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.

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Sleep Changes at Spring’s Beginning

Been trying to adapt to new sleep patterns for the last several days.  Mentally I’m still stable but I am not sleeping as much as I once was.  For much of the winter I was sleeping 10 to 12 hours a day.  I’m now down around 5 to 7 hours.  Been this way for almost a week now.  I don’t know if it’s due to longer days or warmer weather or what.  As it is I am not sleeping as much as I was for most of the winter.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do with the newly found free time.  Since at least Christmas, I had been used to getting everything I need done in the short amount of time I was awake.  I have found over the course of the last several days I’m getting more done, leaving my apartment more often, diversifying my activities, contacting friends and family more, etc.  But I also find myself with times of boredom and restlessness.  I usually take my medications in the middle of the night as I like to be awake in the off hours.  I’m now finding myself wanting to be awake during daylight and not so much just wanting to be nocturnal all the time.  But as I am no longer sleeping 10 hours a day, I find myself being both a morning person and a night person.  Traditionally rapid changes in sleep patterns have been precursors to mental health problems with increased anxiety and paranoia.  But I hope to cut these off and try to get back to some more regular sleep.

Overall I’m glad that the winter is over.  We do have a spring snow coming this weekend.  But those never last long.  Currently watching opening day of baseball on tv in the background.  I’m glad winter is over.  Mentally I stayed stable all winter but at the cost of hibernating much of the winter.  I’m looking forward to doing more outside again.

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Start of Spring and Changing Routines

As quickly as the weather turned decent, it turned back to cold, dreary, and rainy.  But I actually like rainy weather.  Living on the plains of Nebraska, we need good spring and summer rains for the corn crops.  But now that I’m up more in the days I can spend my daylight hours drinking hot coffee, listening to jazz music on YouTube, playing computer games, and just enjoying the sights and sounds of early spring.  I still force myself out of my apartment at least once a day just on principle.  I didn’t used to isolate so much.  In fact, I used to be rather social to people in my complex until a few years ago.  I think that losing three close friends in less than six months like I did in 2014 really took more of a toll on me than I initially thought.  I became rather jaded and cynical for a couple of years.  But then again, many people I knew became this way right about that time.  So I stopped socializing as much.  I stopped going to the park several times a week.  I preferred to stay home, sleep, and socialize online rather than in person.

I think I’m starting to pull out of that just wanting to be left alone all the time.  I try to socialize some every day, even if it is just with the delivery lady or mail man or cashier at the store.  But I really haven’t talked to my neighbors much this winter.  I’m trying to break out of that.  I see that my complex has had several new people move in during the last few months.  I need to get out more and see who they are.  I’ve been in this complex now for almost twelve years.  In some ways I’m becoming one of the more tenured residents even though I’m only in my late thirties.  Originally this complex was designed for senior citizens and low income disability people.  I was one of the first low income disability young people to move in years ago, at least from what I understand.  For most of those first several years I worked part time jobs.  It was in 2012 that I became tired of office place politics and decided to devout my energies to seeing if I get blogging up and going.  I had been writing poetry, mental illness essays, and a couple novels before then.  It was in 2012 I came to the conclusion I would have a better audience eventually if I set up an online blog.  After a few years of this I have been proven right.  I have had a bigger audience than I could have imagined just six years ago.  It has gotten to where I almost never have days when I don’t have any traffic anymore.  And I almost always have as much outside the USA traffic as I do inside the USA.  It makes sense once I looked up the numbers and found that almost 95 percent of the world’s population isn’t from the USA.  Being in a more isolated area of my country I have to remind myself of that occasionally.

 

Rebirth of Spring and Readjusting Accordingly

Now that spring has started and the days are longer than the nights, I’m going to attempt to readjust my sleep schedule.  I’m in the second day of this so I think it will be kind of a bumpy ride for the next few days.  I just woke up and got out of the bath tub and it’s right at 3 am as I write this.  I went to bed around 12 am but decided to get up once I could no longer sleep.  Usually taking my medications earlier in the night helps me to fall asleep sooner.  I did fall asleep at midnight instead of the usual 6 am.  But of course I didn’t sleep the night through.  But I have always had problems sleeping an entire night even as a child.  So my mom gave me a reading light so I could read and stay quiet while everyone else in the house slept.  By the time I got to high school I didn’t have a traditional bed time, I just had to be up by 7 am every morning so I didn’t miss school.  But I am starting to adjust to sleeping at night rather than in the day.

Yesterday I spent much of the day with unexplainable aches and pains, namely in my back.  First time in weeks I had such problems.  But after a couple hot baths and a few advil pills I was back to normal.  I have also noticed I feel fewer aches and pains on days when I don’t eat sugar or lots of processed foods.  Usually if I stick to water, vegetables, and fresh cooked meat I can do quite alright.

I am so looking forward to the warm weather and long days of spring.  Baseball starts in a week so I’ll have games on in the background when I’m doing my evening activities.  My Rockies had a decent season last year and bigger things are expected this year.  I hope they don’t disappoint.

Now the weather is getting better, I usually keep my windows open during daylight hours.  Since I’m awake in the day light hours more than I was this winter, I had forgotten how much I enjoy the smell of fresh air and the feel of a light breeze.  There are a lot of trees on my property and in my hometown and they are starting to bud again.  I’m sure we will have at least one quick hitting April blizzard like we usually do.  But I am glad winter has passed.  It was a tough winter for me, at least in terms of socializing and moving around.  It was tough that I would sometimes go entire days without leaving my apartment.  Hopefully that nonsense is over.  I’m ready for warmer weather, flowers in the park, and the occasional sun burn.  No season is perfect but at least I won’t be seeing nothing but ice, snow, and gray sky for weeks on end anymore.

Changing Over To Spring

Spending a quiet, calm, and uneventful weekend at my apartment.  Haven’t talked to anyone this weekend.  After several days of forcing myself out of my comfort zones trying to be more social and out going, I am needing a quiet weekend to recharge and regroup.  Deciding that I’m spending the weekend binging on computer games and youtube music videos.  Been listening to some of the music I listened to in high school and college the last few days.  I refuse to go as far as to say music was better twenty years ago because anyone will be nostalgic for what they grew up listening to in the formative years of their teens and early twenties.  I imagine in early 1800s Germany there were people complaining about Beethoven.  And I’m sure when the 2030s roll around my nephews’ generation will complain about what their kids listen to, watch and read.

As it is, it’s been a calming and relaxing weekend.  It was overcast, kind of chilly, and raining on and off all day yesterday.  We get those days quite a bit in early spring.  I enjoy those type of days.  Boil some coffee, find a good book, and just enjoy the day.  I also do some of my better writing on days like that.  Days like that are one of the reasons spring is my favorite time of year.

Looks like I made it through another winter without having any major setbacks.  I did have to readjust my life some as I got to where I didn’t like being around people and preferred to sleep as much as possible.  Maybe one of the reasons I stayed stable was I avoided people as much as possible.  But with winter ending I suppose I no longer have the excuse of it being too cold or too much snow to leave my complex.  I have to renew my lease in a few weeks.  So I have to get my paper work together for that.  Too bad I couldn’t do this online and submitting e-files.  My rent is literally the only thing I even write checks for anymore.  I imagine this dream of mine is still a few years away.

All Nighters and End of Winter Plans

I’m back to keeping odd hours again.  I usually sleep in the late mornings and early afternoons while being awake often until sunrise.  I still get enough sleep and I make it a point to get out of my apartment some everyday.  But I have found that at this point in my life I feel less paranoid and irritated in the middle of the night than I do in the mornings.  I never have been a morning person.  Even as a kid I would often stay awake late and read books even on school nights.  I’d be up all night sometimes during the summers and Christmas breaks just reading.  While I don’t do as much serious book reading as I once did, I still do audiobooks and listen to science and history lectures.  That is my form of entertainment.  I have also gotten into learning do it yourself fixes around the house via youtube videos.  I’ve recovered crashed computers, sped up my play station, and done various around the house hacks just by watching a few videos.  I have to find something quiet to do when I’m awake in the overnight hours.  I just as well be exercising my mind.

Winter is practically over in my hometown.  Most of the snow is melted.  Baseball preseason is in full swing and the regular season will be starting in a couple weeks.  During the spring and summer I’ll often have a baseball game on the tv in the background while I’m reading a book or working on a computer.  Live sports is about the extent of my traditional tv viewing anymore and even this I don’t watch as much as I did even five years ago.  If cable didn’t come with my apartment I wouldn’t even have it.

I’m looking forward to spring.  This winter has been harsher than usual.  Other than a few days at my parents’ place in February, I haven’t been outside of my hometown this winter.  But my town, while not a city by any stretch of the imagination, has almost everything I need within driving distance.  What I can’t get in my hometown I can always get delivered via internet orders.  In short I really have no real reason to travel much anymore besides seeing friends and family.  And travel is more stressful for me than it was even a few years ago.  I really no longer enjoy the long road trips like I did in my twenties and early thirties.  I have no real plans to travel this summer.  I guess I really have no immediate plans other than continuing to do the blog and stay stable.  But sometimes staying stable with mental illness is a full time job by itself.

Seasonal Aspects to Mental Illness

Spring is pretty much here in my part of the country.  The days are getting longer and warmer.  Been spending more time outside, mainly at night as I’m still a little paranoid around large groups of people.  Still staying up late but I don’t sleep most of the day like I had been for the previous couple weeks.  Most days I’m awake at noon after going to bed around 4 or 5 am.  I just prefer the quiet solitude of the overnight hours anymore.  Hopefully this will change as the weather warms and spring advances.  Spring has always been one of my happiest times of year.  April, May, and June are usually my most stable months.  I’ve often had my biggest problems in August and September.  There is a seasonal aspect to my schizophrenia.  I don’t know how many others with this  diagnosis have similar problems.  I’m also usually stable in the winter months.  Winter and Spring seem to be my best times of year.  From what I’ve heard, usually winters are toughest for those with seasonal aspects of mental illness.  But for me it’s always been the opposite times of year that were the most stressful.  Never could figure out why.  But like many people I do have better times of year than others.

Forcing Myself Out of My Comfort

Been forcing myself out of my comfort zones more the last few days.  I’ve been leaving my apartment more often and forcing myself to socialize.  Ran many errands I had been neglecting during the winter.  Getting stocked up on house supplies and cleaning agents so I can do my spring cleaning more properly.  Going to get that started in a few days.  After a few warmer than usual days we are back into winter.  While I knew this was going to happen, I’m still a little disappointed in myself for not taking more advantage of the warmer weekend.  But in terms of supplies and things I’ve been putting off for the last few weeks I’m pretty much caught up.

Been feeling a little less at ease as I’ve been forcing myself to expand my horizons.  That’s probably why I’m a little more irritable than usual.  That and I’m attempting to readjust my sleep patterns so I don’t sleep all day while being awake all night.  I could tell this routine was starting to take a toll on me.  I don’t understand how people who work night shifts for years do it without losing their sanity.  I used to work night shifts at a factory.  While the work was simple enough and the pay good, I just couldn’t adapt to sleeping all day and working all night five nights a week.  After several weeks my work started to suffer and I had to leave the job once my request for a different shift was denied.  I could tell a breakdown was coming if I stayed there.

While I’ve been socializing more I have found I really haven’t lost my social skills in spite spending weeks essentially alone.  I still prefer to spend most of my time alone, but sometimes things like this come and go in phases.  Sometimes I’ll want to sleep all the time and sometimes I won’t want to sleep at all.  Sometimes I’ll want to socialize every day and sometimes I’ll want to go entire days where I talk to no one.  But at least at this point in my life with mental illness I can recognize this and plan accordingly.

Spring

Since the weather has turned to true spring, I’ve been getting out of my apartment at least a few times per day.  Sometimes I’ll sit outside and listen to the birds and watch the squirrels.  A few times this spring I had Jimmy John’s delivery and had makeshift picnics.  I still don’t drive much simply because I don’t have to, especially since I can do most of my shopping and socializing online or over the phone.  But I’ll drive my car at least once a day just to make sure everything is running all right.

I renewed the lease on my apartment for another year just in case the move out of state doesn’t come through.  The big hang up is whether my parents can get their acreage sold.  Right now they are baby sitting their grandkids for the next several days and looking over a few places in person. I wouldn’t mind moving to a larger city as I have always wanted to live in a city at least once.  I’ve lived in villages and small towns my entire life. I’m not as in love with rural living as most of my family and classmates from high school.  I would love to see what the world has to offer.  Being in spring has me hopeful and thinking about the future.

 

Insomnia and Mental Health

For most of the winter I had the problem of sleeping too much.  I’d sometimes sleep until noon or even later and still be wanting to sleep by midnight.  Now my problem is that I just have a real hard time staying asleep, especially in the overnight hours.  Of course I’m concerned about this.  Sometimes major problems follow large changes in sleep patterns for me.  Getting good sleep is important for controlling mental illness problems.

This has been going on for several days.  One of the changes I made in an attempt to get more consistent sleep is taking my medications earlier in the night.  Sometimes my meds can make me sleepy.  Another thing I have done is cutting back on caffeine after 4pm.  I admit I love my caffeine, especially coffee and soda pop.  But perhaps I’m getting more sensitive to caffeine as I age.  But the cutbacks on caffeine make me less jittery but they aren’t helping me sleep much.

One advantage to sleeping less is I’m getting more done.  I’m spending more time outside.   I’m able to do laundry more often.  I’m keeping less clutter around my apartment.  Some of my habits have improved as I’m drinking more water and bathing twice a day now.  I have always liked taking a hot bath right before bed.  It helps me relax.  And I think I’ve lost a few pounds in the last couple weeks because I’m more active.

I still sleep some in the overnight hours.  I just usually don’t stay asleep for more than two hours at a time.  Since I keep my windows open most of the time anymore, I can hear the birds singing in the early morning hours when I would have been sound asleep in the winter months.

As much as I enjoy being able to get more done and having more energy, I am concerned about the changes in my sleep patterns.  I have traditionally had problems after major changes in sleep patterns.  This concerns me as springs and early summers have traditionally been my happiest times of year.  Spring has always been a favorite season of mine.  I just hope that if any problems do come up because of this insomnia I’ll be able to handle them without having a blow up on my family or friends.