With the media coming down on Mental Health topics like a ton of bricks, I think it is time there is a new approach to treating mental illness. And the theme needs to be natural CURES. Because my cure has been more effective than all the meds combined. But people need to be educated on what it means to be a “med free bipolar”. “MED-free Bipolar”, NOT “Un-e medicated Bipolar”, there is a HUGE difference. There are a ton of un-medicated bipolars out there who should be getting help; but there are others, like me, who cannot, will not, choose not to take medications. And you would never know it. I have lived for years amongst friends, family, and business colleagues, and they are just finding out my story and are shocked that they NEVER saw a single symptom of illness. Most people would think I am the exception to the rule. I am not. There are thousands like me, living med free. You just have to know how, why, and IF that is a good choice for you. Did you know that only 50% of people with bipolar will agree to take meds at all? Did you know that of the other 50% who WANT to take meds, 25% of them give up due to the side effects and ineffectiveness of the drugs? That means only 25% are even “properly” medicated, and MOST of those 25% still suffer from horrendous side effects, or STILL have break-through symptoms that are bad enough to require committal! IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE!!!!!
What does it really mean to LIVE med free? Does it mean crazy highs and dark lows, a moody personality that destroys everyone around you? NO!!! It also does not mean living out of control, giving into your moods, or burdening others so that you can have your euphoric ‘highs’. It means living a life where if you did not choose to share your diagnosis, no one would know. It means living in a way that you can enjoy the personality that you have been given without feeling deadened, out of control, or hopeless; in other words, “normal”, but better somehow. Because I think being bipolar does make you a little exceptional (if you disagree, that is another day topic). Could you imagine? No shame, no doctors, no med management, no blood tests, no hospitals, no out-of-control symptoms, and NO SIDE EFFECTS!!!
When I say have been “med-free” for ten years, that does not mean that I am 100% symptom-free/100% of the time, or treatment free, or that I can ignore my bipolar. Nor does it mean that I was somehow “misdiagnosed”, like I have had so many people tell me. I was diagnosed as Bipolar I (The most severe of the three: I, II, and Cyclothymic disorder (Cyclothymia) in 1999 after a two-week involuntary stay at a little vacation home some might call the psych ward (story for another day). Believe me, I was diagnosed properly. I have even had a few times where I thought I was cured and stopped my natural treatments, only to come so close to crashing that when I went to a psychiatrist for help (twice in 10 years), she put me on the latest and greatest drugs to hit the market since my last episode. All of them made it worse, but when my supplements worked their way back into my system I was fine. What I mean by being med free bipolar is what I will be talking about in the months ahead.
Those drug cocktails and the side effects are worse than the disease, for me at least. Some of you know what I am talking about. Here are just some of the drugs I have taken, some only for days they were so bad: Depakote (over a year), Seroquel, Abilify, Lamictal, Lithium, Paxil, and Zyprexa. So why am I determined to be and STAY a med free bipolar? Because a dull life with a litany of side effects is not an option for me. On medications I was joyless, hopeless, personality deprived and a zombie. I was so even- I experience every side effect on every med, and I was even more surprised when I learned how many bipolars STILL have a ton of symptoms, episodes, and hospitalizations even on the right medications! I do better without medication than most people do with! And apparently that is not supposed to happen for a severe Bipolar I. So how am I doing med-free? I think I am doing wonderfully. (But I will still blog about my bad days and my hypomanic days, if I have them). And my purpose here is to share and maybe inspire hope in others that there is another way.