‘Prozac Poopout’ and Tardive Dyskinesia


If you’d have told me when I was diagnosed, in 1989, with bipolar disorder and put on Tegretol and Prozac, that my Prozac would mysteriously ‘poop out’ on me and drive me to psychotic depression, I’d have told you that you didn’t know me very well. I was too smart to let that happen.

If you’d told me I’d end up on antipsychotic medicine marketed and packaged sans the scary sounding word ‘antipsychotic;’ later developing Tardive Dyskinesia, I’d ask you what you were smoking.

Well, all these things did happen and the six years of navigating a series of numbskull neurologists who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) diagnose me, while class action lawsuits against Geodon ruled my search result box, was not a high note in my life. I barely survived the indifference and the sleepless nights, which for a bipolar like me, are a threat to mental stability.


For the first year I went without a diagnosis because no one was willing to ‘step in it,’….but eventually, I got a diagnosis and a dire prognosis from the top guy in town. “You’re Hopeless,” he said. “You need to learn to ‘suck it up.'”

Yeah, and it got worse before it got better. My six year search for information and a doctor with the skill set to help me taught me more than I ever wanted to know about an ever faster moving FDA, sweeping changes in clinical research that lend a whole new meaning to the words ‘private,’ and ‘for profit’….things any consumer of our healthcare system should know before making decisions about what medicines they want to take. I wish I’d known then what I know now.


But then, I wouldn’t have anything to tell you…because TD would never have happened to me. Not all atypicals are alike with regards to their side effects…and comparative, head-to-head research of antipsychotics and atypical antipsychotics are all available online, hiding in plain sight.

It’s just a question of knowing where to look.

It’s hard reliving it, as I try to slog through the writing of my book, “All shook Up from my Sedatives: A Tardive Dyskinesiac Talks Back,” and yet I soldier on, because someone has to speak up for us. Our population has tripled in the last five years; reflecting an explosion in the prescription of the antipsychotics that cause it.

Antipsychotics are not just medicines for ‘crazy’ people anymore. Antipsychotics are being used for aids, adhd, autism, dementia-related agitation, and I haven’t even gotten through with the ‘A’s yet.


Extremists on the Opiate Epidemic


I agree, other than the catastrophic wave of crack cocaine and all its’ collateral damage, this ‘epidemic’ is the likes of which I’ve never seen. I don’t even understand it. Last week, in the New York Times, one of the letters to the editor called for a complete 90-day suspension of ALL prescription of opiods to outpatients. This would limit pain relief to patients in the hospital.

Something this extreme would likely never happen, because the drug lobbies are too powerful. However, it’s scary anyone is even contemplating it!

I’ve had chronic low back pain since 2004. I’ve tried 3 types of physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture 2x, and 10 different ‘interventional’ pain therapy injections.

Expensive and ineffective.

The last ‘test,’ which was for Coolief, worked and gave me 40 hours of 100% pain relief, but Medicare doesn’t cover it. I’m no longer on opiates, thanks to safer alternatives with less side effects.

However, if they want to put a dent in this epidemic, Medicare and insurance need to cover the denervation procedures that work, otherwise all this talk is nothing but scare tactics and hot air.

Confessions of a Hollywood ‘Nobody-‘ #MeToo


When I was 11, when I first told my parents I wanted to be an actor or a disc jockey (both of which I later became), I was told the entertainment industry was ‘off limits’ and to confine my career ambitions to the scholarly, economic, medical or legal professions. I was only a kid then, so I didn’t know what antisemitism was.

I ended up at Stanford on a volleyball scholarship, and met the late Bobby Frankel, a horse trainer so connected he got me an audition for a Coca Cola Commercial, which got me that coveted Screen Actor’s Guild Card.

At 19, I dropped out to conquer Hollywood. The first #metoo was a friend of my father, a ‘has been’ producer working on the MGM lot, which was known for Lorimar Studio’s Dallas and Knott’s Landing. He asked me out to lunch, which seemed innocent enough. He told me he’d made Angie Dickenson of “Police Woman” a star by putting her up in an apartment, paying for her acting lessons, etc., and that I should do the same. I was apalled, stood up from the table and fled.

I was doing TV commercials, but wanted to break into ‘theatrical.’ To do that, I needed a SAG franchised agent, so I sent out pictures to agents. This was in the early 80’s. There were less roles for women than there are now.

I got a phone call for a general interview with Billy something or other….I’ve forgotten his name, but he told me I had a pretty, heart-shaped mouth and it would look good wrapped around one of his friend’s c#@k. He wanted to take me to a party that night that he said was well attended by producers and directors. I realized he was a pimp more than an agent and filed a complaint with SAG, who never did anything about it.

A little later, some friends of mine set me up with a superagent from Creative Artist’s Agency, the agency who represents producers, directors, screenwriters, writers and actors. CAA ‘packages’ products and can often get a young actor in a project along with their A-listers. After dinner, this guy put the moves on me. I resisted and he started yelling at me for wasting his time. He told me I was stupid and this was how things got ‘done’ in Hollywood.

This happened quite a few more times before I finally surrendered my dream and moved away. During my years in LA, I managed to land 8 TV commercials and quite a bit of union voiceover work for video games, but could never ‘crack’ TV and Film.

Now I know why. Harvey Weinstein was right.


Making Friends with other Writers…hopefully people NOT in ‘The Program’ (No offense)

I mean to go to some of the literary events in my backyard here in South Florida. There are a ton.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve made 6 false starts on a book. I have half written books all over my desktop. I’m using them as source material and am 9 chapters and 30k words into a 28 chapter book. And I freelance!!!

This is all fine and well if you don’t mind being alone, but I’m a social animal. I truly love people.

For a long time, AA was a ready stand-in for a social life…hell, you can talk about anything with AA’ers (except bipolar or meds for same) as long as you don’t pick up that drink!

Finally, I realized I don’t belong there and left. I can count the amount of friends I have on one finger and they’re all from AA and struggling with their disease. Oddly, I don’t relate. I understand, but don’t relate because alcohol itself has never been my demon.  I’m plagued with bipolar/eating disorder/tardive dyskinesia/metabolic syndrome/ and hunger for friends who aren’t plagued with problems like these.

So, this is being addressed in DBT therapy. There are 4 modules in DBT, ‘Mindfulness,’ ‘Distress Tolerance,’ ‘Interpersonal Effectiveness’ and ‘Emotional Regulation.’

They have a shitload of teachings on ‘how to meet people and have them like you.’ Things like cutting back on TMI, an overall prohibition on apologizing for yourself, etc.,

I can clearly see how some of my behaviors from the time I was a child have put me into the isolation jackpot I’m in today.

I’m a work in progress. I always was. I always will be. The difference now is, I know it.