Working as a nurse in the emergency room you meet a beautiful variety of people. Among those for whom I feel a special sympathy are those with bipolar. They can of course be quite the characters: some hear voices, some live on the streets, some have an extraordinary sense of humour, some love to sing and entertain, and much more. One thing bipolar patients have in common is that they take heavy medications, particularly antidepressants that have many side effects. To whatever question you ask these patients, the answer will often be, ‘Well, I have bipolar.’ As if this one sad fact is sufficient explanation for all possible questions.
But the word ‘bipolar’, of course, does not explain everything, and this is particularly true for women having problems with hormonal changes. For example, one woman had a hysterectomy because of severe bleeding, then had to go on hormone replacement therapy. After a couple of months she completely ‘lost it’. She became convinced that she had to move far, far away and take up missionary work - to the alarm of her concerned family. Bingo. She was put on antidepressants and given the convenient label of ‘bipolar.’ Well - she took her antidepressant cross-country with her and ended up living on the streets with the homeless. Rescued finally, by some good friends, she was brought back home, where she if now off most medication, trying to stay as sane as possible, and still saddled with the heavy label of ‘bipolar.’
Many women in and around menopause go haywire, but is that necessarily bipolar? I often wonder at how strongly hormones can affect mental health, as is often the case with women after childbirth, with the so-called ‘baby blues’. Often due to the hormone progesterone easy to fix with natural progesterone cream. Likewise, women - and men in their own hormonal midlife crisis - often get depressed. But should this really be any surprise? After all, so many things are changing at this point - it’s like adolescence all over again, but in reverse! New sensations and a new view of life, letting go of the old ways and struggling with the new, There can be a lot of confusion with many challenging questions demanding to be lived. Unfortunately, many take the easy road and simply dodge the whole thing. They accept being depressed and can even console themselves with the mantra, ‘After all, I’m bipolar.’
One solution might simply be to use common sense. Bipolar or not, it’s essential to take in enough essential amino acids and different forms of protein. Many people’s protein intake is limited and unvarying: just red meat, chicken and eggs. If you read Dr. Eric Braverman’s book ‘The Edge Effect’, you’ll see that we need protein from many sources, including meat, poultry, nuts, eggs, fish, dairy, beans, and vegetables.
This approach is helpful for all of us, but especially for those with bipolar - whether it’s the real thing or not. Dark chocolate can be helpful too, offering some of the same benefits as such antidepressants as Prozac and Paxil, but with no side effects. Just as healthy foods are vital for growing children, they are crucial for anybody going through big changes or having a difficult time. So be sure to eat well and exercise, and study Dr. Braverman’s ‘The Edge Effect’. Give yourself what your brain needs to function well and create harmony in your being. Don’t worry so much about your bipolar - or the bipolar label. Apply your thoughts to the constructive self-healing that is possible.
Common sense is not so common. Good luck with finding what works for you!