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To be on or not to be on

Okay, so here's my situation. 27, was diagnosed at the age of 21 but pretty sure I was bipolar way before that. Still my moods didn't begin to cycle with an amazing quickness til I was about 22. I was already in the hospital for a depressive episode and then *BOOM* rapid cycling. So fast I felt like a human yoyo. Anyway, I got on meds and stayed on them for the most part ever since. Its been going okay I guess but I could be doing better and so now I'm wondering.... any one here NOT on meds? What kind of cycling do you have? How extreme is it? How do you deal? And do you feel like you're more productive on or off of meds?
Thx in advance.


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
Ya know.. even when i forget my meds for a day or forget to take *all* the pills I start feeling depressed.. man, I ain't gonna go back there. I doubt I'd be productive at all without the meds. I'd self medicate and go back into the whirl of shit... please don't go there Melly Mel.
Feb. 13th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
Aims! Didn't know you were here. I know you're right. I know I'd go exactly back to the same crazy, mean, loudmouthed, bitchy. desperately hopeless monster that I was before. I just sometimes look at people that are on the more manic side and say to myself "How do they friggin' do that? But I never stay manic long enough to do anything cool and even if I did, I could NEVER concentrate towards any specific goal. Bleh, you're right. *hug*
Feb. 13th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Adventures in Zoloft
I was on Zoloft for depression for about one year, two years ago. I'm actually glad I went on the meds to show me how I "should be feeling" or how bad of a state I was in and needed to get out. Although the meds were good in some ways ( I was more motivated, wasn't crying all the time, I became more focused, I didn't feel Like killing myself) I didn't like the idea of becoming addicted to them. Maybe it's just in my system to be uber independent and not want to rely on anything for a length of time. So I stopped.

The come down was harsh. Really harsh, but I was armed. I tried St. Johns Wort that didn't really work. I tried rescue remedy, it kinda-not-really worked. On the advice of an herbalist best thing that finally worked was a supplement called 5-HTP in combination with B-complex. It took the edge off.

Although there are some things I liked about the meds I feel more comfortable taking a supplement and let my body work itself out. I still get the dark thunderous going to shoot myself clouds, but I would rather deal on my own. Plus, personally I'm in a better place now with my life. But, this is just me. I'm a firm believer in listening to your own body.
Feb. 13th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
Re: Adventures in Zoloft
I am bipolar and I had been misdiagnosed for years. I can surely tell you there is a HUGE difference in meds for bipolar vs. regular depression.
Bipolar disorder is a fatal disease, like most lifelong illness. People *have* to take their meds. to stay alive and healthy. The only way I listen to my body is when I have to (self) adjust my doses. In fall/wintertime I have to take more of the "brings me up to a normal level" med. and in springtime I have to take more of the "calms down my ass to a normal level" med. I've been ok and dealing with some of the hardest crap ever the last few years..thank god orwhateveritis and modern medicine for my sanity! My only wish was that everyone with bipolar or any other psychiatric illness would continue on their meds. I see so many people (bipolar) just laying down and wanting to give up and collecting soc. sec. + government checks - welfare - and not doing a damn thing with their lives... that totally pisses me off because *I* am living proof that a person can succeed, have a career, take good care of themselves and their family and not have to just give up. Oy vey...


*hops off soapbox*

I just have to add one more thing... I was a complete disaster 10/15/20 years ago and bipolar does get worse with age, esp. if not treated.
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Adventures in Zoloft
Good advice. I believe in listening to your own body too. For me, meds have worked pretty well, St, Johns wort was crappy amd I'm not too knowlegable about the other supplements you mentioned but its good to keep in mind. So thanks.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
LOL alcohol. I deal with narcotics now, don't know what the hell would happen if I stopped taking meds LOL.
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
i am on meds.. but i'm trying my damnedest to get off. it's really fucking hard though, the withdrawals are terrible and half the time i feel like i'm loosing my mind.
it's scary and sometimes i wonder if i really do need them. it's been six months and i've got my dosage down to 75 mg a day, from 300. hopefully soon enough i can do away with them altogether.. the next few months will be a crash course in getting off them though, i've got 2 months worth of 75 mg and 2 months of 37.5.. and still have a bottle and a half of 150's in case..
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Girl, be careful. Be very, very careful. You don't know how fucked up people would be if something bad happened to you as a result of all this tinkering. Including me. Just promise me, if you ever get suicidal, take one damn med and not a fist full of pills or a razor blade to the wrist. Cause I'd have to drive to Canada, dig you up, bring you back to life, smack you, then bury you again. lol And I'd really just rather have my same old christie, not a bag of bones.
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
if you only knew what i went through last summer/fall :(
i love you mel, thank you for caring about me.
i wonder what else i can do to get you up here...
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:42 am (UTC)
You don't have to do a damn thing to ever get me to come see you. Just being you makes me want to go. And if I ever get some money in my pocket OR ever *gasp* =0 learn to drive, you will be beating me off with a stick haha
Feb. 14th, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
deal ;)
I'm still working on getting my passport, and trying to find out if they'll let me across the border with my record :S
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
LOL dude, I was actually watching this news report about national security and apparently there is a section on the border between our 2 countries where there is a sign that says something like "Check in and show passport" LOL its like this rinky dinky office and usually no one is there and you can just walk across. LOL
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
hmmm, i should find out where that particular spot is!!
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
LOL I'll meet you there, I always wanted to be in 2 countries at once
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)

Happy Valentines Day Beautiful!!!!
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Right back at ya gorgeous!! <33
Feb. 29th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
i'd love to be added to your new lj, if you don't mind...

i was diagnosed w/manic-depression in high school, but wasn't prescribed meds until about 15 ot 16 yrs ago...and now i'm on meds and there are times when the cycling is horrendous and it feels like i'm losing my mind...literally, and it's not fun...
my cycling keeps me from sleeping and i feel "up" and manic all the time (this can last about a week or so), so i wind up sleep a few hours here and there but the crash is ugly...
just ugly...
worse then coming down from drugs...
i deal by trying to keep busy and being w/people who know what i'm like and help me along...sometimes i have to stay home and not go out cuz my driving gets bad...
and i'm more productive on meds...
Mar. 1st, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
Re: hi
Of course I'll add you doll! We were just getting to know each other when I switched. I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a rough time with the bipolar. I can relate A LOT to EVERYTHING you said. Are you on meds now? For me, its pretty much not an option to not take them. I get so suicidal, so quickly and I have attempted it before a few time. My cycles are so quick that the hypomania isn't even worth the negative stuff I feel. Anyway, I'll add you now. Glad to have you back with me. =)
Mar. 1st, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
Re: hi
i'm on lamictil, provigil, and sometimes klonopin (taken only as needed)...i couldn't function w/out them...and like you, this is not an option...i know what i'm like when i'm depressed/down and know what i've done and what i will and can do and it's not pretty...
i've been hospitalized about 6 times in the past 14 years for mental health care issues...
and yeah, the hypomania just all but kills me - and the crash?
god, i hate it...i thank god for klonopin and pot...
if i don't have one, i have the other (and i'm not a big pot head either, one or two hits off a pipe and i'm good for the night, and this isn't every night)
sometimes, when extremely desperate, i will use 600mg motrin, or a flexiril and i'm good...those help me sleep...

added you
Mar. 1st, 2008 08:41 am (UTC)
Re: hi
You know what works wonders for me for sleep? Seroquel. Don't know if you've ever been on it but if not, u should talk about it with your p-doc. I used to take like 5 ambien and I would never get tired at all. I tried everything but seroquel works. I used to smoke pot to manage my depression/anxiety too but then it turned on me and I get such a ridiculous amount of paranoia. I turned to opiates. Its terrible though. Gotta be careful with this bipolar shit. It can turn you into a full blown addict very easily. I've been hospitalized a bunch of stuff too. I never knew we had all this in common. *hug* Can't wait to read your entries and get to know you better!
Mar. 3rd, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
Re: hi
i don't smoke enough to be paranoid...i usually fall asleep...
Mar. 18th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
In the rabbit hole
OK lets look at your problem this way; When your attention turns inward you experience the downs. This situation is just the mind seeking reality. The answer lies within. In this state you experience your worst fears in order to overcome them. You lose track of who you are according to how your intellect and ego define who you are. But you are not this make believe person. You are a child of God and God takes care of his children. When your in a down time realize this and wait for God to bring you to the surface where you will be much more powerful for the experience of going within. I for one am aware of how powerful you are.
Mar. 19th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
Re: In the rabbit hole
How can you possibly be aware of how powerful I am? Its weird, I've been having this feeling lately that God is speaking to me through amazing people that I'm meeting lately. You seem like one of them. I'm glad you added me as a friend. I'm looking very forward to getting to know you. You sound a lot like my friend who just happens to be a priest. You sound enlightened. I've been asking for help for a long time. Bipolar disorder is one of the two major problems in my life. I am also a heroin addict and I'm finding it very difficult to find a reason why I would even want to stop despite the consequences it brings. I'm very good at, and sincere about helping people. I feel I'm meant to in some way but can't figure out in what way I'm supposed to do it. I'm not great at helping myself but I do have hope now. I can tell already that you're a fascinating person. Thanks for extending yourself to me in this way. =)
Mar. 19th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Re: In the rabbit hole
I think that when a person goes within herself if she's on any drugs or mind altering substances she won't confront her fears and overcome them. What will happen is that the people around her will experience a drain on their essence to the point of even death. If an enlightened person gets involved with a game like this he or she can turn it around so that everyone experiences only their own karma.

This is very advanced metaphysics so don't get upset if you don't understand.
Mar. 19th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
Re: In the rabbit hole
Actually I do understand and thats perhaps what makes me saddest of all in this situation. I fully recognize the drain on others especially my family. I could see how they could or maybe are already be dealing with my karma and it kills me that I am doing that and yet still find it so impossible to stop. I feel like I've recieved many signs to stop, to depend on Spirit, and yet it remains a challenge even with such an amazing desplay of support. I wonder how I may become more aware. I think I need to become so aware despite it all that it makes it seem ridiculous not to stop.
Jun. 6th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
Re: In the rabbit hole
"I wonder how I may become more aware."
When I really took it on, I mean kinda like vowing to get to the bottom of "it" ... well, turns out that there's no bottom.
I can't fault my motives, and on the face of it seems almost like a virtuous / courageous thing to do ... but I was mistaken.

There's no bottom. Cuz there's no well ... or hole ... or ditch ... or whatever. Those are just metaphors, just concepts. What there is, really, is a set of thought patterns. Or tendencies. Gee golly, a variation on karma!

When I found myself getting deeper and deeper and deeper what did I find? Insights into how we're so often inauthentic, deceptive, dishonest, untruthful. But I don't have to throw myself into an inferno to know that fire burns and that being burned really hurts.

Again, my mistaken opinions concerning the nature of reality swept me away ... like any good mirage, it took only a bit of help from me to seem very real, but there was actually nothing there but the movement of my own mind ... a tangle of resentment and hurt feelings and fear and deep sadness. ("The great grief", it's called ... like watching folk eat poison.)

In a moment of clarity something from my kick-ass Zen training settled it: we tend to solidy ("reify", yes?) stuff that confirms our egos, our story-lines, our personality.
Oh, the movement of mind is real enough ... underneath the thinking and monkey-chatter there's absolute awareness ... but it's real like the shimmer of a mirage is real: the mirage has more reality than the water!

So I apply mindfulness to my depression ... I try not to self-destruct ... I try to avoid becoming a drama junkie ... I see how I mess things up and use that to remind me that when other folk mess things there's a pretty good chance that they aren't malevolent, that they're just *shrug* scared and confused, like me.

Now I appreciate that getting sucked into my dark thoughts is just me getting sucked in my the Matrix. The depressive "mentation" is just that ... what's "real" is what under-lies it ... alaya vijnana, the seed-bed of karma.

Like Shenpen Hookham's teacher (Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, Rinpoche) told me one time as we walked out of the shrine room after he'd given a talk, "Isn't it amazing how real the mirage seems?!" *giggle*
Jun. 6th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
Nice coincidence! *fixed*
*I've been wrestling the dragon of depression for years ... many years ... stemming from something like PTSD, but that's a different story."

I peeked your old LJ and came across the post about Lama Shenpen.
Click: I've known her for years ... while I was at Gampo Abbey (the monastery in Cape Breton) she came by and did a month-long intensive study of her book, "The Buddha Within" *pat pat*. I've got a great snapshot of her from one afternoon she and a bunch of us went trekking through the snowy hills.
She's awesome ... the real thing.
Jun. 6th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice coincidence! *fixed*
Thats friggin' cool!!!! I wish I could've met her! My meditation teacher is really cool too although not as well known. Although she does work for the United Nations which I think is pretty awesome. You have great insight on depression. Its been difficult for me to always have such great insight but it helps to know that I can meditate whenever I want and take it a couple of notches down. Interesting that you happened to see the Buddhism stuff. If you're into the concept of "Dharma Punx" You're more than welcome to join my new community. dharmapunks
Jun. 7th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Re: Nice coincidence! *fixed*
Yaaa, isn't it. Are you subscribed to her course? email list?

Glad to hear you have a Meditation Instructor. The whole guru/student relationship is a major deal, but having a trustworthy MI is real good fortune. Benefits of being on the path! (I sometimes worry about the number of people who get into it on kind of a trippie basis ... is why I'm not likely to talk about anything advanced online.)

Even though I call myself an anarcho-dharma geek I'm one generation older than Punx ... which colors my politics / attitude. (I'm not real pleased at how my bus-hippie cohort cut and run, but that's a different topic.)

Nice to meet you!
Nov. 2nd, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Willing victim
I found being on the spiritual path brings you very close to mental illness if not totally a victim of it.

I live and work on this dairy farm with my mom and step dad in Pennsylvania. Mostly my step dad is more a guru to me than a parent and over the years we have attained a high level of conscious awareness together. My biological father, however, is having his mental problems and mostly I go and live with him to help him out mentally as well as do a little work on the horse farm he owns in Massachusetts.

This winter my bio father and I got into an argument and I left the ranch and found an apartment and started doing some part time work at McDonalds to make ends meet. Now I'm a very spiritual person and spend a lot of time meditating. Even at the best of times I don't have a lot of attachment to the material world or what most people call the real world. Then one day I found I couldn't break my" trance like" meditative state and was unable to interact with the reality that used to be me. I could view my real world as though I was looking through a thick distorted glass, but I couldn't make contact with it. Now I was able to overcome my fear of death and stay calm but I felt I was trapped on this astral plane type of existence which made me feel very isolated.

Then I became aware of another presence and when it touched my mind I knew it to be my step dad. He was able to leave the material plane and find me here in never never land. He told me that what was happening to me usually happened to someone just before the soul left the illusion of personality and body behind and reincarnated. He thought in my case I would eventually gain control of my body again without going through the messy process of death. In the meantime he explained that my soul was running my body for the purpose of healing my dad which is what I came here to do. In a sense I was a willing victim. And through his mind I could see what was happening to my body on my material plane of existence.

Nov. 3rd, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Willing victim
Wow, thankyou for sharing this story with me. Personally, I've had a form of mental illness since I was 10 years old. Oddly enough, it was shortly after a cousin died and for a 10 year old, I was having deeply philosophical thoughts about the universe and the nature of reality. My condition has gone on to be labeled bipolar disorder which wasn't diagnosed until I was 21 and the medication I'm on seems to help me find a medium that I can work with instead of being swept away. But I think your philosophy on spirituality and mental illness is pretty captivating and I tend to wonder if its part of the journey, or does it have to be, and what is the significance of feeling this way and what is the link to spirituality? Incidentally, I woke up this morning thinking about the story of the Buddha and how he encountered the suffering of old age, illness and death and I thought about how he couldn't come to such spiritual conclusions without feeling a great degree of pain first and the pain had to be of this terrible nature in order for him to be able to have insight into the nature of this world and of the importance of perception. Then I thought about my life and I tend to wonder if I'd feel this spiritual had I not experienced similar things early in life.

You're a very, deep, forthright, and interesting person. I'm glad you added me. I added back. =)
Nov. 3rd, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Willing victim
Hi Melissa, I think mental illness is a danger to anyone on the spiritual path. Overcoming it spiritually is a great break through and I certainly see you as a sister on the path.
Nov. 3rd, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Willing victim
=) rock on!
Nov. 3rd, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Willing victim
BTW, you're totally invited to my other community dharmapunks if you're interested in that sort of thing. I don't know if you're strictly pagan or not but you don't have to be a Buddhist to appreciate many of the spiritual topics.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:18 am (UTC)
I am pretty much neurotic, I still don't know how to deal, but I decided to skip medication, they ruin memory...
(I have been diagnosed neurasthenic syndrome, generally it's the same stuff with mood swings).
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:27 am (UTC)
Okay now.. This was me, too))).
Don't pay attention to that other account, it's pretty much unreadable))). (Look at it and you'll see))).
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )