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.
July has faded into August. In a few weeks school will be starting again in many places. Seems that school starts earlier every year. But now that we are into August it does seem like autumn isn’t too far away. Another four to six weeks of hot weather and we should be done for the year.
Since it has been hotter than usual and for longer stretches this summer, I have spent more time inside. Haven’t been getting as much exercise as I would like. So I have been eating less. I’m back to having usually only two meals a day. But I think I have lost a few pounds despite my lowered activity because I am eating less. Mentally I have been quite stable, especially for my summer standards. I think I’m doing well just by avoiding stressful situations and people. These certainly make my life more pleasant and quiet. I’m even getting fewer aches and pains too. Even though I don’t exercise as much as I would like, I still get out and walk around for a few minutes every day.
I really haven’t talked to anyone lately outside of family. But I can do alright alone for long periods of time. Loneliness doesn’t really bother me that much. Loneliness is easier than dealing with rude and stupid people all the time. I just enjoy my quiet and alone times.
I have so far made it through half of summer with no issues. Hopefully the second half can also go well. Once things cool off for good I am usually alright. I have usually done better in winters and springs than summers and early autumns.
After two weeks of a medication change, I’m beginning to notice differences already. Normally with psych medication, it’ll take a month at least to see any real effects. I’ve noticed that I’m sleeping less, I’m listening to more audiobooks, I’m less quick to anger and anxiety, I’m less depressed, I’m a little more active, and I think I’m eating less. For months I would eat two really large protein rich meals a day. I’m now eating three smaller meals per day. I’m also taking probiotics and multivitamins. I’m noticing fewer unexplainable aches and pains. I still sleep in my recliner because I’m just used to it now. My father slept in his recliner for years because of back problems.
I don’t have any plans for Independence Day at the moment. But I’ll probably stay near my apartment and watch the night fireworks from my apartment window. I’m probably going to keep my windows closed and my fans running during the days to block out the sounds of firecrackers. I no longer like the booming fireworks or the ones that sound like gunfire. There are a few Vietnam war veterans living in my complex who do the same things to try to block out the fireworks that sound too much like gunfire. My father is a Vietnam veteran himself and he tries to avoid loud fireworks too. I feel bad for these guys being spooked by fireworks that remind them too much of war. I imagine there are many people of my generation and younger now coming back from the Middle East who are starting to feel the same way too. It’s sad that in celebration of my nation’s beginnings that we often stress the ones who were in the military in the process.
I’m thinking about grilling some steaks on my electric grill that day too. I’ve gotten to where I dine out only once a week. I’m a decent cook and have come to the point where I prefer my own cooking over fast food. But it’s not like I can afford to eat in restaurants every day anyway. But I am eating my own cooking more and I think I feel better because of it. At least my diet now is a little more balanced. I still eat a lot of grilled meats, but I’ve also added some more vegetables and far more water.
I feel quite decent overall. I hope that by changing my medication routine that I am able to avoid the summer problems I have had in the past. August is usually the roughest time of year for me. But after twenty years of mental illness, I have figured out what to avoid and what to look for. I hope this summer goes better than previous summers. So far it is.
Now that my back has completely healed I’ve been getting out of my apartment more the last couple weeks. At my most recent doctor’s appointment I found out I gained 15 pounds this summer. Most of this is no doubt due to lack of physical activity and my eating too much comfort foods. I did spend this summer with alternating periods of depression and irritability. I spent too much time indoors and exercising my mind and not enough exercising my body. In short, this summer has been a loss in terms of physical health and activity. The only positive of this summer is that I’m posting more on this blog and have gotten some more audience.
But fall is just a few weeks away. I can already tell the days are getting shorter. We also are no longer having several days in a row with nothing but scorching heat. Looking ahead I see that we’re supposed to have some more cooler weather over the next several days. I have spent most of my afternoons indoors avoiding the heat. Since I spent the first month of summer on the mend I never adjusted to the warmer weather. I normally have bad times during the summer. Besides the blow ups on a couple friends I haven’t had any real serious problems this summer. I know that I still have another three to four weeks of traditionally bad times ahead. Hopefully I can make it through without anything else major. I made it through last summer before having problems in October but I think working through my grandmother’s death made me more resilient because I had no options. So my problems last year weren’t avoided as much as they were delayed. So far things look good mentally.
I have been bored by the forced inactivity this summer. Besides seeing my family a few times I really haven’t had much for social activity since Memorial Day. But with the weather starting to get cooler and the nights starting to get longer, maybe my social activities will increase in the coming weeks. I admit I am not sorry to see this summer go. I’m ready for cooler weather again.
My back is essentially healed up by now. I can walk normal speed again and do my normal errands. I’m spending more time out of the apartment. Been to the park a couple times in the last week, chatted with a few neighbors, called a couple old friends, and gotten some sunshine. This was a far cry from where I was just three weeks ago. When I first hurt my back I didn’t leave my apartment for three days just from the pain. Fortunately I managed to keep myself occupied with computer games, reading, youtube videos, phone calls to friends and family, and watching soccer and basketball on tv.
I was following the Copa America tournament over the last several days. Been watching a little of the Euro 2016 tournament too. I saw all of USA’s games. I haven’t traditionally made it a point to watch much soccer except when USA is playing. I may be changing that as the US put up a decent showing until when they ran into Argentina. It helps that I have a nine year old nephew and a seven year old niece who are big soccer players. My brother encourages his four kids to do numerous activities. He won’t let them play football but I don’t blame him, especially with all the injuries. I hurt my back in a football game when I was fifteen and I couldn’t sit without pain for months afterward. Yet I didn’t tell the coaches or even my parents. I suppose it went with the whole macho mentality that pain is just a part of football. Plus playing football was the only thing I did in high school that most people considered normal. The older I get the more I feel guilty about watching football. It’s essentially people maiming themselves for my amusement. But I guess it’s not as bad as ancient Romans cheering while lions eat Christians. It’s just not as entertaining as it was ten to twenty years ago.
I still like baseball though. Don’t watch it every night like I used to. Even then I usually had it on in the background while I was doing chores, writing, reading, or doing something on my computer. I still participate in a fantasy baseball league with some old college friends and friends of friends. I met most of those guys when I was at Matt’s wedding in the Black Hills last July. So I finally got to meet some of the guys I’ve only known by their screen names. It is a competitive league but no money changes hands. And my Rockies are doing a little better than normal, just slightly below fifty-fifty.
I may have been limited for the last few weeks but I still managed to keep busy. And now that the back is cleared up I’ll be able to do even more. Fortunately I haven’t had any flare ups of the mental illness in the last month. I haven’t had any true flare ups since late March actually. The one main medication I am on was shown by the DNA test I took to be more effective than most for me. It certainly has proven that. I’m reading more again. I had been lazy about reading for a couple weeks when my back hurt real bad. I was watching educational videos on youtube and reading blogs instead. But it does feel good to see things falling back into place after weeks of hard work and rehabilitation.
I’m still healing from my back pain. I’m able to walk short distances again. I was able to run some errands three days ago so I don’t really have to leave my apartment for the next several days. But since my back is clearing up I really think I should be back to normal within a few days. I’ve been sleeping in a recliner the last few nights to rest my back. The last time I try to sleep on my back I could barely get out of bed. My routine has definitely been thrown off since I hurt my back. And the worst part is I don’t know what I did to cause my back pain.
The weather has gotten much warmer just about the time I hurt my back. Haven’t been able to get out and enjoy it at all. I usually go to the park several times a week during the summer. Haven’t been able to do this for almost two weeks. Makes me feel like I’m missing out. But I can’t rush this recovery. I tried to rush things a few days ago and it set me back at least a day.
Been holding up mentally during most of this process. I’ve had a few moments of depression and irritability during those times of weakness. When I first hurt my back I thought I’d need two or three days of ibuprofen and ice and I’d be back to normal. Didn’t turn out that way. I haven’t had crushing bouts of depression during the last week and a half I’ve been mending from this injury. I’ve had more boredom than anything. But even with the boredom I haven’t called friends much during this injury. I just haven’t had much to talk about with my friends during the last several days. That’s probably the most depressing part of the whole deal. Being on the mend has made me really feel like I’ve lost connection to my neighbors, my community, and my friends. I haven’t done anything socially since I hurt my back. It really has been boring. Fortunately I haven’t had any relapse of the psychiatric problems in these last days.
I have pretty much spent most of my days playing computer games, watching youtube videos, and watching baseball games. Not exactly really thrilling but there’s only so much I can do until my back returns to normal. I have called my parents every other day to have some resemblance of a social life. I can’t wait until my back finally clears up. This certainly has made me appreciate my physical health more.