You never know who’s behind the food-Perception is everything…

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I was reading the business section last night about a division of Kraft coming out with an alternative snack. The company has some exotic health food name but the product is coming after wheat thins with these crackers made with sweet potato or chickpea. If I hadn’t read it was Kraft I would not have known.

Then I read about a new product from Quaker, who is owned by Pepsi. They are developing an ‘experiential’ food for an imagined snacking experience, the mid morning snack. It’ll be all ‘healthy’ and stuff, you’d never guess Pepsi owned it.

Perception is everything when it comes to food. Like they say, you sea it, you eat it on the seafood diet.

Metabolic Researchers Respond to my letters

Some of you may remember that I sent letters to scientists researching the metabolic challenges from taking atypical antipsychotics. Guess what? They responded and put me in touch with others.

It just goes to show that people do care and will share the information. I am putting it all together with my own metabolic healing journey and doing a series of articles on metabolic healing, diabetes prevention and maintaining a healthy weight. The idea is that this can be addressed and needs to be addressed from all angles. Diet and exercise alone often doesn’t do the trick.

You can be slender and fit and still have metabolic fallout from atypical antipsychotics.In my case the benefits of the medicine outweigh the risks.

The Metabolic Researcher Wrote Me Back!

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The Rebel’s Rant:

Every day I get up and out of bed wondering what I can do to improve my lot in life as it relates to my health and side effects from the meds. I make more noise than most people because I got saddled with Tardive Dyskinesia AND metabolic changes. People discriminate against me and think ‘she’s trouble’ because of it. People that used to let me volunteer, go up to the psych unit and lead meetings with the highest security clearance now they won’t let me sweep the floor. The NAMI people say they need someone to help them with their newsletter but my phone calls to them go unreturned. It bites. It’s sad.  What if….everyone that was prescribed an atypical got some sort of movement disorder and got discriminated against..that would be a lot of stigma. Of course that won’t happen. Thankfully they are prescribing much lower doses these days. But I digress. On the subject of metabolism,

I reached  out to the author of a long, specific, informative study about ‘possible future treatments for…..metabolic syndrome related to___________you know. Anyway. the point is that she wrote me back; including links to 40 pages of research on the exact same topic. Now what I have to do is read them. Interpret them. Simplify and implement the ideas in my own journey to metabolic healing. And go from there.

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.

I’m asking your opinion if you have time could you answer?

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Should I change my photo rom the current photo on the left, switching to the one up above on the left or up above on the right, leaning into my hand?

Which is better for my blog, “Bipolar Strength: Rebel With A Cause?”

I’m still a rebel but I stand FOR things, not against them. My friend has helped me see this, so I’m modifying my blog to reflect it.

My name is Allison Strong. I used to be an outspoken, highly rated female (obviously), alternative disc jockey, a continuation of a music scene that defied the status quo, sometimes to good effect.

It was an era when we could talk about depression. I even had a regular guest named “the cemetery guy” and people absolutely loved him!

My boss wasn’t sure about it but when he saw my ratings spike, it decimated every preconceived notion he had about what made ‘good radio.’ People were ok with the dark side. The ratings bore that out.

 

People won’t admit it but want a good image. That’s why I went with something professional, obviously contrived. But it was a mockup of the late movie star James Dean, and his titular film “Rebel Without A Cause.” That’s why I went with the wifebeater T shirt one.

I want to show rebellion and questioning the status quo, doing things like researching medicines and their side effects before taking them, instead of doing what I did, blindly loading up on high doses of certain meds that had permanent neurological side effects.

 

It is what it is. I’m not angry about it anymore but want to ‘clue in’ the next generation of people getting an automatic bipolar disorder diagnosis and given a set of meds to take without question. It might not be so easy to get off them as it was to go on.

You can actually go online and google a med and the one in its’ class with the most class action lawsuits for a particular side effect, well you can add 2+2 or you wouldn’t be reading this right now. If I’d only have known.

So what do you think? Stay with Wifebeater and the darkness or pick the LOLOL laugh my head off shot or another professional smiley commercial headshot?

What is best? I’m having a hard time giving up the James Dean image. It’s a tough call. But I am modifying my name.

Allison

aka bipolarbrainiac

 

Is anyone else slammed w/ appts and clerical stuff?

This letter is my fourth medical endeavor for the day. I’ve had my clozaril blood test, have an injection in my back at 2:30 pm,  picked up contacts, called for a refill of one TD medicine and now am trying to get prior authorization for the other. Unable to take Cogentin like most people, I’m on combination therapy for Tardive Dyskinesia.

I’m not trying to cause a panic.

(It’s just that sometimes my complicated medical situation, though it’s not life threatening, seems more complicated than it’s worth. I’m also ashamed of it, my family seems to think the side effects are my fault or caused by me. This has led to familial isolation).

This is worsened if I’m dealing with Depression. At those points even the little things are hard to manage…things like showers. I just don’t think I’m worth the effort during those times.

As for Tardive Dyskinesia: Not to worry.

Most people with movement disorders are just fine with Cogentin or Artane. Seems I’m the exception. I’ve had bipolar disorder for a long time and am just thankful I wasn’t put on lithium long-term and only take a minute dose of clozaril, as they both can strain kidney function.

I’m about to fax this missive. All of this eats into time I’d like to spend reading, studying or writing. Can you believe this stuff???? Anyone relate?

Page one of one

Dear Roxana,

I am on hold with your office right now and it’s going on the fifteenth minute oh, wait, now I’m disconnected after all that hold time.

As a person swimming in a sea of side effects from 25 years of well managed bipolar disorder, it seems these types of tasks are never ending.

 

The reason I called your office in the first place was to let you know that even though my biannual appointment with Dr. Moore isn’t until March, I’m only preapproved for my Tardive Dyskinesia Medicine until February and need for you to request another for me.

 

I hope you are having a great day. I look forward to hearing from you and will followup this fax with a phone call and hope I have better luck with your phone operators.

Out of my mind with atypical antipsychotic related metabolic issues

Hi, it’s Allison.

 

I know your time is valuable which is why I’m hoping you’ll accept my check for reading and evaluating this letter about my metabolism.

I’m really strugging.

On a day to day basis, I journal my food and my hunger level. I’m rarely satiated-famished all day with a hunger level of 7. It’s hard to focus on anything, especially my writing and/or daily duties like hygiene and self-care when all I do is prepare healthy food to carry around with me so I can eat every hour.

The hunger is worse when I take my Metformin. Why do you think that might be?

Eating, even low carb meals makes it worse. I can’t figure this out and need your help.

I don’t have hunger pangs but a feeling of jittery irritability and the feeling that I’d do anything to get some food. Not sugar necessarily but I did faint recently in Kohl’s and had to eat half a candy bar.

So the only time I’m able to do anything with a clear is in the morning before I’ve eaten. It’s my ‘golden time.’

It’s hard to ‘do the right thing’ when the right thing makes life harder.

As you know, I’m on Clozaril, the drug causing this metabolic problem. But it helps me greatly with Tardive Dyskinesia, stabilizes my moods, helps me sleep predictably and regularly, even though I’m in pain most of the time.

I know you recommended I try Saphris or Latuda but those drugs likely as heck, according to my shrink, would aggravate my TD the same way Invega, Invega IM, Geodon, Risperdal and Zyprexa did. At the end of a three year period of no symptom control, even the sedating seroquel aggravated the tic, or rather; thrashing. Forget about sleep or signing my name. It was a horrible period of time.

I am one of the unlucky few who can’t take the highly effective first line treatment Benztropin (Cogentin).

I pay a high price for TD symptom relief beyond metabolic difficulties. Weight management is epic. Thank god I love exercise (weight train and 8 hours of cardio a week), and changed my diet to 95% raw foods.

I have monthly blood for absolute neutrophils and WBC, had to reduce my Enbrel for psoriasis and have to really take care of myself to have good labs. It’s a pain in the but safety protocol Teva and the other generic giants have in place to prevent agranular cytosis. (sp?)

As for your suggestion that I ‘get off Clozaril,’ I’ve tried. I put myself in intensive outpatient so I could try in a supervised setting. First we tried Invega, Seroquel, Risperdal, Abilify and Zyprexa, all of which aggravated my symptoms even more. You probably already know that atypical and traditional antipsychotics as well as Reglan cause Tardive Dyskinesia in the first place.

This is totally illogical but when one removes the causal drugs, even carefully titrating lower and lower there’s this “Withdrawal Emergent Syndrome” where the symptoms are wildly worse. I was admitted to the ER three times for this and as you might imagine, the ER docs just wrung their hands, shaking their heads. You’d have thought they were the ones in observation from the looks of their faces!

I’ve had bipolar I since my first full blown manic episode in ’89. For a long-termer like me, Lithium would have been worse. I’m glad it’s my only drug allergy or I might be on dialysis by now, much worse than what I deal with currently.

I need you to help me buy time on this metabolic thing, help me delay the progression. (Hopefully until after I die).

I’ve already had five foot surgeries (Fusions bilateral and more) from professional sports overuse injuries (pro beach volleyball in LA), and I really like what’s left of my feet!! LoL!

Is there any way that I could have my blood sugar levels monitored more frequently as I employ changes in my weight training, diet, herbs and other holistic approaches? I’m finding Cinnamon helps with the hunger but online the reports are mixed. You’re pretty advanced and I think you could really help me delay diabetes.

I might even try pancreatic supporting chiro and possibly acupuncture. But first I need to find out if my Metformin is too high or why I’m starving all the time.

I’d like to do this and ask you if you think I should see an endocrinologist.

Thanks so much for reading my missive. My shrink says I’m an ‘exotic.’ Thank God he puts up with me. I’ve stayed out of the inpatient psych ward for sixteen terrific years save a few long term bipolar depression relapses. Now that I’m writing for four different mags, life is pretty good, except when I’m hungry all the time!

 

Sincerely,

Allison Strong

 

Comments anyone? Anyone else out there struggling with these issues? I really hope to buy time until science catches up to this problem. Believe me, they’re scrambling. There’s just too much good money to be made!!!

Bipolar Metabolism an untapped market

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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.

 

 

I luv Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci &Tarantino

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Can’t wait for Quentin Tarantino’s “Famous 8” also his 8th film. He often is nostalgia driven in his choice of song, camerawork, choice of actors who haven’t worked in years. (he revived Uma Thurman and John Travolta in 1993’s “Pulp Fiction,”  Michael Keaton in 1999’s “Jackie Brown” and also the career of black actress Pam Grier from blacksplotation films like “Foxy Brown.” He also works with Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russel, Germany’s Christopher Waltz (a two time academy award winner for best supporting actor) and Brad PItt.

 

Just for kicks yesterday I watched a movie about a financial crisis at an investment company. Their risk-benefit equation was off, and their stock was worthless. It featured Demi Moore, Paul Bettany, Kevin Spacey (for comic relief of the tension) Stanly Tucci, Jeremy Irons and Simon Baker. There was a priceless scene after 80% of workforce on the floor was fired summarily, security guards, instant disconnection of cell phone and internet access etc. It’s grave and tense. Paul Bettany walks into Kevin Spacey’s office. Spacey had worked their thirty years. His head was laying on his desk and you’d think it was work related anguish. Bettany says “What’s wrong?” Spacey looks up tearfully and says, “My Dog’s Dying, She’s at the vet, bla bla I’m spending a thousand a day to keep her alive” and I just burst out in hysterical laughter for five minutes.

 

Then at the end, when Jeremy Irons has told them to sell all of their worthless shares supposed to be worth trillions of dollars and bankrupt all the other people on wall street and their investors, there is this scene where he is fine dining with a white tablecloth in an exclusive restaurant in the building. He is hunched over his table, drinking his wine like a vulture. He is doing a very dishonorable thing, saving his ass and bankrupting others. He’s like a lion dining on the carcass of the investment world. It’s great work.