Adjusting To Spring

It is starting to look and feel like spring again. Saw my first lightning of the season on Easter Sunday. The trees outside my window starting leafing this morning. Been watching lots of baseball the last few days. And I put some of my winter clothes away.

I’m still listening to audiobooks on youtube, mostly history and economics these last few days. Listening to some old radio shows too. Listened to a few episodes of The Shadow from the late 1930s. Been sleeping a lot lately. I usually go to bed around 10pm and wake up for good around 5am. Mentally I feel pretty stable. I usually do better on days I avoid aimless social media use and news casts. Have had only one major breakdown since last fall. Late summers are usually my toughest time of year.

Still taking it all one day at a time. At this point I’ve adapted to spending most of my time alone. I no longer feel guilty for not wanting to socialize with toxic and rude people. I’m glad I can keep myself good company. Alone time doesn’t bother me anymore. Sometimes it’s when I have my happiest and most peaceful moments.

Jan 26 2021

We got over a foot of snow on the ground right now. I’m staying inside for awhile. I’m content to read, play computer games, and stay warm. I was supposed to have a couple packages from Amazon come this afternoon. Don’t know if they’ll be delayed or not. Packages delayed by snowstorms isn’t a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination.

I am still sleeping a great deal. Most nights I go to bed around 10pm and wake for good around 9am. I wake up a couple times in the middle of the night to go to the restroom and stretch. I usually get stiff and sore after sleeping for several hours. I have found stretching for a minute or two before I get out of bed can knock most of this down.

I haven’t visited my neighbors this week. I’m pretty content to stay home and keep to myself and my audiobooks. Typical mid winter for me.

I have all but given up on social media. I chat with a few friends, a couple neighbors, and a couple cousins. That is it. If I don’t know someone in person I will no longer chat with them over social media. It’s no longer worth the headaches and stress. The only reason I keep facebook is so I can have instant messaging. I cancelled twitter over a year ago. I understand why many social media sites are becoming ghost towns. It’s no longer any fun outside of close friends and family.

Inspiration and Bringing To Light The Things Done In Secret

Even though I’ve been feeling hopeful and optimistic overall during the last couple weeks, I still don’t socialize in person much. Then again, that could be why I’m optimistic. While most people have been allowing themselves to be bombarded by constant bad news, I’ve been making efforts to figure out what is actually going right. My entire life I’ve heard that the world was messed up and we would collapse back to the Stone Age any day now. It really messed with my head when I was growing up. It was one of the reasons I preferred to spend most of my days alone in my backyard. I’d spend hours on end out there pacing through the cedar and cherry trees making up stories. I’d made up stories of heroes, future worlds where we solved most of our current problems (like climate change, poverty, war, disease, etc.) and were exploring outer and inner space. I never read comic books or science fiction novels as a kid. The nearest bookstore was over an hour drive away. Most people in my hometown thought “The Simpsons” and “South Park” were morally degenerate but war movies, westerns, and crime dramas were “wholesome family entertainment.”

As I didn’t have much inspiring hope in me as a kid, I had to manufacture my own. Granted, this was in the years before youtube and binge watching Star Trek reruns on Netflix. My best friend from my teenage years (the same lady who is my best friend even now) was probably even more alienated and an outsider than I was. I could at least fake enthusiasm in things like watching sports and politics I didn’t agree with. And I still do, mainly as a mechanism to appear like one of the crowd. I am actually more effected by the reactions of my family and friends to things like politics and our team suffering a losing streak than I am the politics and losing itself. Sadly, social media only amplified this.

Yet, I’m still thankful that enough people had the vision and ability to make social media work to bring it to the world at large. Sure, it was painful seeing sides of people I had known my entire life I would have wished I never knew existed. But I also found out who were really cool people I could count on in times of crisis. I may have lost lots of friends over the last several years, but I strengthened others in the process. Social media and the last few years of social unrest and change have really driven home the fact that most people have the friends they have, not because of shared interests and values, but due to lack of options. I have often had more acceptance and friendship from strangers I’ll never meet in my various facebook groups than I experienced from some people I have known since childhood.

Social media also allowed me to find out who the really toxic people were in my life. Once I gave up trying to talk sense into these people, I cut them out of my life. It was a tough process, but one that was worth it. People like that have always been toxic. It was just in previous eras this toxicity would have never been made public knowledge. These may have been the types of people who were pillars of the community in public but beat and shamed their children and spouse behind closed doors. One positive about social media is that is exposed the con artists and liars for what they are. People like that could have gone entire lifetimes being such and would have probably never been detected. The people who can be aware of how messed up those in power and in our own social circle can be are figuring it out. We don’t necessary need an entire population of citizens aware of how bad they are being cheated by those in authority that have never cared about them. Just enough to force changes are necessary.

Sometimes all it takes is the actions of only one really dedicated individual to inspire others whom in term inspire others. I mean, does anyone know who Gandhi’s brothers and sisters were (without going to wikipedia)? Or Isaac Newton’s? Or Greta Thunberg’s? Or Martin Luther King’s? Short term, fear and hate usually win. Long term, it is usually love and hope that wins out. Sure we have our problems and always will. But that doesn’t mean that progress is in illusion. I absolutely despise people who believe progress isn’t real and that even individual people can’t change. I’ve ended friendships over these attitudes. I spent my entire childhood being bombarded by negativity, pessimism, and fear. I will never go back. Hell, I feel like I was cheated by my elders for trying to steal my optimism and hope. They may have fought to take my hope and crush my spirit and kill my creativity. But they failed and they failed miserably. If anything, they made my resolve even stronger. And I’m not unique in this regard. I imagine every city, town, village, cross roads, tribe, etc. all over the world has at least a few kids who were “hopeless dreamers” who refused to be “practical” in spite of the negativity and punishments of their elders. And many of these kids grew up to be the adults who made positive change possible in their own ways. The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are often the ones who accomplish just that. In short, now is probably one of the lousiest times in human history to be a pessimist who naively clings to comfortable lies of the past. It is also an awful time to a tyrant so seeks to divide people and rule through fear.

Social Media Detox, Caffeine Detox, and Holding Onto Close Friends and Family

Mentally I’m feeling stable, at least as stable as a schizophrenic can be during a pandemic and economic depression.  I think it helps that I don’t watch the news or spend much time on social media anymore.  I have a few friends I hear from on facebook, but I no longer participate in any groups.  I may read posted articles about science and tech, but I no longer comment on them.  Too many people just looking for arguments.  And I’m burned out on it.  I no longer have the patience to deal with people I never met who wouldn’t dare act that way to someone in person.  Over the last few years, I’ve also purged close to 80 percent of my friends’ list.  So much for social media bringing people together.  At least I still hear from old friends and some family.

Been out and about a few times over the last week.  I still keep to myself mostly.  My neighbors moved out a week ago.  I’m sad they are gone.  They were the best neighbors I ever had in my entire life even going back to childhood.

I have been staying up later and waking up later the last few weeks.  I usually stay awake until midnight, wake up in the middle of the night at least once, and them am awake for good by 9 am.  I have odd dreams, but they aren’t scary.  Mostly they are about having to redo high school or college or about friends from my past.

Been cutting back on caffeine.  I’m giving up coffee.  It’s makes me too irritable.  I mostly drink just water anymore.  I rarely eat carbs.  I don’t even buy bread.  Most of the groceries I buy are frozen meat, canned vegetables, soups, etc.  I haven’t been having problems getting what I need lately.  But I still stock up on non perishables in case there are shortages again.  I fear we still have a long way to go for this pandemic and depression to be over.

Quarantine April 8 2020

Been warmer and sunny the last two days.  While I didn’t go outside, I did have my windows open during daylight hours.  Even though spring has officially started, we are supposed to have some chilly weather starting this weekend.  My town has even a forecast for snow on Easter Sunday.

My neighbor gave me a facemask two days ago.  I wear it whenever I answer the door.  I haven’t had any deliveries for a couple days.  I’m sitting alright in terms of supplies and food.  So glad I listened when one of my friends mentioned back in early February that this could outbreak could get rough.  Allowed me to beat the rush when it came to getting supplies.

Social distancing hasn’t been much of a problem for me.  I was isolating and not going out as much for at least the previous year.  Now I no longer have to feel guilty for it.  I haven’t had any symptoms, at least not yet.  I do take vitamin supplements every morning with breakfast.  I still wash and disinfect my hands several times a day.

Talked to my cousin this afternoon over facebook.  She is married to a career Navy man.  She’s handling it alright, even with two young children.  My hometown has at least a couple dozen cases, but then I do live in a small town of less than 40,000 people.  It is a college town, and with the college going to only online classes, there aren’t as many people in town.  It feels quiet like summer around here, granted without the warm weather.  My town always comes back to life in late August when the college students come back.  Even though it’s been 15 years since I was a college student myself, I still have many happy memories from those years.  And I am grateful that facebook allows me to keep in touch with many of my old classmates.  My dad had always said he regretted not keeping in closer contact with his college and Air Force friends.  I hope people my age and younger don’t make the same mistake.

Sleeping well overall.  Been feeling stable for the most part.  I sometimes do get a little irritable.  I guess it was only a matter of time before some of the symptoms of my schizophrenia crept back in.  I don’t feel paranoid about my neighbors, landlady, or even the coronavirus.  But I guess I do sometimes get irritable about having to stay home all the time and just being so limited.  Yet I can deal with this.  Just press through.  If my grandparents’ generation had to go to war or work in war time industries, then the least I can do is stay home and stay healthy until the pandemic burns out.

I still take my psych medications every day.  I’m not about to ration those.  I have a set up with my doctor and my pharmacy where I get 90 day supplies at a time.  And I have been able to change over to having my medications mailed to my house so I don’t have to drive out in a blizzard or anything like that.  I also had some samples saved up from my doctor’s appointments.  I explained to the doctor why I wanted to do it this way.  I was completely up front in saying in case I couldn’t get out for several days I wanted an emergency supply.  I’m grateful he agreed.  I guess growing up in a farming community and having lots of farmers and small business owners on both sides of my family, we took emergency preparation seriously.  No, we didn’t build a fallout shelter in my cellar or listen to conspiracy theories when I was growing up.  But, with the nearest Wal Mart over an hour drive away and the nearest grocery store being a 15 minute drive away, we knew very early on if we had some emergency, whether a natural disaster, etc., we would have to be on our own for at least several days.  Every farmer I knew had either a gas powered generator, solar panels for emergency electricity, or both even back in the 1980s.  Having a plan for emergencies is a good insurance policy.  I sleep better at night knowing I can weather at least some crisis.

 

Self Quarantine April 4 2020

I was tired enough I went to bed around 9pm.  Woke in the middle of the night to take my medications.  Stayed up for a few hours playing computer games.  Went back to bed for a few hours until 9 am this morning.  Spent most of yesterday reading.  Picked up some meat from grocery delivery.  Should last me several days.  I usually make smaller orders than usual lately.  Sometimes the store is out of what I order.  So I make up for it by ordering smaller orders twice a week instead of the every two weeks I did before the outbreak.

When I wasn’t reading I was listening to music.  Put some of the music I listened to in high school and college on.  I no longer have music CDs.  I get most of my music via youtube or spotify these days.  And it doesn’t cost me a dime.  I don’t mind sitting through advertisements every few songs, at least as long as it’s free.

I haven’t spent much time on social media the last couple days.  Usually go on to promote my blog posts and drop in on a few friends.  I still talk to my parents most days.

I am still lifting weights almost every day.  I regained much of my lost strength from when I took a couple weeks off during my remodel.  I don’t sit as long as I used to.  I make a point to get up at least once an hour.  I get fewer aches and pains that way.

I’m sitting good on supplies still.  The thing I may be running out of before long is change for laundry.  I no longer have a car so going to the bank to buy quarters isn’t an option.  And I think most banks have the walk in closed.  It seems the things we run out of the fastest are never things we think about when preparing for emergencies.  I still have some cash but no way to get to the bank, at least not right now.

 

January 21 2020

Been an uneventful week so far.  Too cold to really go outside for long.  So I’ve been staying home and catching up on reading.  I’m now a third of the way through ‘Wealth of Nations’ and halfway through ‘The Prince.’  I’ve also watched some educational videos on youtube the last few days.

I’ve found myself being a little more easily irritable for a couple days.  So I cut back on caffeine and forced myself to nap a little more during the day.  It’s beginning to work.  Talked to my parents for over an hour last night.  Watched some football on Sunday.  As far as the Super Bowl goes, I guess it really doesn’t matter to me who wins.  I just want to see an exciting game. And I talk with friends on facebook a little every day.  I sometimes forget it wasn’t always this easy to keep in touch with friends and family.  I don’t participate much in my groups these days as I mostly use facebook to talk to old friends and extended family.  I don’t watch news anymore.  I guess I don’t know many people under age 50 who do watch news on a regular basis anymore.

As far as tv watching goes, I watch mostly youtube anymore.  I did watch a couple superhero movies on my amazon account over the last several days.  I saw the first Iron Man and Man of Steel over the last few weeks.  Saw Black Panther a couple months ago.  Saw Avatar a few weeks ago.

Haven’t talked to my neighbors for a few days.  I am probably going to call them this afternoon and see how they are doing.  One of my neighbors had surgery a month ago and has been more or less house bound since.  His wife occasionally makes dinner for me, usually a couple times a week.  Haven’t been outside the complex for awhile.  Just too cold to be out.  Even though I live within walking distance of a couple restaurants, I don’t eat much fast food anymore.  I haven’t even eaten at McDonald’s in over a year.

I still lift weights three to four times a week.  As I get stronger, I add new exercises and more reps.  While I may not be losing weight, I know I am getting stronger.  I still get winded sometimes but I recover much faster now than a year ago.  I may not leave my apartment every day, but I do make a point of getting up and walking around at least once an hour.  About the only time I have aches and pains anymore is when I wake up or have eaten too much sugar and caffeine.

I guess I’ve fully entered my winter routines.  I don’t mind the cold weather, especially since I no longer have to drive in ice and snow anymore.  And sleeping under fleece blankets feels so good.

December 3 2019

Had my annual physical checkup this morning.  Sadly I haven’t lost any weight since last year, yet I didn’t gain any either.  The really strange thing is my clothing fits better than even last year.  I don’t know if it’s because I gained muscle or if I’m just delusional again.  I started on a blood pressure medication.  Not surprised as my dad has been taking blood pressure medications for over thirty years.  My lab results will be coming back in a day or two.  The big things I got taken care of was the new blood pressure medication, new prescription for a cpap machine, got the paperwork going to try to get some home health aide programs, and just getting everything up to speed again.

I had a physical back in summer 2018.  Shortly after I developed serious agrophobia.  I got to where I was fearful of driving.  I finally sold my car several weeks ago.  I heard it went to a good home.  I got to where I wouldn’t even leave my home most days.  I was just that fearful of being out in public.  And just spending time at home no doubt made my physical health worse and led to the paranoia and phobias just building on themselves.  When I was out in the parking lot waiting for my ride to the doctor’s office, I had two residents who thought I had moved out.  No I haven’t moved out.  I am just home bound most days.

Things have been going down hill for me for right on five years now.  I had three good friends die within six months of each other.  They all lived in my complex.  Then I had another friend die in 2016, also in my complex.  I had my car accident in 2015.  That was the beginning of the end of my road trips.  After that car accident, I went into a deep depression and gained well over 100 pounds in three years.  I had a few rounds of physical therapy.  But that car accident really took most of my confidence.  2016 and 2017 were even more depressing as I had falling outs with most of my family and friends, mostly over politics and religion.  I am still not on speaking terms with much of my family or some of my old college friends.  The whole thing has become a mess I am too overwhelmed to deal with.

I tried to talk to an old friend about toning it down some, but he wouldn’t have anything to do with it.  Told me it was my fault for being so sensitive and triggered.  Well, screw you!  If we as a civilization have gotten to where we no longer care about friends’ emotional health and generally don’t care about empathy, then I want no part of it.  I don’t understand people who care more about politics and religion than their oldest friends.  I never will.  Hell, I don’t want to understand people like that.  The only real positive that has come out of everything falling apart for me is that I got to find out what friends and family were genuine and which ones were frauds.  Sadly I lost most of my friends and don’t talk to most of my family besides my parents and a couple cousins.  Yes I said frauds.  If you care more about your precious damn politics than you do friends and family, you are a fraud.  End of discussion.  This is not open to debate.  You will not be responded to.  You were never a good person.  I’m glad you are out of my life.  Don’t ever come back.

Removing Myself From Social Media and Thoughts on Change

I decided I’m giving up social media.  I cancelled my twitter account and have put my facebook on inactive status.  I spend too much time on facebook and not enough time actually writing and researching.  I have only a couple close friends and a few cousins I really hear from anymore via facebook.  I would have given it up over a year ago if I wasn’t fearful I’d permanently lose contact with my friends and family.  I tired writing more emails several months ago, but got only one response from the dozen I sent out.  I suppose it feeds into my paranoia that my friends and family really don’t like me that much.  Every time I call my parents, the bulk of the conversation focuses on what I can do to improve myself and how to make my apartment more presentable.  I find this irritating.  I really do.  I can’t even just live anymore.  At this point in my life, I don’t care if I impress people or am popular.  I have never been popular, not even in college or high school.  But I had a good time in college because I got to spend time with people even more eccentric and academically oriented than myself on a daily basis.  I know many people condemn academic knowledge, scholarly pursuits, and intelligence.  I have endured this my entire life.  And I have given up on people ever changing their attitudes towards intelligence and wisdom.  I just want to live and be allowed to pursue my goals, which include learning as much as I possibly can about as many subjects as I can.  I don’t give a damn if I ever make a cent off my pursuits of knowledge and wisdom.  As long as I have enough money to make rent and keep my pantry stocked and myself clothed and my psych medications current, everything else is just add ons.  I don’t need a large house, a prestigious career, a trophy wife, lots of kids, a fancy car, designer clothes, or the respect of people I have nothing in common with.  I never have.  I was, like many ambitious teenagers, brainwashed into thinking I needed such nonsense to have a fulfilled life.  It took a serious mental illness and struggling for most of my twenties to realize that wasn’t what I wanted for myself.  And it took a few more years to where I got to the point when I no longer felt shame for not wanting a life I had no say in designing.

I don’t feel shame for not wanting to be rich or famous.  I don’t write blogs every few days with the idea I will get noticed and make a train load of money.  I write for a record of what it like to be a mentally ill man in early 21st century America.  I don’t write just for my current audience.  I write for future generations so there is at least one record as to what mental illness meant in the early stages of the Information Revolution.  And make no mistake, our species and our civilizations are going through a period of transition at very least as profound as the Agricultural Revolution thousands of years ago and the Industrial Revolution hundreds of years ago.  It should be no wonder so many people are afraid and angry.  Afraid of what’s happening and what is going to happen.  Angry that we found that much of what we learned in our youths and what worked well in previous generations is starting to no longer apply.

We are at a point in history when our science and tech is advancing faster than our institutions of government, religion, education, finance, industry, and social norms.  At this point in time (November 2019), the world is far different than the one I went to high school in during the 1990s.  I’ve recently rewatched some of the tv shows that were popular when I was a teenager, and it’s almost quaint looking at some of the tech that was considered cutting edge twenty five years ago.  Even in the Matrix series, there were no smart phones, social media, video sharing platforms, laptop computers, etc.  There were still phone booths in that series and that was made only twenty years ago.  I didn’t notice the subtle changes that were happening over the course of a year or two when things were happening.  But looking at it over the span of twenty years, I am as a 39 year old man living in a world that is foreign to the one I occupied at age 16.  I’m not even sure my niece and nephews have seen a VCR tape anywhere outside of a history show or museum.  I sometimes chuckle when I see older people who don’t research online as much as my cohorts do.  But my teenage nephews would chuckle that I have never run a 3D printer or used a VR headset.  One of my nephews recently bought a VR headset from money he raised working odd jobs for his parents and neighbors.  He set up a VR flying simulator for my father.  As for me, I’m waiting a couple of years for the prices to drop and the tech to get more user friendly.  As crazy as the changes I have seen in the last twenty years have been, I guarantee the next twenty will be even more so.  At this point I’m just content to buckle up and enjoy the ride from my apartment in small town Nebraska.

Asking For Assistance While Mentally Ill or Thank You Facebook

Unfortunately my cell phone malfunctioned and quit working a couple days ago.  But thanks to email and social media, I was able to get in touch with my family and tell them what happened and see if I can get a replacement.  After several messages back and forth, I am able to get a replacement sent to my house within a few days.  I still have a bit of a fear of large crowds and driving, so that is why I am unable to get this done in person.  But, I had back ups via email and social media to get in touch with people who can help me out in this problem.  And the kicker is my family wasn’t at their house at the time.  They were able to arrange all of this via their own phones while at a family reunion in a small Colorado town hundreds of miles from their home.  Quite amazing what be accomplished, not only just by asking trusted family and friends, but when you tie support in with modern communication tech.  Thanks dad, mom, and everyone else who made this possible.  There is no why I can pay you back.  So I have to “pay it forward” and help others out when they are in distress.  In short, it pays to have a good support system, whether they are understanding family, close friends, counselors, social workers, home health aides, etc.  We as humans were never meant to be everything to ourselves.  That was true in the Stone Age and it’s even more true now in the early 21st century.  I guess this could be marked up to a positive story about how good social media and communication tech can be when used properly.  Thank you Mr. Zuckerberg 🙂