Cashing In On Postpartum Depression, Hypomania, Star Wars’ Maz & More

 

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Maz

This has been an eventful week….in both good ways, bad ways and odd ways!

GOOD: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Connection

On Monday I took my girls to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I saw the first Star Wars long ago when I was seven-years-old. It was released in May, 1977. I watched it at one of the best theaters in the world in Westwood, California.

I remember standing in a very long line on Wilshire Boulevard and I loved everything about film. Specifically, Harrison Ford. Even at age seven – it was innocent, I tell you! I thought Carrie Fisher was beautiful and cool – I wanted to be her. (Huh! Little did I know that thirty years later we’d share the same diagnosis – you know what that is!). Mark Hamill wasn’t half bad either – those pretty blue eyes, you know.

The night before I took my eight-year-old and ten-year-old to see the seventh episode of Star Wars, my mom emailed me this link to an article about Mrs. Rose Gilbert.

Mrs. Gilbert was one of my Palisades High School English teachers and known by everyone as “Mama G”. She also happened to be an influential teacher upon one of her students named J.J. Abrams.

You might recognize his name. He co-created little television shows including Lost, Alias and Felicity among others. Abrams also directed and co-wrote Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Abrams based the character of Maz on Mrs. Gilbert, which I found hilarious.

As I watched Maz’s scenes in Star Wars, I wouldn’t have guessed any major connection between her and Mama G. personality-wise; for me it was more in their facial expressions. 

I admired Mrs. Gilbert for her teaching style and reputation, but I didn’t have a special rapport with the her way I did with Mrs. Redclay, another English teacher at “Pali”.

Mrs. Gilbert announced her retirement at age 93, and she was the oldest full-time teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the entire country at that time. At that ripe age she taught three AP English classes in the same room she taught in for 51 years! She didn’t live long enough to see herself as Maz in Star Wars, but perhaps she knows about it wherever she is now.

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Maz/Mrs. Rose Gilbert

 

BAD: Hypomania

I’ll start off by emphasizing that what happened could have been much worse, and it was triggered by something very good. Last Thursday, a wonderful profile was published about me and my work in HuffPost Women.

My head & ego grew ten sizes bigger, but I’ll be honest with you – I loved the positive attention. I’ve been considered a loser for a long time by certain people due to my bipolar disorder, and it felt good to be recognized for my advocacy, running a free women with mood disorders support group, mentioned how helpful Postpartum Support International  is as a resource for moms, etc.

The article was written by parenting expert Dr. Laurie Hollman, and she’s great writer so that was icing on the cake! I was thrilled to get the word out about postpartum bipolar/bipolar, peripartum onset since it’s one of the least-known forms of bipolar disorder!

In case you missed my 500 tweets and my last post mentioning the article link begging you all to look at it, like it and comment, here’s the link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-hollman-phd/a-successful-working-moth_b_8980628.html

Huffington Post is weird because as far as I can tell, one must use Facebook to “like”, share and comment about articles. Up to last weekend, I took a six-month-long Facebook break, and I was very proud about that. It was good for me because it felt healthy, and I got my social media fix from Twitter. 

Last weekend I borrowed my husband’s Facebook account to reply to a few comments. Understandably, he wanted me to quit using his account/identity, so I bit the bullet and reactivated my Facebook account. I returned to my wicked ways and reconnected with a bunch of Facebook friends.

I stayed in front of my screen far too long every day since I wanted to promote the HuffPost Women article while it was still relatively new. All the stimulation and excitement of having a wonderful article “out there” kicked my brain into hypomanic-overdrive. I wasn’t sleeping enough, and I was all over the place.

At least I recognized what was happening.

I had my PRN bottle of Seroquel/quetiapipne at the ready. Call it what you may – that stuff works to get you to sleep. For that, I’m grateful. But with any atypical antipsychotic, there are drawbacks. It’s not Mother Nature’s lavender, that’s for certain. For me it means that a relatively measly amount of 25mg/night causes next-day grogginess, which I can handle, and vivid, terrifying nightmares, which I can’t handle, especially when they involve my Scottish collie Lucy. I won’t go into it except to say that a sinkhole was involved and I still remember it and shudder. 

I was able to get enough sleep after using Seroquel two nights in a row and I’m cutting back on the internet time. The hypomania is going away. 

ODD: Postpartum Confessions

A few months ago I found out about a cool website called Postpartum Confession in which anyone could submit her postpartum story, with or without anonymity according to one’s preference.

I emailed an essay about my postpartum bipolar experience to them and it was posted. I was very happy about that, and the founder wrote me an email that made me feel great about sharing my particular experience. I didn’t read the website’s terms because it seemed very straightforward to me. I thought it was a public service in which women could read and share their postpartum secrets the way they felt most comfortable and respected.

Last night I did my nightly habit. I browsed two separate new book categories on my Kindle Fire: “bipolar” and “postpartum”. I do this because I like to know about upcoming new, interesting bipolar and postpartum-related books. I sorted “postpartum” using “publication date” and it showed me the most recent publication:  this. 

My Postpartum Confession story had been chosen to be included in a compilation of stories and sold for $7.99. Okay, I was flattered – don’t get me wrong – I was, but it was kind of weird.  I hadn’t been notified about this project. The website terms (see below for you wanna-be lawyers, or bona fide lawyers) didn’t state that our stories might possibly go into a book for sale.

I know that by submitting my story I was taking a chance no matter what the website terms said. What matters most is not money but sharing postpartum journeys and helping others women. Still, I find it sort of creepy. However, my husband Craig (an award-winning published author who is familiar with book contract-ese) agrees with me that it’s creepy!

That’s always a plus in this household.

Terms of Service:

You agree that the story you are submitting is true. If submitting photos, you have rights to the photos and are not violating any copyrights. You acknowledge that you are voluntarily submitting your story and/or photo, and grant Postpartum Confession permission to use your pictures and verbage without restriction. You expressly release Postpartum Confession or representatives or any institution transmitting, or exhibiting your picture from any claims arising from such use or distribution. You agree to be fully responsible for your own participation and hold Postpartum Confession or representatives harmless from any liability arising from the use of your materials. You grant Postpartum Confession permission to reuse and re-purpose your story and/or picture for promotional, publicity, or organizational purposes.

And on that gobbledy-gooky note, I bid you adieu. It’s time to pick up my kids at the elementary school parking lot, otherwise known as Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell. Please forgive my typos and other writing sins, as I’m obviously not editing this at all.

The horror, the horror!

Love you all, and see you next week!

Dyane

I’m now on Instagram! You can follow me here: birthofanewbrain

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth)will be published by   Post Hill Press in Fall, 2017.

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30 thoughts on “Cashing In On Postpartum Depression, Hypomania, Star Wars’ Maz & More

    1. Thanks so much, Pieces of Bipolar – I try, I try. 😉
      Sorry to take so long in replying – I got too caught up with promoting the HuffPost Women article
      to bipolar & postpartum organizations (asking them if they would share it on their Facebook & Twitter feeds) this past week, but unfortunately that was at the expense of everything else. I’m done now!

      Hope this finds you doing well.
      Have a great weekend!!!
      Xo
      Dyane

  1. Glad you’re feeling better, but that was a big deal and with your past circumstances of feeling misunderstood, overlooked, etc., I’d say it’s understandable to get excited. I wish I had a smidge of that enthusiasm. I have to breathe into a bag and will my food to continue its traditional mode of digestion while taking necessary precautions by seeking out the nearest toilet anytime I see my work “out there.”

    Wasn’t MAZ the best? And the Mrs. Gilbert link is WAY cool!

    And…yes…having your article selected is flattering but a bit misleading and slightly sketchy.

    More to add, but man-children appear to be taking over my house and yard… Later.

    1. It’s always great to see that you stopped by & commented, Jenni! I know you’re a busy bee…

      I’m happy you enjoyed my Mrs. Gilbert as “Maz” link! 😉 Today I’m headed down to L.A. to be with my Mom (80th birthday) who moved across the street from my high school where Mrs. G. taught for 51 years.

      Can you imagine!?!?!? :0000 In the same room!!!!!

      Hope that you have a wonderful Friday & weekend too!!!!
      I’ll be over to “Live.Snap.Write.” very soon!
      XoXo
      Dyane

      1. Enjoy your visit! Wishing your mom the happiest of birthdays. Stay the course, my friend. You do such important and necessary work, and I for one, am grateful. 😉

      2. Thanks Jenni – it’s always fun traveling with an 8 year-old & 11 year-old, LOL! 😉 Not like my good ‘ol days when I traveled solo to Australia & New Zealand! You are awesome to write such encouraging words! I am grateful to YOU! XOXOXO

  2. “You grant Postpartum Confession permission to reuse and re-purpose your story and/or picture for promotional, publicity, or organizational purposes”. no where fiduciary purposes etc: hmm creepy even for a lawyer from oceans away and probably different different context 🙂 other than that, glat the hypo went ere along its way without much havoc even via nightrares 🙂

    1. Thanks sweetness! That’s right – you’re a lawyer and it helps so hear this from you!!!! Will catch up at your blog soon – I’m so behind on everyone’s!!!!!!! XOOXXO

      1. Lady just live and stop making those excuses each time at least to me 🙂 makes feel creepy you know 🙂 I mean I was counting numbers ahead of my coment until it almost became an obsession; then I asked myself what was the rat race and what happens when I die… and since then I stopped… henceforth adding the dosage for L&L drugs on my daily regimen … emm that means Live & Love 🙂

  3. Well, you’re a published author. And you’ve been featured in the Huff Post. All in one week. I’d say that’s pretty good. I know it’s weird and they kinda stole your story but it’s also kinda cool. Good job on taking care of yourself with the hypomania. You are cookin’ with gas on all fronts, I’d say 😀

    1. I get high every time I see my article “out there”.

      I’ve felt like such a freak having this ignored/dismissed/minimized form of bipolar. Over the last 9 years, many, many people and bipolar & postpartum-themed organizations blew me off – ones that you would think would care!!!! I’ll stop whining because I’m grateful now and gassy as hell! 😉 LOVE YOU!!!!! p.s. There’s a brilliant psychiatrist I highly respect who follows my Twitter & she retweeted your disability article – did you see that???? I was thrilled!

  4. Damn! Burn! Reminds me of the South Park episode with iTunes upgrades…

    Use what they’ve done; one more notch in your publishing belt. Crap that they make money and take zero responsibility for anything, though.

    1. Sorry to be so late in replying, bp709!
      I never watched the South Park episode with the iTunes upgrades, but wonder if I could find it on YouTube!!! Gotta search for it – I’m curious…..

      Re: the sketchy book – I don’t care about the $, nah – it was the other weird stuff, and you’re sweet to point out to “use what they’ve done”. Sweet AND very, very clever!!! I will do as you suggest!
      And I’ll be sure to give you credit for your idea from now on! Wish I could pay *you* royalties! 😉

      take care, and have a great weekend!!!!
      you rock!!!
      Xo
      Dy

  5. Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell!!! Yeah you love that parking lot, don’t you? Glad you are calming down. I am actually doing OK today. Still depressed but not suicidal anymore. Hope I can reach a sweet spot. Really don’t want to go back up again (we all know how that ends 😶)

    Congratulations again on your Huffington Post article. You deserve some positive attention after all the rejection. Karma!

    1. I’m SO happy you are doing better, my dear! 😛

      I know depressed SUCKS but at least you aren’t feeling suicidal….I’m rooting for you to find the sweet spot today, sweet one.

      I still suck for not reply to you yet on Twitter DM – I will, I promise. I’ve been like Tigger up here, unable to focus on anything or get much done. It’s getting better, but there’s still too much going on in my brain.

      As Sting sang with The Police, “Too much information running through my brain, too much information, driving me insane!” (80’s Music forever!)

      Love YOU! 💜 Hope you have a good weekend, Jess!

  6. Once again, great HuffPo interview by lauriehollmanphd.com. Shared it…again. Weird release by Postpartum Confessions. StigmaFighters.com had us sign a release before publishing.

    1. You are seriously cool. 😻

      Sorry not to be caught up on your blog yet. (The one about how you said “No!” – I’m REALLY curious!!!)

      You know I always get around to commenting.

      This weekend, after we have Avi’s11th birthday ice skating party in San Jose (you bet I’m wearing my helmet & so is she) I’m going to be catching up on blogs.

      I wish I could bring my laptop into the bathtub – have they invented a waterproof laptop yet???? ❤️

      1. Don’t know about the bathtub laptop tray. Have a great time ice-skating at her birthday! No need to keep up. I haven’t been reading blogs lately b/c too overwhelmed. Yours I received via email.

  7. What a great Star Wars story, loved it.

    Sounds like you were pretty mindful if your bi-polar “mood” so I guess it wasn’t all bad. Nothing wrong with being proud if what IS a good accomplishment.

    As far being included in the book. Do you at least get a free copy?!

    😉

    Take care!

    1. Thanks Vic! You write the best comment!

      I laughed over your awesome “free copy question”! A very good question!

      We weren’t even emailed about the book’s existence, which is plain bad business/PR because you know many contributors would buy it & spread the word!

      I’m planning to catch up at your blog; you know I’m behind in my life when I haven’t commented for a bit (although I DID like your posts, so you know I’m out here thinking of you!) 👍😜

  8. Save the best stories for your book. Anything you submit that’s printed becomes their property. I’ve given up a few pieces of valuable intellectual property recently to a bipolar publication but I think I took the time to evaluate the benefits before I do it. IBPF allows you to re use stuff. They want an attribution “this was originally published on IBPF ibpf.org and fb link but at least it’s still yours. But they might want to see it too.

    1. Thanks, Allison – I will save the best stories for my book, definitely! That’s cool that IBPF allows you to re-use….I didn’t know that! I love how you always teach me something new! Have a good Saturday & do something nice/fun for yourself! 💖

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