Being Bipolar – 3 of 3 – Contrasting psychiatric views #Moncrieff

Being Bipolar (Channel 4 shown on 6th March 2015):

Sian, who has been diagnosed as bipolar II and psychotherapist, Philippa Perry, meet with an NHS psychiatrist, who waffles at some length about chemical imbalances, without being able to suggest which chemicals could be out of balance or why such an imbalance might exist.

After this, Philippa meets with psychiatrist, Dr Joanna Moncrieff, who shares her knowledge as an expert in psychiatric drug research. Joanna makes it clear that the psychiatric drugs are mainly sedating people and not treating any specific chemical imbalance.

I believe all three of the subjects of this documentary would be living better lives if they were getting help based on their real challenges rather than from a psychiatric system that talks of treating chemical imbalances and genetic disorders from birth. All three had things happen to them that influenced the way they feel and expressed their moods. All three need help with understanding and overcoming their troubles.

At the end Philippa shares, “I don’t know how useful the bipolar diagnosis is, because they are all so different. I feel it might be more helpful to approach everyone as individuals with unique issues, because although being labelled bipolar may help some people make sense of their moods it too often marks the end of self-exploration when really, in fact, it should be the beginning.”

It really is time to stop just Being Bipolar and for more of us to be Rethinking Bipolar and so reaching our fullest potential.

You did not have bipolar disorder after all #bipolarlabel #bipolardiagnosis

A few weeks ago a reader added this comment,

People who recover after a bipolar diagnosis are ones who never truly had bipolar to begin with

David is not the first person to say this to me. It is certainly an idea I have thought about a lot. It is a fair comment as those who are convinced they have a disorder without recovery, rarely make good long-term recoveries. Certainly, recovery can be limited by anyone who tells us we have a specific disorder and by those who say, ‘No one ever fully recovers.’

Around the world, millions of people are being mis-diagnosed without much evidence of extreme manic and depressive episodes. I was told I had manic depression then told I had bipolar. The drugs I was told to take for bipolar helped me feel better for a while then gradually made me less and less well. The drugs eventually became the main cause for my worsening symptoms. To survive I had to take less drugs. Eventually my doctor said I did not need the psychiatric drugs at all.

Just a few days of using the Mood Mapping grid is all it takes for most people to realize they are not so bipolar after all. Using mood mapping reminds us that we all experience a range of moods and we find bipolarity is still very rare. There certainly is no clear-cut line between a ‘bipolar person’ and a ‘non-bipolar person’. Everyone has emotions and everyone can struggle with their emotions but while there is a diagnosis of bipolar there will always be people who can accept the label and others who reject the label.

I was taking the psychiatric drugs; believing in the bipolar diagnosis, attending bipolar meetings, facilitating a group for people with the bipolar diagnosis and so on. I had extremes of mood and there were plenty of health professionals saying I needed the drugs. Like many other people I have successfully withdrawn from the drugs. It was a slow process taking me 12 years. I have changed my life and increased the ways I have cope with stress to do this.

I recognize that a lot of people continue to find drugs a useful tool to help to manage from day-to-day. If; the drugs are helping you feel better, you are happy with your level of fitness and you are fully aware of any long-term drug effects then it is understandable that you want to stick with the drug and diagnosis. If the drugs and diagnosis are not working for you or you find you become troubled by the longer term effects of drugs and diagnosis then it is best not to rule out a change to either/both.

Too much bipolar

Too much bipolar?

I’m not saying whether this post from ‘Bipolar Comic’ Kit Johnson is funny or not – I just think it is an interesting discussion of the idea that there could be far too many people saying they are bipolar without necessarily having had the kind of extreme symptoms normally associated with a bipolar diagnosis.

Link to Kit’s 24th August 2012 blog:

%d bloggers like this: