So I just joined this program a couple days ago and have really found it to be extremely useful and helpful. This is my first post on the forum and I just wanted to share my story of struggling with bipolar 2 and share a couple resources and things that I have found to be extremely helpful. So I am twenty years old and I developed bipolar disorder right when I graduated high school. I had just been accepted to University of Hawaii and was about to embark on what I thought was going to be the best four year adventure of my life, but sadly I was about to be proven wrong over the next six months. My first depressive episode occurred about a month before I was set to leave for college and I honestly thought I had developed some crazy disease that was causing me to go insane (this was probably a sign I was watching house way to much haha). Anyways this episode lasted about two weeks and then one morning woke up and I felt, well amazing (hypomania!!!:))). This lasted for a few weeks but then once again I slipped into depression. Since I lived in Hawaii I began to medicate with the medicine of choice in Hawaii, cannabis. Just for the record here I am not blaming any of my bipolar problems on using weed. Rather I was using weed to cover up problems that I needed to deal with and face which is why it made my depression way worse. Anyways over the next four months I went through several bouts of near suicidal depression and I knew if I was going to avoid committing suicide I was going to have to go home after the semester ended. Well when I got home I decided to medicate with another popular substance, alcohol. The next nine months were a drunken blur as I drank my self to near death and after getting caught driving drunk I decided I needed real help. I started therapy and seeing a psychiatrist which is when I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I was given Lexapro and I thought I was cured. However, being an ssri this just caused me to rapid cycle more and it made my depressions far worse and my hypomanias much more extreme. Eventually I was diagnosed with bipolar 2, put on lamictal, lithium, wellbutrin, and zoloft. These medications helped control my depressions so that I wouldn't get suicidal, but I still knew I had a lot of progress to make. This is when I started to practice mindfulness and for the first time in a year and a half I felt like I was going to be able to make a full recovery. I strongly suggest that anyone with any kind of mental disorder to look into mindfulness and to maybe find a class to learn the basics. Youtube also has a lot of great mindfulness videos that you can check out. So over the next six months I would dedicate about an hour a day to meditating and really trying to become more mindful as I would go about my day. Today with lots of hard work and dedication to my CBT, mindfulness, and communicating with my psychiatrist I am about at 90 percent of what I use to be. Another tool that I have found to be extremely helpful is doing a one hour session a week in a sensory deprivation tank. These things are super complicated so I'm not going to go into to much detail about them here, but if you youtube Joe Rogan Float Tank and watch like the first or second video it really does a good job at explaining what a float tank and why it is beneficial. So overall I just wanted to write this mini novel to motivate anyone that is just stuck when it comes to treating their depression. I really want to emphasize that there is a way out of this horrible disorder and to really just not give up. At my worst I literally could not form a sensible sentence or even go in public. It's like the disease had created a slow motion fog between me and the rest of the world and it made it so everything moved in a slow motion confusion. However, with persistence I was able to get a grasp on my bipolar disorder and I have actually been able to harness the creativity that it has provided me with and now I am getting straight A's in school. It has helped me develop a much better work ethic and has inspired me to pursue a career in the psychology field. I really hope this is able to motivate some people who are having a hard time with their depression and I wish you the best of luck. Below I am just going to make a list of a few techniques and supplements that I have found to be extremely useful for treating my bipolar. I strongly urge you to ask questions if you have them in the comments section below or to send me a private message!
Techniques: Mindful meditation, hypnotherapy (theirs some amazing hypnotherapy youtube videos), yoga, exercise, following a healthy diet, CBT, keeping a journal, socializing, using alcohol and other mind altering substances responsibly, and keeping busy
Supplements: Kava Kava (seriously stay away from those nasty benzos and take this instead. It's non addictive and a million times better. Go to bula kava house's website and I really recommend getting the solomon island kava), kratom (this is an amazing antidepressant but just be careful with it. Though it's legal it is somewhat addictive and the withdrawls, though similar to coffee's, are not fun), Lithium oratate (This stuff is more effective than the prescription lithium and literally has no side effects. However for safety reasons you should still get you kidneys tested once every three months.), and an omega three supplement (Though very subtle I have found it to be very effective at lessening the symptoms of depression.)