by Shannon Marie
Thank you for a beautiful site offering support, hope, and resources! (nothing worse than a site that dangles hope and then after 30 minutes of navigating and forms, finding out that you need a credit card...for hope!)
I am flying solo as far as treatment goes. A series of events including, divorce, joblessness (again!), and homelessness left me in the midst of great transition. I am actually happier than I have been in many years. Medications have never addressed my most crippling symptoms and have often caused great pain. I am unable to afford my medicine. This is fine, for now. I work daily to get back those basic support systems I lost over the last year. I am, now, in a very stress free environment and have the luxury of taking a break and refocusing in whatever manner and for however long I need. I just try to see this time as an opportunity to sharpen my coping skills...maybe by the time I am back on meds my psychological muscles will be stronger...
My biggest issue is that without medication my moods are extreme. My threshold for irritation is beyond just low. I told my boyfriend that "air moving" makes me angry right now. I understand where all my anger comes from.... but I do not want to be an angry person. I am unable to communicate small needs without becoming frustrated and upset. We are trying to get organized - a major project that needs immediate attention. I keep blowing up out of frustration. I want to keep fighting this lethargy....but doing so makes me ANGRY. My safe option is sleep, but this just keeps the depression side of the problem in recycle mode. I have no focus or concentration abilities right now, either. All of this seems like too much to attack...AHHHH! It may be several months before I can get on meds again...how do I get to keep living in the mean time?
Though you didn't mention it, I assume you have a diagnosis of Bipolar. One thing you might try for mood stability is "dark therapy." It requires absolute darkness from the time you go to bed, until you get up in the morning. No bathroom lights, no electronic clock radio, no flashing tv screen in your bedroom, no light coming in the window. This allow the brain to find it's natural rhythm, in sync with the dark/light of the day and night. Studies have shown this to be extremely stabilizing to the brain and mood, as well as sleep. It may only take a couple days of this to see results. You can order special amber LED night lights that do not emit any blue spectrum light (the blue light, present in most light sources, is what activates the hypothalamus when it enters the optic nerves of the eyes).
Other recommendations would be Yoga and/or Tai Chi or Chi Gong - daily, meditation, and weekly therapy - individual and/or Bipolar support group.
More ideas are listed on the Bipolar Treatment page of the site.