The Power Behind my Bipolar: Becoming Friends with Both Sides

I recently came upon Jeremy’s story of recovery on his blog. He’s agreed to allow me to repost all five parts. This is the first two parts in one post. The remainder will be posted tomorrow in a second post for this blog.

Jeremy writes:

In this repost from last year, I outline my path back to wellness from Bipolar using simple alternatives that don’t involve conventional prescription drug means.  I started listening to my inner wisdom that was shouting “change”.

I continue to experience the wonders of life free of medication.  I have made adjustments along the way to remain balanced.  Some of these include changes in my nutrition, meditation, and exercise.

It is my belief that all dis-eases and dis-orders signal a change is needed.  This is hard for many to swallow because it involves a drastic paradigm shift away from what they have been taught over the years.   We all have this inner power and we need to stop giving it away to others.

The Power Behind my Bipolar: Becoming Friends with Both Sides

I want to tell my story, but not for a high five or a kudos.  It is not to get an “atta-boy” or a pat on the back.  I want to tell it because it is time to look at the view atop the mountain that I have been climbing for over ten years.  I want to tell it because I hope that maybe someone is looking for a glimmer of hope no matter what DIS-ease your body is telling you.  My story is meant to be told for my own well-being and it is my last step to fully embrace it.

Our society has a carved out the mental disorders as something that needs to be suppressed and fixed.  However, our solutions are not perfect.  It started for me in college during a time when most push themselves to the brink by partaking in activities that may be foreign to many.  I was no stranger to this.  I stayed up late during the week studying and then partied hard on the weekends.  My diet consisted of an incomplete breakfast, a lunch of more carbs, and pizza or some other unhealthy choice.  There was no salad or pure, raw foods mixed in anywhere.

My only exercise was walking to class (took the bus for the long walks) and lifting kegs.  I never learned the art of quieting the mind, so I turned to TV to help.  My way of coping with any stress was to shove things in my body such as alcohol, food, and other dangerous chemicals.  I was pushing myself to the limit in the wrong direction.

My stress levels intensified as the semesters came and went until my spirit finally had it.  My body, mind, and emotional well being were pushed to the brink.  There are many theories about WHY someone has a manic experience, but to me it was simple.  My spirit said, “If you can’t change, then I will help you.”  My body was in one place, my mind in another, my emotions were out of wack, so an explosion took place.  It was a recipe for mania.  I know that anyone in the same circumstances would have a similar experience.

I will skip over all the years of medication and hospitalization that I endured in the beginning of this.  I was told that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life and there was no cure.  Funny thing is that I was a psychology student and read all about this the semester before.  I remember thinking that I shouldn’t believe it.  I heard that most people who were diagnosed this way, don’t believe they are sick.  Well I was sick, but relying totally on medication and the doctors was not the complete way to regain my health.

I am not condemning all the wonderful doctors and nurses that helped me along the way.  I am not condemning the medications that I chose to take.  They all helped me to get to where I am today.  Although, I felt like I was giving my power away.  We all have the power to return to homeostasis if given the chance.

I really owe much to my family because they always stuck by me even when I was unbearable to watch or be around.  I AM blessed to have such wonderful support in my transition to health.

The Power Behind my Bipolar: Becoming Friends with Both Sides- Part 2

My change back to my homeostatic, natural self (better than the word “normal”) was certainly not a transformation that occurred over night.  It was certainly an evolution of thought that met much resistance from many sources, including myself.  It was something that I pondered and planned for over ten years since I was diagnosed, at a subconscious level.  It really struck my conscious level earlier this year after two “a-ha” moments.

The first was that I developed gout a year and half ago.  Gout is basically a form of inflammation that occurs in your joints from a build up of uric acid.  It settled in my foot and knees.  I don’t wish it upon anyone because it feels like daggers stabbing you without putting any pressure on that area.  I was fortunate enough to have health insurance, so I paid a visit to a specialist and my primary care.  They put me on a drug and I was told that there is no cure and I may need this for the remainder of my life.

I started taking the medication and was good for another six months until I had another bout.  I returned hobbling to my primary care and he decided that I need to increase my levels of it.  I was curious about WHAT causes this.  He went into the science behind it, but I continued to ask why it occurred.  His next answer stunned me.  He basically said that only God could explain that and gave a warm smile to my disenchanted look.

I had a flurry of emotions after leaving.  I decided that day after finding out how much all the new medications would cost me to ditch that band aid.  My life went on without the medication for a week or two and the pain subsided.  It was during that time of pain that I had a difficult time playing with my daughter, Ava.  I was not only in pain from the gout attack, but I was so out of shape.  I got winded and tired playing with my one year old on the FLOOR.  The battle plan inside of me really began at that point.  I dreamed of walking my daughter down the aisle for her wedding in GOOD health.  This was my second, “a-ha” moment.

I began to read about how the body works feverishly.  I knew that I had to change and I was going to use my “manic” ways to do it.  It was at this point that I began to gain my power back and was willing to listen to my body, mind and soul.  I began researching like a mad scientist on what areas of my life I can improve on.  I read books about nutrition and was so drawn to the 4 “doctor dudes”.  (see under Overall Health links on my blog)  They basically said that digestion is like your second brain and that you need to get rid of things that are not good for your body and add what is.   I thought pretty simple stuff.

It was on.  I was pumped.  I basically changed my lifestyle 180 degrees and drove my wife, Corrine crazy.  I went through our cabinets and got rid of all the food that didn’t seem natural for our bodies.  (High Fructose Corn Syrup is in everything)  I began going to the gym on a regular basis.  I started meditating. Corrine really helped keep me in check at this point because my old ways were resisting its eminent death and the battle ensued.

I was ready to go off of my bipolar medications, but got no medical support.  I thought well, I choose to take it each day, so I can choose not to take it.  I knew that my body and mind had to be ready and it needs to occur gradually.  I tapered off my medications over a period of four months.  It would be idiotic to discontinue one’s medication suddenly and I was no idiot.

I knew that during this period, I would have to learn to come to grips with my emotions, so I constantly asked them what they were telling me instead of cramming them back into my psyche.  I started wearing my emotional baggage instead of putting them in a suitcase to carry around.  I like my clothes and they suited me well.

Click here for part two

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