In a nutshell
For those who don’t know my eight year psych history, or what the hell happened to get me from point A to point B, with stops at Z F and Q in between, here’s the summary (just for future reference):
I had a bipolar II diagnosis for four years which involved putting me on an antipsychotic, an antidepressant, and a mood stabilizer all at the same time. I started out my psych history by going to get antidepressants, which I took for four years. I was having some suicidal feelings, I felt out of place, I didn’t fit it, my childhood had a lot of abuse, basically I had existential depression. I could have been helped by talking through it, but my therapist didn’t know anything about gifteds and I didn’t know I was in a process of positive disintegration. I was unable to fit into the mainstream and it made me feel that there was something wrong with me. I had also been raped not long before my therapist encouraged me to either check into the hospital or get a prescription for antidepressants. I got a prescription for Paxil.
SSRI’s have various psychological side effects, including withdrawal symptoms which create auditory hallucinations, random electrical impulses shooting through your body (The Zaps), insomnia, and at the worst case, akathisia. That’s a fancy term for what is essentially mania. Jacked up on enough SSRI’s, you WILL go manic, and that’s what happened to me four years later. The initial high of SSRI’s had worn off, and I still felt badly. Not only that but I was having physiological symptoms in my body and was basically being tortured by the medication neurologically. The doctor kept deciding I could be happier, and the prescription went up to the top level that can be safely prescribed. I should also mention my doctor was a general practitioner, a common experience for people on SSRI’s. Eventually I snapped, I stopped eating, bathing, started ranting and raving and dressing weird. I was officially in psychosis. Some well intentioned but misguided friends took me to the psychiatric ward.
A French psychiatric ward. I don’t speak french, and most of the staff didn’t speak english. This was in Canada. There were english speaking psychiatric wards, but I wasn’t living in the proper jurisdiction to be allowed to go there.
The doctors never really took a history, I spent less than two hours with psychiatrists over the course of six weeks. My treatment was determined the day I went in, without a doctor actually talking to me. I was labeled Bipolar II, with possible Schizoaffective disorder. No one asked if I was gifted, and no one knew what that meant either, including myself. I was told that disagreeing with the diagnosis PROVED I was sick and lacked insight into my condition. Accepting the label was required before I was permitted to leave the hospital. Everything about me became wrong.
The medication I was put on cause me to have seizures, hear voices, get depressed, have painful energy in my body, gain 80 pounds, some people get diabetes from the drugs too. I had brain damage, my memory was shot completely, I couldn’t move much, I started sleeping all the time, and I was unable to hold down a job. I became disabled. I accepted this because I was crazy, and crazy people are disabled people. But as I wandered half dead through various outpatient service centres, I started meeting more politicized crazy people.
Over four years I researched psychiatry, the case studies of the medications I was on, psychiatric thoughts of madness, the history of psychiatry, and eventually the stories of other people who had been in the system and gotten out and off the drugs and recovered. Eventually I almost died twice because of my medication, one started having toxic blood levels, which was indicating liver damage. The other one caused a rash which can sometimes result in Steven-Johnsons Syndrome, basically your skin blisters and falls off, a lot of people die from it, the recovery rates are poor. I was getting off my medication and trying alternative treatments (homeopathy and supplements like Omega 3-6-9, and Iron, which it turns out I’m deficient in). That’s when I suddenly wondered if being gifted had anything to do with being “crazy.” And I read about positive disintegration and overexcitabilities.
I’m off medication now, and a lot of negative things I assumed was me being crazy turns out to have been related to the medication. For eight years I have tried to fit in with society and I almost died.
I think a lot of people with Bipolar II have been seriously misdiagnosed, there is little being done in psychiatry to find out if there is a reason someone feels crappy. So no, I don’t believe you can say there are real bipolars out there. I know we’re supposed to believe that, but I think a lot of people, given REAL care that is about them rather than the needs of the people around them, have a good chance of recovery. That sounds awful to some people, but believe me, I’ve done the research, not with a government grant, but I’ve read enough volumes to know whereof I speak. The drugs are actually called chemical lobotomies by the doctors who invented them.
And by the way, during my research I found out they cannot prove a brain chemical link to madness. Some psychiatric survivors involved in Mind Freedom challenged the APA to release their research proving conclusively a link, and the response was basically, no, we have no proof, BUT we know it’s true.