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Unread 07-31-2013, 02:43 PM   #1
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Default Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

I was recently hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar 2. I was put on Depakote and Wellbutrin and I do not like them. I do not like meds in general. I don't even take ibuprofen for headaches. Medications are NOT the right path for me. Everything about them screams bad and wrong to me. They may help others but I am not going down that road. Even just being on them the short time, I didn't like the feelings that I got.

That being said, I've been doing research on alt. ways to deal with it. One being minerals, vitamins, amino acids and the like. This will take a good deal more of research but it's a start. I've also been looking into different types of therapy and CBT looks like it might be a good place to start for me. As well as anger management classes as that is a big part of my illness for me.

I'm taking a multi angle approach and would like some advice and pointers. If you have done this, could you help me out? Thanks.

Also, please no meds lecture.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

I wish you luck. I tried the non med way for many years seeking alternate therapies. Depakote was absolutely horrible. I finally had a massive breakdown and was hospitalized against my will. after many trials, I did find meds that did not have side effects to manage my bipolar. im taking Geodon and Topamax. they do not dull my mind in any way and no other side effects. I value my mind too much to let drugs dull it. but I found no other way to live life except to take them.

I truly hope it works out different for you. sad to say I couldn't find another way.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 03:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

Thank you for your words
I am determined. Even if it's just somewhat lessened. I will be ok with that. The thing is, my manic episodes are really nice and they don't cause very much harm. Only a little money spent and I've quit too many jobs but that's something I'm working on and learning and doing much better at. It's the depressive phases that are a problem. And I don't feel the need for a mood stabilizer because my manic isn't bad but I know that only being on an anti depressant could trigger bad mania. So, that's also a reason I'm seeking alternative remedies.

I'm sorry you couldn't figure it out. I'm glad you found something that works for you though.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 03:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

You sound a lot like me. I am technically diagnosed bipolar1, but I rarely have a true manic episode. My episodes are almost always depressive.

I do have to take meds as going completely without meds keeps the depression pretty debilitating, and as AD's alone are generally not a wise move, my pdoc generally has me on a mood stabilizer and an AD combined which keeps me fairly stable.

Right now I'm off meds because I was on lithium and have chosen not continue with lithium after my husband went through acute lithium toxicity last month that caused his kidneys to fail requiring dialysis. It was an entirely traumatic experience to watch, and I decided I just could not take lithium ever again. I will sit down with my pdoc and we will come up with a plan that will work.

I would refer to not have to take meds. I think most of us here would prefer to not take meds if there was a way that would work for us. Unfortunately, that isn't always our reality. I am fortunate to have a pdoc who hears me out and is willing to keep my meds down to the bare minimum. It's a compromise I generally can live with.

I do have an excellent therapist who has strong knowledge of bipolar disorder and meds so he is also helpful in working with me to manage my symptoms. It is vital for me to have that extra set of professional eyes on my symptoms so I can be as proactive as possible in heading off my episodes as early in the cycle as I can.

Good luck to you. I know there is a wealth of personal experience and knowledge on this forum.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

Right now I'm on 300 mg of lithium but normally I'm not in treatment.

The way I do it is to basically be 100% aware at all times that I have an illness that makes me volitile and to know my limitations. I track my moods, triggers, and admit to myself when things are bad. Denial is what kills you, that's my moto. I don't do vitamins or acids and I could eat better and exercise more. But, I do stay on a routine as much as possible and get good sleep as best I can. These are things that help me.

Recently I've been having a lot of other issues and was feeling terrible which is why I restarted lithium. I use a low dose because I'm very sensitive to meds and chemicals.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

I've sort of been winging it since 2011, no concrete plan so to say. Just knew that for various reasons meds had to be flushed...

I'll share what comes to mind though

Anxiety (the skin crawling kind) exercise or hot shower works wonders.

When I'm hypomanic, I do my best to expel the energy as quickly as possible. Cleaning frenzies, dance-a-thons, loud music (accompanied by my loud singing of course!), give my plastic to someone safe so I don't go on a spending spree, meditation or visualization (to calm the racing thoughts). Buut, I get very dysphoric after a while, so hypomania also includes locking myself up for a few hrs with metal on fullblast, and a new one I'm trying is holding my breath while choosing how to respond.

Sleep schedule is important, make sure you get the amount you need. Routine is super important, most people will testify that things turn to shyt if there's no routine involved. Routine helps because our moods are inconsistant, but we still need to function consistantly.

Opposite actions: Very helpful for any cycle that leads you to less than desirable actions. i.e; I'm really depressed I want to lie in bed all day... Get up and go for a run instead, the first action is the hardest because it's forced, but it will lead to others that come more naturally.

Mindfulness and Grounding techniques, works wonders for staying in the moment and not letting a situation completely overwhelm you.

Stress: WE ARE ALLERGIC. Remember this, stress is a sure fire way of triggering an episode.
Avoiding stress is impossible, but do your best to pick your battles wisely.

Breaking stressful situations into smaller doable chunks goes a long way with avoiding being overwhelmed and don't forget to breath... I do its embarrassing, but I'm getting better at being mindful of my breathing and my posture. The state of my shoulders says alot about my state of mind


Depression: Healthy hedonism is a beautiful thing. When the world has gone to shyt and you have no reason to live, have a luxurious bubblebath, go to your favourite baker and get the most decadent slice of cake. Buy yourself something nice just because.

We forget to be nice to ourselves, and setting aside me time and doing nice things for ourselves is really helpful, because we remind ourselves that we matter too, that we really are worthy... even if the message is subconcious, it's still well received by the brain

Agitation? I'm sorry I got nothing, I'm still at lock myself up like a caged animal stage. I do this so I don't hurt anyone's feelings with my non existant fuse and foul mouth

B12 injections have really helped me. I used to get a double dosage once a month, my symptoms have increased significantly since I stopped. I don't claim to know the science behind it, just took advice I got from people I trust here, and a gp too.

Triggers: If you haven't already, learn them!
Some we can face head on and work through, others should be avoided. Example, I'll do something I have to, that leads to me being triggered if the ramifications are short lived, like large crowds may trigger a panic attack or lots of anxiety... I will however not ever again put myself in the position of feeling trapped. My last job did that (not the job itself, the nature, of it) and it was 9 months of struggling to cope.

If alcohol or caffeine is triggering, cut down / cut out, depending on severity of trigger and your personal choice of course!

Mood Tracking helps some people as cycles usually have a pattern and it helps identify triggers, if there were any. Me? no, I know how I cycle, but prefer not to be focused on bp at all. I give it as little attention as possible because I struggle with balance and last time I allowed it to consume me.

Uhm ok, my phone is having a seizure now, it hates such long essays!

And a warm to you
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Unread 07-31-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trippin2.0 View Post
I've sort of been winging it since 2011, no concrete plan so to say. Just knew that for various reasons meds had to be flushed...
Thank you. thank you. thank you.
This is seriously helpful. You have no idea. I have always needed routine, didn't know why but now I do. I am confident I can do this and just thank you. This is going to be a battle but I've struggled all my life, I think I can struggle to get better, minus the brain fog and terrible side affects.

And thank you to everyone else as well. I have a friend on Lithium and the way he shakes, it's like he has Parkinson's and it kills me.

I have ten thousand questions but I can't think of any right now.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 04:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

You're most welcome

Lithium shakes, sudden retardation and muted watered - down life experiences were the deciding factors for me I figured hell I coped before I knew what it was, I can kick its a.s.s now!

So far so good!

Feel free to Private Message me or email (there's a link in my PM section) if you wanna talk directly and questions are most welcome as it saves me from making jumbled replies! lol
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Unread 07-31-2013, 09:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

It sounds to me like you have a good handle on this and are addressing it from different angles. The anger management classes sound like a good part of plan, I tend to emphasize here that it only makes sense that controlling anger can be helped, maybe best helped by some type of therapy (or classes, if that's the way you're going).

It's not my path, for various reasons, but I don't judge you for not taking medication. In any case, you're going to be trying several different things, and I suppose you could always revisit the issue, if you ever decide to, in the future if you feel that what you're doing isn't enough.

I admire you for taking all of these steps. Best of luck to you!
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Unread 07-31-2013, 09:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Managing Bipolar 2 without Meds.

I do have an excellent therapist who has strong knowledge of bipolar disorder and meds so he is also helpful in working with me to manage my symptoms. It is vital for me to have that extra set of professional eyes on my symptoms so I can be as proactive as possible in heading off my episodes as early in the cycle as I can.

I just wanted to ditto this as I also am fortunate to have a therapist very knowledgeable about bipolar, meds, etc. and has been very helpful to me in the same ways you mention.

So if you (OP) can find someone like this, I highly recommend having the help and support of a therapist for the bipolar (doesn't have to be some sort of 'expert', but knowledgeable and willing to help you with it) along with whatever other issues or challenges you may face.
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