D_J, a little while after I was first diangosed with bipolar disorder I decided to go off my mood stabalizer. I then just stopped seeing the psychiatrist, and only saw the psychologist. The psychologist figured out I wasn't on my meds. Strangley enough she then told me that since I had been doing fine for about 3 months off meds, she didn't think I had bipolar disorder. This is exactly what I wanted to hear. Unfortunately, this woman didn't know what she was talking about.
I was doing really well off meds for almost a year. However, then I crashed with a full blown manic episode. I ended up in the hospital. I almost didn't finish the semester of college. All my professors knew about what happened, and it was really embarrassing. And it was really hard to get stable again. I say that I hit the lowest low that I have ever been in after I came out of the mania. The worst part of it was that I knew that it wouldn't have happened if I had only stayed on the meds. I knew that I could have prevented my life falling to pieces.
D_J, what meds are you currently on? I know that it is vital to be on a mood stabalizer. However, I know that they might add or drop other meds. Like if you are on an antidepressant and have not been depressed, they might taper the dose and see how you do. Sometimes, during a mania they use an antipsychotic. However, once you are stabalized for a while they might discontinue the antispychotic. I would at least talk to your doctor about the best options. You also mentioned expense. Some of the mood stabalizers are cheaper than others, so you might want to bring that up too. I have found it is always best to be upfront with the psychiatrist. They are in that field so they can help people.