My Healing Journey
My mother called me “Crazy Gracie” as a child, a term of endearment for my high energy and creativity. As a teen, I recall a few short episodes of depression, but I was not diagnosed as Bipolar II until age 47, when a therapist finally noticed the mild manic highs. Refusing lithium due to its side effects, I was prescribed Wellbutrin in 1993. Life seemed a little easier, less chaotic.
A year later, breast cysts and tumors suddenly appeared, bringing surgery twice in 2004-2005. Each time growths were cut out, more developed. Doctors proposed monitoring growths until one proved malignant. Waiting for cancer didn’t seem like a great plan, so I started searching for options.
I felt if I could figure out what was suddenly causing the growths, they might be stopped. I consulted Deirdre O’Connor, a licensed Naturopathic Doctor (ND) in 1996. All NDs are trained to support the body’s own healing systems using natural substances and methods. She prescribed an anti-inflammatory diet; therapeutic levels of vitamins and minerals; additional nutrients to improve cellular functioning; and systematic detoxification and avoiding use of chemicals.
Within six months, cyst growth halted, so I knew this approach was working, but in 1998 one new benign tumor appeared. The only chemical I still used was the antidepressant. Mania and depression had made life stressful but were never life-threatening for me. Cancer might be. I tapered off the drug to see what would happen. Within two months, the new tumor disappeared and all growths stopped. I had eliminated the cause!
Joyfully, I celebrated. Although I refused all psychiatric drugs due to potential side effects, I knew it was essential to find other treatments. My mood swings were getting worse with age. Halting the tumors made me believe it might be possible to end bipolar symptoms too - if I could figure out those causes. An avid reader, I raced through dozens of natural health books, searching for clues.
In November 1999, I consulted a holistic mental health treatment clinic with a track record of success. Lab tests revealed I had two of four “inherited errors,” known to be contributing factors in mental diagnoses. Thanks to groundbreaking work by Abram Hoffer, MD, and other Canadian psychiatrists in the 1960s, specific natural supplements, unique for each patient, were used to correct extreme nutrient imbalances created by these errors. In just four months, my manic highs ended.
Yet the cause of my depression remained elusive for 15 long months. Clinical trials by Andrew Stoll, MD, revealed fish oils dramatically improved patients’ bipolar symptoms and brain function. I ordered his book, The Omega 3 Connection. Within 48 hours of taking 3,000 mg of these essential fats, along with my usual daily supplements, the gray blanket of depression magically lifted off my head and has not returned.
Today, I first work to resolve each health challenge holistically, and rarely need a drug.
I share what I have learned to give HOPE for recovery to others struggling with mental illnesses.