Sour Grapes, Rejection, and Perspective

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As I write today’s post, it’s a rainy, cold, and dreary day. The gloom depicts how I felt after I learned I wasn’t selected to be in a documentary called Be Vocal. The fifteen-minute film features people who live with bipolar disorder. It’s affiliated with singer Demi Lovato (who has bipolar), five national mental health agencies, and Sunovion.

I had been nominated by a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) staffer to be a candidate. She read my Life Unlimited profile on the DBSA website in which I wrote about my postpartum bipolar diagnosis. I was honored; nothing like that had ever happened to me. Despite my anxiety at the prospect of the required  interview, I immediately scheduled it with the production team.

My hopes were high before my phone interview with the six-person panel. I bared my soul to those strangers (I eventually dubbed them “Team Voldemort”) during a nerve-wracking forty-five minutes. After I hung up the phone, my gut told me I wouldn’t make the cut. It was a sucky feeling that I couldn’t shake, and to be honest, I wish I hadn’t been nominated in the first place. As I wrote in last week’s post, this wasn’t a mere job interview but something much more personal; people were judging my personality, my way of speaking, and my life “story” instead of my typing speed.

While this post is basically “word vom,” I’m sharing it because this experience has tested me and triggered my ever-present insecurities. (By the way, I never heard of “word vom” until I read Raeyn’s The Scarlet B post “Death to Concern Trolls.” Thanks, Raeyn, for bringing a smile to my face. I needed it!)

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2017 will be a significant year for me. My memoir Birth of a New Brain, nine years in the making, will be published in October. With that in mind, you can see why I was tempted to interview for the documentary after I read the following email sent to me by a Voldemort:

“One of the key projects for Be Vocal this year is to create a documentary that will include the stories of three individuals living with a mental health condition who are vocal in unique and powerful ways. The Emmy-nominated documentary film director working on this project is Shaul Schwarz.

The documentary will be placed on Demi Lovato’s Be Vocal website and shared widely with news outlets, online, on social media, through advocacy organizations/support groups, etc.”

You might already be familiar with Be Vocal. Recently the campaign announced ten portraits of people living with mental illness that was blasted all over social media.

Mental health awareness is such a worthwhile cause, in part, because stigma is still pervasive in our society. However, I was put off by this mental health awareness-themed photo collection for a few reasons. For example, one of the subjects with bipolar disorder has gotten a TON of media attention to date. Please believe me when I tell you she didn’t need yet another photo session. It’s time for her to move over and let someone else take a turn in the spotlight.

SPLAT!!!!!

That was an imaginary sour grape I just flung at my innocent computer screen! 

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Here’s an excerpt of my rejection email:

“Hi Dyane,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. As you know, we want to ensure that the Be Vocal documentary features a mix of individuals with different stories, experiences, backgrounds, ages, etc. For this reason, unfortunately, we need to move forward with other candidates to ensure we have this diversity. 

We think your story is incredibly inspiring and hope you will continue to share it with others… 

Sincerely,

Team Voldemort”

Yuck! How I hate rejection letters! 

I’m going to have a hard time in February when Be Vocal is heavily promoted and released. I know the film will be all over the internet due to the Demi Lovato Factor. Did you know she has 30 million fans called Lovatics? Yes.

To that end, I’m planning on dialing down my bipolar social media subscriptions so I won’t see press releases everywhere. I don’t want Twitter and Facebook to remind on an hourly basis that, for whatever reason, I wasn’t interesting enough and my story wasn’t relevant to the Voldemorts.

After my blogging friend Vic read my last post he decided to write a post called Promotion? Perhaps about what helps him through rejection. He explains how it’s all about perspective. I encourage you to take a look. As you can see, I need to improve my perspective, and I’m glad Vic shared his positive, helpful insights.

Apart from developing a healthy perspective, something that helps me to lessen rejection’s sting is getting immersed in a new project. (And I’m not talking about “making a batch of brownies and eating all the batter” project!) 

I’m currently contacting authors and other notable movers and shakers about endorsing my book with a few lines known as “blurbs.” (How I love that word.) While this endeavor is guaranteed to involve plenty of rejection, I’m better-prepared thanks to the Voldemorts and Vic’s post.

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Finally, I’d like to send out a big, ‘ol thanks to those of you who wrote such supportive, kind posts last week. Every one of your comments helped me.

I apologize for this post being whiny and, at the end of the day, superficial compared to the problems we face in living with bipolar depression and mania, etc. I hope you’re still reading! If so, I’d like to create a blogging award & cute meme just for you, but I’m not sure what to call it. Hmmm.

Do you have any ideas for an award bestowed upon faithful readers who read your blog posts no matter what topic you ramble about???

Let me know!

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Love,

Dyane

 

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

 

 

Validation – Who Needs It? I Wish I Didn’t…

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TW: Whining, a little ingratitude, & problemas del primer mundo

I’ll know by the end of the week if THEY want me!

Who are THEY and why would THEY want me?

I shall explain using general terms, my friends. You see, I’m not supposed to reveal THEY’s identity, so I’ll refer to them as the Voldemorts. 

Here’s the drama du jour. (Or, to be honest, the lack thereof.)

Last month the Voldemorts emailed me with exciting news! I had been nominated as a candidate for a bipolar-themed media project affiliated with a dynamic celebrity!

(For those of you on the edge of your seats, it’s NOT Tom Cruise!!!)

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As you can imagine, I was very honored to be nominated.

I’ll admit that my fragile ego began swelling just a wee bit!

Then the Sally Field Syndrome took hold of me. The actress Sally Field won an Academy Award for her role in Places in the Heart, and during her acceptance speech she unabashedly told the audience,

“I can’t deny the fact that you like me; right now, you like me!”

After my initial excitement about being nominated faded, I realized that the nomination didn’t guarantee I’d be selected. I was competing against other anonymous candidates and I was required to be interviewed by a panel. 

Yuck.

My interview was a conference call with six Voldemorts, and I tried my best to answer their questions in an articulate, relevant and interesting way. After I had finished I thought, “Oh sh*t, I blew it!”

Ugh. 

Now it’s the waiting game. For over thirty years I’ve been through the waiting game many times for various jobs. While this interview wasn’t for a position per se, the stakes were higher because I bared my soul to that panel. The Voldemorts weren’t analyzing my typing skills – they were examining my life and my personality. My intuition told me I didn’t “wow” them, but my intuition had occasionally made a few plenty of mistakes, and I hoped they’d choose me, warts and all.

At least I’m not totally naive. This project is designed to appeal to specific demographics and I can guess what they are. My “advanced” age of forty-six might be a reason they’ll pass. Other factors that could generate a “thanks, but no thanks” are my diagnosis of postpartum bipolar, my relatively humdrum occupation as a writer/mom, or something lame I said.

See how I’m already bracing for rejection? 

My most recent post about praying to the Unknown Angels comes to mind. I’ve been praying to them for this situation’s best outcome, and that’s all I can do. 

Even when I’m doing well and I’m stable as can be, I don’t handle rejection well.

I’ve written six posts about book proposal rejection and schadenfreudeas  you can see, these are topics that fascinate me. Rejection is rejection, whether it’s for a book proposal or a glitzy-sounding media project. Yes, they’re different degrees of rejection, but they are related. It’s important to remember that rejections can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

For today, I’m trying hard to psych myself up for whatever the Voldemorts decide.

I’ll keep praying to the Unknown Angels and probably drive them crazy, but I’ll be praying this week for extra strength to handle what comes my way. I can learn from this experience. I can look at it as preparation for more rejection because I’ve begun sending out requests for blurbs for my book. Next year I’ll deal with more rejection because as hard as it is to believe😉 my book won’t get 100% glowing reviews – just kidding. That’s a given!!!

And you know I’ll blog about it again because that’s how I roll! 

What helps you through rejection?

Any experiences you care to share are welcome here!

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

Afterlifethoughts & Angels: Part Two

2528715602_5563b7a9de_bWe need our angels now more than ever before…

 

Thanksgiving Edition: I’m posting a few days early since I thought you might want to try this idea tomorrow, probably not at the dinner table, but in private! ;) 

Dear Friends,

First of all, Happy almost-Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it!

Recently I read Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal by Anthony William. Although I’ve established I’m a bit of a “woo woo” gal, I initially didn’t feel drawn to reading it because I was turned off by the Panglossian title. But thanks to my mercurial mind, I eventually read a sample on my Kindle and gave it a chance. 

In the first section, Anthony William depicts his extraordinary life. Critics can pan the book all they like, but the book has been a New York Times bestseller, and it has been endorsed by numerous celebrities and physicians.

I found William’s bizarre gift and upbringing fascinating, but I won’t give away any spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. 

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However, I won’t be spoiling anything by discussing one of William’s self-help chapters about angels. 

I haven’t blogged much about religion, and don’t worry, I’m not about to start doing it now, but I think it’s helpful if I share a few facts. I was born Jewish, but I’m not religious and I didn’t attend Hebrew school. I believe there is a higher power, which technically makes me agnostic, a word that sounds as cool as “moist” or “constipated.”

I’ve never been into angels unless they were attached to “food cakes,” but after reading William’s information about praying to obscure angels, I was intrigued. His instructions were easy, free and seemed harmless. I decided to try out his suggestions, but I was skeptical.

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In chapter twenty-three, Essential Angels, William writes about different angels including a group he calls the Unknown Angels. These are not the “superstar” angels like Archangel Gabriel and Archangel Michael that even this agnostic knows about. The Unknown Angels are the unsung angels that don’t have specific names, and there are many of them – we’re talking thousands.

Williams asserts that the Unknown Angels are some of the most powerful angels around, but they are the least in demand, and they are “eager for the chance to work on us.”  

The catch to this exercise is that if you decide to appeal to these angels, you need to ask for their help out loud. I keep it super-simple, i.e. “Hi Unknown Angels, can you please help me with  XYZ – thank you!” If you’re deaf, have a speech impairment, or are too weak to speak, William suggests using sign language or your thoughts to ask the Angel of Deliverance, who will “express your soul’s wishes to the other angels.” (To those muttering non-angelic words right now, I beseech you to roll with this!)

Also, I encourage you to read this chapter in its entirety, as I’m leaving out 95%, but I’m sharing the bare minimum that has helped me.

This information might sound hippie-dippie or not jibe with your religious beliefs. But after I self-consciously uttered a prayer about a problem that was promptly and unexpectedly solved, I wasn’t so cynical. At the very least, talking to the Unknown Angels has gotten me out of my usual loop of negative thoughts, and I like how that feels.

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My prayers to the Unknown Angels aren’t always answered or answered exactly the way I want them. Still, I’m getting results that convince me to appeal to these mysterious Unknown Angels, especially when I pray during moments when I’m totally stressing out.

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Sometimes this lovely meme’s concept simply isn’t possible, i.e. Thanksgiving dinner. I’m a sucker for a cute animal meme, so I’m using it anyway!

The placebo effect could definitely play a part in some of my prayer successes – I don’t know, and frankly it doesn’t matter. I’m just grateful to have this option because the act of doing it seems to reduce my anxiety. I don’t feel so alone with my problem, be it great (worry about the health of a loved one) or small. (I’m too embarrassed to admit my small prayers, but they might be about things such as finding a parking spot or landing a hard-to-find child’s Halloween costume. Maybe.)

While writing this post, I visited Anthony William’s blog and found a post about Life-Changing Angels, the twelve female angels (go Girl Power!) discussed in his second book Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself And The Ones You Love With The Hidden Healing Powers Of Fruits And Vegetables. I don’t want to overwhelm you, but you might want to take a peek at that post.

If this topic sounds remotely interesting, please check out William’s book at your library, or splurge – it’s not cheap (even for the Kindle version) hovering around $15.00, so the library might be your best bet.

I’d love to know if you try reaching out to the Unknown Angels and what happens…

Until next week, please take good care of yourselves. I send you lots of love and strength to get through these challenging holidays!

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Blogging in Sickness and in Health

I love this song “Hope Fell Down” from the album Difford & Tilbrook sung by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the British duo from Squeeze. The phrase “Hope fell down” describes my past few days perfectly…and I’m not alluding to politics. Just my out-of-whack digestive system.

 

Hi everyone,

I’ll post Part Two of Afterlifethoughts and Angels next week; I’m not in the most angelic of moods today and the topic deserves to be written when I’m in a better state of mind & body. I got sidetracked this week by a stomach bug that struck Tuesday night and it made me feel inhuman, devoid of hope, and a big bitch to anyone crossing my path.

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I made the big mistake of not immediately getting ahold of my glorious liquid salvation (a.k.a. Pepto Bismol) which I can safely take with my meds. I have two bottles now and those puppies are worth their weight in gold.

The bug was weird because it would come and go unlike any other variety of ick I’ve had. I thought I was doing better yesterday, enough so that I took Lucy out for her late afternoon walk. While I seemed okay physically, I wasn’t thinking clearly, because I took her at the absolutely wrong time of day in the redwoods: dusk. 

Why is that wrong?

One word: mountainlions.

(Okay, okay, that’s two words, but you know what I mean!)

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A three-week-old puma cub – awwww! Like human babies, they’re so dang cute when they’re little, but when they grow up they say “I hate you!” or they eat you!

I know what to do if I see a mountain lion: I make myself appear bigger in size, i.e. raise my arms high, yell, throw rocks, and DON’T RUN! (That awesome info. is courtesy of the local Santa Cruz Puma Project.)  I should’ve known better! At least I got so freaked out and mad at myself for my stupidity that chances are high I won’t ever make the same mistake.

When I got home, I ate dinner on auto pilot – I wasn’t hungry. Big mistake. Then I was sick again, and I felt less than human into the wee hours of the morning.

Today I have the huge luxury of being able to stay home and take it easy. My husband dropped off the kids at school and he can pick them up too. This kind of help is something single parents often don’t have. I don’t forget how fortunate I am to have a partner to turn to for support when I’m sick.

Black Mirror’s Season Three, Episode One, Nosedive

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Being bedridden has been the perfect opportunity to binge watch a riveting, disturbing series called Black MirrorMake that Disturbing with a capital D, but it’s fascinating all the same. The British series has been compared to the Twilight Zone, but I think it’s a totally separate animal.

I’m up to Season Three’s first episode called Nosedive and it’s one of my favorites; I’d suggest watching this one first instead of Season One’s first episode about the Prime Minister. Trust me. (Each episode is a contained story so you don’t need to watch them in order.)

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Lastly, I want to share with you about my friends Jean Lee (Jean Lee’s World, author of Middler’s Pride on Wattpad) and Ann Preston Roselle’s (Bipolar & Me) inspiring, extraordinary blog posts.

Jean, one of the best writers I know, reveals facing “The Monster” who sexually abused her in “These Worlds Are Knives and Bridges.” She is coming to terms with being a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member. I can’t tell you how amazed I was at this woman’s strength after I read it. Even though she wrote about dealing with a horrific kind of abuse, her post brought me up, not down, because of her bravery. She has taken a road so high it’s touching the clouds. 

Ann’s post “Maintaining a Little Hope” beautifully, poignantly expresses how  she has gone through the sheer hell of depression, but she didn’t let bipolar disorder steal her goals or her hope. She’s a tremendous role model and power-house advocate. I can’t wait to call her Dr. Ann! ;) 

I’ll see you after Thanksgiving – in the meantime, I send you lots of love and strength as the holidaze begin. Be good to yourselves!

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Afterlifethoughts & Angels: Part One

What Dreams May Come is a film based on Richard Matheson’s book and stars Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra and Cuba Gooding Jr. It’s one of my favorite movies, but I can only watch it when I’m feeling relatively stable (TW) as it contains themes of suicide and children’s deaths. An amazingly vivid, imaginative & groundbreaking film, it won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

 * I apologize for the spacing/formatting snafus – WordPress seems to have a glitch today!
I intended to post about the afterlife and angels the week before Halloween, but it simply didn’t happen. Since I’m unable to write coherently (or even incoherently) about the election (plus I’m sure you don’t need to read more about that) today’s the day to expound on the afterlife. Next week’s post will focus on the angels. 
As a special treat, I’m not writing about ten topics in one 2500 word post – hurrah!
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The Afterlife
I’ve always been fascinated by the possibility of life after death. However, I didn’t think about it constantly until after my father died in 2009.
I’m reminded of Prince’s solemn “sermon” in his classic song Let’s Go Crazy:
A world of never-ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night…
Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own.
I think Prince got that right.
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A few days ago I was walking Lucy among the peaceful redwoods…
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As we trudged along the muddy path, I thought about my friend Ulla who died by suicide not long ago. A wave of guilt hit me because I realized I had stopped thinking about her every day, and while that’s no crime, I felt like an ass. I began speaking to Ulla out loud, not caring if another hiker heard me. I told her I was sorry for placing her on my mental back burner. I said I hoped she was happy wherever she was. And then I begged her to give me a sign she was okay.
I thought a mountain lion sighting (far, far off in the distance) would be cool, or even a brush with the hirsute Bigfoot….yes, Bigfoot allegedly likes to hang out there too. But I settled on a deer sighting. 
As Train’s Pat Monahan sings in Calling All Angels,
I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me 
During the remainder of the hike, I didn’t see a deer or even a bit of deer scat. Even though the skeptic in me thought it was unlikely I’d get the sign I wanted, I was disappointed. I wanted to believe with all my heart, not just some of it, that we move on to a better existence, yet remain connected to those we care about here.
Although I didn’t get the sign I wanted this time around,that won’t stop me from asking her again on another next hike.
Psychic Mediums
An authentic psychic medium can see a client’s past, present, and future and communicates with those who have died. I’ve met with one affordable psychic medium who told me some details about my life that were accurate, but I didn’t have the transformative experience I yearned for: to communicate with my Dad. I wanted to receive a message from him that would prove it truly was him.
I could try another session with a different psychic medium, but our family doesn’t have the financial means to do so. The practitioners with stellar reputations charge astronomical amounts. Unless I’m blessed with an unexpected windfall, I’m not pursuing it.
Books
I love reading well-written books about the afterlife. I admit these works aren’t exactly up there with Shakespeare, so they are a bit of a guilty pleasure, but when I read them I relax. I relish escaping into another world – whether that world is a fantasy or reality, I guess I’ll eventually find out!
Some of my favorite authors include Dr. Raymond Moody, a psychiatrist with a colorful personal history, Maureen Hancock, James Van Praagh, Suzan Saxman and yes, Theresa Caputo, the wacky Long Island Medium. You can give me a hard time about her – I can take it!🙂
Calling All Angels
This is such a great song, even if you’re not a Train fan! The lead singer Pat Monahan reminds me of a lizard.
Next week in Part Two, I’ll focus on the angels. I want to share something I learned about angels that affected my life for the better. I know that sounds like a dubious claim, perhaps fueled by a “special” brownie, but I’m sincere. When the post is up, please give me the benefit of the doubt and take a peek.
In the meantime, I want to thank you for reading this blog. I know it’s a particularly hard week, so please take care of yourselves. I hope you do something nice for yourself this weekend!
lots of love,

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Rambling Alongside Fall Creek State Park

 

Come, ramble with me and Lucy alongside beautiful Fall Creek State Park!

I only say “anyway” fifty-six times in this clip, down from eighty times in my previous vlog. The loud sniffles you hear that could wake the dead are caused by my allergies that always flare up after a heavy rain. (Note to self, next time take a pocket pack of Puffs tissues!)

Because the past week has been far more hectic than usual, I’ll catch up with your blogs this weekend. I promise to comment, “like”, tweet, and Facebook- share your latest posts until the cows banana slugs come home.

images(Leave it to me to choose a college with a banana slug mascot.)

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See you next week,

XoXo — Dyane

p.s. During my walk I mention my writing mentor Wendy K. Williamson’s books; she wrote the awesome memoir 

I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar

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and co-wrote Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living With Bipolar Disorder with Honora Rose

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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My Movember Forward Debut @ MakeItUltra!

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This is an interesting biography about Split Enz, a New Zealand rock group I’ve loved for over thirty years. Co-founder/artist Phil Judd, who created the “Mental Notes” painting on the cover, has bipolar disorder. The Enz’s late drummer Paul Hester (who eventually joined the internationally acclaimed group Crowded House) allegedly suffered from bipolar disorder as well.

Stranger than Fiction popped into my mind since it describes what my life has been like lately…I’ll fill you in on Friday.

                                        

 

Good morning my friends,

I hope you had a good Halloween!

I was honored to have my post The Found Girl kick off the blog MakeItUltra!’s Movember Forward series. Thanks to MakeItUltra! founder Eric and editor Cait for their support.

My month has gotten off to an amazing, surreal, and heartbreaking start. All I can do is keep on moving and visit the redwoods with Lucy for a daily mental/physical reboot. 

Now it’s time for Dia de la Sugar Detox in my house!😉

Love to you all,

Dyane

p.s. Several years ago my I changed my original blog title “Proudly Bipolar” (a phrase inspired by Anthony Bourdain’s description of his intrepid crew in his book No Reservations) to “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder,” the title of my upcoming Post Hill Press memoir. 

MakeItUltra™

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We are so excited for Movember–Motivation to Move Forward that we couldn’t wait to post our first guest post! Since it is November in most of the world, we here on the west coast would like to kick off Movember with this excellent submission by Dyane Harwood. Stick with us throughout Movember (November) as we continue to post a new guest post as often as we can! Have you submitted your motivationational story already? Check out Calling All Contributors! Thank you Dyane, for your wonderful post. We want everyone to get motivated and move forward from whatever is holding you back right now. It’s going to be a great month!


Written by Movember Forward Contributor: Dyane Harwood

Founder of: Proudly Bipolar

“The Found Girl”

Yesterday marked an epoch in my life. I took my daughter Marilla to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk where the vampire movie The Lost Boys was filmed.

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