It’s been another good day. I spent the afternoon hosting my neighbors as visitors. They were here for a couple hours. I forgot how good it was to have visitors that weren’t family. I had been isolating more or less for months. I hope this is because of paranoia on my part. But I just don’t feel safe in public anymore. Haven’t for a long time. I guess spending most of my time at home, reading books, writing, and working on computer games has become the new normal for me. I no longer want to deal with outside drama. Some people can be so mean anymore.
I’m having fewer aches and pains overall. The worst is when I wake up in the mornings. After a soak in a hot bath, and my morning routines I feel better. I make it a point to stand up for a couple minutes every hour or so. Used to be I would sit for hours on end when reading, writing, etc. I don’t want to do that anymore. It wasn’t healthy.
Been writing a few emails. Got a couple responses from an old friend from high school. I find it easier to communicate via email than social media. Social media is alright to drop in for a couple minutes. But it simply wasn’t designed for long, drawn out conversations. Those are the exact conversations I crave. My best conversations have never been over facebook. But I and my friends are rediscovering emails. I now treat them like traditional letters.
Haven’t had much to report lately. Been pretty quiet as far as the illness goes. The rest of my life has been pretty quiet too. Sleeping more than usual lately. I sleep a few hours in the overnight and then usually nap in the afternoons.
Feeling pretty stable overall. Haven’t had much for even minor flare ups. I think it helps that I’m avoiding negative people and news. I have also been two weeks without coffee, which is probably the longest I have gone since my college years. I am convinced caffeine was effecting me more than even a few years ago. Now that I’m in my late 30s I find there are some things that effect me more than previously. I think caffeine is one of them. I also no longer like sugar or carbs as much. I pretty much crave meat and vegetables anymore.
I just don’t have a lot to report. I’m happy it’s football season and cooler weather is near. I also look forward to the baseball playoffs in October. Fall is my favorite time of year for sports and spring is probably my favorite time of year overall.
Haven’t been doing well lately. Spent the better part of the last week and a half being a hermit and trying to avoid everyone else’s drama. Decided to venture out today. First thing I see as soon as I leave my apartment is several of my neighbors involved in a major argument. It was bad enough I should have called the police on these people. But it wouldn’t have done any good and would have made me a marked man among my neighbors. I rarely long for the past, but the level of civility I see among my neighbors and friends is pathetic. I’ve say they are like children but even children don’t act as bad as what I see and hear on a daily basis. We say to ourselves “I ain’t sparing the rod on my child because that ain’t what my daddy did.” I see more adults who could use spankings and beatings than I do children anymore.
I have reached my breaking point. I have spent months more or less alone because I no longer want to deal with rude and irritable people all the time. And when I do get out to socialize, I am constantly bombarded by negativity and stupidity. It’s enough to make a man pull his hair out. It is healthy to cut negative people out of your life, I am living proof of that. But, when the vast majority of people near you are in a negative and toxic mood, it makes for many long days at home alone. Maybe I just have too much compassion. Maybe I just have too strong of feelings and passions. I definitely am a passionate person who will speak his mind even if it is unpopular. Been this way since childhood. It made me an outcast as a child and got me ignored as a young man and now it’s driving wedges between myself and my neighbors and friends. I hate having strong passions and feeling. I hate having schizophrenia make these feelings even stronger. I am sorry I am what I am.
After several rougher than usual days, I’m starting back on the mend. Feeling depressed, anxious, and paranoid really drains me. I still don’t socialize much other than phone calls and blogging. I have recently gone entire days without leaving my apartment. And it saddens me. I am afraid to travel, so I don’t get to see many friends or family. I don’t even like driving across town to buy groceries and house supplies anymore. I’m just so afraid and paranoid much of the time anymore.
Maybe the problems I traditionally have in late summer finally caught up to me. I just usually want to just curl up under a heavy blanket and try to sleep much of the time. It’s usually hunger that causes me to get out of bed.
In spite my recent issues I attempt to stay optimistic. Granted I haven’t been real successful at this lately. I attempt to avoid angry and irritable people as much as possible. It would be better for me and everyone involved if I just wasn’t as sensitive to these kinds of things as I am. Yet, for better and worse, it is how I am wired mentally. Losing my sensitivity, compassion, and empathy would involve destroying who I am mentally. It would mean being someone I have never been. I just can’t do it. I now understand why I never succeeded in a workplace environment. I just have too much compassion and empathy.
Now that the holidays have come and passed, I am settling into my winter routines. I find that I am spending much of my day reading online articles and reading books. I don’t play as many computer games as I used to. I’m finding myself dining out less as I’ve had fast food only once in the last week. I’ve been eating less than normal the last week. I can tell I feel less sluggish because I’m not eating so much unhealthy fast food. I do sleep more than I did during the summer. But it does help pass the time when so much of the day is dark and cold. I don’t just go out and drive my car much anymore. While I have conquered my fear of driving I just see no need to do much of it anymore. I fuel my car probably only once a month now. I just see no need to really go anywhere unless it’s necessary. I can do most of my socializing online and via cell phone now.
I’ve been reading on some of the books I bought over the last couple months. I’m reading a lot of online articles too. Just because I don’t have many guests in my apartment doesn’t mean that I don’t socialize. I’m slowly starting to socialize more over Facebook and even in the hallways of my apartment complex. It has been a slow process getting over my paranoia and fear of socializing. And it’s one that’s not completed by any means.
I haven’t seen any regular tv in the last several weeks besides live sports. For a couple weeks around Christmas there were college football bowl games on every night it seemed. I would have a game on in the background most days while I was working online but I wasn’t really paying attention to the games. I guess I just feel guilty about watching young men maim themselves for my enjoyment the older I get. I probably should watch more soccer or basketball until baseball starts again. I just don’t watch a lot of tv. I avoid the news channels as they are mostly negative news that doesn’t effect me. Bad things have been happening all over the world throughout history, it’s just now that we know about it instantly with our communication tech. The world isn’t more violent than in the past, it’s just better informed.
I’m starting to settle into winter routines. Been reading a lot of online articles, been reading my amazon books, been listening to free podcasts through youtube, and I’m generally feeling stable and content since the weather started turning colder. I’m ready to face the winter.
It’s been almost three weeks since I threw out my back. I can get around pretty decent for the most part. The mornings are the only difficulty, especially the first time I stand up after waking. In spite of my back issues I’ve been socializing more. I went to a writers’ support group on Monday night for the first time in over a year. Told people about my blog. My blog is the primary writing activity I have right now. I do occasionally write poetry but there is such a limited market for poetry. I haven’t written any kind of fiction for almost three years. But then I’ve always preferred reading nonfiction to fiction.
Mentally I’ve been very stable for quite awhile. I call at least one person over the phone every day now. Usually family or close friends. Things have gotten a little less contentious at my apartment complex in recent months. We’ve had a couple problem residents I haven’t seen in weeks so I’m guessing they moved out. After ten years in the same complex I really don’t pay much attention to who moves in and who moves out. I just pretty much keep to myself and the handful of friends I have here. The friend I made back in the winter moved out a month ago. But I’m kind of used to that by now.
I rejoined my old writers support group. I’m probably going to rejoin my mental illness support group as soon as my back clears up. There is a second writers’ support group that meets twice monthly at the local library that I’m joining starting next week. In short I’m beginning to put myself out there socially.
Been seriously tracking my diet for a week. I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost. Probably not as much as I normally would as I’m not yet very active. I won’t be very active until my back completely heals. The best I can do right now is put strict limits on what I eat and keep a positive mind set.
Today is also my birthday. I am now 36 years old. I don’t have much planned today besides going out to lunch with my family. Can’t really do a great deal for at least the short term. But the back has cleared immensely since two weeks ago. I just have to keep doing things to encourage the healing process until I’m back to full speed.
Now that I have my medication situation under control I’ve been easing back into more of a normal type of life. At least it’s as normal as a life of mental illness is going to get. One of the aspects of my life that is starting to resemble normal is my social life. Just last week I spent two hours outdoors chatting with two of my neighbors. Three days ago I chatted with a third neighbor for over an hour. Today I chatted one on one with another neighbor for almost two hours. Those are the three longest conversations I’ve had with someone who wasn’t family in months. I still make a point of calling my parents at least twice a week. It’s not just Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day I talk to my parents. I still go to counseling twice a month with the same counselor I’ve had for the last year and a half. We have a pretty good thing going. I also have a good deal going with my psych doctor. I do kind of worry because both of these men are getting close to retirement age. So I’ll be in the market for new therapists and doctors within a few years. I’m so glad the subject of DNA testing came up with my psych doctor. The medication I changed to was one my DNA tests said would work really well for me. So the DNA testing has already paid off. We might make another change within a few weeks. But things seem to be working well enough now we might not even need to make a second change.
I’m also noticing I can now go entire days without feeling irritable. I don’t even really get irritable while driving. Since I usually drive a little slower than speed limit, especially in town, I usually get passed and sometimes cut off. But neither really bothers me that much anymore. And I’m beginning to drive more again. For several months I drove only when I had to run errands or to visit my family. I rarely made spontaneous trips. And being in an auto accident several months ago didn’t help any. Even though I wasn’t at fault in that accident I lost some confidence in my driving ability. It’s now coming back. I haven’t set out on a long road trip yet but I probably will this summer. I try to take at least one several hour road trip every summer.
I’m also having fewer auditory hallucinations. For me, my hallucinations were almost always voices. Occasionally I hear foot steps and doors closing that no one else does, which can be quite creepy. Voices and foot steps are the two biggest hallucinations I have. If one were to watch me closely when I’m alone, you could see my lips move and I would be speaking under my breath. That’s how the hallucinations make themselves manifest. It no doubt looks very odd but hopefully it’s not as painfully obvious as some schizophrenic hallucinations. I can have entire conversations with the voices and not even speak loud enough to be heard. But since most of the voices are quite nasty and critical it’s not like the conversations are enriching or enjoyable. But I’m getting to where I now have much more conversation with real flesh and blood people than just isolating and arguing with my hallucinations.