In today's post, I'm going to try to respond to Lily's comments from my post on Blogging to Learn. As a newbie BIP, she has a lot of questions and concerns, and I believe my answers will have application for others. So, here goes.
1. I'm not anti-medication. I do believe that most BIPS are badly medicated or over-medicated. I believe our doctors prescribe medications they know very little about, and don't research enough alternatives. I believe that Big Pharma and the insurance companies are determining our treatment rather than people with any insight at all. I believe most of the medication for bipolar mood disorder, which has been developed for other illnesses, but is being given to us is ineffective at best and can be truly harmful, which is what happened to me, Gianna, and many others.
I don't agree that all BIPS have to remain on medication for the rest of their lives. After 15 years of research on bipolarity, depression, and related topics, I believe that the treatment protocol for bipolarity is sadly lacking. I believe that most BIPS can profit from therapy, dependent upon the insight and skill of the therapist. I believe that if a BIP requires medication, it should be part of a larger wellness program. I believe that BIPS can achieve wellness.
However, having said that, I also believe there are people who read my blog who should remain on medication. In some cases, pre-medication they heard voices, and now don't. In other cases, their manias were off the charts, and now they are controllable. And in my case, Adderall has saved my life during some horrific depressive episodes. I'm hoping I'm off it for good, but if I need it again in October (when my depression usually hits), I won't hesitate to use it.
But...those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know what I truly believe in is taking responsibility for one's illness, engaging in a wide array of wellness activities, keeping a mood chart and journal, and seeking wellness in a disciplined and thoughtful way on a daily basis.
2. I believe BIPS can be good parents. My son who's now 20 was four years old when I was diagnosed. When he was seven, I started taking medication, which unalterably changed my life for the next six years, and made me so sick I had to fight each and every day to survive. Despite being happily married, doing work which provided great fulfillment, and having people in my life whom I love dearly and who love me, it was my son who saved my life.
When I was so sick that death might have seemed a reasonable alternative, I used to hold a key chain my son made me in preschool (It was a Gerber's baby cap with his picture in it) as an amulet, and quietly affirm the following: "I will never abandon my son. I will never abandon my son. I will never abandon my son." I believe my love for him saved my life.
However, I don't believe we should have children to save our lives; I was just lucky that I'd given birth before my diagnosis. And if I had not been given 26 different medications in different dosages and different combinations, I never would have gotten so sick and none of this would have been an issue.
I also believe that everyone shouldn't be a parent. In fact, I have read about BIPS who have been or are terrible parents. In some cases, their illness is so out of control that they cannot provide the stability, love, and care their children need. Others seem to think only of themselves, behave badly, take no responsibility for their behavior, and have no clue that all of this isn't a healthy and positive environment in which to raise children. (Of course, there are people who aren't BIPS who are terrible parents, but that's not the focus of this blog.)
But, I believe there are still others like me, who ended up being really sick, but who work (or have worked) so hard to provide our children with a "normal" and healthy environment, and equally hard to achieve wellness that we've still been good parents and good role models despite our illness and perceived shortcomings.
Wow! This is all quite emotional for me...so I'll continue tomorrow.