Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Shift In Perspective

I feel a bit like the rug's been pulled out from under me.

Let me explain. I've been reading and commenting on a lot of blogs during the past few months, following interesting links, and doing some research of my own, and one of the things I've learned is that in some people, symptoms of bipolar disorder can be caused by ingesting aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in that Diet Coke I used to drink by the gallon from the ages of about 19 to 40 (with a break in there when I was pregnant and nursing).

Considering the lack of family history of bipolar itself (not denying the suicides, or the depression that runs rampant on my mother's side, or the one cousin who could possibly be cyclothymic), and considering that I have been stable for the three years since I stopped most of my psych meds and the aspartame, I've got to consider that perhaps my experience of bipolar disorder was chemically induced, and perhaps now that I'm not using aspartame any longer, I may not have any more symptoms.

This little piece of information doesn't change the story in any way. I still had the depressions, I still had the Big Mania, I was still diagnosed with bipolar, and at the time, that diagnosis was correct...No, the essential story is intact.

What has changed is my perspective, my perception of the story. There is another lens through which to view those events, and that changes everything.

It's interesting how a shift in perspective can completely change how you interpret and how you feel about the story in question. With this new way of interpreting my feelings and my behavior over those twenty years, I now find myself feeling a lot more hope for the future. I don't feel, in the back of my mind, that I'm somehow broken, that I'm living on borrowed time, or that I'm an episode waiting to happen. I feel more optimistic that the healing I have done in the last three years might actually be permanent, and not just a nice lull in the bipolar storm.

Amazing what a difference that makes.

10 comments:

bipolarjourney.com said...

Wow, that's a great perspective. You could be right. The docotor thought my dad had Alzheimers. Did all the blood work, but it came back negative. Come to find out it was the diet drinks. He was allergic to those chemicals. He quit drinking diet drinks and symptoms left. That was several years ago and he still never touches the stuff.

Jazz said...

Wow...sorry for your dad...it's amazing what some of these food additives that are supposed to be safe can do to us, isn't it?

Gianna said...

Jazz,
I'm happy for you and I too have come to similar conclusions as you have....my "bipolar" was drug induced.

But I'm different in that it should never have been called bipolar...and my interpretation of your situation if the same.

You were toxic on chemicals...how is that a brain disease called bipolar?

Certainly we've experienced symptom clusters that get labeled bipolar...but why hang on to the label?

Anyway I'm thinking out loud...not really trying to get you to think like me...

It's just so many people labeled these days have their first episode induced by drugs or in your case a chemical...I don't buy that it's anything but toxicity...

did you see Furious Seasons yesterday?

See Here

http://www.furiousseasons.com/archives/2008/05/stop_smoking_drug_chantix_starts_bipolar_disorder_in_woman.html

Jazz said...

I did see that Furious Seasons post. I agree with you completely, that it is nothing more than toxicity. But that wouldn't sell more drugs, would it? Better for pharma to deny that their drugs can cause these kinds of reactions...better to act like they are doing us a favor by uncovering our "latent bipolar disorder", since it makes their customer base that much larger.

Mark Krusen said...

It does make you wonder.I've been on different meds for high blood pressure and cholesterol for years.Did they finally set off the disorder or was there even a disorder? Hmmmmm...

Annie said...

Jazz, What an interesting post. I agree that there are chemicals and even life events that can mimic bipolar.When at all possible no medication is best, meds are often toxic. In my case I have been correctly diagnosed bipolar for many years. I am glad you do not have to be on meds! This was my first time on your site and I will come back. Annie

Jazz said...

Mark--
Yes, I wonder the same about my brother. He's has been on all sorts of different meds for years, and now he is suffering from depression.

Jazz said...

Annie--
Thanks for stopping by! It is a relief to have another possible explanation. As to whether I'm right or not, time will tell, but I have a feeling there is something to it. Now to see if the doctor will "undiagnose" me!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
Another thought-provoking post! Yes, I agree that perspective is everything. Whether or not we consider ourselves bipolar, the important thing--at least for me--is that we believe we can get better.

Susan

Jazz said...

Susan--
Yes. Hope is such an important part of the equation--for anyone.