When I was first diagnosed as bipolar it was all a blur to me. For one thing, it was 10 years ago and I might have blocked it out some. I was a naive 20 year old and I kept trying to tell myself that it wasn’t “bipolar” – it was the drinking, the staying up late, the random adderall I took one day, the concussion I had only a month prior… it was all of those things. Call it whatever you want, but I’m “fine.”
Maybe you’re in the same boat. Maybe you still feel a little bit like the air has been sucked out of your lungs. Maybe your head is swimming with medication names and the “craziness” that just happened on your recent episode and the guilt for however you behaved. Take a deep breath. I promise you, it will be OK. I wanted to say, “It gets better,” but “better” would need to be defined. Unfortunately, once that diagnosis has been made, we have yet to know how to make it disappear – which would be better.
I wasn’t fine. Maybe you’re not fine right now, either. Maybe you’re angry – angry at God, angry at family, angry at yourself. Probably, mostly, angry at yourself. You’re wondering how you got to this point, what you did wrong, what you could have done differently… don’t forget that breathing.
But hang tight, I’ve been there. And right now I am able to say that life has taken me on a roller coaster ride but right now, right now, I am MORE than fine. Right now I am hopeful and happy. My adventure has brought me to blogging, to you, to other people living with a bipolar diagnosis who are looking for a better life.
Right now you are probably feeling weak and maybe depressed. Depression often follows a manic episode. You might be experimenting with various medicines, trying to find the right fit.
So far, you’re doing exactly what is expected of you. This is where it might get weird.
I want to introduce to you the idea that there are various ways to treat bipolar. Yes, medication is one of them. And in fact, some people might thrive on medication – and that is wonderful! However, if you are one of those “lucky” ones, like me, where the medication made you unable to function, depressed, and maybe suicidal, then there is another option that might work for you. But don’t make this jump without medical supervision and after trying various medication options – it’s the only proven treatment.
If you have the means, try to find a holistic, naturopathic, or orthomolecular psychiatrist that can guide you and support you on your journey. If you’re “lucky” (like me!) you might live in a podunk town out in the middle of nowhere where a holistic psychiatrist has about as much luck to succeed an a grasshopper to turn in to a rabbit. If so, there are tons of online resources out there that can help you come up with plan that hopefully can help you. But you will have to put in the work and you will be more confused before clear headed on a plan as you wade through the tons of content out there.
And you might consider co-treatment with medication as well as supplements to help you keep the amount of medication down that you need. This is my treatment. These are things I wish people had told me earlier. I’m still flabbergasted that I didn’t make the connection that supplements can help bipolar symptoms until my 30’s. My whole 20’s could have been so much better!
So for those 10 years I still took some steps that helped keep mania at bay including taking Melatonin if I couldn’t sleep. This was a step in the right direction but I wish I had not stopped my research there. But alas, I was young and dumb. I also exercised fairly regularly. I also changed my diet to almost no sugars and strictly no coffee after noon. Finally, I drank a lot… but DO NOT do that. I think that’s what helped lead to my relapse. Now that I know about how terrible drinking is on your health and your vitamin, mineral, and electrolyte levels I’ve decided to nearly stop drinking.
Anyways, welcome to the club. 🙂 I know you didn’t choose it and you might not be excited about it but you will be ok. There are lots of wonderful people with blogs like this one that share their stories. There are also lots of online resources to help you search for a healthier alternative to modern day western medical treatment. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have! But keep your chin up and keep on fighting the good fight. You can do this and you will be OK!