No More Meds!!!!

Well, if you’ve been following my blog, then you know that about 3 months I took myself off of medication.  I finally found a new pdoc.  We tried some new medication that just came on the market.  This was a complete failure!  One of the side effects is tachycardia.  I had 3 heart surgeries at 18 to get rid of the rare form of tachycardia that I had.  There is NO WAY I’m going to take something that might bring it back.

Yesterday I had an appointment with this new pdoc to discuss my medication options at this point.  I was informed that there were no more meds that I could take…um what?  She didn’t say I had treatment resistant bipolar disorder, but she did say that the disorder could change into treatment resistant over time.  She said that since I’m not in a depressive state now, she would like to just treat my anxiety and lack of sleep.  If the depression returns, she would like to try TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).  According to Wikipedia:

TMS is a noninvasive method to cause depolarization or hyperpolarization in the neurons of the brain. TMS uses electromagnetic induction to induce weak electric currents using a rapidly changingmagnetic field; this can cause activity in specific or general parts of the brain with little discomfort, allowing for study of the brain’s functioning and interconnections. According to the United States National Institute of Mental Health, TMS “uses a magnet instead of an electrical current to activate the brain. An electromagnetic coil is held against the forehead and short electromagnetic pulses are administered through the coil. The magnetic pulse easily passes through the skull, and causes small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells in the targeted brain region. Because this type of pulse generally does not reach further than two inches into the brain, scientists can select which parts of the brain will be affected and which will not be. The magnetic field is about the same strength as that of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.”[1] A variant of TMS, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), has been tested as a treatment tool for various neurological and psychiatric disorders including migraine, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, tinnitus and depression.

Now, I’ve done ECT twice.  The first round went well and the second one not so well.  I’ll have to do a bit more research on TMS to know if this would really be an option for me.  Until then, this is to those of you managing your bipolar disorder without meds.  Do you have any advice for me?  I know I took myself off the meds, but I always thought there would be something there for me to try if I ever decided to go back on them.  I know I need to exercise more.  I’m just trying to find any way to manage this thing now that meds aren’t on the table anymore.

Thanks for reading!

Thinking About Advocacy And Mental Illness

Gertie’s Journey speaks from the heart. This author is providing hope for recovery and educating people about mental illness so that perhaps the stigma surrounding mental illness will be lessened. Wonderful blogs! Take some time to look through the other ones. You will learn a lot. I highly recommend this blogger.

Gertie's Journey

Good Afternoon! So far today has been an uneventful day. Usually on days that are uneventful I start to think about things. Well, todays thoughts are on advocacy and mental illness and how I am lacking.

I feel like I am lacking because I am not reaching as many people as I have hoped I would be. I only have 19 followers on my blog and 21 followers on my twitter. Granted I just started my twitter account not even a month ago but I was hoping that it would help increase my blog following. See, at the end of this month (November) it will mark six months since I started my blog.

As many of you know, I started this blog for three reasons. The first reason is because I consider myself an advocate for those who struggle with a mental illness. That leads me to the second reason…

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Momentum? What Momentum?

About a week ago I had this grand idea of unifying the mental illness community.  I had a few people interested in helping.  I went to a some mental health organizations (not the ones mentioned in the last post) with my idea.  I have heard nothing from these organizations.  They say they want to advocate for the mentally ill and that they want to advocate legislatively, but when push comes to shove, they remain stagnantly silent.  I think they like the idea of all that, but lack the courage to really DO anything.  Even if my idea may not have been as great as I thought it was, you would think I would at least get some kind of response.  Perhaps just an acknowledgement of my email.  Oh well, maybe I’m hoping for too much.  I’m not going to quit.  I’m just trying to wrack my brain for an idea that will work.  I guess it is a continual work in progress.

So, on to more pleasant happenings.  As you all know, I have an art website (www.facebook.com/groups/mindandsoulart) called Mind and Soul Art.  I donate 50% of the proceeds of the stained glass art to the charity of the buyer’s choice.  It is a continual fundraiser.  It has been going quite well.  It has also opened my eyes to other charities, not just mental health and suicide prevention.  I have met some wonderful people that do a tremendous amount of good work for not only my community, but across the nation.  When I get discouraged about “fighting the good fight” for mental health, all I have to do is look to the people that purchase my artwork to renew my faith in this world.  There is so much more good in this world than negative if we just take the time to look around.  It just amazes me.  A lot of the organizations that have benefited from my artwork are not national nonprofits.  They are small, local nonprofits just trying to make a difference in their community.  These are the people I aspire to be like.  The ones that give so generously of their time for the joy of helping others, not for the attention or glory.

I have a challenge for you.  Look within your own community to find these organizations and help them.  They do not receive any government funding.  They rely solely on the generosity of the community in which they reside.  When you find these organizations, post there websites (if they have one) on here, on your own page.

Thank you for reading.

What Can I Say, Hiatus Over!

I know it was just the other day that I said was throwing in the towel (I’ll chalk it up to a bipolar swing), but between all of the supporting comments and now this:

http://www.peteearley.com/2014/11/03/complaints-modern-family-continue-70000-readers-growing/

Over 70,000 people living with a mental illness and people who have been effected by it through a loved one came together and said “Enough is enough!”  I honestly thought what I was saying was falling on deaf ears.  Now the show still has not made any formal apology, but I think the most important thing here is that over 70,000 of us spoke up!  This proves to me that unification of the mental health community is possible!

So here’s my idea.  It may be difficult to for all of us to meet in one state.  My thought is that each state should have a general caucus of the mental health community.  Out of each one of those, we will have an idea of how we want to proceed and what we feel is best, legislatively, for our national community.  I would want each state to choose 2-3 representatives and then we could meet in a central location so as to ease travel costs.  The meeting of all 50 states’ representatives would then discuss what each state came up with.  From there, we can congeal it all into one common purpose.  I think the initial state meetings should take place no later than July and the national meeting should take place in August.  At the national meeting we can discuss how we want to form as a non-profit and all that goes with that.

This is just a very rough idea.  I will fine tune it.  If you’re interested, please let me know.  I’ll also need to know what state you’re from so I can keep track.  I’ll take on Washington State.  If anyone else from Washington would like to help me, that would be wonderful.  I know we can do this!  Let’s use this momentum that we’ve started and carry it through.