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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Treatment Options to Maintain Mental Health for Bipolar I: One Patient’s Opinion, A Blog Post


 

Fair Warning: In the Podcast Episode 3, Self-Love the first step to becoming a better co-creator, I discussed my career history and touched on my Mental Illness briefly. In this post I will be sharing more about the treatment I’ve received over the last 15 years and how I’ve made the decision to cut back on my medicine with the help of my psychiatrist.

 
I have Bipolar I and I have an opinion on my treatment. If you have a mental illness consult your doctors before making any decisions on treatment. This is an opinion post that I feel may help people in a similar situation. It may not be what you need. Please keep in mind your condition before making any decisions on treatment. On to the blog post:


Bipolar I is a mental illness that is a mood disorder. Moods swing from low to high and if uncontrollable can cause the person with Bipolar I to act out in destructive ways to themselves and others. A person can experience euphoria and lose touch with reality. It can also cause someone to act out improperly in social situations, i.e., saying things that are sexual or telling jokes somewhere it’s not appropriate to do so. I have bipolar disorder. However, I disagree with my type of diagnosis.

I feel I’m more of a Bipolar II. I look back at my possible bipolar disorder undiagnosed and only had a psychotic break when I was on Antidepressants and quit them without tapering down the doses. I’m not sure if I still would have had a psychotic break had I not taken the antidepressants. Even if I would still have it, I feel my original type is important in my current treatment.

To clarify, Bipolar II has mood swings from low to high and they aren’t as severe, though can turn severe if not treated. Severe doesn’t lead to a psychotic break. It can lead to needing to take time to rest and recuperate. Highs are not euphoric. A person can talk too much and clean up their whole house before going to bed. Again, that is not severe and will not hurt anyone. Though the person may be worn out from doing that so they will be tired. It could hurt them if they need to go to work and are too tired to do so.

In my opinion people who take drugs for mental illness, recreational or prescribed, don’t want to feel pain. Sometimes they don’t want to feel pleasure either as many times that ends in pain. They just want to be numb.

Are drugs the answer to stopping people from feeling emotions?

My answer is no, for the most part. I need to face my pain and figure out how to turn it into something that helps me feel better.

Mood stabilizers are brain stabilizers. Bipolar medication needs to stabilize the chemical workings in the brain to help a person with bipolar disorder experience emotions at a safe level.

If moods are too high or low, A person with bipolar disorder is put on a Mood Stabilizer only, usually, for Bipolar II. For Bipolar I, a Mood Stabilizer, Antipsychotics and Antidepressants are prescribed together. This is known as a cocktail as it is meant to make you feel just as good or better then the alcoholic version.

However, as someone with Bipolar Disorder I, I feel its possible the brain can heal after consistent use of medication and less needs to be prescribed. Or possibly, none needs to be prescribed, however in my case I feel I need at least one medicine to function in society. Now I only take a Mood Stabilizer. I no longer take an Antidepressant or Antipsychotic medication, though I did need them when I was on them at the time. I took them for 15 years.

Also, therapy needs to be applied consistently so emotions can be at safe levels. Coping skills need to be in place to help keep emotional stability.

Medicine and therapy need to be used together for a person with bipolar disorder to function well, not only in society, but in their own life.

I’ve been in therapy, off and on, for over 20 years. In the beginning I was diagnosed with depression because I have two moods, irritable and depressed. Once in awhile I can’t stop laughing. I also will talk incessantly if I feel comfortable with someone. The Irritability, laughing uncontrollably, and pressure speech are all Bipolar II Symptoms. I hid them from my therapists very well. I took a test once and answered any question that discussed any manic behavior with the opposite response. Because I did this, I hurt myself more then if I would have if I had been honest up front.

I hid my symptoms from my therapists because I knew that in the mid-nineties, Treatment was Lithium which caused weight gain and other symptoms that sounded bad to me. I didn’t want those meds, so I kept my manic side hidden. I’d say I’ve had Bipolar since I hit puberty and started menstruating. I believe my bipolar disorder is related to my Period. The current literature on bipolar disorder says there is no connection. However, I know I didn’t have any Bipolar symptoms until I developed into a young woman.

I had some childhood trauma that was more confusing than harmful when I look back. I also made some mistakes that I wish I could take back. All these things haunted me through my adulthood, and I never dealt with them in a way that would help me manage the pain of the past so it wouldn’t hold me back.

I worked as a volunteer in government office jobs in my teenage years and got my first paying job when I was 23. Unfortunately, when I branched out of the safety of jobs that felt comfortable, I didn’t know how to handle the stress of being in situations where I felt like I wasn’t able to do my job to the standards of a strict manager and/or co-workers who were upset that they needed to carry my responsibilities when I couldn’t handle them.

At some of my jobs I lost my temper in public. Those were the jobs that have stuck with me. Those are the one’s I keep thinking are the only possible jobs available that pay a living wage. And knowing that I am unable to hold my temper, even though at some jobs I was medicated with a cocktail, I feel I am still unable to work. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut if I feel something isn’t right. I scream and disrupt the office or retail establishment. Yes, this is immature and wrong. However, it is how I deal with work situations where I am treated unfairly.

I’m taking a risk by writing this essay on my treatment because I am on SSI disability from the United States Government. I am on disability because I am deemed unable to work. This is due to my past Psychotic Break brought on stress from school and losing my temper over insignificant things where I ended up disrupting the work environment. Right now, I am no longer experiencing any psychotic symptoms. I haven’t experienced them since my diagnosis of Bipolar I 15 years ago. However, for awhile I had no access to therapy and so I had no coping skills to deal with my improper handling of stressful situations with people I work with.

I’ve had steady therapy since 2013. I’m at a point where I don’t know how much more therapy I need. For 2 years I’ve been studying Spirituality. In addition to therapy, my Spiritual beliefs have helped me develop better coping skills for tough situations. This is because for a year and a half, I gave Tarot Readings on my blog. I even gave some personal readings away for free. What I discovered is that I have Psychic Mediumship abilities. I have proof of stories from my family about my abilities. I knew things about people who have passed on that I couldn’t possibly have known as I never met the person.

Then at holiday time I cooked and baked up a storm. I couldn’t stop. This wore me out. So, at the beginning of this year, I knew I needed a change in my treatment. I was put on a new Antipsychotic Medication. It was like another one that I had a bad reaction too, but I thought maybe this would be different. It was different and it was worse. Also, I had a psychic experience due to my Twinflameship, which I’ve discussed in my Podcast Episode 1: Twin Flame Relationships the doorway to Co-creation. Sometimes I wonder if it was due to this new medicine I tried. I don’t think so. However, there were other problems it caused that still stick with me today.

My psychiatrist told me that I only had this Antipsychotic as an option because my Cocktail stopped working. The antidepressant was giving me mania, not euphoric mania, but hypomania meaning I would do too much and then get very tired in a depression. The medicine was making my Bipolar worse. So, this new medicine was prescribed, I tried it and though a few things were good, there were so many things that went wrong with my physical body that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I tapered off the pills slow as prescribed to do and I am doing well now.

I decided that I’ve been taking the cocktail for 15 years. I had three years where I took one and it set me back because that antipsychotic pill was wrong for me, but I knew it was better then taking nothing. Despite any setbacks I’ve had, I knew that my brain healed sufficiently to make this decision as I did the therapeutic work on creating coping skills to deal with my depression and mania. I feel that I am a Bipolar II. I don’t have Euphoria and I haven’t had a deep depression for years. It’s not to say a deep depression can’t happen again, it’s more like I can deal with depression better now then I could in the past.

My observation is that the Bipolar I people who are not able to only take a Mood Stabilizer have stopped their medication many times without a doctor’s supervision. They never took it long enough and consistently enough for the medication to help the brain heal. I rarely missed a day of medicine in all my 15 years, and I continue to take my medicine regularly.

One thing that antipsychotic medications do is cause diabetes and high cholesterol due to weight gain in people who have a family history of those diseases. When I was first put on the medicine, my blood sugar was a perfect 87. After being on the antipsychotic medicine, it was in the 200 range. This led to diabetes. I was put on something that didn’t work for me and caused a drinking problem. After three years of that I asked to be put back on the medicine that caused the weight gain. I gained more weight, but my mental state was so much better. It was worth all the side effects. For the last 2 years, I’ve been steadily losing weight because I began eating better and in smaller portions. Losing weight and lowering my blood sugar was possible even on the antipsychotic medicine. It never returned to the perfect value and I still have diabetes and high cholesterol. I feel I would have these anyway at this point in my life. All I can do is try my best to keep everything under control with a better diet.

Even though health reasons were one factor in why I wanted to stop taking antipsychotic medicine, that wasn’t the biggest concern. My main reason for only taking a Mood Stabilizer was because I wasn’t experiencing psychotic symptoms and the antipsychotic meds gave me physical symptoms I couldn’t live with anymore. My original medicine caused my tongue to swell all day. It also caused me to sweat profusely. I put up with it and then I was put on the newest one. My tongue wasn’t swollen anymore, but it caused me to talk all day. I couldn’t stop talking to myself. I also couldn’t walk well. And I felt like if I ate certain foods, I couldn’t breathe well. I felt like I couldn’t try another medicine that could possibly put me through more painful physical symptoms. There was no reason too. I haven’t had psychotic symptoms in 15 years, including today as I write this only taking a mood stabilizer.

This may not be the right treatment for everyone with Bipolar I. I think the reason why I can do this is because I did therapy and work in between therapy sessions to get clear on how to deal with life problems better. I feel like I’m on my way to living a life I’m satisfied with and happy about. I am a creator on my own and at some point, hope to co-create with other people whether I have a romantic relationship with them or a friendship with them.

I’ve also embraced my Psychic Mediumship gifts even though in real life, people, including one of my past therapists, is skeptical of them. I must admit, I’m worried about getting another therapist. My most recent one ended our sessions due to them getting a promotion. They were very helpful to me. I feel like they helped me develop great coping skills. I am nervous that the new therapist will try to tell me my Psychic Abilities aren’t real and that I need to stop my abilities! I’ve had people tell me that before! Even if I could shut it off, I won’t. In fact, I always remind them that I was on antipsychotics when I first discovered them. They are still here even though I’m not on them anymore. They are with me forever. I had them when I was younger, but I didn’t know how to use them. Once in awhile I had dreams of passed on loved ones communicating with me, but other then that, I usually didn’t have much happen.

I feel that I’ve done enough therapy in addition to taking medication consistently to only take a mood stabilizer now. The mood stabilizer keeps my brain chemicals at a stable level so I can feel emotions safely. I won’t change this treatment. It’s possible I could get kicked off disability for this, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take to let other people know that they have other options besides a medicine cocktail that contains an antipsychotic and antidepressant if they’ve done the same as me. I’m thankful for the cocktail for helping me get to this point. My body just said it was time for something different. I think that’s natural and healthy for the body to stop reacting to medicine.

Usually, doctors prescribe new medicines because the old ones stopped working, but they need to look at the therapy notes and see if a patient could be over medicated. In my case, I feel I was. I started losing more weight now all over my body. I’m slowly getting used to it. I’m so used to being heavier, but I now know my inner child is becoming an adult and this is just the beginning of the transformation.

Feel free to comment respectfully on this post. I know it’s a controversial take. If you disagree, that is your choice, just know that I’m committed to my choice in treatment.

Take Care and Blessings.

2 comments:

  1. This is an excellent statement of your journey to mental health. I like the explanation of the work you have been doing on your own and in therapy. Well done!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Fredi. It was a tough decision, but it's one that I was ready to make. I know I made the right choice for myself.

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