Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Cure?

A recent comment left by Gianna got me wondering. It's my personal opinion (for what it's worth) that bipolar disorder is a lifetime condition we're born with, and cannot be "cured". I feel that through therapy, or medication, or both, many can live a normal life, if that's our desire.

Interested in other's thoughts, as I do have an open mind on this issue. Agree? Disagree?


Anonymous said...

I actually used the term "recover" from bipolar and schizophrenia not cured.

And I do know a lot of people who have done just that. Very dramatically in some instances. Look at my about page for a few of those stories. I get a whole lot more stories in my email box everyday since my blog is about recovery. I'd say I have had some contact with over a hundred people now who don't use meds anymore and consider themselves either recovered or in some cases cured.


the drug companies and psychiatry would like us to believe otherwise.

Anonymous said...

and a perfect post in response on "Bipolar Recovery" posted just today:

Anonymous said...

the link is here

hope this works...sorry for the repetitive posting---hope this link works

Maybelline Jones said...

You hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, I've got this illness for life, but I can live with it and rise above it.

Anonymous said...

mabelline jones said
"Unfortunately, I've got this illness for life, but I can live with it and rise above it"

Why for life? Why must this be so?

I can't argue there is some hereditary something going on.

My mother has suffered bipolar symptoms for 50 years untreated, and undiagnosed. Her support is her Faith in God. It has not helped her one iota for half a century.
One of my sisters was Dxd with bipolar. She is on disability and medicated to the gills. She is not healed or recovered. She is just too monitored and drugged to attempt suicide.

I was Dxd with manic depression before it was called Bipolar. I had the same symptoms as my mother and I had my breakdown 8 years before my sister had hers.

Faith in a higher power did not cure me, drugs did not cure and therapy had no effect whatsoever.

So I got rid of all that. I moved 3000 miles away from my sick family and went at it alone. I spent thousands of hours meditating daily often in total isolation.

I have been symptom free for a decade.

In the absence of any medical proof of any biological disease, there is no way to know if I am somehow a carrier of bipolar with my disease miraculously in remission.

I no longer care.

I am free of my bipolar and schizophrenia and yet my family continues to suffer. Where faith and psychiatry has failed them and me. Alternative medicine and exquisite life micro management did the trick.

A total reduction and elimination of any triggering stress whatsoever,combined with the brain structure strengthening power of meditation and the healing powers of yoga and tai chi succeeded.

Facing the reality of being symptom free for so long thanks to the scientifically proven brain growing and stabilizing powers of meditation I believe I am cured.

I would be happy to submit to gene scan, blood test and full brain scan. I have nothing to hide there, I would love for psychologists, psychiatrists, brain researchers to know about this. I think it scientifically and medically significant.

Someone like me should have a brain structure of a bombed out city from 20 years of ptsd, bipolar and schizophrenia.

I doubt that is the case today.

Just Me said...

I think bipolar can achieve remission through treatment. Occasionally treatment can be successfully withdrawn; at that point I would question if the diagnosis is totally accurate. One of the major issues right now is that bipolar is being diagnosed too many different ways. The current DSM says one thing and many doctors are using other standards for diagnosis. The best proof of that is the number of people who are told they are BPII with mixed episodes. Per the DSM a mixed episode automatically makes someone BPI.

I do not think that true bipolar is something that will go away, although it certainly can be controlled by meds.

G.J. "Jon" Gregory said...

Thanks all for jumping in with comments. This is a fascinating discussion, and I'd like to hear other's points of view.

Anonymous said...

I am going to be living with this "disease" for the rest of my life. I am on meds and go to a therapist but there is something missing and my moods persist. It is something I have learned to deal with and make it part of my life. I work around living with my purple dog. I hate it but that will be my life.

Anonymous said...

I know there is no cure for me with this "disease". I am on meds and seeing a therapist now and there is still something missing. I am still sad and than happy and than all over the place all at once. My life has been dedicated to working around bipolar not with. It is fustrating but I come to except it will never change.

Gish said...

It was my understanding that with medication and therapy we can live 'normal' (or close to) lives.

It was my understanding we'd we this way forever. Or to retain the label at the very least.

Janes Insane said...

I don't know if I'd use the word "cure", but I definitely believe we can live a productive/fulfilling life w/o medication. Personally, I believe the answer lies in holistic means (proper food, exercise, therapy, meditation of some sort). Going that route takes a HUGE commitment & consistency, but that's my long-term goal.

I don't know if this is mind over matter & I may get some backlash for saying this, but I no longer believe it's a disease that I'm cursed with... I think that type of thinking in itself is defeatist.

It's my experience that every single psychiatrist I've had tries to medicate me, like someone else mentioned, to where I'm too out of it to be suicidal (or manic). I'm trying to eventually wean myself off of medication.

G.J. "Jon" Gregory said...

Per MLJ691:
"I work around living with my purple dog..."
I like that.

Great comments - keep 'em coming. I'd like to keep a good discussion going, so I'll post my personal current opinion shortly. I say current as I've changed it many times in the past, and it may well change again in the future based on research and experience.

Janes Insane said...

I'm the same way with my opinions. What I believe to be the truth today isn't what it was last year & most likely isn't what it will be next year.
This is a good discussion, Jon.

Dream Writer said...

Bipolar is not a "Recover" process, you are not "Recovered" from bipolar. We have it forever. It is like saying that we are "Recovering" alcoholics. How are they "Recovered" by staying away from alcohol.

Bipolar is a brain dysfunction...there is NO getting away from it...stress is everyday life so there for it is not a "Recovery."

Bipolar sucks, plain and simple. I have been seeing a shrink and a therapist for 2 years now, was on 3 medications all at the same time, did everything therapautic that my doctors requested, I even went back to college which is suppose to be a positive thing.

Now and today, I am still a mess, my emotions still get the best of me, they take over, they take over my life, do I let it just happens with a flip of a switch.

Jane says that she doesn't care anymore, then why have a blog? Why write about it? That post sounded angry to me not "Recovered" and cetainly not at "Peace."

The truth is bipolar is SO POWERFUL that no matter what we do..we are doomed whether we committ suicide through drugs, a slash of the wrist, or starvation, whether we committ suicide by giving up our lives by sitting in bed or on the couch...we are doomed.

It is with us for the REST OF OUR LIVES and we never get "Recovered" an Alcoholic has a choice they are "Recovered" They can turn away from alcohol but we cannot turn away from our dysfunctional brain.

Janes Insane said...

No 2 people are completely alike. Add to that we're all at different phases, take different medications or none at all, practice different techniques in dealing with being bipolar, etc.
There still is not a proven reason for having bipolar disorder, so we cannot say "this way works and this way doesn't", or that "this manner of thinking is correct". Truth is, we don't know. Nobody does. Not psychiatrists, not scientists, nobody.

I don't think feeling anger, bitterness, or whatever is bad. "Feeling" period is a good thing, it shows we're alive & at least something some degree of awareness.
I think "recovery" is a good term, if that's the approach one wants to take at dealing with being bipolar. I'm trying to get to a "recovery" place, from what I've read here, that just means taking a more holistic approach, rather than medicinal.
I don't sense that anyone here is claiming to have "arrived" or being totally at peace. Being at peace is really all I want & if somebody else has found a way that works, I'd surely like to know about it. It may not work for me, but it's worth consideration.

I know I'm rambling, but I can relate with what everybody here has said at some point in my life. It's just a matter of us being at different places at different times.

We're on the same side. I've come to believe psychiatrists aren't in this for our betterment, but for a profit. I don't believe they care about the long term effect the meds have on us. The more we can share our experiences & be honest, the more we'll help each other.

Janes Insane said...

1 more thing... recovery is a process. There's more to being a recovering alcoholic than not drinking. A recovering alcoholic never arrives nor claims to. That's why there are 12 steps, support groups & sponsors... even though I'm not in "recovery", I suppose my therapist would be my sponsor.
Have I contradicted myself enough? LOL
The analogy Dream writer mentions made me realize there is a definite correlation between the 2.

kim said...

it's a great discussion and an important one.

i was diagnosed with depression at age 13. i was raped at age 15. spent a week in a mental hospital in my early 20's. i was diagnosed bipolar at 30. and i believe bipolar is the accurate diagnosis. over the years i've spent thousands upon thousands on medications and therapy. and even though i am much better off than ten years ago...i believe there is no cure. and if there is, i am convinced eastern medicine is the answer. western medicine has done only three things:

1) put me in debt
2) kept me off the streets at times
3) made me sicker at times

over the last few months i have been quietly debating continuing my lamictal prescription and visiting the psychiatrist i cannot afford (even with insurance) it's a road i'm afraid to travel and yet, i'm left feeling after 20 plus years of prescription coctails, therapists and psychiatrists...well, i'm feeling "not-so-cured."

acupuncture has worked tremendously in the past-but it's quite expensive. is it a cure? i don't know...but it beats the medications. that i know for sure.


G.J. "Jon" Gregory said...

Very enlightening discussion. I'm going to make a few comments and ask a few questions, but don't assume this is my end-all personal position.

Don't assume I'm opposed to your point of view because I ask pointed questions. You get me thinking in ways I wouldn't otherwise think, and I appreciate that. I don't agree with everything you write, but I actually agree with a lot.

Maybelline - Bingo. That's my goal, to not let this stuff drag me down.

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and share your opinion. You make some good points, and share some relevant experiences.

I have long suspected that there is situational bipolar disorder, and biological bipolar disorder. Many of us (maybe most?) have some of each at play. I have also long suspected that situational is "curable", and biological is not. I further believe that just like other "illnesses", some of us have a higher pain tolerance than others, and are willing and able to put up with more discomfort. That doesn't mean everyone suffering should be held to one person's standard. Finally, I find that one person's treatment, be it therapy, pharmacological, metaphysical, or any other form, is uniquely that person's. What works for me won't work for you, and vice versa. We learn from others, and adapt other treatment methods to our own situation, but we can't expect the same treatment to work the same way on 2 people.

JM - I have very little faith in the DSM. I could drag almost anyone off the street and make a persuasive case for a diagnosis. Personally, I doubt my diagnosis regularly. My wife just laughs and starts reciting a laundry list of behaviors that makes me remember why I began treatment. I don't feel I'm Bipolar 1, but I have episodes that are definitely mixed in nature. Call it what you will, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

MLJ691 - trying to get my arms around your statement "My life has been dedicated to working around bipolar not with." That's an interesting statement, I picture an elephant sitting in a living room, making noise, making messes, and stinking up the joint. You don't invite him to dinner, but you walk around him 50 times a day. Pretty true.

I agree with you, and I think I'm living a pretty "normal" life. I fully expect to be challenged with bipolar disorder symptoms the rest of my life. At this time I don't know how I will deal with those symptoms a day, or a year, or a decade in the future. But I hope not to wear the label my entire life.

Jane ('s Insane),
I agree completely with your assessment on treatments, I echo the same thing further up. I think your statement about holistic treatment is as close to a common thread as we're going to find. I think we all agree that we can do a lot outside the medication arena. How much we can do depends on the person and the scenario.

Thanks for the reminder that recovery is a process, I think that's an important point. We have a tendency to think of it as a destination.

I agree that many of us, myself included, are born with the disorder and therefore most likely have it for life. But I don't feel that's the case for everyone. I outline this in a comment above.

I just visited your blog:
You're really having a tough go of things. Hang in there my friend, get through the holidays and things may look up.

Great input. If you are considering going off Lamictal, get to know Gianna, her blog is - she was the first commenter on this thread. I'm fascinated about accupuncture, and other unconventional treatments perhaps including even hypnosis. I mean, what's it going to hurt to give it a try?

Great comments by all, thanks for the thoughtful responses. I'd like to keep this going, so don't hesitate to respond to my opinions.

I've started creating a post about these points of view for, I'll post a link when (if) they publish it.