By Indigo Blue
Recently, I have struggled with taking my medication. The
reasons ranged from ambivalence and grief, to just plain
forgetting. Although I devised a system to help me, when faced
with unusual stress, I found myself slipping again. I actually
forgot my system designed to help me remember. I decided to take
the Beatles advice and get by with a little help from my friends.
Two of the most important ingredients to succeeding in almost
any undertaking, are support and accountability. Support holds us
in a warm embrace. Accountability wakes us up and says,
"Okay, itís time to do what you have to do, and do it
right." Both are vital.
I immediately began gathering Medication Accountability
PartnersóMAPs for short. I liked the way that turned out. Maps
give you way to get to where you are going. The directions are
right there, and if you stray, a map can get you back on track. A
fitting metaphor, indeed.
My first MAP was Marie. In her gentle way she prodding me with
questions, "Why arenít you taking your meds?" As the
mother of a diabetic child, she understands the importance of a
medication routine. Her questioning forced me to voice what was
merely vague introspection, and in the middle of my conversation I
started my medicine, again. Her skillful guidance was followed up
with praise. I felt encouraged and successful with her on my team.
Gail, my second MAP had a bare bones practical approach. We
discussed the situation, and she urged me purchase a watch with an
alarm, and keep it on. With the alarm set, I can be jarred into
action by an annoying beep. This was good sense to me, and Iíll
implement this as soon as possible.
Terry, my third MAP has a "scared straight" approach.
I did not realize how menacing Terry is until she found out I was
skipping meds. She told me she was going to whoop my
you-know-what. But, she was smiling when she said it. I realized I
would rather face Mike Tyson, high off drugs, in a dark alley than
deal with having to tell Terry I didnít take my medicine. But in
fairness, Terry is also very sweet, and told me to put an Indigo
ribbon around my finger, even if my bottle of lithium was tied to
the other end (Terry is funny, too). The color indigo will help me
in the midst of my busy life, remember to take care of myself.
Systems are important, and for people who have bipolar
disorder, they are essential. However, systems are not
relationships. They donít love you and want to see you better.
People do that. So when you are lost, get yourself a MAP. In fact,
get a MAP before you lose your way. It may prevent being lost,
altogether. Listen your MAPís input. Let your MAP help you help
In the end, youíll be glad you did. And best of all youíll
find your way home again.