This is a guest blog post by Kelly A, who shares her experience of receiving a bipolar diagnosis and her subsequent path to healing using nutrients and holistic modalities.
“I was recently diagnosed Bipolar after having a manic episode a few months ago. I didn’t sleep for 3 days straight & started talking really fast & not making any sense and my family noticed. I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed. During my time at the hospital, I was given meds. Then, once released, I was told to follow-up with a local mental health center & they prescribed me an antipsychotic & a benzodiazapine because the antipsychotic caused restlessness. It was the worst time of my life. I felt like a complete zombie.
Prior to being diagnosed, I lived a regular life. I worked, socialized, etc. When I was on those meds, I couldn’t function or carry a regular conversation and there was no way I could work everyday. I paced in the house from restlessness but also felt very slow in the mind overall. My friends and family would tell me ‘we miss the old you’ and kept praying I would become my regular high-functioning self. Immediately after being released, I expressed that I wanted natural treatment & didn’t want to be on meds. Every doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist told me I had a chemical imbalance and would most likely need to be on these meds for the rest of my life. I began googling & researching as much as I could and found a micronutrient supplement that advertised that they treated people with mood disorders. I also realized that benzos were highly addictive early on because I mentioned it to a women I met in line at the social security office who told me she was bipolar as well. At first I didn’t believe her but went home and googled it & found it was true: benzos were highly addictive & sometimes caused lifelong health issues. I stopped taking the benzo immediately & called my psychiatrist and simply asked ‘why would you prescribe me something so addictive? I’m young and don’t want to ruin my life.’ My psychiatrist became instantly infuriated and yelled at me over the phone and pretty much disregarded my question. After that, every time I came in to see her she asked ‘are you taking the benzo?’ and in shock I would tell her ‘no its addictive.’ My family would just tell me you need to be on meds if that’s what the doctor said & didn’t really help me in my search for natural alternatives.
I wasn’t working but got my tax return and finally had money again. I began reading a book called Med-free Bipolar & discovered what a naturopath was. I googled a gut health and psychology doctor in my area and found a naturopath that stated on his site that he helped treat mental health issues via nutrients. I made an appointment. He listened to my story, which was actually a first. Not one health professional had asked me what was going on prior to my manic episode. The naturopath told me that was ridiculous and that I was obviously going through a difficult time. He questioned if I was bipolar at all since I told him I never suffered from depression. He explained I probably had an intolerance to gluten as it could cause mania. He also found I had high levels heavy metals, one being lead. He also found I was severely deficient in vitamin D.
Prior to meeting with the naturopath, I had begged my old psychiatrist to lower my dosage of the antipsychotic to 10mg for a trial week period & once they did I quickly switched psychiatrists and began begging the new one to lower my dosage on the antipsychotic. He was very hesitant and kept rejecting my request. However, once I saw the naturopath, he was very upset & said ‘tell your psychiatrist to lower your antipsychotic and call me and talk to me. Your body isn’t deficient in antipsychotics.’ Once I saw my psychiatrist I told him I had a new naturopath that ran tests on me & wanted to speak with him about lowering my meds. He looked worried & quickly lowered my antipsychotic to 5mgs & never spoke with my naturopath.
I had finally ordered the micronutrient supplement for mood disorders I had found online. The supplements arrived the same day I met with the naturopath. I began taking the micronutrient supplement, avoiding gluten, taking vitamin D. I also moved to another state to be with my mother & siblings. They lived in slower pace town vs. the city I was living with one of my sisters. I wanted to be somewhere where the pace of life was slower while I weened off the 5mg & switched to supplements. Within a month, I was med-free & back to my old self, but better. I wasn’t having mood swings or angry outburst like I had constantly had prior to being diagnosed. I had also constantly switched jobs in the past. However, once on my new supplement regime & diet change I felt the most stable ever in my life. I immediately began working again. I’ve been doing great working & don’t plan on switching jobs anytime soon. I’ve made friends, started going out again, and doing normal everyday things. My niece came to visit a few months after my move & was so happy. She kept telling me the old me was back. I had began living with my niece and sister once I was released from the hospital, and she had seen how bad I was on the meds. She couldn’t believe I was working again & driving I took her & my other nieces for ice cream once she arrived. Something so simple was a huge accomplishment in her eyes, as she had witnessed me at my worst on meds.
I was diagnosed late Dec 2017, & med-free by April 2018. Now it’s been 5 months med-free, going on 6. I’m glad I was able to make the switch to supplements & diet change. I’m thriving thanks to natural treatment. I think our mental health field needs some serious changing. I believe so many bipolar people are on disability due to their meds and its a shame. Five months may be a short time to be med-free, but I went my whole life undiagnosed, so I know what it was like to feel all the bipolar symptoms and can honestly see the natural treatment is working great.