I am quite new to BP world in general, but the medication seems to be quite a controversial topic.
On one hand we have the general medical consensus that the meds are for life. This consensus, of course, is very handy to the big pharma. From their point of view it would be perfect if it could be concluded that generics need to be illegal and only the most expensive meds work. However, I have read studies that unmedicated BP disorder makes the brain literally shrink.
Lithium, however, makes grey matter amount increase:
The idea that my brain would physically shrink is scary enough for me to give up on the idea of being “med free”. However I understand it isn’t so easy for everyone to accept.
The other group of patients, sometimes considering themselves to be feeling well, say that it is possible to go “med free” and that medications totally aren’t for life. The problem with that is that those people are generally speaking not psychiatrists. Instead, they are bipolar patients who might, or might not, be suffering from delusions and/or mania symptoms. As a person that had a very pleasant 7-month hypomanic period I can attest that I didn’t consider myself ill then, until I saw a list of hypomanic symptoms and I realised I had almost all of them in that period. It felt, in a word, amazing. I loved being happy, energetic, creative, sexy, self-confident, and being in personal contact with a deity who speaks to me didn’t even feel like hallucination, it just felt like I’ve been chosen, and I was the son of god. I didn’t consider myself ill. And remembering that makes me doubt if those people who swear they function unmedicated, are indeed healthy.
I have no problem with being on medication for the rest of my life. I am in the good situation where I don’t have to pay much for the medication in question. I don’t feel like I am worse or weaker person for being medicated — I don’t think cancer sufferers decide to go med free because they feel weak for needing chemotherapy, after all. But there are people who will get out of their way to tell you how unnecessary meds are. I don’t need to convince anyone to think my way; my advice applies only to myself. But if I already encountered such conflicting information having been officially diagnosed for a month… how much more is coming?