I recently went off of my meds, and have been without them for two months. It hasnt been easy, and I am much more hard to understand than the average women (my poor poor husband), however, I do beleive I am getting to be better as time goes on. Of course, I am a BPII, and a less severe case at that. On top of all of this, I have attended therapy for 6 years now. I miss it dearly.
In any case, it is possible for some, if the right things are in place. Im finding that a therapist would help, and having support from family is even more important if you decide to manage without meds. Your family needs to be there for you at all times, so they can tell you if you have completely lost it. I am also finding that adequate sleep, better nutrition (I really have to be good about this one) and exercise has helped me become more stable.
Hope that this helps you all out.
I'm only taking Ativan right now, due to allergies to most other mood stabilizers. Lithium worked for me for 15 years until it damaged my kidneys. I feel fairly stable at the moment, but the future doesn't look very good. There are research studies that show only 10% of people who discontinue longterm lithium use remain stable after 3 years. Most have a relapse, with average hospitalization stay of 66 days. Not exactly a rosy future.
My pdoc will be discharging me in a month, and I need to find a good therapist for supportive care. Without support, my chances will be even less.
However, I have learned strategies to avoid stress and overstimulation, while being able to hold onto my job, which is a great support in itself.
af and all,
glad that my rant had the desired efffect on at least one person!:) LIGHTEN UP about DOCS. they're just people like you and me. when i was in college (more years ago than i care to remember) my neighbor was a last-year med student. we got drunk countless times together and moaned and groaned about the state of our university, the state of the USA (viet nam era), and the generral state of the sucking world. ed told me that a doctor's diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis are all a "best guess." he said that we pay for the professional advice, just like with a lawyer. a lawyer doesn't read every jury correctly and doesn't win every case. similarly, a doctor doesn't diagnose every case correctly, prescribe every patient corectly, or prognosticate every case correctly. they're fallable. they aren't gods (no matter what the AMA wants you to believe). they're human. they eventually die just like the rest of us.
ed was a good friend. we lost touch after i got my ma and he got his md. i miss our chats. i learned a lot from him. it's nice having a friend who is a dr. :)
sorry for another rant, af. i got carried away to days before debilitating chronic pain and its adjunct, bi-polar disorder and severe depession. you are spot on about being through an emotional wringer.