Hooray for Modern Medicine

Last Updated: 12 Aug 2020
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I take medication. An anticonvulsant that keeps me sane, a statin that keeps me from having a stroke or heart attack, a combination of hormones that keeps me from getting pregnant, and several supplements recommended by the brilliant and wonderful Dr. Oz. Yes, I’m part of that cult. Point being, medication is a daily part of life for me, and I’ve accepted that. I don’t suggest meds are right for everyone, but when it comes to bipolar, daily medication is more the rule than the exception, and for good reason. Meds work.

Still, some people insist they can overcome any number of ailments–from cancer to HIV to bipolar–with diet and exercise alone…or with diet, exercise and a few unregulated supplements readily available over the internet. I’m not saying these people are wrong, and I’m not saying lifestyle isn’t a huge factor when addressing any chronic illness. I am, however, saying that taking medication for my bipolar doesn’t mean I’m giving up in any way. On the contrary, it means I’m using every available resource I have to fight a debilitating disorder that has nearly taken my life on several occasions.

I share this today because I recently received an email from a reader suggesting that I (like him) seemed like a “strong” person, and therefore, I should be able to “cure” my bipolar with a variety of home remedies, including lavender. To him, I say, thanks for the tip. I’ll continue taking my meds (despite your advice to the contrary), and I’ll keep the lavender in my lotion, soap and linen spray. As for ingesting the stuff to “cure” my bipolar, however, I’ll pass. I’m all for alternative medicine, but I’m not an idiot. We’ve made some amazing advances in medicine over the past fifty years, particularly in the treatment of bipolar disorder. The way I see it, taking advantage of those advances makes me smart, not weak.

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About the author
Melody Moezzi, an award-winning author and visiting professor of creative nonfiction at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, is also an activist, attorney, and keynote speaker. Her most recent book, The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life, joins her earlier works: the critically acclaimed Haldol and Hyacinths and War on Error, which earned her a Georgia Author of the Year Award and a Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Honorable Mention. In addition to her Flight of Ideas column for bp Magazine, Moezzi’s writing has appeared in many outlets, including Ms. magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC News, the Guardian, HuffPost, Al Arabiya, and the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine. She has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including CNN, BBC, NPR, PBS, PRI, and more. Moezzi is a graduate of Wesleyan University, the Emory University School of Law, and the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She divides her time between Cambridge, MA, and Wilmington, NC, with her husband, Matthew, and their ungrateful cats, Keshmesh and Nazanin. For more information, please visit melodymoezzi.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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