My Friend Tessa took the leap and was bluntly truthful about one of my character defects

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Bipolar Diversity – Friends With Significantly Different Insights

Teresa Smeigh

Society likes to group everyone with bipolar together. They insist we are all alike. We are all violent. Every time something violent is done in this country it is blamed on bipolar. The person must certainly have bipolar. I can’t speak for others, but for me, it gets pretty tiresome constantly being in the group that is responsible for all violence. I am far from violent. I am as non-violent as you can get.

Occasionally a famous person will come out and admit they have bipolar. They have talents. People forget the slew of famous people who have bipolar and they are coming out more and more all the time.

My best friend Allison and I are as different as black and white in some things and completely the same in others. We both have writing talent. People with bipolar disorder tend to have some type of creativity even if they haven’t found it yet. I have been writing since I was a young child with non-diagnosed bipolar.

We met online blogging. We clicked even though the only thing we had alike at that time was a love of writing. Allison is rough and tough and I am a quiet little mouse. I am afraid of life. Allison loved my writing and persuaded me to try to write for International Bipolar Foundation. I applied with trepidation and received an email from their blog editor.

I have a blog on bipolar and that was really all the credentials I have besides writing for much smaller blogs. The email included info and a guidelines booklet and I was asked if I wanted to volunteer for survey groups. Allison is a writer also for this group.

I read the guidelines and received help from Allison about her experiences. She is a little wild for me. Our personalities clash, but for some reason in a good way. I got up the courage to tell her to stop running over people and they will treat you better. I waited for the explosion, but she accepted it and found out I knew what I was talking about.

Allison considers herself a rebel and I consider myself a Mental Health Advocate and go around and do projects that are easy going, but still get the point across. I have appeared in video clips, by a NY producer. She is doing other projects and I am willing to help her however I can.

Allison wants to relate more to the younger, alternative crowd and I am aiming to help all ages. We are both in our 50’s.

She looks for the world news and serious subjects. I write simple subjects to help everybody. I agonize over what I should write next, what simple subject. She is deeply researching hard core topics and calling people to interview. I search online and use my personal life. I have had plenty of life experiences with bipolar.

She and I are different as black and white and by that I mean she has a black and white blog and I have color and keep mine bright. I used to be into the black world, but now I prefer bright colors to cheer me up.

But in the end Allison and I are both trying to help others while we work on our own bipolar. Also to scientists, psychiatrists and therapists – we aren’t all alike. The most important thing you can do is listen to your patients. We know ourselves. Patients, if you don’t get that respect and get listened to, find a new support person or all of them if necessary.

I have been lucky and have had the best support system. I still have to explain what outside the box means though. They are good, not perfect.

To read more from Teresa, see the rest of her posts for IBPF here or visit her personal blog here

Topic:

Bipolar Disorder

Consumer

Friends

– See more at: http://ibpf.org/blog/bipolar-diversity-%E2%80%93-friends-significantly-different-insights#sthash.2kNTL4DG.dpuf

Sharing Jewelry Making With Others in the Community

blueswarovskion

 

When I first wanted to learn how to make jewelry a few teachers told me they couldn’t work with me; frustrated at how slow I learned. Luckily for me I had a trip scheduled to see Mom in Arizona and she’s an expert. She has such fine skills. If you compare her work with mine it’s mind boggling. But that’s not what it’s all about.

Mom set up a jewelry table for me so she could rest when she needs to and I’d have something to do. She gave me the raw materials, like stones and findings that I needed. There are quite a few moving parts and tools involved. She probably spent twelve hours with me on that trip, helping me with the skills I could not wrap my mind around, like wire bending, and the making of loops to put earring findings on or other attachments. It’s got to be consistent and uniform in shape in side, otherwise it won’t hang the same and the different loop sizes will look silly.

I put up a site on Etsy and found out it’s more a place where ideas are stolen than appreciated and bought. In doing this I developed better photography skills, as the picture and description of an item are worth more than a thousand words. I spent money on lessons upon my return and also put out dough for nice stones like the above, which is Fluorite topped with embedded Swarovsky Crystal beads.

And then I got into writing and I just stopped. I’m going back. I think I need to.

 

I hate this word as a platitude or cliché but ‘balance’ is everything.

Allison

The Bipolar Disorder Med-i-go-round

Carrie is not my favorite person at all, having known her from ‘friends of bill’ in LA. But sometimes she can be funny.

Our Lived Experience

I wish I could tell you that this blog post was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, but you know, the medical professionals get the perks, we just get an ever increasing array of horrible side effects and the vague hope of a little emotional stability somewhere along the way. Bitter? Me? You betcha.

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Here’s a list of the chemicals that have run rampant through my beleaguered system during the past 18 months.

Citalopram & Escitalopram – those are two generations of the same drug. The maximum dose you can have before ‘they’ start demanding ECGs, is 40mg, which shrink one felt was inadequate. I hadn’t started using the public healthcare sector then, so heart tests would’ve cost me a bomb. Before the 40mg rule appeared, I was on 80mg.
Alzam – I used it prn and never felt it doing much good.
Quetiapine – my very worst, because I got…

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Trying to Advocate in the face of Discrimination

I just tried to sign up for the Mood Network and apparently I already have! Memory loss from all the mood stabilizers (3) antidepressants (2) and Tardive Meds. Recently I became aware that because I have Tardive Dyskinesia, I am discriminated against as a prospective volunteer. These are places where I volunteered for years with a high hospital security clearance and facilitated/started/nurtured support groups for people like us. I am the face of something that makes drug company sponsored foundations uncomfortable. I’m ‘trouble.’ I find this troubling. Because I have decent verbal skills and am a writer and activist, this situation is even worse. I’m trying to soften a few areas of my message, like my blog, “Rebel With A Cause” to reflect something more positive. But America Loves a Rebel. It’s good to question the status quo and research what you put in your body before you do it, I think.

I mean how many things have they been wrong on? Vioxx, Saccarine, Thalidomide, Tardive, ADHD, I could go on and on.

To quote the ‘Arnold,’ I’ll be back. Allison Strong bipolarbrainiac.wordpress.com

Bowie, my BFF and Taking stock of being a Rebel

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I didn’t want to be one of the many David Bowie Fans rushing to grab the stage for themselves. His death really affected me. I’m so sad he’s gone but he made art out of pain until the very end. I adored his ‘plastic’ soul phase of the “Young Americans” album…it was the first David Bowie album I bought. Then I got into his lead guitarit “Mick Ronson” and loved his solo song, “The Empty Bed.” You can’t find it anymore. David wrote songs for acts in the Underground and helped them break through. Good examples of this are his collaborative work with Lou Reed, Brian Eno, and Iggy Pop. He was generous that way. He felt there was room for everyone. rebel

I always considered myself an outsider. The music of David Bowie in the 70’s, along with Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Foghat, The Eagles and other groups in the 70’s, normalized my experience of myself. I was and forever will be grateful to them. It encouraged the artist in me.

However, due to my BFF and the passing of Scott Weiland from STP and David Bowie, I’m re examining the theme of my blog.

Rebel. Hmmmmm. Rebel against what, exactly? And what in the heck is positive about that?

Questioning and raging against the status quo is what has fueled popular and underground music (my favorite) since the 50’s. Beginning with Elvis, The Beatles, Going into Led Zepplin, Nirvana, Bowie, Billy Idol and even the softer sounds of Duran Duran.

My personal opinion is that artists have an uncanny ability to take pain and give it purpose in their art, connecting to others who feel similarly….or feel at all, and find meaning in it.

But I’m re examining useless rebellion, that’s all. I’m for change but think twitter hashtag campaigns only speak to the choir and protests outside the gates of pharmaceutical companies only make us look more crazy.

I’ve written letters to senators and am looking for an online Civics course to see how our government really works when it comes to affecting Change and checks and balances.

My friend Dyane (who also has a variant of bipolar disorder) is living my dream!

 This what I would have done if I’d been profiled in a publication so lofty they won’t publish my writing but they write about me!!!! That is what is happening to Dyane. Maybe they think she is ‘too good’ or ‘too serious’ for them. Or maybe they don’t want to have a moving, disturbing article in the first person on post partum onset bipolar disorder. They are just now wrapping their head around post partum depression and bipolar disorder! Have they covered Schizoaffective yet? I think NOT! By saying this of course I am blowing my chances of being published there, I’ve tried several times as well with no response. But that’s ok. Dyane is taking a page out of the Donald Trump playbook, any publicity, especially free publicity, is better than a commercial or a future advertisement for her upcoming book, “Birth of a New Brain.” I’m hot on her heals with my own, watching her learn and grow.

Dyane Leshin-Harwood, founding member of the Santa Cruz DBSA chapter, has advice for new mothers managing a mental disorder and a career. Her upcoming book is “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder.” http://bit.ly/1PwKpo4

 

 

 

It’s no joke..jewelry making as Art Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

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Obviously there’s an artistic side to me. From my youthful participation in musical productions, plays, risky choice of dropping out of Stanford to pursue acting after doing a commercial and getting my Screen Actor’s Guild Union Card (something half the actors in LA do not and will never have), to my writing, being artful in my disc jockey work, affinity for all kinds of music, (was a musician myself at one time)…but it took me a while to realize how art therapy can do the trick.

My Mom has an MFA from Pomona College outside of LA. She’s an art therapist. One time, when I was in deep trouble, living in LA and addicted to drugs and the man who provided them and the new cars I received just as quickly as I totaled them she did a guided ‘trip’ through what’s called “Sand Tray Therapy). Sand tray allows the patient, or clients, to create their ideal world through trinkets, placement of bridges, roads, dolls, rocks, to symbolize what they would like in their life.

I can’t remember the exact details but my Mom remembers I created a ‘way out’ of the trap I was in and my imminent departure from Los Angeles by use of this treatment modality. I’m not sure why ‘Sand Tray’ never caught on big time but it was useful to me. it made me realize I had it in me to make the move I needed most. To leave that man, my fiancée of 8 years, and leave LA once and for all.

Later in life I married a Geffen Records promo guy and he was transferred to LA, so I went back there, after all. It was much easier to secure voiceover work and commercials when I wasn’t on cocaine, let me tell you. But that’s a whole nother story.

I’m on a Charlotte Rampling Kick

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The hostess of horror is back with a new film, “45 Years”

Charlotte Rampling specializes in roles that attempt to normalize the most horrific. I call her the ‘hostess of horror.’

I became aware of her when I saw a Mickey Roarke Robert Deniro movie about selling one’s soul to the devil (an old theme if ever there was one) and she played a New Orleans Voodooienne who met her bloody end before they could extract her prophesies and spells. I learned about her role in “The Night Porter,” Reveled in her role as serial killer “Dexter’s” unconditionally approving, supportive and loving psychiatrist who specialized in childhood trauma and two recent films: The role of the stern, black and white “Women Must Endure these things” mother of Keira Knightly in “The Duchess.” It’s a terrific film also starring Ralph Fiennes as the uncouth Duke she is forced into marriage with. Then another film with Keira Knightly called “Never Let me Go” about using British Orphans solely for the purpose of organ donation. She played the head of the institution that schooled these orphans into thinking they were serving a high purpose parting with their parts one by one until they weakened and died. Now she’s back in a movie about a wonderful marriage shattered by something horrific. I can’t wait to see it.

She’s the model of a cosmetics campaign for Nas Cosmetics, joining octogenarian Joan Didion as a fine example of the grace of aging. What could be better for us? Sometimes life is horrible but we have to make the best of it and see light in the dark, as she seems to.

There’s another side to me…art therapy w/jewelry and cooking and more

pompano

 

If you have been following this blog for a while you might think I’m married to a life of battle against the ‘powers that be.’ Back when I was on Tumblr I posted a lot about my lighter side, jewelry making, pilates, and gourmet cooking, one of my passions. We have this store in town called Penn Dutch. They have the best, most highly trafficked (this makes for fresher fish because it’s always being replaced by new hauls) fish counter I’ve ever seen. Yesterday they had 9 Oz LobsterTails from South America, not Australia. They carry a Brazilian fish called Branzino that I’ve never heard of.

Yesterday I bought a fish native to here, South Florida, called Pompano. (pictured) it’s only 6.99 a pound, you purchase the whole fish and get two 6oz filets out of it. They filet it for you. What I do is buy coconut milk, fresh mint, and chili paste. I add more splenda to the mixture and heat it up. Then I put dissolved cornstarch in it and pour it over the fish and put it in the oven. I make steamed vegetables and rice, and the extra coconut milk sauce goes good over both. Mike my husband really likes this.

I had to stand at a fish counter with a number tag in my hand for 1/2 hour as this store is crowded. But that’s what makes the fish counter so fresh. Nothing sits there very long.

 

Nami Broward County, needing help with Newsletter & asking for general volunteers Ignores Me.

AllisonBlackandWhite

 

I just could not resist this one. At the NAMI meeting at the Drop In Center they always ask for volunteers to organize and chair their “connections” meetings, need someone to do their newsletter and all phone calls I’ve made to them (five in all) have gone unreturned. “She’s trouble,” She’s got Tardive Dyskinesia and she’s Angry…” I know because well, you’ll read it in the email I just sent them, accusing them of discrimination against me for being slightly vocal about Tardive Dyskineisa. I don’t mention it everywhere I go…but I do speak up. It’s real. I have it. There are ways to delay or avoid it and still take your medicine. That’s what I want to get across. But now I’m asking..how do you think they will respond to this email? I would lay odds they will continue to ignore me like they have the past two years.

 

Dear David and Edna

I haven’t heard anything since I did the telephone interview and left David a Followup message on ‘starting small’ to work towards a common goal. I feel that because I have Tardive Dyskinesia and occasionally mention it, I am being discriminated against.

 

This happens in the medical and psychiatric community as well. I am the face of a frightening, at times grotesque statistic, even though I’m asymptomatic and pretty happy about life.

 

I’m not angry. it happened, It took three years to get help and I did a series of friendly, low key  videos for International Bipolar Foundations’s Youtube page how to find that ‘needle in the haystack:” the neurologist who is a movement disorder specialist who further specialized in Tardive Dyskinesia, comfortable treating the mentally ill. Not all neurologists are, my friends.
I had a nurse practitioner tell me she wouldn’t take me on for fear of ending up in some bitter lawsuit if I got worse under her care and have been thrown out of every office where I simply sought a second opinion. I’ve had the same collaborative psychiatrist for seventeen years and have stayed out of the hospital for that long as well.

 

When I’m in bipolar depression remission I am still able to go places, write and do telephone outreach, so I take my lumps when I get them. But having volunteered for years at Rebel’s and suddenly being deemed ‘too unstable’ to do so again when their other volunteers pass drugs in the parking lot and call me to tell me the FBI or CIA is after them, well, one has to ask if I’m too unstable or just too threatening.

 

I don’t mean to be any trouble. It’s too bad that you can’t even find the time to call back. It’s disheartening, to say the least.

 

Allison Strong