Topic: The Lithium Chronicles

The Lithium Chronicles: My Psychiatrist Fired Me When I Decided to Go Off My Meds

The Lithium Chronicles: My Psychiatrist Fired Me When I Decided to Go Off My Meds

The Lithium Chronicles is a Blisstree series focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. Ross McKenzie was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 21. After 15 years of daily lithium doses, he went off his meds last February. He’s been drug free ever since. This is the continuing story of how he made his way back to a life without psychotropic medication, after he ended up walking naked down a highway on one ill-fated night.

At the end of my first year on lithium, I almost died. For an entire year I had been taking 1200 milligrams of lithium a day. At the end of the year my psychiatrist called me in a panic telling me to drop my dosage immediately:

“Your test results were in the extreme toxic range. Which can cause death.”

All psychotropic drugs are highly toxic. Which is why dosages of such drugs are extremely important. But they’re still not monitored closely enough.

In the past when people experienced mental health symptoms they received physical lobotomies. Today, they receive chemical lobotomies by ingesting high quantities of psychotropic drugs for prolonged periods. Initially the drugs act as a numbing band-aid. They mask the symptoms, but don’t address the underlying causes. We can’t just keep people on these potent drugs their entire lives.

In my case, lithium initially alleviated my symptoms. But I took that drug for twelve years. And as time went by, instead of helping with the symptoms, my body became addicted and I felt myself becoming more and more symptomatic.

Over the years, I bounced between doctors, doses and treatments but I never “got better. I tried several times to wean myself from my dependency on lithium but it wasn’t until last year, at a holistic healing clinic, that I was finally able to successfully detoxify my body. More »

The Lithium Chronicles: I Am Bipolar. Not Disabled.

The Lithium Chronicles: I Am Bipolar. Not Disabled.

The Lithium Chronicles is a Blisstree series focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. Ross McKenzie was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 21. After 15 years of daily lithium doses, he went off his meds last February. He’s been drug free ever since. This is the story of how he ended up walking naked down a highway and making his slow journey back to a life without psychotropic medication.

When I was 20 years old, I had a tumultuous relationship with my father that was only becoming more tenuous as I approached adulthood. At one point, I had all my amalgam fillings taken out of my mouth and then spent a weekend at an intensive Tony Robbins retreat. Some combination of what was happening in my brain and in my life at the time triggered a chain of events that led me to be spend the better part of two decades on lithium.

I was in college, studying in New York City when I started exhibiting abnormal behaviors. Looking back, it was a pretty classic manic episode. I was acting very out of character, and my actions soon devolved into a full blown psychotic manic episode.

But any kind of symptoms you experience now, very quickly today, you’ll find there’s a prescription for that, or a label. Someone will quickly tell you:

“Here’s what you have for the rest of your life. And here’s what you have to take.”

That’s what happened to me. At the age of 21, I ended up tied in a straight jacket in a padded room. All of the dreams that seemed achievable weeks before were suddenly outside my grasp.

But I wasn’t ready to roll over and play dead. 15 years later, I’m finally off my meds. But it was a long complicated process to get to where I am now. More »