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Coping with mental illness

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  • #40646
    chupacabra
    Participant

    A friend was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006 but because of the stigma associated with having any sort of mental illness, she keeps trying to ignore it. She periodically goes on and off her medications, and only goes to therapy when her regular doctor insists. Her life has been one self-destructive disaster after another under this regimen. She has all but ruined her career, driven most of her closest friends away, and until recently when she finally decided to start taking her meds again, she would wake up every morning wishing that she had a reason to get out of bed. She still feels overwhelmed by anxiety – fear of living her own life, which is odd, but she thinks it’s because she was off her meds for so long this time, she really messed herself up. Anyhow, if anyone else out these is struggling with these problems, or similar problems, I would like to know how you keep yourself on track with your meds, because my friend always come up with a reason to stop taking them, and it’s always a bad, bad decision. My friend is starting therapy again next week, but she usually gets upset with her therapist for some dumb reason and dump him or her before he or she can really help her, which is also counter-productive.

    #40651
    Matt
    Participant

    Chupacabra,

    I have a friend with bipolar disorder and she used to go off her meds “just to see what happens.” I’ve since learned that the manic side of bipolar can be addictive, and sometimes with meds they “flatten”. For my friend, she finally saw that giving up the “up” was worth avoiding the “down”. Perhaps your friend will find the same idea. Remember that we can help and love, but ultimately its up to them and their journey.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #40660
    maitri2all
    Participant

    Mindfulness.. just even brief exposure to it will help tremendously

    learning to calm a moment .. cool an ember 🙂

    #40666
    Jaydee
    Participant

    Chupacabra,
    I too have a friend who has been in a similar situation. I also have done a lot of study in the area. Kay Redfield Jamison is the leading writer for the lay person on manic depression or bipolar disorder. Also a man by the name of Andrew Solomon wrote a book on depression called The Noonday Demon that is very informative from a psycho pharmaceutical stand-point. This is so typical a situation for someone with bipolar disorder. And when you’re up you’re up and think you can stay up and so you drop the meds but you only do so because your body is bracing for the fall and when the fall happens those meds aren’t around anymore. The most troublesome thing about this situation is that, as Andrew Solomon says, that with each discontinuation of medications the medications lose their effectiveness the next time they are started again. So with some people it reaches a point where nothing can help them anymore. What a hellish thought! It is better to stay on until absolutely certain that coming off of them is advisable – always under the supervision of a psychiatrist of course. I would suggest doing some more reading on the subject, like I say Kay Redfield Jamison has written several books about her experience suffering from a very similar mental illness. She is intelligent, articulate, is successful and now a doctor herself, and compassionate in her writing. She has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows due to her illness and she has weathered it all and emerged on the other side, intact and at last with control. She may provide some answers for you and hopefully your friend can read them too and hopefully understand her situation more. This is a difficult and trying time for both you and your friend. May you both find what you need to resolve this cycle of pain and suffering.

    -JD

    #40673
    chupacabra
    Participant

    To Jaydee – So unreal, I had just purchased Dr. Jamison’s book a few hours before I wrote my post! I’m glad you recommend her. I will also look into Andrew Solomon’s work.

    Thanks to all for your kind advice. Of course it isn’t a friend but me who is having this problem. I was too worried no one would respond because of the stigma, so I hid behind the “I have a friend” story. I hope that was not too misleading of me. I figured most people would know I was talking about myself anyway. Thanks again for writing. It helps to know that people care.

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