Help Me: I Have Schizophrenia and I Have Slept Most of My Adult Life Away!

Hello Good Readers! I hope the topic for today grabbed you because it is something that I have encountered a lot and also something that has affected my life personally.

I think back now and then to when I first was diagnosed and felt bad about my situation. I had few friends, many times didn’t even have a phone, and had very little to do because I was constantly broke. It seems such a shame when I look back at how people used to be penalized for working for necessary items like food and clothing, driving them to isolate as I had.

The building I lived in wasn’t the best, and to stop people from buzzing my intercom at all hours of the day and night, I disconnected it. Sometimes I would go for days without leaving the apartment. I am lucky though that through all the worst of it, my parents would still visit. That was what kept me going.

Last night I watched the movie, “Pride and Prejudice” based on the novel by Jane Austen. It was a wonderful throw-back to Victorian times and I greatly enjoyed it. But in some ways I saw how some things haven’t changed. It still seems that for a male to be attractive and a ‘good prospect’ they have to have a large sum of money, and it is better if it is family money. I say this because when I was 21 and living on my own, I wasn’t a bad-looking person by any means, but I sure was down and out when it came to money. Now that I am a lot more financially stable, wear better clothes, have direction and purpose in my life I get a lot more serious offers from females.

All that aside though, I wanted to talk about my sleep patterns. One of the most important things for me in life is to not waste the precious time I have. I was reminded of how much time has gone by the other day looking at a list of people I knew and counting off how many of them have passed away, including every last one of my uncles and aunts and my mom. Considering that in that time I went to only the funeral for one aunt here in Canada and a thing we had for my mom, it really seems like I have let myself get out of synch with the rest of the world, and I blame situations when I let myself sleep for days.

One of the ways I have tried to deal with excessive sleep is to take my medications at their set times of day, every day. I used to just take them when I was tired, sleep all I could, then take the morning ones whenever I got up. This was extremely detrimental to my mental and physical health.

One of the reasons I sleep for days sometimes, even now, is that I find it is one of the best ways I have to deal with stress. What I used to do often was to take vitamin B complex and a multi-vitamin and have a nap. Perhaps because of the daily use of these vitamins, their effect has lessened. Another great thing to do is to take some magnesium, I prefer a powdered kind that you mix up in a glass or mug first with hot water to dissolve the powder, then with cold water so you can drink it.

I find if I can get an early sleep I will almost always wake up on time to take my morning pills, which I have set at 5 o’clock am. My main problem is that after taking these, if I have nothing to do I will go back to sleep until around noon. Today I tried to do things a little differently, I woke up, took my pills, then walked about 5 km to a mall in the North End of the City. When I got back though, I was so tired I passed out and even had to cancel a meet-up with my dad because of it.

I don’t think that people with mental illnesses are lazy. Actually, I am pretty sure they aren’t. But a lot of them give up on life and stop trying to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and by opposing end them.” -Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, William Shakespeare. But I urge all of you to keep trying. “Do not go gentle in that good night!” -Dylan Thomas from his famous Villanelle of the same title.

One of the best ways to combat laziness is simply to start working out. I don’t suggest you spend a fortune and join an expensive gym. I do suggest that perhaps you could pick up some dumbbells at Walmart that weigh five or ten pounds and do some Youtube research on how to get a good workout out of lower weights. Once you start to feel better, after you have exercised for a few weeks, your whole life will change, you will feel better in every way. What I suggest next is to buy a quality bicycle for as little as you are able to spend and still get a quality machine. You can look through places like Kijiji and Craigslist for these. Start out by finding flat, easy routes to take. Build up to tougher stuff, the important thing is to just find ways to keep your legs moving for 15 minutes or more. The great thing about a bike is that when you get tired you can gear down and just coast, and you get the joy of being out in the fresh air. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat laziness, and the more fresh air, sunshine and exercise you get, the better your quality of sleep will be.

Another thing you can do is to see about getting discount fitness memberships from the city you live in as I do, or to get a membership for the YMCA. Of course, the hardest thing is finding the money, so many people with poor mental health are living on supports or a disability pension. For many, getting into shape can mean feeling healthy enough to get a part-time job. One of the key things to remember is to not waste your time and not waste your money. Some people may say that you should just go out and get any job, which can work sometimes. I used to go out and just get any job then put in resumes to places I would prefer to work at. This worked well, but I think the way things are going I don’t need to recommend people get just any job, what I recommend is that people contact their local volunteer network (or whatever yours is called) and ask for the specific type of job you most want to do. If you want to be a teacher, volunteer to teach English as a Second Language. If you want to program computers, ask to work for a charity that teaches computer literacy.

There is really a lot of wonderful things out there in this world of ours. Beautiful experiences like travel, companionship, music, and so much more. But before many people with mental illnesses can experience these things and see the beauty and joy in their lives, they need to push themselves a little to get up, to do as a good friend once said (Phil- forget his last name) “Face the day or live the night.” Just be sure that whatever you do, that you don’t take on too much. And though it can affect your sleeping pattern all week, sometimes it isn’t a sin to sleep in some on the weekend. Two last things I wanted to mention is, when I am too wired up to sleep, I take a hot, hot bath with lots of Epsom salts in it and when I go to bed after I’m asleep when my head hits the pillow. The other thing is that I try not to drink anything with caffeine in it past about 6:00pm, then I take my medications between 10-11, sleep until 5:00am, take my morning meds then sleep an hour or so and then do whatever it takes to get my moving, including exercise and copious amounts of coffee and tea.

All the best Dear Readers!

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