In early December of 1999 I was a bright, articulate, well-accomplished senior at a prestigious Liberal Arts University with high hopes, dreams, and a promising career in Public Relations and International Journalism. I had gotten to college on a track scholarship, had earned another scholarship to study abroad in Japan for my junior year, and was now the news editor of the campus paper, and on track to graduate on time, despite an entire year abroad. Two weeks later I found myself waking up in a mental hospital, had already been there a week, and did not know how I had been involuntarily committed. My first out patient psychiatrist told me that my particularly acute Bipolar I diagnosis would mean that I would:
- Have to be on medications the rest of my life
- Be at high risk for multiple hospitalizations in the future
- Probably qualify for Permanent Disability to help pay for medications, psychotherapy, and likely hospitalizations
- Have trouble keeping a job
- Not be able to have children on the medications, so I should consider sterilization
Knowing nothing about bipolar, and trusting his expertise, I bought his diagnosis, and for three years tried to follow his treatment plan. I even applied for disability after it became apparent that working was particularly difficult with my illness. I had hoped to change the world through investigative journalism, but instead found myself in public housing, on food stamps, and unable to keep a job. I was losing my marriage, and maybe even my son.
But then I found a better way, a natural way.
Thankfully I am now living a very different life than the future that psychiatrist painted out for me. He was just doing his job, trying to prepare me for a likely future and treatment plan: one of life-long meds, blood tests, Depakote or lithium level-checks, potential hospitalizations, strategies to help me pay for meds, hospitals, tests, psychotherapists, and more. Even his recommendation of sterility made sense: I should not have children due to the thirty-three percent heredity factor of the illness, I could not come off my meds without risking myself harm, and I could not stay on the meds without risking harm to a developing fetus from the drugs. Fast-forward eleven years. Now, instead of that doctor’s orders, I have been:
- Given a Sound Mind & mostly (one relapse in 2007 explained later) medication-free for eleven years!
- A Business Woman of the Year, speaker, entrepreneur, artist, and pre-published author
- Released from needing Public Housing and Food Stamps
- Freed from the debilitating Stigma of Mental Illness and Bipolar label
- Finally able to come out of ‘normal living’ to share my story of healing
- Free of mood disorders, hallucinations, episodes and paranoia
- Free of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and all symptom management techniques such as “cognitive behavior therapy” and “mindfulness”
- Cured from almost every symptom related to bipolar disorder
- Able to meet many people who have also recovered naturally
- Happily married twelve years and have three children who are my reason for everything!
I am not a doctor, but they could not heal me. I had to find my own way.