Photo “My Man and I” when we were dating.
After almost a week on SAMe, I am my happy self again. The doctor said a serotonergic medication would take about three weeks to take effect. It did not take that long. This past week, I increased my intake to 1,000 mg from the 600 mg I took before Santa Fe House. Today, I cut back to 800 mg. Hopefully, that will be enough. If it is not, I will take more. SAMe is expensive but cheap compared to Vraylar and Latuda, newer drugs my doctor would like to prescribe for me.
I want to start my PFT (package-for-triumph) with earnest. I already have all the activities added to my JV Life Tracker checklist. What remains is setting up routines or rituals that ensure that I work on everything. I probably do not need to do all 29 items in a single day.
It is challenging for me to follow a morning ritual every day. I get bored with repetition and seek novelty. Since June 7, 2020, I have done a better job of sticking to my plan, which has given me stellar percentages on my Top 5. To learn more about my Top 5 program, consult Day 643, Number Our Days. If you do a similar program yourself, I recommend getting an accountability buddy. You have been my accountability partner for my Top 5. Thank you very much.
Today has been more challenging than most days because my husband has been sick. I have had to do a lot of cleaning, pampering, and changing his clothes. I did not get out for my walk this morning because I did not want to leave him alone that long. However, God willing, this too shall pass, and I can resume my usual behavior.
Walking is not one of my Top 5 activities. However, it is of prime importance for my mental health. It is listed on my PFT (package-for-triumph). I did not explicitly say, “walk to the library and park,” but I could have. That is a way to get a half an hour of sun, an activity also on the PFT.
This morning, I read a sizable portion of Together by Vivek H. Murthy, MD. He believes we evolved a need for community for survival. When our relationships are not meeting our needs, we feel lonely, which drives us to seek togetherness. However, in today’s society, forces are driving people apart. Many people do not even realize they have a biological need for others. He tells many stories to illustrate his point. The book has been an eye-opener for me.
Many of my social situations have not satisfied me. I have hungrily sought others that never became available. Those that have worked often required more effort than I thought they needed at first. Now, I realize why I have worked so hard on some relationships. It was more than just pleasure. It was survival. For instance, it took almost thirteen years from the time I met my husband until we married. I still do not feel as well connected as I want to be.
Bipolar disorder makes relationships especially challenging. However, I may get some ideas about what to do further from Dr. Murthy’s book. I also checked out another one called 400 Friends and No One to Call: Breaking Through Isolation and Building Community by Val Walker.
My therapist recommended Dr. Murthy’s book. Maybe we can talk about it next time I go to counseling.
Dr. Murthy describes ways we can become connected. Our family, our religion, our ethnic group, and our nationality can all give us ties to others. However, he said that religious ties can come with requirements for conformity that do not suit us. Some special interest groups are actually hate groups. To be united with others against other groups can be detrimental. He seems to favor communities that come together for a particular interest.
He mentioned the men’s woodworking shed groups that have attracted lonely men around the world. In their favor, they do not require the men to admit that they are lonely–something many older men are too proud to do. He described a Facebook group started by a pregnant doctor. She gathered thousands of other pregnant doctors, solving their problems and connecting them offline for mutual aid. Tom Tait, city leader of Anaheim, California, started a culture of kindness that spread throughout his city and beyond. He believed city problems could be solved better in a kind way.
Connections with New Friends
I called my friend, Jacque, this afternoon. A well-connected lady, she is 88 and recovering from a stroke. Today, she is happier and planning to go out with one of her daughters. She talked to me for a while before her daughter arrived. I hope to visit her soon. I told her a bit about Dr. Murthy’s book.
This afternoon, I called a man whose wife has been undergoing cancer treatments. She is doing much better than previously. He said I can come to visit them now–just wear a mask. His foot injury has healed, so he is doing better himself. He and his wife live on our floor, so I can visit them soon.
[The next day, I visited this couple and learned they would have appreciated visits throughout her lonely, cancer treatments. I was overly concerned about her weakened immune system during the pandemic and dared not ask if I could come. Now, I feel bad that I missed an opportunity to visit through a lack of communication. My mother said that kind of thing probably happens a lot. I can start visiting them from now on. We have a plan in place to visit twice a week.]
I realize now that connection is critical to our overall and mental health, and that having an affective disorder makes it more challenging.
I am not a party animal, but I love one-on-one contact with close friends.
Connections That Pull Away
People sometimes pull away for one reason or another, often without saying why. Sometimes, it seems like I have reverse magnetism. With my sensitive nature, it is challenging not to take it hard.
Connections in Colorado
Moving to Colorado has challenged me. However, in some ways, it has been a blessing. It has been a fresh start. The people here seem friendly.
When I worked with Voc-Rehab in Utah about returning to the workforce, my counselor advised me not to tell my potential employers about my mental health condition. I could see why he counseled me that way. However, in practice, I always have symptoms in an employment situation, and I feel like I owe my employers an explanation. So, the truth comes out, usually at the worst possible time. This dilemma was one of the reasons I did not pursue a job very intently. I did not know what to tell my employers.
Connections with Others
The same dilemma exists with everybody else. To not tell, keeps people at a distance. They cannot know and certainly cannot understand a significant portion of my life. If I want to get closer to someone, I want to tell them. One of my most significant needs is to be understood. However, ironically, telling them leaves me vulnerable to being misunderstood.
My husband has not accepted that I have a mental health condition. He thought it was something made up by doctors, other people, or even by myself. He has seen a few symptoms by now. At least, he accepts my treatment.
Connections That May Not Be Real
Minutes ago, I chatted with a new Facebook “friend” from West Africa who claimed he cared for five younger siblings, and their parents had passed. He wanted help.
To give him money would be stepping into danger. His story may not even be true. I tried to encourage him to find relief organizations in his area and brainstorm his situation. He kept after me.
At last, I unfriended him and blocked the conversation. I feel sorrow because his story is likely true. I found a list of relief organizations in his country, but none of them seem to have anything to do with food. Due to the pandemic, his family probably is starving.
However, it probably would hurt me to help him, and a small sum of money from me likely would not help him much either. Brief online contact is not a relationship, and it can even be hazardous.
Years ago, I read Percy Ross’s Ask For The Moon And Get It! He outlined ten rules of asking that I have found helpful when asking others or evaluating philanthropic requests. Here is my mindmap showing the guidelines.
[The next day, I got a message from my brother that this “friend” is a scammer. He got scared for me.]
Long-Term Connections That Support
A long-time friend from Utah called me tonight. He was excited about a new budding relationship. Fortunately, I know him well and can trust him. He has never asked me for money. We thanked each other for the support we give each other.
Connection with the Lord
Having a relationship with the Lord is a supernal thing. However, it is no substitute for connections with other people. At one time, I thought the Lord would fill my life, and I did not need a husband. I am glad I changed my mind about that.
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.