Emerging From Self Imposed Quarantine

It’s been quite awhile since I last wrote. Updates are in order. Got my covid vaccine two weeks ago. So I’m more comfortable hosting guests in my apartment. My neighbor drops in usually every afternoon and we chat each other up. Found out a few of our tenants might have to leave from getting behind on rent. I’m glad that’s one thing I never did no matter how financially stressed I became. Granted, living in adjustable rate low income housing is a bonus.

I’m still mentally stable. I usually go to bed at 11pm and usually wake up for good at sunrise. Been watching alot of science and tech talks on youtube the last few weeks. I have gone easy on the audiobooks for the last couple weeks. I do read alot of articles online from many different sources. The information to be well informed is out there even if I have to spend some time looking for it.

Diet wise, I usually eat only twice a day. My biggest meal is always lunch. I found if I eat a protein rich lunch at 11am, I’m usually good to go until having a smaller meal at 5pm. I almost never eat sugar or carb rich food. Sugar can make me feel lethargic and irritable. As much as I love coffee, I limit myself to only one cup per day. Too much caffeine can make me irritable and short tempered. The only time I eat fast food is when I have family as guests. Fast food no longer agrees with me. It just makes me sluggish and gives me upset stomach. But stomach problems run in my family. My grandma had Chron’s Disease and both my mom and one of my aunts have stomach problems.

I don’t spend much time on facebook these days besides socializing with close friends and a couple cousins. It’s best if I don’t just scroll all evening. I think more people are learning to balance it as opposed to a few years ago.

I leave my windows open all the time unless we’re getting heavy rain or wind. I still wake up kind of chilly in the morning. But it is good sleep weather.

May 9 2021

Other than a few really hot days, it’s been a chilly spring. We’ve also had several good rains. Hopefully enough to ease drought conditions. I usually leave my windows open during the day and close them right before sunset. Still gets chilly at night.

Had my covid vaccine. I took the one shot Johnson & Johnson. Didn’t have any side effects. The nurse was so smooth with the needle I barely felt it go in. My mom is a retired nurse and always prided herself and causing as little pain as possible for her patients.

Today was Mothers’ Day. I called my mom. My brother had some flowers delivered to her house. She and my dad went out for Chinese after church services. My mother is one of the big reasons I’m still on social media on a regular basis. Even though I call her three to four times per week, she still likes checking in on her boys. It doesn’t matter that I’m in my forties and have a few gray hairs, I’m still her kid.

I think I actually lost weight during my self quarantine. Most of my clothes I bought are now quite baggy. I have to buy extra tall clothing because I am taller than most people. My torso is actually longer than my legs. I had a doctor tell me if my legs were any proper proportion to my torso, I’d be almost 6 feet 10 inches. As it is, I’m 6 feet 2 inches. So I ordered a couple shirts through Amazon.com that are a size smaller than I normally order. They should be here in a few days. As I live in a rural area several hours away from major metro areas, I don’t get next day delivery. But I told one of my cousins who has grade school age kids, her kids will someday be nostalgic for the UPS or Amazon man the same way she and I were for the Sears Christmas catalog.

Overall I’m doing alright. Had a couple minor breakdowns since Christmas. But they were quick to pass. I’m not as paranoid as I used to be. I don’t hear footsteps out in the hallway or knocks on my door from people who aren’t there nearly as often. Footsteps and knocks at my door are two of my common auditory hallucinations. Another one is my phone ringing, especially if I’m in another room from my phone. I usually leave my phone sitting on my desk unless I leave my apartment.

Spring has gone fast. I’m feeling less stress overall. I’m to the point where I’m the one encouraging my friends and family more than the other way around. It will be interesting to hear people’s stories about what they did during the Covid pandemic of 2019 to 2021. I imagine many people took this time to retrain for higher paying jobs. Some probably got in better physical shape. Some probably learned to play a musical instrument or learned a foreign language. Some may have made lots of money investing their stimulus money. And I am grateful for the grocery store workers, delivery people, truck drivers, nurses, doctors, research scientists, etc. that made this pandemic more bearable. It’s one of the first times I ever saw when doctors, nurses, scientists, etc. were as publicly respected as tv stars, politicians, business tycoons, etc.

Cold Weather, Dreams, Decline of Social Media, and Regrets

Been damp and chilly the last few days. I enjoy this kind of weather. People think I’m strange for having my windows open on days like this. But, I’m a warm blooded mammal, not a lizard. I don’t need it be sunny and dry all the time. Besides, I have blankets, can make hot coffee, and turn on the furnace if it gets too cold. I’ve always been more sensitive to heat than cold anyway. Even the seasonal aspects of my mental illness are worse in the summers than winters and springs.

Staying close to home most days. My cleaning lady had to have foot surgery several weeks ago. She said she should be able to work again as soon as next week. I’ll be glad to see her again. My neighbors have helped out some this spring but it just isn’t the same.

Started sleeping less. I’m usually asleep by 11pm most nights and up for good by 6am. I sometimes nap in the afternoons. Been having lots of dreams lately. Fortunately they aren’t scary, they’re just vivid and make no sense. One dream I had was about a world famous conspiracy theorist living next door to the church I attended as a kid. And a few friends and I would go visit him after church services. Make whatever you will of this one. Another strange dream I recently had was about my old college opening a satellite campus next door to the building where my dad had his dental office. Can’t figure that one out either.

I’m growing more disappointed with social media lately. It hasn’t been any fun for years now. But now it’s practically a ghost town. I don’t use it for anything other than keeping in contact with my best friend and a couple cousins. I don’t even get much traffic to this blog via social media anymore. Thankful I don’t own any Facebook or Twitter stock. I just don’t see much activity on there anymore, certainly not like ten years ago. I’m going to have to find some other means to promote my blog.

I’m generally content overall. Even the long periods of alone time don’t bother me. I’d rather be alone than deal with toxic and rude people every day. Socializing is no longer worth it, at least not in person. I guess the older I have gotten, the fewer social contacts I have. But the ones I do have are far more meaningful than they were when I was 21. I enjoy being 40 more than I ever did my teens and twenties. The only thing I miss from my youth is how easy mobility was in those days. Sadly my physical health got sacrificed for my mental stability. Biggest mistake I ever made. Yet, I don’t know how I could have done it much different. I understand why mentally ill people typically have shorter life spans than those who aren’t mentally ill.

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.

April 5 2021

Easter was yesterday. I grilled some bratwursts and made some spicy chicken even though I didn’t host friends or family. Talked to my parents and an old friend last night. Been watching some baseball over the weekend. Sent in my rent check this morning and spent part of the morning in my complex’s library. I try to get out and social in person with people other than my immediate neighbors every few days. I’m starting to get more mobile again. My back doesn’t hurt bad as often even though I still sometimes get short of breath. Probably from sitting and sleeping too much during the last year. Most of the elderly I know have already had their vaccines. My parents attended Easter service yesterday morning.

I’ve been having my windows open more often. It’s good to be getting more fresh air and hear the sounds of the neighborhood around me. My complex is next door to the Post Office, so there are mail trucks coming and going all the time. My nephews and niece thought it was so cool that Uncle Zach had that sight outside of his living room window. I also have a few trees so I get to see birds a great deal, except during the winter. I have some pigeons that like to roost in the drainage gutter above my apartment. I get to see them fly in and fly off several times a day. It’s pretty cool. My hometown likes the fact they have pigeons, especially in the old downtown. Even the bird droppings don’t bother people. The town just hires a few kids to clean up after the birds, especially in the spring and summer.

Even though football is my favorite sport to watch on tv, spring has always been a favorite time of year for me. When I was still quite mobile, I used to go to the park a couple times a week just to people watch and smell the flowers. One of the parks I visited had several cottonwood trees. When the wind blew hard, it would blow the cotton fuzz off the trees to the point it would look like snow in early summer. Even as a kid I usually got my best grades in the spring time.

We’ve had warmer than usual weather the last few days but not much for rain. Hopefully get some over the next couple days. I always did enjoy the smell of falling rain mixed in with soil. I am glad winter is over. But in Nebraska we can usually expect an early spring ice storm or two before it warms up for good. Spring is one of my favorite times of year. I live in a college town so the town goes kind of quiet from mid May until mid August.

Has Spring Sprung?

It is the first day of April as I write this. The trees outside my window are starting to bud and I see pigeons every day. Baseball season starts today and I joined a fantasy league with a few old college friends like I do every spring.

Spent the morning in my complex’s library a couple days ago. Caught up with a few neighbors I hadn’t seen during the winter. I’m still a little paranoid about venturing out even though millions of people are already vaccinated. I read a lot to pass the time. Still do audiobooks a couple hours a day in addition to traditional paper books. Bought groceries this morning. So I’m set for several days.

Still sleeping a lot. I usually go to bed around 10pm, wake up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom, and then usually get up for good shortly after 6am. I sometimes nap in the early afternoons. The best time for me to host visitors is usually late mornings or the noon hour.

I don’t have plans for Easter, at least not yet. Probably going to call family and friends after church services. I might be more into it if I were near my nephews and niece or my cousins’ kids. My aunt usually hosts Easter dinner and all my cousins’ bring their families. It was cancelled last year due to covid and I don’t know the plans for this year. I’ll probably do zoom calls to my parents and brother’s kids.

Saw my parents a couple weeks ago. First time I got to see them since Christmas. My parents said they are proud of how I have handled the pandemic, being essentially on my own for a year while handling a mental illness. Other than a couple breakdowns, I think I’ve done alright. Sure I don’t socialize much, at least not in person. But I’ve always been an introvert who appreciated alone time and people in small doses. A few people in my complex had the covid already. Two friends of mine have had it. Three of my cousins had it. A lady who had sold some acreage land to my parents years ago died from it. I’ve heard that Germany and France are back on lockdowns again. Vaccines are still going out hard and heavy here in the US. Cases are starting to increase again here in the US after weeks of decline. I was afraid cases would increase once the weather started warming and people went out in large crowds more.

Looks like winter has ended. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do get another snow storm or two. But they won’t last long now. I think spring has sprung.

Beginning of Spring

Looks like spring has finally sprung after a couple false starts.  As long and tough as this winter has been, it feels almost surreal that it is finally over.  I had been so used to such bitter cold and snow for a long time.  It’s actually odd that I can now go somewhere without having to worry about the weather.  Haven’t been able to do this for a very long time.  I became used to spending entire days indoors and sleeping sometimes over 10 hours a day just to pass the time.  Of course such long periods without sunlight or travel or face to face human interaction took its toll on me.

I think I developed some cabin fever during the long days and weeks when I was homebound.  I had some bouts of depression, paranoia, anxiety, and even some hallucinations creeping back in.  Sometimes I’d hear footsteps in the hallway that weren’t there.  Sometimes I’d hear knocking at my door when no one was there.  I’d sometimes hear people talking in the hallway when no one was there.  And these were always at their worst when I was really tired and about to go to sleep.

Fortunately things are improving.  I can’t say exactly when things starting turning around.  Changes have always come gradually for me, too gradual for most people it seems.  For years it seems like most people got frustrated with me because I have a hard time making changes at a moment’s notice.  I also have a bad habit of wanting to know why such changes are being made.  Needless to say, that didn’t make me a model student or employee.  I just have to know the ‘why’ behind things.  I’ve always been that way.

Looks like spring is finally here.  And I plan on enjoying it.

Successful Anger Management and Dealing With the End of Winter

Had a little bit of a flare up of irritability and anxiety this afternoon.  Sometimes these can be started if I have too much caffeine in a real short time.  And since I’ve been drinking more coffee and vanilla flavored cola the last several days and not sleeping as much as I usually do, it was only a matter of time before it caught up to me.  Fortunately I navigated out of my flare up without taking it out on anyone.  After a few minutes of fuming and fitting and ranting (though not yelling) and taking my irritability out by punching a few pillows and doing some arm weights, I think I’m back to my usual self.

The weather is quite decent today in spite being windy and partly cloudy all day.  It’s been above freezing the last few days, so the snow and ice melts during the day.  But it still gets below freezing after sunset, so it does make travel at night kind of unnerving for me.  I never could have made it as a truck driver with as much as I don’t like driving in bad weather or heavy traffic.

As it is, it’s days like this that remind me that winter is just about over.  And the start of Lent season for my Catholic friends is another reminder too.  A college friend of mine teaches school in Netherlands and went to Italy for a few days this last week.  He visited the Vatican and got to hear the Pope speak on Ash Wednesday.  Definitely something on “the bucket list” for anyone with an interest in history and culture.  The closest culture thing of that kind of magnitude I ever did was visit ancient Aztec pyramids and ruins when I visited Mexico City as a teenager.  So glad I got to travel some and see a few cool things before the mental illness got to where it put a cramp on my physical health and ability to travel for days at a time.

Spring is about here.  Baseball starts in a couple weeks, two of my closest friends have birthdays next week, my brother’s birthday is later in March, and the last season of Game of Thrones gets going, ironically on April 14, the day before tax deadline here in USA.  April, May, and June have always been happy times of year for me.  It’s isn’t icy or cold like winter, not too hot and humid like summer, and not the rush of activities that fall is with the start of school, harvest, preparing for winter, and fall sports seasons.

I didn’t get as much hard reading done as I would have liked this winter.  Sure I made it a point to read every day, but I read mostly online articles for science and tech sites.  Too bad more of this isn’t reported on the large media outlets, though they are getting better about it recently.  I look forward to warmer weather and more sunshine.  We went almost a month in my town without getting above freezing point.  One of the longest bitter cold streaks I can remember.  But the beginning of the end of winter is here.

Mid Winter and Push For Spring

It’s been a good weekend and I’m looking forward to the start of this new week.  Got most of the issues from my last post resolved.  Had to focus more than usual and just spend more time than usual resolving things.  Being free to fit and fume helped too. Sometimes I just have to get a good rant off my mind and out of my system.  I’ve been having as many rants as previously but, fortunately, they have turned into breakdowns only once in the last year.  I don’t know if I’m getting calmer in my middle age years or if I’m just getting better at coping with the hang ups of schizophrenia.  Either way it feels much better than even five years ago, certainly more than fifteen years ago when I was still figuring out what limitations the illness placed on me.

Tomorrow, February 12, is the birthday of one of my cousins and one of my best friends.  My father had a birthday earlier in the month and my mother’s is in a few days.  For being the shortest month of the year, I sure know lots of people with February birthdays. I guess birthdays are a good reason to celebrate during the otherwise cold and drawn out days of middle winter.  Baseball spring training games start in a couple weeks, so I look forward to that.  My Rockies made the playoffs the last two years, but lost out early on both times.  Hopefully they can put together something special this year.  I attending one of their World Series games in Denver with a college friend in 2007.  Even though the Rockies lost the Series, seeing that game in person and experiencing that type of atmosphere is one of the highlights of my twenties.

In other reasons to look forward to spring, my best friend is a huge Game of Thrones fan.  The new season will be starting on April 14, ironically the day before tax deadline here in USA.  I don’t watch the series only because I’d rather not pay to get HBO, but I have seen enough highlights on youtube that I do know some of the characters and story lines.  Sometimes I like to give her a little ribbing about GoT fans being as crazy as some of us football and baseball fans, but I mean it all in good fun.  Just from watching highlights on youtube I can understand how people can follow the series like they do.  I play Skyrim a great deal and joke it’s similar to an interactive version of GoT.  I intentionally tried to design the character I’m currently using to look like Jon Snow.  While it kind of does, my character does bare a striking resemblance to Daniel Day-Lewis in the old Last of The Mohicans movie, which is one of my all time favorite movies.

It’s been a long and cold winter it seems.  Have been lucky to avoid the snow amounts most of the country has gotten so far.  But I’m looking forward to warmer and sunny weather again.  I forced myself outside into prolonged sunlight at least once a week no matter how cold it is just to get some Vitamin D.  It seems to help alleviate the boredom of winter.  But spring officially starts in only five weeks.  We’re more than halfway through winter, or summer for my Southern Hemisphere readers.

Attempting To Lose Weight With Mental Illness and Other Adaptations

Spring is here though I wouldn’t know it by the weather.  Got a few inches of snow on Easter Sunday.  Even though much of it has melted by now, it’s supposed to stay colder than normal early spring for the next few days.  It’s a pity as I was looking forward to warmer weather and fewer excuses for staying indoors most of the time.  As it is I probably won’t go anywhere until the weather finally warms up.

Been adjusting to new sleeping patterns.  I’m going to bed earlier and waking up earlier.  I still sleep only five to seven hours a night so I’m usually awake around sunrise anymore.  During much of the winter I would sleep almost until noon.  But the sleep patterns are changing with the seasons.  So I must adapt accordingly.  I still feel mentally stable even though I still have little desire to socialize much outside of friends and family.  I still call my parents a couple times a week.  Haven’t talked to my college friends much the last couple weeks.  One old friend just had his first child a couple weeks ago, so I’ve been giving him his space as he adapts to fatherhood. Other friends I have lost contact with over the last few years, I want to reestablish contact with these.  I also lost contact with some family members over the last few years I want to reconnect with.  I just got busy with my life and my mental illness got such in some cases I just didn’t want to contact even friends.  I lost many of my old interests over the last couple years.  I haven’t gone fishing in almost two years.  My back can flare up bad enough anymore that I don’t do much outdoors anymore.  I can understand why people with chronic pain can sometimes be short tempered, especially if they were in good health in their younger years.

I’ve been fighting weight problems since puberty.  Yet for the longest time in spite being over weight I didn’t have problems with mobility, pain, etc.  When I was in college I could easily walk over five miles a day in spite weighing over three hundred pounds.  Yet I think the chronic pain is catching up to me.  I can use the car accident I had messing up my back as an excuse, but after the accident I got really depressed and quit doing most physical activities.  I stopped going to the park regularly.  I stopped walking around the old downtown.  I stopped going to the library, preferring to read online articles and audio books instead.  I stopped going fishing.  I even stopped road tripping.  I hate to admit it, but the car accident really took a lot of fire out of me.  At least, I allowed it to take a lot of fire out of me.  To this end I decided I want to get back on top of my health.  I’m giving up on the sugary foods and soda pops.  I’m going to cut the bread out.  I’m cutting out most carbs.  And I started lifting arm weights again.  Oddly I got this idea from a pizza delivery lady who said she lost over fifty pounds just giving up sugar, bread, rice, and pasta.  I am going to do the same thing.  Started this over the weekend.

First I decided to track what I was eating.  Took only a couple days to see I was eating mostly bread, pasta, canned soups, and meat.  Explains why I’m not losing weight.  While I’ll probably end up spending more money on groceries buying healthier and fresher food, if I lose weight it will be worth it.  I’ve lost weight before.  I once lost over seventy pounds in less than a year.  Unfortunately I gained it all back over the course of three years.  One of my blessings is I can usually lose weight pretty fast when I commit to it.  Of course I also have the opposite curse, I can gain weight pretty fast when I am not careful about what I eat.  I tend to be undisciplined about my diet when I go through bouts of depression and anxiety.  But I’m going back to what worked in the past.  Been eating mostly meat and fresh fruit the last few days.  I’ve noticed I have a little more energy even after a few days.  And since I kicked my fast food habit over the winter, I don’t think that will be much of a problem now.  It’s just a matter of giving the time and effort to making the plans work.