Moving on…

It has been difficult, but I have moved forward, and am beginning to find what I want to be. And what I want to do. It just won’t involve other people much.

Most of us find ourselves having to reconstruct our lives… the nons evolve, but not in isolation. We have to deal with suddenly discovering your world is not what your thot. Without warning, we find our world gone… and we are alone to rebuild.

I have written about how people who find themselves the victims of mental illness, will find their friends slipping away. Gradually, many of us end up without any direct contact with the outside world. We tend to become “loners” because we are forced to, not because we are driven to. The illness does not make us want to be alone… it makes us want to be understood.

What makes us seem to want to be alone, is that we can’t get people to understand what is happening to us. We can’t just “get over it”, or “move on”. We can learn about our illness, and sometimes find ways to mitigate it. But those problems/mistakes will never go away. We will have to always be on guard for each little sign that something is amiss.

People have said I am brave. It makes me feel good to hear… but I do not think of myself as brave. Is it brave to swim ashore from a sinking boat?

This is where I am.

I need to find a life… a way forward. And I need to do it on my own. It is slow going. But there is progress. In reality, I do thing I know what I want to do with my life. I am struggling to try to make it happen. But there are no other options.

I’ll try to write more about how I am doing towards my goal. I will actually be taking a needed step forward today. It may well make no difference at all. There are still major obstacles. But I have to move forward.

Coming to Acceptance

My thoughts have been drifting around my memories, and what is lost. There are so many wonderful things I have done, and seen. I have had great friends, and been involved with wonderful people. I loved my time in archery, college, and teaching. At every step, I thot I was making life-long friends. But I always found that when my life had to shift places all those friends were lost.

“All” is not a fair word. I still know a couple people from my archery days. In Seattle. I have not seen them in many years. That is my fault. But when I left teaching, I was shocked how quickly I was forgotten. Not one person I had known contacted me after I left. I tried communicating with a few… a few times. Some said we would get together when they come to Portland… never seemed to happen.

Retirement was almost 20 years ago. I have not had any new social contacts since. There have been no new people coming thru my life. That makes it hard to make new friends.

I give up.

All my life, my single greatest fear… one I constantly fought, was of ending up alone. Here I am.

So now what? What do I do with my life now?

I have hobbies… they are not very fulfilling though. There is no purpose to my life. I have no goals. No dreams.

That has to change.

I have struggled with what to do. Without friends, I have no-one to read off. There is no-one to react to what I do, to give me any feedback. So I never have any sense of success. If I write, who will read it?

This is where I am. For a couple of years, I have been trying to find purpose. No luck. How can I find purpose with no feedback? As a teacher I understand how important it is to perceive ourselves as making progress, and succeeding. After years of no feedback… my ambition has faded. Now I usually don’t try.

This is where I am.


Non-Traveling Guy

My travel has gradually diminished to nothing. There is no-one to encourage me to go. I am on my own in figuring out how to work past my fears… phobias. Even remaining people close, have given up trying. I will not be trying.

Putting effort into travel is virtually guaranteed to be lost effort. And one more failure. I can’t do much by myself. I will only put energy into things here at home.

That has been the de-facto situation for a couple of years at least. But has been recently confirmed. I need to move on.

I Am a Cat Person

WOW! …am I ever a cat person…

I understand cats. Predicting their behavior is pretty simple. And I talk to them. Lori rolls her eyes and shakes her head when a cat will do what I say with a simple, calm, quiet command. “Down”… and they will jump down off wherever they are. Lori yells at them 2-3 times before they decide to get down. They understand what I want them to do.

We lost our oldest kitty – Cymbeline – a month ago, at 17. It is still very difficult to think about her. She slept in one of the cat-beds on my desk. There are five cat beds around my office. During the winter, three of them have warming pads. There are often four cats sleeping here.

They are my friends. They are my only friends. Caliban sleeps near me all the time… wherever I go in the house. They each have their own personal ways of accepting commands. But they are always around.

Our backyard has cat-fence so they can’t get out, and others can’t get in. They love it out there. Except Miranda… There are some cat-perches out there.

There are three cats here now.

They are a calming influence in my life. They make it easier to relax. Their positive reaction to me makes me feel better. I take care of them too.


I started archery at 14.

People knew who I was… I was the first collegiate to win 4 State, and 4 Region championships ever. Freshman thru senior year. I was 9th in the Nation twice. I coached the U of Washington team to a National Championship in 1977. I had taught half the team how to shoot from the beginning. First place mixed-team, Second place women’s team, fourth place men’s team. I had won the Men’s state champion in Washington. I qualified for World Championship team trials. I was known for experimenting with new equipment. I was known.

The next year they wanted a new coach… I was already beginning to break down. I pretty much dropped out of archery… always feeling like an outsider. It never came back.

Archery also injured my shoulders. Rotator-cuff in the right and ligaments in the left. I also messed up my left thumb. I injured my left knee in an accident running. By the time I left Seattle, at 30, I could not even shoot anymore. I tried several times over the next few years. And again about 17 years ago… my body can’t take it.

Now, I shoot 10-meter PCP air-rifle. Like they shoot in the Olympics. It requires the same concentration, but is very different physically. And I can do it inside or in the back yard. I can shoot PCP air-pistol in my office. My father was a “marksman” with pistol and carbine in the Army WW2. He shot a 38 Smith & Wesson revolver… with custom parts. It is all about the kind of concentration required.

I lost all but 2-3 archery friends by the early 1980’s. I lost my last friend just a few years ago. Someone I had been friends with since 1975. That one could recover…

Scale Plastic Modeling

I build highly detailed scale models.

Below in the cockpit interior of a Hawker Harrier. not finished.

It requires the commitment of time. You can’t just pick it up and put it down. You are working with paints, glues, and resins that have time limits. Usually I have to know I can commit at least a half hour. And most of the time, I don’t feel up to it. But I still tinker away at times.

There are modeling clubs… but there are some issues. The closest one is almost about an hour away. I really struggle with new people, especially if I am on my own. Most modelers in clubs are conservative. I get along fine with conservatives, even though I am pretty liberal. But that is not a place to look for outside friends. And the conversations drift into areas I want to avoid – politics. I have tried, though it was years ago.

I know fully well I may be wrong about everything I think about people. And I have grown to not trust my decision making with regards to people. I think I do the wrong thing too often.

Who Am I?

I live in a nice city in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I am about 40 miles south of Portland. We love this city – a majority of the population are Hispanic or Russian. People are friendly, and easy to get along with.

I have agoraphobia… somewhere on the spectrum. I can go places I know if I need to. Some things are easier than other. But basically I just go to a few stores, and shops. Plus doctors.

There are hobbies, but individual things I “work” on at home. Photography, and building things. I have a metal and wood shop, plus a work area in my office. I don’t work on things much… anxiety is difficult to deal with. And I get depressed often. Meds help a lot. They reduce my anxiety to a manageable level, and greatly shorten my depressive episodes.

Forty years ago, I was a Nationally known archer… I coached the U of Washington team to a National Championship. I had lots of friends, and traveled all over. Then my life started to fall apart. A year later, I dropped out of college and worked for a few years before going back to finish my degree, and then get my teaching certificate. I taught at Seaside High School for 15 years – all levels of math, but mostly Calculus, and Trigonometry. I also taught Physics every year…

Due to shoulder injuries I had to stop even trying archery back in about 1988. But I had already stopped competitive shooting – 1978. The year it all fell apart.

I was a popular teacher, teaching the hardest two classes at Seaside. 20% of seniors took Physics, and/or Calculus… mostly both. Calculus had 15-18 hours homework per week. And they did it.

We were married while I was still teaching… no-one from the school came. No friends at all came.

Eventually I burned out from teaching, and retired. I moved out of Seaside, and never heard from anyone there again. I have only received a few messages ever, and they were in response. But I have not seen anyone I worked with since then.

We moved again after a year, and are now back in Oregon.

I lost all my friends along the way. I am estranged from what little family I have. My hobbies don’t get me out much, and I am not good in groups anymore anyway. So I don’t get out. Even if I could, where would I go, and how would I deal with people?

Mostly… I just have no family or friends. And I am afraid to trust anyone anyway. Why try?

Fighting Aloneness


I picked a huge topic today. but important to many people.

There is a huge emptiness in my life. I am a writer… trying to write a book… it is in my head. I used to have friends I wrote letters with… handwritten! No-one does that anymore. On-line is shallow and fleeting. I struggle to go past our driveway. Being around people is frightening to me. My cats understand me…

Where do I go from here? I have been here a very long time… where do I go?

Finding Social Contact

This has been my Achilles Heal. Having lost all my friends years ago… decades ago… how do I get started? What should I do? No-one I know has any ideas.

On-line is nice sometimes. I write Blogs occasionally. And sometimes I am on Facebook. But you can’t really make new friends there. It is nice sometimes… it also reminds me how alone I am. There are many conflicts.

I have always got along well with people in person. I can be oddly humorous. The effort can overwhelm me… and it is easy to give up. Then I am on my own. That is where I often make mistakes. Over the long haul, it just does not seem worth the effort.

It is time to go silent again for a while.

Trying and Pushing = Brave?

I am at a point in my life, where I have to change what I believe. I have been working on it. I need to change the way my brain inter-relates to the world. No small feat.

Progress is measured in very small increments. I cleaned up a work-space to actually be able to work on something. Why? Because I wanted to. Got a problem with that?

This is not where I thot I would be at this point in my life. I need to teach my brain to want what I have. How does one change so many decades of training? The “slow-motion” PTSD must be rewired. There is no guarantee of success… or even progress. Make what I have work.

Being Brave, is what you do when there aren’t any other options. It is another state of our being. Others will see it in a different light, and will call it “brave”. OK… But it is just us doing what we must do. Especially for the Mentally Ill. We have to be “brave” just to get up in the morning!!!!

I am not truly brave. I am scrambling to survive. The options have narrowed significantly over the last few years. My presence on-line is my only reaching-out place. so here I am.

It is very difficult to reach out to an empty audience… OK… OK… not “empty”. Though I would like to hear more from people. Is this where I remind you all, I have no friends? No? Ok… later.

I am not in point of fact, looking for friends on-line. Friends are people you actually see. Sigh… there is a whole spectrum of “friends”. You can be very close to people you never see… or distant from those you see frequently. But it is more difficult to start with no foundation of brick-and-mortar friends. Not impossible… “It is a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

Hello… my name in Neil.

Photos and Videos

I am not going to go out of my way to put photos, or videos on my Blogs just to attract attention. What I do include will have specific meaning. There is a huge world out there, and if people are going to read what I write, it need to be for the writing.