I started this blog on March 4th of 2007. This is after having the blogger domain bipolarblast for 3 years. For three years I kept it on private and wrote pure gibberish. Really. It was really bad. I had no direction and still bought into the psychiatric and pharma bullshit. I believed I was bipolar and though I was diminishing my drug intake I didn’t really believe I could rid myself of all of them as I do now. I deleted everything I had written to that date once I began questioning everything I had been taught and come to believe.
Anyway I started reading mental health blogs in about September of 2006. Most notably Furious Seasons, Depression Introspection, Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry and Off-Label, a blog that no longer exists for public viewing, unfortunately, but which probably most profoundly influenced me as it was personal and had a lot of memoir in it. I tentatively started to write my blog on March 4th and took the plunge and made it public. I got a comment within 5 minutes of making it public—the games had begun!
I had been withdrawing from drugs at that point for several years but had not yet had what amounted to a conversion of sorts. At some point while reading those blogs and other key sites on the net that were critical of the psychiatric paradigm I was moved to commit myself to getting off all my drugs. I came to see my “illness” differently and began to completely reinterpret my history which has been a evolving process over the time I started reading these challenging blogs, websites and books and then since I started writing my own blog.
When I started withdrawing from meds a good 4 or so years ago I was on 11 mg of Risperdal, 50 mg Seroquel, 200 mg Zoloft, 400 mg Lamictal and 3 mg of Klonopin but up to 6 mg of it PRN and I did that fairly often.
The first 8 mg of Risperdal, 50 mg of Seroquel and 200 mg of Zoloft came off easy. I also stopped taking Klonopin PRN. Neurofeedback helped me with all of that. For a while the drugs slipped away easily, but, alas, it was only because I was on so god damned much that I was protected from really awful withdrawals. And that’s not to say I didn’t suffer from withdrawals because I did, but I wasn’t always feeling like shit, just every now and then when I made my tapers. I was also for a time feeling better than I had in years and had resumed my pre-medication athletic endeavors which have unfortunately again fallen by the wayside in the last year in a half as things have gotten knarly and I’ve seemed to have developed severe chronic fatigue syndrome. I do have the Epstein Barr virus and I also had mono in high school—both indicators of chronic fatigue which can be triggered in times of stress.
My therapist points out that unresolved anger too can contribute to exhaustion and frankly I’m a good candidate for that theory as well and am working on that in therapy. The anger and overwhelming plethora of emotion that has begun to surface as a result of the withdrawals and the ending of the horrible numbing the drugs caused is making me face myself for the first time since I was 19 years old. I have a lot of garbage to deal with from childhood that never got a chance to be dealt with.
When I started the blog I was down to approximately 3 mg of Risperdal, 400 mg of Lamictal, and 3 mg of Klonopin. That means I’ve managed in this years time to come off 2.25 mg of Risperdal and 275 mg of Lamictal (yes I updosed 25 mg the other day–still hurting but a tiny bit less and I’m sleeping again—3 nights in a row—that is awesome!!) That’s all in a year. So you can see that as I come closer to home it becomes a slower process. Anyone who suggests I’ve been moving too fast has only looked at the last experiment with the orthomolecular doctor where I did try moving fast. I also experimented getting off the last milligram of Risperdal quickly a few months ago and had to reinstate part of what I tapered then too. But over all I’ve taken it damn slow and in general followed the 10% rule. Cutting 10% or less of current dose no more than once every 2 weeks. And often slower.
The significant thing about this is that when I was on 11 mg of Risperdal 10% was a taper of over 1 mg of Risperdal. Now ten percent is a tiny fraction of a milligram. And so it seems to move more and more slowly as the home stretch nears. And I feel those tiny fractions of a milligram more than I ever felt that first milligram I cut out years ago. Right now I’m on .75 mg of Risperdal, 125 mg of Lamictal and still on 3 mg of Klonopin. I very rarely take an extra Klonopin when I’ve been sleepless for days—just to knock me out and sort of reset the clock. This has proved invaluable.
To get to where I am I have changed my diet tremendously. Since I wrote that linked to piece I have made further changes cutting out caffeine entirely. I may have said caffeine was a no-no in that piece but I did not master quitting it for some time. Now if I drink caffeine I become unglued. I have become extremely sensitive. It’s not even an option to imbibe. And the same goes for alcohol. I still drank moderately for several months until alcohol too started making me sick within 15 minutes of ingestion. Really sick. Have to go home and lie down sick and it only takes half a beer. This was actually pretty depressing for me. I loved my occasional beer or glass of wine. Really loved them. But now I don’t have a choice. Frankly I hope the ability to have an occasional drink comes back once this process is over.
I’ve also discovered I’m truly hypoglycemic. I eat every two hours like clockwork. Protein and some veggies. I carry nuts and snap peas or snow peas around with me everywhere I go. I eat meat, veggies and some whole grain at my meal times. I find I need meat. I wish it wasn’t so. But purely vegetarian protein leaves me weak and tired and feeling unnourished. I figure all our bodies are different. I would prefer being a vegetarian but I’m not healthy that way. Even the Dalai Lama eats meat because he says he feels healthier and he also holds vegetarianism as a higher standard. I figure I’m in good company and try to rest easy. I just really hate the meat, egg and milk industry—the cruelty is unfathomable. I try to eat all organic free range. Hopefully the animals have a decent life while they are living.
In addition to my diet and nutritional supplements I do neurofeedback, psychotherapy, meditation and yoga. And of utmost importance, giving my life purpose, I create and share here. The peer support I get here is also a part of my healing. That is a summary of my healing protocol.
So it’s been a year. I’ve made well over 300 posts and received 1,925 comments at this writing. I was really hoping I’d reach 2000! The comment threads are what makes this blog a living entity. I am grateful and thrilled every time someone shares some of their life with us here.
I do hope that by the end of this next year I might be off the rest of the meds, but I’ve now learned that I must take things at the pace my body/mind and spirit demand and listen to no other.