Oprah, Weight Watchers and Bread

Has anyone seen those Weight Watcher Commercials featuring Oprah saying how much she likes bread and how she’s eaten it every day? Well she must not be on psych meds.

wouldn’t it be interesting to not have side effects like constant hunger?


Well,  Oprah Winfrey bought a stake in Weight Watchers and her stake ensures her position on the board of directors.


I did weight watchers a few times. I’ll go over that later.

I also did OA, and another couple of diets professed to be anti inflammatory for both my psoriasis and low back pain.

Not sure if works. Ever since I started with antipsychotics, I had major binge/weight overexercise issues.


Lately I’ve gone back to my old ways. I eat bread and it only makes me hungrier!

Hey, this is the day!


#bipolar strong

Valentine’s Day and My Wonderful Man Michael



Not a huge valentine’s day person but just finished up a piece on being in a relationship with another person w/bipolar disorder and mistakes I would never make again. One relationship was with another person Dually Diagnosed like I am. And he refused psych meds, which I (unbelievably), let slide!!!


I wanted to jump from my 12th story balcony but he actually tried to.


Then I met Michael. We were all in AA at the time and Michael walked up to Paul and said, “I’m with Allison Now, and we’d appreciate it if you didn’t bother her anymore.” And that night, two years after Paul had tried to jump off my balcony, he overdosed on Xanax and had to go to the hospital again. I’ve been with Michael now for 17 years. I can’t imagine a life without him. I love him so much. He’s my other half, my better half. I don’t know what I would do without him. Here is a photo of us, back when I had money to have my hair cut regularly, and back when I also was struggling with antipsychotic weight gain. I’m skinny now but not any happier than when I had the dough and a doughier body. Michael, this one is for you! I love you forever. Allison Biszantz (aka bipolar brainiac or Allison Strong)

Why I’m a Rebel With A Cause

beamiefighting mad



Why I’m a Rebel? Why I have a Cause? My Cause is my fellow mental health consumers who have to take medication and hope it works. I also include in my ‘Cause’  treatment providers of all types who are trying to help us. Even the primary care physician who says, ” Stop taking Your Clozaril if you want to avoid Diabetes,” he just doesn’t know better.

There’s got to be a better way and I’m fighting for it. I’m willing to swim upstream like the salmon before they spawn and die. I’m going to die at some point.  When I was a bitter, newly divorced self medicating ExPat traveling Baja California there was an extreme sports line of clothing called “Die Trying.” That’s the level of ‘fight’ in me.

Anyone who has to lay out their medications daily and change them up when they stop working knows they are buying time. But this fight is not over before it’s over. I mean, OVER.

..Presently I am trying to buy time on the metabolic side effect …to delay the big “D” forever.

I’m terrible at self care and the idea of testing my blood sugar all day is daunting. I struggle to brush my teeth twice a day.

As far as the medical fallout from Diabetes type 2, well, from being  a professional athlete and runner,  I’ve had five foot surgeries.

I don’t want to surrender  what’s left of my feet.

I’m trying holistic things suggested by various sources to improve the function of the pancreas. So my letter to a chiropractor and asking him to help me heal myself metabolically is what follows:


Dear Glen,

This is a very Geeky letter. I’m the friend of Clair Blake’s that came in for weight loss, put down 200.00 so we could do acupuncture for it and then promptly disappeared. I want to come back MWF for some adjustments suggested by the Edgar Cayce Readings. I’m enclosing a copy of the ones I mean to see if I can come and use up that credit with your acupuncture for pain and chiro for pancreas.

The reason I never came back before was my utter shame in gaining weight with your treatment rather than losing. But my medication is the driver behind that.

I have to take it for quality of life. It’s my medication for a permanent neurological side effect of  Parkinson’s like movement disorder called “Tardive Dyskinesia” exhibited by thrashing and shaking.

In the end, I did manage to lose the weight but still have metabolic healing to do. I have high glucose levels, another side effect, structural and functional changes in protein molecules that fold maladaptively and jam up the pancreas.

I’m using myself as a research subject to see if naturally I can get my numbers down. I’m implementing quite a few changes after I have my baseline AIC and hormone levels checked, hopefully, a  “Before” and “After.” You probably know a great deal about hormones too.

I hope you are open to this.

I’ll follow up with a phone call and you can deduct a session or two to compensate you for your time. If we are successful in getting my numbers lowered, you will be one of the few people who know how to help this unfortunate metabolic challenge facing people on second generation antipsychotics that I didn’t need In the first place but now am married to.

Allison Biszantz “Strong”


h Tardive Dyskinesia from high doses of a particularly stimulative one…one that self promoted on the basis that you wouldn’t gain weight. In my experience, the two side effects are metabolic challenges and/or neurological movement disorders but if the doses are low enough..you might be able to avoid at least the latter. Anyway..here is another one of my ‘letters’ to someone trying to involve them in my self research.


Meet psych med metabolic slowdown Head On! (and holistically)

Did anyone notice that Oprah Winfrey bought a stake in Weight Watchers and maybe is going to be a spokesperson? Her stake ensures her position on the board of directors. I did weight watchers a few times. I’ll go over that later. I also did OA, and another couple of diets professed to be anti inflammatory for both my psoriasis and low back pain. Not sure if works.

Ever since I started with antipsychotics, I had major binge/weight overexercise issues. Not all antipsychotics have as intense a weight gain side effect though, just as all antipsychotics are not as proportionately causal when it comes to tardive dyskinesia. A good way to research a med if you are worried about one side effect or another is to Google it and count out how many class action lawsuits there are for certain antipsychotics and compare the numbers. After I got Tardive, I went online in search of treatment and there was a hugely disproportionate number of class action suits against the drug I’d been on in high doses for a year. I’m convinced that that drug did the neurological damage that is permanent. The drug I was on was Geodon and it wasn’t even really effective controlling my mania. But I’m getting off topic. Sort of. These pencil thin women running an eating disorder clinic insisted that I change from Seroquel, which I was tolerating quite well for seven years, to another antipsychotic because they measured the success of their program in weight loss. At that time (2004) I was thinner than I am now. But this picture shows me at my heaviest ever.

This is a photo of me after six months of being on Clozaril, an early atypical antipsychotic that when studied, is three times more likely to result in weight gain and type two diabetes. I have to take it because it stabilizes moods and helps tardive dyskinesia along with Xenazine. When the hunger hit hard I just gave up and gave in. I gained 60 pounds in six months.

Then I got on Vyvanse and alternated with Ritalin low dose to take the edge of appetite. I was always so hungry!!!!! I worked out the way I’m doing now, weights and cardio and swimming and over a year I lost the 60.

Then I stopped the medication too abruptly and had a three month depressive phase and ‘fed my head.’ Food, especially breads, was the only pleasure I could feel. I get that kind of depression where I lose interest in things that used to fire me up. This was from last April to mid July. I regained 20 pounds in those months. OOOPS!

Now, suddenly, my blood sugar is high. I’m on the verge of type two diabetes. I was put on Metformin prophylactically (to slow down the progression)  but it has side effects I can’t take.

From what I understand both the disease of diabetes and the meds cause constipation. So I’m going to have to find another way to cure myself. I’m doing research. Both Western Med, Eastern Med and Western Holistic sources.  I finally understand the science that explains why, after eating, I’m more hungry than before, and I’ll explain it soon, when I complete my research. Stay tuned. We tend to gain on these meds, but I think with certain steps, we can dodge both bullets, the diabetes and the weight gain. But it does involve a lifestyle change. And I will never promise that it will be easy. Just like we deal with our mood disorders, you have to really want it and be committed to it. I want to live another thirty years and write my books and advocate for mental health care reform. I used to not have a purpose. Now I do.

AND HOW DOES ANY OF THIS RELATE TO ALTERNATIVE MUSIC?  I used to be an alternative music dj and music director and when I work out, I listen to all sorts of music, stuff with tempo, stuff with soul. I like Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper as much as Fiona Apple and Tori Amos. I especially likes She Wants Revenge “I want to tear you apart” and am putting that on my next set of workout tunes. I study and read the paper when on the lifecycle and stairmaster. I personally think exercise eats up a lot of time but if I can study my notes from classes I take and get up on what’s happening in the world, I feel good about myself.

Am I working out too much? Trying to beat the system!

I want to be a healthy weight, flexible and strong. Go ahead and add in ‘toned.’ I obsess on a belly I’ll always have. So since I don’t like to work out every day, what I decided to do is turn my body into a rapid metabolizer all by its own so I don’t have to run off to the gym every day!!!!  So I do all this work and then the next day, I am worthless, too tired, have to cancel appointments. So now, I am cutting the weight lifting regime to once every three days, because there are things I love much more than lifting weights. But doing Cardio and reading the New York Times is a Big Pleasure. Especially when working on my movie and TV list.