Been trying my hand at being more social in person and online the last couple weeks. Turns out it’s causing me more frustrations than anything. I try to talk to people in my complex, all they want to do is complain. I try to talk to my friends and family online, all the want to do is complain about anything and everything. And I’m burned out on socializing after only a couple weeks. I’m going back to hiding out with my books and computers. At this point I don’t want visitors in my apartment at all. I don’t want to socialize in person anymore, at least until normal people stop complaining about anything and everything. Socializing is supposed to be fun, remember? Does anyone just take a night off from their troubles and have a few laughs? Certainly doesn’t seem like from my friends and family and friends of friends anymore. I have better conversations with several of the members of my science and futurism groups than I do with most people I’ve known my entire life anymore. And I’m never going to meet any of these people in person. It’s quite sad, at least I think it is. I’m not delusional enough to believe if I moved to a larger city that my social prospects would ever change. It’s not that I fear stupid and rude people in themselves. I am scared that eventually I will become stupid, rude, and jaded myself. I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want my heart and soul to die because most people around me allowed theirs to die long ago. If isolating from other people is going to keep me humane, than so be it. It has been said that men go insane in herds and only come to their senses one at a time. True, too painfully true. Too bad pessimism is the spirit of our age, at least it is for most people I deal with on a regular basis.
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.
Currently in the middle of my spring cleaning. It’s not going as fast as I would like it to though. My lower back flares up after being on my feet for awhile so I have to go slower than I used to. I am beginning to fear that lower back pain is something I’ll be fighting for the rest of my life. One of the reasons this is turning into a bigger than usual job is that I wasn’t keeping up on the cleaning and maintenance this winter like I had in years past. I didn’t keep up on it because of the back pain and occasional bouts of depression to where I didn’t want to do anything but read and watch youtube videos. I went through a lot of that last fall and this past winter. I don’t know if it was the weather that had me depressed or if the illness was flaring up in different ways than previously. I did go through bad bouts of paranoia when I would sometimes go two to three days in a row without leaving my apartment. I don’t get the paranoia nearly as bad anymore. I don’t know if the weather turning warmer or just the natural cycles of my schizophrenia is causing these changes.
It’s not that I was lazy about my upkeep just because I was lazy. I have lived on my own more or less for fourteen years and I always made a point to keep my place picked up and better looking than most bachelor pads. I think the mental illness was effecting me more this last fall and winter than I would have cared to admit. Looking back on some of my winter writings I was really paranoid and too often had delusional feelings of persecution that, in reality, were alive only in my stressed and diseased mind. I have to admit as my paranoia can flare up worse than in years past and with my physical health not as robust as it once was, I have to bring in outside help. I am convinced I’ll need to reconfigure my budget and hire a regular cleaning service. Sometimes I’d be depressed about the apartment looking shabby and the apartment looked shabby because I was too depressed and paranoid to do anything about it. I know I can get back on top of my current issues. Living on my own for fourteen years I have proven to myself and others that I can even if it takes me a little longer than many average people. It’s just a matter of doing so.
I know that sometimes in my blog I probably appear over optimistic about having schizophrenia and being an adult in general. Sometimes that is be encouraging to the readers, sometimes I write things I need myself to hear. I imagine I have been overly optimistic when I wasn’t in the grips of paranoia and delusion this winter.
In other news, I think I’m starting to lose weight again. I can tell my clothes are fitting looser and my back pain isn’t as intense. As far as my diet goes, I have cut out pasta, rice, and bread. I eat mostly grilled lean meats and vegetables anymore. And I think I’m starting to see some results. I want to get back on top of everything that slid during my fall and winter bouts of depression, paranoia, delusions, and anxiety. At least I no longer feel anxious when I hear footsteps in the hallway. So that’s a start.
We got several inches of snow over the weekend. Of course with it being mid April the weather warmed up again within a day or two and I didn’t have to shovel my car out of the snow. Hopefully it will warm up for good now. Been spending too much time indoors and avoiding the cold for the last few months. And I think I’m finally getting cabin fever because of it. Took four months but it is finally starting to creep in.
I admit to staying home and not getting out much this winter. Other than a few days at my parents’ house in February I haven’t been outside of my town this winter. I’m glad my town is big enough to have everything I need and good delivery service. Yet it’s small enough it’s easy to navigate around when I’m inclined to want to drive. After many weeks of not wanting to leave my complex, I am now the total opposite. I want to get out and about. I think I’m getting burned out on phone calls, computer games, internet research, keeping in contact via social media, etc. I am ready to get out and interact in person again. I’ve spent enough time hibernating in my “cave.” I need to get out and about again.
It’s been a while since I last wrote. I couldn’t do much online after my computer crashed over a week ago. I managed to recover my mac and I now have a new PC too. Being offline more or less for over a week made me realize just how much I use my computer. I managed to recover my mac by watching several how to vids on youtube. I’m glad I found some advice that worked for my problems. It saved me from going to the shop. Now that I have both my mac and PC back, I feel like I can move on.
During my forced hiatus from my online activity, I did some reading and more sleeping than was probably healthy. Sometimes I just slept out of boredom. I still had my phone so I kept in contact with family and friends. But it was kind of lonely at times as many of my friends I keep in contact with via social media sites. And of course I couldn’t post blogs without a keyboard. I tried to post via my smart phone, but my fat fingers make typing on the phone almost impossible. I’ll never complain about people using shortcuts in their text messages anymore after that.
Overall I’ve felt good. It’s been quite cold with snow for the last couple weeks. Haven’t gotten out as much as I should because of that. I just can’t endure cold weather as well as I could even a few years ago. Been stable overall even if a little lonely and kind of unmotivated. It doesn’t really bother me anymore that I don’t want to go out much. I know, that should bother me. But I have been an introvert my entire life. And sometimes I don’t mind going entire days without talking to anyone anymore. I couldn’t make it a permanent thing, but I can isolate for a few days and be content if needed.
I don’t have any plans for any major changes or shakeups for the next few weeks. Right now I’m just taking it one day at a time as we go through winter. I really don’t like driving on ice and snow anymore. And we’ve had continuous snow cover since before Christmas. But we have another four to six weeks of this left. I should feel guilty for isolating and not socializing this winter but I really don’t this winter. And I’m not exactly sure why I isolate so much. Maybe the depression is creeping back in. Or maybe I’m more selective about whom I spend my finite time with as I age.
Haven’t been out that much the last few days besides getting a little sunshine everyday, at least on days the sun is shining. We’ve been getting rain everyday it seems for almost two weeks. So I’ve been living off my food reserves and rarely leaving the apartment the last few days.
Not that I really mind. Sometimes it’s therapeutic just being alone with my thoughts for hours on end. It takes me a long time to fall asleep anymore, but I spend most of the time trying to fall asleep allowing my mind to wander. I am sometimes my own best company.
In the past I’ve tried day programs designed for mentally ill people. But much of what went on seemed quite remedial to me, almost like a rehash of grade school. I found such programs quite boring and didn’t make any friends there.
I’m finding it harder to make friends the older I get. Most people my age have careers and families. I really can’t relate to either one. And some people don’t want to friend me because I don’t have a family or a career. And it’s really tough making friends in my apartment complex anymore. Half of the people in my complex are senior citizens, and some of them seem resentful that I live in low income housing with them. The other half are people with chronic illnesses and developmental disabilities. It can get lonely in here at times. I know that spending most of my life alone isn’t healthy. But many people I just can’t relate to because I’m terrible at small talk. Too bad there aren’t communes for eccentric people like me with a variety of interests. Kind of like dormitory living for adults. I know, not going to happen.
The depression occasionally crops up. Fortunately the delusions and paranoia hasn’t followed. I have lost interest in many things I once found enjoyable. I no longer like travel. I no longer like fishing. I don’t even read as much as I used to. Maybe I’m entering a new phase of my illness. In a lot of ways, the illness itself is much easier to cope with than ten to fifteen years ago. But I still do get kind of sad when I look at my friends and people I went to school with and I get to see what they’ve accomplished and their families. I definitely feel like I’m missing out. At least I can still write about these issues. It’s the closest thing to a career I’ll ever have.
Been a few days since I last wrote. But that is mainly because I really haven’t had any real ups or downs. I’ve been quite stable for several days. Haven’t felt any real anxiety or depression for any true length of time. I still spend most of my time alone without much for physical interaction. But I still interact with friends and family via phone calls and Facebook. I don’t mind being alone as much as I used to. It’s a routine that doesn’t cause me stress and anxiety. I just see no need to interact with my neighbors much as I really have no interest in talking about mundane things like weather and complex gossip. I just have no use for that kind of information I can pick up on my own within seconds. I don’t have to rehash the same mundane nonsense over and over again. It bores me and irritates me. I mean, seriously, please tell me something I don’t already know. Or better yet, tell me something that is interesting.
Naturally many people I have met over the years have thought I was aloof, arrogant, and anti social. This is mainly because I have interests outside of my home community, sports, and politics. It was tough growing up in an era before the internet in an isolated village. I was annoyed at how everyone in my village thought my business was their business. This bothered me even in grade school. I had always heard “If you’re not up to anything bad, it shouldn’t matter who knows”. No. Most people I knew and know today are really judgmental of anyone outside of the accepted norm. I am outside of the norm on just about everything. Playing football in high school was probably the only thing I did growing up that many people would have thought normal. No I don’t like mindless chit chat. No I don’t like chasing women. No I don’t like most of what is on tv. There’s a lot of things I like that most people don’t care at all about. I like discussing the possibilities of future science and technology. I like discussing history. I like discussing philosophy. I like discussing classical literature. I like writing. I like reading. It seems that most people I know haven’t read a book since high school. And if any of likes or dislikes makes me appear as an elitist intellectual snob, than so be it. We need more people who try to think rather than just through life sub conscious.
None of these social problems are made easier by having schizophrenia. But at least having mental illness and problems socializing has taught me who is and who isn’t trustworthy. I may not have lots of social contacts, but I do have some amazing family and friends. And in the end, isn’t that what life is all about?