone at all. I rather enjoy my privacy and freedom to think and explore different ideas. I really don’t enjoy socializing that much. Most times, people won’t talk about anything beyond the weather, sports, or how much they hate their job. To me, it gets boring and mind numbing really quick. I wouldn’t be much fun at a cocktail party. Even though I’m not sure I could qualify, I think it’s too bad my hometown doesn’t have a MENSA chapter or some social group similar. I really crave intelligent conversation and mental exercise. Learning new things actually gives me joy and makes me feel good physically. Unfortunately I don’t get this much when socializing with most people. I have painfully found out that many smart people have lousy social lives. I am no exception.
Had some workers do some roofing work at my apartment complex today. So I didn’t get to sleep as much during the day as I normally do. But it was a beautiful day for that kind of work. I’m glad it was done before first snow. Maybe today will help break me of sleeping in the day and being awake at night.
Still staying awake much of the night. This has to be effecting me more than I realize. I still get sleep, it’s just when I get it that’s different from everyone else. I hope this is a phase that will pass before long. Mentally I’m still stable. I don’t have many bad days or flare ups. I still don’t like venturing out on the streets and driving much. It’s kind of tough just wanting to stay home all the time. I didn’t use to be this way. I was always going somewhere as a kid. I preferred going to friends’ houses instead of having them come to mine. Now I have to force myself to leave my apartment every day. Don’t want to get too house bound.
I’m so glad I’m not having bad hallucinations with this current trend of fearing leaving my apartment. I sometimes hear footsteps that aren’t there in addition to the phone ringing when it’s not. At this point it’s more annoying then frightening. I’m glad I’m not dealing with all my past problems in addition to my new ones.
About the only real positive coming out of me staying home more is that I eat less fast food now. So I am eating healthier and cheaper too. I am glad I was taught how to cook when I was growing up. I guess I can find some positives in my current situation.