There’s no ‘7 Foods, nor would I put a list (listicle) article on my blog! Gotcha!!! If you want a list, click these links about list articles- why I HATE & FEAR their growing dominance.
Before Seroquel I was ten pounds lighter than this. I am an exercise nut. Love it. Swimming is just one of my ‘things.’ Then I was put on Clozaril because it’s super sedating and I have tardive. Between it and the Xenazine Caring Voices Coalition (a charity for rare diseases) helps me get, and a benzo, I’m pretty good but struggle with weight. In studies, Clozaril is twice as likely to result in weight gain, hunger, hyperinsulinism, metabolic syndrome and finally, type 2 diabetes, even weight independent diabetes.
Drop-In Peer Centers for Behavioral Health: An Exploding Trend
One of the reasons I am glad that I moved to Florida is that it led me to a peer run drop in center near my house called Rebel’s Drop In. In my small county, Broward, between Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, we have 5 of these centers. Peer run drop in centers average 5 per state, see the links below to find one near you.
Mindfulness, OA, NAMI Connection Peer-to-Peer, and a 14-year running Schizophrenics Anonymous meeting are there. I learned to make jewelry and took new and improved pieces to Etsy, Holiday Gifts and my own wardrobe. They have Peer Mentoring there, free of charge, to help you reach goals you may have forgotten about in crisis or not. I have a Peer Mentor, who is someone who has been in my shoes, psychiatrically, and we get together to go over my goals on a variety of fronts. One of the most challenging for me is to ‘widen my social circle.” I’m making progress.
Does it sound too good to be true? No, it’s not and it’s an exploding, well-researched trend. So who picks up the tab? The programs are subsidized by grants from the state, who always want a list of printed names and signatures, times and dates, so when you go there, make sure you sign the list. Every signature helps them get grants so they can expand and maintain their offerings.
These places are usually in a building owned by a local hospital for outpatient or continuing behavioral care in different tracks called IOP (Intense Outpatient Treatment paid for by insurance and Medicare/Medicaid). Then, after the patients leave, the aroma of coffee fills the air, the colored crayons come out, and food from Memorial regional Hospital arrives to feed those who have little or no sustenance in the grand room. I’ve eaten it often and it’s always balanced.
In addition to the grand room, where painting, crafts, socializing, and jewelry is done, there are perhaps six private rooms holding various self-help/support meetings until 7:30PM. (Bipolar Support, Emotions Anonymous, Depression Support, Life Skills are just a few). On the weekends, since there is no IOP in session, the hours of the center are bit different. In the words of Deanne O’Brien, who overcame her own mental health nightmare, (which is one prerequisite for Peer Mentors and Supervisors) “No one is too sick to attend Rebel’s Drop In.” I really believe that.
I’m on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr communicating with people with mental illness. Many have never heard of these drop in centers. My friends and I go once or twice a week, drink coffee, bring donuts and gossip. We never know when we’ll be in-patient next, and it’s good to see all the faces of our illness. We are so grateful that the late Ann Rebel’s family gave a charitable endowment to Memorial Regional Hospital, for the purpose of continuing mental health care, Peer Mentoring, and WRAP planning (Wellness Recovery, Action Plan).
If you are curious to see if any of these sorts of arts-oriented facilities exist in your city, county or in a town near you, try these links:
- www.cdsdirectory.org/database/view_all_listings.php (if link doesn’t open try copy/pasting into your browser)
Jo Menary|Tue, 2015-02-24 21:26
Allison, I am so proud of you. What great information and encouragement you are sharing. Keep is going! Jo
- michael |Sun, 2015-03-29 06:43
Great Job Allison. I am so proud of you not only for your informational writing but also fro you willingness to help others find the support they may need to help them in their lives as they deal with the same illnesses you suffer from! Love Michael, your Husband!
- Maggie|Sun, 2015-03-29 07:05
Looks like you dug around to get all this info. Thanks for making it available for us.
- jennifer blake|Mon, 2015-03-30 08:44
I love rebels! discovered it when I got out of mental hosp….wish they had one in boston where my son lives…this place saved me from myself many thanx Alison for great info!
Who Would You like jammed down your throat? A superficial “list” article, Donald Trump (who drove the media towards tabloidy coverage), or Miss Allison Strong. Hmmm. None of the above. Just as we thought.
This has tough for her because she thinks if people who have bipolar disorder want to be taken seriously, then a neatly arranged body of factoids with nothing to back them up, is horrendous. She has lost one publisher (that she even knows) for expressing her disturbance at the amount of mental health content being dealt with too lightly with “National Enquirer” type lists. Here is the link to the gutsy pulication, bphope.com, who allowed Allison to stick her neck out (she does that regularly) and prove why these lists aren’t always appropriate or productive. Here’s the link: I hope you become part of the electoral process. http://www.bphope.com/blog/bipolar-strong-list-o-mania-shocker.
Let us know if you think we, too should can her ass by commenting, ‘unliking’ etc in the comments section below
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.
Photo of Ashraf Pahlavi, twin sister of the Shah of Iran
We lost a proud Middle Eastern Feminist last week. The twin sister of the former Shah of Iran, Ashraf Pahlavi, passed away. I was interested that she wrote three memoirs.
Most people only write one, but she lived a long time, through many political changes that swept the world. I’m going to request:
“Faces in a Mirror: Memoirs from Exile”
“Time for Truth”
Jamais Resignee (Never Forget)…That’s a phrase used in another concept, but ok, it cross applies.
The person most responsible for DSM’s leap into the mainstream passed away last week? His name was Robert Spitzer and I’ve run across three articles about his life and work.
When he tweaked DSMIII, he removed same sex orientation as a basis for a diagnosis. Gay rights speakers claim that if it hadn’t been for Dr. Spitzer, there would be no gay marriage today.
His work on DSMIII was a total departure from overreliance on the unreliable: the wide spectrum of Freudian authority. With the updates of and additions to DSM3, the new framework for diagnostics was based on a ‘checklist’ of symptoms. While not perfect, it is more accurate and leaves less territory wide open for speculation.
While my psychiatrist of fifteen years is a bit of a Freudian doc, many psychiatrists in the 70’s were frustrated with Freudian theory and the idea that someone had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to lie on a couch and speak to a silent psychoanalyst for years on end.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The above pictures reflect a before and after. No Jenny Craig, no gimmicks. Diet and Exercise, certain herbs for blood sugar, increased water. Of course, when I’m in a months long bipolar depression, which happens every year or so, I have the food-mood connection and I fall back into the pit of binging and don’t exercise. I had to ‘re lose’ 20 lbs after my depression relapse in April thru July of this year. It takes time to lose!!!
At 54, I find myself with a health challenge beyond weight.
Because of antipsychotic psych meds I must take, I’m prediabetic, even though I weight train and get 7 hours of cardio a month, no sugar, raw foods, am slender and muscular. Using myself as a research subject, with help from someone who has actually studied antipsychotic related metabolic changes. Journaling, blood tests, saliva tests for hormone levels that play a part. I hope my work will be published in both bphope.com, and International Bipolar Foundation. There will be no repetition of content. Believe me, I’ve been collecting data on research and nutrition, hormones, cortisol, etc, for six months. There’s enough helpful information to go around. I just wanted you to know I’m embarking on a journey to turn my metabolic problem around and will let you know how it goes.
Did any of you plunge into the darkness of Joy Division back when the late Ian Curtis was still alive? Did anyone appreciate New Order? Bernard Sumner, who was in both bands is publishing a Memoir, which should be out about now.
He says that it wasn’t until Ian Curtis committed suicide and they went back and listened closely to his lyrics that they realized that he was suffering from Depression.
I might read the book, but I sort of lived the life and got the t-shirt. Grace Jones has a new memoir out too, “I’ll never Write My Memoirs.”
Part of this is an email I sent my best friend. I’ve submitted stories more places than I remember. International Bipolar Foundation welcomed me with open arms.
Here are two of the places that said ‘No’ more than once.
Marie Claire Magazine regarding two Eating Disorder pieces. I had them on the phone and received four emails expressing interest, only to be told they had ‘overplayed’ the eating disorder topic, which they felt was only of interest to ten percent of their readership.
The Mighty. I find them to be too self congratulatory for me. “Haaa Haaa, this saying is cool, I won the war!” life isn’t that simple and I think they s**k. I don’t even read their posts.
This one really stung:
“Stigma Fighters” They rejected me twice but when I read their 1000 word rambles, I think it’s a whiny freak show and they are furthering stigma, not fighting it. By the way, they invited me to submit a third time and when I didn’t they blocked my from receiving their posts. I wrote Sara Fader and Allie Burke asking why I don’t get their posts anymore and neither of them replied.. But they sent me a t-shirt.
Did they have an email tracking system showing them that I only read half of their posts?Back then they were sending three a day and I couldn’t read them all, I saved them in a ‘stigma fighters’ folder. I was going to read them……just to be supportive. Maybe it was my comments on the posts themselves, which I did to let the suffering writers know that I had ‘heard’ them, that someone was listening.
HERES THE GOOD STUFF
The best part of the story is this: I invited myself to write for bphope.com (Part of Bipolar Magazine). I sent two stories and was gently told it wasn’t what they were looking for. I was given the line about ‘we’ll keep your materials and next year..bla bla’ Well, I asked if I could submit again and this time it went well. I’m on a three month trial period of once a month and so far the editor is really nice and supportive.
MORE GOOD STUFF
I applied to another publication two months ago. I heard back a month ago from their content integrator and was given a thirty day deadline to write a story. I gave them two topic choices and they choose “Mindfulness.” I asked for their style manual and it had all this stuff about prepositions, non essential clauses and tautology, which is like saying the same thing twice in a sentence in different ways.
Examples of Tautology: “My first priority is” (it we say ‘first’ we know it’s a priority, right?)
“Depression casts a dark shadow over our perception.” (Well if it’s a shadow, we can presume it’s dark, right?)
The style manual was so above my paygrade that I googled ten English terms, reread Strunk and White and worked for three hours with my mom, going over every paragraph with a fine toothed comb.
We don’t know yet if they like it, and it was really hard upholding their style and grammatical standards and coming up with subheadings so that my topic could veer off course slightly, for example, going back in Mindfulness’s history all the way back to the first Buddists in 300 BC China.
It took at least thirty hours to write this story and it’s a paid position. I don’t yet know what the money is. I’ll let you know on that. It’s probably variable, depending on how you negotiate it and how much they value your work!