Bullsharks in South Florida They Bite

bullsharkFLoutofthewaterThis is me, coming out of a long run followed by a two hour swim. I am exercise bulimic. I eat and then work out. I deal with Sharks.

Great Whites are more prevalent on the Pacific Coast and other colder water climates…I think Australia and South Africa have them. For warmer water and brackish water like we have in the Canals, (they have even found these bullsharks in the Mississippi River)!

I’m a thrill seeker and exercise addict (which has caused quite a few problems)… after a few orthopedic surgeries I temporarily turned to swimming long distances at the Olympic Pool at Stanford University. Later I began swimming way out in the Ocean, both in Mexico, Del Mar and finally now here in Florida. Boy, once you master the breathing and about 20 minutes passes, you get really high and I’m not sure why.

What keeps me from going out there now (but I’m going to return) are active Sharkbites not so far from home.  I saw a Mako and A skimmer out swimming a couple of times but once they saw me, they boogied. I live in Hollywood on the Atlantic Ocean. Bullsharks populate more northern areas of the Florida Atlantic coast like Vero beach and Daytona, partly because of the surfers, who they confuse with sea lions, etc.

We had a Bullshark Bite last week. It happened to a guy who was spearfishing and had loaded up the ocean water with blood. It’s called a “Provoked Attack,” in other words totally NOT the Shark’s fault.

Basically sharks are only interested in fish for food. We are too bony, in reality, for them.

I live in an area where there really is no food for them. But over on the West Coast, in the La Jolla Caves near San Diego, you’ve got all these seals sunning themselves on the rocks, and Great White
Bites are a plenty. Ten Miles up the Pacific is Del Mar, where there has never been a shark bite ever.

When I go swimming and there are schools of fish, I get spooked and get out of the water, right away. Anywhere there’s food, there’s bound to be sharks. They’ve got like radar and show up out of nowhere.


No longer a One TRick Pony for my volunteer work at International Bipolar Foundation

As I’ve written before, when trying to advocate, raising your hand to volunteer, etc, you may encounter rejection. Maybe it’s me, maybe I come on too strong. But one organization, International Bipolar Foundation, reached online at ibpf.org seems like a perfect fit. Right now I am compiling a list, a database if you will of drop in centers, advocacy groups, MHA offices and anyplace who provides services to people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It’s interesting work and when you actually get someone on the line, they are usually nice and passionate about what they do. My volunteer coordinator and blog editor gave me this assignment and wanted ten names. When I told her that there were about 400 of these centers nationwide, she was flummoxed. See, they write this book, “Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder,” update it annually and it’s written by a panel of experts from holistic to the most Western of Medicine.

I especially like the non moralistic approach to substance use, abuse and dependency. It lays out the facts, the ratios of risk/benefit and the possible consequence of huge financial costs, should you destabilize and end up back in the psych ward. That can be disrupting in many ways, especially if your meds are completely rewritten, if you are working and miss work or are just demoralized by going to the hospital.

I haven’t been in 15 years but I’ve come close. Because I have Tardive Dyskinesia, and many psychiatrists and neurologists don’t have up to date movement disorder info (and there is quite a bit) They would not know the best way to treat me. If they loaded me up with a bunch of Zyprexa, Abilify, Invega or Seroquel, not to mention Geodon, I’d immediately start thrashing. But in my experience, psychiatrists in hospitals are in a hurry and often don’t believe the new admit. Try telling a psychiatrist that an accidental careless overdose of Tegretol was not a suicide attempt. Do you think they’d believe you? It happened to me when My doctor put me on 200 mg instead of 100 mg. I forgot to look closely at the label.

Anyway, I am doing work for IBPF besides blogging and it makes me feel really good. My goal, the one I wish to reach, is to make decent videos with light soundtracking for tempo and to be able to insert a logo or make other edits. We downloaded movie maker. I would like to find a local teacher. I sure am enjoying talking to all these mental health advocacy people around the country. The trend seems to be for the patient to become educated and make their own choices, whether to take meds or not, whether they can still drink, stuff about sleep, side effects, an entire section dedicated to bipolar disorder in children and how to treat a bipolar patient who has ADHD and or other co occurring disorders.


Eating disorder project

I am not a young person exactly. I have had exercise bulimia and bipolar disorder for a long time. As a kid I turned to food for comfort. Then I felt the guilt of post binging. This problem turned into over athletic purging when I got into volleyball. I’ve had quite a bit of ortho surgery.

When I started taking Seroquel, which really helped me, the drive in hunger and metabolism slow down put my eating disorder in high gear. Exercising 5 hours a day, swim, run, tennis.

Long and short of this is that I’ve had ED treatment twice and I am supposed to do a blog on having ED and Bipolar Disorder. It’s hard work. I’m going through all of my notes.

Today I woke up feeling better than I have in a long, long time. Then I did a castor oil hotpack on my liver (to ramp up my metabolism and oxygenate my most abused organ. I am happy that I am not oppressed by depression today. marlboroinblack

“You’ve got this” video for IBPF, Healthline by me. First ever storyboard!!

our video has been too large a file to put in emails, etc. But we’re working on ‘smushing’ it. Hopefully it will be approved and be put on the aforementioned Link.  No, wait, it looks like it went through.  Don’t let anyone tell you different, we are really creative. We make great cameramen, editors, directors of photography..writers, comics, actors. the works. The deal is to stay healthy if possible. And outthink the thinkers. All they do is think, anyway. They are not us.

Videos for Bipolar with Healthline, IBPF and Astrazeneca

I just finished shooting and editing my video for bipolar disorder. You’ll have the link to the file as soon as I do. For every vid that is uploaded to the following site, the sponsors will match 10.00 My vid has music and a lot of movement. But not all good videos need such. There are good ones up on there already. It’s going on until December of this year, so you have plenty of time.

·         This is another online campaign happening at Healthline’s website: http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/youve-got-this

·         Submit a video of encouragement for those who have been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder

·         Healthline is donating $10 to IBPF for each video

·         Goes until DecemberChickencoop - Copy

International Bipolar Foundation this mo


I’ve had bipolar relapses 20 times in my 25 years since my dx. I’ve learned that not everything is a negative, so at their request, I wrote this short artcle for IBPF. Let me iknow, please if the link doesn’t work.

Horse pictured is Floral Countess, a gift from my boyfriend Bobby Frankel, who bought it off the late Martin Ritt for 50,000. Bobby wanted to get married from the moment he met me…but it didn’t work out because he didn’t want a career girl. He wanted to be the only star. Tell Bethenny. She’ll probably relate to that.

Swimming With Sharks, figuratively and metaphorically

Today the sun was out & the sandbar made it so to swim you had to go way out there to avoid the choppy break. The red flag was up. I approached lifeguard and he explained about the colony of Bullshark’s, (East Coast equiv of Great White) I pulled all my hair into a bathingcap and tried to get a good seal with my goggles over my eyes so that the water didn’t leak thru. I looked up at him and smiled. “Is it ok if you look the other way?” I got 2 hours out of it. All the sunshine I could take. It takes a lot more than a shark colony to frighten me. Depression on the way? For sure. The possibility that we are going to have to try a bunch of stuff before something kicks in and restores me to my former self? That puts terror in my very bones. But I’ve actually let go of that a liitle bit because it keeps me from living in today, doesn’t it?

Allison Strong's photo.
Allison Strong's photo.

Taking advantage of misfortune (physical misfortune..my bipolar and depressed sisters)

I’m not sure how I did this, but I broke a bone in my foot. I didn’t realize it, and ran around town and made it worse. Now I’m looking at 12 weeks healing time, most spent ‘off’ my foot. Instead of making this a bad, negative thing, I’m using the inactivity as a launching point to really focus on my book, which I’ve decided is going to be three 75,000 word books. I have to write timelines to keep from repeating certain specifics, and am going back further in time.

I read in a book on literary agents that when they look at a query letter, they are looking to see if there is a career, a prolific person on the other side of the letter, someone who’s career can be managed. Since I have the material, and just have to organize it, why not make three pieces of fun fiction? It is a lot of work, but I have little else that I am able to do.

Another thing…I had this favorite podiatrist who brought darkness into my light. I looked him up this year and he’s gone. All three Florida offices (even a key west location) closed. I figured he just retired. He was always very speedy, sort of a hyperfocused ADHD type, really into his craft. Couldn’t find out a damn thing on him. I went to a podiatrist yesterday and asked him if he knew the good gone doc. Turns out it was suicide.  This really disturbs me. If I had known, I could have spoken to him. But he probably didn’t want anyone to know. This disturbs me more than most suicides, maybe because I didn’t expect it.

i broke my foot. When?

It was after I swam. I went to take advantage of my soft nails (toenails) with the clippers and most have overextended or something and snapped the big toe in some way. I don’t know because for a week and a half I haven’t been able much to get out of Bed. Today was my first day. I’ve had to cancel a lot of stuff but boy have I caught up with some great reading. Asne Sierstad’s “Bookseller of Kabul,” was great. Time for dinner. Thanks for paying attention when I was in too much of a hurry and in too much pain to do so.I’m having a ‘mediation’ with the project director of a mental health center. She told my best friend Clair that I hate her. I deserve to hate her. She is one of the ‘icky’ people you have warned me about. But I have to deal with her in my writing and my work. She almost ruined a story I was working on, robbing me of urban legends and lore that have been repeated to me so many times about the suicidal heiress who’s name was Rebel Ann B. and her family gave Memorial Hospital Millions so the crazies would have somewhere to go and make art. Well, I did a story on her, I may have sent you a link and the first month all was ok, but the second mo she must have feared corporate blowback so I just took her out of the story. She told me that I was making it hard for her to practice her ‘intention’ (Buddhist stuff) of practicing kindness towards me…that I was making it impossible for her to be kind. She basically blew the human interest and poignancy of my second story on her right out of the water. I made the changes, left her out of editorial approval, turned in the story on deadline (Deanne failed to tell me she was going out of the Country the week of the deadline…) and I moved on. I never responded to her mean email. But I have to deal with her, and she keeps being mean, so Clair, Hans (my mentor there) Deanne and I are going to mediate. It is totally unprofessional for a project director of a center for crazies to imagine that ‘Allison hates me.’ I don’t hate her,  I want to avoid her, so I can get some work done. She’s also the one who has told me that I am not ‘well’ enough for volunteer there. I volunteered there for 7 years straight, when I was much sicker. Maybe that’s the problem. I’m weller. Who knows?

dad pulled me thru the ringer last week. Borderline Personality Classic Behaivor. He offered to pay for the entire cost of self publishing if we got all the costs in up front. Of course that is hard to get out of these companies, because they like to get the patient on the table, open the chest cavity and THEN ask for all these additional costs, when you can’t afford to say no. I’ve been warned by other authors who have told me (they are now agented and majorly published in a nice paperback that they didn’t have to pay for this time around) they say that if they did it differently, if they could go back in time, they’d have just paid for final editing, formatting, cover art and uploaded to Create Space. Amazon. Bookstores don’t stock Create Space offerings, but the audience I’m hoping to reach will buy my books online.

Another thing…just because you’ve written a book at a certain point in time doesn’t mean that you have to publish it at it’s completion. The world can wait. Until you are famous. Until you’ve been published in Huffington Post, Bipolar Magazine and maybe even The New York Times. There are many mountains to climb before rushing to pay for self publishing a book and who knows, if you are clever enough online….in a few years, a publisher or agent might just find you via your consistent blogging. I’ll bet it’s happened before. Dreaming big has never really hurt me and if it’s all dreams who cares?

So then Dad goes Hitler, denies he ever offered, tells me I’m a stupid girl, and easy mark and that he never offered to pay for me to self publish a book.

A lesson I’m glad I learned early. I want him as far away from my writing as possible. You know, he has the power, if he wants to emotionally take it away from me, to declare it as illegitimate. I can’t afford that. It’s my fucking therapy. I can’t let him do this to me.

However, the apple does not fall far from the tree and I’m going to take a course or a 6 mo therapy program paid for by medicare on Borderline Personality called DBT. It’s all the rage and it does not involve drugs. It’s about distorted thinking, challenging it and moving on to more productive fields. After My Dad pulled his stunt on me, I was on the couch, suicidal for two days. I can’t afford that either. For an old man, he still is mean. He, can I publish this? I’m asking first. Just in case I pull the cord on the ‘off’ switch and people are trying to find where the bodies are buried. If I can understand borderline personality in myself and stop being Mean to My Man,then I will have a lot less patience as my dad prepares to take out his bipolar blade by offering cash for this, cash for that. Deanne Runs the center for the Crazies…I wrote that article promoting her center and she acted all…like this can’t go in, I never said that, this is inaccurate after having agreed the previously week to circled quotes. She’s been project director at Rebel’s For Years, isn’t going anywhere so we are having this mediation. Thanks so much for asking and catching my typos like this one