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Meds vs. Natural Remedies

Before I get to vegetarianism and exercise, I’ve got to fill you in on my story (or at least the most recent part…the tip of the iceberg).

I just stopped taking Wellbutrin XL 150mg last week. I was having serious paranoia and delusions. I felt like I was watching my world from the outside at some points, at others I felt like I was high because everything seemed so surreal. Several different moods/delusional states came throughout the day. Even periods of feeling normal (although short lived) occurred. I bounced between hyper focus, hyperactivity that was so intense I felt agitated, and a zombie-like state where I was completely non functional and could barely follow a normal conversation.

Of course this all started and intensified the one week my counselor was out of town. After one day of feeling helpless, terrified, feeling like I was losing it, and being completely alone in it all I stopped taking my meds. I tried to get in for an emergency appointment with a psychiatrist but this didn’t work out because it was such short notice. I then went home for the weekend and talked to my parents about what had been going on (their reaction would take up an entire post by itself) and slept a lot…..probably a reversion towards depression from stopping my meds.

After my return to home and sanity (at least life without paralyzingly paranoia), I finally had a scheduled appointment with my counselor. I had written down a lot of stuff about how I was feeling the week she was gone and I read it to her. I think we made a lot of progress…it’s hard to explain everything that’s going on when I’m in her office without something to jog my memory. I’ve also been using a mood chart. I’m stuck between depression and hypo mania and it’s very confusing. I’m having trouble getting to work before 11 (even though I’m supposed to be there at 9) because in the mornings I have thoughts that I don’t give a shit about being at work….so why the hell go? Thank God I opened up to my supervisor about my issues with depression when all this first started happening so she’s understanding. In the afternoons I’m very productive, charismatic, and seemingly normal or even great. After work this accelerates towards racing thoughts, and speaking so quickly my housemates can’t understand what I am saying. This culminates in a lot of activity at night and an inability to settle down for bed. Some nights, but not all, I also have insomnia. The thing is I only see how unstable it all is when I write it down or use a mood chart. Because up until now I thought I had a pretty great day. Well….it was great…just also very unstable.

SO the point I wanted to get at….but had to fill you in first….was that I DO NOT want to go on lithium. I did way too much research for my own good and now I think it’ll just make me boring, fat, tired, and not me. Basically I’m looking into any alternative to treat myself.

My housemates and I are vegetarians for lent and we watched the documentary Forks Over Knives this week to dive into the issue. The basic premise of the film is that eliminating all animal products from our diets can help us avoid cancer and heart failure, and can give us more energy and a longer life span.

So then I got to thinking about mental health issues and how they could possibly be helped by this diet. The U.S. has the highest percentage of bipolar disorder in the world, just like heart disease and type II diabetes. The movie claims these percentages are due to our diet….so maybe it’s also true for our mental illness epidemic.

I have decided that, instead of going back on meds, I will remain almost vegan (because I can’t live without butter) and will start going back to the gym to run on a daily basis. Running will be my “pill” that I must take everyday. Already today I ran for the first time in a few weeks and it curbed most of my nighttime hyperactivity and gave me a sense of calm.

I feel the least I can do before committing myself to a long affair with lithium is to try a natural route.