After being very ill for a decade, and spending most of the time researching bipolar disorder, which incidentally never made me feel better because everything I learned was so downbeat and depressing, I'm now well most of the time. The obvious question is "Why?"
The answer isn't quite so obvious, but I'll give you my best guesses. The beginning of my turn around was in 2003 when I learned that most of the 25 medications that had been prescribed to me over a ten-year period had never been clinically tested for their efficacy.
On the one hand, I felt like I had been sucker-punched. On the other, I finally felt that I could ignore all of the research, and all of the "phooey" I had been fed for so many years.
While my doctors (five different psychiatrists who were all highly thought of in Los Angeles) and research had confirmed that bipolarity was a lifelong illness, I decided it wouldn't be for me. While every author of every book suggested I needed to focus on my illness to insure that I didn't exercise inappropriate behavior, or that I should meet with a therapist to discuss how my husband and son could deal with their "oh so ill spouse and mother," I decided this was hogwash.
For the next three years, I also decided to stop reading anything about bipolarity, to refrain from visiting bipolar sites online, and to cease researching this disorder. And it was the best decision of my life. I dumped five trash bags of files I had collected on various aspects of bipolarity, and shredded a ton of personal material related to the illness.
Finally, I decided to stop seeing my psychiatrist and to begin seeing a doctor of integrative medicine. I was no longer interested in talking about illness. Rather, I had decided to concentrate on wellness. I was not interested in hearing my psychiatrists tell me all of the reasons why I should take medication or worry about my condition. I wanted to talk with someone who believed I could get well.
(to be continued)