(TW – Seemingly superficial topics but please read this anyway!)

Happy Thursday, my friends!

It has been over a month since my last 25 mg Seroquel pill. I’ve been able to get to sleep without medication again, which is cause for celebration! I first started taking quetiapine, the generic version of Seroquel, in 2013 for for severe, agitated insomnia. It has been an enormous help, but it was time to taper off it because I wasn’t happy with my chronic daytime grogginess. I wanted to see if I could live and sleep comfortably without the med, and my pdoc gave me his blessing to go for it.

I think I’m getting the medication out of my system. Who knows for sure, but I don’t feel an icky withdrawal sensation anymore. I stopped belting out the Seroquel Blues song. The only Seroquel-related bummer that remains is this:
one

 

Ever since I started taking Seroquel, my stomach took on a very high concentration of fat glorious adipose tissue. I’ve never had this style of weight gain happen before except when I was pregnant. There’s no way I’m growing a Frankenbaby, but I look about four months pregnant and that feels very disconcerting.

I’ve been ruminating about the villain Typhon Cutter from my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle’s book The Arm of the Starfish. L’Engle writes, “Typhon Cutter looked even more like a spider than Adam remembered. It seemed incredible that this obese mass with the stringy appendages could possibly be father to the beautiful girl at his side.”

While I’m not obese (at 5’6″, I’m 152 pounds of pure bipolar goodness) my metabolism has obviously been affected adversely by the powerful drug. 152 pounds would be perfectly acceptable except for this quadruple muffin top hanging out of my stretched-out jeans. Due to my twisted Los Angeles upbringing, I don’t breathe well because I have an awful habit of sucking in my stomach. 

The bottom line is that I feel gross and unhealthy despite my consistent Dr. Alsuwaidan-style * workouts. I’m a former A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and I know the most important thing I need to do aside from discuss this in therapy. I need to eat much healthier foods than what I’m currently inhaling. However, I haven’t hit that lovely rock-bottom point that motivates profound, lasting change.

My weight gain certainly hasn’t been all Seroquel’s fault. I have a fierce gelato addiction. There are so many damn delicious gelatos and a myriad of Willy Wonka-esque, enticing flavors available. (Bourbon caramel chocolate, anyone?Ahhh!) Check out https://ciaobellagelato.com)

bourboncaramelchocolate

It’s just not right. But I’m working on this issue because I want more energy.

I’ve lost bipolar med weight before. I did it in a healthy way, mind you! No starving for this foodie chick. 60 pounds worth! The equivalent of a five-year-old child was lost from my frame, which is pretty freaky. But my weight problem wasn’t connected with Seroquel and I think the 10-15 pounds I’d like to lose now will be tougher due to whatever Seroquel did to my metabolism. So we shall see, and I’ll keep you posted.

In book writing news, it’s sucking heavily, my dears.  My publisher doesn’t read this blog, and even if someone there did read it, I’m not worried. At least I have my book’s 200 page “skeleton” written. (Thanks, Natalie Goldberg, for planting your Writing Down the Bones idea into my brain twenty nine years ago!) However, a humongous amount of work is still in order. 

Due to our family’s summer schedule and my malaise, I haven’t written much. I’ve been constipated in terms of writing. I’ve coined the silly term “memoirstipation” because as far as I know, no one else has coined it, so I’m claiming it now. Gotta clear out the pipes! At least my manuscript deadline is motivating me to complete this project. The main reason why I sent out the proposal was actually to be given a deadline and pressure! It’s a mixed blessing, especially when I wake up at 4:00 a.m. freaking out about it.

I have the Catamaran Writers Conference coming up in August as another way that will require me to get my act together. The feedback will be invaluable – I know that I’m going to get 99.9% criticism and that’s okay. I’ll bring a extra-large box of tissues. 😉

Perhaps as I lose a bit of the Seroquel belly, I’ll feel more fired up to write. 

three

This is not end-of-the-world stuff, and yes, it’s a first-world problem, but nevertheless I’d like to say buh-bye to my Seroquel belly!

And speaking of buh-bye’s, I found a clip on YouTube that made me laugh. You might not think it’s as hilarious as I do since I was raised in L.A., but it’s fun to watch such an awkward spectacle. Stay with it for the Betty White/Bradley Cooper moment if nothing else. Keep in mind lots of Angelenos like to explain in boring, ludicrous detail the tedious routes they drive. Here’s a summary:

The Californians (Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Laraine Newman, Kenan Thompson, Betty White, Taylor Swift) reunite and get some surprising news about their pool boy Craig (Bradley Cooper – I’m not quite sure what he was on in this skit). Plus, David Spade (reprising his role as the original Buh-Bye Man) and Cecily Strong bring the sketch to an abrupt end.

THE CALIFORNIANS – SNL 40th SPECIAL “BUH-BYE”

I grew up in West L.A., and this is how people really talk there…and it’s true, lots of them primp in the mirror every two minutes. See you next week, lovies!

Dyane

* This is what I do every day & it totally helps my mood, no matter how chunky my belly is! 

http://kuwaitmood.com/exercise-mood-part-iii-from-science-to-action/

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47 thoughts on “My Seroquel Spider Belly, Memoirstipation & Buh-Bye!

  1. Love this post. It made me lol! I have seen the Californians..too funny.
    I also have that med belly.. I just hit a 20lb weightloss mark yesterday. After gaining roughly 80 lbs (143 to 234!) from my first hospitalization back in 2007, it has been a loooong weightloss road and rollercoaster ride. I am now 196 and the lightest I have been since the weight gain started. Seems superficial at firstbut it is so much more! Healthy weightfor me means I am on the right track..it’s a constant battle. Winning is meaningful and worth smaller portions of gelato (wish I could eat that pint you posted sounds amazing!)

  2. Just curious, Dyane, why do you call it your seroquel spider belly? Why ‘spider’? It’s a brilliant blog you have here, Dyane. I hope to be half the writer you are. You’re very gifted at writing. Put down the gelato and eat some yogurt!!!

    1. Hey my new internet friend! You are too kind. After reading your story just now I must profess that YOU are a superb writer. I don’t go around saying that or writing that to just anyone!

      I’m a picky *&^(^(*! when it comes to writing and it takes a strong, compelling piece of writing (whether it be a story, novel, or even an ad) to keep me interested. I stuck to your story like glue wanting to know what happened…I bet my pal Lisa Henderson would enjoy it! She’s @lisaisanauthor – I’m not sure if you follow her on Twitter.

      Re: my belly, well, the spiders we have around here have very big bellies, and their legs are thin in comparison. While neither my legs or arms are thin, they are strong and I have no complaints about that. It’s the belly that reminds me of the spiders (in looks only) – it’s superficial, I know, but it’s embarrassing. I don’t fit into my clothes right anymore, the belly spills over everything I wear & I look like a 3 month pregnant beer guzzler. I’m 45! There’s no way in hell I’m carrying a Child of the Corn!!! (sorry for the vent….) ;0000

      1. Dyane, you don’t need to apologize to me. If you want to vent, vent!!! I can relate to how you feel about your belly. I don’t fit into a bikini the way I used to!!!

      2. Ha ha ha!!!! That (bikini remark) made me laugh.

        You probably can tell I’m the Queen of Venting after reading a few of my posts, so it’s good to know you’re okay with it – venting is one of my primary reasons for having a blog, and for that I’m (verrrry) grateful. After I got unfriended by the Facebook women, it was great to know I could go off about them in a post and receive authentic support.

  3. Awwww, Dyane! I love your honesty! You’re beautiful, inside and out (regardless of how you see that teeny tiny Seroquel belly). But do know that I totally understand where you’re coming from. I constantly struggle with my antidepressant belly as well. However, I need to become more mindful of my eating and exercising habits instead of jiggling that extra flab around on a daily basis, haha. 😉

    Keep up with your awesome work, girl! You’re doing a fabulous job! 🙂

  4. A professor of mine way back suggested Writing Down the Bones and I’ve gifted it to every writer I know. So amazing and helpful.
    Not Seroquel, but have been Zyprexa free for a month now (average weight gain is 50lbs). Was on it for the last twelve years. I no longer have the metabolism of a twenty year old–not even close–but think this drug has worsened what nature has already initiated. So I wish you good luck with the chemically induced tummy issues. I’ll get my bum to the gym as well.

    1. Hello lovely bypolarlyght (I love the “y”s in your name. As a Dyane, I’m a proponent of the “y”! 😉 I’ve taken Zyprexa too, but for a much shorter period of time and I don’t remember if I gained blubber or not.

      Congratulations on being Z-free for a month after a whopping 12 years – that’s amazing! I hope you’re feeling as well as possible and that you aren’t having bad withdrawal symptoms. Hope you get to the gym soon as that will help with everything as long as you don’t drop a weight on your foot! 😉 Sorry to be obnoxious. I think someone put something odd in my coffee today! Take care & thanks for reading & commenting. p.s. that’s very cool you also have enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) Goldberg’s book! It makes a perfect gift for a writer friend & you’re a great friend to do that…

      1. Have always loved “and sometimes Y”. It’s a first to see Dyane with a Y and I love it.
        Thanks for being such a supportive person! I did experience rapid cycling including morning severe depression for approximately the last 1.5 mos from withdrawing from Zyprexa but am thankfully out of the woods, feeling great, and much more clear headed. It’s funny, my psychiatrist told me there were no withdrawal effects–that it was “all in my head” — HA! We are all different creatures with different sensitivities.
        Anyway, I have this urge to blurt out my name as a proper introduction but am not ready to lose semi-anonymity due to work related stuff. Someday! I am originally from California though, and adore Santa Cruz.
        Thank you for your kindness!
        Have a great week!

  5. Oh my gosh, you brave Dyane, you, for putting a picture up! That’s exactly what I’ve been telling my personal trainer (via FaceTime!) that Seroquel has made me gain weight in the middle and it has sort of turned my muscles into mush, or maybe that’s age…? Any way, after i decreased my dose from 100 to 75 mg, I lost weight in the middle automatically! Hope the same happens for you. If you add small (5-10 lb) weights to your workout, that’ll help too. Good luck Lady Dy! xxxxoooo

    1. Sorry to make you have to see that shot! 😉 Ha ha – yeah, Seroquel does weird things to our bodies, there’s no doubt about it. I’m so glad you’re meeting with your trainer (via Skype – that’s so cool) that you were able to shed the extra # by lowering the dose. You inspire me, my beautiful friend! Xo

      1. Thank you Dyane! I can give you the name of my FaceTime/Skype trainer, he actually lives in LA :-)))) I wasn’t exercising so I enlisted his help, just having a appointment to exercise helped a lot.I am on my way to Istanbul, be back in a week. Sending you hugs and love.

      2. Happy & Safe Travels!!! Our close friends are going to Istanbul in a couple weeks – the grandfather grew up there. Have a blast! And thanks for the offer of your trainer; as I used to be an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer, I know what I must do. :))) I work out every day “Dr. Alsuwaidan-style” on my elliptical, listening to Pandora, where I burn a lot of calories, & sweat up a storm…I just have to close ye olde pie hole! XOXOXOXO (or to put it more accurately, ye olde gelato hole!)

  6. Hey there, Dyane! Glad I’m done with the Climb (for Postpartum Progress) and able to read your blog again! Good to read your voice! And you sound healthier than I- carrying more weight than you on my barely 5’5″ frame, with a six-month-pregnant-looking. belly… but, I’m such a carboholic, it’s hard to make the changes I need. Oh well, I’d rather feel mentally stable…the only times I really lose weight are the extremely anxious ones, and I so don’t want to go back there again! Hope your words start flowing again!

    1. Hi Mariah! Here’s a belated congrats for doing the Climb Out of Darkness yesterday! (I formed a group last year and it was so awesome to raise $ for a cause I truly believed in….you get it!) As far as the weight stuff goes, it’s just weird to have a drug change your body (I thought about it more and although my diet sucks, it’s more about Serouqel and how it changed the way I carry weight – it’s weird. :0 You’re ***absolutely***right about what’s most important – mental stability!

      Thanks for stopping by; I always love to hear from you. I’ll let you know when I reactivate my Facebook account (most likely the fall or early 2016 – I still don’t miss it enough yet, LOL) as it was always a pleasure to connect with you there.

      XoXo

      Dy

      p.s. the words are flowing a little more freely – there is hope in sight, thank God!

  7. Ok Lady,

    I’ll begin blunt. You’ve kind of had enough gelato to last your belly a decade or so 🙂
    You best know what you gotta do and I’ll just wish u loads. Keep us posted and come on sweet it’s bikini time soon 🙂 keep writing and while I don’t wish memoirrhea on you :). I wish you much more success in that literal chamber 🙂

    1. I LOVED the last 2 lines – brilliant, Lady M!!! “while I don’t wish memoirrhea on you :). I wish you much more success in that literal chamber :)” I wish I could take credit for coming up with that. Much love to ya, my friend! Can’t wait to get your book in the mail!

  8. I was on Seroquel when I was pregnant and for a while afterward. I didn’t have the weight gain, thankfully, though the daytime sleepiness was the reason I had to go off it. I was so groggy that I couldn’t get up in the morning to take my preschooler to school, and because she was going to start kindergarten in the fall, I HAD to get off that medicine so I could function. I hope the memoir writing goes well. Gotta get those mental pipes clear and unconstipated. 🙂

  9. My mom was on Seroquil for awhile and lived with us when it was first prescribed. She was ravenous. I’m sure part of was that she had been depressed and not eating for months, so once she was feeling better and getting adequate sleep, everything was regulating, appetite included. Still, she said thought about food, mostly sugar-laden, high-carb delicacies constantly, and could actually feel her stomach expanding. She didn’t stay on it long, but isn’t it crazy how certain medications affect us? Well, I think you look fabulous, but it sounds like it’s a change that needed to happen, so I send you all the best. I’ve done my share of med tapering — not fun! It was certainly refreshing to read your blog today. I’ve missed my blogging pals and look forward to catching up more.

    1. It’s so good to see you here!!! :)))

      That’s very interesting about your mom and how the Seroquel affected her too.
      (I’m glad she was able to get off it.) I’ll go check out your blog post asap – I’ve missed you too, you lovely lady!

  10. I like “bellfie” !!! What shall we call the back…the “bootiefie?”
    And the breasts can be our “yummiefie” LOL or “breastfie”
    You are good to be on track of eating healthier and continuing to ecercise.
    Do you know that anxiety makes you carry extra fat?

    Yes, when there is any kind of extreme stess, the brain reads “emergency “. Since the body does not know what kind of emergency could be coming, it stores extra fat to sustain you through a food shortage or needing extra fuel for extreme physical tasks.

    Also sleep deprivation causes weight problems.I wrote a post on it and now I do not rememb the names of the chemicals involved. But the balancing of these chemicsls is done during REM sleep. When the REM sleep cycles are not completed in the right ordet, or if they are disrupted in any way , then the two chemicals involved are not released at the proper times of the day.

    Insomnia / sleep deprivation causes you to crave sweets, feel hungry when you are full etc.
    So, these are all the same problems I have too. I have been trying to work on getting enough sleep, even if I have to take naps during the day.

    Weight training / strength training is good for building muscle which in turn burns fat…but you know that since you have been into physicaltraining before.

    I am having these problems with basic health also. It seems like it should be so simple but I just want to stay in my bed all the time now.

    Annie ❤

  11. I always had a bit of a paunchy tummy, although it never worried me, it mysteriously disappeared when I stopped having dairy and the “pack” (probably a three pack or a four pack, def. not a six pack) underneath started to show through. I guess it’s the only good thing about having a milk allergy.
    Hope your writing memoirstipation goes away soon. Maybe the change of scene at the conference will fire things up a bit more?

    1. Hmmm, that’s very interesting about the effect dairy had upon you! You’re one beautiful gal, so having a paunchy belly is so no biggie, unless it bugs you.

      I think drinking more water (which I used to do and made me feel good) would help flush yucky stuff out, plus since I take lithium it’s healthy to do that anyway as long as I don’t drink too much.

      Also, I tried one new thing since writing this post that has made me feel better. Since I’m not rich (gasp! I’m sure you thought I was loaded with $$$, right? 😉 I wear mainly hand-me-downs from a few of my daughters’ parents. I got a couple t-shirts, one a really pretty mauve pink and the other a cobalt blue, that I loved but they were too small and the worst part was that the fabrics were ultra-clingy and showed every single ripple when I wore them, and rode up on my belly as well to expose said ripples, which embarrassed my girls because I looked kind of trashy. I decided as much as I like the shirt colors, I’m going to give those away and wear a few other of my looser tank tops and t-shirts for now. It’s way more comfortable and I’m able to breathe better, which is the most important reason to do that.

      it’s the little things, you know?

      And you’re absolutely right that the conference will revitalize me and help with all matters of constipation,although yesterday after I published this post, I got some good writing in. Venting helps sometimes. YAY! :)))) Hope you’re doing well and thanks so much for commenting!

  12. I do have some sleep issues, but from what I’ve learned through bloggers like yourself about Seroquel…I’ll pass. I have the luxury of the afternoon nap that seems to keep me functioning. Thanks and all the best to you, Dyane…that belly is not so bad ! ☺

    1. Hello dear Van! Yes, please-oh-please don’t resort to Seroquel unless it’s a dire emergency ! I had tried other sleep meds in the past like Ambien, and for this former nature girl who only liked using holistic modalities, I sure went to the other side once I was dx’d with bipolar.

      When I suffered the bout of massive, freaky, agitated insomnia my psychiatrist (who likes to tread lightly with meds whenever possible) prescribed Seroquel as a last resort.

      Sometimes I also have the same luxury of an afternoon nap and it’s such a gift – I remember the tedious office jobs I used to toil at when I’d fade around 2:00 p.m and look at the clock in horror. These days when the girls are at a playmate and I’m able take one, I thank God profusely for the opportunity. I also get the added joy of Miss Lucy Dog being able to cuddle up next to me. Total bliss! I know you get it.

      Have a wonderful weekend!!!
      Dy

      (p.s. thanks for the sweet words about my belly – I think I need to be nicer to it no matter what it’s size!)

      1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, and all the tips. My medication of choice was Lithium, I was one of the lucky ones that could maintain on that without anything else. My daughter was diagnosed with BP/hypomania a few years ago, and they told her they were shocked that I’d only used 1 med. for all those years. I go on and off it, but my sleep does get sacrificed in the process. The naps are a blessing since I retired early. ☺ ❤️ Van

  13. It must have taken a lot of guts to post that pic 😉 jk, you look great!

    As always, God Bless & I sure hope you can get some writing done soon (so hard to get anything done when kids are out for the summer, yeah?)

    1. You are so funny – actually, the picture I posted made my belly a LOT smaller than it appears in real life, but I didn’t have the time nor inclination to take more pictures…I figured you’d take my word for it! 😉 Today the writing went a lot better but I didn’t want to change this post (I wrote most of it a few days ago) as I’ve been blocked more than anything!

      I’ll read your latest post really soon – I love the photo!! It’s incredibly sweet!
      Much love,
      Dy

      1. Maybe the picture is right and your brain makes your belly look bigger. It is likely that the picture is showing what the camera sees and the camera has no issues with how you look, so it is just factual.
        I bet you are not as fat as your brain sees. 152 is not bad for your weight.
        Love,
        Annie

      2. Hello sweet ‘n gentle ‘n kind Annie! You have a very good point – maybe I’m seeing things a bit off-kilter. I used my Mac’s PhotoBooth for my “bellfie” (sorry, that’s pretty bad!) so it’s not the most accurate way to photograph anything. 152 pounds is acceptable – I used to think that wasn’t due to our society’s pressure to be skeletons, but I do think it’s okay now. I forgot what the BMI (body mass index) reading for that weight i, so it might be towards the end of the healthy range if anything. As long as I don’t creep up from here I’m fine with it.

        I think that my bigger-than-usual middle is just a reminder that I need to take better care of myself as far as diet goes. I’ve always been a sugarholic/chocoholic and while I’d never want to banish chocolate from my life, I need to bring the intake down since it’s off the hook. Thanks for swinging by and for writing – I wish you a beautiful weekend and hope this finds you well! XOXOX

  14. I have absolute faith that you will find a happy medium between getting the meds you need and going back to having a positive body image! Take care!

    1. Thanks, Vic – it always helps me to read your encouraging, positive comments! 🙂 I’m not hopeless, so that’s a big plus, right? 😉

  15. You’re hilarious! And I’ll one up with my 5’1″, 188# Rubenesque goodness going on thanks to my medications. I’ll fix it soon… Slowly. We never did win that race with a quick fix, did we? 😉
    Don’t sweat the writer’s block – all the great have experienced it at one point or another. You just have to keep plugging along. ❤️You!

    1. I’d rather be curvy than a Skelteor, girlfriend, any day of the week! No one wants to cuddle with a sack of bones!

      You’re right about those empty quick fixes. They don’t work, and it’s important to remember it takes time to achieve any worthwhile goal. I can’t believe all the dumb commercials I see on T.V. such as “lose weight with a tongue patch” or even better, “lost weight by eating these DEE-licious tapeworms!” (kidding, although I think both of those exist, sadly enough.)

      I did have a good 90 minutes of writing this morning, which was awesome. I never take the opportunity to write for granted. I’ll keep it up! Friends like you help keep me going, that’s for sure.

      In Seal we Trust. (Sorry, I can’t let that one go yet – it’s too much fun!)

      XOXO

      Lady Curvaceous

      p.s. thanks again for setting my mind at ease with your timely research – I knew I could count on you!

  16. Good job losing the 60 lbs. The belly fat will come off, too. You may have to eat smaller portions of gelato. Best of luck overcoming your memoir writers block. Summer will be challenging, but somehow carve out some time for yourself. You may have to cut off social media somewhat… Something will have to give.

    1. I always love your comments, Madame Kitt. They get the stamp of approval from my (extremely) discriminating Mom, who has great taste, I must say, when it comes to blog comments. That’s a terribly constructed sentence but you get it, I know you do.

      There’s a locally made Massimo gelato that’s lowfat (I swear) and it’s made with high-quality ingredients. I know I’ve rhapsodized about it on this blog somewhere else. It was even featured in Oprah’s magazine! I’m not sure if she actually ate it, but whatever. Now, if I could only eat 1/3 of the pint at a time instead of the entire thing, then that would be okay. I’ll try.

      Today went much better writing -wise. The past 3 days I was housebound with sick children, and while it would seem like one could get writing done, there was no way I could focus. Our house is small, the kids were needy, the t.v. was often on, and it wasn’t conducive to my writing style. I’m the kind of person who usually needs it quiet to concentrate. (Classical music or New Age, i.e. our local Snatam Kaur, playing very softly in the background is okay. I can’t believe I’m mentioning Oprah again in one comment, but O LOVES Snatam’s music, and I do too.)

      I’m still Facebook-free – I hardly ever think about it! But Twitter….ah…..Twitter I LOVE. You know I do! So I’m cutting down on who I read/follow. It’s do-able, but challenging. I shall conquer my Twitteraddiction, however, because if I can cut off Facebook, I know I can do almost anything!!!!! :)))))))))))) (except eat cream cheese. GROSS!)

      1. You know damn well that we are no longer adolescents and can no longer eat an entire pint of gelato (or back in the day, Haagen Daz). Our metabolisms change not just because of medication, but because of aging.

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