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When I was 19 and living on my own, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.

I wasn’t into counseling. I wasn’t into being diagnosed. I wasn’t into anyone labeling me as anything. Mind over matter, right? Anything that was happening inside of me was likely a natural occurrence. Either that, or I needed to be healthier. I could exercise more – eat better- stretch- get more sleep.

But, I went to see a therapist because my boyfriend insisted. It wasn’t pleasant, nor was it terrible. I think I went once. After about 30 minutes of chatting with a total stranger, he decided I needed to be medicated. I was given a couple different meds … one for anxiety and one for depression. This was all complete ludicrous to me, but society says that these meds are supposed to help, right? I knew better, but my boyfriend had this worried look for me and insisted that I try something. That something was a little white pill. The little white pill that would claim my life for as long as I stayed addicted.

I can’t remember what it was called, but it almost killed me.

I took the pills. Hated it. I couldn’t reach an orgasm, and I felt like a lukewarm puddle of nothingness.  A couple days in, I started the second med while my boyfriend was making hamburgers on the stovetop, I went into the bathroom. We lived in a small apartment, under my name. He asked if I wanted a burger. I told him I wasn’t feeling well, and I was going to go to bed. But, before I went to bed, I had to empty my bladder.

I sat down. Peed. Stood up. I felt woozy and then my vision started to close in on me.

First blurry, then black around the edges, like looking through binoculars, then darkness.

I woke up with the door being pushed against me. My boyfriend was trying to crash through the door.

“Amber! Amber! Are you okay?”

I was disoriented, but finally moved back, and he came into the room. I rushed to the toilet and violently threw up. Then I went to bed. I threw the pills away the next day.

I’m not sure what caused that reaction, but I have vowed to stay as natural as possible to stay healthy. I couldn’t damage my body and then try to fix it with some pill or quick solution.

It’s a struggle, some days more than others. Ten years later, I still go through bouts of just not feeling quite right. I still have some changes to make to get healthy. These pharma companies make these pills sound so amazing though, and for some reason, so do families and friends. They mention how much the pills helped and suggest you try them. To me, that’s a cheap way of not having to deal with a loved one’s problems. If we took some actual time giving compassion and love, then maybe we wouldn’t all be hooked to medication, or think that we need it to be happy.

Most days, that’s all I really need … some compassion and warmth. I try really hard not to put my happiness in someone else’s charge, but I falter sometimes. There is one person who knows where my light is, and that is me. Some days, I think I am not cut out for the life that I have. Other days, I can’t imagine how I could ever feel down about how good I have it.

But that’s the way it is. That’s the way it has always been, and I still haven’t adjusted.

But I am going to do this for myself, and I don’t need to pay big pharma to make it worse.

If I would have went to bed instead of to the bathroom, I would have laid down, passed out, and thrown up in my sleep. But this pills are supposed to help, right?