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Opinions on Anti-Medication Proponents... esp. for Bipolar

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I find that a lot of anti-med advocates don't understand what the experience is like, dealing with these disorders.  A guy I grew up with recently posted an article on Facebook, and I've seen it pop up a few times since.  It was entitled "Rethinking Mental Illness: Are We Drugging Our Prophets and Healers?"  I won't link it here, but it's easy to find.  It made me pretty angry.  The author, a "self-love advocate," seems to have experienced some mental illness, herself, and thinks that it gives her great insight into the world.  As such, she has written a general summary of all the erroneous thinking one can have due to romanticizing mental illness.  It holds up the idea that people with psychosis should be "supported rather than medicated" without giving answers as to how they might be supported.  I work in a psychiatric hospital, so I know well that many people who are not medicated for their hallucinations end up homeless.  

The author also claims that because people in treatment still commit suicide, that treatment doesn't work, and then they have the gall to suggest that "treatment might have prevented some suicides" in the instance of people like Sylvia Plath, but that it would also rob society of their creative gifts.  I find that thinking so ungodly selfish.  To say that someone in pain should remain that way to preserve their creative output.

Again, this article was written by someone who has experienced mental illness, but the people who happily share and spread such articles tend to just be ignorant hippies who are really into alternative medicine and think all meds are evil because of "big pharma."  They have no personal experience with serious mental illness, so they think because they can bust through a bit of a slump with hot yoga, that everyone can.  

I used exercise, yoga, nutrition, all that stuff, and while I can't deny that it is helpful, it's only helpful when you're already at a decent baseline.  Daily yoga and a nutrition-focused vegan diet did not stop me from getting suicidally depressed a few times a year.  At the time I also kind of romanticized depression, likely because of the bullshit idea that it makes you more creative and insightful.  I know now that it doesn't.  I get jack shit done when I'm depressed.  I'm not going to be writing great poetry, or really doing anything but the bare minimum to function in between thoughts about dying.  I do not feel less creative on meds.  Quite the opposite.  My mind tends to race too fast to settle on any ideas long enough to conceptualize when I'm hypomanic, and depression is just a dull cloud of doom.  

I was not functional before I got on meds, so I imagine I could return to that state. I wouldn't want to risk that.

I hear that "gift" comment from people. I would like to return mine.

Proposing that we, all or most, don't need meds, and that they know what is best for us is just more stigma IMO

This is so apt.  How does denying the effectiveness of meds in improving people's lives helping stigma?  Isn't it just saying that people who rely on meds didn't "try hard enough" to treat or cure their illness naturally, whatever that means?

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@Rabbity9 That was so eloquently put. I wish I could implant this message into the brains of humanity. You nailed all the right points. I wish some of the anti-pharma proponents would just keep their crock of BS to themselves. It's the vapid "just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, try harder, eat vegan and be cured" platitudes that are so harmful and really get under my skin.

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I used exercise, yoga, nutrition, all that stuff, and while I can't deny that it is helpful, it's only helpful when you're already at a decent baseline.

So true. In fact, I suspect that the more healthy behaviors are more likely the effect of getting your MI under control, rather than the cause. I don't doubt that there may be some helpful influence, but c'mon: telling someone in a severe episode to juice beets, do yoga, and meditate is not going to work, and everyone knows it if they're being truthful. First of all, they'll likely be unable to comply in the first place. And even if they are able to do it, it still won't work, because that stuff is insufficient. 

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18 minutes ago, Flash said:

I suspect that the more healthy behaviors are more likely the effect of getting your MI under control, rather than the cause.

Perfectly said. 

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10 hours ago, Flash said:

I suspect that the more healthy behaviors are more likely the effect of getting your MI under control, rather than the cause.

Agree with @theforest  Exactly.

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On 2017-05-22 at 1:08 PM, Yuna said:

If you are bipolar and can manage off meds well then I don't even think thats bipolar... bipolar means meds.

I have been repeatedly diagnosed as Bipolar Type II by actual mental health professionals, but thanks for the diagnosis. I had a very strong network of enablers, drank a lot, and did quite a few other dumb things to try to level out. Again, the fact that I survived for those few years off meds is practically miraculous. The first pdoc I saw after I finally went back to therapy said she was surprised I wasn't dead. I never said that people with Bipolar don't need meds, or can live indefinitely without them, and I sure as hell wasn't able to continue living without medication.

Again though, thanks for diagnosing me as not Bipolar. How very enlightening, I'll be sure to let my psychiatrist know. 

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