I haven’t been socializing much lately outside of family and close friends. I don’t post on facebook much anymore because I have better uses of my time than debate and defend myself against negative and toxic people. It seems to me that the negativity on social media tends to ebb and flow, almost like the tides. And sometimes I have runs where I’m the only one I know (it seems) who even tries to stay optimistic and positive. In cases like this, a vacation from the social media circus is in order. I’ve been doing this for several days now. I still go on once or twice a day just to see if my friends, family, and chat groups are up to anything new. And in cases when everything is going negative and irritable, I limit my responses and posts to bare minimum. I try not to philosophize and ask deep questions anymore, even on friends sites. It’s kind of tough as I am a bit of a philosopher and researcher by nature. Have been my entire life. Joe Rogan put it well when he said to the effect ‘do high achievers spend their time answering critics on twitter?’ Of course not. I doubt most high achievers and celebrities spend much time on social media. I imagine most of their posts are really done by a public relations worker.
I used to live on social media. It could be fun and it could also be stressful. But like any new tech advances, there is a a learning curve to social media. I try not to post things I know will start unneeded arguments. And let’s be honest, most arguments on social media are not needed and aren’t productive. I doubt scientists trying to accomplish things like making safe AI, trying to crack nuclear fusion, trying to cure cancer, or develop treatments to slow aging, etc. are getting into twitter arguments or trolling scientists working for rival companies or universities. But I guess I don’t see as nasty and personal of insults online as I did even a couple years ago. It still happens, but I think an unwritten code of ethics and conduct is starting to develop when it comes to social media.
But I still make a point of avoiding people when they are being negative. I certainly avoid toxic people who run down other people, especially those trying to do something constructive with their lives. I guess I really don’t have the patience to put up with negative people. I don’t want to be bothered with them. Let them stay away until they stop being so negative and irritable. My mental illness makes it easier to sink into negativity than it would for most other people. That’s why I force myself to read optimistic literature and search for good news stories. I am not a natural optimist. But I do look at data and trends.
I avoid negative and toxic people but not out of spite. I avoid these people because I don’t want to be toxic and negative myself. I have had many bouts of negativity and depression over the years. I’ll probably be more prone to fall into negativity and toxic behavior for the rest of my life, barring some major breakthroughs in medical and psychological treatments. I avoid toxic and negative people for my own health and well being. It’s nothing personal.
Haven’t been doing well lately. Spent the better part of the last week and a half being a hermit and trying to avoid everyone else’s drama. Decided to venture out today. First thing I see as soon as I leave my apartment is several of my neighbors involved in a major argument. It was bad enough I should have called the police on these people. But it wouldn’t have done any good and would have made me a marked man among my neighbors. I rarely long for the past, but the level of civility I see among my neighbors and friends is pathetic. I’ve say they are like children but even children don’t act as bad as what I see and hear on a daily basis. We say to ourselves “I ain’t sparing the rod on my child because that ain’t what my daddy did.” I see more adults who could use spankings and beatings than I do children anymore.
I have reached my breaking point. I have spent months more or less alone because I no longer want to deal with rude and irritable people all the time. And when I do get out to socialize, I am constantly bombarded by negativity and stupidity. It’s enough to make a man pull his hair out. It is healthy to cut negative people out of your life, I am living proof of that. But, when the vast majority of people near you are in a negative and toxic mood, it makes for many long days at home alone. Maybe I just have too much compassion. Maybe I just have too strong of feelings and passions. I definitely am a passionate person who will speak his mind even if it is unpopular. Been this way since childhood. It made me an outcast as a child and got me ignored as a young man and now it’s driving wedges between myself and my neighbors and friends. I hate having strong passions and feeling. I hate having schizophrenia make these feelings even stronger. I am sorry I am what I am.
It’s been quite quiet for me this summer. I haven’t had any flare ups or episodes. I haven’t even heard my neighbors arguing for weeks. Somedays I wonder if I even have neighbors it’s been so quiet in my complex. About the only time I see any of my neighbors is when I leave my apartment to run errands. I don’t sit outside too much anymore just because it’s been so hot. Fortunately we have only another six to eight weeks of hot weather left. But I have been enjoying the peace and quiet. I also enjoy not having flare ups or dealing with stupid and rude people all the time.
I used to have to deal with a lot of drama at work and in some friendships. I haven’t dated for several years simply because the drama and ups and downs just got old. Having schizophrenia while trying to date adds a whole another level of difficulty. And I came to the conclusion that I just don’t want to be bothered with it anymore. I have enough problems as is. I also had to cut negative people out of my life. Sure it meant ending a few friendships and being real careful about who I let into my life. And it also means much alone time. But it’s alright because the peace and quiet is worth it.
Another thing that helps me is that I am debt free. That is why I can live as a minimalist and not work. I just live on my disability pension. Right now I can budget it out that I don’t have to resort to credit cards to make it through the month. I don’t have to take a thankless and stressful job because I don’t need the money. As far as I’m concerned, the biggest reason to work for someone else is the money. Being an employee, especially in today’s ever shifting and toxic work environments, doesn’t seem to be much more than glorified serfdom. Why should any employee give loyalty to a company when the job can be taken over by machines, outsourced overseas, or just given to a younger person for lower wages? If you’re going to be an employee, it’s best to go to the highest bidder. An employer won’t look out for you. An employer doesn’t care about you either. Neither do most of your coworkers, at least that is my experience. A boss isn’t going to help you develop your career. You are on your own on that one. I can do this blog without getting paid for it because I don’t have to worry about income or paying off debts. And I absolutely love doing this blog. It doesn’t really seem like a job because it isn’t drudgery like I was used to in my working days. It feels more like a hobby that evolved into a life mission.
Since I don’t have debts and am content to live a minimalist life, I am quite free to write about what needs to be written. Life with a mental illness isn’t pretty much of the time. It is lonely, it can be frightening, it can be long bouts of depression and sadness, and sometimes I have found myself mourning over the career and lifestyle that never was because of this illness. But, having this illness made me resourceful and creative. It also made me smarter. It made me think about many things that most people never have to. It made me ask questions that most people would never think to ask.
Right now I’m dealing with a stretch where I haven’t had any real drama for months. It helps that I have been able to largely avoid toxic, negative, and stupid people. That’s no small accomplishment living in tight quarters like I do. I’m pretty content to just stay home much of the time anymore. I have gotten to where I feel naked without a good internet connection. I imagine that’s going to become more common in the next several years. I’m just ahead of the curve. And I don’t have to submit to a bad boss or bad coworkers or unreasonable customers to make money because I don’t need the money. I can get by just on my disability pension because I don’t have debts or expensive tastes. I won’t spend a hundred dollars on a pair of jeans or two hundred dollars on a pair of sneakers or buy a new iPhone every year or a different car every three years. I am content with what I have. I love being a minimalist. And that has helped me create a life with little to no drama in spite my mental illness.