If you were here the other day you might remember I suggested that you get out and do something the way I’ve gone back to college.

You don’t have to go to college. That’s a big commitment that I recommend to only a few, but you can do other things. Join a bowling league or volunteer some place in your community. Take an art class or even teach one. Visit your neighbors and family more often. Start a small group of friends that meets together regularly to play cards or go out to dinner or the movies. Do something. I can’t stress how important this is. Why am I urging you to put yourself out there? There are a few reasons but the one I want to focus on today is people.

One of the things I’ve learned in my psychology class (and I’ve always known this) is that people need each other. We need someone to talk to. Even if we have a single good friend or are close to a family member… we need other people in our lives.

If you’re like me when you’re depressed you tend to isolate yourself from everyone. This is just one really good reason why it is important to grow our relationships when we’re doing better. We need these relationships in place and secure before we have our next flip out.

Now I’m not suggesting that you use this person must be your emergency person and that you lean on them, and depend on them like a lifeline. Although that may be what your relationship is like. I’m talking about having real people in your life to meet your real life and every day relationship needs. We live longer and are happier when we have people we care about in our lives. It’s really true.

I’ve been spending time trying to cultivate relationships with some of my closer family members and a friend I’ve had for many years. I’ve also been trying to reach out online to meet people and try to develop some new friendships here. The friend I’m closest to I met online over 15 years ago and I cherish her friendship even today. She knows more about me and my “conditions” than my family members do.

It takes time and patience. Lots of time. Right now I’m blogging more and reading other people’s blogs and trying to see if I connect with anyone. And there’s a local writer’s group that gets together to write at the local library every few weeks that I’ve been trying to go to. I keep missing that opportunity. There is a meeting this Sunday but I’m working on finals and a big portfolio that’s all due next week so I can’t make this particular meeting. But you know what? They’ll have another one and one of these days it will work out and I’ll get my scared little butt over there and meet some new people.

My point is just this… we each need to have other people in our lives. It’s how we’re made. If we want to be healthy and have a better chance of surviving the days when the depression is smothering us or the mania has got us doing a fire walk then having friends is really important. If we have friends who care about us and whom we care about we have a better chance of being stable too.

Give it a try. You could even write to me. I’ll write back. No promises on being besties, but I’ll write back. Or, you could write a note to some other blogger you particularly enjoy. Tell them how what they write makes you feel or just say thanks. Strike up a conversation. You’ll never know until you try.

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