Wednesday, February 10, 2010

BlueLite Therapy, Dark Light Therapy?

I've spent a lot of time researching the different light therapies this past month. I have decided I really need to take a more natural approach to my treatment. Even though I've been on multiple mood stabilizers, antidepressants and even an anti-psychotic I still have not been able to get my cycles under control.

I haven't really talked about this much here, but I really do believe that to this day the effects of my pregnancy have not been corrected. Let me explain. Prior to becoming pregnant I was completely stable for 5 years and on only one medication daily (Lamictal) and as needed sleep meds (Ambien & Sonata). I had to wait till I was really stable before I felt confident that I could have a baby. I honestly felt a little like I was "cured" after having NO mood issues for 5 years.

Prior to my stability I had a severe manic episode where I went into psychosis. My official diagnosis has been Bipolar 1 with Psychosis. I remember my psychiatrist once telling me that statically with the severity of my illness I would most likely even on meds relapse at least every two years if not more. And that over my lifetime I should expect a worsening of the disease. He also told me that I should consider adoption and not biological pregnancy. It was a devastating diagnosis.

Fast forward 5-6 years and my doctor thought having a biological baby was no problem and he even weaned me off all meds for my first trimester. He told me he has never seen a patient that had recovered as well as I had. This was a huge triumph.

Fast forward to two years after having my daughter and I had postpartum depression and then began a rapid cycling. I am now classified as a ultra rapid cycler - it's not a good diagnosis to have.

And back to our scheduled programming -- Light Therapy

I've gotten the 'Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device'. I've been using it everyday for about 2 weeks. And I notice a huge difference in my energy level and mood. I am a big believer in the blue light.

Here is some interesting reading about Light therapy.


Chrystapooh said...

I'm a first-time commenter. I wasn't diagnosed as bipolar until after my third child. After being on anti-depressants for a year for post-partum depression (which got worse after each child), I found that I was rapid-cycling. I haven't had any episodes of extreme mania. My problems are depression (most prevalent) and the irritable, agitated type of hypomania. I have a strong family history of bipolar disorder and I've been classified as Bipolar II.

I would be interested to hear more about how this light therapy goes. My moods have been stabilized with medications and I'm no longer cycling, but I'm still trying to get the depression under control. I'm interested in anything I can do on my own in addition to my drug therapy, but I'm hesitant to spend the money based on just two weeks of your experience. Please keep us updated on this blue light experiment you're doing! I'd like to know if you continue to feel better or if the effect wears off over time.

lostinst.louis said...

Hi. I'm 18, But I'm curious about all of this. My dad is severely bipolar - actually, almost everyone on his side is. my cousins, aunts....everyone. I was recently diagnosed as bipolar as well. I'm like my dad - we cycle not in years, or months, or weeks - we cycle in minutes. I haven't been able to try the light therapy, but I am on 200mg of Lamictal which is working relatively well, I exercise like a maniac, and I stay away from things like gluten and excess sugar to help keep my moods stable. If I become pregnant anytime in the next 6 years ('cuz after that....heck no.) I would want to go off of my meds. I just don't like being on them when something different is occurring. I'm kind of like Pooh....although I still cycle. Would light therapy be a good addition to my regimen during a pregnancy? I'd love to hear more about how it helps you!

LMK said...

I really appreciate reading about your post-pregnancy mood change. I have made the choice not to have biologic children (I also have a chronic pain disorder which brings other issues to be considered with pregnancy). I certainly respect any woman's choice to have biological children.

One reason I made my choice is that I was concerned about what might happen to me after the baby was born. While I don't think anyone can predict what will happen with their mood disorder after pregnancy (beyond the expected post-partum mood possibilities), it is helpful to read about your experience.

Thank you for sharing your experience with bipolar disorder, pregnancy and motherhood. I appreciate your candor!!

Andrea Kutzko, CPDT-KA said...

Prior to my diagnosis as bipolar, I used a lightbox with great success. I have been given the blessing to use one again and am having difficulty finding a model that will last more than a couple of months. Can you please let us know the quality of the lightbox you purchased? It would be tremendously helpful! Thank you for everything :)