Day 634, Getting Help and Reaching for Vibrant Joy with Values-Driven Activities

 
“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43).
 
Even though my energy and productivity picked up after repeated walks to the library and park, I was flattened one Saturday evening by the depressive phase of my bipolar, type I disorder, while walking home from the library.  My depressed mood continued into the next day and the next, destroying my productivity gains, diminishing my energy with physical symptoms, and threatening me with extinction.  I sincerely felt I could not go on.
 

Santa Fe House

 
I let my husband know I needed help.  He suggested I call his son, which I did.  Upon the advice of several people, including him, I contacted the Crisis Line, which is associated with the Santa Fe House crisis center.  After a brief phone conversation, they invited me to come in to get an evaluation.  Not being able to drive safely, I asked if they would pick me up.  They were soon over, even before I had much time to pack my belongings.
 
My experience at Santa Fe House was a lot less scary than the previous times I got inpatient treatment.
 

No Emergency Room

 
Before entry to any of the hospital psych wards in Utah, it was necessary to go through the emergency room first.  Fortunately, at Santa Fe House, this was not necessary, avoiding unnecessary expense and exposure to COVID-19.
 

No Tranquilizers

 
At Santa Fe House, the staff did not use tranquilizers or administer any other drug, of which I did not know the name.  I think tranquilizers, used previously, interfered with my memory, causing me to blank out a large portion of my stay.  At Santa Fe House, my memory and consciousness stayed intact, and I was fully aware of what drugs they were giving me.
 

No Smoking

 
I well remember that tiny room during my first episode in 1985, where the smokers smoked.  It stank up the entire floor.  During subsequent hospitalizations, the smokers always went outside to smoke.  In at least one hospital, only smokers were allowed out, which seemed unfair to those of us who did not smoke.  At UNI (Utah Neuro-Psychiatric Institute,) where I stayed in 2016, everyone was allowed to go outside with the smokers.  This last time, there was no smoking allowed at all.  We all went out almost daily for walks in the May countryside roundabout.
 

No Seclusion Rooms

 
There were no tiny, padded, seclusion rooms at Santa Fe House.  I think all the Utah hospital wards had them, at least those in which I stayed.   I remember the staff locking me in more than one of them.  Those were some of the more traumatic parts of my episodes.
 
All in all, the Santa Fe House was more like a retreat than a psych hospital.  The first hospital I was in was attached to the forensic ward of a jail.  Inmates worked in the cafeteria.  Santa Fe House did not have that element.
 

Imipramine

 
Since getting home, I have been adjusting to taking imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant, along with my other medications.  It has caused increased thirst and constipation.  Hopefully, with water and magnesium, I can overcome those side effects.
 
The Happiness Trap
 
This week, I had a session on the phone with my counselor.  I asked if she had any books to recommend.  She mentioned Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns.  Last year, I read that and reported on it in my blog.  My counselor also listed The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris.  I obtained the book on Kindle and started reading it.  It introduced a paradigm I have never used before.   Dr. Harris says that we try to feel better all the time, and in doing so, we often make our lives worse, which is especially true when choosing addictive substances and activities.  Other things, even things like affirmations and self-hypnosis, can end up taking a lot of our time.  Instead, he believes that we should work toward our values.
 
Fortunately, I have done some work on values in the past year or so.  However, I have not listed my values alongside what activity I am doing to work on them.  The workbook counselors at the Santa Fe House sent me home with encouraged me to do that.
 
Therefore, I made a new template called Values to Action, dressed up the table, and started filling it out.  Below is my first day.  I found, to my surprise, that most of my activity supported some value.  Dr. Harris said to accept that we do not feel happy all the time.  We did not evolve to do that.  We evolved to avoid danger and tend to be always at least a bit anxious.
 
This table may be a bit hard to read on your cell phone, so consider switching to a computer to look it over.
 
 
VALUES TO ACTION
Date: 05/29/20
Value
Score
Action(s)
Comments
Balance
8
  • Values to Action Scorecard
  • Hot Towel Scrub
  • JV Life Tracker
  • Napped
  • Did the Yoga Tree Pose on One Side
  • Start with balance.
Beauty
9
  • Cronometer
  • Hot Towel Scrub
  • Lip Balm
  • Makeup
  • Frankincense
  • Haircut
  • Manicure
  • ETM (Eating Time Management)
  • Weight Loss (calorie restriction)
  • Avoided Sugar
  • Did not entirely avoid added sugar
  • Restricted calories the day before, but not as much today.
Clarity
8
  • Values to Action
 
Cleanliness
6
  • Hot Towel Scrub
  • Dishes
  • Caught up Mail
 
Consistency
9
  • JV Life Tracker
  • Cronometer
  • Caught up Mail (paid bills)
  • Meditated according to Russ Harris’ diffusing exercises
 
Courage
5
  • Called Appliance Medic
  • Called Rock Plumbing, Heating and Air-Conditioning
  • Presented the Letter I Wrote to My Husband
 
Creative Productivity
2
  • Values to Action
 
Energetic Vibrancy
8
  • Hot Towel Scrub
  • Frankincense
  • Blood Pressure
  • High Potassium Foods
  • Km Mineral Supplement, Carrots, Avocado
Eyesight
8
  • Eye drops
  • Supplements:  Astaxanthin, Lutein, Zeaxanthin
 
Fasting
7
  • 12-Hour Fast
  • 18-Hour Autophagy Fast the day before
  • Benefits: self-control, self-mastery, weight loss, better sleep, autophagy (cellular clean-out), growth hormone release, metabolism reset
Gratitude
7
  • Thanked the cosmetologist for coming
  • Texted a friend in gratitude
  • Thanked my husband for our beauty treatments
 
Influence
3
  • Got my cosmetologist to support my husband in getting a shower
  • Prepared this Values to Action table to share on my blog
  • No shower yet
Joy
9
  • Hot Towel Scrub
  • Frankincense
  • The Happiness Trap
  • Diffusing Exercises
  • Bible Verse Study
  • Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
 
 
Mobility
6
  • Walk
  • Denneroll (neck and spine alignment device)
 
Necessity
9
  • Dishes
  • Rubbed and Scratched my Husband’s Back
  • Put Body Cream on Husband’s Back
  • Fixed Husband dinner
  • Paid Bills
 
Nutrition
5
  • Cronometer
  • Food Supplements
  • I still need to work on eating more vegetables.
Regularity
7
  • Avoided sugar but had a bit in sous vide grass-fed beef and Dave’s Thin-Sliced bread
  • Took magnesium oxide at night
  • Took magnesium glycinate during the day
  • My new antidepressant increases constipation.
Sleep
2
  • Manta Sleep Mask
  • Naps
  • I did not sleep for many hours at night.  I still need to work on this.
Social
9
  • Interacted with my husband
  • Visited with our cosmetologist, who came over
  • Played with our cosmetologist’s chihuahua and puppy-sat for a few minutes
  • Texted a friend in gratitude for something he did
 
Spirituality
6
  • Journal Entry
  • Bible Verse Study
 
Sunlight
4
  • Sat on the Patio with My Husband
  • Benefits: vitamin D, circadian rhythm regulation, mood lift
Timeliness
7
  • Served My Husband Dinner promptly
  • Kept an Audit Time Recording Log for part of the morning
 
Wisdom
 
 
8
  • The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris
  • Bible Reading
 
 
What do you think?  I am letting you in on a day of my life.  What are your values?  Did I mention a few that you have?
 
The key is to avoid reaching for addictive substances and activities to make us feel good when they eventually will give us nothing.  Instead, find and do activities that support your values, whatever they are.
 
Since getting home, I have attempted to work on intermittent fasting again.  I gained some weight while at the Santa Fe House, but I have already taken most of it (1.15 kilos) off with intermittent fasting.  I am using the fasting feature in Cronometer to plan and record my fasts.  When that feature was first released, I used it, but it got away with me because I put it on automatic.  Now, I am recording each fast one-by-one to be more mindful of what I am doing.  So far, that is working for me.  I even did an 18-hour Autophagy Fast after listening to an excellent YouTube presentation about what happens hour-by-hour while fasting.
 
My mood is doing okay.  Now I know that I do not need to be happy 100% of the time.  I can process all of my emotions, both good and bad.  The book The Emotional Advantage by Randy Taran describes in-depth, effective ways to do that.
 
Two of my top values, however, are joy and vibrancy.  Fortunately, I have learned many paths to obtain them.  However, I do not have to be hard on myself if I am not joyfully vibrant or feel like a quack and a failure.
 

Prayer

 
 
MORNING PRAYER
 
Dear Lord,
 
I am so grateful I could obtain some quick treatment for the depressive phase of my disorder.  The new medication prescribed to me has been around since the 1950s.  Consequently, it is off-patent and therefore cheap–another advantage.  Most importantly, it works, though, with a few side effects.  The one I have almost always feared is weight gain.  However, with intermittent fasting techniques and using Cronometer every day, I think I can overcome that.  So far, I have lost most of the weight I gained while in the hospital.
 
Lord, I am also grateful for my counselor.  I have been unsure about her.  She recommended a book that I have barely started but from which I have already benefited.  I am matching my values to my activities and avoiding addictive substances and activities that bear no fruit.
 
What is next?  Just marching on.  This past week I have also continued reading Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict.  We got a new lamp in the bedroom to replace the burned-out one, making this study possible.  Lord, you lived; you live.  I believe that.  Help me to parlay that belief into service for others and a happy life for myself.
 
I realize I do not have to be happy every minute, but if I work toward my values, I will be as content as possible.  Please help my readers with their struggles.  If they need help for their depression, give them the courage to seek treatment as I did.  It has made a difference.
 
Amen.
 
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.  If you wish to download a FREE copy of my ebook (with no need to enter your name or email), click on the book below.
 
 
 

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