from Bipolar Disorder
have been suffering from mental
illness since I was twelve years old.
I’m now forty six years old and have been perfectly stable for over
months. At twelve years of age I started to experience
depression, but I
had no idea what I was feeling and suffered with the symptoms
for 3 years with no professional help. My family knew
I was suffering, but thought it was puberty kicking in and that
I was just going through a rough period. I intuitively knew differently.
I experienced dread, fear, lack of energy, in other words, the blues.
I finally started getting professional help at around fifteen years of
Lots of psychotherapy with virtually no benefit. A few
years later antidepressants were introduced with no positive
and most likely helped push me a bit quicker into becoming the
manic-depressive (bipolar) that I have been ever since. I was
diagnosed with bipolar illness while living in NYC with my wife-to-be,
at the age of 27. It turns out that my mother is also
was not diagnosed until after I was. My grandmother was
also bipolar and was never diagnosed.
The drug of choice for me has been lithium which I took on and off
(I always had lots of medication compliance issues) for almost
twenty years. I also tried various anti-depressants and mood
stabilizers along the way but none for very long. Lithium cut my
manias by about 80% and my depression by about 40%. Not so good,
but it made my life just barely workable enough to get by.
I suffered from severe depressions that typically lasted between six
to eight months, manias (which included delusions and paranoia)
which lasted about one to two months and “normalcy” the
remainder of the time. I never tolerated the side effects of
any of the
drugs I took very well and was always looking for an
alternative natural way to take care of myself.
I tried many natural approaches. Lots of “snake oil” as
well, or at least
what I ended up perceiving as snake oil because it never produced the
desired effect. Then I meet a couple of speakers at McLean
Psychiatric Hospital in Massachusetts over two years ago talking about
their vitamin/mineral supplement TrueHope (www.truehope.com).
I tried it. I tapered off lithium at a “safe time” and waited for
I got depressed for about five months. However, it was a
little less intense and its duration was a little shorter than
My subsequent mania was also a bit less intense.
I heard Dr. Popper from Harvard say that he had some good results
with some of his patients on the TrueHope supplement at higher
suggested doses. I tried a higher dose. One week later I
started feeling a
wonderful sense of well being. I was stable. I have been totally
since that time, which has been over fourteen months now. I have
never, ever, been so stable for so long in my entire life. I have
subsequently also altered my diet. I avoid milk, gluten, caffeine,
alcohol, junk food. I eat lots of fish (I also take Omega 3 fish
capsules), fresh vegetables, carbohydrates with fiber, nuts, etc.
Once the TrueHope started working I realized that NUTRITION was the
key to my health. I now “cheat” here and there and will
drink a glass or two
of wine now and then, wheat, ice cream or other junk food
but am always mindful not to make it a habit.
My life has dramatically changed in the last fourteen months and has
affected my family, friends (and “enemies”) and everyone
that comes in contact with me. I now have a new lease on life.
intend on living it to the fullest which, first and foremost,
intense desire to try and help, in any way I can, anyone suffering and,
in particular, anyone suffering from mental illness.
is Alternative Mental Health?