My name is Allison Strong and I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 in 1989. I’m from Southern California. Allow me to tell a story that has repeated itself my whole life. In High School I desperately wanted to play Volleyball, hoping it would end my sense of isolation. I was cut from the team, two years in a row, and as a junior, I sat the bench the entire year. As a senior, I accepted a scholarship to play for Stanford University. Go figure. A union role in an Olympic Athlete-themed TV commercial led to a decade as a working actor in Hollywood. Then it was Alternative Rock radio in the 90’s as a music director and an on-air personality, where I was encouraged to write: “Hits Magazine,” “The Arizona Republic” and the UK’s “Melody Maker.” In 1998, my antidepressant suddenly “Pooped Out,” and I panicked and self-medicated. Treatment again. Lots of patient education. An ADHD diagnosis, which explained a lot. But I digress. On vacation in Hollywood, Florida, I continued with AA, got a scholarship for a course in medical transcription and thrived. I kept writing (Florida Peer Network News, Rag Magazine) and volunteered in the Dual Recovery Program at Rebel’s Drop In Behavioral Health Center, where I learned to make jewelry, and am looking forward to facilitating Mat Pilates as a volunteer.
In 2007, I came down with Tardive Dyskinesia. The symptoms gained on me, while over a score of neurologists, psychiatrists, etc., said that my case was hopeless or ‘psychogenic’ (read psychosomatic). After three years, we (my husband and I) began to make progress. I was prescribed a medication for Huntington’s chorea, but its’ side effect of depression limited how much I could take. Finally a researcher in Gainesville’s Shand’s Movement disorder clinic gave me 99% relief, tons of insider knowledge and hope.
There are two books in the works: “A Tale of Two Hollywoods,” and “Bipolar Disorder (I’m not Really Sick) Really?” I can be Twittered at https://www.twitter.com/bipolarbrainiac and my Blog, entitled:”Rebel WITH A Cause: Psych and ED 2Lkit” is http://astrongradio.tumblr.com/ Because I am bipolar I and on disability, I am lucky to have the time to communicate with those who reach out to me. Nice. Life’s a mixed bag and I like the blend.