Stoked I Didn’t Pass Out During My 2nd Toastmasters Talk!

 

 

 

Hi there, my friends!

I hope you’re doing well…

So yes, I survived presenting my Toastmasters “Thought of the Day” to my Redwood Ramblers group yesterday.  

Once again, I was nervous as hell.

 

At least my head-to-toe shakiness wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been during my Icebreaker speech. I was less freaked-out this time, but don’t get me wrong, it was scary!!! It probably didn’t help that I forgot to, um, breathe much.

Each meeting has a different theme chosen by the member assigned the “Toastmaster” role. The Toastmaster serves as the host of the meeting. All roles, both speaking and non-speaking, rotate weekly so everyone experiences each role. Roles include the Ah-Counter (the person who counts the filler words in every person’s speech), the Grammarian (guess!) and the Timer. Yes, every speech gets timed. It’s very precise. I like it!

Yesterday’s theme was Clutter.

(Ha! It could’ve easily been re-named Dyane’s House.)

My speaking role, the Thought of the Day, needed to relate to the theme and last one-to-two minutes.

I decided upon the topic of “Clearing Mind Clutter.” I thought it would be cool to share something that actually helps clear my befuddled brain. 

The following paragraph is what I wrote on my practice notecards. When I spoke to my group, I surprised myself and didn’t use the cards, although it would’ve been fine to refer to them. Instead, I paraphrased my notes and I did silly things like the scrubbing move! (Watch the video for that one…) Oh well. I have no problem making a fool of myself – I have a PhD in tomfoolery!

 

Without further adieu….

What can we do to clear out the clutter, the confusion, and the disorder in our minds?

I found something that’s easy, enjoyable, and free that everyone in this room can do. Plus we’re in the perfect area to do it! It’s called Shinrin Yoku*** in Japanese, and in English, it’s known as forest bathing. 

I didn’t even know forest bathing even existed until I read about it last year in  Good Times. Forest bathing is a leisurely stroll in the woods for fifteen to twenty minutes. Every now and then, you stop and take extra notice of your surroundings, and during your walk, you take deep breaths…making sure you don’t hyperventilate, of course!

Deep breathing allows you to inhale organic compounds given off by the trees. The amazing benefits include lower stress, lower blood pressure, increased energy, better sleep, better focus, and an increase in the NK cells (your natural killer cells) which fight cancer — all this from a leisurely stroll!

Doing this has helped me feel better and manage the clutter in my head. I encourage all of you to take a stroll in the redwoods over the next few weeks, notice how you feel, and let me know about it.

***I encourage you to check out this forest bathing site for more info. – it’s a cool resource!

At the close of the meeting, all talks are evaluated either briefly or in depth. There’s much more scrutiny given to the “Project Talks” (Thought of the Day isn’t one) so I only got a couple comments: the speech was “well-developed and demonstrated planning,” and “giving a call to action was effective.”

At one point I walked down the aisle and back to the podium, exposing the group to my rear. (Good times!) The president advised me to consider walking slowly backward so the group saw my front and I could utilize those moments, LOL!  

Slick move, eh?

See you next week when I’ll reveal some juicy details about my upcoming interview. 

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 on October 10th, 2017. It’s available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales; Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

 

My Life-Affirming Alternative to “13 Reasons Why”



The novella Brooklyn’s Song by Alexis Zinkerman


A few weeks ago I published the post Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s Metronome – my post title says it all. Please read it if you haven’t had a chance yet.

After I read Metronome, I bought Alexis’ novella Brooklyn’s Song and I wrote a review that doesn’t begin to do it justice, especially since I was repeatedly interrupted by my girls while attempting to focus.

Their crisis? They were in need of a special medicine called ice cream. (I need to fix the broken lock on my door!) At least I can always improve the review later on. In the meantime, I’ve included it in this post.

Here’s a sidenote:  I haven’t watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix nor have I read Jay Asher’s book, and I have no plans to do so. I rarely read or watch anything about suicide because I’m too triggered. While my intuition told me to steer clear of 13 Reasons Why I sensed Alexis would create a work that wouldn’t trigger me, and I was right. 

Brookyln’s Song –A novella by Alexis Zinkerman/5 star review

The heartwrenching topic of teen suicide has recently been covered in film, television, and young adult fiction more than it ever has before. Some of these endeavors are sensitively produced. However, other productions are harmful – they sensationalize teen suicide, depriving young people of realistic role models and situations.

Alexis Zinkerman’s outstanding novella Brooklyn’s Song was ahead of its time when it was first published in 2012 under the title Crazy Tragic Magic Life. Few books have ever addressed teenage suicide in such an insightful, wise manner.

The novella’s unique literary style is ideal for conveying the gravity of the subject matter without overwhelming the reader. At just eighty-eight pages, Brooklyn’s Song is the perfect length for depicting the journey of a teen’s grief over a great loss.

In concise, moving poetic stanzas, fifteen-year-old protagonist Brooklyn shares her shock of losing her best friend to suicide.

The reader is immediately drawn into the narrative from the first page. Brooklyn’s best friend Emily is still alive, and she reveals a secret to Brooklyn while the girls are attending a special event. The scenario quickly changes into one of tragedy.

As Brooklyn begins to move through the stages of grief, she’s resistant to therapy, but she gradually learns that counseling can help her a great deal. In a refreshingly unexpected way, Brooklyn utilizes the creative expression of writing to help her heal. Ultimately, Brooklyn begins to feel hopeful about the future again.

In each intriguingly titled chapter, Brooklyn reveals different sides of her personality. She describes her vulnerability, her loneliness as a high school student, and her burgeoning confidence in her writing. After some time has passed, she chronicles her exciting relationship with her first boyfriend.

Despite the harrowing storyline, I didn’t want to put it down – I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Brooklyn!

Brooklyn’s Song is an artfully nuanced book. The novella reminded me of my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle’s classic A Ring of Endless Light in significant ways. Each author writes vividly, powerfully, and in a pragmatic manner. The two books’ complex-yet-clear storylines appeal to teens and adults alike. Each work grapples with the theme of suicide, the death of a beloved, and how death affects a sensitive, inquisitive teenage girl. Hope is woven throughout Brooklyn’s Song and A Ring of Endless Light, making these books truly worthwhile reads.

Brooklyn’s Song is a book I want my two daughters to read. It is a book I wish I had read when I was a teenager before suicide touched my life firsthand. This book rings true; at age thirty-three, Zinkerman was affected by suicide when her best friend took her own life. Because of that heartbreaking experience, Zinkerman was galvanized to write Brooklyn’s story.

I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to read this beautifully written book. I highly recommend Brooklyn’s Song to anyone interested in how it’s possible to move forward in life after an a unimaginably painful loss takes place.

I’ll be back next week to share with you how my very first book interview turns out. I’m nervous, especially since I did a little virtual snooping homework on the journalist who has been assigned to interview me. Things were looking great until that changed. That’s all that’s fit for print…for now, that is. Stay tuned. 😉 

Purchase the paperback edition of Brookyln’s Song on Amazon at this link.

Author Alexis Zinkerman

Check out Alexis’ mental health website A Mile A Minute – Refreshing Takes on Mental Health here. (Great blog title, isn’t it?)

Take care, my wonderful kindred spirits!

Love,

Dyane

—————

All photos courtesy of Alexis Zinkerman

 

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 on October 10th, 2017. It’s available now on Amazon for paperback pre-sales, Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

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I Broke the Ice at Toastmasters!

 

This isn’t me!!! It’s one example of a Toastmasters Icebreaker speech – you only need to watch the first minute to see her concept was clearly out of the box!  😉

 

 

During the last month, I posted here and here about my enormous fear of public speaking and my experience joining Toastmasters International.

A couple weeks ago I scheduled my first author talk. Setting that date motivated me to get used to public speaking by committing to Toastmasters for a minimum of six months. 

On Wednesday I gave my first Toastmasters Icebreaker speech. Those six minutes were some of the MOST nerve-wracking minutes of my life! After I spoke, I plopped down in my chair and felt vulnerable. I was incredibly embarrassed about my public speaking shortcomings, but I can’t deny I was proud as hell of myself!

I had come a long way from my psych unit hospitalizations.

I had practiced my speech “From the Darkness to the Light” close to thirty times without shaking. I spoke in front of my dog Lucy, in front of my family, and in front of my mentor, the President of our Toastmasters group.

During every practice run, I was still as a stone. But when I stood in front of the Toastmasters group on Wednesday, my body and voice shook like a freakin’ quaking Aspen tree the entire six minutes – even my face shook. My shakiness threw me off so much. I was totally humiliated, but at least I didn’t sprint for the exit!

Each speaker receives a few minutes of detailed oral feedback from the Evaluator immediately after the speech. In addition to that, she gets brief written comments from each group member to take home and review. Here are some of the following remarks that were given to me:

“I thought you had been doing this a long time, had I not met you first,”

“Excellent Icebreaker! Relax, enjoy, your story is compelling!”

“What an inspiration you are – I can’t wait to watch you growing in confidence as a speaker!”

“You are a natural speaker. You did not seem terribly nervous. Great material, and putting yourself into your speech. Relax! You are among friends!”

“No need to reflect on your nervousness when you’re on stage”

(At the end of my talk I apologized for being so nervous!)

I was going to post my speech here, but there was a glitch in the recording and it didn’t record. I’ll make sure I don’t have the same technical difficulties during my next speech so you can see if I shake like Elvis in his heyday…or not.

Here’s a sample from my practice session with my mentor…

Have you faced one of your profound fears lately? Do you plan to do so anytime soon? Please share! 

Have a great weekend!

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane Harwood’s memoir is Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw. Birth of a New Brain will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017, and it’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon here; Kindle pre-sales are coming this summer!

 

Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s “Metronome”

The gifted author/poet Alexis Zinkerman

 

 

Alexis Zinkerman is a journalist, poet, and mental health advocate, and she has bipolar one disorder. She holds an MA in Writing from DePaul University, and her novella Brooklyn’s Song is available on Amazon. Alexis was first diagnosed with bipolar in 1996, but it took her many more years to find the right treatment course.

I discovered Alexis’ blog A Mile A Minute – Refreshing Takes on Mental Health through her International Bipolar Foundation blog. She also has a website right here where you can sign up for her Love Notes newsletter.

Alexis is the reason why I broke my “I Only Donate to One NAMI Participant/Year” rule.

When it comes to NAMI walks, I’ve always donated to my dear friend, the advocate/blogger Kitt O’Malley. (Follow her blog here!)

But I made an exception for Alexis. You’ll see why after you read her April 14th post “You Can Help Too. No Amount Is Too Small” which I’ve copied, in part, below. (I changed the color settings and font sizes found on the original post.)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To celebrate I will be running/walking in a 5K to help NAMI-CT. NAMI-CT offers support groups for people with mental health conditions as well as monitors legislative activity at the state level on mental health policy. They also educate schools and parents on mental illness. I wrote their annual report a few years ago.

This is a cool organization and I hope you’ll help me if you can…I sincerely understand if funds are tight for you, readers. But if anyone out there wants to forgo that morning coffee and support a great cause, no amount is too small. All your donations will go directly to NAMI-CT. I have been training for this 5K for over a year now with strength training and running on the treadmill and outside when weather permits. I will think of all my readers as I run/walk this event.

And…anyone who donates will receive a personalized poem from me on the topic of their choice.” 

 

I donated $10 to Alexis’ NAMI group, and this is the poem she wrote for me:

 

Metronome

Stability.

Why am I this dried up

when on meds?

Lithium, you save my soul

but

I no longer have the creativity

and manic energy

I need to function

There are manic floods

and depressive droughts

Then, there are droughts

caused by the meds

Droughts where you feel

nothing

not the highs or the lows

The doctor evened you out

so you forgot how to feel

I want to be manic again

so I can sing poetry to the sky,

write all night,

be super-productive…

I want to be manic again

I miss my creative thoughts

coming at rapid speeds faster

than I can write them down

But the drought of no emotion

is here to stay

I must re-learn how to feel

what everyone else feels

without the extremes.

I don’t like it this way

but at least, I have a life.

 

(c) Alexis Zinkerman

 

After I read Metronome, I emailed Alexis. This is an excerpt of that message:

My god, you have the poetic gift, Alexis!

I'll start with the title:  Metronome.

Well, it's perfect in many ways. It brought back memories of my 
violinist Dad's metronome ticking away in his practice room which 
was next to my bedroom. I found it to be an object of fascination 
as a little girl.

I'll be honest - I'm usually not a poetry fan. I've never 
gravitated to the majority of the poems of Madeleine L'Engle & L.M.Montgomery, my two favorite authors. They were *big* on writing 
poetry, and they frequently referenced others' poems in many of 
their works.

Your style reminds me of Madeleine L'Engle's: bold, vivid, and true

Your amazing piece spoke to me.
First off, I could understand it - that's a major plus.
There are soooo many poems that are beautiful to read, but frankly I have no idea what they're about, therefore I get frustrated and Ifeel dumb.

Not so with yours! Hurrah!

Second, you get bipolar. You clearly understand mania and what 
lithium can do. In a remarkably concise way, you express this 
complex mood disorder (including the hypergraphia I had) so 
poignantly and lyrically.

Wow!  Just wow!

 

Please consider donating a few dollars to Alexis’ team (and Kitt’s, if you’re flush with cash! 😉 and you’ll be thrilled when you receive a personalized poem in return.

You can follow Alexis on Twitter: @azinkerman

Next Friday, my friends I’ll publish a post about how my first talk for Toastmasters went.  I’m scheduled to do it on May 3rd.  It’ll be a tale of sweat, tears, anxiety, and (hopefully) triumph for making it through the four-six minute speech without passing out.

I’ll try to record it so I can share it with you here.  In the meantime, take good care of yourselves!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

 

Dyane Harwood’s memoir is Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Dr. Henshaw is the co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders, 2nd Edition published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in March 2017.

Birth of a New Brain will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017, and it’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon here; Kindle pre-sales are coming this summer!

I Faced My Fear! (Well, Partially…)

Last Wednesday I went to my first Toastmasters Meeting and I survived! (I wrote about my fear of public speaking in this post and described a little bit about what the Toastmasters do.)

With a groovy name chapter name like “The Redwood Ramblers,” how could these Toastmasters not be a cool bunch? Nevertheless, I had my doubts…

I had a surprisingly good time! After the hour-long meeting flew by, I wanted to linger and get to know these brave souls!

I had almost bailed an hour before the meeting began, but I knew if I did that, I’d feel rotten. Plus one of the members had taken the time to contact me a few days beforehand (I RSVP’d on their Meetup site), and she encouraged me to show up. I felt compelled to give this group a chance.

I’m so glad I faced my fear.

When I arrived, I was made to feel so welcome by the members. Guests are allowed to be a fly on the wall, and that was a blessing since I wasn’t quite ready to speak! (Um, that’s my understatement of the year!)

This is me!!!

Everyone gave a short talk approximately four minutes long (most members spoke less than that) and each person was interesting. It was “Soap Box” day and we met outside in a park, but the meetings are usually in a building.  The topics ranged from inspiring to educational to “ranty” to funny.

The meeting was well organized; it started and ended right on time since it was the lunch hour. There were treats that included red velvet cookies – how exciting! 😉 (There were healthy snacks too.)

My first assignment or “Project One,” is called “The Ice Breaker.” I was given a packet of materials and the instructions for The Ice Breaker are four pages (!) but I’ll sum it up for you:

For your first speech project you will introduce yourself to your fellow club members and give them some information about your background, interests, and ambitions. Practice giving your speech to friends or family members, (I interject here: Lucy is in for it, that poor dog!) and strive to make eye contact with some of your audience.

You may use notes during your speech (I interject again: HELL YEAH, I’LL USE NOTES!!!) if you wish. Read the entire four pages before preparing your talk.

Objectives: To begin speaking in front of an audience

To begin speaking in front of an audience

To discover speaking skills you already have and skills that need your attention

Time: four to six minutes

Gulp.

The next meeting is the Open House, and I want to do my first project the week after that, and then I’ll report back here!I ran a DBSA peer-to-peer support group for moms with bipolar. I like how Toastmasters is also based on peer-to-peer feedback and interaction.  

Simply getting to the first meeting was a huge step, and their slogan says it all for me:

“It all begins with that first visit.”

On a final note, yesterday my good friend, the author/blogger Lisa Henderson, shared a very cool find with me – you may already know about it because I think it has been around for a year.

(Shameless plug: Be sure to check out her new book Paw on Amazon, her blog Passionate Reason is here.)

These products made a big impression on the girls and Craig who are massive Star Trek fans. As cute as the suits are, I think I’m taking a pass until they come up with a Tribble-themed suit!

Okay, my friends, have a great weekend! 

Lots of love,

Dyane

p.s. Are you going to do something you’re afraid to do anytime soon? Tell me about it!

Dyane Harwood’s memoir is Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Dr. Henshaw is the co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders, 2nd Edition published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in March 2017. 

Birth of a New Brain will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017, and it’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon here; Kindle pre-sales are coming this summer!

Wake-Up Calls from the Universe

 

 

During the past week, I had an epiphany courtesy of my inner universe.

The inner universe is the area comprised of mysterious brain synapses and who knows what else…

Maybe subatomic bits of chocolate?

I can’t type “inner universe” without thinking of Crowded House’s hypnotic song Private Universe. 

Ever since the creation of my ARC, I’ve been obsessed with attaining book endorsements. I’ve contacted bestselling writers, experts in the bipolar and perinatal mental health fields, and celebrities.

When the rejections started coming in, they weren’t fun, as you can imagine. Some of my emails were ignored. (I’d rather get a rejection than no response at all!) But I knew from the get-go that rejections would be part of the process. 

I received five blurbs (you can see them here under Editorial Reviews) and more are on the way. 

How many blurbs does an author really need?

Well, there are publishing pros who believe a writer only needs a few blurbs. Other marketers such as Sarah Bolme suggest getting twenty to thirty! I encourage you to read her brief post about her rationale. Although Sarah’s specialty is Christian books, her perspective applies to all genres.

###

I thought this book cover endorsement was witty. The image is blurry, so look closely & if you can’t read Julie’s quote, I copied it at the end of this post.

###

Since March, I’d often think of an awesome celebrity I wanted to ask for a blurb. 

Stephen Fry!   Jessie Close!   Adele!   Sia!

 

Yet I already had more than enough blurbs. Last week I realized I knew what I truly wanted, and it wasn’t fifty glowing endorsements of my book. 

What I yearned for was a Mount Everest-sized amount of validation that I was worthwhile.

I thought that if extraordinary people approved of Birth of a New Brain, I’d have irrefutable proof that I was worthy as well. 

Stigma and all.

It was time to smash my longtime habit of seeking approval from others and look inward.

As Stuart Smalley would say….

 

As I looked inward, it wasn’t pretty. I noticed my shame of having a mental illness, feeling like I’m a mediocre writer, struggling with body image issues, and knowing I sometimes fail as the mother, wife, and friend I want to be. 

I spoke about all of that with my therapist this morning. She helped me reframe how I saw myself and my life. It wasn’t her first time doing that and it won’t be her last, but I’m determined to chip away at the shame and insecurity that have plagued me for a long time.

###

My Scottish collie Lucy serves as an inspiring role model even though she is of the canine persuasion. She possesses a healthy amount of self-esteem.

Just like Stuart Smalley, Lucy’s good enough! She’s smart enough! And gosh darn it, people like her! 

(Cats aren’t exactly thrilled with her, but hey – you can’t have everything!)

Here’s my furry girl after her bath. She pulls off her spiky Cher hairstyle with aplomb! 

On a completely separate note, I want to share a very cool, free resource with you. I can’t remember how I found out about it, but I’m glad I did. 

It’s called Net Galley and you can participate in it as a blogger. Here’s their nutshell description:

Why Register for NetGalley?

We’re looking for readers of influence who help to build buzz about new books. As a member, you will be able to request or be invited to read new books, primarily before they are published. In the book trade, these are called “galleys” (hence our name!).

You will be able to read galleys digitally, on all major reading devices and platforms, and provide reviews, recommendations, and nominations for industry lists, right from your account.

We’re delighted to be in the business of helping “professional readers” evaluate new titles. Anyone who reads and recommends books can use NetGalley for free. Welcome!

——

To register visit this link

I suggest you read this page before you create your blogger profile so publishers will like it and grant your book requests! I’ll start reading an advance copy of Jen Waite’ s A Beautiful, Terrible Thing this weekend.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Oh yes. There’s one more thing.

Have you had any epiphanies lately?  I’d like to know about one if you’re up for it! 

Lots of love & see you next week,

Dyane

 

When I did a Google search for “beautiful images of the universe” this picture came up.

 “The Real Miss Universe”

 

Dyane Harwood’s memoir is Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Dr. Henshaw is the co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders, 2nd Edition published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in March 2017. 

 

Birth of a New Brain will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017, and it’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon here; Kindle pre-sales are coming this summer!

 

  • “Pure genius. Brilliant. A literary masterpiece”
  • Julie Kraft (the author of the book! 😉 

The Comparison Greens/A Call for Submissions!


The salt flats of the vast Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, beneath which lies roughly 50 percent of the world’s supply of lithium.

 

In June 2015, I read Jaime Lowe’s New York Times Magazine article “I Don’t Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium! My 20-year Struggle with Bipolar Disorder.”

The critically acclaimed article went viral. After I read it, I had a strong feeling – heck, it was more of a premonition — that she’d land a spectacular,  bipolar-themed book deal with a “Big Five” Publisher.

My envy of Lowe’s success made my tongue turn green!

 

A few months later, based on the enthusiastic recommendation of an editor, I subscribed to a trial of Publisher’s Weekly. The subscription included a daily email that announced new book deals in every genre. 

In my very first Publisher’s Weekly email, I spotted an announcement of Jaime Lowe’s book deal for Grand Delusions about being on lithium for bipolar disorder. 

After her article’s wildly positive receptionI knew her memoir would do well. My prediction was accurate in that Lowe landed a Big Five Publisher: Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House that was also Carrie Fisher’s last publisher for The Princess Diarist

In my typical paranoid fashion, an irrational thought slimed its way through my brain synapses:  

I hope Grand Delusions isn’t released when my book comes out – it would kick Birth of a New Brain’s ass!

Okay, friends. Fast forward nineteen months later to January 2017.

Thanks to my ghost writer Lucy, my book is finally written and edited! 

Every week I review Amazon’s list of upcoming bipolar-themed books. (I do this because like to know what kinds of books will be published, and sometimes I pre-order one if it intrigues me, such as this one.)

As usual, I was scanning Amazon’s bipolar books when I spotted Lowe’s Grand Delusions and its release date. I double-blinked when I saw it would be published in nine months on October 3rd, a week before my book publication date of October 10th.  

(If you sort our paperback books by the publication date, they are literally next to one another.)

My first thought was Waaaaah!!!!

Your first thought might be, “Shut up! I can’t even get out of bed.”

I thought that way for many, many years due to treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Please forgive my insensitivity and rudeness, and keep reading!

Here’s my wack-a-doo theory I call:

The Theory of Relativityinsecuritythisissoembarrassingyuckmouth

When a reader who wants to buy a bipolar memoir is faced with a choice of two books published the same week, they’ll buy the book written by the New York Times writer.

Believe me, I know how super-dumb this is, but that’s how my brain rolls.  

My topic is fundamentally different – I’m writing about postpartum bipolar and being a mother. As far as I know, Lowe isn’t a mom, and her book focuses on her experience with lithium.  

I spoke to my husband Craig, a published author of an award-winning book. (Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West)

“It’s actually a good thing,” he said. “The subject matter is being stirred up and promoted by the other author. On Kindle when people see what other books on the same topic have been bought, they might see yours and buy it.”

Okay, I’ll buy that.

But doesn’t it seem a teeny bit weird that out of all the days in the year, my book is alongside the very NYT Magazine superstar whose book I’ve been stalking tracking for 19 months?

Lowe’s book has a new title:

 

I almost didn’t share this post because it’s so petty, but it’s honest. That counts for something, even if I cringe when I press the “publish” button!

The heart of the matter is that I need to believe in my book’s worth. I won’t magically stop worrying about the competition, but I can remind myself, mantra-style, that my book will help people.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could write fiction and transport readers in that amazing way, but there’s a place for my book in this world.  And if you’re writing a book, or if you plan to do it, there’s a place for your book too.

I recommend Joanna Penn’s book The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey, specifically her section 1.11 “Why Write? There Are Already Too Many Books In The World,” and you’ll be encouraged.

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn Company


I want to share a call for submissions. I copied most of the details below. If you’re even a little bit interested, why not visit the website and go for it! The co-editors/renowned authors are very respectful of the topic and moreover, they’re cool. While there isn’t payment, it’s a worthwhile project.

Have a good weekend!!!

I’ll see you next week!

Xo,

Dyane

How the Light Gets in 

an anthology on parenting and mental illness

Call for Submissions

 

Kelley Clink, Co-Editor and Author of A Different Kind of Same

 Gillian Marchenko, Co-Editor and Author of Still Life

Submission Guidelines

  1. Narrative nonfiction–be it essay, memoir, or some kind of creative hybrid. It doesn’t have to be in first person, but it needs to be personal and true.
  2. Stories from a wide range of diagnoses: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, OCD, schizophrenia, and eating disorders, to name a few. Anything covered by the DSM is accepted.
  3. Focused writing with a clear point of view.
  4. Stories from every point on the parenting timeline, including essays by people who are expecting children, raising infants, toddlers, school age kids, or parenting adult children. Even people who are not yet parents (and maybe not sure they want to be).

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WHAT WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR

  1. Prescriptive or “How To.” Rather than giving advice, show how you tackled issues or disclosed personal information.
  2. Stories about Postpartum Depression (unless PPD was unresolved and became a chronic condition). These stories are valid and extremely important, but they have been written about extensively in other places.
  3. Stories about parenting a child with mental illness, unless it relates to your own experiences with mental illness and your parenting. Like PPD, these stories are important, and like PPD they have been written about in other places.
  4. Fiction. Changing names and details to protect privacy is okay, but the work submitted must reflect personal experience.
  5. Typos. Please read your work carefully and have others read it as well.

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LOGISTICS

  • We welcome submissions between ~1,000 and ~10,000 words.
  • Previously published material is accepted, as long as the author retains the rights.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, as long as the author notifies us if the work is accepted elsewhere.
  • All files should be Microsoft Word .doc or .docx, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font.
  • Please include your name, email address, and a short bio with your submission. Phone number and website are optional.
  • Electronic submissions only. Submit via email to parentingmentalillnessbook@gmail.com
  • Contributors will be compensated with copies of the book and our undying gratitude.

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SUBMISSIONS OPEN FROM 4/1/17-8/1/17. Responses can be expected by 10/1/17.

 

Dyane Harwood’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 on October 10th.

Birth of a New Brain is available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!