Over the years of dealing with bipolar disorder, I’ve explored a lot of alternative methodologies. The first, and most often utilized by my peers, is drugs. And not the ones the doctors prescribe. Some staggering stat of almost half of the people battling addiction also deal with a mental disorder. And of those with a mental disorder, about 20% have a drug addiction they struggle with.
Pretty early on I knew I needed to avoid drugs and alcohol, but knowing and doing are very different. Today it’s been 10 days since I’ve smoked pot. I guess my doc had my meds a little off and I’ve been self-medicating to help “pump my brakes”. Self-medication is tricky. It’s hard to get consistency in something illegal and often coming from third world countries. And it’s all so easy for an addict to overdue the dosage.
Leaving street drugs to our jaded youth, I began a quest for more sustainable self-medication. I know it’s probably a pipe dream but one day I’d like to only swallow my multi vitamin and no other pills. So I began my search.
My bookshelf is riddled with self-help books. If you saw it, you’d think that by know, I must be a goddamn guru of self-betterment. But alas, my struggle continues. Maybe if I’d actually finish some of the books I’d be a little better off. But as per some goddamn self-help guru, I’m perfect just the way I am. I’m perfect just the way I am. I’m perfect, oh..sorry. Got lost in my affirmations.
One topic in self help-ville I really connected to is diet. Diet plays a major role, for everyone obviously, but of a more vital status for those of us searching for sanity. When I look around at the other crazies in the psychiatrist’s waiting room, all too often I see a sea of soda cans and hear the crinkle and crunch of junk food all around me. Living off Mountain Dew and Cheetos will make anyone off kilter. It will make a crazy like me go wild almost upon impact.
I read about some common vitamin deficiencies of bipolars, such as the B’s, and so I stocked up on all these vitamins. But honestly, they often upset my stomach, probably because no one really needs 3000% of the daily-recommended dosage of Vitamin B6. So the vitamins sit in a drawer holding nutrients and good intentions all bottled up.
I also read that gluten should be avoided and so that’s what I’ve been doing; avoiding it. It took me quite some time to wean myself of it and I still may or may not eat some, despite how I feel later. My poor future self is always so beat up by past and present self. We always ignore future self’s pleas, “don’t eat that!” Bahh, it tastes good! Leave us alone! Until I’m on the shitter cursing my past self for her selfishness.
I discovered Chakras and I was convinced that this was my golden ticket to normalcy. If I could just get all my Chakras cleaned off and opened up, I’d be fine. And for a while there, I was all about it. I’d try and spend a few minutes throughout the day focusing on those energy points. Seeing the light emanate out to the world. But then life happens, a Chakra gets dusty and that stability I searched for slips away, yet again.
Then I learned I needed some rocks to help with the Chakras. Healing crystals. And so I searched them out and stashed them in my pocket. But still…crazy remains.
And then I found it. Aromatherapy. Now this would be the end all for me. Just a few sniffs of some calming concoction and all my troubles would drift away. But who can sit and sniff scents all day long?
Then I really found it. I really found the golden ticket. Biorhythms. You enter your birthdate and based on factors that elude me a chart is generated to show when you have super days and when you have stay under the covers day. I mapped out my life a few years down the road and was so excited to have found a road map to live by. But, it’s not exactly that accurate.
And then I dove into exercise. Who could go on a quest for self-betterment without exercise? It really is natures high. I love taking long walks with the dog, watching the birds zip around, watching the clouds drift by. It’s my insta-zen.
One of these modalities alone can’t and won’t do the trick. It’s a fine art of blending a little of this with a dash of that and just a tiny zest of this which works for me. And that’s not to say I always remember the recipe. Ok, let’s be honest. I usually don’t. But you know the best part? Finding all these ways to make life a little easier to deal with. Like the old tools in the toolbox analogy. What’s your screwdriver?