Monday, July 7, 2008

Bipolar No More

I've changed the name of my blog to Wellness Writer. You don't need to make changes in your blogroll because I still have the same URL. I'm not going to change that until I'm ready to make a number of changes with my blog.

But, I decided that I no longer think about myself as bipolar--despite the fact that psychiatry considers this a lifelong illness. I'm still doing all my wellness activities, but they needn't be limited to a bipolar audience. I would recommend them for anyone who wants to stay well. I am still monitoring my "symptoms," but whether a person has diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other condition, they should monitor their symptoms.

What's interesting about bipolarity is that even if a person has one manic or depressive episode, their doctors think they should remain on medication for the rest of their lives. But, I've been off most of the bipolar medication for years; I've been on Adderall (for depression) and Ativan for sleeping when I need it. But I've been off everything for three weeks with the expectation that I don't plan on taking it ever again.

Between my exercise program, my neural path therapy, my music therapy, gardening, and everything else I do for health and wellness, I see no need to ever feel depressed again. Still, I am experiencing some hypomania, but it is mostly under control. And I'm well aware of my "symptoms" and doing the best I can to control them.

Most of all, I'm not embarrassed by the hypomanias any more nor fearful that a depression will start in October or November. I truly believe I'm well. I also believe that bipolarity--if this is truly what I had before medication exacerbated things--can be controlled for some people without medication.

Again, I don't want to debate the merits of medication. It's a personal choice. And it depends upon whether you come to this illness from mania, suicidal thoughts, psychosis or any number of things. But, for me, it was depression. I've solved the problems that caused it. I've figured out ways to eliminate the triggers or deal with them more effectively. I no longer am willing to sustain relationships with toxic people--whether they are related to me or not. And I couldn't be happier!

So, the Bipolar Wellness Writer has evolved into the Wellness Writer--a moniker I feel fits me like a glove at this stage in my life!

P.S. Although Marja and I view bipolarity differently, and she's well but continues to wear the bipolar label with pride, she's written a lovely post--which I highly recommend--about how far she's come...and Gianna has written an exciting post about healing with her holistic doctor, which should give everyone hope...and Jazz has written about her journey with bipolarity... and Annie's written about bird calls, which should put a smile on your face...and Rob has a new blog, and we should support him...and Katie creates wonderful art...and Hanna is so generous about recommending other blogs...and if it's Monday, I read Danielle's post, The Simple Woman's Daybook...and if it's Friday, I read Mariposa's haikus...and if I want to read about New York, I read Howard's Mead on Manhattan (and how great to find that he's written about me)!

22 comments:

Danielle said...

Thanks for the 'shout out'!! I like the positive step forward with the name change!! It is how I felt when I made the changes to mine. At present I am 'studying' your two wellness posts. I am struggling at present with depression and anxiety and trying to hang on. I believe the trigger has been my father in law's terminal illness. Thanks for being here.

Mary said...

Hi Susan I am so happy for you. And I agree with you that some illnesses can be controlled without medication if people like yourself can change their lifestyle by exercising more, and doing more for theirselves. I know I've been told to exercise more and it does make you feel better. Take Care..Mary

Gianna said...

Good for you Susan...

I took the plunge and got rid of bipolar too from my title and hope to change my url eventually, but that scares me as I'm linked to all over the place and I don't want to lose all those links!!

I've saved a URL though with the new title of my blog...

Here's to moving on with our lives in wellness!

Tamara said...

I admire and applaud your attitude and hope to get there myself someday soon!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Danielle,
You and Gianna were both inspirational in this. First, you changed the name of your blog, and then she changed the name of hers. Suddenly, last week, I knew it was time for me to move on too.

So sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I "hung on" when my mother was dying, and then after her memorial service last October, I fell into a depression for a number of reasons. But I'm hoping that was my "last depression."

Know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you and your family!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mary,
When I last checked, there were more than 80 studies confirming that exercise works for depression. The most interesting one to me was the one at Duke University in which the group of people who exercised not only did better than the control group of people who didn't, but also did better than people who exercised and were taking an antidepressant! Now, that's really meaningful!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Gianna,
Thanks for the "thumbs up." I feel the same way about the URL, and that's why I'm not changing things for now. But I'm "noodling" about it, which is how I figure out what to do. Danielle did change her URL. Maybe she'll weigh in on this.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
Welcome to my blog. Thank you very much. I believe we all can get to this place...some with medication and some without it. It's just a question of truly understanding this illness, and how it affects us. And exercising, which I believe is key, and engaging in a host of wellness activities. Best of luck to you!

Susan

marja said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks for your reference to my blog. I'm thinking that one day the medical profession will divide up what is now called bipolar type 1 and type 2 into a much greater number of disorders. People with these diagnoses suffer in so very many different ways and I think our treatment needs vary in many different ways as well.

Personally, I have on a number of occasions tried to come off the antipsychotics - very gradually - yet I always end up psychotic, a condition that can only be compared to a nightmare experience. So for me coming off my meds is not an option. On them I am a well person, so I'm not going to play around with it anymore.

But, like I said, we're all different and we all have different needs. What complex people we are, eh?

KJ said...

I think this a great change. I for one have learned a lot from your writings about wellness and health. These tips and writings have helped me tremendously even though I am not bipolar. I think everyone has their challenges and struggles and wellness and health need to be a goal for all of us. Great post and blog as always I enjoy you so much!

Jazz said...

Susan--
Good for you! Shedding the label is a huge step, and one I think you've earned. If more people would be willing to take charge of their health and their well-being then I think we'd see a lot less people on harmful medications.

Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
You're welcome. After writing this blog for almost 17 months, and having heard from many different people with different symptoms, I agree that people are very different. Their bodies react differently to medications. They bring different symptoms to the table.

So, for some--going off medication isn't an option and they need to recognize that, but still participate in wellness activities. For other, like me, wellness can be obtained without medication.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear KJ,
Thanks for your constant support, and I'm truly glad that you've learned things from my blog that have nothing to do with being bipolar.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
I couldn't agree more!

Susan

Annie said...

Susan, Good for you! What an interesting change in your blog title. I am glad that you made the change because it fits your writing. I also agree that you most definitely have much to say about wellness in general and for a broader reader base. It feels good that you let yourself evolve. Peace, Annie

marja said...

Yes, Susan. I agree that it's about a heck of a lot more than medications. If you need meds, you need a lot of other things as well: the wellness activities you talk about, attitude, a belief that you can be a well person. And for me, you know, how great a part my spiritual life plays.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Annie,
Thanks so much for your comment. When I was sick, it was difficult to evolve into anything because all my energies were directed at getting well. Now that I'm well, it feels so very good to be able to evolve, and while I'm living a life of wellness, I'm no longer desperately searching for it.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
Actually, I didn't mention spirituality but I, too, believe it's important. I plan on writing about prayer and spirituality in future postings. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Larry Dossey, M.D., but he's conducted studies about the role that prayer can have in healing.

Susan

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

I wish you well as you "morph" from the old you to the new you. No one can deny that progress is ALWAYS good!

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Rob,
Thanks! I wish you wellness!

Susan

discoverandrecover said...

Susan,

Good for you!

Duane

Wellness Writer said...

Duane,
Thank you. So nice to hear from you on my blog!

Susan