BP Naturally

My Drug-Free Journey of Managing Bipolar Disorder

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Challenge #1: Increased Water Intake


So let’s begin the challenges and begin simply. I do not expect this to have a huge effect on my BPD symptoms, but several studies have shown that dehydration does, in fact, have a significant effect on mood, not just in BP patients, but in all people, and especially in women. Since I know I am dehydrated most days and I do suffer headaches, poor concentration, kidney pain and am prone to UTIs, I figure this is a good place to begin. My goal is to drink 50% my body weight in water (in ounces) per day. So, since I weigh 120-125 lbs, I plan to drink 60+ ounces of water each day, insha’Allah (God willing). I have done some research both online and in books about the effects of dehydration on BP and have drawn my parameters from this research. I’ll list resources at the end.
So, who is going to take the water challenge with me? 


  • I will drink approximately 60+ ounces of water per day.
  • Our water, in Wichita, is not fluoridated, so I may be drinking tap water, though, when possible (and preferably) I will try to drink as much spring water as possible.
  • I will drink at least 16oz 30-60 minutes before I eat each morning.
  • I will avoid caffeinated drinks (though not quit completely, that’s a whole other challenge, lol) as they are known to dehydrate tissues, which is counter-productive.
  • I will add 1/4 – 1/2 of the juice of a lemon to my morning water and drink it warm. (This aids in digestion, adds vitamin c, and helps level out the pH… all indicated in several studies to aid in BP symptoms, amongst other things). I may add pure, raw, organic honey… hey, I don’t know how much I’m gonna like the taste of this stuff, lol.
  • I will avoid drinking water during meals (which impedes digestion) and will, instead, try to drink it throughout the day.
  • I will keep track of my approximate daily water intake and differences in physical and psychological symptoms throughout this challenge.
  • I will continue this challenge for a minimum of four (4) weeks and will make adjustments, as necessary, along the way.
  • If I notice improvements in my health/symptoms, I will continue this program as I add in additional challenges to find the combination of adjustments to aid in the management of my BP symptoms.
  • The challenge begins tomorrow morning. September 18, 2012.
Pretty easy, right? I often go days without drinking water, it’s awful. So this is a big deal for me. And the headaches and depression are always quick to follow. When that happens, I usually drink coffee in order to curb the headache and lift the depression which further exacerbates the dehydration. Vicious cycle. So, here’s to a step in the right direction. CHEERS!

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POEM: My Heart Hurts More Because the Pain is Familiar

My Heart Hurts More…

My heart hurts more
Because the pain is familiar
I’ve known what its like
To quell the noisy dream
To leave it to collect dust
To whisper and whither
To think of it only
as a memory

And I’ve given up love
For the sake of devotion
Heard my heart sigh
In misery
My heart hurts more
Because the pain is familiar
I’ve known what its like
To quell the quiet dream

So I fight with a fury
The heart will remember
It does not yield twice
So easily
Its not to say my love
Does not also hold you dearly
But devotion to you
Won’t be the death of me.

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or: The Hesitant Spouse… and if He Really Knew Me  He’d Leave Me

Let me begin with…. FUCK. Oh yeah, blah blah blah, bad Muslim. Whatever. I am not in the mood tonight. We all get pissed, we all say fuck, so fuckety fuck fuck. What a fucking time I’m having. And…. breeeeeaaaathe… There, let’s pretend it’s out of my system.

I want to fall in a hole right now. I want to put my head through a sheet of glass. I want to cry cry cry. Weep, wail, roll on the floor, claw at the walls, cry cry cry.  I want to take back this cup of caffeinated coffee so I can sleep the next two days away. I want to disappear, and if I believed dying would make everything stop, I’d say I want to die. I want the comfort of the dark… I want an endless night. I want no more shrills and cries of children, no more uncertain spouses, no more erratic swaying of my mind. No more wild words, no more fistless fights. FUCK FUCK FUCK. I want to cry.

Tonight, I tried to talk to my husband. I asked him when he’d be picking up that book again (Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder). It’s going on two weeks and he’s only read two chapters. He’s hesitant, but BP rages on with no restraint. He basically said he doesn’t know and ended the conversation. I carried on. It then came down to, “I don’t know if I want to go on (reading the book), I don’t know if I want to question our relationship.” Avoidance. The quintessential head in the sand. I was upset. Where is your commitment to this relationship? This isn’t going away! If you’re going to leave me, then God knows, do it now, not five years from now when we’re in too deep (we’ve been married 3 years). We can’t pretend everything is OK and then when the shit hits the fan, you never saw it coming and you leave me locked up in a hospital, utterly alone. God only knows what would happen to my children.

This is a bad strategy, but fear leaves him immobilized.

He wants to avoid reading the book because he’s scared of really understanding what this illness is. Really, he’s doing it because he loves me and if he reads it and can’t handle it, he’ll be forced into the very real possibility of deciding to leave, of breaking up our family, of starting again. I understand that. He thinks I’m pushing him to read the book because I want him to see the monster and I want him to leave me; that I don’t really want to be with him and want him to be the one to leave. 

I don’t know how much more wrong he could be.

I hate this illness. I can’t win for losing. 

So, I’m left in a state of limbo. The constant fear that one day, I’ll snap, I’ll really snap, and he’ll be ill-prepared (having not read this book) and he’ll leave me when I’m most alone, most in need. I’ll walk in front of a bus or jump off a building, because God knows, if HE can’t love me, who in the hell can? How unlovable we BP people are. How fucking unlovable are we?  So, I find myself here: 

If he reads the book, he’ll see this monstrous illness for all it really is and he’ll leave me. 


If he DOESN’T read this book, he’ll be unable to support me in managing this illness, I’ll go fucking berserk, he’ll be utterly horrified and, once again, he’ll leave me.

Let’s try some hackneyed expressions here… I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t; stuck between a rock and hard place; dealing with a double-edged sword… well, fuck, indeed, what a predicament you’re in, my dear. I hate this illness. It’s killing us. It’s killing me. Limbo is an understatement.

So, I give him an ultimatum. Read the book by the end of the month or we can initiate a divorce. At the time, this made sense to me. I’m deathly afraid of being locked up in a hospital and abandoned. DEATHLY AFRAID. I need to know NOW. I need to know if you’re willing to do this with me. So it all made sense… now I’m locked up in my office, actually considering climbing out the window to get out. To get away from the echo of my own words. God, help me. I don’t want him to leave me. And it’s not even that I don’t want to be alone. I specifically don’t want to be without him. You must understand, it’s not you’re typical BP obsession. It’s been three years and a lot of bumps, fuck bumps, MOUNTAINS, and I still feel safe with him, still love him, still want him. My frustration has grown, my insecurities, my doubts, but never my desire to be with him. I want him to read the book because I want to be better and I want to feel secure. I want to know we’re in this thing together. I don’t want to live in constant fear anymore, I don’t want to live in the ever-lurking shadow of BP… I want to be in control of my life. That’s what this book is about. Finding strategies and working with your spouse to manage your condition. I need him to understand it fully, I need his support. 

So after a bit, I storm out. I’m so flustered, so angry, so disappointed, so afraid. He emails later and ends his email with, ” I do feel i need to look at this more seriously and make the necessary preparations for the future, whatever it may bring. i love you. never forget that no matter what happens.” 

No matter what happens.

And those words echo in my mind, prod at my heart, wring those delicate tendons of my being. It is a pain they bring, a very physical and psychological pain, that’s indescribable. The very real possibility that “what happens” may very well be, I am left alone. And it’s my fault I made him read the book, or my fault I din’t make him read it sooner. And what’s more? I am unlovable. And it’s moments like these that say to me, perhaps you should be locked up and lobotomized. And what of my children? They are better off without me. And now I understand why so many BP sufferers drink. I just want the pain to stop, the flood of emotions to end. I want the fear and anxiety to come to a screeching halt. I don’t want to think, to analyze, to exist. I want to be numb from the inside out. 

I fucking hate this illness. It’s torturing me and dangling death before me like a god damned carrot. I am so tired of being sick. God, help me. Heal me. 

[The STATUS of things: I have been battling depression this past week. I have hardly bathed, eaten, prayed, or slept properly. I have not been following a treatment plan. Been immersing myself in stressful situations again and again and been feeling beaten down, overwhelmed and exhausted. My diet has mostly consisted of hostess cakes, soda, and shit I can’t think of much else. My irritation level has been high, my heart heavy, my mind unfocused, my thoughts confused. I’ve been angry, confrontation, impatient. I’ve buried myself in minor obsessions with projects, I’ve had progress and failures. I’ve done next to nothing to de-stress, relax, or attend to my own needs. I’ve tried to smile through it all. I haven’t journalled or blogged. It has all been bad. I know. So we can see. I know how to pull myself out. I do. And I must. So let’s pray for a better next week.]

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Against My Better Judgment

So, here’s the thing… I’m going to begin actual challenges soon, but I have to decide on what to start with. I don’t want it to be so difficult that I can’t maintain it, right? We need some moderate success so we can all feel encouraged. So, I’m taking suggestions. What natural remedy, coping or management method should I start with? Something dietary? A supplement? Exercise? Spiritual? Organizational? What ideas do you have folks? I do have something in the works, that I’ll blog about shortly… something very promising, I think, but it’ll take a couple weeks to get results and start the treatment, so we need something in the meantime.

A run down… yesterday was utterly unproductive, but not uneventful. Woke up and one of the children decided to argue with me about their school clothes. SMH. Oh, I was mad. Here I was thinking, I’m gonna do good today, no snapping, and first thing in the morning, somebody wants to be a little s$@t and have an attitude, lol. So I snapped, but not too much. Afterwards, I felt bad, and actually apologized to my daughter. I rarely apologize to children when I snap. I think it’s because I feel like they’ll get the upper hand or feel like since my reaction was over the top, theyre actions were ok. Um no. The other part is embarrassment and shame. But this time, I thought it over and apologized and told her, let’s not make ourselves out to be enemies and voila! all was well. LOL. Gotta apologize more often!

In retrospect, I realize that I *should* apologize when I lose my temper, even if the child is wrong. It’s teaching them a lesson in humbleness and they learn more from what we do than what we say. So, I’m going to try to be more apologetic when I do lose control or go overboard… maintaining that their actions were STILL wrong, but that every action deserves and equal or opposite reaction and mine was over the top.

Against my better judgment… and then my day disappeared behind a computer screen and a button machine. Now, here’s the thing. I didn’t feel manic. I didn’t feel driven and wildly obsessive. I just thought to myself (against my better judgment) y’know, I’d like to do *this.* Yeah, I have a grip of other stuff to do and this is unnecessary, but I *feel* like doing this. So what happened? No shower, no breakfast, almost no prayers, no exercise, no journal write. Nothing. I spent the day making Animal Alphabet Stacking Magnets for my daughter.  Mind you, they are awesome and I DO sell them (lemme know if you’re interested), but my day went all to hell and I did next to nothing.  Ok, add Facebook to the mix and that’s a more honest portrayal of my Friday.

So when is it obsession? When is it normal? You don’t always feel *crazy* when you get off track, you don’t always feel *enraged* when you argue or *suicidal* when you’re sad… so what’s BP and what’s just me? I made a conscious decision to waste most of my day away, even though I KNEW it was a bad decision and I was gonna miss deadlines, etc. What happened to my better judgment? Is this a symptom of BP even though I felt perfectly normal and my thought process seemed clear/uninfluenced? Where do we draw the line and who do we blame, ourselves or BP? 

It’s a mystery… a MYSTERY! (OK, sorry Yo Gabba Gabba moment, lol) But seriously, what about you? Where do you draw the line?

Mood Tracking:

September 7th, 2012
Neutral –> Annoyed –> Irritated –> Neutral –> Focused –> Calm–> Angry –> Apathetic –> Neutral
(Angry->Apathetic->Neutral were the result of an event that I’ll detail in the nest post)

Lessons Learned:

  • Being apologetic is a means of taking responsibility for my actions.
  • Choose your battles. Kids are going to try to annoy you, take control of the situation by being more nonchalant and less confrontational.
  • Poor decision making is a hallmark of BPD, but it may also become an ingrained habit/personality trait. I have to manage BPD and make lifestyle changes as well to ensure that I’m making good decisions whether symptomatic or not.
  • I need to make a schedule that is both feasible and flexible and find a means to motivate myself to really follow it… and find a way to get back on track when I fall “off track.” 
  • Other lessons pertain specifically to “the incident” which I’ll detail in the next post.