The Unfriending – October Update


A couple days ago I had an experience that completely unnerved me.

Someone with whom I had an intense virtual friendship with, but had never met in person, unfriended me on Facebook with no warning.

I was surprised at my reaction.  The abruptness of her unfriending stirred up deep feelings of rejection and insecurity within me.  I was also angry…not just at her, but at myself for getting so upset over this situation.

If we had a “real life” friendship then it would make more sense that I’d feel so deeply hurt, but I’ve always been a very sensitive person and her decision cut me to the quick.

I was aware she had serious mental health challenges.  Despite knowing she was fragile, I let down my guard with her in our messages and live Facebook chats.  She gave me her phone number and invited me to call her anytime if I needed to talk.  I never took her up on the offer, but I was moved by her willingness to listen.

Recently, when I stated my opinion on Facebook about an issue I believed in passionately, I noticed her virtual demeanor changed.  She vehemently, irrationally lashed out at another Facebook friend of mine, and that was the beginning of the end.

I’ll back up a bit…last year I took a long Facebook hiatus.  Then I decided to try Facebook again and I made a new rule for myself: I would only be friends with people I knew personally and with whom I had active relationships with. I no longer wished to be  friends with people I hadn’t seen in years (excluding a few relatives and a couple exceptions).  I didn’t want “trophy friends” or to maintain friendships with total strangers.  I soon broke my rule, however, and this friend who I write of today was one of those exceptions.

God knows I’ve suffered broken friendships in real life that dissolved in much messier ways than a simple click of a button, and I got through those rejections intact.

Each day I will think less and less about this unfriending, but it’s still fresh in my mind and it hurts.


Writing about this unfriending helps me; writing has always been a healthy catharsis.  But writing doesn’t serve as a panacea for malice as much as I wish it did.

It occurred to me that maybe this person is having a crisis, and she acted out from an unstable place.


Being cut off in five seconds flat is the risk anyone takes with social media friendships.  I hope that this is the first and last unfriending I have on Facebook.

Update 10/1/15 – Unfortunately it wasn’t the last unfriending! :(

Please see this link for a tale of the 2nd unfriending that was rather bizarre:

In attempt to feel better, since this unfriending occurred I’ve been mumbling affirmations such as “I am a great friend” and “I am kind”.  I don’t want this experience to sour my soul more than it already has.  I’ll pay more attention to my beautiful girls, my husband, and myself – my virtual friendships need to take a backseat for now.  I hope that my “unfriend” finds peace and healing, and that she can turn to a network of friends who won’t give up on her even when the going gets rough.

To quote the great Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live:

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”


And here’s an insightful quote by Jenn Talley:


Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.



This will be a rather short post.

Instead of my typical 1500+ rambling word slush pile, I’m aiming for half of that. It’s good, I guess, because I’m sure you’re busy. Additionally I’ve read that it’s best to keep blog posts around 600 words to attract the most readers. While I’ve completely ignored that dictum, I have no delusions of this becoming a mega-popular blog. 


Last Saturday morning I felt healthy as a horse.

Wait a minute. Why do we silly humans say that phrase?

“Healthy as a horse” comes from a time when health was equated with strength. Presumably, anyone who’s strong is healthy (unless you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger – hope I don’t offend any A.S. fans!) and in olden times a horse was an excellent example of a large, strong animal.

Therefore, one who hoped to be as “healthy” as a horse was; i.e. to be able to pull one’s own weight, endure rough conditions, and ride all day and night. 

As you know, horses were often used as idioms for other signs of strength or largeness. (You’ll note I’m leaving out a raunchy example.)

There are: 

“Eat like a horse” (which I do) and “Work like a horse” (which I don’t). 

Last Saturday morn it was a sunshiny day, and I was feeling fine and dandy and equine-ish. I had fun recording my vlog with Miss Lucy. Together we conjured up names for phantom Big Pharma meds. The post received some creative replies that were a hoot! You can read it here:

But then, woe was me. That same evening I went from being healthy as a horse to sick as a…I don’t want to write “dog” because that has been overdone and my dog is very healthy, knock on wood, thank you very much! – how about sick as Donald Trump?!

I was befallen by my first creeping crud cold of the fall season. I usually get a cold each Halloween. (That’s a big bummer since Halloween is my favorite day of the year.) But I got my cold early and I’ve felt inhuman for the past three days.

I’m coming out of the snot/cough-fest now, but I’m wiped out.

Because of that, I’m resting. Ahhh yes.

I’m so grateful I’ve been able to rest.

Thank God Craig drove the kids to school the past two mornings to help me out. I call the elementary school parking lot the 10th Circle of Dante’s Inferno; it’s where the other parent drivers are off-the-hook rude/aggressive/mean/zombie-like. If you enter that zone, you need to be on it in terms of driving agility. 

Apart from my cold affecting me, guess who chose last Friday night to go off Seroquel again? (with her psychiatrist’s blessing, of course.) Me! Lucky me!

Here’s an equation to express my current state:

Seroquel withdrawal + a nasty cold = you wouldn’t want to be near me today

Those of us who have bipolar know that things could be MUCH worse. That fact never escapes me. But having a cold, feeling drained, and not being able to take my nightly 15mg “golden handcuff” pill has made me one helluva  whiny baby. To cheer myself up, I’ve been watching some television programs that I want to share with you.

They are:

1) The entire four seasons of BBC’s Scott and Bailey series (This is episode one) This is a show created by women featuring two high-ranking female police detectives in jolly good Manchester, England. Scott and Bailey rocks. This kind of show isn’t usually my cup of tea, but it’s SO good in heaps of ways that I’m hooked! It can be gory, though, so be warned, but it’s not nearly as gross as the U.S. police dramas.

2) Ridiculous pranks that have made my girls laugh incredibly hard – these videos have also served to give us some “educational moments”, i.e., “Girls, don’t do that!” The link to some of that silliness is here

That’s it. I hope you enjoy listening to “Resting”, one of my favorite Tim Finn songs. The New Zealand-born Tim Finn co-founded Split Enz and sang in Crowded House with his brother Neil Finn. “Resting”, from Tim’s solo album Imaginary Kingdom, is a truly soothing song and I love it!

take care, take your vitamin C etc., and I’ll be back next week with a follow-up to the Hawaii post.


p.s. On a totally unrelated note, after publishing 300 posts I discovered that if one lists more than 15 tags (including categories) on a post, then the tags won’t work on WordPress. Big whoops! Did all of you know that but me? Well, better late than never, right? Ever since I figured this out I’ve gotten a flurry of followers who were able to find me.

Dyane Leshin-Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press next year.

NEW CONTEST! Your Suggestions for Big Pharma Med Names!

Please listen to Dyane & Lucy explain this new contest. All will make sense to you shortly!

Thanks to my #1 favorite blog Blahpolar Diaries and to the new blog Psych Roundup for inspiration (@PsychRoundup). I also want to thank the HBO television series Silicon Valley for making me laugh.

After you watch me & Lucy, please check out the Silicon Valley clip below; the scenes made me ponder how marketing departments truly come up with such ridiculous med names.  (TW for salty language and psilocybin use.)



Photo on 9-26-15 at 2.17 PM

The following medications are not yet available to the public and are currently undergoing extensive clinical trials


This revolutionary 3-in-1 medication is an antipsychotic, mood stabilizer and benzodiazepine. To date the only drawback is one side effect: the consumer grows an additional toe and/or finger; the formula team is currently working on this issue to eradicate the digits.


This powerful antipsychotic has a threefold benefit; it not only acts as a traditional antipsychotic; Synapislaphappyquel™ increases the consumer’s intelligence by one-tenth of the previous quotient, and it specifically decreases road rage.


An element, Cf, this medication’s classification is Rare Earth – watch out lithium, Californium™ is the groovy, hot, new mood stabilizer!


This benzodiazepine will relax any muscle in the body 100 times faster and stronger than diazepam’s effect, especially in one’s nether regions.

A mood elevator also helpful for PTSD, the medication can also be used to increase the amount of eggs laid by chickens two thousand percent.


A mild antidepressant targeted for parents of young children; the marketing team is designing a label geared for those wary of pharmaceuticals. Prototypes include this image:



This antidepressant is even more effective than ketamine; it’s to be injected into one’s ear canal and works within two seconds.

*This is a fictitious post and is meant for humorous purposes only…because life is hard enough as it is.*

Silicon Valley Clip: “How to Come Up With a Company Name”: caution: language/psilocybin use

Dyane Leshin-Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press next year.

Hell in Paradise-Part 1/Sorry to Confuse!

Hope this brief video of me and Lucy makes sense! I’m sorry that yesterday’s 300th post was confusing. I created my WordPress blog in 2008. I only wrote three posts and then I became too depressed to write. I didn’t blog again until 2011. Once again, I wrote a couple posts and took yet another depression-related hiatus. 

I returned to blogging in December, 2013. Three time’s truly the charm…I was able to stick with it! Yesterday’s 300th post was a revised version of my very 1st blog post that I published in December, 2013. Today’s post is a revision of post #2. I’ll be publishing a couple more revised posts to complete the story. If you understand this, you get an A+! ;) Thanks so much for reading and for your comments – I hope that you have a great day! Dyane

Hell in Paradise – Part One: Tsunamis of the Heart and Land

Our November, 2013 family trip to Kona, Hawaii was significant for several reasons.  The first reason was that we had to postpone the trip three times due to my summer hospitalizations for a bipolar depression relapse. The relapse occurred while I was tapering off lithium. I became manic and then went in the opposite direction, down to the very bottom of hopelessness.  

The second reason was that my mother-in-law had passed away a few months prior to our trip. We wanted to bring her ashes to Kona. She worked in the Kona area for over a decade, and it held a special place in her heart.

A week before we took off for Hawaii, my Parnate “miracle” had stopped working, and my bipolar depression returned. I couldn’t help but note the irony of the situation: here I was, about to visit one of the most magnificent places on Earth, and I was depressed yet again.

Once we settled in our rental in Holualoa, Kona I did some internet research. I found that some people took larger doses of Parnate than I was taking – up to twice as much.  I was able to get ahold of Dr. D. while we were there. 

(A sidenote: Holualoa means “long sled run” and is a fitting description of where we stayed.  We were located in the Kona coffee region and our rental was a stunning coffee farm high above the coast.)

Anyway, I asked Dr. D. if I could raise the Parnate up 10 mg for a total of 40 mg a day.  He gave me his go-ahead.  It turned out the dosage made me feel much worse.  I had terrible form of agitated insomnia.  

The eighteen wild turkeys who roamed the coffee plantation were noisy each night. While their gobbling sounds were cute during the day, they kept me awake and were anything but charming at night.  There were also plenty of tropical birds who loved to chirp the night away.

Meanwhile, my depression wasn’t going anywhere.  I returned to 30 mg of Parnate/day.

I knew I should’ve felt grateful for being in Hawaii. The fact that I felt so bad did nothing to assuage my guilt.   My brain synapses, which had been working so well at the beginning of the month, were stuck in a morass once again.  

I couldn’t think of anything to say to anyone during the long car trips we took around the island.  I couldn’t escape with a good book, which to me was pure torture.  

When I started taking Parnate I stopped drinking alcohol cold-turkey, as alcohol is a deadly mix with this MAOI medication, so I couldn’t turn to margaritas to relax.  (And that was a very good thing that I couldn’t drink my blues away!) 

Although I went for a thirty-minute walk amongst the coffee trees each morning, I ate tons of unhealthy treats such as chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and Kona coffee ice cream. During some fleeting moments, I was able to appreciate the grandeur of the island. I noticed my girls’ joyful laughter when they went boogie boarding, but still…I wanted a do-over!


This photo of our girls was taken on Hilo’s beach on the Big Island.  We visited Hilo twice during our trip. Due to its history of deadly tsunamis, Hilo was particularly significant to me.

Ever since I was a little girl growing up in Los Angeles, I was very aware of the existence of tsunamis.  I asked my father if a tsunami could ever reach our home that was perched on the edge of the deep Las Pulgas Canyon near the ocean. He told me repeatedly that we would be safe, but deep down I didn’t believe him.

I had recurring tsunami dreams despite my Dad’s reassurance.  When I was older, I pored over books about tsunami history and I watched documentaries about these terrifying “harbor waves” (Tsunami means harbor wave in Japanese). I was so fascinated and obsessed by this topic that sometimes I wondered whether I died in a tsunami in a past life!

When I moved to Santa Cruz and experienced the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, I was so terrified that I forgot about all my tsunami lore and  did the worst thing possible in a tsunami zone – I sprinted to West Cliff Drive which overlooked the ocean. This scenic road (which is shown during the opening credits of the film The Lost Boys) was two blocks away from my apartment. I ran out of the building as soon as the first tremor ended.  I felt drawn to the sea instead of safer, higher ground.

If there *had* been a tsunami, I would have been toast! 

While in Hilo the first time, we visited one of its main beaches.  Most of the Hilo beaches are nowhere as gorgeous as the beaches on the other side of the Big Island, but their warm water temperatures are awesome.

I felt so down that I didn’t even put on my brand-new, shimmery blue Speedo suit. I plopped down on the sand while my girls and husband frolicked in the water. It struck me that I was sitting in the very spot where the devastating 1946 and 1960 tsunamis had blasted in. I became morbid, thinking that maybe it would be okay to die in tsunami after all, since I had lost hope that my depression would lift.

I continued ruminating how people must have died in the very place where I was sitting.  I’ve known for years that Hilo was the home of the Pacific Tsunami Museum, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to visit it.  The first time we went to Hilo I was so apathetic and depressed that I told my husband we didn’t have to check out the museum.  He was surprised, to say the least, as he was well-acquainted with my tsunami obsession. He had plenty of times to hear about it during our fifteen-year-long relationship.

When we returned to Hilo a second time, it seemed ridiculous not to visit the Tsunami Museum, so off we went.  I didn’t think our girls would be interested in the subject. Moreover, I was concerned the Pacific Tsunami Museum might be too scary for them, but fortunately they were up for the visit.

A spirited retired docent who had been an elementary school principal spent time with the girls.  She showed them kid-friendly exhibits about the science of earthquakes and waves. I shuffled around the rest of the museum, scared to make eye contact with anyone, wishing a wave would swallow me up then and there.  

Update 9/23/15: Now that I’m doing well, I hope and pray that there won’t be any tsunamis in our area anytime soon! There was a tsunami in our harbor in 2011, but luckily I was high up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, safe and sound.

How did I get better? I promise to reveal more in the next installment.

To be continued…

Dyane Leshin-Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.  

Celebrating 300 Posts of Birth of a New Brain!

Photo Three


The Very 1st Post:

After a Two-Year-Long Hiatus, I’m Back!

Getting Better, Getting Worse & To Be Continued


I can’t believe it has been two years since I last posted to my blog, formerly called “Proudly Bipolar” thanks to Anthony Bourdain’s book No Reservations.  



I love you Anthony! (in a platonic way)


I’m a big believer in the power of titles, and I felt it was apt to change my blog’s title to “Birth of a New Brain” to reflect the person I’ve become since November, 2011.  

“Birth of a New Brain” is dear to my heart.  (And brain! ;)   I love the phrase for various reasons. One little thing is that I appreciate its alliterative qualities with the “b”, but I can’t say it well if I have dry mouth syndrome! 

I came up with the title last spring. After doing extensive research, I was slowly tapering off all psychiatric medications . (9/22/15 update – I’m pro-med now! Read on and see why…)  Back then I felt my brain was changing and rebirthing, so to speak, on a cellular level. And the cells were changing. Hypomania was setting in and there would be disastrous consequences from my no-med quest. However, when I was still relatively stable I couldn’t help but love feeling so positive and creative once again, and I thought the title was imbued with my optimisim.

Birth of a New Brain was associated with a forty-page book proposal based on living with bipolar well without medication. The proposal was accepted by my former publisher and I was absolutely thrilled. (I cancelled the agreement when I relapsed with bipolar depression. Obviously my no-med concept wasn’t seaworthy.)

When I wrote the proposal I had high hopes. I secured an extraordinary British physician/author named Dr. Liz Miller, Britain’s first female neurosurgeon, to write the foreword. I discovered Dr. Miller in Stephen Fry’s groundbreaking documentary “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive”. (You can watch it on YouTube here) Dr. Miller was Fry’s only subject who had bipolar disorder, was medication-free and doing well, so I tracked her down in London and we began corresponding.

Then I crashed and burned big-time.  I relapsed when my lithium dosage was down to 450 mg. I had to go to the psychiatric ward not once, not twice, but three times in less than two months. Once again I asked for electroconvulsive (ECT) treatments as I knew ECT was my last resort. (The first time I had ECT was in 2009 when my Dad died and I was acutely suicidal. I had a unilateral, or one-sided procedure as opposed to having bilateral ECT , i.e. electrodes placed on both sides of my brain.)  

When I relapsed, my hospital’s ECT psychiatrist Dr. L. and I agreed that I’d have bilateral ECT. Bilateral has the most intense potential side effect of memory loss. Why do it then? It can work more effectively for what I had suffered: a heavy-duty, rapid manic-to-suicidal depression state. (When my father died, I wasn’t manic to begin with; I was already deeply depressed.) It was absolutely the right decision.

I upped my lithium dosage to 900 mg. Over time I tried out a bunch of medicines for bipolar, anxiety and insomnia that gave me terrible side effects, bar none.

I worked with my new psychiatrist Dr. D. to find medication that would help me climb out of the terrifying, gripping depression that made me feel so utterly hopeless.  

Finally, in October, 2013 (my favorite month due to the beautiful autumn weather and my favorite holiday Halloween) Dr. D. suggested an old-school antidepressant drug called tranylcypromine, or Parnate.  On an interesting side-note, I recently discovered that Parnate was prescribed to this person six weeks before she died (or was allegedly murdered).


I digress.

Parnate is classified as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).  I’ve tried well over thirty-five medications for bipolar/anxiety/insomnia, but I *never* thought I’d take an MAOI.  This class of meds get a very bad rap because there are strict food/alcohol restrictions, and if one eats or drinks a “no-no”, one can die because of hypertension and other reasons.  

It’s also known as a “last-resort” drug for bipolar depression! Um, why hadn’t any of my previous psychiatrists brought up taking an MAOI???? Well, I suspect I know the reasons. I think they think that their patients are too dumb to follow the dietary guidelines (Stigma much? Yes, some psychiatrists look down at their patients) and they’re pressured by Big Pharma to prescribe the latest meds, certainly not an old-school MAOI that has been used for decades and actually works well. (In a small study done back in the 1970’s Parnate was found to work extremely well when combined with lithium!)

Anyway, I didn’t know until quite recently that MAOIs have helped countless people with bipolar who are considered to be medication-resistant.  

I told Dr. D. to bring it on!

I researched internet anecdotes written by those who’ve used this medication. Some people noted that Parnate worked within just a few days.  One woman recounted how Parnate lifted her ten-year-long depression in two days!

I read those accounts and thought, “They’re the lucky ones – that will never be me.”

I took my first, Pepto Bismol pink-colored pill Sunday morning.  The next morning I woke up feeling rather different.  Better.  

No way.  This has to be a dream!  I thought groggily.  

Later that morning I was feeling even better than before.  Not too much, i.e. hypomanic or manic, but I thought that maybe something was shifting in my  crappy-med-battered, shocked brain of mine.  

The next day I genuinely felt much better.  I was able to smile again, and laugh. I felt hopeful.  I felt like myself – the self I was before I ever heard or read the word “bipolar”.  I spent time with my two precious little girls and took them out places that made my skin crawl, like Toys ‘R Us and to the Night of the Living Dead mall so my older girl could get her ears pierced.

I was looking forward to interacting with people again – even the seemingly “normal” parents at the girls’ school!  I met with my longtime therapist Ina and she was amazed at what she witnessed.  She was cautiously optimistic.

Were there drawbacks to Parnate? Yes, just one, but it was intense. A daily afternoon fatigue set in (it’s a notorious Parnate side effect) but I felt that it was completely worth it compared to the benefits of the depression lifting. The majority of the anecdotes said the fatigue would go away after a few weeks. I hoped and prayed that this medication would keep working.  

Three weeks later, it was still working.  

Three weeks and a day later, I felt the depression creeping back.  

I tried denying that the Parnate had stopped working so magically, but each day my depression grew stronger.  We were on the verge of taking our biggest family vacation ever – it was one we cancelled three times before due to my bipolar depression. It was a trip for which we had scrimped and saved: the Holualoa region of Hawaii.

To be continued…


Dyane Leshin-Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.  

When A Member of Our Tribe Disappoints Us



Six months ago I had a disappointing experience with another blogger who has bipolar disorder.  I’m curious if any of you have ever experienced a similar situation. Although I no longer think often about what happened, it still comes up, which I’ll explain towards the end of this vent post.


The X File


By glancing at X’s cheerful Gravatar image, one would think this self-proclaimed bipolar advocate is positive and kind. And yes, X seemingly does possess these attributes through interactions with Twitter followers, but X has not been kind to me.

Everything I’m about to explain stems from one Twitter exchange. 

I tweeted X. I asked her to please retweet my blog post link. X was retweeting tweets of every subject imaginable to our “tribe” so I didn’t think twice about asking her. I liked what she was doing and thought she was a kindred spirit.

I assumed that as a bipolar disorder advocate she’d want to help me.  Other reputable people and organizations retweeted my link, so I wasn’t asking her to tweet something unethical like a nude line dancing website or anything like that.

She didn’t help me. When I messaged her about it, her reply was odd. I sensed something was off and I was upset about the exchange because I’m too sensitive.

Some of you may be thinking, 

Dyane, it has been six months! Let this silly Twitter thing go – it’s not worth your time! And this is a boring post – c’mon, why don’t you write about a real drama queen-type of situation? Like nude line dancing!  Jazz it up!

Well, my lovely readers, I was beginning to let the X-change go because hey – I’m busy. I facilitate a free support group, I’m running a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) Chapter, and most importantly, I have two kids, a husband and Miss Lucy Collie to care for. I’m also completing my manuscript, doing laundry, cleaning, working out, and eating too much gelato.

In her own unique way, X was encouraging me to “let go”of her as X blocked me from her Twitter account! Her blocking threw me off — it bummed me out. For you fellow Twitteraddicts,it’s one thing to mute someone; it’s something totally different to block.

In my classic paranoid fashion, I  started thinking that I did something wrong. I cringe while typing this, but here goes: I emailed X an apology for anything I wrote that may have offended her. I added that I’d gladly tweet her causes whenever she asked me for help. Sure, I did nothing wrong, but I apologized nevertheless. Ugh.

I didn’t receive a response.

Then things got strange.

After blocking me from her Twitter account, X started following my blog.  

Then X started “liking” my blog posts.

I wondered if X was liking my posts in hopes of my followers spotting her Gravatar so they’d be attracted to her blog. Who knows?

Does it matter in the big picture of worldly events?


However, I couldn’t help but wonder if X is doing strange behavior to other well-meaning people.

What I describe between me and X is superficial, but it’s still disappointing. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with WordPress and Twitter until this occurred.

As X continues to virtually network and earn the trust of strangers vulnerable with mood disorders, it disturbs me that she’s playing these passive/aggressive games.

Obviously X is not doing well. I can guess that she needs much more support than she’s getting. She’s fixating on helping others, yet she’s not dealing with her own bipolar disorder. I’ve seen this happen with others, namely a former close friend, and she wound up relapsing. Hopefully someone close to X is aware of how she’s doing and is getting her the help she needs.

All this stuff got me really freaked out for a while. I obsessed about it because I’ve always been insecure. I also think it’s a form of self-sabotage. I stop focusing upon and acting upon the REALLY important things in my life.

To use a cheesy phrase, I’m sweating the small stuff so badly that I start to drown in rivers of funky sweat. This reaction helps no one. Since I’m finally in a position to help others, i.e. my family, the support group, the book, I’m stopping this pattern. Now.

At this point, there’s nothing I can do with X except show compassion towards her. It wasn’t easy for me to do that when her Gravatar popped up on my post about my brother-in-law’s death, but whatever. I took a deep breath and went on with my day. 

Even though this type of life lesson is NOT fun, I’ve learned from it. So here’s what I’m taking away from the X File incident apart from working on being compassionate:

I want to grow a thicker skin.

I need to not try so hard to make things okay when it’s apparent that the other person has problems I can’t fix. (I’m sure there’s more.)

I’m incredibly fortunate to have the support system of my family, my counselor/pdoc and YOU – the blogosphere!

Thanks for reading, my friends. I appreciate each one of you!



Dyane Leshin-Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.  




This blurry picture was taken with my ancient cell phone minutes before The Stinging occurred this afternoon


I’m tired.

Being around grief is draining. My husband’s only brother has been gone for less than two weeks, so his death is still very recent and shocking. I’m profoundly thankful that I’m not the one in deep grief, but it’s still challenging being around it. It’s not just tough on me; it’s hard on our two young girls, but the cliche “children are resilient” seems to ring true with them. They’ve been through far worse during the many times I was incapacitated with bipolar depression and when I was away in the hospital seven times for bipolar disorder. They’re keeping busy with school, ballet, The SpongeBob Lama and lest we forget, My Little Pony. (They’ll deny watching that, but they can’t resist watching those freaky, perky ponies prance about.)

Apart from the sadness, the fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I love autumn, and I love Halloween! (It’s my favorite holiday.) October is a powerful, weird, symbolic time as I was married in October of 2001 and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in October, 2007. I just read on Therese Borchard’s blog Beyond Blue that fall can create excessive anxiety for people and that made me pause…it seems to be a very activating time in many kinds of ways, both good and yuck.

Speaking of anxiety, I experienced some of it this afternoon while relaxing on the deck with Lucy. This wacky collie (who has the one of the thickest coats you can imagine – it’s layer-upon-layer of softness) loves sitting in the sun whether it’s a mild 65 degrees or last week’s heat wave of 101+!  

I saw a bee flying around her and I gently waved it away, thinking nothing of it. We don’t have that many bees around here and I thought the bee flew off on its merry way. I proceeded to pet Lucy’s fluffy side and BOOYA!

Unbeknownst to me, the bee returned to burrow in Lucy’s honey-colored coat and it stung the side of my right hand. I thought I had a fairly high toleration for pain, but damn, it hurt! This was one big bee. I hadn’t been stung since I was a kid. Luckily I’m not allergic to bee stings or else it could have been a very scary situation. One of the first books I ever read was about a child who dies from a bee sting – talk about giving one a bee phobia, which is technically called melissophobia. I put ice on the swollen spot, which helped a lot, and then I followed up with calamine lotion. 

That was my excitement for the day!

Unfortunately this post isn’t too exciting, but I like to check in once a week on Thursdays or Fridays. I feel really off if I don’t post 1X/week. I even get a bit paranoid that if I start skipping my habit I’ll get lax about blogging and give it up. Ye olde black and white thinking! Perish that thought!

It’s okay if posts aren’t always Fresh Pressed-caliber, right? ;) (By the way, I’m losing respect for F.P. – I can write about that another time, but for now let me just state for there record that I was shocked and disappointed that WordPress editors didn’t publish anything about World Suicide Prevention Day/suicide-related! Like we really need another post about paleo nutrition instead. Shameful!)

On a separate note, I want to apologize to some of you who commented on my last post about skipping my brother-in-law’s memorial and feeling hugely guilty about that. I wasn’t able to reply to everyone, and I took down the post to honor Craig’s wishes – he never read it because he never reads this blog, but a few nights ago he asked me if I wrote about his brother’s death. Before he could even finish his sentence I blurted out “I did write about it and I’ll take it down.” I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, and I could tell he wanted me to refrain from posting lots of Don-related stuff. I had absolutely no problem taking it down, but I didn’t get a chance to reply to Just Plain ‘Ol Vic, Kitt O’Malley, Blahpolar and Socialworker Angela

Thanks again for your wonderful comments – they really, really helped me because, as you know, I felt like shit about the whole thing. It was a wonderful case of the blogosphere coming to me at my time of need. I only had that post up for less than a day and I got immediate, high-quality support. That, my friends, is what I love about blogging. To have bloggers who take the time to share their insights and encouragement makes me want to stay connected with the blogosphere forever. 

I’m going to go drag my sorry butt to my elliptical machine because it really does help keep my evil bipolar depression at bay. I still have the Seroquel spider belly, but as soon as I stop inhaling a pint of gelato every day and drink more water, it’ll start to shrink.  I’ll keep you posted on that. :)

I wish you a wonderful week ahead!



Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.