I Want to Tell The World

Tell The World by Dave Dobbyn, one of my favorite singers

(Of course he’s from New Zealand!)

Dear Friends,

I want to tell the world about two memoirs I loved reading…

I want to tell the world about my new favorite dessert…

and it’s not chocolate! 

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(Be grateful for my restraint – I resisted posting 10 more pictures of adorable animals!)

I want to tell the world that since I started using the free Lose It! app I’ve lost over twenty pounds! 

I’m no longer carrying the equivalent of this barbell around & that definitely agrees with me.

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When I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder at thirty-seven, I began compulsive overeating to self-medicate. I went up and down with my weight depending on whether I was depressed or manic.

Medications played a part in my weight gain as well – I tried 25+ meds and some of them played havoc with my metabolism. Repeatedly losing weight and gaining weight is a vicious pattern, but I’m trying harder than ever before to break that cycle.

I have a unique combination of reasons motivating me – some are old, but others are new. They are:

1. To feel better about myself

2. To serve as a positive role model to my children

3. To have more energy 

4. To be kinder to my knee joints. Lugging around the equivalent of a toddler every day has taken a serious toll on my right knee. I had ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction done in 1991 after ripping my ACL playing  basketball at the tender age of 16. I had a 2nd surgery in 2007 only a few months after Rilla was born to repair torn cartilage. 

5. I’d also like to show that it’s *possible* to maintain a healthy weight despite taking meds that get a bad rap for weight gain: i.e. lithium and my  MAOI. I’ve heard of people who won’t try a medication if it means weight gain, even if the med could lift bipolar depression. Of course weight gain can be a totally legit side effect (God knows I found that out with Seroquel!) but it’s not always the case. 

And I’ll admit there’s a superficial reason lurking beneath the nobler ones:

6. I want to feel great when I take my author photo next year! Perhaps I’ll emulate this saucy unicorn’s expression.

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Strike a pose 

 

The power of bibliotherapy has strengthened my resolve. Two new weight loss memoirs inspired me, and I want to share them with you, even if you’re not out to lose weight. Anyone could benefit from reading about these extraordinary women’s journeys.

These well-written books have depth; they are much more than about weight loss. The authors’ intentions are clear: they want to help others along the same agonizing road. (There are no nice, neat, saccharine happy endings either!) 

Memoir #1

The Latte Years: A Story About Losses, Gains and Life Beyond the After Photo 

by Philippa Moore

Twitter: @philippa_moore Websitephilippamoore.net

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Book Description: At twenty-four Philippa Moore is overweight, unhappily married, and still living in her hometown of Hobart, Tasmania. After a wake-up call in a department-store changing room (DYANE RELATES TO THAT!😉 Phil suddenly realises that she is on the wrong path. With determination she starts to shed the kilos, and makes a confronting discovery: she is in charge of her own life.

Starting over again in Melbourne, she launches an award-winning health and fitness blog, Skinny Latte, and finds the courage to leave her marriage. She then sets out on an international odyssey, travelling the length and breadth of North America and throwing herself into every new experience she encounters. An intuitive friend predicts that true love is in her future but, still scarred from her failed relationship, she can scarcely bring herself to believe it. When she arrives in London, though, she finds the life she has always been looking for, coming to realise that excuses for not doing the things you dream of doing are just that: excuses.

The Latte Years is the brave story of a life restarted, of the battles still to be won once the ‘after’ photo has been taken. Told with humour, insight and a great deal of coffee, it shows that we have the power to change anything, and inspires us to live our best, most authentic life.

Read Dyane’s Amazon review here.

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Memoir #2

Fat Girl, Skinny

by Amye Archer  

Twitter:@AmyeArcher  Website: www.amyearcher.com

Amye lets loose where other authors would hold back, but not for sensationalistic reasons. Her writing rings true and her candor is compelling. I admire her for “showing us the warts” the way she does. I discovered Amye’s book through a National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) tweet. She’ll be speaking about writing and her memoir on June 9th for free at the NAMW Roundtable:

http://namw.org/2016/05/june-roundtable/

“Inventing the Memoir: Truth Can Be Stronger Than Fiction” 

4 PM PDT   5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT 

Amye explains, “When I first started writing my memoir, I was nervous that it wasn’t interesting enough. After all, I was only 33. What life experience could I possibly cobble together to create a memoir? Mine was a story about being unhappily married and divorced and fat, and nothing else really.  There’s no big plot twist, no tragic deaths. So when a publisher showed interest and asked me to change my story to fiction, I didn’t hesitate…What I realized was this: people stopped relating to the material as strongly as they did when it was memoir. As memoir, when I would read excerpts, I would have women and men approach me afterwards and tell me that they too have felt the heft of Fat Girl, Skinnyweight on their chest, the worm of self-loathing in their brains. As memoir, I was embracing the reader. As fiction, I was holding the reader at arms length.”

*You are never too young to write a memoir; everyone has a story buried somewhere inside.
*The strength of memoir lies in our ability to tap into the universal truth that connects us.
*Tips for writing that universal truth, finding truth in identity.
*Why memoir is different than fiction.

Book Description: After her husband leaves her for a skinnier, blonder, younger woman, Amye is forced to confront the food addiction that has been holding her back for most of her life and has left her weighing two hundred and sixty-five pounds. With the help of the gang of girls of Weight Watchers, and their fearless leader —former fatty and community college dropout—Pantsuit Pam, Amye spends the next year losing weight and learning to live in a skinny (er) woman’s body. Only being skinny is not as easy as it looks, especially when inside, she will always be a fat girl. Fat Girl, Skinny is Amye’s story, but it’s also the story of anyone who has ever been told: “You’d be pretty…if”.


Thanks for reading this lengthy post!

I appreciate your support and comments so much. Oh yes – that new favorite dessert? Slices of an organic Granny Smith green apple dipped in almond butter. Heaven. If you told me I’d fall in love with such a treat, even preferring it over my typical pint of double chocolate gelato, I would’ve scoffed at you. However, life is very mysterious. And on that note…

I wish you a great day!

lots of love, & see you next week,

Dyane

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p.s. I’ll keep posting this blurb in hopes that some of you will join us if you’re interested. I started a  Lose It! Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group.  The intrepid blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member. His encouragement has helped me more than I expected it would – it’s far better than going it alone! I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups. 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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These Boots Are Made for Walkin’…Pneumonia

 

I started getting sick late last week with what seemed like a standard cold. Both my girls had recently suffered bouts of walking pneumonia, so to rule that out, I went to see my doctor on Monday.

She’s a great, down-to-earth physician and she has the perfect doctor name: Dr. Riddle. True to her name, she solved the riddle of what ailed me...

Lo and behold, I had walking pneumonia too!

My type wasn’t nearly as bad as Marilla’s. The poor thing had high fevers and was bedridden for days. Avonlea’s was a mild case, thank goodness. I was in between – I had a cough and fatigue, but I was able to function. While I obviously wasn’t going at full speed, I was able to take the girls to school, stop by the market, and care for Lucy and the chickens.

That was a good thing because my husband came down with walking pneumonia on Monday night, and he was bedridden. He usually does a million things a day, so it was unnerving to see him that way. When I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder in 2007, I was the helpless, bedridden one, and he was the caregiver. Talk about a role reversal…

Yikes!

The silver lining out of this was that I was reminded how capable I could be even when I was under the weather. Bipolar depression no longer ruled my life. But I’m no fool (Well, some people think I am, but that’s for a different post.)

What I’m trying to say is that if I needed to reach out to others for help, I would’ve done it, but I didn’t feel it was necessary in this case.

To decimate the bug, I immediately went on azithromycin. As long as I took it easy and didn’t run any ultra marathons, I wasn’t going to get worse.  

While the girls were at school, I did a lot of this:

 

I didn’t binge my frusrations away with daily and/or nightly pints of gelato as I usually would’ve done when sick. I continued eating well even though my appetite diminished because I wanted to keep my energy up. I continued my routine of drinking lots of green tea and water each day. 

When I read Dr. Riddle’s online summary of my visit, I saw that my weight dropped down from 166 lbs in March to 149 lbs! This wouldn’t be the case without my Lose It! plan. I wrote about my new commitment in the last few posts. I’m back to wearing my Target Denizen jeans, which were hidden away in a drawer the past year, and that feels really good.

Today is the first day I’m feeling my strength come back, and I’ll be catching on responding to some of your comments, blog posts, emails etc. over the next few days. Please forgive me for dropping the ball – now you know why!

Wishing you a healthy week!

love,

Dyane

p.s. Want to be healthier and shed some extra adipose tissue? Why don’t you join our  Lose It! Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group? Please include your email in a comment below, and I’ll send you an invite, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups.

The groovy, inspiring blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member, and his constant encouragement has helped me  – it’s far better than going it alone!

These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ was featured in the film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. If you haven’t seen this clip before, please note it’s on the wild side & not “appropriate” for your tater tots.😉

Want to join our fledgling Lose It! group Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group? You can try it and if it’s not for you, no worries. Please include your email in a comment and I’ll send you an invite, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups. The awesome blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member, and his encouragement has been a joy.

 

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

 

Trampolines & Jump Ropes & Green Tea – Oh My!

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The girls are great role models for how to use the trampoline for fun & exercise. Malena the chicken was hanging out with them until she started decorating the trampoline with chicken poop. 

(She wasn’t harmed in any way – she’s showered with more love than you can shake a stick at! She’s not destined for a stew.)

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The trampoline is also a great place to stretch and chill after your workout. 

But it has been surprisingly hard for me to jump on the trampoline for more than a couple minutes. At that point I’m huffing and puffing. Meanwhile, my girls can jump effortlessly for a long time. Talk about humbling. I’m going to jump on it for a few minutes at a time and get used to it – that’s all I can do.

I bought a jump rope last weekend because I used to do a jump rope workout when I worked at the gym (um, twenty years ago), but until I can jump on the trampoline for five minutes without wanting to pass out, I’m holding off on jump rope antics.

Lose It! has been such a help. The website & app have given me an awareness of what I’ve been mindlessly eating. At long last, I’m feeling better about my health and my body, and my self-esteem is rising. I no longer hold in my Seroquel Spider belly because it’s shrinking! I breathe better because I got rid of that nasty habit.

If I sound a bit too unicorn farty, life hasn’t been easy since I began my plan. Over a period of three weeks both my girls took turns having walking pneumonia. Now, regular walking pneumonia is bad enough, but Rilla’s case was so severe that she baffled two pediatricians. (They’re 100% fine now, Mom!)

Normally I would’ve binged like mad due to my stress over seeing my little ones so ill, but I didn’t do it this time. This is huge progress for a compulsive eater like me.

In other profound news…I’ve been drinking Yogi Tea’s Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life, although I still drink a cup of coffee in the morning. I love the taste of this tea because the blueberry and organic hibiscus flower make it sweet. Yum!

I’m keeping up with my water habit (a glass every hour until I reach 70 or so ounces.) I love water, so it’s not a chore, but I know for some of you it is. It really is worth it, bathroom breaks and all, especially if you take lithium like I do and you want to feel better and perhaps lose some weight. If you’re not sure how much water is a safe amount for you to drink, visit this Mayo Clinic link.

Guess who just got a bath & smells like heavenly lavender & mint courtesy of Cloud Star Buddy Wash?

Not grubby ‘ol me!

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As always, sending you all my love,

Dyane

p.s. Want to join our fledgling Lose It! group Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group? C’mon, we’d love to have you. Please include your email in a comment and I’ll send you an invite, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups. The awesome blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a member, and his steady encouragement has been a joy.

p.p.s. Please let me know how you like to exercise or tell me your healthy tips in the comment section! Anyone who comments will receive a check, a Richard Simmons Chia Pet (designed by the creative blogger/mom of twins SuperMomMentality), a Susan Powter Chia Pet and Susan Powter DVD. Remember her?

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Visit my latest Huffington Post article: “Why This Bipolar Mom Exercises  for Mood Stability” because you know you want to read it!

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.
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The Quest for a Happy Medium (A Cautionary Tale)

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***And Richard, I believe in myself too!***

 

Dear Friends,

Since I last wrote about feeling better I’ve continued following my new plan. I dislike saying I’m on a diet – yuck. If you’re a die-hard Richard Simmons fan like most everyone, you’ll remember he coined “Live It”. That sounds way better than diet, doesn’t it? But plan works well for me. 

Anyway, I can’t tell you how glad I am that I hit my rock-bottom in that blindingly bright Target dressing room. It feels so good to be proactive instead of inhaling pints of talenti gelato 24/7. I’m only having a small amount of sugar each day, which I’d like to cut down even more.

I was astounded to learn that there was three times as much sugar in my Pacific Foods organic tomato soup (12 grams) as there was in my Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes organic cereal (4 grams)! Tomato soup doesn’t even need sugar, so it looks like I’m going to have to make some, or better yet, get Craig to do it since he genuinely likes to cook. (I’d rather watch House of Cards.)

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I’m drinking my daily dose of water with my psychiatrist’s blessing. He said that amount of water wouldn’t affect my lithium blood level adversely (which I get checked periodically) and he said the same thing about my MAOI Parnate/tranylcypromine.

I drink a hourly glass of H20 until I reach approx. 70 ounces & have my cell phone programmed with an hourly chime to remind me. Yes, I visit the royal throne more often, but it’s worth it. I’ve also gotten used to always leaving the house with a big bottle of water – it’s not a big deal.

To add a little variety and excitement, I’ve interspersed plain water with hot tea, such as green tea (said to be good for weight loss and also depression – look at this article!) and Traditional Medicinals Cup of Calm tea to wind down. My big treat at the end of the day is an organic Granny Smith apple with a couple tablespoons of almond butter. I measure the almond butter because each tablespoon is a whopping 100 delicious calories. It’s super-pricey, averaging at least $10 a jar, so the less you use, the better. It’s worth every penny – YUM!

If you told me a few months ago that I’d prefer an apple & almond butter over chocolate, I would’ve sneered at you like this:

I also know not to take things too far with my plan.

In late 2012 I began tapering off my medicines, which, to put it bluntly, had near-fatal results. 

I researched how to taper the safest way, and I tapered very gradually. My former psychiatrist wasn’t in favor of it, but he didn’t fire me because I think he wanted the $ for his ex-wife’s alimony, which he used to complain about during our sessions. I should’ve billed him for therapy.

I used a scientific digital scale and gelatin caps to create lower and lower dosages of my meds.

When I began the process I weighed close to 170 pounds…

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In January, 2013 I did everything I could to be a health nut in the hopes I could live med-free. I worked out hard every day for at least an hour, I drank lots of water and ate healthy food. I was still on meds here…

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In March, 2013 I continued tapering and was clueless that I was losing too much weight. I looked almost skeletal and it’s hard for me to look at these photos – there are two that are even worse that I’m leaving out. Here I was probably around 120 pounds…

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In this shot I’m holding one of my books Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs by Peter Lehmann, which I ordered from his website. I contacted Peter in his homeland of Berlin, Germany via Skype. I wanted to talk to Peter because there wasn’t much in his book about tapering off lithium, my main medication, and he was open to talking about it. Turns out that he admitted he didn’t know anything about tapering off lithium safely. I was disappointed, but I figured I’d be okay because I was working so hard at being healthy and tapering so slowly.

Unfortunately it didn’t matter how badly I wanted to be med-free.

Some people can do it, but I’m not one of them.

I’m not aiming to be Skeletora.

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I want to be medicated and at a healthy weight, the way I was here not so long ago.

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Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back next week, writing about a completely different topic that will surprise and enlighten you!:)

Love, Dyane 

P.S. To join our fledgling Lose It! group Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group please include your email in a comment & I’ll send you an invite, or sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups.

P.P.S. Check out my latest Huffington Post article “Why This Bipolar Mom Exercises  for Mood Stability” and let me know what you like to do to work out in the comment section! Anyone who does it will receive a check, a Richard Simmons DVD, and a Chia Pet.

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

Feeling Better…Why Not Join Me?

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My “Before” Seroquel Spider Belly picture with Coach Lucy, J.D.

(I am not with child…I’m pushing 50!)  

Then again, age is relative, right? While surfing memoirs on Amazon, I saw  Dr. Frieda Birnbaum’s book. She had twin boys at age sixty! 

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I wish her all the happiness in the world, but I must admit that upon learning why her life began at sixty, my first thought was:

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Back to business…

In the past 3 weeks I stopped binging, I started using the free Lose It! app (described in my last post), and I started drinking water every day. I’ve lost about 7 pounds and feel much healthier!

If you’re tempted to join me, here are some ways to psych yourself up:

Pick up a ten pound weight or something that weighs around that much. Now imagine carrying that around all day long….or if you’re where I’m at weight-wise, imagine carrying three of them!

I suggest you visit Target’s dressing room, take off your clothes, and look at the full-length mirror. (I’m not kidding.) That was my wake-up call.

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Exercise

Before I got sick at Christmas, I followed “Dr. Alsuwaidan-style” exercise. If you’re ready to bring exercise into your life, get the okay from your doctor. Next, please take a look at my post about this awesome psychiatrist’s suggestions for working out for your mood, not just your bod. I plan on returning to Dr. A’s style of exercise in May.

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Psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan practices what he preaches!

Daily Water Intake

Of course you should talk with your psychiatrist before doing something new on the dietary front. When you start increasing your water intake, do it safely because you can mess up your electrolyte balance if you don’t. Keep in mind that if you take lithium like I do, you need to be extra cautious when it comes to how much water you drink. I know you know that!

I liked these Mayo Clinic & LIVESTRONG‘s links. They have 1-page (very) general guides suggesting safe daily H20 amounts, but they aren’t geared for those who take psych meds. So put your pdoc to good use and ask him/her about it!

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Lose It! worked for me before in 2012. It was awesome until I made the ginormous mistake of tapering off meds & relapsing. It wasn’t Lose It’s fault that I gained back the weight. Anyway, the good news is that it’s working again and it’s easy (and dare I say it?) fun & educational to use.

If you want to lighten up what you carry around, c’mon, join me! (I’m not being paid by Lose It! to write this. I wish!)

I created a Lose It! group called “Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group” and I really want some company there. Visit https://www.loseit.com to sign up – it’s free. Once you sign up, look for the group by that title.

You can also write your email in the comments, and I can send you a Lose It! invite. 

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So true

To be clear, I won’t be switching this blog to a weight-loss blog anytime soon.😉 I wanted to share my good news with you, and double-check if anyone else wants to participate with me.

I’ll see you next week, and as always, thanks for reading!!!!

love,

Dyane

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

I’ve Lost It!

 

 

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Um…Lucy ate the entire pint of talenti dark chocolate gelato in one sitting. Not me!

I never had a significant weight gain until bipolar disorder entered the picture. I was a high school cross country team runner until I blew out my knee playing basketball. I eventually had successful anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery, and learned how to use weight lifting to strengthen the muscles around my knee.

Long before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder, I worked at a local gym as a front desk attendant. I was responsible for opening the gym weekdays at the grisly hour of 5:30 a.m. and greeting groggy members.

At the front desk I handed out workout towels to the eclectic membership which ranged from the founder of Netflix (before he became a billionaire and built his own gym) to University of California professors, artists, high-tech employees and the homeless.  

A year into the job, weary of being known as the “counter girl”, I became certified as an American Council on Exercise personal trainer, which was incredibly challenging. Studying for the certification was as difficult as any university class I took. I cried with relief and joy when I found out I passed my A.C.E. exam! From then on I trained members how to use the equipment, designed their exercise programs, and taught circuit training classes for two years.  

My first major weight gain happened six years ago when I was in the thick of bipolar depression; hopeless and deeply depressed.

The semi-smile you see here is the fakey kind…

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Not feeling the Christmas spirit! 

Our house only has a few mirrors, and they all show how we look from the chest up, so you can imagine how easy it might be to ignore a growing weight problem. “Out of sight, out of mind” rings a bell. 

Yet I didn’t totally have my head in the sand about my body. I knew I gained a lot of weight once my Seroquel spider belly popped out and none of my clothes fit. 

Two weeks ago I had an epiphany in Target. (Where else? The Vatican???)

Accompanied by my oldest daughter Avonlea, I was in an extremely well-lit changing room trying on dresses in front of Target’s full-length mirror. After one glance at myself, I didn’t recognize the body I saw in the mirror.

It was apparent that if I kept up my habit of eating gelato (and a lot more sweets than that since the Italian Ben Lomond Baking Company opened down the street), my fatigue would worsen and I’d be asking for diabetes along with a host of other maladies. 

It was time to stop sabotaging my physical and mental health.

Avonlea reminded me of my success using the free internet program/app Lose It! in which I gradually and safely lost sixty pounds after that Christmas photo was taken.

Lose It! claims that its followers do better when a few of one’s friends use the program. There’s a rumor this popular blogger might join me in the Lose It! program. 

To that blogger I say, “C’mon, you have nothing to lose by trying Lose It! except for adipose tissue (a.k.a. fat)!”

images Adipose tissue – it’s what’s for dinner!

For the past three weeks I’ve eaten only low-fat, mostly organic, non-GMO-sourced food. I returned to drinking plenty of water – a good idea since I take lithium. I follow these water guidelines to be safe. The better-quality food I now eat doesn’t cost our family a great deal more because there’s a savvy shopper in the family. Craig worked in kitchens for years as a cook to put himself through school. He continues to cook at home and prefers to buy groceries. That’s fine with me!

I’ll be honest with you – I was eating a pint of talenti a night, okay? That volume of gelato adds up calorically and financially.

Can you see why I can’t blame my weight gain on my meds?

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I don’t miss my small mountain’s worth of gelato a week – it’s a miracle.

I feel much better, but it’s definitely challenging to sit with my emotions instead of distract myself with food. Reading Geneen Roth’s classic books about compulsive overeating and attending OA meetings once helped me grapple with compulsive overeating. Now I’m lucky to have my therapist to turn to; she’s one of the healthiest people I know.

Once I get out more this summer and face a few social situations, I’ll be tested, but I’ll figure it out.

My goal is to look like this:

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Don’t be jealous!

Just kidding!

Seriously, if you’re in the same boat as me, consider checking out Lose It! (Forgive me if I sound like an infomercial – I simply like their program, but I don’t work for them.)

You may be wondering where exercise fits in this regime. Well, I plan on returning to what I call my “Dr. Alsuwaidan-style exercise very soon.

Unknown-4Psychiatrist/ISBD Chair Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan

Ever since my Christmas illness cramped my cardio habit, I dropped my workouts to the wayside. I miss the way they make me feel, especially in terms of alleviating anxiety. So yes, I shall sweat again soon.

In the meantime, let me know if you want to try Lose It! by setting up your profile (it’s easy to do) and “friend” me under my name. I’ll be there to cheer you on.

I’m experienced in encouraging gym members to achieve their goals, so I’d be more than honored to encourage any member of our tribe to feel better.

Lots of love & see you next week,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Got Internet Trolls? Meet Miss Lucy, J.D.!

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I’m Miss Lucy and I have a Juris Doctor degree! I’m ready to bring it on!

 

Internet Troll Defined: in internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, and by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Two studies published in 2013 and 2014 have found that people who are identified as trolls tend to have dark personality traits and show signs of sadism, antisocial behavior, psychopathy, and machiavellianism (the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or general conduct).

My recent Huffington Post article about how ECT saved my life brought out all kinds of nasties, which I fully expected. Their mission is to find people like me who write online about positive ECT experiences, and then they spew lots of heinous comments. 

Enter a person with a lot of free time on her hands. She hails from the  remote Australian outback. I’ll call her “Olivia Newton”.

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G’day, mate! Olivia Newton’s my name and trolling’s my game!

I proclaim Olivia Newton as the winner of the “Most HuffPost Comments Written Award” (20+) and “Most Bizarre HuffPost Comments, Many of Which Have ALL-CAPS” Award.

Olivia Newton’s remarks had the flavor of Dr. Evil’s introductory speech in the film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

During a father-son therapy group brilliantly led by actress Carrie Fisher, Dr. Evil reveals his bizarre childhood in his group introduction. Dr. Evil depicts his father vividly and says, “He’d make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark.”

That line particularly reminded me of Olivia Newton’s comment which asserted that “Bipolar disorder was invented in 1995!” 

If you’ve never seen Dr. Evil in group therapy, it’s worth watching!  

Ever since my article was published, I was handling the negative comments fairly well. After reading the first two lines of a comment, I could tell which way it was going. If the comment seemed respectful, I’d read the whole thing and sometimes reply. If not, well, buh-bye! 

The day I read Olivia Newton’s first three Huffington Post comments, I tried to be compassionate and give her a chance.

At first I replied to her, although it was obvious that something was way off in her noggin. (I shouldn’t talk, but you know what I mean…) She left more comments the next day, and more after that, and more!!! One of Olivia Newton’s comments falsely claimed I was paid by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) to lead my free support group. (I wish!)

Then I got an email notifying me that someone replied in response to a three-year-old Amazon book review I wrote about Dr. Liz Miller’s Mood Mapping.

It was Olivia Newton! She found my review, that wily Aussie, and wrote that I was a liar because my book review mentioned I didn’t take medications. 

After I wrote the Mood Mapping review, like many people with bipolar disorder, I attempted the no-medication route and I relapsed so badly I asked for ECT and meds to save my life.

But Olivia didn’t put two and two together, although one of my chickens could do it in her sleep. Her comment calling me other names that I’ll leave to your imagination crossed a line. Of course it was no surprise that she used ALL-CAPS.

I consulted with my lawyer Miss Lucy, J.D. She barked that she’d work with me pro bono, I mean pro doggie bone!

I briefly replied to Olivia Newton on Amazon. I explained I was off meds when I wrote my review, and that her comments had become defamatory. I told her I hired a lawyer and if she wrote any further comments about me on the internet, she’d be hearing from the lawyer.

I didn’t expect that to do a thing, but it hurt so good to write it! 

I wouldn’t have written it if she lived down the street – just sayin’. If she lived here I’d set her up with The Kraken Lady!

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After that hullabaloo was over, I let it go. Then, yesterday I visited my Huffington Post ECT article to check if there were any new comments.

I noticed that half the comments I saw a few days ago were missing. Why could that be?

Olivia Newton had erased all her comments! 

I visited my Amazon Mood Mapping book review. Her comment? Gone!

Miss Lucy saved the day!

I know that hiring a canine lawyer won’t always work in these situations, but for a fleeting moment I savored a feeling of justice.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

XO,

Dyane

Lucy also moonlights as a therapist – this collie is multitalented!

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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