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.

Archery

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

WOW!

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.


 

An Open Window…

I am trying to give people a chance to hear from the other side of the Mental Health issues we face. These Blogs may come back to haunt me. I make bad decisions, and people may respond in ways that make me think they are angry at me.

My response: Get in line.

I am used to people being mad at me. Even when they are not. My brain goes into protective mode and it assumes anyone with cause, is mad at me. Unless I have direct knowledge, they are not. There is almost a constant fear in my brain of people being mad at me. If I cannot know better… my brain assumes they are mad.

That is what my brain does. And NO amount of knowing that, will ever be able to stop my brain from going there.

If you fall into a pool of water, your brain will respond in a certain way to save you. It would take a lot a practice to learn exactly how to react in the best possible way… that protects you the most quickly. But it would take practice. You would need help…

Here is the catch… there is no way for the mentally ill to practice unless there is someone to practice with. We need help. We need someone to unlock the doors to the pool.

I don’t have the keys.

The Eclipse

My plans did not work out… but I was able to enjoy the eclipse anyway. We live in the line of totality. I was in my office, watching my weather station data, and looking out the window. I watched it get dark, and the kids outside watching it happen. It was fun enough for me.

I had a bad weekend. I was not up to even going outside with the glasses I had purchased. I did not care enough to walk outside.

Welcome to my life.