I think I am one of the relatively few people who doesn’t mind having to take medication for their bipolar. Of course I would rather not have a nightly Nutella binge due to the side effects but – for the most part, now that the nightmare of finding the right tablet/dosage seems to have been solved – I am happy to take drugs to keep this monster at bay. Sometimes I worry that if I had never started the pharmaceutical route then I would be able to live without drugs. There is not a day goes by where I don’t read or hear a commentary on the evils of the pharmaceutical industry and the evils of psychiatry and the evils of the ‘’pills to solve all problems culture.’’ I once received an ominous looking package with a CD detailing the perils of pharmaceutical drugs and there was a dark overtone, which reminded me of the Jason Bourne films! It is easy to get quite paranoid and surf the web with all the other nutty conspiracy theorists. Just follow your gut. My book outlines my ”mindfulness” and meditation techniques, not that I stick to them!

Before I even began a new class on meditation, the teacher told me that bipolar did not exist. All of this is relevant and may be true. Of course bipolar is an emotional illness and maybe – through rigorous attention to meditation – it can be managed without drug therapy. I think that a two-pronged attack is the best course of action and that there is a place for both. There is no doubt that some people in full-blown mania are actually unsafe to themselves and others. Similarly drugs may be essential to prevent a suicide attempt. Certainly if someone is hospitalised, they will receive drug therapy before any other form of therapy. I was screaming for sedatives when I was admitted to hospital. I simply could not have got through that month without assistance.

A sobering question to ask oneself is whether or not you would give medication to your child if it became apparent that he or she had a mood disorder and was in distress. I hope that I never have to face this decision. Poignantly one of my therapists said not until every other avenue had been exhausted.

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