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Thread: A long journey back

  1. #1
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default A long journey back

    I was diagnosed in 2006 at the age of 48 with Bipolar II Disorder. After that, the City of Portland provided me, among about 30 women in our homeless shelter, with a housing case manager in a trial program that helped us get out of the shelter and into transitional housing. From there I got into subsidized disability housing. That ended 7 years of bouncing in and out of homeless shelters. But once upon a time I led a busy and fulfilling life. At one time, despite my acute fear of heights, I was a flight attendant in the airline industry for a few years. Later, I became involved in social justice issues in my community. In 1996, I was elected to the board of directors of the Boulder chapter of the ACLU in Boulder, Colorado, and from there I was elected as representative to the state affiliate board in Denver. In 1997, I was an also-ran candidate for Boulder City Council. But in 1998, my husband died unexpectedly and I went over an edge I didn't know was there, and I've only recently come back.
    I lost my job in a financial advisor's office the following year due to what I now know was hypo-mania. I spiraled down into homelessness. At one point, I panhandled for a living in the same city I ran for city council in. I had another low point when I lived in a homeless shelter here in Portland, Oregon. It was the fall of the year and someone stole my coat, so I wore a warm bathrobe that someone else gave me to replace it. I remember I came across a grocery cart abandoned on a sidewalk downtown. I put my heavy backpack in it and pushed it around. It seemed to make sense at the time. I had a police contact that day. It surprised me how diplomatic and kind the officer was. I'd had police contacts before in Boulder, though usually it was because I panhandled, a generally discouraged activity. I was lucky, they never arrested me. I always felt menaced by the police, but not this time. In retrospect, I understand now that what this officer saw was clearly a very mentally ill individual. I thought I suffered from poverty, but I suffered from mental illness. It wasn't until suicide threatened me that I finally got a diagnosis of bipolar, and then got into housing and off the street.
    I then spent 7 years drugged out of my mind on bipolar medications. Once they had me drugged, I became very compliant and couldn't question or investigate alternatives. They completely took away my will and drive to know. I gained a hundred pounds from the medications in 2 years. Most bipolar patients are obese and have diabetes, metabolic disorder and heart disease caused by the medications. With what little will I could muster, I fought against the weight gain restricting carbs to 20-30 grams, and calories to 1100-1300 a day, no sugar, no grains, and I lost a hundred pounds slowly over the next 5 years. I was determined not to get diabetes, but my blood glucose got worse every year anyway. I didn't know that the medications damage pancreatic cells and cause diabetes even if you don't gain weight.
    Eventually, my doctor sent me to counseling and my counselor actually referred me to a naturopathic college that saw clients. I found I couldn't afford the consulting fees, but I thought, wow, you can treat this naturally? I found information on the internet. I started tapering slowly off my meds, it took 2 years. In my internet research on the side effects and withdrawals from my drugs, I found out that anti-psychotics actually shrink your brain. Post-mortem studies on bipolar patients on anti-psychotics like Abilify and Seroquel, the fifth and sixth most prescribed medications in the US, showed that brain volume was decreased by an average of 3% per year of use, and bipolar patients lost an average of 13-16 years of longevity. The losses were in both gray and white brain matter, neurons, axons, and dendrites. I had been on anti-psychotics for 7 years. I took an internet IQ test. In my prior experience, I had found that some of them were pretty accurate, testing to within 2 points of my known IQ. I took another IQ test and another, not believing the results. I had lost 21 points off my IQ. Fortunately, I had some to spare, but a new quest was born. I wanted to get my brain back. I've successfully been off bipolar medication since July of this year, following a protocol of amino acids, vitamins, Omega 3's, healthy diet and exercise. I've lost 15 more pounds, and I have about 40 more to go. I'm struggling to get my blood glucose down below 90 mg/dl, neurogenesis can't proceed in the presence of high glucose. I intend to lose weight, get healthy, grow my brain back, regain my lost IQ, save my life, and write an ebook about how I did it to help other bipolar people get off killer medications and get their health and life back.
    I could use all the advice I can get on how to bring my blood glucose down, and how to increase my brain volume. I'm sure being a part of this community can be of great benefit to me, and I can offer benefit to this community. Thank you for bearing with my long-winded story.
    Tara

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Welcome to Hawkes Health Tara. You will find this a very supportive community.
    There are members here that have more knowledge and experience than I do regarding natural treatment suitable for the issues you mention. Two things you can do via your diet are to eliminate all grains from your diet and to add coconut oil to your diet. I will leave further suggestions to the rest of the crew who can give you more detailed information and information on why certain strategies could help you.
    Although it relates to Multiple Sclerosis, you might find this video useful.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc
    Congratulations on your decision to do what you can to improve your health naturally
    Last edited by Aaltrude; 12-08-13 at 02:46 AM.

  3. #3
    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Tara, welcome to our site! Yours is an astonishing and inspiring story. What a long uphill journey it has been, and what amazing courage and determination you have shown. You join a group of others who have had equally profound setbacks and who have clawed their way back. You'll hear their stories in time, I'm sure. I've reversed my Type 2 diabetes but am still fighting to lower my A1c below 5.2. Everyone has a hill to climb... I think you'll find lots of support and encouragement here!
    ➤ Happiness is the frosting on the cake of contentment.

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    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Wow! Welcome Tara, and I hope you find here on HH the help and support you need. I recommend spending time on reading relevant articles in the archives - there is a wealth of information there.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Maurya's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Welcome to the forum, Tara! In making such good progress into improved health, perhaps it was fortunate that you have found yourself in Portland where one of the few naturopathic colleges is located. Best of good fortune to your future endeavors in health! Several of the members here have a great wealth of knowledge.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Welcome Tara. Your story is inspiring and thank you for sharing. Congratulations on all the things you are doing to heal. For the blood sugar, possibly look into nutritional ketosis. I am currently controlling Type 1 diabetes with diet alone. Nutritional ketosis is high fat, moderate protein and very low carb. We do have articles here at Hawkes and a few blog entries. It is not for everyone. The high fat diet is also very very good for the brain. Here is some stuff at Hawkes' Health on ketosis: http://www.hawkeshealth.net/communit...?searchid=1129
    Last edited by mellowsong; 12-08-13 at 12:47 PM.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story — welcome to the forum! You have gone through so much and have taken very difficult steps to take charge of your health and heal — good for you!

    I don't know if you have read the book by Julia Ross The Mood Cure? Since you mentioned amino acids I thought maybe you might know of her work. She does nutritional work for treating all types of biochemical imbalances and also talks about gluten and how it damages and negatively affects the brain. We have some discussion of her book and work here on HH at:
    http://www.hawkeshealth.net/communit...ght=julia+ross

  8. #8
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Thanks, Aaltrude. I love Ted Talks, I just subscribed to them and I've been watching the ones on the brain, but I wouldn't have run across this one that way as it's titled Minding Your Mitochondria. Thank you so much, it is really relevant.
    Last edited by Tara48; 12-08-13 at 01:18 PM. Reason: I forgot to attribute it to Aaltrude

  9. #9
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Thanks, Mellowsong. I tried your link, but it didn't go anywhere. I'm very interested in ketosis, so I'll try to find the subject in the threads.

  10. #10
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Thanks Reesacat, I'm familiar with the book from internet discussions of it among bipolar people, but I haven't read it yet. Although I have been taking the amino acids she recommends with good effect. I should own that book, though.

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    I got a copy at the library Tara. I also am on the Wahls protocol mentioned in TED talk Aaltrude recommended.

  12. #12
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Yes, Maurya, it was very fortunate I wound up in Portland, a very supportive and welcoming city for me. There are hundreds of Naturopathic Physicians here, and I found one that takes the State's Medicaid, and how great is it that the State approves the use of N.D.s.

  13. #13
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Thanks, Julieanne, I'm going to be spending many hours reading through the archives. This website is a treasure!

  14. #14
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Thanks, Islander, for befriending me on M's website, and ushering me in here. What a find! I'm so glad M trashed the Affordable Care Act so that I was highly motivated to make a comment. Otherwise, I might never have visited the Comments section. Oh, well he would have driven me there eventually on some topic. The Life Extension Foundation publishes a lot of articles on glucose control. I haven't tried everything yet, I'm spending all my money on Aminos and other nutrients, but cinnamon looks promising -
    http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2010/...-Killer_01.htm I used cinnamon in my homemade soup last night, and my fasting blood glucose this morning was 86. I rarely get below 90. LEF has a product with cinnamon water extracted so you don't get the fat soluble toxic aldehyde with it - http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Suppleme...rominex-3.html I'm going to try it later this month. I'll tell you my results with it.

  15. #15
    New Member Tara48's Avatar
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    Default Re: A long journey back

    Hi Reesecat, thanks for reminding me of the library, I'll look there. How are you doing on that protocol, it looks very promising. I'm already eating 5 cups of vegetable a day in a big salad with lots of extra virgin olive oil and raw blue cheese, but I guess I could expand it to 3 meals of 3 cups each pretty easily.

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