Stories of light and hope from those who have healed. . .

Stories of light and hope from those who have healed. . .

Healing From 16 Years of Bipolar Disorder and Safely Withdrawing From Seroquel

Today is my birthday, and it’s the first birthday in a long time that I truly felt like celebrating. I now have a life that I love and wake up grateful for it every day, and Dr. Lee played a large part in helping me achieve this life.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety and panic attacks 16 years ago. I was later diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disorder, similar to lupus.

When I first went to see Dr. Lee 2 years ago, it was because I had tried to go off of my medication (Seroquel XR) by myself and realized that it wasn’t working. I was extremely depressed and burst into sobs in Dr. Lee’s office. I had never tried to go off of my medications before. I had always been extremely conscientious about taking my medication; I work as an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry and, for a long time, believed that the meds would help me get better if only I could find the right one that matched my symptoms. But I never did find that magic pill, Seroquel came close for a while, but then it too started causing side effects and problems, and I became chronically fatigued, among other issues.

Finally, I realized that, despite the medications, I was getting sicker, had less energy and more anxiety every year. The medications were only helping a few symptoms but weren’t solving the problem, and later I realized that they were actually making things worse. One of the theories about the origin of bipolar disorder is that it is caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. Unfortunately, a lot of the atypical antipsychotics that are used to treat bipolar disorder damage the mitochondria! So they may help some symptoms and are very helpful in acute situations, but tend to make the disease worse in the long run.

I had been overconfident in my ability to get off of the medication myself because I had been working with a great naturopathic doctor and had been getting generally healthier by addressing the nutritional deficiencies that the medications cause.

Let me tell you that it is a mistake to try to go off of antipsychotic or antidepressant medications by yourself, especially if you have been on them for as long as I had! There is so much more to getting off a medication than just gradually reducing the dose. Bipolar disorder is a multi-faceted illness and the longer you live with it, the more emotional and physical components there are that must be dealt with in order to get healthy.

Dr. Lee’s holistic approach was very important to my treatment. Each medication impacts different receptors in the body. Dr. Lee designs a regimen of supplements and herbs to specifically support whatever medications her patient is on. This is a really brilliant and innovative approach. It helped me a lot, especially once we realized how much I was impacted by histamine. (Seroquel blocks the histamine receptor, and it was vital for my recovery after going off of the medication to provide other means of blocking/reducing histamine.) It turns out that histamine intolerance may have been one of the original underlying conditions that caused my bipolar disorder symptoms! So not only was Dr. Lee helping me get off of the medication but she was helping solve the original illness too!

In addition to the drug receptor therapy, Dr. Lee’s use of EFT and energy work was very important to my healing. There is a lot of trauma and shame that comes with living with bipolar disorder, and it is important to address those emotions and wounds in order to get better. We worked on self-care and self-worth, until I was finally convinced that I was worth saving and deserved to be healthy and happy.

One of the things that I appreciated most about Dr. Lee’s style of treatment is that she treated me as an equal partner. Instead of talking down to me like so many other doctors, she listened to my experiences and ideas and incorporated them into the treatment plan. I felt respected and listened to, and that helped keep me motivated.

When I first started working with Dr. Lee, I was taking Seroquel, Lorazepam, Lithium, Lexapro, and Nature Throid. Over time, each medication was safely tapered off. The last one was Seroquel. It’s been a year since I went off of Seroquel. I felt so much better immediately after being medication-free, but there were still challenges and healing that had to take place.

Today, my life is amazing. It’s not just an improvement over my old life, but rather a completely new universe. I don’t really know how to explain it; I never knew that life could be like this! Life is easy and enjoyable; it’s not a daily struggle to convince myself to get out of bed and get myself motivated to do simple tasks. I will catch myself smiling or singing for no reason. I’ve laughed and danced more in the last month than I have in the last 10 years combined. I am so excited to be alive. I didn’t even know that it was possible to feel this much joy and contentment. What’s wild is that I know my body is still healing, so things are just going to get better!

I can’t thank Dr. Lee enough for all of her help and care.
— N. B.

Safely Withdrawing from 14 years of Antidepressant Use

I am a 42 y.o. woman who started taking antidepressants after developing postpartum depression following the birth of my first child in 2001. This began a 14-year-long saga of medication usage and adjustment without any regard for true wellness or improvement. Three years ago, a general practitioner changed my medication, which caused me to be hospitalized several times within 4-5 months. During this time, while on medication, I experienced an episode of mania that lasted about two months. Every doctor I encountered dismissed my requests to get off of medication completely, and would just change my medication, causing me a new set of side effects and the inability to function in the real world.

Once I got back on my feet, in 2014, I knew that I had to take my well-being into my own hands and find a doctor who could help me get off of medication safely and effectively; otherwise, I would be taking psychotropic drugs for the rest of my life. At the time, I was taking Paxil 40 mg a day. My mood was good, and I had few side effects. However, I did not want to remain on a medication for the rest of my life. My search led me to Dr. Lee, whose compassionate care and medical knowledge of both the traditional and holistic aspects of mental health care has enabled me to identify the areas of my body that needed healing and to treat me appropriately.

In the past, when I would taper my antidepressant medication, I experienced unpleasant symptoms, during the withdrawal process, such as mood swings, suicidal thoughts, severe PMS, difficulty making decisions, and lack of confidence in myself. However, this time when I withdrew from Paxil, using an integrated approach of diet, nutritional supplements, and energy medicine (meditation and EFT), I did not experience any withdrawal symptoms, and I was able to continue to work full time. I am happy that I have been able to be off Paxil since September, 2015. The entire withdrawal process lasted from April 2015 to September 2015 (five months). I feel that I am now able to thrive as a mother, wife, and educator. Thank you, Dr. Lee!
— S.A.

Healing from Bipolar Disorder and Getting off Lithium

When I first came to see Dr. Lee in September, 2012, I had recently been hospitalized for mania. Having lived with the ups and downs of bipolar for four years, I felt like I was a victim to the whims of my mood, a prisoner of my mind. Treatment with Dr. Lee was unlike anything I have ever experienced. For the first time, the focus was on my overall health, how toxins in my body affect mental health and how a lack of certain minerals and enzymes may contribute to bipolar episodes. This relieved me of the sense of guilt and shame I was carrying around, and I began to see an alternative to the damaging effects of taking lithium every day.

Dr. Lee also taught me energy medicine techniques, one of which involves tapping pressure points on the body while saying intentions. Her seamless combination of nutritional support and energy medicine has been a lifesaver for me. I have been off of lithium for six months now and am doing better than ever. I am able to handle stressors in life, including a demanding graduate school workload and a difficult breakup. The energy work has been especially important for me, allowing me to enter a calm state and release anxiety when I feel stressed or unable to cope.

I am now finishing up my graduate degree and moving to Thailand to teach English. When I left the hospital a year ago, having spent over a week there for a manic episode, I never thought I would be at the place I am at now. Thanks to the work I have done with Dr. Lee I have been able to reclaim my life, my happiness, and I no longer feel like a victim.
— L.A.

Getting off Risperidone (Risperdal) Successfully

I have struggled with having a mental illness since my teenage years. Currently I am 51 years old. Initially I was diagnosed with depression, but even with medications, my illness worsened, and in time I was having bipolar mood swings and psychotic symptoms.

My illness turned my life upside down and estranged me from my family and friends. In August, 2010, my husband called Dr. Alice Lee-Bloem for help, because I was deteriorating after trying to get off my medications (Lithium, Zyprexa, Prozac, and Lipitor) through “True Hope”, a nutritional company, that had success in using their nutritional products, E. M. Power Plus and other supplements, to help bipolar patients get off their medications long distance. Initially, I had done well, but in time, my mental health deteriorated to the point that I was almost in need of being hospitalized. I was psychotic and unable to sleep. I was also very irritable and paranoid of everyone around me.

Dr. Lee-Bloem told me to get back on some medication to restabilize me. I was started on Risperdal, and it helped me enough to prevent the need to rehospitalize me. Then she started me on a nutritional regimen and did a lot of energy medicine work on me. Over time, my sleep, mood, and cognitive functions improved, and I was able to start weaning down on my Risperdal. As I came down on Risperdal, I transitioned to a small dosage of liquid Haldol. Eventually, I was able to get off of the Haldol completely as well.

I have been off all medications since May, 2011. I have been stable and able to sleep normally. My relationships with my family has been improving, and I am able to be an active part of my family again. After struggling with mental illness for the past 34 years, it has been wonderful to get my life back again.

S. L.
— S.L.

Bipolar But Not Budging: A Reluctant Patient's Recovery Story

I was a straight ‘A’ student in middle and high school. I was on the Honor Roll almost every month; the school gave me a lot of awards and even gave me a scholarship to continue my studies. But after I had graduated from high school in August 2002 that was when my bipolar problem started to show more and more.

I was less busy and just had one part-time job because by this time the symptoms of bipolar were showing more and my health was deteriorating rapidly. I became emotionally weak, depressed, with mood swings, angry, mad, sad, manic, feeling evil, and so on. The days passed and I became worse and worse. I could not even deal with a part-time job; it was too much for me. My every day life was such a disaster that I was living dead. I couldn’t remember what I did an hour before.

My parents were desperate because they did not know what was happening to me or why I was so changed from a happy focused, straight ‘A’ student to a living dead person so suddenly. I failed most of my classes as well and I was about to lose my scholarship. I got to a point that I could not take anymore because I was so ill and the scary thing was that nobody knew a lot of what was going on with me because I did not tell anybody, not even my parents so they were not able to help nor was I in condition to ask for help or to find help for myself. So I had decided to kill myself.

A day or two before I had bought a couple of bottles of Bayer, Aspirin and Tylenol and one night I started taking a lot of pills, drinking from one bottle to the next and the next until I just could not drink them anymore and fell asleep. The next morning I was very weak and vomiting blood. So I was taken to the emergency room and from there they send me to Potomac Ridge because they diagnosed me with bipolar. A few days later they released me with the condition that I had to seek more professional help because they thought that I was doing very well; but I was just acting to make them think that I was doing wonderfully and on the contrary, I was horrible.

So, I was forced by my stepmother to see a therapist and I did for about two or three months then I quit. So after a few days I became worse and worse again. At this time I was even seeing my dead mother’s ghost; I was manic and angry. Sometimes I would leave the house barefoot and did not know where I was going. I was like something was controlling me. It felt like I was inside of a body that was making all the decisions and I just could not do anything about it. I would also panic about anything, and when I became manic I was so strong that my father had to hold me. I am only 108 lbs and he was 200-210 lbs. My family had to call the police to come and take me to the crisis center to get me sedated but the worse part of this was that I did not want to get psychiatric help or let any body help me. Because I thought ‘I am okay or I am not ill’ even though I could see that I was miserable and was causing my loved ones misery. Finally, my stepmother found a psychiatrist and she decided to take me to her for treatment, but I did not want nor was ready to be helped. But she took me to see Dr. Lee and when I saw her I instantly hated her with all my heart. So I did not cooperate with her.

At that time I was not ready to get treated. I hated all adults, and she was one. So my stepmother kept taking me and telling me that she was going to continue taking me but it was useless because I was not cooperating in any way, so she gave up and let me be. Finally my stepmother stopped trying to get help for me or even helping me. She gave me all the medications that I was supposed to be taking to monitor them myself. She also stopped forcing me to go to the doctor. Dr. Lee also told me that she couldn’t treat me if I was not going to cooperate. She also said that she would not treat me anymore until I made the decision to follow her directions and take my nutritional supplements. For a couple of months I was barely surviving, but I had isolated myself almost completely from the world.

By that time, I was back in college and that was the first year in college. I went from being a straight ‘A’ student to failing most of my classes to finally giving up completely. I would take the capsules of supplements, then stop taking them after I felt better. Each time I would slip back into my mania and depression. I wanted to give up but I had no energy to help myself or to ask for help. Finally, I knew that it was time to help myself. I had the desire to be well because I was tired of being ill and so lonely. Then, I decided to give a try and go back to Dr. Lee.

Since I had that desire to get help, because nobody was helping me, and I am one of those people that had to do everything by myself, I decided to give it a try. I opened up to her; I trusted her, followed her instructions and even started to like her. Once I took that step I was able to give the second step and the third and so on. Before coming back to see her I was having from 2 to 3 manic episodes a week, I could not go to school, work or do anything else other than be in my room doing nothing. Now I am fully cured from bipolar from just following her therapy and taking my vitamins.

It is such a relief to be able to socialize better, do better in school, and be able to work. It’s a relief to my parents that I will be okay that they don’t have to worry about me all the time thinking that I may try to hurt myself or become sick while in public. That is one of the best things that I thank myself for going back to see Dr. Lee. Now I take little vitamins and go to see her less and less and my parents greatly appreciate what a change the doctor has helped me get. With the EFT and breathing exercises and energy work and with her effort I now feel like I am a new person, as if I was never sick.

Now I have a full time job, go to college more than half-time, I have a wonderful relationship with my parents and I don’t have any bipolar symptoms at all. I am so happy and glad that I returned for my treatment because I haven’t had a manic attack for months and months. I like that because my parents don’t have to call the big guy (police) to come and get me. I also love the fact that I have become physically, emotionally, and psychologically healthy and strong and this allows me to handle any huge or small challenge. That is the kind of freedom that I have been able to get from the treatment. But I just want to make clear a point about the treatment.

I love Dr. Lee form of providing her treatment not only because she is a professional, but she is always finding new ways to help her patients. Different forms of treatments work for each individual since we all need different treatment even though many of us have the same illness.
— Anonymous Patient

Joy From Knowing a Boy

Justin writes: “I am an 11 year old boy in the 5th grade. I started with Dr. Lee-Bloem when I was five years old and on lots of medication. Back then I didn’t feel well, and I was tired all the time. I have been taking vitamins and minerals since I was six years old, and I feel healthy and better.”

In a few weeks Justin will be moving away to another state, starting a new life, and meeting new friends. As I think of Justin, I remember the experiences Justin, his mother, and I have been through.

I met Justin before I ever used nutritional supplements or heard the word “orthomolecular.” He had been on medications, including antipsychotics since two and a half years old. By the time he came to see me, he had been on medications for three of his five years. His mood cycled several times a day, sometimes several times an hour. He was aggressive and irritable. His mother could not discipline him.

We used medications, but they did not resolve his symptoms. Then in 2002, we began using nutritional supplements. We took him off his medications, and over time he blossomed. Things continued to improve as his mother began to change his diet, taking out the sugar that made his mood swings worse. The daily complaints from school stopped. During his first year on supplements, I remember how happy I was that he received an award from school for “Most Improved Student.” Then he began to get A’s and B’s in his classes. Then his mother reported that he was testing above grade level in many subject areas.

Even when he was ill he had a love for animals and insects. Now his gift with the sciences and his love of nature is leading him towards a desire to help the environment and the creatures that live in it.

Sure, he still rolls his eyes about having to take his supplements, but he likes me. And he takes his supplements and likes to chat with me about how the energy healing feels when he receives it. I only see him rarely now when his mother brings him in to see me for a “check up.”

I will really miss his handsome face, clear eyes, and ready smile. When I think of him, I realize that one life is all it takes to make my work worthwhile.
— Anonymous Patient

Renal Recovery: The Road to Rejuvenation

I am so grateful for Dr. Alice Lee and what she is doing for the field of psychiatry and her patients. Being a physician myself and having been hospitalized as well as medicated for a number of diagnoses, including lupus-related organic brain disorder, bipolar disorder, and psychosis, I applaud Dr. Lee for her courage and willingness to use alternative and holistic approaches to healing with the goal of healing patients versus status quo symptomatic treatment.

My story began when I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus at 13 years of age. My daily medications included high-dose corticosteroids that altered my appearance, causing weight gain and a cushingnoid appearance as well as emotional lability and mood swings. At 15 years, I woke up in the hospital after an episode of what my doctors called psychosis and central nervous system involvement possibly spurred on by acute renal failure. When I was in medical school, I developed joint pain, and my rheumatologist from the United States put me on the highest dose of oral corticosteroids to date. I subsequently started hearing voices. I was immediately hospitalized and given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

My experiences with traditional psychiatry were generally negative until I met with Dr. Lee. I immediately liked Dr. Lee because she listened to me and heard what I was saying. Being from Taiwan, she could relate with what it was like to have Chinese parents and the emotional issues involved (though I was born in the US, my family was from Taiwan). Unlike other traditional psychiatrists, she had other tools for healing in her armamentarium than just psychotropic medications.

Under Dr. Lee’s treatment approach and supplemental regimen, I felt my health and energy improve. However, in May 2007, I went to Taiwan for several weeks. When I came back, my health deteriorated between follow-up sessions, and I was hospitalized once again for a “psychotic episode,” which was likely associated with a deterioration of my renal function during my trip to Taiwan. Unfortunately Dr. Lee was not notified of my condition until after I already had been admitted to the hospital by my family. I was in the hospital for three weeks, receiving antipsychotic medications, and when I left, I was a sedated mess with dry mouth, constipation, and foggy, unfocused thinking.

After being discharged, I started seeing Dr. Lee weekly. She put me back on my nutriceuticals and slowly weaned me off the medications to minimize withdrawal. I also began using her Infinite Intention CD on a regular basis. The positive affirmations from her CD were effective in facilitating my healing process.

It is now the middle of October, 2007, five months after my hospitalization, and I am feeling like my old self again. I have returned to my job full time and am doing well at work. I am sleeping normally and have lost excess weight. I have been off all my medications since mid-August and have remained healthy and well. In addition, I saw my rheumatologist about a month ago, and my kidney function had returned to normal, and the protein level had decreased more than 50% without being on any immunosuppressive medications.

My journey through recovery has truly been miraculous. A few weeks ago, I met with one of the girls who was in the hospital with me, and she was still heavily sedated, weak, and on disability. My healing with Dr. Lee doesn’t just involve healing the brain, but my whole body, mind, and spirit. Through her work, I am able to get well and maintain my health without medications or their accompanying side effects. Most amazingly, my faith in medicine, and especially psychiatry, has been restored through Dr. Lee. I trust Dr. Lee – she truly cares about getting her patients well!
— Miriam W.

Two Years Later and Still Medication Free–Healing from Bipolar Disorder with Psychosis

Recently, I had come back to Dr. Lee, not because I was sick, but because I wanted to purchase some vitamins from her. I have given birth to a baby boy. He is 4 months of age now. I want to continue caring for my body even better, now that I have that little angel to care for. For almost 3 to 4 years I have been doing so well that I had not been taking any vitamins or medicine at all. Whenever I felt stressed, I would just do my energy medicine techniques, and it helped.

I have now realized how strong one can be, and how successful in many ways, with a little determination. I still remember those moments when I sat and cried for hours and hours and felt so miserable as well as my family. I tried to commit suicide many times, because I thought that I would never get better and that my life was over. There was also so much anger, resentment, pain, and hurt inside that it would trigger a manic attack. I also saw my dead mother on a few occasions. I used to see her in a black, ripped dress reaching towards me. This would get me so scared that I screamed and tried to run away from her and tried to hide from her. I now get chicken skin when I think of these thoughts. But nowadays, it seems just like a bad dream.

For a long time, I was not interested in getting any help. Once my parents (father and step-mother) realized that when a sick person does not want to get help, there is no miracle or medicine in this world that would get that person better unless they want to get better, that is when they finally gave up on me, or that was what I thought.

I finally decided to go to my homeland Honduras for vacation. I stayed there for 2 months. After that, I came back here and decided to get help in order to get better and decided that I was going to do whatever the doctor told me to do. I did it for just a few months because after 5 or 6 months, I was doing so well that Dr. Lee-Bloem kept reducing my vitamins until I was taking just a few. After I stopped my treatment with her, and a few months had gone by, I stopped taking vitamins, because I was taking very few, since Dr. Lee had reduced them dramatically due to my fast recovery. I was working a full time job and going to school full time too, and I was managing well.

Once in a while I joke with my stepmother about how stubborn and determined I was not to get better. I also ask her if she remembers how she struggled every day just to get me to drink my vitamins and/or go to Dr. Lee until finally she gave up on me, or that was what I thought, but now I know that I was just not ready.

I went back to taking vitamins during my recent pregnancy, because I wanted to have a healthy baby, and I did. I have now been married for 2 years and have my first born, and life is looking great. I am still taking 3 or 4 supplements for health purposes. For my bipolar disorder, I have the best medication, and it can not be purchased, and it’s called “determination.” I think that every human being has this medication in them. They just have to find it within them and use it, because it does miracles in whoever uses it.
— D.D. (Follow-up from the testimonial Bipolar But Not Budging, two years after stopping treatment)