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Old 05-21-2007, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Heyy all

Just wondering who's out there in a similar lifestyle-situation: never really know what's coming! I'm coming to recognize my warning signs but I'm pretty hooked on feeling good (who isn't?) and I'm not letting the downswing JUST HAPPEN. Like I said, I'm not on meds (just a personal decision) and I'm curious to hear about how other mamas deal with it

Thank you thank you for relating, reading, empathizing

It all helps with that fight against aloneness

E
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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For the past few months I have been medication free! It is really hard to deal with the ups and downs but for some reason I seem more stable off drugs than on them???:

Right now I am pregnant and I won't take anything for my bipolar so I am up and down and everywhere...

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Old 05-26-2007, 02:12 AM
 
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400 mgs of fish oil per day can really help alleviate depression. It may not cure it, but after you've been on it long enough for it to have cured your LCP deficiency, you may notice a big difference.

As for dealing with the ups and downs, I guess my sister would be better at relating since she's the one who's bipolar. I have depression, but it's mainly SAD. I guess when I'm down I usually fight to stay connected with the outside world so I don't compound the problem with isolation and loneliness. Going to religious meetings and just getting out of the house to run errands is better for me than what I always have an urge to do, which is curl up in my bed and stop living my life.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:13 AM
 
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I am on meds, but they are making me gain weight. I am feeling antsy at the moment- but haven't quit the depakote. I took a late nap and had caffiene late which seemsto have triggered the antsy-ness. Every time I think about going off the meds, I think that I'll be back to where I was this past Fall....
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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hullo. i don't take pharmaceuticals (for bipolar or anything else), but i have had some decent results with different herbs. i haven't tried oil supplements, but evening primrose is supposed to be really nice for moods, especially as they relate to hormonal cycling.

trying to mother my 11yo sweet skaterboy, 4yo stepgirl of the universe, this apocalypse babe-on-the-way, and my 36yo innerkid ...while figuring how to market myself, stay married, and murder my ego
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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always nice to hear other mums relating. The getting out of the house thing is super challenging! especially when ds is quite happy to play inside- cold and rainy NZ winter- and screams and fights me when I try and get his boots and jacket on. I just end up feeling exhausted from the effort and I'm desperate for us to get out in the air! Round and Round we go

:
Erin
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Old 06-22-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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I've been med free for over 6 years now. In the beginning we did some heavy reprogramming type stuff with cognitive behavioral therapy and the help of a good therapist. Now, I honestly find that I am too busy to be that sick any more. Every single day I get up and I choose whether I will get out of bed or not. Then I choose what I'm going to do, what I need to do or slack off. I also check in frequently so that I can say when I'm having a manic phase or when I am depressed and the supports are already in place. It is a hard road because people don't want to see me b/c of my d/x and "failing to comply with treatment", actually that's a lie. My current, psychiatrist supported treatment plan involves monitoring of my symptoms, therapy, and "whatever you've been doing for the past several years"
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Old 06-22-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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My friend's Mum had (and is having) good results with homeopathy. The trick is to find a good homeopath that has experience with bipolar.
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Old 06-23-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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It is a hard road because people don't want to see me b/c of my d/x and "failing to comply with treatment", actually that's a lie. My current, psychiatrist supported treatment plan involves monitoring of my symptoms, therapy, and "whatever you've been doing for the past several years"


refusing to care for yourself properly is "failure to comply". finding another healthy path that doesn't include taking creepy pharmaceuticals is NOT.

trying to mother my 11yo sweet skaterboy, 4yo stepgirl of the universe, this apocalypse babe-on-the-way, and my 36yo innerkid ...while figuring how to market myself, stay married, and murder my ego
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Old 06-23-2007, 03:06 PM
 
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I am bi-polar and I have post traumatic stress disorder from being sexual abused for 8 years as a child. I am on social security for my illness. I take absolutely no medication even though they have shoved every pill known to man at me. If I have my kids and I stay in a routine I am UP about 85% of the time. If I feel myself sliding down into depression the kids go to grandmas and just not having them here turns me around within a few days. I am happiest and more level with them by my side.
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Old 06-23-2007, 03:35 PM
 
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Pumpkin Blythe: The routine has been the absolute hardest thing for me to accept. The reality is that I *need* my routine to stay sane. When I don't have a routine, things spiral out of control so quickly. It took me several years to finally accept that my routine is vital to my well being.

Having outside supports is also very critical for dealing with really any illness in my opinion. Knowing that if I really can't handle one more thing, there is someone I can call to care for my kids really helps keep me grounded.
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:15 PM
 
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I too am curious how one manages with out medication. I know what I'm like when I've been off of my meds and I refuse to do it. How do you handle the manias and lows of bipolar? I have bipolar 1 rapid cycling.
Kara
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:08 PM
 
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Karpat: I did not respond to the medicine. Actually all the medication did for me was give me several chronic, serious health conditions and leave me too sedated to be coherent for 7 years. Thanks to the pharmaceuticals, I cannot play with my children outside, I am severely overweight (I gained 150 pounds within 6 months of starting one medication when I had an ED and *didn't eat*), I am prone to severe headaches, drymouth, tremors, and drooling. I am also waiting for my blood sugar issues to become diabetes (linked to one medication). Then I had to learn how to deal with the disabling side effects of the medications that were supposed to "improve my life". For me, the cost was too high.

I am bipolar 2 and I no longer rapid cycle. I know many, many people who really do need their medication to function. I was just an incoherent zombie for literally 7 years. I was in an out of the hospital all the time, non-functional, and even though I am very smart, I could not understand basic information like how to balance a checkbook or catch a bus.

When I chose to stop taking medications, I also chose to be very pro-active in the treatment of my disorder. This means that my family and support system (many non-family) know my particular symptoms and how to avert a crisis. We worked together to develop many of my "checks" which we haven't had to use for several years now. They know to walk away when I start one of my rants and let me get it out so that I can think again. They know who to call if I start acting out of control and my care providers are all on board with this plan. I could not be med free without a TON of outside support.

I still have my bad days, some days are very bad. But, we have learned that I really do need to have almost every minute of every day planned out. I need to know what to expect. I do not tolerate change well, but if I can I do try to adapt. I have used herbal remedies and some vitamins for handling the lows, particularly omega-3s and St. John's Wort. I also check in with a psychiatrist if I start to get into a funk that I feel I may not pull out of. Usually it's seasonal and we set a deadline and schedule another appointment to check in.

This is just what worked for me.
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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All my siblings have psychiatric problems and are on now, or were previously on psychotropic medications. I'm the only one who is not, which is not because I don't have problems. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I treat myself with homeopathy. It works for me better than the medications work for my siblings. I am at this moment on a remedy for anxiety, and I'm feeling much better, more stable.

If you're not on meds and you want a way to feel better without having to go on them, here are some links that describe the difference between traditional drug and counseling treatments and homeopathy.

http://www.hpathy.com/papersnew/brow...al-illness.asp
http://www.homeopathic.com/articles/...chological.php
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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i didn't realize i was bipolar (2) when i started treating myself. in fact, i don't think i used to be, way back in high school. (i'm pretty sure my past ecstasy use kicked in the manic part.) i have tried several rx antidepressants (prozac, wellbutrin, zoloft), as well as st john's wort. all of them seemed to help for a limited time (few weeks to a few months), then lost their effect. part of that may have been because i wasn't doing my therapy "homework", but i'm not sure. mostly, i think any rx (psych or otherwise) can be beneficial for short term use. long term, it becomes a crutch. you will never be a whole person until you can learn to use your broken leg (or brain) again. this doesn't always mean your brain is completely "healed", or perhaps ever will be. it's about learning your personal styles and redesigning your life around them. i get really, really f'ed up during my pms and pretty much whenever it's less than 50 degrees outside. since i will always be female, what's been helping me the most over the past several months, more than the vitex to regulate my cycles or the raspberry leaf to tone up my uterus or the iron to help with the postmenstrual exhaustion, has been just teaching myself to feel okay about letting myself feel crappy. after acknowledging the physical or emotional pain i'm experiencing, whether it's an anxiety attack or the feeling of wanting to sleep for 14 hours, i can accept it and (usually) move on from it. i really wish i HAD done that therapy homework, man. changing your self talk? powerful stuff, and it gets easier the more you try it. sorry to have dwelled on my symptoms of pms, but i've been fortunate to have been mostly NOT depressed for about the past year. pms is the time i still most experience "down" symptoms, so it was the clearest example for me. my biggest blessing has been my treadmill. endorphins are the strongest, sweetest, most long lasting antidepressants i have ever known. with just a regular (4-5x week), moderately paced (walking 2.5-4.0 mph) regimen, i've achieved greater balance in the past year than i may have ever had for as long as i can remember. it's weird too, i just realized as i typed, that i pretty much have a "dosage" worked out for my exercise. must be the amateur psychiatrist in me. thanks for hearing me rant, especially with the lack of paragraphing. ~kelly

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Old 06-29-2007, 12:59 AM
 
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I'm bipolar 2 rapid cycler and have been med free since I found out I was pregnant nearly two years ago. I was in such a bad state my doctor actually asked me to consider abortion. But thankfully, for whatever reason, the pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones seemed to do me well, I was better than I had been in three years prior, and am still going strong.

I was doing cognitive behaviourial therapy as well, and it was great for me to recognize my triggers and how to effectively deal with them. I also have a great support system that know how to recognize my mood swings and help me deal with them. And of course, a routine is essential. I don't have to have a rigid routine, but a morning ritual and bedtime ritual help tremendously. The past few weeks my routine has gone out the window, and I've had alot on my plate, and am having episodes as a result.

I went back to my CBT p.doc for a bit (to get me thru this rough time), and also visited my other p.doc who suggested that I take 3grams of omega-3 EPA a day as a natural alternative to traditional meds, since I am definetly not ready to wean. I'm currently looking for a good manufacturer, and hopefully will have some success with that.

I have also tried reiki when experiencing mood swings and that is incredibly helpful. My episodes usually end shortly after a session (within a day or two, if not immediately). Luckily my sister is able to perform sessions whenever I need it.

All in all, I am incredibly happy to not be on meds and to have found such wonderful support systems that support me in both traditional and non-traditional healing, and helped me find tool that work for me.
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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yes, bipolar no meds here. thank you all for sharing yr perspectives. i'm the sort who spent the majority of several recent years in depressive antisocial states, and i'm new to mdc (my 3rd post) - so i feel like i'm learning how to crawl, stand, & walk when it comes to having connection with people other than my mother & sister. & thanks for the reminder abt the benefits of body-moving when it comes to the slug of depression.

sorry, i'm in a kind of isolated state right now. we just moved & i feel real out of place at the playground, if you know what i mean. trying to link up with other like-mindeds.

please, keep repeating what works for all of you. i need to hear it.



ima to as (3) & ym (5 months)
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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Kelly-What is reki? Is it costly? How do you find someone who does it? (I live about 1 hour from an actual city that might have lots of resources.)

I am more down than up, and my crashes into depression are really severe. I am terrible with taking pills (suppliments included) because I tend to choke on them alot which is super uncomfortable and makes me just not take them at all.

I want to try accupuncture but it will cost about $400 total (for about a month and a half to treat the disorder fully) and I dont have it right now. Its like $40 a session.

Also I am pregnant and dont know if I can find someone who does accupuncture on preggos. (I am in florida-EVERYTHING is a liability) LOL

I was just about to take pillss but I am now in an "upswing" and terrified about another deep depression. They happen so suddenly and they are BAD.

Jenny
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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I'd love to be off meds. I started on depakote in September and have gained at least 20 pounds, I figure. I'm hungry all the time. Plus I'm so tired I just can't seem to get myself TO exercise. I feel better when I do. My drs say I'm better on the meds, mentally. I certainly don't want to go back to what I was, but isn't there a medium ground?
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Old 07-08-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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I am dx'd with Bipolar 2 rapid cycling, BPD, OCD, panic & anxiety disorder with agoraphobia and PTSD. (whew. LOL) I have been off all medication for five years. The meds for my Bipolar never really did much for me. The one med that did work was for my anxiety, and I do really need and miss that one. However, I've been pregnant or nursing for the past 5 years so I've been med free.

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Old 07-09-2007, 12:29 AM
 
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Oh yeah! Horray for the Reiki! I still have some major emotional/psychological issues, but I swear Reiki has kept me from hurting myself and able to take care of my DS. I'm trying fish oil too, when I find out how much of this brand to take. This has been a helpful thread, b/c of the info and to know other mamas are out there wanting to get better and suggesting ways to do it. I have no routine right now, and am trying to start one... It's soooo hard!!!!! But if it helps, then it's worth it!
Thanks for being there, mamas! I should have come to this board long ago...
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:08 AM
 
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I too am curious how one manages with out medication. I know what I'm like when I've been off of my meds and I refuse to do it. How do you handle the manias and lows of bipolar? I have bipolar 1 rapid cycling.
Kara
I wonder too. I was on meds at too low of a level this past year and spiraled down to the point where I spent a week in the psych unit. I was so anxious and depressed. unfortunately my manic states are fast and occur in the spring, and I normally start getting depressed in July and it lasts until February. Anyway, my meds were off and I had major suicidal thoughts. It was frightening. I had to go into a long term outpatient program and could not work for 6 months. Even after the hospital I was disoriented and slept constantly. This had NEVER happened to me before. Now my meds are stabilized and I am doing WAY better.
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:27 AM
 
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I just did some fish oil researh and am trying it. It sounds GREAT!! I would love to be able to taper off of my Depakote one day so I can loose weight and feel alive again.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:03 PM
 
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Subbing...

I am on Depakote. I had a few times of suicidal thoughts. One where I was very matter-of-fact about it and another where I was a bit emotional. I go on spending sprees, trips on a whim and yeah I don't like the crazy thoughts and diassociative feelings. I don't like depakote though! I feel hungry all the time! I've gained some weight- 20 lbs maybe. I was thin to start, but used to be 60 lbs overweight which I lost. I am more interested in sleeping than exercising... I've been on this since September or October so 8 or 9 months.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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Kelly-What is reki? Is it costly? How do you find someone who does it? (I live about 1 hour from an actual city that might have lots of resources.)

I am more down than up, and my crashes into depression are really severe. I am terrible with taking pills (suppliments included) because I tend to choke on them alot which is super uncomfortable and makes me just not take them at all.

I want to try accupuncture but it will cost about $400 total (for about a month and a half to treat the disorder fully) and I dont have it right now. Its like $40 a session.

Also I am pregnant and dont know if I can find someone who does accupuncture on preggos. (I am in florida-EVERYTHING is a liability) LOL

I was just about to take pillss but I am now in an "upswing" and terrified about another deep depression. They happen so suddenly and they are BAD.

Jenny
Jenny, I am also terrible with taking pills. I'm trying to find a fishoil that is isn't completely awful tasting, and hoping to turn it into a smoothie. I hear Nutrasea, Nordic Naturals and Carlsons are the best for taste/purity (a naturopath said this).

The reiki is a holistic technique used to reestablish the energy flow through the body, which promotes healing. I'm still a novice to this but the handful of sessions has helped me immensely, and have even had my sis do it on DD to help with her terrible teething, so I can get sleep, which is a trigger for me.

The only reason I know about it is because my sister is training in this. I emailed her for info and will pm you when I get it. In the meanwhile, I googled reiki and florida, and found these
http://healing.about.com/od/reikidir...es/a/rk_fl.htm
http://www.naturalhealers.com/qa/reiki.html#c2
Maybe that can give you a starting point to find a practioner near you. Apparently a session is around 25-60$.

Also, when I found out I was pregnant my p.doc mentioned preliminary studies about how folic acid may help with depression or bipolar. I never gave it much thought but I was taking extra folic acid throughout my pregnancy (5mgs a day, but for a different reason) and that maybe made a difference to me, although I'm not sure. But at 5$ a bottle it doesn't hurt.

I found a folic acid pill that was very soft and pretty much chewable when taken with juice, so I didnt' have any probs taking it. Ill try to find the manufacturer.

Kelly

ETA: my sis sent me the following links for more info on reiki
http://www.reiki.org/
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiki
http://www.reiki-4-all.com/
http://www.reiki-for-holistic-health.com/Reikifaqs.html
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:43 PM
 
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another option w the folic acid is to just switch multivitamins and take a prenatal one instead (unless you're over, say, 40, at which point you probably need a diff type of vitamin anyway). bonus for kids if you're still nursing, too.

if there are curious veggies out there, i think evening primrose oil is probably the next closest thing to fish. it's supposed to have wonderful effects on mood and hormone balancing. (sorry, i dont actually have any studies on hand.)

nature mama, do you take a green supplement? : if so, do you find that it has an effect on your bipolar? mine definitely increases my anxiety, but i find that much easier to tame (with, say, kava) than the depression, so it's an acceptable trade-off for me.

trying to mother my 11yo sweet skaterboy, 4yo stepgirl of the universe, this apocalypse babe-on-the-way, and my 36yo innerkid ...while figuring how to market myself, stay married, and murder my ego
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:26 AM
 
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nature mama, do you take a green supplement? : if so, do you find that it has an effect on your bipolar? mine definitely increases my anxiety, but i find that much easier to tame (with, say, kava) than the depression, so it's an acceptable trade-off for me.
Nope. It causes me to fall asleep hard. I'm just one of those that cannot tolerate it. Go figure. My medication tolerance however is THROUGH THE ROOF. When I was on meds, or the rare times I am on pain meds.. I have to have the max dosage to even effect me. But a little bit of : and I pass out cold. Oddly enough, my dh who has Bipolar and ADD... found that it nearly cures his ADD for a short amount of time. I've since heard that its actually pretty well known that it helps ADD.

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Old 07-11-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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weird... i've found it to be very on again, off again for ADD. mostly it helps my mood shifts by making the highs a bit lower, and the lows a bit higher.

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Old 07-27-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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Karpat: I did not respond to the medicine. Actually all the medication did for me was give me several chronic, serious health conditions and leave me too sedated to be coherent for 7 years. Thanks to the pharmaceuticals, I cannot play with my children outside, I am severely overweight (I gained 150 pounds within 6 months of starting one medication when I had an ED and *didn't eat*), I am prone to severe headaches, drymouth, tremors, and drooling. I am also waiting for my blood sugar issues to become diabetes (linked to one medication). Then I had to learn how to deal with the disabling side effects of the medications that were supposed to "improve my life". For me, the cost was too high.
Have you tried anything to detox from those drugs? There are many very gentle ways to help your body heal itself.

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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Old 07-28-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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Hi Ladies! So what i have seen suggested is cod liver oil, folic acid, and I'm not sure if I saw it listed here, but magnesium is supposed to help too, right? Anything I missed? I am currently weaning off seroquel 50 mg 4x, 300 mg@pm, Ativan 1 mg 3x a day, verapamil 120 mg ext rel 2 x, and adderall 25 mg ext rel.

Thanks for your input!

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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