Alternatives and Non-Pharmaceutical Aids for Bipolars, Depressives and Other Mentally Ill

I am Manic-Depressive, more specifically, Bipolar 1. Unable to take the mood stabilizers usually prescribed for Bipolar Disorder—Valproic acid, Lithium Carbonate, Tegretol, Neurontin and Depakote, my therapist had me on a cocktail of anti-psychotics. Been on an old anti-psychotic, Thiothixene, for about 20 years and a new, atypical anti-psychotic, Zyprexa, for 15 years (more on that drug later).

The anti-psychotics, however, or the neuroleptics as they are called, while keeping me out of the mental hospital and enabling to live a somewhat “normal” life, had a depressant effect on me, robbing my life of all the joy and creativity I used to enjoy, as well as, my mystical experiences in nature.

In an effort to get my spark back, I was put on practically every anti-depressant there is. From the old ones like Tofranil, Elavil, Norpramin and Pamelor, to the newer ones like Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. All of them were rejected for reasons as numerous as the drugs themselves. From blunted affect, severe nausea, and weight gain, to a total inability to function or outright mania, even minute doses were problematic. As were my trials of the newer anti-psychotics. And I have heard from many that they have had similar or even more severe reactions to the same medications. A friend of mine attempted suicide on Wellbutrin.

Finally a psychologist recommended St. John’s wort. I was very worried about taking that after all my bad experiences with anti-depressants. But I found a research grade St. John’s wort and gave it a try. I felt a difference the very next day despite being told the effects would kick in gradually. The change was dramatic as demonstrated in what I wrote after one day on St. John’s wort:

Ko-ko, our four-legged, faithful companion, runs into the bedroom, eager to join me on the bed, awash with pure joy. She takes a flying leap up and we lounge together like lizards basking in the sun, reclining requisitely together. It is day 2 of St. John’s wort. Am filled with a loving glow as Ko-ko nestles down to sleep beside me. The beauty of yesterday lingers in my memory—a vacation day spent with my husband in the Palisades on an early October day. The sweet, crackling autumn air filled our lungs as we climbed the Palisades for a spectacular view of the Hudson River. Our path strewn with crunchy, dry leaves. A trail leads us further upwards, the spongy ground, soft underfoot is strewn with paint box colored leaves. Yellow, crimsons, golden russets lay on the damp path, wet from yesterday’s rain. I give thanks to God in this cathedral of color. Try to experience the mysticism of my youth. Yearn to return to the photography and poetry writing of my pre-breakdown days. A revival of creativity. Thank you , God, for giving me my sight back.

As the days went by, more and more of the depression lifted. My husband was happier with me on the St. John’s wort because I was more loving. I also stopped drinking. Completely. And I had been a borderline alcoholic. The door to the prison had been opened and I was now freer. This improvement gradually leveled off and at times I found myself fighting depressions at times but nothing like the deep, black depressions before the SJW.

Still without a mood stabilizers I would cycle, but not psychotically. Next change to be made was to learn the hands on healing technique called Reiki in an attempt to recover my spirituality. Reiki continues to be a blessing as I do it daily to myself and in a prayer form for others. But I was still craving the spirituality of my youth.

Brought up Presbyterian and made to convert to Catholicism in grade school, organized religion was not working for me. I had done Transcendental Meditation in my twenties and dropped it for a reason I no longer remember. Continuing to pray rote prayers I followed Pema Chodron and Paramahansa Yogananda and others. I took about twenty of Yogananda’s lessons offered by Self-Realization Fellowship and meditated according to his teachings. I regard Yogananda as a saint, a true saint, but his path was not “doing it” for me. Tremendous anxiety would take over. And then, through Hariod Brawn on, I met Mooji and I began listening to his guided meditations and watching his satsangs. Additionally, while convalescing from pneumonia recently, my husband read books written by an old friend he had while pursuing religious studies at the University of Edinburgh. A Celtic Christian minister and reformer, J. Philip Newell. Curious, I read him, too, and he helped me on the path with Mooji. Through Mooji I found that the Self is not Bipolar or OCD or Asperger’s or depressed. Those are troubles of the body/mind/ego self. The “person” in other words. If I can go into the “Presence of God” as Newell says, or into the “Self” as Mooji says, I can be well. Mooji has helped me regain my spirituality and is making me whole.

The last change I made was to get off the newer anti-psychotic, Zyprexa, for health reasons. The drug has horrid side effects including dizziness, heavy weight gain, problems with heat and more. The withdrawal from Zyprexa is very,very hard. I still have .5 mg to go to get off it completely. Meantime, the same company where I buy the research grade St. John’s wort, offers a homeopathic Lithium Orotate (not Lithium Carbonate) spray called Symmetry. Have been using that with great results. Am very even. Gone are the manic nights of insomnia and the deep, dark depressions that sometimes broke through the St. John’s wort. Gone is the rapid cycling.

The company that offers the research grade St. John’s wort (the only brand of St. John’s wort that has worked for me) is The homeopathic Lithium Ortotate is offered by the same company. I have no interest in this company and am not paid by them to offer this information. I am not saying that all these things will work for those you touched by the fire of Bipolar Disorder or the black hole of depression or any other disorder. And certainly you must consult your therapist before trying any medication. For example, you cannot mix St. John’s wort while taking certain drugs. Specially mixing St. John’s wort with other antidepressants can be very dangerous. I am just offering alternative to those of you who may have had the same experiences and presenting what has helped me in my own battles. Talk to your therapist if interested.

And last but not by any means least, is Mooji. All information about him is to be found at There are many, many free Satsang and guided meditation videos available there and on YouTube.

He answered my question about being able to being “realized” despite having Bipolar Disorder and I see now what he said made all the difference in the world. The person is Bipolar but the Self is not! Through watching his satsangs and doing meditation with him daily I am returning to the spirituality of my youth, before my breakdown. I have miles to go but with his help I am more able to cope with this dream we call life.

28 responses

  1. I’m very happy that you feel much better now with new medications and Mooji, Ellen. Hope everything is okay with you, warmest regards Mitza

    Liked by 2 people

    March 11, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    • Thank you, Mitza! We’ll see how things go– it will take some time to switch. Just wrote you. Hope you feel better. Best regards, Ellen


      March 11, 2015 at 1:50 PM

  2. where do you get the St. Johns Wort?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 11, 2015 at 12:29 PM

  3. Click on link in my post and it will allow you to scroll down to buy or direct you to a purchase form for Hypericum (St. JOhn’s wort) Remember to check with your therapist to see if okay to take with whatever other medications you may be taking. For example, you can’t take it if you are already taking an antidepressant. Sorry to be so directive, just want to be sure everything is okay with you. I really hope it helps you!! Good luck and feel free to send any questions. Best, Ellen


    March 11, 2015 at 12:54 PM

  4. This is a truly wonderful article Ellen, so open, even-handed and giving, and I felt quite emotional reading your story. I am so pleased you have such positive elements to work with on your challenging passage through this life – we get what we give, and I can feel the love you give out to others. H ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    March 11, 2015 at 2:34 PM

    • You will never know, dear Hariod, how much this comment means to me– for so many, many reasons. Not only do I thank you for this gift, but more importantly, for the gift of Sri Mooji. And I have to say the amount of love on your blog is palpable with every comment. xxoo ellen

      Liked by 2 people

      March 11, 2015 at 5:05 PM

  5. Such good news, Ellen. x o x

    Liked by 1 person

    March 11, 2015 at 3:53 PM

  6. Great to hear … GREAT TO READ … there is a lot of JOY in this post …

    Liked by 2 people

    March 11, 2015 at 5:03 PM

  7. Thank you, Bert. Had my doubts about this one. Glad to hear you felt joy there. Namaste, Ellen

    Liked by 1 person

    March 11, 2015 at 5:08 PM

    • Isn’t that funny Ellen, that you say to Bert that you had your doubts, and yet to me, this was a very special offering. H ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      March 11, 2015 at 6:34 PM

      • As I said, dear Hariod, you would never know how much your comment meant to me. I had doubts all the way. Even made my husband read it first before posting. ❤ ellen

        Liked by 1 person

        March 11, 2015 at 8:11 PM

  8. Thank you Ellen, now I have more insight into your situation and can see how you fit into the context of the Mooji teachings – thanks to Hariod. It sounds encouraging, a light in the darkness, a path you can follow…

    Liked by 2 people

    March 11, 2015 at 6:27 PM

    • I hope so. Have had false starts before. We’ll see. Glad you listened to Mooji. Just getting glimmers here and there but also a bit more as I said. Each satsang offers something new. Hope you are enjoying your time with M.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 11, 2015 at 8:15 PM

  9. I am glad that Mooji, St. John’s wort, and Lithium Ortotate are working for you. Many blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 11, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    • Thank you so much, Kitt!! I will see how it goes. As you probably have experienced, mania can feel like healing. In any case, many blessings to you and your whole family with your loss. Hope life is returning to some form of normalcy or will do so soon for you, Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

      March 11, 2015 at 8:19 PM

  10. Awesome, victorious post, Ellen! However it occurs, it is always breathtaking to behold a person squaring up with circumstance, and waggling a finger, no. I don’t believe you anymore. My decision is to acknowledge the reality of my being something more. It always catches me up short. Allowing the power of insight to dispel a darkness. Because it is a difficult and harrowing road– one that requires courage and commitment, and perhaps even repeated applications… But you’ve grabbed hold of the varmint by it’s tail, and the tables have turned… And sharing that empowers all of us.





    Liked by 2 people

    March 11, 2015 at 8:03 PM

  11. You write with the voice of experience. Thanks so much for your so generous words. I am a little leary of celebrating too soon. Sometimes mania poses as being healed. But I have never had quite the insight Mooji gave. Much appreciation to you, dear Michael, xx ellen


    March 11, 2015 at 8:22 PM

  12. Ellen,
    this is a wonderful post – Thank You for sharing

    Best Wishes


    Liked by 1 person

    March 11, 2015 at 8:37 PM

  13. Seems like St John’s wort has also injected some new energy which enhances your will to control your health more actively rather than depending on pharmaceutics – good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 12, 2015 at 7:32 AM

  14. Running Elk

    {{{Ellen}}} What a joyous post to read. So glad that your therapist is open to finding a balance of therapies the work for you, and that you are finding some peace, and creativity, in that process. 😀 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    May 8, 2015 at 11:07 PM

    • Thanks so much, Running Elk, for your generous reply. Unfortunately this was all awhile ago. Withdrawal from the one medication has been really hard. Not been blogging, nor creative, nor feeling close to God. Just hanging on. Wish I had a better report. *♡* Ellen


      May 9, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      • Running Elk

        So sorry to hear this, Ellen. :/ Sometimes hanging in is all we can do.

        Know that we are all rooting for you. Sending much love, hope, and the faith that things will get better, your way. xxx


        May 9, 2015 at 11:50 AM

      • Thank you, Running Elk, thank you and know that we are all rooting for YOU and your health and welfare. Hope you are hanging in with hope and strength! God bless you big time!! xxellen

        Liked by 1 person

        May 9, 2015 at 2:01 PM

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