I know that you have been having such a hard time w/meds, I am sorry. I know what that's like.
I stopped my bp meds back in October, in a few short months it'll be a year. I have to completely disagree with Olivia on this one...Not everyone who is not on meds has their bp become worse. Mine has become much more manageable since I stopped meds a) because I'm not dealing with disabling, crippling side effects b) the meds for me were making my emotional and mental state much worse c) my sleep was very much affected as well as my anxiety d) also my pdoc and I could not agree on what meds to use. The antipsychotics were the worse drugs I've ever experienced. However, everyone is different.
Also, I made sure when I went off the meds to try and stay off of them as long as I can, so that I can have a clear idea of how "no meds" is really affecting me. I think if I went off them for a few months and then back on, I would have no idea which end was up. Now that it's almost been a year and I've taken the time to learn coping methods etc., I have never been more clear on who I am and the difference of living with this illness on and off meds.
Withdrawls only become severe if you don't go off the meds slowly and as advised by a doc or pdoc. You're always going to experience something, but the withdrawls can also be managed.
You should never ever go off of any meds without talking to your pdoc first, ever. My pdoc was hesitant and believes all bp's need meds to survive. But he seems to be more supportive each time I see him. He knows that I am open to going back on meds someday if things become unmanageable, but until then, I am doing much better. And he can see that too I think.
My moods are very unstable. My depression gets bad, but I haven chosen to use tools I learned in my bp support group back in the winter to deal. Or I'll call the Crisis Line in my area when my depression gets out of hand. Just had to do that this past weekend.
Exercise=huge benefit, I read about Vitamins too when I was going off meds, and it's crazy how each Vitamin can really affect our energy levels, mood etc. I don't take any, but might talk to my regular doc about them someday
I just cannot stress enough, that not everyone with this illness needs meds, and some of us are saved by the meds. For those who don't have a hard time with side effects and find the right meds, it's so great that that kind of treatment is working for them. Because the whole idea is for all of us to feel better and be able to live our lives. It is different for everyone and I know from chatting with you and reading your posts, the side effects are almost as tough as the illness is. So is it worth it? Only you can make that decision (with pdoc support).
I am so proud to say that I am living proof it is possible for someone to cope with this illness without meds. It might be temporary, but it also may be lifelong. I am taking it one day at a time.
Bipolar II, Anxiety/Panic Disorder
--currently not on meds for bp--