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Discussion in 'Bipolar Disorder' started by Jenna, Jul 13, 2004.

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  1. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Veteran


    I was just wondering if there are many unmedicated out there, like myself.

    Just to be clear about things, it isn't that I've never sought medical attention. I'm more referring to people who have been diagnosed and have chosen not to opt for meds.
  2. EbonNelumbo

    EbonNelumbo Hope is a waking dream-Aristotle Supporter

    I wish. Recently diagnosed...like 2 days ago. I have no meds and I wish that I didnt need them. I just cannot fight this anymore alone. I feel so distant from everything.
  3. fallen^sparrow

    fallen^sparrow Senior Member

    Perhaps until more people respond ... why exactly have you decided against going the medication route Jenna? Have you seen any positive/negative effects resulting from their use in the past with your BD?

    Personally I think its always best if at all possible to stay away from drug therapy. But, depending on how severe a persons BD is, that often isn't a decision left for them to make. Although not BD myself, a member/friend of our local church congregation does suffer from a pretty severe case. He unfortunately, can be a pretty frightening individual when not medicated properly. We discussed his medication therapy over a meal a year ago... and he pulled out his meds "case" to show me his daily routine. He was on 10 - 12 different medications daily... and had to carry around a chart to remember when he was suppose to take what. He was on 3 or 4 BD meds, antipsychotics, meds to counter the BD's side effects, blood pressure meds, axiety meds, etc. He was on so many meds that he couldn't afford to pay for them all on his normal working salary. Although able to work... he had to be on welfare so the government could pay for them. So now he works (no pay... voluntarily) at a special needs home because he wasn't allowed to work and be on %100 medical social assistance. In essence he's trapped being poor because of his bipolar, medication costs and government regulations. Pretty messed up situation in my mind... I really feel for the guy. :sigh:

  4. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Veteran

    Hi Sparrow,

    Hmmm......well, there are various reasons why I've decided not to pop pills for my mental illness. For one, I've had this particular "problem" for as long as I can remember, so I am very used to me. lol I am so well versed in my own feelings and mood changes that they are a huge part of my personality. To be honest, I don't know how to be without them. For a time I was, while under medication, and I was very uncomfortable. I'll put that down to being on the wrong medication though, which gave me some pretty unwanted side effects, one of which was feeling pretty dead on the inside.

    Aside from that bit, I'm not one to take medications unless I absolutely have to. I know that it sounds odd to many people, but I don't take anything for headaches either, unless I have a migraine about to split my skull open. I'm not fond of popping pills, not to mention how horrible I am at remembering as it is. lol

    One thing that I learned while experimenting with medication is that I need to have support while going through what could be a poor experience. Since I don't have a good environment for that, it has been better for me not to submit myself to trial and error while I don't have anyone to help me through it. I'd like to think that it would be easy, but I seem to be sensitive to drugs that don't bother other people. *wiggles eyebrows* That's not even addressing the fact that some negative things have been said to me in regard to me and my medication, and some silly part of me protests to being the butt of jokes or snide comments.

    Lastly, there is the money issue. To be honest, I don't have hardly any of it. We are doing the best that we can with what we have, and it is difficult to find the money for medication when I look into the eyes of my little girl. It's hard to make her do without simple things, like milk, cereal, peanut butter, and other groceries, just because we have a hard time paying for all of the co-pays and drug costs. I'll never choose my medication over her food. Period.

    So, all in all, I am pretty honest with people. Everyone who gets involved with me is made aware of my 'problem' from the start. No one is forced to be with me, but I make it clear that if they want a relationship with me, they can't pick and choose what parts to take and what to toss aside. We all have our quirks and supposed character flaws, and this is mine. *laughs* If I can acknowledge it, come to grips with it, and learn to deal... so can anyone else. ;) I have my days when I know I am hard to be around, but I'm not real bad. It hasn't been drugs that have mellowed me and made things easier, but knowing the beast and how to ride out the waves.
  5. Anna N. Amos

    Anna N. Amos Active Member

    I know someone who is bi-polar and I worked in a mental hospital with bi-polars.

    This is not directed at anyone but a general post I hope will offer some insight to someone out there who reads this thread. If it sounds like what you do or what people tell you about yourself then please get meds.

    Here is the problem with not wanting to take meds because you are used to the way you feel without them.

    Most bi-polars are annoying, they are always right, when they are manic they feel like they are on top of the world and very productive, but generally if they get a lot done they usually are chastising everyone else around them for not being as productive as they are. After all they can conquer the world -- why can't you? While manic they are not receptive, they do not listen and they feel as if they are better than people around them.

    It may feel comfortable because you are used to it, but your normal is NOT normal but a "wrong normal"
    that affects you and those around you. More than likely if you get into the "high" you make people feel "less than". It does not aid in establishing a good relationship with anyone.

    You can feel great, popular like you have all the answers but if you ask people around you, you may be surprised at the ACTUAL reality you are creating and how people really view you.

    When depressed the lows can be great. The unfortunate thing is the bi-polar looks for the "good feeling" again and will take risks to get that feeling which can include, drinking, gambling, sexual addictions and drugs.

    (or have given up and hurt themselves/even suicide)

    I went with a troubled believer to an AA meeting and someone brought up bi-polar and everyone in that room admitted to being bi-polar.

    This persons' life without pills was a nightmare due to illness and he did not like the way the pills made him feel. But he never cared how he made others feel when he did not take them.

    It was like:
    "When he is good he is very very good and when he is bad he is horrid"

    Please get off of coffee if any bi-polar is drinking caffine.

    When this person finally did stay on the meds and adjusted to how he was feeling on them he became a kind and wonderful person. I mean GREAT!!! TERRIFIC!!! His true self!!!

    If you do not like your meds ask you Doc to try something else like depacote.

    God bless.
  6. Anna N. Amos

    Anna N. Amos Active Member

    Hugs for you Jenna
    My heart goes out to you.

    The money issue is huge without insurance but there are community places you can try to get them to pay for the drugs. In some cases you can contact the drug company and get a discount.

    In the meantime, you can try to do things that balance you such as TiaChi. It is calming. There is Tai Chi for Seniors by Mark Johnson on video. I say for seniors so it is an easy one to start with.

    There is herbal tea such as tension tamer. PLS, Get off coffee if you drink it. there is a natural drug called SAM-E but that is costly.

    Perhaps your health food store can direct you to a better diet.

    You can check out Gary Null or Dr. Weil web sites as Null thinks everything is caused by diet, but I cannot get my hubs to change his eating habits.

    I am sorry you are having a hard time getting meds financially. God bless you in leading you to affordable help

    Love to you -
  7. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Veteran

    Of course I am probably biased, but I don't think that I'm too hard to get along with. lol When I am feeling good, I like to share it with other people and am more apt to go out of my way to do pleasant things for them. The hard part is that I do too much and run myself into the ground, probably because I am trying to make up for all of the things that I didn't get done when I couldn't drag myself out of my dark hidey-hole. ;)

    There are times when I can be snappy and critical, though I don't think that it has much to do with this particular 'problem'. The hormone changes around period time really throw me into a look, and if I am stressed, I have a habit of either getting really weeepy or getting cranky. When I get kind of stupid from being cranky, I just cuddle up to my husband and apologize. I know when I'm acting funky, so I'll let him know that I'm just out of whack, that I need a little patience from him, and that I'll try to be nicer.

    For me, when I'm not a live wire and up all night doing things, on my down-swing, I don't do anything. Ok, that's not completely true. I eat. lol I am pretty reserved, more because I don't want to be a pain in the bum for anybody else. After all, it's pretty common knowledge that sad people aren't a lot of fun to hang out with. I'd rather not be seen than have people talking bad about me. It doesn't take a lot to support me though. I've found that the best therapy during these times are just to have my husband hold me for a while. It can be as simple as being held while watching a movie, and while I still may be sad, I'm not completely debilitated by it. We have a kind of understanding, where if I am real down or crying for what seems like no reason, I'll just tell him that I don't feel well, and by now he knows what that means. So, we either do something quiet at home, or he'll drag me out to do something that he knows that I would enjoy, like an invigorating bike ride in the sunshine. I do have a bad habit of perpetuating my depressive moods by hanging out in the dark, though I logically know that I need to get out in the sunshine to feel better.

    For the most part, I can be a real pleasant person to be around, though I have my times just like everyone else when I'm just a pain. lol As a rule though, with minor adjustments and a little understanding, we've been alright. My husband takes me seriously when I talk to him about how I feel, and we prepare for things. If I let him know that I'm not feeling well, he automatically knows to keep an eye on me and put away all the sharp pointy things. We don't have to even talk about those things much any more. If I'm feeling better and more productive, he shows appreciation, but reminds me to sit down for a bit and enjoy being happy without wearing myself out. If I'm up in the middle of the night, cleaning house or otherwise fidgetting with stuff, he cuts me some slack. In return, I try to do my best to take care of him, no matter how I am feeling, and to always express how grateful I am that he is the wonderful guy that he is. We just joke about my quirkiness, and he says that it's one of those things that he just loves about me. I'm sure that we get on each others nerves sometimes, but I don't think that it is as big of a deal as it would be if we hadn't learned how to communicate and work through it all together.
  8. mpshiel

    mpshiel Senior Veteran

    Well, I have some very strong side effects to different medications - extremely strong - like passing out or being unable to walk or getting in a rage all the time. So most of the time I have been unmedicated. I am really trying hard over the last several months to have some sort of medication so I take I think 1/4 of the regular amount of this anti-depressant which so far has only caused continuous insomnia - which makes me both lightly manic and spend a lot of time trying to nap.

    If you don't have giant mood swings and you think you don't need medication, I would still recommend talking over emergency care with your doctor - what to do when a bad swing happens. And if you are BP and you live long enough - it will. Different papers have indicated a close relationship between stress factors and swing extremes - so when you get fired, have a parent die and have to move house in the same week - be prepared.

    I am not against those who can go without medication, But to think nothing will ever happen is like saying you never need to save for car repair because everything is going fine right now.

    My partner has been a strong support and it is not because I felt I needed to go on the pills but because she needed for me to go on the pills. To give you an example, the pills I am on cannot be overdosed because of issues regarding that during depression, the same for the few valium the doctor gives her to give me to "chill me out" - even so, our bathroom door doesn't have a lock anymore after she kicked it in a few years ago while I was taking a bath with ice cubes (long story) - While another room has nothing but books and a bed in it so she can lock me in when necessary. Get the picture? Our life is fairly normal, but we have learned over the years that unless you want to end up strapped to a guerney or spending a long visit on-ward - make some alternative preperations.
  9. Riddick

    Riddick Protestant

    for me, going without meds is like a free ticket to jail. i'll usually do something stupid which results in detention. safe bet for me is to be on meds.
  10. growingupinhim

    growingupinhim Well-Known Member

  11. Deamiter

    Deamiter I just follow Christ.

    Reading through some of those studies (from growing's link) shows that good nutrition obviously has an effect on mood and mood disorders, but it doesn't show (and doesn't claim) that these vitamins are an alternative to prescription drugs. In one of the studies, the participants were taking an average of 2.7 different drugs, and after taking the supplement, their need for drugs decreased by 50%. There is obviously no grounds for claiming that any of the patients were cured!

    I guess I am pretty wary of anything that hasn't gone through the FCC. Yes, good nutrition can help stabilize your moods. However, a supplement is probably not the best way to go about getting good nutrition. It is pretty easy (though certainly not as easy as fast food) to eat healthily! I know it helped ME after my psychiatrist suggested that I eat more balanced meals!
  12. SirKenin

    SirKenin Contributor

    I was unmedicated/undiagnosed for years. It nearly destroyed my life.

    Now when I choose not to take meds, it comes with drastic consequences. Sooooo... I try to stay on top of it (although feeling high is a pretty good feeling, and not always fun to medicate it downwards).
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