Day After Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone.  I hosted Christmas at my apartment again this year and I got to celebrate with my parents.  We had a big dinner and exchanged a few gifts.  I got some clothes.  As a child I wouldn’t have been excited about getting clothes, but clothes were what I was needing this year.  Now the gathering of family and friends means more to me than getting and giving gifts.  I guess since I live alone, if I need something I’ll usually buy it myself.  And since I am a minimalist by nature and necessity, I usually don’t need very much most of the time.

In other news, one of my computers crashed on me recently.  It depends on what’s wrong with it whether I’ll get it fixed or buy a new one.  I’ve had that computer for two years and it’s crashed on me twice already.  My Mac had issues at the same time.  Fortunately I was able to save it without going to the shop because it was a fairly minor problem that took only a couple hours to solve.

Winter has officially arrived in my town.  It’s been quite cold for several days and we had several inches of snow the weekend before Christmas.  It looks like it will stay very cold for the next several days.  Probably be staying home until this cold spell is over.  It’s alright as I have some reading to catch up on.  I usually do a lot of reading and writing when it’s too cold and snowy to be outside for long.

I have been quite stable for the last couple weeks in spite the changes in my sleep patterns.  I’m sleeping less and waking up earlier.  I’m now usually awake at sunrise, sleep for a couple hours in the afternoon, and stay awake until midnight.  I haven’t noticed any changes in my moods or mental states yet.  I’m glad things have been quiet in that regard.

Overall, I’m ready for winter.  I won’t feel guilty about wanting to stay home for the next three to four months.  Winter and spring are my favorite times of year.

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Seasonal Aspects of Mental Illness and My Working History With Mental Illness

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I’m adjusting nicely to the summer.  Traditionally summers have been my roughest times of year.  I would usually be more paranoid and irritable than usual this time of year.  I could usually count on at least one psychotic breakdown every summer, usually in late August or early September.  Both times I went to the mental hospital were in early September.  So there is a seasonal aspect to my schizophrenia.  Having dealt with this illness for close to twenty years I have figured out that there are times of year that are worse than others.  July and August are always tough.  The holidays season can be tough unless I avoid crowds and lots of stimulation.  Winters and springs are always pleasant and productive times for me.  I do a great deal of writing and reading in the winters and springs.  Spring has always been a favorite time of year for me.

But this summer so far I’m doing well.  I think it helps that I usually spend a lot of time out of the heat and avoid stressful situations and people.  Granted this means a pretty lonely stretch of the year where I don’t socialize much in person.  Yet, I still keep in contact with family and friends via phone calls and internet.  Facebook is a large means of promotion for this blog.

As it is, I don’t have a regular job.  Haven’t for five years.  Before I decided to devote myself to this blog and being an advocate for the mentally ill who couldn’t speak for themselves, I worked a variety of jobs.  Over the years I have worked as a salesman, a teachers’ aide at a small university, a factory worker, a janitor, a loading dock employee, a fast food cook, a waiter, and a tutor.  Even though this blog doesn’t even break even, I consider it the most rewarding job I ever had.  I have gotten many dozens of comments that have stated that I am helping them or helping them understand loved ones with mental illness problems.  I have been doing this blog for over four years, which is as long as I held my longest job.  Used to be I’d get serious anxiety attacks before I went to work and even while I was at work.  Many of these would be bad enough that I would vomit before I went into work.  After years of fighting these anxiety issues, I decided that working a traditional job wasn’t in my future.  I thought I needed to change course because I was making myself miserable over minimum wage jobs and dealing with rude and unreasonable people.  I have a few horror stories from my time working in retail and fast food.  I’m sure most working in these industries have far more.  As it was, I came to the conclusion that regular work wasn’t worth it anymore.  It it wasn’t for Disability Insurance, I would either be homeless, in prison, or dead.  So it bothers me anytime someone talks about wanting to eliminate these programs.  What kind of “advanced” civilization doesn’t care about the weakest and most vulnerable among their citizens?

I did not end up on disability by my own doing or choice.  I originally went to college with the idea of going to medical school and becoming a medical research scientist.  But my problems with mental illness got so severe in college that I had to change paths and even take a semester long break.  I finally graduated with a business degree.  The reason I chose business was that I wanted to be employable as soon as I left college.  Even though I love writing and reading, I had heard horror stories about liberal arts majors working minimum wage jobs because they couldn’t find work in their fields.

It turned out that I’m grateful I didn’t succeed in sales or find a banking job like I thought I would after graduation.  I know now that I would be miserable wearing a suit and dealing with people day after day.  At least with a blog I don’t even have to leave my living room.  No shirt, no shoes, no problems I suppose in my chosen field.

In closing I’m doing well despite it being a traditionally rough time of year for me.  I think the medications changes I undertook a few weeks ago are working.  And after twenty years of mental illness, I have figured out that there are some things that can make even tough situations much more bearable.

Hope and New Routines

I’m now a week into the changed medications routines.  I’m starting to notice a difference already.  I’m starting to wake up earlier.  I’m sleeping less.  I don’t want to sleep as much.  I’m starting to get a little more active.  I’m starting to have fewer aches and pains.  I’m more stable mentally.  I just don’t have the ups and downs like I used to.  I recover quicker from down times.  I’m beginning to get more active.  And I’m socializing more.

I managed to slog through another winter.  Spring is going on now.  We’ve had rain every day for almost the last week.  Things are really greening up now.  It still gets kind of chilly at night.  But I’m not running my heat during the days.  I’m still not as active as I would care to be as I still have flare ups of pain every now and then.  But even that is not as bad as it was a week ago.

I am hopeful that things are returning to normal again.  I haven’t had a sense of normal for a long time until a few weeks ago.  But things are looking better with each passing day.

Change in Seasons and Change in Routines

Spring started a few days ago.  We’re starting to get more rain and the weather is warming up.  Saw my first lightning of the season yesterday.  My fantasy baseball league had it’s draft last night.  Since we’re spread out all over the country now we have to have our league hosted by yahoo.  It’s been an annual tradition for me for the last ten years.  I’ve never won my league as I’m pretty average compared to the eleven other guys in our league.  It’s a diversion for me and an excuse to pay attention to games I wouldn’t normally watch.  The first baseball games start the first Monday in April.  Winter is over.

I saw my psych doctor earlier this week.  According to his scale I gained a pound since my last appointment six weeks earlier.  Hopefully I have stopped the losing streak in terms of gaining weight.  Unfortunately I have gained a lot of weight since my car accident a year and a half ago.  For a long time I was afraid to drive and didn’t go anywhere except to buy groceries and run errands.  I can tell the lack of socializing has hurt me.  I know I’m less patient with people then I used to be.  I am not as spontaneous as I used to be either.

I complained to my psych doctor about my lethargy and lack of motivation.  We increased the doses of some of my medications.  He also suggested I buy some probiotic pills.  He had read a lot of literature stating that people with mental illness problems often have gut health issues too.  He said that gut health and mental health can affect each other.  After a few days on the probiotic pills, I’m noticing I am having some more energy.  I am also not sleeping as much even after only a few days.  I am also having fewer unexplained aches and pains.  I hope this only continues to improve.  My only true complaint about the probiotic pills is they are pricey.  But I am starting to feel better and more energetic overall.

As stable as I usually am during the winter, I am glad that winter is over.  The weather is starting to warm up and I’m not just wanting to stay home and hide out all the time.  I am feeling a sense of hopefulness for the first time in months.  I really think things are starting to settle down.  I haven’t had much settled for me for a long time.  This sense of normalcy is a welcome relief.

Spring Cleaning and Changes

Spent the last couple days cleaning my apartment and car.  I didn’t drive much this winter except to buy groceries and pick up fast food, so it was just a matter of throwing out some trash in my car.  I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clutter in my apartment.  I still have a couple more days of decluttering.  But since the weather is supposed to warm up by the end of the week, I think I can get a great deal done.

My nephews and niece are visiting my parents for a few days over spring break.  I saw them yesterday and took them to a Mexican restaurant.  Had a good chat with the kids and my parents.  I hadn’t seen any family in person since Christmas.  It was a good change to my routine.

While I still sleep kind of late most mornings, I have found myself sleeping less the last several days.  Now that spring is on the way and the weather is starting to warm, I am getting more sunlight.  I feel better because of the better weather.  I definitely no longer feel the need to just stay inside for entire days.

Mentally I have been quite stable for weeks.  I think it helps that I am getting plenty of sleep, eating more healthy, and avoiding stressful people and situations.  I hope I can keep this kind of stability up.

Been experimenting with my diet for the last few days.  I haven’t eaten meat for several days and I’m also avoiding wheat and gluten.  My stomach is more settled and I feel like I have a little more energy than a week ago.  I have fewer aches and pains too.

I still have some cleaning to do in my apartment.  I had gotten a little lazy about keeping the place up over the winter.  Even though I usually feel mentally stable in the winter, I am also quite a bit lazier too.

I have an appointment with my psych doctor next week.  The medications I have been on for the last year seem to be working well.  I don’t see any changes in those coming.  I guess that I have weathered another winter and will be looking forward to warmer weather within the next couple weeks.

Winter Routines and Loneliness

Haven’t written in awhile.  But I guess I haven’t had much to report.  Been quite stable for a few weeks now.  I still sleep a great deal, mainly after I stay awake quite late.  I haven’t really gone anywhere for most of the winter.  We haven’t had as much snow as previous years and we have probably seen the worst winter is going to offer.  It did help that our traditional mid winter thaw was longer than usual, lasting almost two weeks.  I was able to spend more time outside and been out of my apartment more the last two weeks.  We have probably only a month of cold and icy weather left before spring comes into full effect.

It’s been a quiet and lonely winter for me.  I haven’t had house guests since Christmas and I haven’t had much for conversation with my neighbors this winter.  I think my social skills are deteriorating as a result.  But I have gotten to where I actually prefer to be alone with my thoughts, my writings, my computers, and my reading and research.  And I have gotten to where I really don’t mind sleeping ten hours a day.  I imagine as the days continue to get longer I’ll start sleeping less.  I usually sleep a lot in winter.

I haven’t really been depressed or irritable for weeks now.  I don’t know if this is because I avoid socializing or just avoid confrontations overall.  I still don’t watch any traditional tv and haven’t for weeks.  If it wasn’t for my video games I wouldn’t even own a tv.  Overall I’m getting by on little in terms of material possessions and trying to enjoy everyday as much as possible.

 

Health Routines In Winter With Mental Illness

Weather has been nicer the last few days so I’ve been getting out a little more.  Got restocked in time for the next round of snow to come through.  I’ve been kind of lazy about writing more recently.  But that’s really because I haven’t had much to report.  I’ve been quite stable for a long time now.  This is the longest unbroken period of stability I’ve had in almost two years.  My mental health loves it but my writing routine is suffering because of the stability.

I’ve been eating less the last few weeks than usual.  But that is by design.  Even though I’m still not exercising very much, I am noticing small differences from the last few weeks.  I make it a point to leave my apartment and drive my car a little each day.  I used to go two to three days in a row without driving, especially early in the winter when it was so cold.

About the only real complaint I have is I sleep more than I would like.  I usually stay up quite late and then sleep most of the morning.  Some days I even sleep past noon.  Needless to say this messes with my routines and my socializing.  Since it still gets dark early I usually don’t get much sunlight.  Sure I can read and get a lot done in the overnight hours, but I don’t get to socialize much because of my odd sleep patterns.  I still get enough sleep and I keep mentally stable.  It’s too bad I have no one to share this stability with outside of the internet.