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Bipolar

Seven Months Depression-Free. And… Reintroducing Weed Into My Life…

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Seven months depression-free now. I’ve brought you all along for the “behind the scenes” of mental health journey so far, so I might as well continue.

I’ve been on Lamictal (an antidepressant for bipolar depression) for almost a year now, and it is going well for me. When I first realized I had a serious recurrence of the bipolar, about a year ago when the most recent depression first hit (after the mania of last spring/summer), I got on both Lamictal and lithium. My psychiatrist said the Lamictal was primarily the “floor,” to prevent from going too low, and the lithium was the “ceiling,” to prevent the mania.

I simply could not stand the lithium–I felt lobotomized and castrated in one fell swoop. Everything I liked about myself drained out of me. So, under the guidance of my psychiatrist, I got off the lithium. He now has me on Seroquel, a fast-acting anti-manic agent, on an as-needed basis if/when hints of mania reoccur.

And after the last round of mania, last summer, I take the manias very seriously. I had to do a lot of cleanup from my behavior last June and early July, and fortunately that cleanup is mostly complete. And the mania leads inevitably to the crash into depression, so my psych has convinced me of the importance of nipping the manias in the bud.

As you know if you followed it, I also did a period of Sobriety for Mental Clarity as I was getting out of the depression. I did six months of that, from August through February, and it was very very good for me. Got my head totally clear, as it was supposed to.  Continue Reading

Back in Action…

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[This is a follow-up to my post a month ago, which itself was a 4-year follow-up to my article “How I Overcame Bipolar II (and Saved My Own Life)”]

Looking back over the last year, both the wild ups and the recent incapacitating lows, I cannot help but conclude that, given how many writers have gone mad (or perhaps, more accurately, how many of us mad people are drawn to writing!) …. part of the writer in me was subconsciously curious about the outer limits of my own sanity. To finally find my breaking point. Not intentionally. But that’s where I went.

And now that I’ve been there, I do not wish to go back.

I’m happy to report–from this side of it (that is, the alive side)–that I finally found my own psychological and emotional limits. (And boy were they out there!) I finally got the daylights scared out of me. Which I think, on balance, is a good thing. Continue Reading

4-Year Follow-Up on “How I Overcame Bipolar II (and Saved My Own Life)”

I don’t usually revisit my past writing. But I feel it is now time to write this 4-year follow-up to one of my most popular pieces I’ve written, “How I Overcame Bipolar II–and Saved My Own Life.”

When I wrote that article in 2011, I had been symptom free for 4 years previously. This summer of 2015, looking back on it now, I had a major recurrence of mania. (You probably noticed if you were following my Facebook around May, June and early July!)

I say “looking back” because I didn’t realize something was wrong–you rarely realize something is wrong while in mania–until I crashed. Continue Reading