In an attempt to help speed up my recovery from my bouts of depression and hopelessness, I’ve decided to avoid all social media in addition to regular news casts. I’m now two days into this and I notice a positive difference already. I’m less stressed and less despondent even after a couple days of media blackout. I just got so tired of hearing nothing but bad news that I decided to unplug and drop out for at least a few days. I will still be posting blog entries to Facebook and twitter because my posts automatically post to these anyway.
One thing I have noticed is inspite my vacation from news and social media, my life still goes on. All life still goes on in fact. Some things I’m probably happier not knowing quite simply because there is nothing I can do about it. While I may not be happy with any of my elected officials, it’s not like I get an extra vote for every time I post to Facebook concerning the elections. The U.S. Constitution never said anything about uber informed people getting extra votes. On election day, I’m just going in and casting my votes and that is going to be that. I’ll live with whatever the results are. And I’ll still pay more attention to science and technology endeavors than I do to politics or popular culture. Unless the Kardashians figure out nuclear fusion or cure cancer, I couldn’t care less about them.
While I may be unplugging from social media, I’m still keeping informed on things like science. I am finding out the lights are still on and there’s still food in my pantry regardless of what nonsense a political figure says or whatever some troll writes. Some pundit says something about the election, so what? Nations are rattling their sabres and talking about wars, will my worrying prevent war? I can only control my own life, what I see online, and how I choose to react to it. And that is all I need. Sure I’ll miss my friends during my hiatus from social media, but it’s probably for the best for the next several days.
Went to the family acreage for two days over the weekend. Helped the family with some odd jobs but mainly relaxed. I was needing a couple days out of my hometown and out of my apartment complex. Two days of a change of scenery allowed me to realize just how much I missed this summer with back problems. I’m only now getting some of my stamina back and adjusting to the warm weather.
This has been a tough summer physically. I hurt my back and I couldn’t do much of anything for two months. As a result I’ve gained 15 pounds since mid May. This definitely isn’t what I planned for this summer. While it was boring to have to spend all my time at home it wasn’t as tough mentally as I would have thought. Besides the one day when I had a breakdown on two friends I really haven’t had any major flare ups of the mental illness this summer. I think that the changes in medications I made in the spring have helped in that regard. It helps that I am intentionally avoiding stressful situations and people. I still don’t watch much news on tv or internet. About all I watch on tv anymore is live sports. During the Olympics I watched more tv in two weeks than I did the last four months combined. I wouldn’t have cable if it didn’t come with my apartment. I just don’t watch much for regular tv anymore. Almost everything I want to watch anymore is online.
I can tell that fall is almost here. The weather isn’t as hot and the nights are getting longer. The nights are getting cooler and school has started. I feel like I squandered this summer since I couldn’t do much. But I’ll just have to make it up this fall.
At the beginning of this week I decided to take two days out of town and retreat to my family’s acreage in the country. It’s about forty acres with a stream fed fishing pond on it. I caught a small bass (I do catch and release), went for a couple walks around the acreage, did some star gazing (I have never seen Mars so big and bright), and took care of a couple barn cats my parents keep out there. I spent a lot of time outdoors and got a little sun on my shoulders. I had forgotten that my medications make me more prone to easy sun burns. I’m glad I wasn’t outside much longer.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous the two days I was out of town. It has been a cooler and wetter spring than usual. But we had a wetter than normal winter and a hotter than usual autumn. I was out at the acreage by myself for two days with no internet. I found out I like being around people more than I thought. I just don’t like being around them for long periods of time. It’s probably why I do well in an apartment complex while living alone. Most people at my complex are understanding about my mental illness as we have many people here with disabilities. Being in the country made me realize just how much goes on even in my small town. The only people I saw in my two days in the country were a couple farmers on the back gravel roads. I had forgotten how quiet the country really is.
Our acreage, in addition to the fishing pond, has a main cabin, a small bunk house, a metal storage barn, and a windmill. It’s not as rustic as it sounds as my father put a satellite tv receiver, a ham radio tower, and a solar panel to run a heater on the main cabin. The cabin is also wired so we could run it off a gas generator in case the power ever went out. We’re even entertaining the idea of putting up a second solar panel to back up even the generator. My family doesn’t believe in leaving things to chance. My mother and I helped him build that cabin several years ago. The acreage is one of my father’s retirement projects. I’ve helped him build two cabins, a fishing dock, a windmill, make fences, and clear out tree branches from our small apple orchard. I found out I’m pretty decent with an electric screw driver and saw. I’m glad I got those chances to work with wood and basic construction. It’s therapeutic and you have something to look out when you’re done and can say ‘we did this.’ They also have a garden there but they don’t grow much besides tomatoes. It’s a late summer tradition for our family once the tomatoes are ripe that we’ll eat bacon and tomato sandwiches with sweet corn for supper probably three nights a week. You can always tell when it’s August at our house and you smell bacon frying almost every night.
It was a good time to be out of town for a couple days. The weather is finally starting to warm up and the sun is shining again. It was a good way to start my summer.
My college buddy Matt got married over the last weekend. It was an outdoors wedding but wasn’t terribly hot as July in South Dakota can be. While I was standing up with Matt I had to keep reminding myself not to lock up my knees so I wouldn’t pass out. Matt was really nervous the morning of the wedding. But I made it a point to not ask him if he was. I must have heard at least ten people ask him about nervousness. The wedding and reception went off well and there weren’t any true mess ups. I posted a pic of myself in a suit even if I do look like Tony Soprano.
Mentally I held up better than expected. Summers have always been a tough time for me so I was concerned going in. But I just allowed myself to enjoy the few days away from the grind. Got to catch up with old friends and made a few new ones. Played multiple games of Jeopardy (I won a couple of those) and had a poker tournament the night before the wedding. I lasted a couple hours before losing my $20 buy in but good luck getting out of a night club or concert with spending that little. I think a night at the movies costs almost that much for one person. Matt ended up making the most money of anyone in our eight person game. Have fun with our money on the honeymoon Matt 🙂
It was a great few days out of my routine. The weather was perfect for early July, the Black Hills were as green and beautiful as I’ve seen in years, and we had some great times.