As I sat in the corner of the bathroom with a razor blade in hand, I knew those 10 slices would be the last 10 seconds of my life. One slice…two slices…four slices…nine slices. I never made it to slice 10 because my husband opened the door and saved my life. At the time I was taking more prescription medications than any person should ever take and I was still rapid-cycling between mania and severe depression. Over the next few years my life spiraled of control until I woke up covered in blood, suddenly very aware of how lost I really was. I built my life back from nothing, but I never touched another prescription medication for bipolar disorder. Today, I’m fighting a new fight against other bipolars.
Choosing to Fight the Hard Fight Means Stepping on a Few Toes
You won’t find clinical studies supporting bipolars living a drug-free lifestyle. There are no clinical write-ups about the importance of ridding your body of prescription medications to live a longer, healthier life with your liver or pancreas intact. As a matter of fact, most of the support I’ve found has been from other bipolars who’ve chosen to undiagnose their condition and blog about life without the mask of psychiatric medications.
Without clinical backing and medical support, sometimes I have to step on a few toes in regards to my mental condition. I’m not afraid to tell friends, family or strangers that being medication free is my choice and being on medications is your choice; just because your medicine cabinet is full of labels from the local pharmacy does not mean your bipolar disorder is worse than mine. It may just mean I’ve learned how to live without the support those drugs provide.
You Use Antidepressants; I Use Cognitive Therapy
You can’t bottle cognitive therapy, family therapy, social rhythm therapy or psychoeducation, but they are all useful treatments for the condition. I’ve suffered this condition since the 4th grade. Over the years I’ve learned that medications only mask the symptoms. I needed to learn how to control the symptoms and my life so I could live with the disease rather than hide from it. With therapy and education, I am able to control my symptoms more than 90-percent of the time, but my success is also my downfall in the eyes of other bipolars. Too many people truly think they cannot live without the medications taken on schedules throughout the day and if anyone else survives the condition without medication and lives to tell about it with a smile – they must not have been sick in the first place.
Bipolar disorder is a dangerous mental condition. The most severe cases can cause manic and depressive episodes as early as three or four years old. It is best to talk with a psychologist and psychiatrist if you think you may have bipolar disorder. Medication is right for some people and wrong for others, but just because a patient chooses to live drug free does not mean they aren’t as sick as patients who choose mood-altering medications.
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