My journey and fight with bipolar depression started mainly because of a wrong prescription. It started in the year 2015-2016 when I was going through a tough personal and professional phase. The excessive emotional stress and worry caused a gut problem and fatigue, which now I feel could have been Vitamin B and D and micro-nutrient deficiency. The issue started with a loss of interest in the day-to-day activities and compounded as severe panic attacks.
I decided I needed to consult the best, so took an appointment to meet the consultant, a very senior psychiatrist, at a very famous hospital in South Delhi. My first consultation lasted for 15 minutes which included three phone calls that the doctor received. He checked my blood pressure, asked what my symptoms were, namely, inability to sleep, and panic attacks. He wrote a long prescription which included sleep-inducing medicine (benzodiazepines) and a very strong dose of SSRI. I had a niggling doubt, but I decided to trust the doctor and started medication. Right from the second day onwards, I started having severe digestive issues in which included non-stop vomiting, stomach cramps and motions. I tried calling the doctor multiple times, but he did not answer the phone. After almost 20 Whatsapp messages he said I need to take an appointment again. I went back to him, and he said all was fine; he changed the SSRI, but increased the dosage.
My condition started worsening; increasingly it became difficult to talk, or operate a computer or even use the phone. Additionally, I started feeling ashamed of going out. It was even a challenge to hire an Uber and visit the doctor. It was then that I decided to visit another doctor to see if things would change. Unfortunately, things did not improve and one day my body and mind finally gave up, and I landed in the ICU. After two days I realized that I was alive but the hope to live was missing. The indifferent and worst kind of handling by the ICU staff combined with pumping medicine (which I saw as a money looting system), was not helping at all; every second patient was dying or was paralyzed. My mother suffered this phase silently, however on seeing the way I was being handled in the ICU and my condition there, took a bold decision to demand a discharge at her own risk.
The doctor on duty signing my discharge paper was known to us, and he suggested I change the psychiatrist. It was a nightmare to request the hospital to change the psychiatrist. I was hounded on whatsapp for many days by the old doctor. The new doctor had a panel, so I was interviewed by his junior for one hour, after which I was taken to the main doctor. He said I had Bipolar Disorder II and he gave me medication and also prescribed ten sessions of CBT also popularly known as talk therapy.
In the next one month, I was back to normal and was feeling better. I was able to go out, meet people and use the computer. My SSRI continued for eight months and then the doctor tapered it down to zero.
He continued the mood balancing drug (aka anti-psychotic drugs). I continued no-questions-asked for six months but was gaining weight, losing stamina, the mind slowed down and generally sudden phases of sleep. I reported all the symptoms to the doctor; he tapered the medicine to zero however after a few months he announced that small dosage of anti-psychotic drug would have to be taken all my life. This was the turning point in my journey.
I would like to summarize my journey listing some key learnings which lead to complete recovery without drug dependence.
1. Watch your digestive system. Fix any issue right at beginning. Your stomach PH has to be extremely acidic and rest of the body alkaline. Get the test done to ensure they comply.
2. Eat home cooked local food and stay away from all packaged process foods including ones that have healthy labels such as ‘Zero Fat’, ’Fortified’, and so on.
3. Always ensure your micronutrient levels and vitamin levels are within the range. Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, are important but it’s good to have a natural supplement for these.
4. Exposure to nature and sunlight every day.
5. Healthy sleep practice. If there are issues with sleeping visit a yoga teacher and learn yogic techniques.
6. Breathe Breathe Breathe slowly and fully (Pranic breathing) .
7.Light exercise every day. 8. MEDICINE CANNOT BE LIFELONG.FIND THE ROOT CAUSE OF ISSUE AND FIX IT.
As a closing remark if I could reverse my medical condition so can anyone who is suffering. Be open, seek help and have confidence that it’s a phase and this too shall pass.
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