I’m a radical bipolar. Love that and just thought of it this a.m. I’m different than a majority of Manic Depressives out there – mainly as I take no mood stabilizing medications and have not for years. I do drink red wine almost daily, so possibly that is a form of self-medicating and what I use to partly help my ups and downs.
I also take thyroid hormone, salmon oil and melatonin at night. This post isn’t about those issues, but I do share that info in detail in my book.
Non-drug approaches have helped in many ways with my form of this chronic illness whereas psychotropic medications only made me worse. Except for the few times that I became severely manic and had to be hospitalized. And more recently, low dose Prozac for a month or two on a few occassions to help lift out of severe depession.
The meds worked miracles at those times during my early-mid 20s, allowing me to be released from the psych ward within 2 weeks or less.
Another fun post: The Story of the Bipolar Spectrum.
But ‘staying on the meds’ ‘being compliant with treatment’ etc. was not useful in my case. I had to rebel to survive. I had to seek-out other ways of helping my mood issues and in finding and treating those things that were a part of the overall picture. This included counseling for a sexual assault, treating CFS/ME chronic fatigue, learning about environmental sensitivities and effects of toxins (food, air, water) in addition to more fun stuff.
I am a Radical Bipolar
I’m not traditional in many other ways also… so why not have a little fun and give myself the label ‘radical bipolar’. I AM A RADICAL BIPOLAR! That was fun. It has a certain ring to it, no? Ring plus sting… that’s it!
So much more fun than ‘rapid-cycling bipolar’ – though I do enjoy biking. More fun than the label ‘Manic Depressive’ – I’ve seen enough of the happy/sad mask displayed in connection to that term to last a lifetime. Also is much better than the now overused term ‘bipolar’ that has been so widely overused many don’t even understand the basic illness it actually refers to.
I’m a bit through with that as well. So many diagnosed ‘bipolar’ that are not. Or given so many multiple diagnosis – bipolar 2 disorder plus borderline personality disorder plus affective disorder plus… you start to wonder whether the clinician is suffering from multiple personality disorder. Just teasing! But you get the point.
Why Bipolar Radical?
What prompted this silliness? I came across an article on Health.com this morning titled: “9 Ways to Control Bipolar Disorder“. It caught my attention and I felt was worth my time to check out. Nine things that can help this chronic illness? I want to know what they are and if there are any I am not doing but could be doing to help me stay well, be well.
What did I discover? Pretty much the same old rehashed over and over again common sense: regular sleep, eat well, don’t drink (oops!), reduce stress… But wait… there IS something new! Tip #5 in the article reads:
Avoid traveling into other time zones
If you are planning to travel extensively, you may want to call your doctor before you leave. Traveling into other time zones can disrupt your medication schedule and trigger a manic episode.
Well me oh my, what a radical is yo. I’ve traveled all over the place (yes, some prompted by high states) and back again. Lived abroad for 9 years with my son. It is true that jet lag can trigger mood states but since I was not taking regular meds not an issue. Damn I’m radical!
I’ve Kicked Your Ass Bipolar
Sorry if you consider that heading ‘foul language’… I’m radical, remember?
I’m not ashamed to have a mental illness but I am not a proud bipolar either. I don’t feel it is anything to brag or shout to the mountain tops about and I don’t think it is a blessing. It is to me simply a genetically-based serious mental illness that expressed itself in my life as a late teen and that I have had to live with ever since.
Much of that ‘living with bipolar illness’ has been very tough. And you know what they say… when the going gets tough… the tough go radical. Or something like that.
The image is a free use image from ClipArts.co.