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Are You Stronger If You’re Not On Bipolar Medications?

January 27, 2013 Natasha Tracy

Last time, I wrote about the terrors of getting on new bipolar medication. Many people identified with this, including one commenter who said:

Sounds all too familiar. I’ve been drug free for several years and seriously doubt that I will ever put myself through that trial and error program again . . . at least for me, that relief is not to be found at the bottom of an orange vial with a childproof cap. I hope you find something to relieve the pain. I also hope you consider the notion that you’re likely stronger and more resourceful than you think you are.

Now, I’m not calling out this commenter for doing anything wrong. I have no problem with his comment, nor with him. However, I find this comment insulting. Not because the commenter meant it to be, but because it suggests that people who don’t take medication for bipolar disorder are “stronger and more resourceful” than those who do.

Being Off Medications Makes You Stronger

There is a prevailing opinion among many that being on medication is somehow the “easy” way out. That if you get off of medication, or refuse it, you are somehow stronger than those people who choose to be on it.

This is the most unfair, ridiculous notion.

No one would think that people with other illnesses were “stronger” for refusing medication or “weaker” for being on it. You know, all those “weak” cancer patients on chemotherapy and all those “weak” people with seizures taking anticonvulsants. They obviously just haven’t figured out how “strong and resourceful” they are on their own.

Like I said, I don’t think this particular commenter meant it in any way but positive, but the notion that somehow he is better than me because I take medication is implied.

Bipolar Makes for Strength

And what I have to say is this: If you can manage your illness through ways other than medication that makes you luckier than me, not stronger. Questioning my strength is simply to prove that you do not know me, which is fine, why would you, but judging me based on my treatment choices says far more about you than it does about me.

So I’m here to say that standing up to bipolar disorder in whatever way necessary is the hardest thing most people will ever do and that strength is not to be denied based on their treatment choices. Every one of us is strong and has amazing internal resources. We know this because we’ve been tested. And the fact that we’re alive means that we’ve passed.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2013, January 27). Are You Stronger If You’re Not On Bipolar Medications?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/01/stronger-not-on-medications



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

judy
says:
August, 13 2013 at 4:27 am
That is true for some people - but for others, it really does comes from somewhere else. You may not believe this, but some people get treated really poorly - sometimes by people who profess to care about them!

I really do understand your point, but it is not the only perspective. For the record, I don't condone any of the "you are not really bipolar" comments either. No one really knows what you have gone thru except YOU (as it should be).
VenusH
says:
August, 12 2013 at 11:24 pm
guinea pig is usually what people call THEMSELVES, cause that is how they feel with trying this and that and nothing works.
judy
says:
August, 12 2013 at 6:13 pm
I don't think being called "lucky" is such a bad thing. It is certainly better than "weak-willed", "stupid", "a guinea pig", and all sorts of other derogatory crap.

I wish I were as lucky, and I know I am luckier than others.

As I stated earlier, I would NEVER knock anyone for doing what they need to - whatever they believe is best for them.
VenusH
says:
July, 21 2013 at 2:24 am
Judy, I was commenting more in direction of the original article and defending my stance.

I don't even care if somebody "needs" meds or just "wants" them. All civilizations were seeking mind altering substances... If it works for you and is more convenient than other means... than go for it.


***And really – those who have chosen to try meds are criticized more often than those who do not***

really? I don't think so. You have help within the system if you are taking meds. If you don't... it's pretty much seen as "doesn't wanna get better". The criticism is the same level. Right here in this article med-free people have been called "luckier". If I gotten a cent for everytime I have been called "not really bipolar", I could spend the rest of my life on manic shopping spree without having to worry about finances.
judy
says:
July, 20 2013 at 6:15 pm
@venusH. Look, regarding your comment, I am not in any camp. Nowhere did I say that those who take medication are braver or stronger, just that for them it is necessary and they shouldn't be criticized for it. All I did was state that the symptoms some people experience is more intense than others and it really is how the chips fall. And really - those who have chosen to try meds are criticized more often than those who do not - by the anti-psychiatry groups, scientologists, family, friends, neighbors, even (apparently) buddhists (yes, I have to throw that in because some of them are really critical - as critical as Christians who swear by prayer). I said what I did because they shouldn't have to take that shit - especially by people who have no idea, nor care what these people have gone through.

We probably are more in agreement than not. I, too, have no issue what form of treatment anyone chooses - just that it works for them. If you've experienced any negative feedback, i feel just as bad for you, but it certainly was not coming from me.
VenusH
says:
July, 20 2013 at 4:00 am
Judy, my problem with this and previous post is the "I take meds = I am brave, you don't take meds = you are luckier" division. For some people... I Heard somewhere it's 10% of bipolars meds do not work or even make things worse. So telling your doctors that no, you don't wanna hope that 51st med combo will be the one and that you will try different route now... that is not being luckier... that is being brave as well.

It's not about "I am stronger/braver than you". It's about "wow, I am stronger/braver than I thought I were". Previous entry that this one spun from talked about *horrors* of medication. Maybe the *horrors* are too much for somebody. Why call somebody who may have much more horror-er experience on meds than you did *luckier*?

I think we don't need to create stigma within the BP community. If meds work for you... great. I would never encourage somebody to get off something that helps with minimal side effects. But if one complains about their meds all the time and uses words as "horror" and "terror" then I would feel it dismissive to say "keep taking 'em, or you'll die". Some done without. It works for them. We should not pretend like these people don't exist or are merely luckier. Some had rocky journey to get to where they are.
judy
says:
June, 7 2013 at 8:34 am
@venush. I just want to start off by saying this is in no way an attack on your opinion, but I have to disagree with your opinion that luck doesn't play some role. If you simply observe the difference between a florid, manic episode that someone with bipolar I goes through, and a hypomanic episode, it is a matter of how the chips fall. If you can get by without medication, you ARE lucky, because some people will die without it. Sure we do not with utmost certainty how the brain functions, but I have met people with bipolar I and know the medication, side effects and all, really helped them. I do not need medication to the extent they do, but I would never guilt them out by implying they do not have the will to be better.
Christy
says:
May, 30 2013 at 12:29 pm
I am a 34 year old woman diagnosed with bipolar 2. For many years I did not have to take meds but now that I am older I can't live with out my meds sure my 20'S were a blast but also a blur. I am married and have a teenage son just starting high school and I think for myself that it is important to stay on my meds to maintain an even base line for him. I hate taking my meds but I would not be a fit parent if I didn't take them. I am now on disability as a result of my bipolar and seizure disorder. I feel horrible because I was the main bread winner in my household. But things are what they are and you can't fix bipolar you can only treat it, so to not take pills that yes do have some god awful side affects to stay somewhat base line....I find seemingly disrespectful to your care givers and your children, I am happy that some feel as though they can go off their meds and feel they are doing better than on meds good for you but I find it to be irresponsible I have done it both ways and find medication to be my key to staying "normal"!
Julia
says:
April, 29 2013 at 3:47 pm
In the past three years, I've been diagnosed with very severe adhd, firstly. Then came a diagnosis of depression (which I protested) and later ocd. The depression diagnosis then got switched to mood disorder, and somewhere in there generalized anxiety disorder was obviously identified. Who wouldn't have generalized anxiety with everything else going on?

Shortly thereafter I lost my job, my job was far more than a job--it was my life, and panic attacks attacked for the first time ever, lasting 2.5 months until I <b><i>learned</i></b> how to stop having them.

Have I mentioned that, as a general philosophy, I hate meds? It doesn't matter what they're for, to say that I don't like them is quite the understatement. But I have yet to find some logical rationale behind this deeply ingrained belief that I have to fight nearly all the time.

Returning to my story, after maybe a month of relative calm following the panic attacks, my body began to suffer the burden of the previous months and my mood promptly followed suit. About a year after losing my job, my life, my health, I found myself in the hospital for 3 weeks for mania. In the coming months, I was either in the hospital or "under psychiatric observation" five more times, all for manic or mixed episodes. Six times. Six months.

After travelling across country to one of the best clinics and hospitals, I still like to try to go off some of my meds. "It's fun!" "Let's see how long I can go without. Maybe I don't need it..."

Because I don't WANT to need it. I remember when I was doing pretty ok, and I want that back. But it's not mine to get back. For now, what I have to do is take the small steps and know that they are just as valuable as what I once did, even if it includes taking a few meds I'd rather ignore and focusing on just the basics for a while.

Meds suck; we all know it. But they can make a world of difference too, and therein lies the gamble each person has to make for himself.
Julia
says:
April, 29 2013 at 3:43 pm
In the past three years, I've been diagnosed with very severe adhd, firstly. Then came a diagnosis of depression (which I protested) and later ocd. The depression diagnosis then got switched to mood disorder, and somewhere in there generalized anxiety disorder was obviously identified. Who wouldn't have generalized anxiety with everything else going on?
Shortly thereafter I lost my job, my job was far more than a job--it was my life, and panic attacks attacked for the first time ever, lasting 2.5 months until I <i>learned</i> how to stop having them.

Have I mentioned that, as a general philosophy, I hate meds? It doesn't matter what they're for, to say that I don't like them is quite the understatement. But I have yet to find some logical rationale behind this deeply ingrained belief that I have to fight nearly all the time.

Returning to my story, after maybe a month of relative calm following the panic attacks, my body began to suffer the burden of the previous months and my mood promptly followed suit. About a year after losing my job, my life, my health, I found myself in the hospital for 3 weeks for mania. In the coming months, I was either in the hospital or "under psychiatric observation" five more times, all for manic or mixed episodes. Six times. Six months.

After travelling across country to one of the best clinics and hospitals, I still like to try to go off some of my meds. "It's fun!" "Let's see how long I can go without. Maybe I don't need it..."

Because I don't WANT to need it. I remember when I was doing pretty ok, and I want that back. But it's not mine to get back. For now, what I have to do is take the small steps and know that they are just as valuable as what I once did, even if it includes taking a few meds I'd rather ignore and focusing on just the basics for a while.

Meds suck; we all know it. But they can make a world of difference too, and therein lies gamble each person has to make for himself.
alealy
says:
March, 29 2013 at 9:31 am
I have Bipolar 1 disorder along with PTSD, and borderline personality disorder. I'm on the fence when it comes to the medications. I almost want to give up again, but when I do then bad things happen.. But because recently while on medications I had my worst manic episode yet! I'm scared! This one was not only the worst but also the longest. I feel like I have been on every medication out there since I was 12 and hospitalized more than you know. I just want a "life" I have kids and now going threw a divorce all because I can't control my issues. I looked into the long term care to I can be watched and actually be medicated right but most places don't even take insurance and cost as much as a car or house! So with medication life is crazy and unstable. and without its just as bad.
~alealy
VenusH
says:
February, 8 2013 at 3:31 am
"I believe that encouraging non-medication treatment can too easily lead to people giving up before finding a med-mix that works well for them."

I think there needs to be balance. If one tried few meds and one made them suicidal, other made them fat zombie, other had another horrible side effect....

maybe trying next and next and next, just because there's "so many, you can't say you tried every med out there" is dangerous and wasteful.

Read somewhere 10% of bipolars simply don't get better with meds (and maybe some of these want to explore other option before going onto ECT and other scary stuff).


Why do some people freak out so about some being med-free? It's kinda tiring hearing one is either not truly bipolar (or lucky) or killing themselves... life is more complicated than that.
Will
says:
February, 7 2013 at 11:36 am
Catsrgreat, when rereading your comments on this blog, I find it difficult to say you're wrong for not taking meds. You have some really good reasons to not take meds, and you tried them and other treatments for a really long time. I completely understand wanting to be able to read and comprehend a good fantasy book, and I too place high value on being able to think well and not feel dumb.

I won't sit here and say that all people with bipolar should certainly take multiple meds for life, because I can't know for sure that meds work for every last one of us. But I do believe we should err on the side of caution when dealing with bipolar because of its deadly nature. I believe that encouraging non-medication treatment can too easily lead to people giving up before finding a med-mix that works well for them. From the time of my first serious depression, it took 4 more years before I was diagnosed as bipolar. From that time, it took another 9 years before I got on a med-mix that's working well. That's a pretty long time to wait for stability. Of course, a great many of those years I spent resisting my meds, too. About 11 of the 13 years, I'd say, were spent in resistance to meds.

My argument here is that it's really easy for us with bipolar to resist medication, and I don't think we should give up easily, because bipolar just doesn't go away. You yourself admit to still dealing with hellish depression, and I have no desire to mess around with that kind of depression anymore. You're handling it somehow; I don't want to try that.

I don't want to handle hellish depression because it makes me want to die, and I don't want to die before it happens 'naturally'. Death via suicide terrifies me, because being in that state of mind terrifies me. Death via manic tragedy (like being shot by a police officer) isn't a good alternative either, although I'd certainly feel better at the time, jacked up on crazy euphoria and all. So, that's what I'm dealing with when I think of life off of meds: death before my time. That's the way I look at it, and I look at it that way because I've been there many times, and that's exactly what it was like: wanting to die or almost dying.

Now, the flipside is your story. Being on meds made you want to die, too, it seems. Here we have quite the dilemma. If what you're doing works, then it's hard for me to say don't do it. But having to deal with that level of depression doesn't sound to me like it's working completely. But really, we're on a tough road, either way we go. That's just life with bipolar. No way around it.
catsrgreat
says:
February, 5 2013 at 2:16 pm
I like this blog so far. There is a lot of good reasoning here, and pretty polite too!

I agree that we all have widely differing experiences. My main reason for commenting was (I guess, and maybe in hindsight) is that for a LOT of people, the meds don't make them any more stable. Some people get worse. Others just don't improve. Why tolerate the horrific side effects if the drugs don't work?

What scares me was mentioned in an earlier post. Because the meds work for SOME people, the mantra has become that ANYONE with bipolar MUST take meds for life, and they are irresponsible, selfish people if they don't. It is trotted out in the media and in personal opinion as if it were a fact. This goes so far that many folks would like to make forced treatment easier to keep those "bipolars" on their meds. "Bipolars" off meds are spoken of with nearly universal scorn.

Hey, those drugs DON'T WORK for me! They don't work for a LOT of people. I tried for 15 years. I should have quit sooner, and saved some years of trauma. I still go into a cold sweat every time shock therapy is mentioned. That was one of the very worst times in my life. Utterly terrifying.

And yet most "educated" people would say that I am irresponsible because I gave up on these drugs. They are so programmed with the meds for life idea that they cannot absorb the information that for some people, the meds just don't work. Who knows why they don't work? I sure don't. Lithium worked ok, but I don't get mania much anymore. Didn't do anything for depression.

Does it matter who is stronger or not? How can anyone even know that (Ok, God could, for the religious minded). I thought the goal was having a good life, however you manage it. For some people, medications make their life better. That doesn't mean their illness was worse. It means the danged medications WORK for them! At least enough to be worth it. For others, how can any of us know how much trouble they have with daily life? When someone chooses not to take medications, it doesn't mean their illness was milder. It means that for some reason, they believe that the medications aren't the best choice for them. In my case, I don't take them because they just don't work on depression. Even if they helped a little bit, the price of the side effects (cognitive damage) was too high. But that was MY choice, and doesn't make me strong or weak. I made a choice that I believed maximized my recovery.
Will
says:
February, 5 2013 at 8:54 am
Maybe it's natural for us to take our own experiences and then make the assumption that it's the same for everyone else, but it couldn't be further from the truth. We should know by now that our experiences are very unique and different from each other. I have severe bipolar 1, and if I don't take my meds, then I will die before my time. I'm lucky I haven't died already. I was almost shot by a cop during a major manic episode in which I was totally off my meds. I've been taken to hospitals by cops on three other occasions, during all of which I was manic and off my meds completely.

And those were just the manias. The depressions are almost worse, because I don't go out and make a fool of myself, so nobody is forced to come to my rescue. I have to deal with it by myself, because like most depressives, I go inward during those hellish times. And, of course, I've thought about and almost committed suicide during the darkest of those days, some in which I was unmedicated totally, the others in which I was lacking a key medication that would be added later. I have a severe case of bipolar 1, and if I don't take my meds, I will die or, at best, see my life derailed over and over again.

But I also know that not all cases of bipolar are the same, not to mention that there's bipolar 2 and many other disorders. Of course, meds aren't everything. Anyone who has lived with diagnosed bipolar for a few years knows there's a lot more to successfully treating bipolar, but for a lot of us, meds are an essential beginning and foundation to staying alive and being healthy and happy.

I don't think it angers me that some of you are trying to do this med-free; I even understand why in some ways. However, it does scare the shit out of me that so many of you try and do this med-free. Been there, done that. Never ever again.
catsrgreat
says:
February, 3 2013 at 3:54 pm
PS A lot of problems weren't just while I was on these meds, but also while I tapered off them. I think that it takes a lot longer than a couple of weeks to taper and stabilize. It took me months to re-learn how to behave properly when I finally tapered off the drugs and the akathisia (or whatever it was) went away. I was out of control for years. My husband is happy, and never knew me off meds. So it's not just the drugs- so many folks just cold turkey! Or are told to taper too fast. Docs seem to be more careful about that in recent years. So then the person is told their drug withdrawal problems are the illness coming back, which may or may not be so.
catsrgreat
says:
February, 3 2013 at 3:49 pm
I gave up on meds because after 25 meds and ECT over a 15 year period, the depression got worse and worse. Lithium worked great for mania but I rarely get mania, and maybe the really wild mania was all antidepressant caused. I really don't know. I don't think I'm "lucky" not to take the drugs. But I do know now that they were causing akathisia, or something like it, for all those years, and it took a few months off for my behavior to get better. Then 3 years off all drugs, I am resuming my old hobbies like reading hard sci fi and epic fantasy, writing sci fi, etc. I had to do easier hobbies all those years on drugs. So I have nothing good to say about these bipolar drugs. I don't think they work, and it seems to me that if a person is doing better, the doc gives ALL the credit to the drugs. When my behavior got worse, they started tacking on other disorders like borderline, in addition to the clear-cut bipolar.

I'm still in depression hell, but I had a 2 month NORMAL period of mood for the first time in many years, now that I'm off drugs. Now that I pick up my old hobbies, my treatment professionals act as if every time I am excited, this is mania. Heck, maybe I am HAPPY to be less depressed and happy to learn the latest about black holes and other astronomy topics etc?

I was so stupid (I figure my IQ dropped a good 30 points) while I took those varied drugs that I find it impossible to think that these drugs could help anyone, other than stoning them into oblivion. So I take it on a sort of FAITH that these stories are true, that some people do get better on these drugs. They were poison for me.

The docs say my case was rare (and by extension, my brother too). Is it really unusual for someone to get cognitive impairment from prescribed drugs that they forget how to drive a stick shift in traffic (driven stick for YEARS)? Take hot cookie sheets or pots out of the oven and forget to use pot holders?

Anyway, that's MY story, and although I am doing much better off these drugs, I still struggle with horrific depression. At least now, it's getting back to intermittent, like it was in my 20's, before I took drugs for this condition.
Shez Snodgregg
says:
January, 31 2013 at 9:53 am
I, too, have bi-polar disorder. I, too, take medications. Necessity for me! After being locked up to monitor my meds for 3 wks, Confrontation there was I have to take my drugs. My cousin who is a psych supr with a behavioral group asked me, "Who reminds you to take your meds?" So, being out of the hospital is epic. I know being off meds is life-threatening.

My cousin also told me that I have to convince my daughter to get on and stay on her meds and that she needs to get her six yr old son on meds as well. What a fight I have counseling my daughter who is off and on her ADHD meds ever since she graduated college. She was on the streets in NY for 4 yrs. When she moved back to Hstn, she went back to NY and got pregnant. She has been kicked out of apartments. She now lives around low incomes. She is a teacher of spec ed students. She drinks alcohol profusely. She is desparate for a husband. She spends hours on cell phone/computer. She has her tv and her son has one. She is 30 yrs old single mother. She has bipolar and ADHD diag. She gets angry &amp; mad because she needs to be on regimen of meds to bring her balance. Her kitchen is dirty. Both bathrooms are dirty. The seven yr old's bath and bedroom smell like pure urine. His clothes are in the floor, clean and dirty. His bed is not made up. When he goes to bed she closes his door. He has to dress himself with wrinkled clothes. Sholaces hang. There are many books but she does not read to him. He needs to read to her. She is a teacher, but I have seen a broken wooden spoon she broke on my grandson. Before I went into the hospital for 3 wks, she had twisted his ear until her brother said something. Mother's Day 2012 she twisted his right arm almost out of socket. The counselors at school had a meeting with her last yr. This yr the police and CPS came to her house My grandson is still with her. She does not have ins on him for his ADHD. She has it on herself and she lets me know she likes being natural because she has better control of putting her first. Please bloggers, do not argue with my statements.
Spouse of ill person
says:
January, 30 2013 at 6:39 pm
Some people can manage their illness without meds.
Some people can't.
Some people have a choice to go with or without, perhaps taking meds in stressful times and getting by without them otherwise.
and I suppose it is true that some people who COULD get without meds haven't tried it.

But as the spouse of someone who thinks they're "strong enough" to get by without meds, let me tell you this: DON'T YOU DARE LOOK DOWN ON PEOPLE WHO NEED OR CHOOSE TO TAKE MEDS. The single most terrifying mentally ill person is the person who THINKS they DON'T need meds when they are WRONG.
Karen Tyrrell
says:
January, 29 2013 at 2:55 pm
Hi Natasha, great article and debate.
I'm currently on a low dose of medication for Bipolar Disorder but its my pro-active Wellness Plan that really keep me well and out of hospital ... Karen T :)
bill
says:
January, 29 2013 at 12:46 pm
I'm acutely bipolar and a rapid-cycler. Loads of mixed states. Never a day off even with meds. Even with meds. Even with meds. With a doc dosages and meds underwent years of therapeutic trial. It's often a question of finding balance between side effects, safety and hell-reduction. Dosage counts. I could have a less difficult path but be on so much medication that I'd be even stupider than I am. Also, as a rapid-cycler my brain is a moving target. I have a medication that I can take during a peak when regular daily meds don't hold the line well enough. I take it for a max of three days. Longer than that it really sucks. I affectionately call it "my ugly drug". To those who look down on medication use I say, walk a block in my socks. I know I'd be long dead without the imperfect assistance of medication. I take a certain sick pride in the fact that my brain gives all of modern bipolar medication a real run for its money. Thank you. Have a nice day. The gestalt is now.
Kristabel
says:
January, 29 2013 at 10:30 am
For me, it was very hard admitting I needed help. Over the years (and medication trial and error and side-effects) I've needed to ask for help from family to help me get the treatment I needed from a doctor on several occasions. Each time, the meds helped me get through that particular episode and get me back on track. So I definitely agree that the right meds can be invaluable when you need them.

But I can also comment from the other perspective, in that I've been off meds since last summer and am (touch wood!) doing ok without them. My reasons for doing so are numerous (and I won't go into them here) but I believe that being on the meds was necessary to help me take a step back and work out how I could help myself without them. Being on the meds for that time enabled me to see the patterns and notice things about the ups and downs of my illness that I just couldn't do when I was in the midst of an episode. From that, I was able to gradually learn different strategies for coping when I noticed my mood starting to trend upwards or downwards, and so far I've been able to use that to stop any more major episodes from happening.

Obviously, it's still relatively early days, but I think that the meds have been an invaluable tool in giving me the insight into my illness that I needed to get some degree of control over it. This winter just gone has been the first one in years where I've NOT sunk into a deep depression... and that has been happening to me for as long as I can remember - when I've been both off and on meds. Whether as a temporary measure, or something more long term, I believe that there is definitely a place for medication. I don't want to be stuck on it for the rest of my life (I'm only 35) but whilst being "med-free" currently, I am 100% prepared to be straight back on those tablets if I find myself slipping and am not able to gain control.

I have also ensured I have a network of a few family-members and trusted friends who I've requested tell me straight away if they think my behaviour is becoming "not me" because I understand that if I go too far, I might not be able to see what's happening before an episode is in full swing.
Emma
says:
January, 29 2013 at 10:27 am
I agree that there is no "right" form of treatment, only what works for each individual, but your "luckier" comment doesn't support that. Whether or not someone is on meds doesn't tell you anything about their situation, and that goes BOTH ways.
Katie
says:
January, 29 2013 at 5:20 am
I am offended but that comment as well. Being off meds certainly does t make you stronger, it just means you're more fortunate than some if us are. I'm certainly not taking meds because its "easier" if anything I think it's HARDER to be ON medication. The side effects are often terrible and expensive.
Vicki
says:
January, 28 2013 at 12:33 pm
When I was in 20's I thought I was stronger for not taking meds then I gave it a shot in my 30's - Praise God! Stabilization Better Mood More Control on Mania Highs Lows etc.

And today at 50 thank God for Lamictal.

Have a Good Mental Health Day.
VenusH
says:
January, 28 2013 at 9:38 am
"And we do a disservice to them by pretending we understand their pain and their personal medical history to say “Oh you don’t need that.”"

if they work for somebody, then they work. THe problem comes when they don't work somebody, or work a little and then you have a crowd telling you how you need-absolutelly-need to take your pills, even if they suck.

There are many ways to help yourself. And to call those who went and explored them "luckier", is doing disservice to recovery path.
Jon
says:
January, 28 2013 at 7:28 am
I agree with Natasha. I went off meds with doctor's permission about a year ago. I felt okay until September when I re-started an anti-psy for a few weeks. Environmental stressors can aggravate bi-polar and also bi-polars are human like everyone else. Sometimes I make mistakes in managing my disease. For me having meds to take as needed is like an asthmatic having a rescue inhaler. I feel better med free but I am not going to beat up on myself for taking meds if I need them.
Ashavan
says:
January, 28 2013 at 6:54 am
I am not currently on meds. But I have been. And I feel the fear. And for me, it is fear, not strength that keeps me off of the meds. And often I wonder if I made the right choice. My fear is justified. I almost died once from the meds. But the problem is that they worked. For a long time, they worked. And I would have endured almost anything for that.

I look at the commenter who says that bit about "can't do it" and talks about drugs they don't need. And maybe that commenter doesn't need the drugs. But I struggle with this war. To medicate or not... it's not so clear cut and easy.

Bipolar meds pretty much suck. A lot of the time they don't work, and they have just insanely bad side effects for MANY who take them. And yet there are those for whom the medications help. For whom the medicines WORK. And we do a disservice to them by pretending we understand their pain and their personal medical history to say "Oh you don't need that."

Maybe they do. Maybe taking that pill makes them stronger than those of us who don't. Or maybe it just makes them different.
VenusH
says:
January, 28 2013 at 4:36 am
For me, I knew people who depended on their meds because their belief they "can't do it". Can't study, can't live... can't anything. So they often take drugs they don't need, drugs that make them pack on weight, turn their brains into slow mush... I was told to drop out of school (I have master's degree now... and to think I could be without education, taking pills partly to

And I resent the "luckier" comment. Number of pills you take isn't badge of honor. Which is what your posts imply.

Your title twists what the poster said "you are stronger than you think you are" is a great statement and probably true for everybody, especially in weaker moments.

You yourself said over and over how meds been horrible on you... so no wonder people suggest trying something else, different path.

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