Have felt quite decent the last several days. I have been getting adequate sleep and leaving my apartment for longer periods of time. I’m keeping my apartment less cluttered lately. It doesn’t take my cleaning person as long to do her job these days. Maybe after several months of adjustments and regular maintenance I’m getting on top of hanging issues. I haven’t had much for flare ups or anxiety for over a week now. First time in months I can claim that.
I think I don’t feel much for anxiety or depression anymore is for a handful of reasons. For one, if I don’t feel like socializing I don’t do it. I don’t socialize unless I want to. Granted it means sometimes going entire days without talking to anyone. Which is alright with me. Some of my happiest times came when I was alone and allowed to read, write, and research answers to my questions without input from anyone else. And I no longer feel guilty for not wanting to socialize. Sometimes I will let the phone ring if I’m not in the mood to talk. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to interrupt my tasks to listen to a sales pitch, or take a phone survey, or listen to my friends complain about how much their jobs suck, or about something my retired parents heard from one of their neighbors or saw on tv.
Sometimes I just don’t want to be interrupted. And most of the time mundane crap like talking about the weather, politics, the latest episode of Game of Thrones or The Kardashians, how work is going, or how my favorite sports teams are on a losing streak doesn’t interest me much. Yet most people I know want to talk about these things. Want to talk about it, okay: The weather is cloudy and humid. Politicians can’t solve technical and social problems and aren’t the gods mass media and party members make them to be and never were. Game of Thrones really laid an egg on their farewell season and angered millions of fans all over the world, including many of my closest friends. The Kardashians are famous just for being rich, pretty, and famous. Come back when they invent nuclear fusion or safe artificial super intelligence. Most people hate their jobs and work them only for the money (which isn’t that good in most cases anyway). My Huskers have had three losing seasons in the last four years but hopefully the young hotshot we have as a coach can get us winning again and the Rockies are barely breaking even and probably won’t win the pennant. I discussed all of that in less than a minute. No need to rehash it. Let’s move on.
Of course this doesn’t make me popular with my neighbors or family. Then I’ve never been popular. Popular is lowest common denominator. Popular is mundane. Popular doesn’t change the world for the better. Popular doesn’t catch the attention. Popular isn’t thought provoking. Popular is boring. Popular sucks because it stands for nothing, has no feeling, has no courage, has no magic, and inspires no one to their highest nature and capacities. I don’t care about popular. I care about making people think. And if it makes my friends, family, readers, critics, etc. angry and uncomfortable, so be it. I’d rather be persecuted for being beneficial to people than honored for catering to the base nature of our humanity.
I just don’t talk to anyone much anymore. But then it seems like people have been avoiding me too lately. I hope this is just my paranoia creeping in. But it does seem like almost no one has time or energy to just chat lately. I fear that I’m becoming this way too. I try to stay optimistic overall but it is tough. First, I’m not an optimist by nature as I wasn’t raised to be one. I was almost never told anything positive about the world or life in general from my elders as a kid. Made me wonder why anyone had kids if the world was falling apart as much as my parents, teachers, and church elders told me it was. But that was before I got out on my own and came to the realization that most people are more ruled by short term emotion than by long term logic. As someone who is part artist and part science enthusiast, I find my emotion and logical sides at conflict quite often. I have spent the better part of the last five years training up the logical part of my mind. It isn’t easy and it’s often frustrating. Bill Gates once stated that people tend to overestimate change in the short term but underestimate it in the long term. Getting to see what cool stuff happens next is one of the things that keeps me going. It’s the scientist, the engineer, the doctor, the humanitarian that gives me as much hope as most of my friends get out of their political parties. I try to explain to my friends that politicians can pass budgets, pass favorable laws, and then get out of the way. That’s about all they can do. I have never seen a politician build a power plant or figure out how to grow more crops with fewer chemicals. Many problems of modern civilization are science and engineering issues, not political or even social ones.
I just as well be speaking ancient Sanskrit to my friends in that they’re not coming around and probably never will. I would love to live in a world where the scientists and doctors were as well known and respected as pro athletes and big shot Hollywood stars. But I suppose that’s a pipe dream that won’t come true in my lifetime, if ever. As it is I am a mentally ill unemployed man trying to make sense of the madness in the people around me. At this point I’m glad I don’t have a regular job in that it would probably drive me to complete break down. I’m glad for the safety nets I have. It saddens and sickens me that there are people who want to remove even these. We live in a post industrial civilization where we can feed everyone, not some Stone Age Darwinian survival of the fittest setup our ancestors already overcame. Yet, it seems like some people are bent on bringing back the Stone Age. I hope it’s just my paranoia creeping in but it does seem like there’s too many people losing hope and giving up right before things get real interesting. As far as any politicians of any country go, they are merely “momentary masters of a fraction of a dot” to quote Carl Sagan. We would be wise to regain such perspective in our own lives.
Getting out of the apartment several times a day now. Have been for the last several days. Catching up on the news of what’s been going on around the complex and meeting some of the new residents who moved in during the summer. Seems like we have a few really cool people move in lately, and some of them are even in my age bracket and younger. So I might be rebuilding some of my social safety nets that had fallen apart over the last few years.
I haven’t been as social over the last three years as I had been previously. I think some of it started when three of my friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other. Then we had a few problem residents come in that gave problems to everyone. So I started isolating to avoid the drama. Then my grandmother died, which I think I took harder subconsciously than I realized at the time. My car accident in late 2015 left me scared to drive and not able to trust other drivers on the road for a long time. 2016 is a lost year as far as I’m concerned. The drama and emotions from the elections caused me so much grief and anxiety. I also lost some good friends and lost contact with some extended family because of those emotions running hot.
After months of hot emotions and people going insane over the pettiest things, 2017 was another tough year. I spent most of that year alone. I rarely visited friends or family. I went entire days without leaving my apartment. I more or less lost my ability to see anything decent in other humans, especially people in my immediate life. I devoted most of 2017 to my writing and self directed scholarly endeavors. Seeing some of the advances that were rapidly being developed was one of the few things that gave me hope in those dark years. Like a fool I tried to share this information with people, but almost no one took me seriously. I had some jerks tell me I was “fake news” and a liar. “Fake news” is another stupid phrase I despise. After a few episodes of this, I became real despondent. I lost myself in computer games and youtube videos and just became annoyed and irritated with people in general. The less I had to deal with flesh and bone people, the better as far as I was concerned.
But after almost three years of depression imposed exile and hermitage, I am slowly becoming more social. I actually want to socialize now. I truly believe that the type of people one surrounds themselves with can effect your mental and even physical health. I have believed this for years. But since most people I knew and ran into on a daily basis were in foul and angry moods, it just seemed better to just isolate, stay out of sight, and hope to God that people eventually came back to their senses. I’m thinking that people, at least the ones I associate with, are starting to come back to their senses. I certainly hope so. The last three years were lonely years. The only years I would rather relive less is my late teens and early twenties before I was being treated for mental illness.
Been kind of depressed and irritable for the last several days. Haven’t been sleeping well either. About the only thing going really well for me is my renewed diet. I am eating less than I normally do and getting more activity. I get my activity in the afternoons even though I’m in the habit of sleeping until noon again.
I also no longer want to socialize. And this time I don’t feel guilty for it. I am tired of people who are in foul and angry moods trying to drag me down into their own mindlessness and petty vendettas. Unfortunately, anymore, if it weren’t for negativity and fighting, there would be few conversations and certainly no social media. I hate how I just can’t have a civilized conversation with even people I partly agree with anymore. And good luck trying to talk to anyone who doesn’t view the world the same way you do. I’m beginning to think that many people have mental health problems just because of the way we treat each other and the stress of modern living. Granted, a person doesn’t have to be chronic like those of us on disability to have problems. I have had a mental illness for almost twenty years now. And only recently are people starting to talk about the effects of stress, anxiety, and chronic mental illnesses. For the first several years of my diagnosis I didn’t talk about my mental health to anybody. And I think I lost several good friendships because my friends didn’t understand that my depression and anger were nothing personal, they were manifestations of the sickness.
For the first several years of my illness I just didn’t talk about it, not even to friends or employers. Back in those days mental illness was shrouded in more mystery and ridicule than even now. I have no idea how many times I was told to ‘suck it up’ or ‘man up’ in those early years. ‘Man up’. Now there is a stupid phrase I can’t figure out. What does it even mean? Is there really only one type of manliness? And why is it the only type of virtues in a man we appreciate are those that involve the John Wayne frontier mentality that violence is the only way to solve all problems? I think this is stupid, very stupid. A mentality like that will make our species extinct. And quite honestly, I enjoy living too much to sit idle while this type of barbarian behavior is honored and encouraged. I would rather not go back to the Stone Age. I hated all the ‘Mad Max’ movies and I definately don’t want to experience them in real life.
Another thing, we don’t females to ‘woman up’ and we don’t tell senior citizens to ‘young down’ nor do we tell terminally ill people to ‘hurry up and die.’ It’s little things that normal people just take for granted that I don’t understand and that I often see the dumbness and hypocracy in. But most people seem pretty cool with dumb things and hypocracy anyway, at least when it comes from sources they like. Unfortunately I never understood this line of thinking. It’s probably why I have problems socializing with the public at large. And of course having a chronic mental illness that people are still ignorant about doesn’t help either.
In closing, as a thought experiment, I was wondering what would happen if someone (or a group of individuals) just went about their daily lives being as rude and condescending to physical people as we are to people in our online interactions. I would love to see some psychiatrist conduct this experiment. I think the results would be either very interesting or very disturbing.
Spent a few days in my childhood home over Thanksgiving weekend. It went better than expected. I was worried that things wouldn’t go well with so many people in one house. Fortunately things went with no problems and I got to see my brother’s family for the first time in months. I had been avoiding socializing in person for months just because it seemed that most people were always in foul moods. That is all I had seen on social media for the previous two years at least. Finally I quit checking my facebook and twitter accounts. I don’t use either one except to promote my blog now. It saddens me that I had to lose contact with some of my oldest and dearest friends because some people insist on being blowhards and jerks to other people online. I always wondered what people like that were like in person. It would be an interesting experiment.
Returned home over the weekend. I have pretty much avoided going shopping or even on the roads to avoid the holiday crowds. I never did enjoy crowds, even before I became mentally ill. I pretty much do most of my shopping online anymore. I found out that there is a grocery store in my town that will allow online orders and home deliveries. I have used that a few times lately. And I’ll be using it even more now that the holidays are here.
As far as celebrating Christmas is concerned, I’m not as excited about getting gifts as I was when I was growing up. Anymore I just care about spending time with family, having good food, and watching my brother’s kids have a good time. I also enjoy going around my town and looking at the decorations, especially after dark. And since we usually have snow on Christmas were I live, it adds even more beauty to the season.
All and all I am ready for winter. Summer was hotter than usual and autumn seemed to last longer than usual. I am not as worried about being in closed quarters with my neighbors as I was in years past as several of my problem neighbors moved out this autumn. It has been quiet and peaceful ever since. I leave my apartment more often and I’m more apt to make a point of socializing with neighbors. Used to be I would sometimes go entire days without leaving my apartment. But those problems are over. It seems the older I get, the less tolerance I have for rude people and stupidity. And I am noticing my friends in my age bracket are becoming the same way. Thank God I haven’t gotten to the point were I’m complaining about the “lousy kids” yet. If I get to that point, I hope somebody knocks some sense into me. I spent my entire childhood and my twenties listening to my elders gripe and moan about people in my age bracket. Going through that, I promised I would never do that to anyone.
Overall my life is rather no thrills. I spend a lot of my days playing computer games, reading online articles, talking to friends and family over the phone or online, and chatting up my neighbors. I am still slogging through the Star Trek spinoffs on Netflix. I would eventually love to have watched every episode of Star Trek. I still have a long way to go. It will probably take a few years. On the bright side, I’m no longer sleeping twelve hours a day anymore. And the hallucinations I have now are no longer frightening, they are just annoying. Maybe mental illness does get less severe as a patient ages. I think it has in my case.
Other than a few bad days and one really bad day, I have been doing quite well for months. I imagine part of this has to do with avoiding angry and rude people. Sure I may not have much of a social life, but at this point in my life I no longer want to deal with rude and irritable people. I suppose I have hit my limit and don’t want to deal with it anymore. This kind of scares me as I am fearful that limiting my socializing will make me jaded and mean spirited as I age. I have known irritable and mean older people my entire life. I promised myself a very long time ago I would not turn out to be an angry and bitter old man. Maybe the only way I can do this is to severely limit who I socialize with anymore. I don’t post anything to Facebook or twitter anymore besides these blog posts. I finally became burned out on all the negativity, drama, etc. I have enough problems in my mentally ill mind that I don’t need my friends and family adding to them. I don’t see many of my friends online anymore either. I suppose they became burned out too. I hope that all this negativity and anger isn’t a new normal.
I really don’t enjoy socializing with most people anymore. I don’t want to socialize with negative and rude people anymore. Yet that is what all I seem to see anymore, online and in my own community. I try to tell my friends and family about what is actually going right, but I get mostly dead silence from these people. The few that do respond usually tell me I’m a liar. Seems to me normal people love to be immersed in anger and negativity. I don’t understand people. Then again I never have. I suppose I never will. I’m just tired of all the anger and negativity. From now on I’ll keep my optimism to myself.
I readily admit I get frustrated when the people I am around on a regular basis do and say stupid things and then keep repeating these mistakes over the course of months and years. I know I shouldn’t be angry with people just because they aren’t smart. Some people are just dumb and they are never going to become Mensa material no matter what you do for them. That is probably the hardest fact of life that I have ever had to accept. I can handle people not having empathy. I can handle people being greedy. But for some odd reason I have had a very tough time coming to the acceptance that some people are just dumb, have always been dumb, and are never going to be interested in the intellectual things like science, technology, history, philosophy, literature, etc. that I am.
Being smart has always come easy to me. I can’t remember ever not knowing how to read because I pretty much taught myself how to read. I can’t remember ever having to be forced to read because I read so voraciously on my own. I still do. I actually had to be forced to put down my books and go outside with the neighborhood kids against my will. I suppose my parents were afraid that I would be one of these really smart people who had lousy social skills. Well, that happened anyway. Yet I don’t mind having below average social skills. Most of the stuff average people like to talk about, like politics, sports, the weather, farming, work, celebrities, etc., I find quite boring. As much as I enjoy baseball, I wouldn’t have much of a stake in the games if I didn’t have a fantasy league team. As much as I enjoyed the violence of football when I played as a teenager, I wouldn’t watch any games if it didn’t give me anything to talk about with the average person. I don’t personally follow politics much except if politicians make noise about cutting science programs. Cutting science programs will hurt nations long term. Much of what was the computer and information revolutions came about because of the space programs in the 60s and 70s. I am not really happy with my current crop of politicians who are cutting science funding and just want to pull up the draw bridge and isolate from the rest of the world. Who would have thought twenty years ago China and India would be leading the world in developing and implementing nonpolluting technology? When my parents were children, their parents used to tell them “there’s starving kids in China who would love to eat what you complain about.” I wonder if Chinese and Indian parents tell their kids “keep studying and going to school, there’s dumb people in America.”
I never had a tolerance for ignorance. And it’s especially tough having a mental illness and living in low income housing when I am not surrounded by many smart people. I do most of my socializing online anymore because I can at least superficially connect with people who share my interests. For years I have struggled searching for people with the same intellectual pursuits I have. My therapists and I have struggled finding ways for me to find social activities for someone with my interests. I finally came to the painful realization that I am not going to meet many people I can relate to, at least not in traditional senses. Some of my best friends I interact with mainly online. The internet is my social life now. I’m glad I live in an era when it’s available as much as it is. Had I lived in the dark ages, I probably would have had to join a monastery. Even then I’d probably be burned at the stake as a heretic. I am happy that science is really advancing. And it doesn’t bother me as much as it normally would that many of these advances are now not happening in my own country. I really don’t care if it’s an American, a Chinese person, an African, etc. who comes up with the next huge breakthrough. We all share the same planet so we just as well learn to work and think beyond national boundaries. I hope that the anti intellectualism I see so prevalent in my time and place is merely a passing fad. And even if it isn’t, there are plenty of places where intelligence is valued and science will progress. The future is already happening, it’s just not evenly distributed.