Got an earlier than usual start to this day. It’s still dark as I write this. Got only five hours of sleep last night. I had been getting eight or so for weeks. I hope this change in sleep patterns isn’t a prelude to problems. But overall I feel quite well. Sometimes I do get kind of lonely though. Socializing over facebook and phone just isn’t the same as seeing someone in person. But I don’t socialize much in person because it seems that so many people I come into contact with are in foul and irritable moods all the time. Don’t know what to make of it. I just don’t want that negativity rubbing off on me. I don’t have the energy or the time to deal with needless drama anymore. I’m too old for it. As it is I’m content to stay alone for the time being.
I’m still sleeping more than normal. I usually sleep ten to twelve hours a night now. But when I’m not asleep I usually want to be outside and chatting with other residents and friends. I can say, at least for now, I’m not as annoyed by small talk and complaints as I have been in months past. I don’t know if it’s the healthier diet or getting more sleep that’s helping me feel less easily irritated.
I’m also finding I just don’t play computer games for a few hours at a time anymore. I’ve recently had entire days I don’t touch the gaming computer. That’s another positive change I’ve noticed. Sometimes I’d play games to escape from rude and irritable people. But I’ve been less irritated and less bothered by rude people lately.
I’m still not going to engage in political discussions or sports fan forums. I’m on too much of a winning streak to risk jeopardizing it or trivial nonsense and tripe. I mean, does anyone really change their minds on issues because of memes, being name called, being trolled, or even by statistics? Sounds like pointless posturing and mindless tribalism as far as I’m concerned. Besides, for as much as these things get reported on, they really don’t make as much of a difference as people would like you to believe. That’s why I focus on science, tech, and medical advances. It’s too easy to get discouraged from the news as they only report on a fraction of a fraction of what’s truly going on.
I still read a lot. Been kind of lazy about my audiobooks. I’ll pick those up again in time. Things like that come and go in cycles. But I have been socializing and reading more often. I let my mind wander more often and just let it go off on tangents and just see what ideas I can come up with. I’m looking for ideas for new poems or even ideas for novel drafts. As much as I love nonfiction, I really don’t have the credentials to get published as a nonfiction science or mental health writer. Besides, I’m having more fun and getting better audiences with this small blog than I ever did the traditional writing route. We are indeed living in some amazing times my friends. It’s sometimes too easy to forget this.
After a few days of preventative maintenance and taking more note of my mental well being, I think the feelings of anxiety, irritability, and depression are starting to dissipate. Sure I had to isolate for a couple days and I did sleep more than usual, but it seems to have worked. Overall I’m feeling more stable and I did leave my complex a couple times yesterday just to get some sunshine and make sure my car still runs properly. I don’t drive as much as I used to. But then I can do most of my socializing at home via phone calls, social media, and my blog. I don’t deal with nearly as much negativity as I once did. Two years ago, it was almost unbearable. But I have since learned who and what to avoid and I don’t closely follow anyone besides family, close friends, and discussion groups I’m interested in. Thank goodness for the unfollow buttons. I lost a few friends before I discovered what useful and tactful tools they could be. Even though the tempers have cooled some since the darkest days, I’m still kind of afraid to reestablish contact with people I’ve cut out or have cut me out. Hopefully it’s just the paranoia talking and not hard reality.
As it is anymore I rather enjoy staying home. I sometimes don’t even mind hosting guests. I’ve hosted college friends several times over the years. And I even hosted the previous two Foster family Christmas celebrations. The only real request I have is give me at bare minimum a few days notice. I am self conscious about my place and have come to accept that no matter how much I do with it, it isn’t going to please anyone but me. I never did just subjective crap like that when the goal line wasn’t universal but different for everyone. Even in high school speech and one act plays, I didn’t care about the awards and trophies. I mainly wanted to hear the audience laugh and think because of my performances.
I’m glad that summer is all but over. We have had some cooler and cloudy days lately mixed in the excessive heat typical of a Nebraska August. Makes me think that fall and winter are on the way. And I’ve always done my best writing and creative work during the cold weather. I also like some of the not so over the top Christmas decorations, New Year’s Day college football games, and being able to buy discounted chocolate after Valentine’s Day. I think that winter and spring are my favorite times of year. That is one thing I like about living in Nebraska; we get to experience all the seasons. Sure we don’t have the beautiful foliage of New England, the massive snows of Minnesota, or summer in it’s full hot and humid glory like the Southern states, but we get a little of everything here. And yes, the conditions of my mental illness do change with the seasons. But I usually have my worst times in late summer and my best times in late winter and spring. I do love the changes of the seasons.
Another Independence Day has come and gone. We are now into the middle of summer. From now until usually mid September has traditionally been a tough time of year for me. I have usually been moodier and more short tempered during the heat of summer. I am usually good for one psychotic break down during the summer, usually in August or September. I have had breakdowns in October before too. But the two times I went to a mental health hospital were both in September. So as far as the calendar goes, I am beginning to trek into traditionally troublesome times.
I have been avoiding people, at least in person, for the last few days. I have been doing so well for so long that I don’t really want anything upsetting this winning streak I’m on. I don’t sleep as much as I used to, but I usually stay up all night until sunrise and sleep until noon most days anymore. That way I still get some sunlight during the day and get to enjoy the quite and solitude of night as well. Been spending most of my days reading articles online, watching science videos on youtube, talking to friends and family on the phone, and messing with computers. I don’t have much of for a social life, but that is by design. I can’t stand most small talk. I find talking about the weather, politics, and other people draining, boring, and even physically painful. I can’t stand talking about mundane and stupid crap I can do nothing about. Makes me glad I’m an introvert who learned how to keep himself occupied a long time ago.
Looks like I’ll keep this routine up for the next several weeks. I don’t want to go anywhere and I don’t want to interact with anyone, especially if all they do is complain and moan yet not do anything about their problems. I’m through listening to petty complaints. I have enough issues of my own.
Decided to spend a few days at my parents’ house. Getting some much needed rest and relaxation. Haven’t gotten in the conversations as much as I would like mainly because I have been sleeping so much. Even after two days of unwinding, I can tell things are starting to improve. I’m glad that I don’t have the temper I did even five years ago with this mental illness. Maybe some people do mellow and relax with age. I believe I have.
This trip to my parents’ place made me realize how much I miss travelling and visiting people. I haven’t travelled as much as I used to primarily because of chronic back pain. But since I’ve lost some weight and just forced myself to get more active, I think I’m somewhat more mobile now than I was over the winter. I still have to take it easier than I would like, but even that is starting to go away.
I have been so used to eating alone over the last several years I almost forgot what dinner conversation could be like. Have had a few of those with my parents since I came to their house. I forgot how much even a few minutes of face to face interaction could make me feel better. I am convinced it was and is the paranoia aspect of my illness that doesn’t allow me to interact with others as much as I should. I know I would be better grounded mentally and physically if I spent more time interacting with other people in person.
Getting some other things taken care of I had been neglecting for too long. I have put things off when I was alone because I didn’t have either the motivation to get things done or the help to get things done. One thing I still have to force myself to do is ask for help. I have always had hard times asking for help, as if it made me feel inadequate and weak. But I suppose as I age I’ll have to just ask for help more often.
It’s been a relaxing couple days out of the routine. I imagine I’ll spend another couple days here at least before I try to go back and face my usual routine again. But even the strongest people need to rest and relax once in awhile.
Been feeling quite lonely for the last few days. I’m actually craving attention from other people, especially from people with similar interests and in my age bracket. Haven’t heard from any of my old high school or college friends in weeks. Seems like many of my friends got busy with family and careers and forgot about their old friends. As far as I can tell, I am one of the only single friends in my circle of friends. Some of my friends have even gone through divorces by now. I almost never hear from my brother. But he has four kids and a serious career, so I guess we have nothing in common. And to make things even worse, we weren’t close at all growing up. We were just completely different people with nothing in common except that we had the same parents. Not having a relationship with my brother is one of the few true regrets I have about my current life that I could have done different.
Having a serious mental illness taught me that there is more to life than having a career. Unfortunately, too many people don’t realize this until they are retired and most of their life is behind them. This is probably why so many people feel depressed and useless once their careers are over, especially older men. Like most boys, I was constantly asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I usually answered something in the sciences. But the mental illness came creeping in just right before I could cash in on my brains and use them in a career. Thank God I found a small niche online as a mental health blogger/philosopher. I don’t even want to think what would have happened had I been born in my grandparents’ generation and not had this outlet. It also makes me wonder how many mentally ill geniuses were lost over the centuries because they had no outlets to use their smarts.
I wanted to be a scientist when I was a child. As it turned out I became a writer with interests in science. I developed lots of interests and hobbies over the years, but never became profecient enough to turn these interests into careers. For awhile as a child I flew model airplanes with my dad. I did quite a bit of fishing and survival training when I was in Boy Scouts. I made model cars for awhile. I collected coins and baseball cards for a few years. Still have all of my baseball cards from my youth. I taught myself some basic computer coding. That probably could have turned into a job, at least until computers can regularly code themselves. Who knows, maybe in the future the majority of people won’t have regular jobs simply because machines and programs can do them better and make many things cheaper.
While I wouldn’t mind a future like this, I do understand why some people are apprehensive about what could be coming in the next couple decades. For generations, people have identified with the work they did to live. Everybody was interested in work and a person who didn’t need or want a regular job was an outcast. I have been an outcast in this regard for the last several years in that I don’t have a regular job, and really don’t need one as I can live just on my disability pension. I no longer feel the need for a lot of money. What I want at this point is to do work that makes a difference to people, the kind of work that “puts a dent in the universe” as the late Steve Jobs used to say.
While I am not delusional enough to believe I’m sure to get famous just from blogging, I do want to make a positive difference in the lives of the people who happen to read these postings. I suppose that since my basic needs are met by my disability pension, I can now move onto meaningful work and self actualization on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Self actualized and I make poverty level (for American standard) salary, only in the early 21st century. The closet I can think that anyone else in history was to this while living at low wages is probably medieval monks and scholars. No need to be entertained with lots of money when my own mind can keep me company.
Blogging has turned into a dream come true for me. I can write about my problems as a mentally ill man, tell what works for me and what doesn’t, and now I’m even making a few dollars a month at it. I never expected any money from this blog or really any of my writing work. I enjoy what money can do as much as anyone, but I really don’t need a large bank account or stock portfolio to stroke my ego. As long as I can keep the rent current, have food in my pantry, my medications stocked up, and stay out of debt, I am fine with what I make just off disability pension. It may seem kinda boring and dreary life for some as I really can’t afford to travel much anymore or that I don’t have any family of my own.
I travelled a lot in my younger years and I went to a small college with a larger than usual foreign student body. Since there were less than 600 students in our entire college, we were forced to interact with people of many different backgrounds if we wanted to have any kind of social life. It was a good college for someone like from rural Nebraska who wasn’t personally exposed to many different cultures. It was in college that I found that I had some talent for writing. That’s where I started writing poetry and drafts for novels. I also read many of the classics of American and European literature while there. I also dabbled in some Eastern philosophy like Sun Tzu and Lao Tzu. Granted this was in the early 2000s before youtube and most of social media really connnected people. I imagine I could learn the same things now on my computer as opposed to spending entire days in the campus library. But being exposed to different ideas from different eras of time and different nations inspired me to tell my own story. And apparantly my story of my life with mental illness is resonating with some people.