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Allison Strong

Coming Out After 25 Years With Bipolar: Who Am I Anyway?

I’m not who I say I am. That’s because my family would prefer I not use my given name. 

Many of them don’t believe in bipolar disorder. 

They think my difficulties were created by using street stimulants during my halcyon Hollywood years, struggling to stay slender for the cameras. Taking mood stabilizers, antidepressants? Just more drug abuse. The challenging side effects of tardive dyskinesia and Metabolic syndrome? My fault. 

Ouch. 

He Loves Me, Bipolar or Not

Michael: 

I first saw Allison at an AA meeting that I had been attending for several years. She was (is) a beautiful, lively and animated woman who I decided I wanted to get to know better. Little did I know that after she accepted, and we went on our first date, that we would fall in love and become a lifelong couple. 

Couples With Bipolar Disorder: 8 Tips to Prevent "Double Trouble"

It’s classic, Shakespearean even. (Romeo and Juliet). 

Boy Meets Girl in rehab, AA or group therapy and they fall ‘in love.’ 

Warnings fall on deaf ears. Their focus shifts from recovery to each other while  they float off on a pink cloud. 

Then the bubble bursts. 

If the relationship fails, it’s heartbreaking. Betrayal is triggering, to say the least. I’ve been there more than once. It can be tricky. 

On the other hand, a strong bond with someone who shares your challenges can be the most meaningful, supportive, enduring relationship ever.  

David Bowie: You'll Always Be A Hero To Me

When tormented musicians perish I overrelate. It becomes more about me than the departed. 

This is about him. 

David Bowie. The King of ‘Sound and Vision,’ crossed divides of age, fame, race, sexuality, politics, and style with theatrical flair and fun. 

In his latest video, “Lazarus,” he sings about being ‘free as the bluebird,’ with ‘nothing left to lose.’

He’s immortal to me. Collaborators like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed say he co-wrote songs jumpstarting their commercial success. Without his help, they say, they’d have remained ‘underground’ forever. 

Confessions of a Manic Mystery Shopper

I was once a high-valued corporate spy, investigating customer service everywhere I went by working as a mystery shopper. After a year of luxury brand espionage, I went inactive. 

Why would I forgo hitting posh hair salons on the house, free smells, scrubs, and soaps while receiving hand massages? Wouldn’t I miss playing ‘let’s pretend I’m rich and famous’ while being measured for Haute Couture I’d never pick up? 

Move Over Movement Disorder

Have you ever felt that you were the patient treatment wouldn’t help? After three years of searching for relief from Tardive Dyskinesia I was defeated. Out cold. Counted to ten. My saving grace was my husband because he would not let me give up. We were both up every morning at 5am, googling ‘Movement Disorder Specialists,’ ‘Tardive Dyskinesia,’ ‘Neurology’ and other keywords that weren’t specific enough to get me the help I needed to stop the uncontrollable shaking. 

No Longer A Number

Just like my bipolar disorder, my eating disorder started in bits and pieces and later formed a cycle. Did you know that as many as 14% of people with bipolar disorder have a co-occurring eating disorder? And it’s not just women! There are male anorexics,  bulimics and men with ‘Bigorexia,’ lifting and taking steroids to achieve the perfect male form. 

Athlete Beats Addiction

In high school I was often sad. I’m not a doctor, but have heard that depression can be an early indicator of bipolar disorder. I was also the dreamy-look-out-the-window type of ADD. Mom always says I lacked the inner knowledge of the social pecking order. My impulsivity didn’t help win people over. I went the loner-stoner phase. At least the potheads were nice to me. 

Psychosis: Terrifying but Treatable

Does anyone know where the kids are? Oh, they’re being watched while I see my family friend and doctor, as I always do when I’m having issues. Because my home is in escrow, I had to clear out for their final physical inspection. The contract is on the card table. The house is supposed to close in three days. My realtors are cheating me. I want to rip up the papers. They pretend like they are my best friends but they could care less. They just want this house to sell. 

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