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If You Are Bipolar Stay On Your Meds

Updated on October 10, 2013
Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

Are You a Psychiatrist?

If the answer is "no," then you are categorically unqualified to make the decision to take yourself off your bipolar medications.

And yet, it's very, very common for bipolars to exclaim, "I'm off my meds!!" or "I'm going off my meds!" Interestingly, you rarely hear of patients deciding to simply stop treating their blood pressure, ulcers or asthma.

Hmmm. Think this could be mental illness at work???


Your Brain Is the Patient

Let the experts treat it, not you
Let the experts treat it, not you

How Are You Feeling Right Now?

It's no easy trick to manage the ups and downs of a bipolar brain. The treatment goal is to help you function within a normal range -- not too up, not too down, but just right.

If you're feeling pretty good, pretty balanced, congratulations! That means your meds are working!!! It means your doctor has gotten your cocktail of mood stabilizer/antidepressant/antipsychotic/anti-manic/anti-anxiety just so for your particular symptoms.

What Are You Trying to Achieve?

A word about side effects

It's true that some medications come with some rather unpleasant side effects. Some, like Thorazine, are notorious for being pretty hard to swallow.

But with the vast array of meds available today, there's undoubtedly a substitute you'll be better able to tolerate. Talk to your psychiatrist about alternatives.

So, I bet you miss being manic, don't you?

Some patients complain that they miss the energy rush and wild exhilaration of their "high highs" once they're medicated. But I can't say I've heard of anyone nostalgizing the "low lows" of their depressive moods!

What's at Risk if you Self-Medicate?

As a bipolar, your brain suffers from a major chemical imbalance. One way or another, it needs to be rebalanced, it craves to be rebalanced. This is why, without even knowing they're doing it, so many bipolars turn to "self-medicating" with alcohol and drugs. They are naturally obeying their brain's command to please, please stop this roller coaster and give me some peace!

How common is substance abuse in bipolars? According to some sources, 50- 60% of bipolar disorder patients abuse alcohol and drugs at some point during their illness.

If you used alcohol or drugs before you got diagnosed, it's highly likely you will turn back to what "worked" for you in the past. But alcohol and other depressants will only make depressive episodes worse. Cocaine and other stimulants can also produce abnormal mood swings. And withdrawal can produce symptoms of mania or severe depression -- so really, you're going "out of the mental frying pan into the fire" if you give up prescribed drugs and try to medicate yourself.

Think Hard Before You Quit

Assuming your meds are effective, there are two concerns specifically about quitting them.

1. If you're hell bent on experimenting, make sure you read the literature that came with your meds. These are not aspirins we're talking about. They are serious psychotropic drugs. If you're supposed to taper off and you stop abruptly, you risk going into seizures. (And obviously, this would be 1000x worse than any side effect you might be experiencing now.)

2. Once the drugs are out of your system, you're a blank canvass. Getting back on them may not be a simple matter of refilling your old prescriptions. There's a good chance your old scrips won't work. You can become immune to them (at least that's how it was explained to me). Your psychiatrist will have to start all over again -- trial and error with dosages and even drug types. Thus, if you crawl back in, miserable and desperate for relief, you may not get it, at least not right away.

Maybe I'm Cured!

Don't be fooled. Bipolar is a chronic condition. Its symptoms can be managed, and you can live a normal life. But it doesn't go away.

And the best predictor of future behavior is past episodes. As it was explained to me by a psychiatrist, if you've had one depressive episode in the past, you can expect to have more in the future. Same goes for manic episodes.

Try to remember the worst experience you had before you got diagnosed. Did you go on a spending spree that left you in debt? Did you spend two weeks holed up under the covers, unbathed and alone? Did you end up in trouble with the law, or under observation on a 5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold)? Whatever unpleasant memories you can dredge up -- amplify them by at least two. That's what's in store for you if you persist in this plan.

Still not convinced?

I'll share with you a true story of a friend of mine, a bipolar who did exactly what you are contemplating. He didn't feel anything unusual so thought he'd made the right decision. Until about three weeks later. Out of the blue he decided it would be a good idea to kill himself. He set out to drink himself to death (after being sober for three years). Luckily, he didn't succeed. The cops found him on the side of the road puking his guts out next to his car. He lost his license for a year. But he gained an important lesson -- and a new respect -- for bipolar disease.

Feed Your Head

If you think you feel crazy now... stop taking them
If you think you feel crazy now... stop taking them


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    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA


      Your sister is a wise woman. Very good analogy. I also know diabetics who did not like "complying" with what their doctors told them. M&Ms every day. Hey, it's your health.

      But your last paragraph is right on, too.

      Taking your meds is just the start. Without the right meds you cannot do the work.

      The work will not work without the base of the brain stabilizing meds.

      The meds alone are not going to make life peachy keen every day.

      BTW, I am bipolar myself. I am not speaking hypothetically here.

      To further complicate the lives of many, many bipolars, there is a high correlation with substance abuse.

      Yippee -- two conditions to treat EVERY DAY.

      Do totally agree with you, though. I would not want anyone nagging me every day "Did you take your meds?"

      That is unhelpful. Unless it's a doctor asking. If it's a family member, they could really benefit from

      NAMI or even Al-Anon to learn to be peaceful without trying to control YOUR disease management!

    • profile image

      Virsatia 4 years ago

      Mighty Mom,

      Everything you posted is in fact true but when someone is bipolar all the truth in the world is not what makes them stay on their meds EVEN when they know they should. If you ask 100 bipolar people this one question I bet you will get exactly the same answer from them all. What is the single most infuriating question we hate? It's this one... Did you take your meds today? You know what, just you asking me that question makes me want to tell you NO even if I did, just to screw with YOUR day like your screwing with mine. Do you want to know why its so maddening? Because sometimes, its not our meds at all. We just have a bad damn day just like you do!

      Do you want to know how I finally began to consistently take my meds every single day? It had nothing to do doctors or I needed them or anything else like that. My sister said something to me... not as a nurse but as a sister that really made it hit home for me. She said V if your son had diabetes and he needed insulin...would you make sure he had it and took it? I said of course I would. She said this is the same thing sweetie its just your brain is sick. If you don't take these meds you can't be healthy either and I don't want you to be sick either cause your not healthy either when you don't have them. I love you anyway but I want you healthy like any other kid I'd have or you'd have. Now do you understand its like blood pressure pills or insulin it will help with it its not the cure.

      I still have to do the work so do all bipolars. Don't for one minute think the meds are the answer Mighty Mom, they are only the base so the person WITH bipolar disorder can do the real work! If you think meds are the answer...darling you better read a lot more cause that's just the tip of a glacier!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      The manic phase itself can be as destructive (or more so) than the depressive. We've all heard of the stories of manic spending sprees and reckless, illegal and/or immoral behavior. Things we would not do if not fueled by mania. And the savvy bipolar is very cognizant that "what goes up, must come down." And it inevitably does. Thanks for sharing, misslong123. MM

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 5 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      I know exactly what you mean. When manic-depressants (Bipolar) reach the mania curve, they want to stay there, because everything speeds up and it's fun. At that time, they usually stop their meds because they feel so high and happy. That is a huge mistake, because when they crash, they will crash hard.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you. I've known plenty of people who learned this lesson the hard way. The thing about bipolar is, it's not gonna go away like Strep Throat. It's a chronic condition. So the smart thing is to think about treating it for the long haul.

      It's really hard for those who really love their manic episodes to give those up. Those who hate their depressive episodes, though, are also susceptible to thinking 'I've got it." That's the best signal right there they the meds are working for you!

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 5 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      This was a great hubpage. It is so true that people are very ill with Bipolar, then get treated, and feel great. Then, they think that they are all well and do not need to take the medications anymore. However, once they go off the medications, they go back to being sick. It's kind of like taking anti-biotics for Strept Throat. Many people, in fact most people, stop taking the anti-biotics once they feel well, rather than finishing the prescribed amount. People need to stick to the Bipolar medication that make them well. Once they are doing better and have found the right med mix, they need to strictly stick to it, and not have the false assumption that they are all better and do not need to take meds anymore. Great job on researching!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Melinda,

      First, I am sorry not to have been on HP in the last several days to read your comment until now.

      Your story breaks my heart. Unfortunately, I know you are far from unique.

      When the people who are supposed to be helping you become your biggest worry -- that is criminal.

      With mental illness, I believe it's important to get two-pronged treatment. The meds help calm down the brain.

      But the therapy teaches us how to manage in our lives. It's a place to be heard and validated. It's even more important, in some ways, than the meds.

      Sounds like you went from having good treatment (effective med combo, monitored by a doctor) and a therapist you liked and who knew and understood you.

      Not sure what caused the changeove of personnel where you are treated. But it sounds bad. I understand how vital it is to have the RIGHT fit with your treatment team. I wore out quite a few losers myself before finding a psychiatrist I really like and a therapist I actually want to talk to.

      Now, to your plan.

      We do not know how well our meds are working until we stop taking them. And that decision rebounds on us.

      Maybe the real problem here is the therapist personalities.

      If you felt heard and respected, I bet you would feel like you could/would "demand" the med management you deserve.

      My thought here is -- is there another place to get therapy? Are there clinics where you live? Bipolar support groups?

      It often helps to talk with others and realize our own situation is not as bad as someone else's.

      I recognize that MH resources are scarce everywhere. So finding an alternative source might be hard. But it's worth trying. Maybe a designated "women's clinic" offers mental health counseling.

      Since you have tried to commit suicide, I assume you have spent time in inpatient psychiatric facility (?). I would NEVER suggest in any way that you should even consider suicide (it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem), I wonder if you could get a new perspective and some serious help in inpatient setting and they could set you up with new counselor that you click with...

      Regardless, I hope you have someone who can advocate for and with you. Someone who can help you do research and figure out a different way of approaching this situation.

      Again. I don' tknow where you live. But have you tried checking the local NAMI chapter They have a wealth of information and resources.

      I wish you serenity and peace. Knowing full well how empty that must feel to you right now. But I know -- because I've lived it and know many others who have too -- it's attainable.

      Good luck.

      Please keep in touch. Best always, MM

    • profile image

      Melinda 5 years ago

      I have been diagosed as rapid cyclor bi-polar and Borderline Personality Disorer... for 14 years I have been on Lithium and xanx for hyper-mania, panic attacks etc.

      Now the place where I go has changed and the last 2 years I have lost my counselour of 10 yrs - been bounced around to 3 different counselours that don't know me, I cannot relate to them or their 'way' of treatment. I haven't had the doc. give me a litihium check in over a year.. they have made it so hard for me to stay on my meds whether I want to or not. I do not have enuff money to go to a private practice and I have NEVER said I wanted to go off my meds - until now. I want to be weened off them, not just the place where I go for treatment has become my biggest worry and problem for me - I hate all the people there and don't want to go there at all. They don't give me an once of respect or treat me as if I have any dignity. If I could stay on my meds smoothly like before I would - but I really want to try and make it on my own as I cannot take going to these useless visits w/counselors that I am uncomfortable w/and having to get my meds has become a "job" that I don't want to work at anymore. I am very scared how my mental illness will affect me w/o my meds but I feel backed in to a corner. Any suggestions? I have tried to commit suicide in the past even on meds. If I cannot get the help I need what do I do?

    • profile image

      john 6 years ago

      polar is actually a product of taking medication... the medication's end result of addiction to the medication....

      However I am not saying to stop taking you meds as it could cause serious problems... Im saying think which came first the chicken or the egg!!!

    • profile image

      Bipolar I 6 years ago

      "46% of Americans have tried an illicit drug at some point in their lives" NY Times "Who Falls to Addiction, and Who is Unscathed".

      I remember the first bout of hallucinations/delusions I had. I remember thinking about how all people are good. I was told I was delusional.

      I remember the first time I had a panic attack - when I skipped one of my medications as ordered by a professional.

      I remember the first, only, and last time I wanted to commit suicide... while I was on my medications.

      I remember when I became a burden on my family, the first, last and only time I felt like I was nothing but a bag of flesh... when the medications were coarsing through every tissue of my body.

      The best decision of My Life was to taper myself off those chemicals that were felt like were slowly and effectively killing me.

      I am probably the most stable, loving person around me and I was diagnosed bipolar, about a year off my medication and I will go to my death bed without ever ingesting another anti-seizure medication.

      I hope one day you will realize that love, understanding, and patience is the answer.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello oddball,

      Let me say I'm really grateful that there's a suicide hotline out there and really glad you have the wherewithall to call it.

      You raise excellent points. Some people simply cannot tolerate pharmaceuticals. Period.

      I am interested in the herbal medicines and diet and would love to know what you are doing. Also wondering if acupuncture in addition to the meditation can help quiet the mind.

      I wish you balance and serenity right in the middle, for as much time each day/week/month as possible. That's what we all strive for!


    • profile image

      oddball 6 years ago

      I'm happy for all of you whom the meds work well for. Unfortunately, I have been unable to take any drug for very long because they made me feel much worse or they had severe physical side effects.

      There is virtually no decent therapy available where I live and only 1 psychiatrist who will see each patient for about 15 minutes every 6 months. If it weren't for the national suicide hotline I would have been dead months ago.

      I have been experimenting with natural herbs and diet with some success. I've never been a self medicating person. I've also learned to stop or shorten manic attacks with mental exercises and meditation music and exercise. Not everyone can tolerate chemical medicines. I'm even allergic to most non psychiatric medications and detergents etc.

      Sadly I haven't found much that helps with the depression part. However the less manic episodes I have, the less depression also.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 6 years ago from Ohio

      This is great advice. THANK YOU for putting it out there! When I get a minute after work today, I am going to link it to a few of my hubs on mental illness. I suffer from Bipolar II (mostly depressive) and ADD (No Hyperactiviaty) and I am on quite a little cocktail of meds. I did try to stop taking one because I thought it wasn't working anymore. What a failure. I did it under close supervision of a psychiatrist though. I did not play doctor. I have even refused to start meds that he reccomened (Lithium) for a valid reason. We discussed it and made a new plan. I think people need to know that it is ok to do that instead of trying to be their own doctor.

      I would add another bit of advice: Not only do bipolars need to stay on their meds, but they need to take them properly! Stick to the schedule! No skipping days or wiggling around with times. It makes a big difference. I know from personal experience and from others.

      If you want to check out some resources that are good for people that want to read things in plain english with less "doctor talk" you should check out the links at the bottom of my latest hub. One of them is specifically about meds. The bipolar blog is great. She reminds me so much of myself!

      Glad I came accorss this Hub. Going to check out more of what you have to offer. Take Care!

    • kaizan28 profile image

      kaizan28 6 years ago from Catsville

      Keep stacking up your improvements in the areas of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional development. Medication slows you down.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I think this Hub is good advice and well worth sharing.

      Within a couple of practices where I worked, we found Bipolar Disorder exceedingly painful for clients for a few reasons.

      Clients withdrawing from medications cold turkey was one issue. Another was an 86-year-old psychiatrist (referred patients to us) that often misdiagnosed Bipolar Disorder when clients suffered Alzheimer's; and diagnosed other disorders when the client suffered Bipolar - so, prescribed meds were not working. Although charged with malpractice several times, the State Psychiatry Board allowed him to continue practice unfettered until he retired on his own. So, I think good diagnosis helps a lot, as does monitoring the professions.

      My concern now is that the changes/updates proposed in criteria of Bipolar/Related Disorders will truly help patients(APA DSM-5 Development page). I hope so.

      Rated Up and Awesome.

    • Escobana profile image

      Escobana 6 years ago from Valencia

      Hi MM:-)

      Thanks for linking my Hub to yours as well. It used to make me sad, seeing people not getting the proper treatment.

      After reading your Hub, I know addiction can be a very difficult factor in such a complicated illness like Bipolar Disorder.

      I never did any drugs or alcohol which is one or the reasons I survived the long road to sanity and happiness. I'm grateful every day for the simple fact that I was never tempted in my maniacal episodes to try out drugs or alcohol, even though it was offered many times.

      Cheers to you too dear! Nice to meet you:-)

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Escobana,

      Happy to link to your hub. Opinions on Bipolar span 360 degrees. It's heartbreaking to read of people who simply could not get the right "cocktail" to manage their mood swings.

      I am heading over to check you out now. Always great to meet fellow hubbers who are trudging the same road.

      cheers, MM

    • Escobana profile image

      Escobana 6 years ago from Valencia

      Hey there MM!

      I feel so stupid. How come I didn't see this SuperHub before??? I'm here for about 8 months, trying to educate and inspire all of my fellow Bipolar Hubbers.

      Your Hub is amazing! I like the tone and the message is so vital to anyone suffering from their Bipolar Carreer. That's how call it mostly. You go up and down a road too many times until you reach REAL stability.

      Why I love my medication? Bipolar Disorder and all of the excuses. One of my recent Hubs in which I'm really gonna link yours too. Hope you'll find my Hub worhty of linking mine to yours.

      I like you style MM!

      Voted up, shared and away:-)

      Best wishes from a happy Bipolar woman...

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello gen,

      I've not been on HP for a few days so am just reading your comment now.

      I feel like I should blow up your quote and make it the headline of my hub. You prove my point in 12 words!

      I'm so glad you didn't!! And hope the experience made you realize that you NEED your meds to stay safe and sane.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

    • profile image

      gen 6 years ago

      I went off my meds and i almost ended up killing myself.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi April, Sorry. I had no computer for 48 hours.

      I would suggest that if your bf needs to be medicated you treat him like an alcoholic or addict who needs treatment. Put your foot down and tell him you love him and want him to be fully functioning. That perhaps he doesn't realize how much better he is when he is on his meds, but you you can. If he doesn't want to listen, are you prepared to practice some tough love with him? That if he refuses to take his meds you have no choice but to walk away from him until he is willing to get the help he needs? In other words, force the issue with him if he won't do it voluntarily.

      You migh talso consider an intervention (just like on TV) with his family and friends if everyone agrees that he needs meds perhaps he will listen to the group.

      I wish you luck. I know how difficult this situation is. I also know that the person on the inside of the illness simply doesn't see reality as those around him/her do.

      Please keep me posted. I hope your bf will read this hub and maybe get a clue:-). MM

    • profile image

      April 6 years ago

      What should I go my bf has It and he won't take his meds and he needs them

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello louromano. Thanks for your comment. I wish you luck with your brother. Whether or not he is ALSO bipolar, it's important to address the drinking/using first. Once you get those substances out of the way you can determine if there is an underlying mental illness at work that he is self-medicating. Or, it could just as well be that without the up/down rollercoaster of drinking/using, the mania and depression are not there.

      I do know a LOT of people in recovery. And a LOT of us, even after taking alcohol and drugs out of the equation, still require medication (and therapy, too, for many) to keep our moods in check.

      But it's virtually impossible to treat the bipolar if the patient is actively drinking and using, too.

      That defeats the effectiveness of the psychopharmaceutical drugs!

      Good luck to you.

      And your brother. Oh -- and if you have any questions about addiction/alcoholism, I would be more than happy to share my experience and there are a lot of other hubbers here as well. Cheers, MM

    • louromano profile image

      louromano 6 years ago

      Thanks MM! In researching my own problems (and my alcoholic, drug addicted brother who we think is bi-polar)I found the correlation to be great as well. I would say that many of those addicted easily to substances are having some form of mental malfunction anyway. Even if it's not bi-polar, many can be helped through intervention.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Jacey,

      Thank you for raising and arguing the other side of this dilemma. You are absolutely right. As is anyone for whom the drugs fail to offer relief/stabilization. Or who don't have a wise and knowledgeable and trustworthy psychiatrist.

      My original point in writing this was to address the fact that bipolars are notorious for not taking their meds because they don't believe they need them.

      You sound like you have an excellent handle on your own disease pattern. What to expect. How long it will last. And you know you can ride it out. Some of "us" cycle too quickly and hard to be able to function without calming our brains down.

      But your comments reminded me that it's high time to write the opposite viewpoint. There ARE other ways to calm your brain and emotions down that do not involve pharmaceuticals. Natural healing can, I do believe, work on mental illness, too!

      As to why you type "know" when you mean "no" that appears to be a Freudian slip and you are positively (yes) as opposed to negatively (no) asserting your inner KNOWLEDGE. LOL. But certainly something to be mindful of.

      Thanks so much for your comment.


    • profile image

      Jacey 6 years ago

      that would be "_NO_ way of knowing."* Dunno why in the heck I typed the wrong "know," but that's a pet peeve of mine and it's killing me. B-/

    • profile image

      Jacey 6 years ago

      It's difficult for me to believe meds work. Mostly because they didn't for me. I have considered that different people can react differently to the same treatment, but I have taken a lot of other factors into consideration also. Such as that most episodes of psychosis as related to bipolar disorder typically last around 6 months and often occur every 6 months on or off medication. Interestingly enough, that's about the length of time that's purposed to psychiatrists to prescribe the effective cocktail of meds and for them to "take effect." It's been found that an episode of psychosis will typically run it's course within 6 months and subside on it's own when drugs are not administered. So that leave much to be said about which is a bigger factor, time or the meds themselves. There is know way of knowing. All I can go off of is my own experience. I had a major psychotic episode when I was 24, and after having my brain dosed nearly into a coma via countless concoctions dispensed by a handful of well-meaning psychiatrist, and after feeling much, much, MUCH worse both physically and mentally, I did stop all medications on my own. Gradually, I felt better and better, as I came out of the brutal throws of psychosis. A thing which is very much HELL. After 5 and 1/2 months of being off the meds, I finally had a semblance of peace. I cannot agree, therefore, based on my own experience, that medication is right for everyone, but I am happy for anyone who has somehow found relief through drugs.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Artin2010. I've heard about some nasty side effects on Lithium.

      You raise an excellent point. Faith is an incredible window into the mind and the heart. Our feelings can be overwhelming, can't they?

      I wish you much success in your life along with serenity and sanity! Blessings back, MM

    • profile image

      Artin2010 6 years ago I was on Lithium for a couple of years but then it offered more side effects than good so they switched my meds. Now I rely mainly on my faith as a catalyst towards understanding my feelings or feelings I think I'm experiencing! Good article, MM, good info. Blessings

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello unknown,

      I'm so sorry you are going through this horrible situation in your life.

      I drank and used my way through my divorce as well. Didn't make it any easier, and in fact, just made everything else in my life worse. I sense that the self-medicating you're doing isn't do you any good, either.

      Being alone with your dark thoughts and your bottles is just compounding your despair.

      I do have a suggestion for how to both break that chain AND surround yourself with positive people. Even those of us who don't "play well with others" can find salvation through recovery.

      I have a lot of hubs about it.

      I've been sober 7+ years now. The people in AA have saved my butt and helped me through things way worse than divorce. And I get to help them, too. So it's pretty cool. Check it out. No obligation, but I think, if you give it a try (since what you're doing is NOT working), you might find some answers.

      Blessings to you. Hang in. Things WILL get better. MM

    • profile image

      unknown 6 years ago

      Iv stopped taking olanzapine 4 weeks ago started drinking and taking anabolics I'm thinking of putting a rope around my neck all because I'm going through a divorce due to a cheating thieving wife...I don't have many people around me due to my negativity towards getting along with other people..not sure what to do sorry to be so dull

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Steph,

      Gosh, it sounds like you are really struggling. The mania you're describing seems to be taking over your life.

      What could it hurt to be seen by a psychiatrist?

      Rolling and swirling are not healthy, especially with a child to raise.

      Suicidal thoughts are concerning as well.

      Please see a mental health professional and at least talk your feelings out.

      I know there are non-pharmaceutical ways to calm the brain as well. Maybe look into those.

      Good luck to you. Thanks for visiting. MM

    • profile image

      steph 6 years ago

      i am glad i found this article. I have bipolar 1, have spent much of my life in and out of hospital, cant hold a job.

      Ive been doing pretty good the past 6 years, becuase i am a single mom with a gorgeous son who depends on me.

      I struggled with meds my whole life, and when i got pregnant i went off and never wen back on.

      now, im starting to have troubles again. ocd-like behaviours, sleeping 2hrs a day, running monologue of self hate in my head. not external voices, more thoughts that cant be switched off. insane and irrational worries. aversion to people bordering on fear, strange spending habits, and most recently some pretty risky sexual choices.

      i spoke to my doctor, she wants to send me to a psychiatrist and put me back on meds.

      i thought i've been doing ok. i thought i was having issues because my grandfather died. however the concept of time and is passing has always kind of eluded me and when i thought about it i realized my grandpa died 2 yrs ago now.

      most of the time i barely feel coherent. I hate myself and have thought a few times my son would be better off if i died rather than having a crazy mom.

      maybe i should go on meds, why am i so scared of them? Meds to a bipolar patient is like water to a rabies patient. thats how it feels to me.

      i hate this swirling rolling, calm-stop-crazy state of existence but i cant wrap my head around taking drugs. i

    • profile image

      abhinav auradkar 6 years ago

      i am really grateful to you for this article.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I feel for you, Rachel.

      My smart-ass answer is send your unmedicated husband to spend 2 weeks with his family. You stay home.

      At the end of the visit they will understand the reality of his mental illness and beg you to get him help.

      They may or may not apologize to you...

      Good luck!


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      rachel 6 years ago

      I am the spouse of a man suffering with bipolar I. We have been together for over 25 years and I am truly trying to help, but his family refuses to see the reality of mental illness. How do you deal with that...people telling him that I am the problem, he isn't bipolar and doesn't need medication? AGGHHHHHHH!

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      Sandra 6 years ago

      All you bipolar suffers should join and chat with us other on mapofmates :)

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello again, Peter.

      I understand very, very well. My type of bipolar skews to depression as well. Not fun.

      You nailed the situation perfectly. Can't just take our meds until we start to feel normal. Feeling normal means the meds are working!!!

      But it sounds like Depakote might not be the best mood stabilizer for you. Can you ask your doctor (who I HOPE is a bona fide psychiatrist) for a change to something that doesn't have the side effects?

      And yes, bipolar doesn't go away. It's a condition that can be managed -- but you have to look at it like eating and sleeping and exercise. If you manage it you WILL feel better. If you don't, you WILL have crazy mood swings!

      Meanwhile, I don't have to tell you that alcohol is a DEPRESSANT. Meaning that your antidepressants will NOT WORK if you are washing them down with booze. Sounds counter-intuitive doesn't it? Yet drinking comes so naturally to those of us with wacked out brain chemistry..

      But I do stand behind my AA suggestion, as the life tools to actually feel better about YOURSELF can be found there.

      Good luck with everything. Congratulations on the birth of your baby. That is a big stressor (stress doesn't have to be a negative) so be gentle with yourself as you adjust to your new life as a parent.

      I've been where you are. And now I am here.

      Cheers, MM

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      peter-guest 6 years ago from middlesbrough, england

      hello again, yes i do have bipolar, i take my medication for a while but come off them when i think i feel alright but most of the time i relapse into deep depression,i probably should realise that i need my medication for life not just until i feel better, mabye i dont like to admit to myself that i am ill, a couple of people have noticed that im having high and low days and pretty bad mood swings so my best option is to restart taking my tablets and leave alcohol alone, thank u very much for your advice, i didn't know were else to turn because it is very difficult to speak to people who dont understand how i feel inside, thank u for your time

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello peter guest,

      It hurts my heart to read your story. You sound like you are in a lot of pain. You recognize it but are powerless to stop it.

      I'm going to answer you from my own experience, because I recognize what you are feeling and how you are reacting to these feelings of doubt and inadequacy.

      Have you been diagnosed with depression? Or with bipolar? You said your dad commented you seem to be 'falling ill again' which is why I ask.

      It also sounds like you are turning to alcohol because it momentarily makes you feel better. But it really isn't an effective coping tool, is it?

      I'm going to take a leap here and suggest a very simple, FREE solution.

      EVERYTHING you have described -- the self-doubts, the sleeping, the pushing people away, the fear and anxiety, envy, the angry words -- ALL of those things you describe, could very well be alcoholism.

      Which very often co-occurs with depression and other mental illnesses.

      You don't have to be drinking 24/7 or out of a paper bag to be alcoholic. It's really more of an "inside job" for which we turn to alcohol to temporarily make us feel normal. But as you yourself note, the aftermath of the brief happy and carefree is anxiety and aggression.

      It costs nothing to go check out your local AA meeting or call your local AA hotline and talk to them.

      I think you will be surprised to hear that you're not alone. Not at all. Others have been EXACTLY where you are. And they've found a way to live that teaches them to be happy. They feel self-worth (often for the first time in their lives).

      Why wait until you lose everything precious to you? Give it a shot.

      You may still need the "outside help" of pharmaceutical mood stabilizers -- many alcoholics do.

      But, the life coping skills and SERENITY to be gained are incredible.

      I've written quite a few hubs about recovery as well.

      I wish you all the best in your journey of healing.

      Will you please let me know how you get on, peter?

      Thanks. MM

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      peter guest 6 years ago

      sorry can i also comment on the act i have found myself going to bed and sleeping at most oppertunities, this is also a concern, my girlriend thinks im being lazy but im a really bad self doubter, im not hiding away rom my beautiful son or my selfless girlfriend im hiding away from myself and my desperate feeling of not being good enough, i look at lorraine with envy, she is perfect with my little boy and seeing her look after him so wonderfully makes me feel ashamed that i cant give him the same attention and time, as i said when i drink i can seem to be happy and carefree but the next day i feel aggitated and sometimes can be aggressive and nasty with my words, i hate this side of me and when i act this way i feel even more upset and angry with myself for taking my problems out on others, its not just my girlriend but i have also said nasty things to my dad who pointed out that he thought i was falling ill again, to be honest i dont know where to turn, im so scared that i could be close to pushing everyone that is so important and that i desperatley love out of my life, any advice would be hugely appreciated, many thanks peter guest

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      peter guest 6 years ago

      hello, i think im seriously harming myself and even my future with my girlriend and new born baby, my dad seems to know when im high when i stop taking my mood stabalisers and i disagree with him and tell him im fine, i dont realise that i am too high and when i am of my medicine i do often turn to drink, am i in a dangerous position, should i immiediately restart my depokote tablets, i really dislike this medication as it seems to put a lot of weight on me then i get down about my appearance, i feel like i cant win, i do know for definate though, i have never been so happy and proud since my son was born, god forbid i ever lose him and my girlfriend, i dont think i could cope with that, please give me some advice, thank u, im a very confused person at the moment

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      nmav 6 years ago

      I just learned the most valuable lesson ever. I quit my anti-anxiety medicine cold turkey thinking I could handle it. Boy was I wrong. I turned into a "crazy person" within days, crying, pacing, so sick I couldn't move. I didn't know how I could go on and was suicidal. Luckily I have a great doctor and a wonderful mother who was there for me night and day. I went back on the medication and feel 100% better. I have anxiety. I also have had it. It's who I am and I have medication that makes me live my life successfully. Trust me, the aftermath of quitting your meds is 100000 times worse then a few side effects of being on them. This truly is a great article.

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello christinebollerud. Sounds like a very sane plan to me! Glad your meds are helping you.


    • christinebollerud profile image

      christinebollerud 6 years ago

      Kind of weird but I am thankful I became so psychotic that it scared me into taking my med religiously. Every day 5pm since April of 2004.

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ginseng is good, good stuff.

      No worries. Your viewpoint is as valid as mine (more than likely a lot more so!)

      Just so you know -- I wouldn't suffer being called a "chemical fascist" by just anyone:-).

      One man's pill is another man's poison.


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      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Hi - sorry for probably being or coming across as aggressive on this one. Yes, they were psychiatrist, but I have had General Practitioners prescribe me psych meds in the past.

      I can definitely agree that some people just have to have meds to function in our society. I think that our society is at least half the problem though.

      I don't take any meds - but out of the more than a dozen that I've had prescribed to me in the past - I only found seroquel useful, but that was my experience, lots of people have told me that meds that did nothing for me "saved their lives," so who am I to judge?

      I think that natural remedies are forever being overlooked in favor of pharmaceuticals. I had one man tell me that Ginkgo and Ginseng make all the difference for him.

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      WTS -- Always a pleasure.

      Four medical doctors -- are they psychiatrists?

      Not that I am defending these incompetent big pharma shills you've encountered:-).

      I always find it very, very suspicious and dangerous when primary care physicians start handing out psychotropic drugs. Antidepressants are probably the most overprescribed meds on the planet. Scary.

      You know, now you've got me thinking.

      Are you my son, btw? He is on me every day to stop taking any prescriptions and go holistic.

      But I wrote this hub many moons ago in response to a question.

      Maybe it's time to test my argumentative skills and write a rebuttal.

      Thanks, pal! MM

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      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I absolutely and totally disagree. I've had four medical doctors diagnose me as "bi polar" and during our visits I diagnosed all four of them as being 1. incompetent, and 2. working for pharmaceutical companies.

      What's up with this chemical fascism you've got going here?

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Jazzie,

      Congratulations on your success in advocating for yourself. It's not easy under the best circumstances. But when we're dealing with mental illness it's even harder.

      I'm so glad you now have a doctor you relate to. Unless that trust is there we are NEVER going to comply with the doctor's treatment or manage our bipolar.

      It sounds like your illness has really been interfering with your life. I truly hope this diagnosis is freeing for you. With the right cocktail of meds we CAN lead normal lives. And you know what, over time it's possible to even cut back on our meds -- I'm not telling you you should do that, just that it's something to possibly look forward to.

      Please make sure you are followed closely by this doctor. S/he should be seeing you several times a year to make sure the treatment plan is still working. Usually some adjustments are needed to find the perfect mix. For me, the addition of a second antidepressant made a HUGE difference (I'm Bipolar II not sure what type you are).

      Anyway, wishing you all the best. Please stop back by and keep us posted on your progress, ok?

      Cheers and happy healing, MM

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      Jazzie 6 years ago

      I officially got diagnosed for biopolar yesterday by my psychiatrist(second by the way) and is feeling good about it since my first psychiatrist was just not on the same wavelength as me. Very unhelpful when it came to the healing process of taking time off work and was more concerned about my financial situation than my treatment.(got really annoyed). How it works is,I am being treated at a clinic where they help with housing assistance and smud bills for the time they treat their clients and they hope to see some progress within a year at least. Now because I have some medical background(thank God) I was able to make my thoughts known though it was a horrible experience because I was too sick.(at the point where I could not read or write) but always saw myself more as a fighter cause i would not give up too easily. The thought of taking meds for chronic treatment was hard to accept at first..I never saw myself or thought of myself as a sick person but i was. nothing worked for me for two years until i demanded a change of staff for my care which as a mental health client, I have the right to request changes to my team. So now i have a very good doctor who works with me starting out on low dosages and making sure to have me take what works for far so good..but I would like to go off meds at some poing down the road and will speak to her about helping me withdraw entirely. I came across this forum because now that i have been diagnosed for bipolar i have begun to read as much as i can to keep myself informed. Iam grateful to you all for sharing your experiences and dilemma and wish everyone all the best in their journey to success to beat the odds. :)

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi again Kikkibabes,

      Gosh. Sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place on this thing. I wish I could share my psychiatrist with you. I really like and trust her. I can't imagine her EVER saying to ANY patient, "Sorry, I've tried everything."

      I firmly believe there are an infinite number of combinations of the various drugs. To exhaust them all would take a LONG time. But I'm just an uber-opinionated hubber. Not a medical expert!

      Good luck to you. Keep in touch. You know there's a bipolar community section here on HP, right? Might be a good way to connect with others who've "been there, done that." Cheers, MM

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      kikkibabes 6 years ago

      Lol yes it was bad times for me to be honest and my hair well it's got no body to it, it's thinned so much and I have had to have a fringe cut in to hide the hair loss :( .. I have tried every med going and the only one that sorta worked is the matazapine which I was on for 6 years but as I said I am now off them and yes going through hell atm, I can't eat, I feel sick and finding sleep difficult too but I just got to get through it until it passes. I know I'm naughty for just coming of my meds but with the hair loss it just pushed me over the edge. My psychiatrist said last time she has tried all the meds and she doesn't know what else she can so for me lol, so I saved her the trouble and I will carry on without the meds. I know atm I'm having rapid cycling but I had that while on the meds too so what's the point of being on meds? All it's done is made me put on weight and lose my hair which has made me feel worse. I have a good Support from my husband who helps me and my kids are understanding too so with their help I will get through I hope lol. Thank you x

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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Holy mood swings, kikkibabes! Your experience sounds horrible, and apparently not that uncommon. Of course I am not a psychiatrist (even though I play one on Hub Pages, tee hee), but...

      it sounds like you are on the wrong meds. The beauty is there is a whole range of options out there. One size or bipolar cocktail does NOT fit all! There is no reason you should be experiencing hair loss. Yes, it can take some adjusting to your meds, but you should NOT feel like a zombie, either. Have you asked your doctor to reduce your dose and see how you tolerate before amping up up too high? People have different sensitivities to different parts of the "cocktail." Just like people have different types of bipolar.

      Do some online research and learn about all the different mood stabilizers out there. Learn about the different antidepressants. And DEMAND that your doctor find the RIGHT combination, and the right dose for you!

      But you are absolutely right. It's your life and your body. If you feel so strongly that the side effects are worse than the illness the drugs are supposed to be treating, stay off the meds, for sure!!!

      Good luck to you. My best wishes for a serene and satisfying life. MM

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      kikkibabes 6 years ago

      I am bipolar was diagnosed just over a year ago. I was put on two different med's that caused me to have major hair loss and made me feel worse and anxious, So i took myself off all the med's even my anti-depressants and was doing really well for 3 weeks i felt alive and not like a zombie. Then one day i was very ill and ended up having two full blown panic attacks and passing out and was so upset so me and my husband thought it would be best i just went back on the anti-depressants but as soon as i did i felt like a zombie and felt so depressed and my hubby even said i seemed worse so i took myself off them again and feel so much better again. But i did read that the withdrawal symptoms for coming on the med's were anxiety and sickness but it will calm down after a while so im going to just put up with it and stay off my med's ok i still have my lows but i keep myself busy and i like the manics which i hardly got when i was on med's, and i know i should not of done this but the way i see it is its my life and its my body and im still having major hair loss so there is no way im going back on med's as i had none of this problem when i was not on any thing!! x

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      songmaker911 6 years ago

      I have been off of my medication for 3 months now. I knew I would get episodes. Yet, I am starting to think that my phyc was wrong about me being bipolar to start with. I have my moments of depression but not once have I had a manic episode. My friends have noticed that to. So, I do believe that in some cases people who have bipolar should stay on their medication but you also need to keep in mind that if people's diagnoses have changed so many times that the doctors could have diagnosed a patient wrong.

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      Paul W 7 years ago

      Everyone i know that goes up and down and who have gone for Psychiatric help to treat this, has been diagnosed with bi-polar and are now destroyed as human beings. These drugs work on brain dysfunction. There is no evidence to show that this is an illness, a permanent chemical imbalance or a disease, nor do they no what is causing the very little scientific evidence which they have. We should look at natural remedies. We should not put these harmful chemicals in to peoples bodies without knowing everything about life and the human body. we shouldn't put them in full stop. We can overcome these problems naturally with the correct support but people are to selfish and ignorant to support this. Thank god i stopped taking my meds for 'Schizophrenia' - an ilness caused by so-called 'anti-psychotics'. My heart goes out to my friends who are suffering on these pills and RIP to the ones i know who have died through medication and who have committed suicide. Stop taking drugs (with support) they are incredibly bad for you!

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Eli,

      Congratulations! It's great to read a success story.

      Getting "you" back is quite a victory. You are lucky to be so in tune with your brain that you can make your life work without being medicated.

      I do worry that "bipolar" is overdiagnosed. And because of that, patients are given a "cocktail" of meds rather than just one.

      Anyway, good for you for weaning yourself off your meds and living the life you deserve to live! Peace and tranquility to you, my friend. MM

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      Eli 7 years ago

      I was on every Bipolar drug & antidepressant known to man for 8 years. I've been off massive amounts of Lamictal & Wellbutrin for over a year now, and I feel better than ever. I got ME back. Psych meds are no SOLUTION to a brain that is NOT a problem. We can heal ourselves thru an array of modalities, not only meds. Meds keep you in a fog away from your true being. I pray for those "willing" to get off their meds to do so mindfully and with caution, and have only hope for those individuals who choose to have a future sans meds. peace.

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      mieketownsend, thank you for visiting and taking the time to share your bipolar experience. I honestly don't know anyone who believes bipolar is "curable." Treatable, yes. Manageable, yes. But not curable, alas.

      I'm sorry you are having such trouble getting the right mix of meds. That is sooo important, especially if you're a rapid cycler!

      You do know (of COURSE you do!) that stress is one of our biggest enemies. We need to practice self-care and I know that is hard to do but it really helps. Walking around feeling like your head will explode does not sound fun or healthy. Hopefully you will be able to simplify your life (maybe work for awhile and go to school only part-time).

      And yes, having the right psychiatrist can make all the difference. Having the wrong psychiatrist can actually make it worse. I've lived that... but am blessed to have an awesome partner in my mood management now!

      Good luck to you. Please keep me posted! MM

    • mieketownsend profile image

      mieketownsend 7 years ago from Washington State

      MM- Thanks for writing this hub. I read a hub right before yours that is trying to state that bipolar is curable. I find that irresponsible, and disrespectful to those that are fighting with finding the right mix of meds to help them become functional on a fairly predictable basis. I have been on state benefits for the past two years, have applied for SSI and am currently waiting for the hearing assignment. My bipolar has been in a rapid progression mode for the past two years and I have had my meds changed three times due to the 'immunity' you described. My meds work for about 6- 8 months and then my cycles start getting more pronounced and severe. I have come to the realization that I will never have this properly taken care of until I can afford to pay for my own psychiatrist and dont have to rely on the state. I am in college (at the age of 39.)full time, and have been successful with it so far. Currently, I am looking for work because I can't stay alive on state benefits, and having them terminate my benefits every other month for stupid little things that they fix within 10 minutes of showing up at the CSO is becoming too much. I am afraid my head will explode with school AND working, but I don't feel like I have any choice. Sorry, im rambling. Great post!!

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you, Shahid Bukhari. Bipolarity is most assuredly a physical condition centered in the brain (although it has behavioral manifestations). Because the bipolar person's brain chemistry is haywire it much be rebalanced with medication.


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      Shahid Bukhari 7 years ago from My Awareness in Being.

      I have not read all the comments posted here, however, I would like to add my bit ... hoping it helps the sufferers understad the nature of Bi-Polar "afliction."

      In that those, consciously aware of being abnormal,or subnormal, are most certainly normal.

      Thus, Bipolarity is a State, when an Affliction is being understood as the other "You" a different person ...

      This Perception is, therefore, a matter of Attitude, in Perception ... one ascribing an human Identity to a Pathological condition.

      When you can Distinguish between a normal and an abnormal State, please consider Bipolarity as a Physical condition ... not a Mental Disorder.

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Glad to hear that, Stu!

      I just yesterday heard of a friend who has struggled with her depression medication. SSRI meds made her cuckoo.

      So her psychiatrist has just started her on Lamictal.

      My point being to think outside the box....

      Once again, good luck!!! MM

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      Stu 7 years ago

      Oh...and I don't drink alcohol - that's good advice!

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      Stu 7 years ago

      Hi Mighty Mom thank you for your quick reply and kind words. Yes I have a diagnosis of bipolar from a professor who specializes in bipolar. I was sent to see him by a psychiatrist who couldn't figure out what was wrong with me as I had so many symptoms. The specialist prescribed lithium along with other meds such as gabapentin, quetiapine, reboxetine and propranolol. I was on his bipolar ward and collapsed with all these meds and was taken to my room in a wheelchair. They still wanted me to keep taking them but I refused and told them I would only take lithium and propranolol - I needed the propranolol because of severe palpitations from anxiety which had me in coronary care twice with atrial fibrillation. I left that ward after 2 months feeling a bit better then I continued to improve and the lithium made me well but the side effects became too much. Since then I have seen my local psychiatrists again and have been on all kinds of stuff. Pregabalin with venlafaxine and olanzapine worked for a while along with the propranolol and some diazepam but then it stopped working and now they are sending me back to the bipolar unit after the quetiapine didn't help. I refused to take the abilify because I'm still physically ill from what the quetiapine caused. I have an appointment at the bipolar unit on the 23rd of december so am hoping they can help. I have been told there's some sort of steroid treatment they have started using at this place which is helping some patients who don't respond well to the usual meds. Maybe some antidepressants too like you advise and a mood stabiliser. I feel better reading about other peoples stories but also sad as I wouldn't wish this disease on any good people. It's very common and you would have thought that by now there would be effective and safe treatments. Our bodies can't handle all these powerful drugs that are like poisons to us. I'm 39 today and feel about 70!!! This just a small part of a long story - long stories which many more have to tell and many are far worse than mine. At least I have a very kind CPN who has just been to see me today and helped give me some hope and she also got me some sleeping tablets :) Anyway thanks again and sorry for rambling. I will let you know how things go. Best of luck to you and everyone else, Stu

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Stu,

      I'm so very sorry to hear about your situation. Although you are definitely NOT alone. So many of "us" go through years of agony trying different drugs that make us worse not better.

      You don't say if you specifically have been diagnosed bipolar, although both meds you have been prescribed are for that.

      I'm curious who is doing the prescribing. It is ESSENTIAL that you be seen by a PSYCHIATRIST. I don't mean a psychologist or a general practitioner. You need someone who knows brain chemistry and how different drugs interact with each other.

      If you are bipolar you likely need to be on a combination of drugs. A mood stabilizer plus an antidepressant -- but the dosages are also important. You may even need 2 different antidepressants that work in different ways.

      You should be able to do a Google search and get comments from people who have had experience with Abilify (plus and minus). But that doesn't mean it's the right drug for YOU!!!

      BTW, I'm not preaching here, but... if you are drinking alcohol (as is a natural thing for depressives and bipolars to do!) your meds will not work.

      Good luck and please keep me posted on your progress.

      Better yet -- join Hub Pages and WRITE YOUR EXPERIENCE -- you have a LOT to share with others and it will help them and may make you feel better to write about your 30 year journey. All the best to you, MM

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      Stu 7 years ago

      I don't take meds and am feeling terrible and suicidal every day with depression and anxiety. The meds I have taken have not worked very well and made me very physically ill only lithium helped symptoms but caused me to be covered with boils and urinate blood. What can I do? I've taken around 40 different medications over 20 years. I have an appointment with a specialist centre for mood disorders soon but I have doubts they can help either as I've been in the past and it was those doctors who gave me lithium. I have a box of aripirazole my doctor wants me to take them. I'm scared as the quetiapine I've just come off nearly killed me. Has anyone else taken aripirazole and did it help? All the best, Stu

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Dear Mymomisbipolar. My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry your mom doesn't understand the need for her meds. I'm hoping you have someone in your life that your mom listens to and will be persuaded to change her mind.

      I know how crazymaking it is to have a mentally ill person in your family. God bless. MM

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      Mymomisbipolar 7 years ago

      My mom has just gone off her meds for the umpteenth time, please, please, please also consider your loved ones who have to watch you go through the mess... if you go off of your meds. Odds are I won't have a mom for this christmas cause she'll be in a psychiatric hospital. It really bums me out. It effects my life in a way that makes me feel like I'm having a mental illness.

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Bipolar Music,

      The mania is bothersome for those in the bipolar's world. As one who suffers from Bipolar II, I would say getting that bipolar DEPRESSION under control is the bigger challenge and concern!

      But regardless, it's important not to self-medicate!

      Thank you for your comment. MM

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      Bipolar Music 7 years ago

      Good advice. You need to get that mania under control.

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Dave,

      I am so sorry to hear that not only are you suffering from bipolar, but your meds are making your situation worse. It is appalling to me that a GP is prescribing these heavy duty antipsychotics (zyprexa). Valpro is pretty standard, but the dosage can really make things easier or harder.

      I sincerely hope you are able to get in to see a bona fide PSYCHIATRIST who can properly medicate you.

      Meantime, there are tons of bipolar people here on HP and if you head over to the mental health forums you can chat with others who have walked the same path.

      Meds should NOT be interfering with your creativity or your life! That is just WRONG!

      Good luck and keep in touch. I hope things even out for you (a little bipolar humor:-). MM

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      Dave 7 years ago

      Sorry for the double post and the previous huge block of text.

      Just wanted to thank you for the hub, Ive been finding it difficult to talk to anyone about my condition. This is due to either lack of understanding or me not wanting to burden anyone.

      Cheers -

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      Dave 7 years ago

      Ive been diagnosed with BiPolar since i was 18, so thats about 8 years. The first set of meds; zyprexa and valpro pretty much knocked me out and kept me zombie-like. This was really hard for me to keep on these meds, because it felt like it was sapping my soul and my creativity. Being a graphic designer, kinda made work very hard. Ive only been to GP's as my state (Tasmania, Australia) currently has 1 practicing psychiatrist and he isn't taking any new clients. So after being through a few episodes involving Police, losing job & partner partner Im kinda back to square one. In a few weeks im flying to another state to see a Psychiatrist, so hopefully they can help me get my life on track. I don't want to take medication, but if i ever want to leave this room and do something productive again Im going to have to submit.

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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Bipolar Disorder. I hear what you're saying. And understand. That's what's so dangerous and tricky about bipolar -- it's so hard to recognize when you're inside it, especially during the oh-so-productive-and-fun manic stage. For my particular type of bipolar, manic has never been the issue. If bipolar depression is your predominant problem, you will do ANYTHING to feel better and it doesn't happen by itself.

      But yeah, what you're saying is common among bipolars.

      Thanks for the comment! MM

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      Bipolar Disorder 7 years ago

      Easier said, than done. You need to understand that when you get in a phase where you fell good, you may decide that you are fine & not take medicine, the same way like if your blood pressure was normal, you probably wouldn't want to take blood pressure medicine.

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      TroyM 7 years ago

      i know it can be tough, but please, for those who love you, stay on meds. GOod points and comments here.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi RNMSN. I agree. But hard for bipolars to stick to that kind of regime!

      Thanks for visiting. MM

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      it is recommended that meds, psychiatric visits and therapy are actually the way to treat bipolar by itself wont always work as best as all three

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 7 years ago from Cyberspace

      Thanks, Mighty Mom! And yes, bipolar and addiction definitely go hand in hand. I was surprised to learn that in a support group (and to be honest, I didn't learn it until 2 years ago), but it made sense.

      Best wishes to you as well!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi SunnyGlitter,

      Thanks for lending your perspective! I'm really glad to hear you are doing well without meds. I also saw in a comment on one of my other hubs that you had suffered from addiction. Bipolar and addiction go together like peanut butter and jelly.

      And thanks especially for the reminder of how dangerous it is to stop taking any psychotropic drug without the advice of your doctor. Been there. Lucky to have lived through that!

      God bless and wishing you stable moods, my friend, MM

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 7 years ago from Cyberspace

      I have Bipolar, and I don't take anything at the moment. While this works for me, I respect your point of view, and can understand how it would be detrimental for others.

      I will, however, warn people that if you want to stop taking your meds, that's your choice...but BE CAREFUL. You can have some terrible side effects at first. They go away after a few weeks, but they can be pretty intense. This is true for anxiety meds as well. I was on some for awhile, and had terrible withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes it's best to talk to your doctor about your decision and have him/her gradually reduce your dosage.

      Personally, I believe that Bipolar can be treated without won't go away on its own. Meaning that you have to do SOMETHING to keep it under control, like a support group.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello rasenstars1. You're absolutely right. It's just as hard -- or harder -- for the family to live with. They feel so helpless to "do" anything to make our mood swings less dramatic.

      I like how you put it -- we are the rollercoaster but they also have to ride it. Well put.

      Sounds like you have quite a bit of experience with this topic, also! Good luck and God bless. MM

    • rasenstars1 profile image

      rasenstars1 7 years ago

      Thank you for the information. I wish that understanding was easier for our families. Matter fact, I wish it was easier for us. But it's not. We have to fight every day. So do they. We may be the roller coaster, but they have to ride it. I really wish that they could really understand. Maybe that would make it easier for them.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Oh dear. That is a heartbreaking story. But so typical of the manic side of bipolar. It must be hard to watch your dad descend into homelessness like that.

      I honestly don't understand this widespread reluctance to stay on your meds. Maybe people who have really high highs miss that exhilaration. But the right cocktail of meds should make any bipolar feel "normal but good" without the swings.

      Videotaping is a great idea.

      I wish you and your dad and brother all the best. MM

    • lbagwell profile image

      lbagwell 7 years ago

      Hi Mighty Mom,

      Great post, I will be sharing this with my Dad who has trouble staying on his medicine. My Dad and brother are both Bipolar and both have been off and on with their medicine. Last year my Dad had an episode and wound up selling his house, spending all the money in one month and becoming homeless. I have been taking care of him since then and he is back on his meds, but he still has that idea that he doesn't need the medicine. I always thought that if you video recorded them during their episodes and then showed them how they acted once they were back on track, maybe it would help stop them from getting off their medicine. My brother has vowed now to stay on his medicine after watching how my Dad acted and how he lost everything because of it. But I have my doubts, I can only hope that both of them will.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi rachel,

      Sorry I missed your comment earlier. There is a high correlation between bipolar and substance abuse -- bipolars have a natural urge to "fix" their own brain chemicals by self-medicating. So your diagnosis may have been correct. I had my psychiatrist rediagnose me after I got clean and sober and guess what? I still need meds (prescribed) to keep my moods from swinging off the charts.

      When you find yourself growling at your husband that's probably a sign:-).

      And even though it's not my business, let me say IGNORE what your family says. Families are notorious for "not getting it." They live in denial and have different value systems and just plain do not and do not want to understand mental illness (or addiction). Don't let their ignorance deprive you of a quality life. GET HELP! God bless, MM

    • profile image

      rachel 8 years ago

      for the longest time I thought I was labeled bipolar just because I was in rehab and it was an excuse that was given to drug addicts especially since I have been off meds for so long I have had some manic episodes but nothing like lately I actually growled at my husband tonight. I decided to go back to MHMR next week to get help before i get out of control. my family doesn't belief this is real and that I am just an over emotional accational b@*ch. 4 years ago they told me I was legally phsycologically disabled but I wanted to prove them wrong. Guess I really do need help. thanks for listening.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Dear Rachel,

      As one who has been in your shoes, I congratulate you for slowing down and thinking before you self-medicate.

      That is NEVER a good idea (even though it seems like one at the time). I would DEFINITELY go back to a psychiatrist and get rediagnosed and dosed with the correct meds. They make all the difference in the world!

    • profile image

      rachel 8 years ago

      I was clinically diagnosed with Bipolar, Anxiety and severe depression aboutfour years ago after being committed to a drug rehab. I was doing good but ran out of money for meds so quit altogether. that was three years ago and i have had episodes of mood swings, depression etc. however I made it through without self medicating. recently my child moved out of our house with an offense and I have been having major issues of wanting to self medicate and more. should I go back to doc.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello rainstreet,

      Well, that's a first -- I've heard of many other things that work to stop a person dead in their manic tracks. Often it's the police or concerned family members.

      Maybe you could work on "shifting" your manic phase to hours when your dog can be up and helping you (ha ha) or at least outside and out of the way.

      I can relate to that not wanting anything to interfere with your blinding progress.

      Very funny -- you really should be writing!

    • profile image

      rainstreet 8 years ago

      being manic is the only way i get anything done. if only i could choose these times. seems like the middle of the night is typical for me. One of the downsides to this is tripping over my 16 yr old aussie shepherd during my nocturnal rushes. He's solid black and insists on planting himself in the doorway between the bedroom and living room. turning on a light would interfere with my blinding progress.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Stina,

      You've nailed the exact reason so many bipolars do go off their meds.Because they feel "normal" on them they assume the meds are NOT working so they quit them thinking they'll continue to feel the same way.

      Could not agree with you more-- I never, ever want to go back to how I felt and lived before my diagnosis. That's my definition of HELL! Cheers,MM

    • Stina Sense profile image

      Stina Sense 8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great post and wonderful information. I have never gone off my meds but have accidentally skipped a dose or two and have also gone through many adjustments. I thought at these times that I was going to lose it and these times I realized that my meds are actually doing something and how it is doubly important for me to keep up with my regiment. I really never want to go back from where I came.

    • Michellcat profile image

      Michellcat 8 years ago

      Great hub! I'm so glad that you wrote this. All too often bipolar people get the opposite message from well-meaning, but ill-informed friends and family.

    • successfulblogger profile image

      successfulblogger 8 years ago from Los Angeles,Ca

      I have to agree on this one. I took an abnormal psychology class and it is a must.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you Donald Kern. I checked out your blog and wanted to link to it from my hub but found it to be a "bad link."

      Your words give hope. I appreciate you're taking the time to comment. MM

    • profile image

      Donald Kern 8 years ago

      Dear Mighty Mom,

      As a mental health professional and someone with a 35 year diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, I have had 25 years of being on meds without an episode, I can testify to the need to stay on your meds and the difficulties that arise when you don't. My first 12 years of the diagnosis were filled with being taken off medications and relapsing within 6 months. It's difficult to understand this tendency to go off meds if you hav'nt been there but my own experience echoes your advice. I learned to think of meds as bipolar health, not bipolar illness. I believe many times it's the mental illness label which makes it so troubling to accept and the stigma that goes along with it. By associating meds with health,not illness I found a way to come at it with a positive attitude.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Absolutely. But the underlying mental "malfunction" (I like the way you put that) still needs to be treated even after the drugs/alcohol are taken out of the equation. Or, if you stop drinking/drugging and the mood swings stop, then perhaps you were not bipolar to start with....


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