Trusting Your Bipolar Medical Professional

February 8, 2010 Cristina Fender

It’s hard to trust my psychiatric nurse. How do you trust someone completely who could turn around and put you in a mental hospital? I used to tell her what was going on with me in small doses. She was on a need to know basis. And, then one day, I began to tell her everything. She constantly tells me that I have a lack of coping skills, but I disagree. It’s not the coping skills that are holding me back. It’s my bipolar disorder.psychiatrist1236625305I’ve disagreed with my bipolar medical professional many times. I’ve disagreed with her method of treatment. Then there are times when I’m so run down that I hope for a miracle and take whatever’s doled out to me. That doesn’t happen too often. It usually occurs when I’m so depressed that I can’t see past myself.

For the most part, I am in charge of my care.

I research bipolar medications and I bring my suggestions to my meetings with my bipolar treatment professional. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we disagree. If it’s a medication that I believe is necessary, then I’m insistent. My medical professional is by no means a pushover. She stands her ground if it’s something she believes in wholeheartedly. I believe that makes us a good team. I don’t want a pushover, but I do want someone who listens to me.

My bipolar medical professional listens to me.

She seems genuinely interested in my motivation and how I’m feeling. I find it a relief to be totally honest with her. When my father died this past year, she was sympathetic and reminded me that a life change like that could send me over the edge. I was already feeling pretty depressed, so I agreed to be put on an antidepressant.

I was wary to be put on an antidepressant, but suicidal thinking is not good and that needed to change. Antidepressants can cause mania and quickly put a person with bipolar disorder into a manic episode. I didn’t want that, but I didn’t have a choice. I wish I had stood up for Prozac, though. It’s my go-to antidepressant that really works. I was given Pristiq, a good antidepressant to snap you out of the mood quickly, but it cuts down on my sleeping patterns.

Pristiq snapped me out of my depression and I was able to function normally again. I’ve come a long way in trusting my bipolar medical professional. She’s high on my list of bipolar resources.

APA Reference
Fender, C. (2010, February 8). Trusting Your Bipolar Medical Professional, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Cristina Fender

February, 20 2010 at 2:10 am

Perhaps this is a game of semantics, but I see only the possibility of remission from bipolar disorder, in the form of "being stabilized", as opposed to recovery, which I think of as a cure. I think of recovery at the episode level ... as being recurring. Rehabilitation is life long, isn't it? I would think when someone claims a status of "bipolar free" they mean remission, in the same sense that someone with MS experiences remission between episodes.
Self-awareness is most important for those of us who must learn to live with bipolar disorder.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 23 2010 at 6:55 am

That's a different way to look at it. I think of it differently. I believe that recovery is the process it takes to get to remission. But I don't see total remission in my future. I've had a rocky year and it's hard to think that far. Instead I want to think that recovery is the goal that I want to attain.

February, 18 2010 at 2:31 am

When I have to explain to someone with no knowledge what bipolar is like, I liken it to Diabetes. Sure the diabetic takes meds, but that is not where treatment and/or recovery stops. Lifestyle choices are equally important, ie to try to stabilize the blood sugar. So I find with bipolar. The meds keep me from wanting to die, keep me out of the hospital, essentially. But, I have know myself enough to be able to identify my triggers. I guess what I'm saying is we can aide in our own "recovery" by changing our responses to things. Recovery will elude those who remain a victim, passive to their bipolar.
Good psychiatric practitioners are hard to come by. It can take a frustrating search to find the right fit. Knowledge is power ~ we must inform ourselves; no one will do that for us. I have had fabulous results from the combination of Zoloft and Seroquel XR. The Seroquel XR treats bipolar depression, but its also a very effective mood stabilizer, in addition to being a sleep aide. It also works like a charm on anxiety/phobias; my anxiety is /was severe, debilitating. No, I can function.
There isn't a recovery from bipolar (as in cure) so much as there is learning to live within the confines of bipolar. IMHO.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 18 2010 at 4:18 am

I think you can recover from bipolar, but it is through learning to overcome the obstacles that you can say you're in recovery. There are those out there who claim that their lives are bipolar free, but I question those. How can one ever be bipolar free? That's what I'm on a quest to find out.
I think that finding the right bipolar team is key to unlocking the mysteries of bipolar disorder.

February, 13 2010 at 4:10 am

Being diagnosed with a mental health condition and given a label is devastating in itself; people often just don't see us in the same way again. Being hospitalised can be a traumatic experience when we're under so much mental and emotional distress. Being given various medications and their resulting side-effects can be an added burden especially as it can take so long to receive the least deadening. I believe that if I had had talking therapy with a trained counsellor when I was first becoming ill, I wouldn't have gone through so unpleasant experiences and could have used my extreme feelings in productive ways. Often it is others lack of understanding that tips us over the edge and I see what is regarded as mental illness as based on fear in ourselves and others very basically. Short term use of meds can be a relief and being able to get enough sleep can prevent mood swings. Having 'bipolar' can be a degrading experience and a devastating blow to our self-esteem and confidence in our own perceptions. Using cognitive behavioural therapy can help to some extent and treating the whole person; diet, exercise, rest, learning to say no and understanding our limits. But person-centred councelling should be made more accessable and I think if more people with the diagnosis actually trained in this sort of helping work, there would be more hope for recovery and less reliance on a lifetime of drugs whose long-term side-effects are largely unknown and certainly not described in any of the leaflets I've been given.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 14 2010 at 12:41 am

Being bipolar is a gamble on both ends. Taking medication is a gamble because it doesn't always work on everyone. Talk therapy is a gamble because we don't know if the person we're talking to is qualified enough to be helping us. Life is a great gamble for us, but I think that with some priority shifting and some great help that we can find our way back to the person we were meant to be. There is hope. We just have to grab it.

February, 11 2010 at 7:47 am

Its nice to see a discussion on Bi-polar and I can understand alot of the suggestions and concerns about different types of treatment. I am interested in the DBSA support group. Currently, I am looking for a different prescribing doctor or nurse, who I find trustworthy and more in tune with potential side effects of some of the drugs prescribed.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 11 2010 at 10:33 am

Side effects are hard to deal with, but they're easier to deal with if your medical professional evokes trust in you. I, too, am willing to check out a DBSA support group. I wonder if I will feel like I'm a different level or if I will fit right in? Only one way to find out.

Kate Carter
February, 10 2010 at 7:29 pm

I feel for everyone that has bi-polar. I took Prozac for 17 years and it is not for bi-polar and really messed me up. I now take lamictal and have for 8 yrs. it has done wonders. You need your meds, we have all lied to are ourselves hoping we did not. I go to a self help group called DBSA depression bi-polar support alliance. I am the facilatator along with others. It has made a very big difference in my life you get to be with others who have your illness so they understand you. AQnd I have made the best friends I have ever had. Life is hard and there are days I want to give up but I want to see my kids get married and have kids so I can be a grandmother. And I want to be here for my friends, so now suside is not an option, It is always in the back of my mind but I will never act on it. Life is now worth living. I hope you can all find the Love I have. Kate

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 11 2010 at 5:07 am

I'm so glad that you feel like your life is worth living. You're doing a lot to aid you in recovery. I especially like that, in helping others, you are helping yourself.
It's always good to find something to live for, especially when it's yourself!

February, 10 2010 at 5:20 am

I am glad to hear of others who have had so-o-o-o much fun with this disorder. Some days I truly curse it!! I was diagnosed when I was 13 and am now 48 years old. Didn't start a medicine regiman until about 14 years ago. At first I was so scared of going off the edge again as I did 14 years ago that at the first sign of fear, depression, anxiety or anything that I had trouble coping with, I ran for another drug. As the years have gone by, I have discovered that wasn't really the answer. I am now working off of my meds slowly. I am going to stay on one medicine with the blessing of my Psych doctor and we will take that 3 times a day to hopefully keep me level. ( as level as we ever get ) I have lost weight, ( good for the self esteem) can feel again and so far so good. I am not quite as settled as I would like to be, but well on my way. Today, suicide is just not an option as is drinking or smoking. I have been clean and sober for 29 years. I will wish you all well and keep in touch.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 10 2010 at 6:58 am

I don't believe that medication is the only answer to bipolar. We not only have to be on the right medication for us (and they vary per person), but we have to do something to make us feel well. Self-medicating is not the answer either. I think that we all have to take it one day at a time and do what's right for ourselves.

Rochelle Gollin
February, 10 2010 at 1:06 am

Just want to let you know that after suffering many years w bipolar in which no medication helped, and having alienated my children which has practically broken my heart, the thing that finally really helped was joining a group of other people that were bipolar. Not only was it wonderful to feel free to discuss my feelings and problems, I learned a lot from other members in the group. One of the most important things was learning to notice the very early warnings signals of an attack so I could try and head it off. It was also encouraging to see people returning week after week, and seeing them improve, fall, and improve again. I guess the important thing about that was seeing others that did not give in.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 10 2010 at 3:36 am

I'm so glad you found a place where you can be open and be yourself. It's a wonderful feeling to feel accepted for who you are. It's even better that, in the process, you've received valuable information that can help you cope in your situation. It's too bad that medication didn't work for you, but you're finding your way regardless. That makes me smile.

February, 9 2010 at 9:46 am

I'm so happy to read about a success story. It points me in a better direction. I don't agree with my psychiatrist's harshness. It's way too abrasive and uncaring, and affects my well-being. If possible, I'm going to make a change. I'm in the process now. (Yes for being proactive!)
I'm still learning to manage my bipolar disorder. I'm about to celebrate one year of no relapses. I had five before that. Somedays I feel pretty content; other days I'm depressed and crying in my soup. I keep hoping things will get better.
Thanks for your blog.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 9 2010 at 10:13 pm

If you're not happy with your psychiatrist, then you're doing the right thing by making a change. You need a caring professional that will help you make good medical choices.
I don't see how you can celebrate a year of no relapses when you're crying in your soup. Even the smallest and shortest mood changes are considered relapses. I don't want to discourage you. You sound like you're doing all you can to be well. Finding a new doctor and a new medication regimen will go a long way to finding the path to wellness.
I wish you the best. Please let us know how you're doing.

Pam Isaac
February, 9 2010 at 6:54 am

In addition to trusting my Psychiatrist I believe I have found a great medication combination of Seroquel and Zoloft. In addition to meidcaiton I also exercise at the YMCA every other day, attend a small group study with Christian women (currently studying Heaven by Randy Alcorn), pursue hobbies like geneaology with discovery of my revoultionary war veteran to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, involvement with my daughters and my newly born granddaughter.
I still have my manic days and depressive days although not as severe. I'm not sure I'll ever return to full-time work. But now I feel pretty good!
Thanks for sharing.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 9 2010 at 7:11 am

Hi, Pam,
I'm glad to hear that your medication is working for you. You must have a good relationship with your doctor.
It's so nice to hear a success story. You're taking charge of your life and living it despite your bipolar! Bravo!
I hope we hear from you more!

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