Saturday, March 31, 2007

10 Top Gripes

1. I believe in mind-body healing and thus do not consider bipolar disorder II without psychotic symptoms to be a mental illness.

2. I believe that there will not be a bold new approach for treating manic depression until the pharmaceutical companies lose their lock on this illness, which is quite unlikely given the money they have invested in every facet of research.

3. Since the majority of bipolars do not get better, one would think that the psychiatric establishment would rethink their treatment options.

4. I believe that I shouldn't have to pretend to be a cancer survivor to go to a Wellness Center.

5. While I think it's swell that Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, one of the foremost experts on manic-depression (and a bipolar person herself) has been stabilized for years on lithium, I'm getting tired of all the discussion on lithium's efficacy. Before they started the Systematic Treatment Program for Bipolar (STEP-BD), lithium hadn't been studied in more than 40 years.

6. Since there is no scientific data to support why any of the drugs that psychiatrists prescribe for manic depression work, then isn't it possible to assume that no one really knows whether combining so many different drugs in different dosages and different combinations is actually hurting people rather than helping them?

7. I am appalled that psychiatrists and psychologists believe that the best treatment option is therapy combined with medication but that few insurance companies will pay for this treatment.

8. I find it curious and disturbing that there are so few real success stories on the Web.

9. I believe that a lot of distressing behavior exhibited by manic-depressives who suffer from depression is caused by their medication.

10. I would like to suggest that the information posted by members on RemedyFind is more helpful than all of the data posted by the National Institutes of Mental Health.


Anonymous said...

Go girl!


Rob Johnson said...


Just me again. I can appreciate everything that you've said in this post and while I agree with much of it, the patient in me is scared to drop my drugs for any alternative.

I will, at some point, put my history on my blog. The short version is I believe I am Bipolar II. My doctors haven't put me in any category, but I've done enough research to feel confident. I've had one major case of mania that skirted psychosis, but didn't go there. I take Lamictal, Lithium, and Prozac. I seriously resisted taking drugs at first because I hate to take even aspirin. I only chose the drugs because I was suicidal for over two months and I just wanted the pain to go away.

There is no doubt in my mind that the road for someone who is Bipolar I (Kay Redfield Jamison) would be extremely difficult to bear without some form of medication or a very strong will to live.

As for me, I'm really afraid of the suicidal thoughts returning if I drop my meds. I'm saddened to say that my will to live isn't always where it should be and I don't have as much fight in me as I did when I was younger.

Now I'm not really sure what I want to ask you. Maybe just to say that I believe the drugs are helping me much more than they're hurting me. Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is to stop taking them and that thought scares the hell out me.

For anyone who should read this, I'm not advocating one way or another. I always advocate that you do your own research and make your own decisions. Knowledge is power.

Thanks for your insight.


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I'm not opposed to taking medication. And it sounds like it's working for you. If it had worked for me, I might have continued taking it.

I come to this illness from depression, and never experienced a manic or hypomanic episode before taking medication. I also was never suicidal.

If it works for you, take it. It's just that I've found that medication alone doesn't work for most people. And I do believe that medication can cause problems.

If I were starting out--and came to this from your background (as you describe it), I'd take the medication but also do other wellness activities, and see if ultimately they help you so you can take the lowest dosage of medication.

Exercise ultimately can replace antidepressants and there's lots of information to support that thesis. You might need to remain on the other medication, and I wouldn't feel bad about that.

And many people with Bipolar I do need to remain on medication for their entire lives.


Rob Johnson said...


I'll wrap my remaining comments today into this one.

Thanks for the insight regarding the two books. I'll read the one you recommended.

Like you, I come to this illness from the depressive side. I had been on Prozac many years ago when I had a bad spell of depression. When the doctor suggested it in 2006 for some mild depression, I wasn't reluctant to try it since it helped in the past. The dose this time was much lower, but it made me manic.

I've done enough reading to know that I'm Bipolar II, even though I've been diagnosed Bipolar I. I totally agree with you regarding medication. I look forward to the day when I might live with less of it in my system. I firmly believe that we know better than most doctors. This is, after all, "guinea pig" science. I don't mean to demean the field, it's just taking a long time for anyone to learn anything definitive.

I'll shut up now and keep reading. No need to respond to this. I've taken up enough of your time today.

Thanks, again.


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

You're welcome. I love the term "guinea pig science." How appropriate. I always have time to respond to someone who's seeking wellness in a proactive way! Thanks for all your comments today!