So you want to take lithium…….

Many people are told by their doctors that they have to take lithium for “bipolar.” So you want to take lithium? If you do, this is what will happen….

There is a chemical in your blood called creatinine. The level of this blood component will indicate how well your kidneys are functioning.

As soon as you start taking lithium, your creatinine will start to rise. You can see this is a blood test called a Metabolic Panel. Your doctor may, or may not, order this blood test, but you should definitely have one done, and look at the results yourself.

The higher your creatinine, the lower your kidneys are functioning. You can take your creatinine level and run it through a formula and that will tell you your approximate kidney functioning. This is called GFR.

Your kidneys also break down as you age. They peak in functioning maybe in your 20s or early 30s. So if  your kidney levels are 80% and you are a young adult, you have reason to be concerned.

Is a little bit of kidney damage worth worrying about? YES! The problem is, that lithium causes this damage, but once damaged, they will continue to deteriorate, even if you stop the lithium. Twenty or 30 years from now you could be facing the end of your life, or you might spend the rest of your life on a machine.

I urge you to get your creatinine level and electrolytes tested and demand to see the blood test yourself. Usually on these blood tests you can easily see which levels are abnormal. Don’t expect your doctor to be honest.

After all, if your doctor were to tell you the truth, he would say, “Your kidneys were damaged by a prescribed pharmaceutical.” If he prescribed it himself, the likelihood of his admitting this is next to nil.

You might not die directly from kidney failure. Renal failure also causes heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and a host of other potentially fatal conditions. On your death certificate it’ll say “natural causes.”

I know better. Kidney disease is not “the silent killer” they claim it is. You will be wondering why you are having all these weird things happening, like swelling in your ankles, or cramping, often in your legs. It’s a “your-doctor-won’t-tell-you” killer. You will certainly get signs and symptoms, especially when your renal functioning goes under 60 percent. You can expect your doctor to make all kinds of excuses for the obvious signs of renal failure, so sad to say, you will need to do the research yourself, and monitor your own health. Your life depends on it.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor shrugs and says, “You can always go on dialysis.” That’s just more excuse-making. Do you really want to spend four to six hours a day, three days a week, on a machine? Do you really want this invasive procedure to take over your life? Do you want to be forced to quit your job so you can have these invasive treatments? Most people on dialysis have to go on disability. This is not something minor. Many cannot tolerate the dialysis, and die within the first year of starting it. I question the value of the procedure since it’s guaranteed to wreck your life.

If your kidneys are damaged, I recommend immediately starting on a salt-free diet. Just do that for starters, to slow the progression of this fatal disease, and look for my upcoming book, Life After Lithium, where I have all kinds of tips and pointers on how to survive after you’ve been given this horrible drug.

And those of you still living, please do what you can to get lithium carbonate off the drug market. It is not curative. It kills.

Here is the website for my book, where you can sign up for updates: http://lifeafterlithium.com.

Book Review (by me, published in MIA): Lauren Slater’s Blue Dreams

Here is the link to my article, just published. Feel free to share in your social networks!

Still Seeking a Chemical Cure After All These Years: Lauren Slater’s Blue Dreams

Support Group? In Boston?

I yearned to meet others who had been through psychiatric abuse. I had met plenty of folks on Facebook and other social media who had been through what I had been through. Surely, there must be real, live humans out there that I could speak to IN PERSON that existed. So I heard about a support group in Boston. Now, this one didn’t encourage going to more shrinks…or so I hoped.

Unfortunately, I had a negative experience with the group. The first time I went it was okay then after that I left and went home and cried every time. I felt dishonored and invalidated.

I felt that I wasn’t really wanted there. This kid was running the group, over 20 years younger than me. She’d had far less experience and far less knowledge than I had. And yet, simply because she was the “leader,” she repeatedly used her power, her authority, to tell me that whatever I said was not even relevant. After a while, I noted that she’d stop me from speaking even before I had barely said a few words, each and every time.

I felt discouraged. I felt like no one recognized my wisdom at all. I felt like slapping these young, green kids and telling them, old lady that I am, to respect their elders.

I’ve been places. I’ve seen really really bad stuff in dungeons they ain’t seen. I come from a different time. I guess young folk forget that.

So I felt like I wasn’t wanted there. On the last night,when I knew I’d never be back, I was at coffee with a few stragglers afterward. Had I not made it clear I would never, ever see them again?

We departed. I didn’t think much at the time, but then I realized, “Wait. These kids know they won’t ever see me again. You’d think they’d at least say a kind ‘Goodbye’ or something? Or a sendoff or hug?”

Nothing.

It took me days to realize it. They didn’t even give a shit.

It’s been a couple of months now. I guess the reality is hitting me.

You know, I used to ask myself, “What happens if I die? Will people see things in different perspective? Will people realize that maybe they should have listened to me? Or cared?” I used to imagine accidentally walking into my own funeral and overhearing everything people said. Would anyone say a kind word at all or carry on my dreams?

My answer to this? No. People do not wise up. If folks don’t give a shit now, they aren’t going to give a shit after you are dead. They might even say spiteful or hateful things if they think you killed yourself or stopped taking care of yourself, like that you dug your own grave. But even a rather elaborate suicide isn’t going to change anything, and you won’t be around to enjoy the glory, those memorials, the flowers.