I've come a long way!

Thursday January 30, 2020

Manic depressive illness (when did it change to bi-polar) according to Butterworth's Medical Dictionary is 'A person suffering from a psychosis, classified as an effective disorder, in which excitement and mania alternate with periods of depression, delusions are prominent and suicide is a relatively common termination'.

'The pain is too much. A thousand grim winters grow in my head. In my ears the sound of the coming dead. All seasons, All sane, All living, All pain. No opiate to lock still my senses, Only left, the body locked tenses.' Spike Milligan, 'Manic Depression'.

'When my brain gets heated with thought it soon boils, and throws off images and words faster than I can skim them off'. Percy Bysse Shelley.

These were all chapter headings for a book I wrote on 'Manic Depression'. (No advertising, never published). In fact, my first blog was possibly May 2015, another chapter heading, my own poem on depression.

This was over 40 years ago. I had been suffering severe mood swings; culminating in an emergency dash to Westminster Hospital, ambulance, bells jangling, on a Friday afternoon.

I emerged clutching a piece of paper allowing me to leave, just a stark 'Mania', Then the fun started. Perceived wisdom, try to 'turn the mood'. I was put to bed for a week, husband instructed that every time I woke up I was to be thrown another couple of Mogadon. But moods got worse. Medication never lasted long before side-effects stepped in. I think Lithium actually made me violent. Then the discovery of only one working kidney stopped all meds - too dangerous.

I had five children, participated fully in our farming business, and swallowed thousands of Vallium. A different GP took over, 'You don't need those'. Panic – but we managed, I was so used to them they had little effect.

Ten years later, at University, in the second year I just could not cope, decided to give up. My personal tutor begged me not to give up before seeing the Student Advisor. She sent me to a nutritionalist. My story from then on is the reason for the title. I had a lifelong intolerance to dairy products, although I had managed to feed three babies. But huge advances in medicine showed that lack of calcium 'locked up' my magnesium, provoking stress, mood swings, and even suspected heart attacks.

Balanced minerals cured the problem in weeks; I was never manic depressive in the first place. Life started. Got my degrees, wrote loads of articles, started life in France, and with husband got into historical research, exhibitions, conferences and books. We followed a geologist son round the Far East. We started sponsoring children in India, and got in deep with social problems there, nine visits in all. My 'gardening' in this town got many plaudits, and thousands of photos.

This story is, maybe, a message of hope. Don't accept ANY label, look at your life and health holistically and see if, perhaps, there is something simple in the background that nobody has thought of.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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