The soaring highs and crushing lows of bipolar disorder are hard for non-suffers to begin to imagine; but they make living a ‘normal’ life virtually impossible. Prescribed medication can leave patients with significant side-effects as payment for some form of relief, but for Leicester-based Jiten Lad, this was not how he wanted to spend the rest of his life. So he found another solution, via a chance library book!
Having been first diagnosed and then hospitalised with extreme bipolar disorder in April 2005, then hospitalised again in December 2008 and finally in May 2010, Jiten tried hard to continue to build and live a normal life, successfully managing to find work as a sales consultant and continuing to take prescribed medication for his condition.
“I held on to the job for around eight months, but I had no energy and found it increasingly difficult even to get out of bed. Many people don’t realise, but the lows associated with bipolar disorder create such extreme lethargy that its sufferers often sleep for days on end. These low moods made it very difficult to hold down my employment, and in March 2006 I lost my sales position which then triggered a spiral into a deep depression that I previously had never experienced.”
Jiten found himself sleeping for between 15 and 18 hours a day and lost any desire to do anything, To eat or to socialise; in fact, simply leaving the house was a huge obstacle. He owed money to debt collectors yet simply burrowed away, sinking deeper into his emotional and financial depths.
“I didn’t go to the doctors initially as I didn’t think that they would be able to help me, but I finally went and was referred to a counsellor for therapy to help to ‘lift’ me. I have to say that it did have some positive effect; enough (at least) for me to get out of the house and into the library so I could better understand the condition I was suffering with. I have always been fascinated with biology, physiology and psychology, so it was in me to want to discover more.
“I found reading about famous people who had also suffered with depression and bipolar disorder truly fascinating and, in a way, inspiring. Amongst the shelves I stumbled across a book called ‘The Natural Way To Beat Depression: The ground-breaking discovery of EPA to change your life’ by Professor Basant K Puri. In the book he talks about how many sufferers of depression and mental health disorders have shown a deficiency of EPA in the brain, and by simply supplementing these deficiencies, significant improvements in the conditions have been reported.
“Professor Puri mentioned a specific source of EPA; a supplement called Vegepa which was free of DHA (unlike most other fish oils). DHA has been proven to be detrimental to mental health sufferers and should be best avoided. I knew as soon as I read about Vegepa that I wanted to try it if I ever had the chance.”
Continuing with his counselling and reading provided Jiten with the wherewithal to seek employment again and in October 2006 he got a new job as a Civil Servant, as an administrative officer.
“With my very first pay packet in December 2006 I ordered some Vegepa and started an intensive course. After about a month of the higher dosage I noticed a change in my sleep pattern, and after two months it was clear that I didn’t need to sleep as much and my mood was significantly improved. Simple things like I started to like listening to music again, and I wanted to go out socialising. I was also not as negative about things as I had been. I remember thinking ‘there’s really something to this!’”
“My consultant psychiatric doctor at the hospital stated that of the two further instances of hospitalisation I’ve had since my first one in 2005 (for two weeks), I had a surprisingly short recovery time and that I return to my normal way of being quite quickly compared to most other patients admitted. I believe that if I had not been taking Vegepa, then my stays at the hospital may have been even longer!”
Jiten continued to take Vegepa for a year or so, and worked hard at following a consistent course of treatment. However, here and there he had missed a dose, which meant that each month he accumulated the odd extra pack. To give himself the chance to catch up, he cancelled his regular delivery with the intention of starting up again, but after the last of the Vegepa had been taken, Jiten forgot to reorder.
“I noticed after about a month of not taking Vegepa, that my need for sleep increased, my mood dropped and my apathy came back. I really needed to take Vegepa!”
After reordering, and starting the course again, Jiten found not only his mood and sleep improving, but also his energy levels and he spent time practising meditation, started swimming and tennis (when the weather allowed!) as well as using an audio brain entrainment technology (to improve mental and emotional well being), eating healthier foods and more recently taking up breathing techniques, yoga and Qichong.
“I now have more energy, am healthier and (if I am allowed to say without getting into trouble!) am no longer taking my anti-psychotics, as I didn’t like the idea of taking pharmaceutical drugs indefinitely as they generally tend to have negative side-effects in the long run. I continue to take Vegepa and have even suggested to my doctor to recommend them to other patients suffering with depression and bipolar disorder.
“I now successfully self-manage my condition. I know that if I have two days of poor sleep then I need some time off to regroup and rest, and although I have some ‘off’ days, I know that I have the tools to lead a better life.
“I would recommend Vegepa to anyone. It has played a key role in helping me turn my life around. That, and my chance visit to the library!”