Medication Alone is NOT a Bipolar “Miracle Cure”
Although taking medication as prescribed is one part of achieving stability, it alone is not enough. You also need to work on bettering yourself.
Psychiatrists have been taught that medication will stop the symptoms of bipolar disorder. We are encouraged to take our meds as prescribed and with any luck our depression and/or mania will go away.
But that is only part of the equation. Medication can only do so much. We must do work on ourselves if our situation is going to change over the long term.
I believe that the cure for any illness, physical or mental, is working on yourself and your issues. Yes, we need to follow our doctors’ orders and take medication as prescribed but we also need to take a good hard look at our lives and see what is working and what is not working. Medication will fix 25% of our problems but for the other 75% we need to do a lot of soul searching. Are we in relationships with family, friends or romantic, that do not serve us any more? Is our job causing us a lot of stress? Do we have hobbies that leave us feeling fulfilled? Are we able to pay our bills each month?
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar I was married. I couldn’t even entertain the idea that my marriage was the problem because I couldn’t take care of myself. I needed a roof over my head and food to eat. But less than 3 years later I realized that my marriage had contributed, at least in part, to my depression. I attended a self-help group for people who suffered from depression. I attending the Day Program at my local hospital after each hospitalization. Even though I felt at times that many of the things I was learning at this program wasn’t helping, some of what was said made sense. I began reading self-help books of all kinds. I read books about depression, bipolar disorder, relationships, boundaries and many, many more.
When I finally did have the courage to leave my marriage the depression started to lift. However, it still took a few years before I could truly say I learned to manage my bipolar disorder symptoms. Looking back now, the many ups and downs I had for a few years were mostly as a result of not being medication compliant. Luckily for many of us, there are newer and better medications to treat bipolar disorder symptoms with fewer side affects.
And it takes work; a lot of work, to manage bipolar disorder. Because I have eliminated toxic people from my life and have a couple friends I can count on my life is 100% better than when this roller coaster started in 1995.
I no longer feel guilty for doing what pleases me. I am the only person I have to make happy. It is not my job to make sure others get their needs met. When I got my voice and began to say “No” to others and “Yes” to me is when my life turned around.
If you think a pill will cure you, then think again; you have to be willing to put in the work and the time if you want a better life.
Two psychiatrists told me in 2000 that I would never work full time again. I am telling you, “You can believe the diagnosis, not the prognosis” (Deepak Chopra). But you have to do the work. No one else can do it for you. These psychiatrists did not know me before I became sick and had no idea how much fight I had in me or what my life was like before the depression.
To conclude, you can heal yourself if you follow this guideline:
75% Work on Yourself and Your Issues
Part of working on yourself means showing up for all appointments and listening carefully to the advice of professionals. But the biggest part is learning to listen to that little voice inside of you that says “This is Healthy” or “This in not healthy” for me and following through. Do the things that bring you joy, peace and contentment in your life and leave the drama behind.