Alexis Zinkerman’s Review of “Birth of a New Brain” + Our Interview!

 

 

Alexis Zinkerman is a gifted poet, author, journalist, blogger, plus she’s a mental health advocate. I’ve blogged about Alexis’ powerful, poignant novella “Brooklyn” (That blog post was titled “My Life-Affirming Alternative to 13 Reasons Why”) and her stunning poem “Metronome” she wrote specifically for lucky me! 

In turn, Alexis interviewed me and reviewed my book Birth of a New Brain for her  blog “A Mile a Minute.” I threw a lot of information at her during our lengthy conversation, but she took it all graciously, professionally in stride.

Alexis has a great, diverse blog in which she shares all kinds of cool resources, and I encourage you to check it out when you have the chance.

I’ll see you next Friday and let you know how my first podcast recording with Dr. Katayune Kaeni’s Mom & Mind Podcast turns out. Yes, I’m nervous, although it’ll be easier than giving a Toastmasters speech!

I’ll also share a little info. my psychiatrist emailed me about a new, low-cost, alternative method that might help lift depression. Stay tuned. It’s important to know about every tool that exists that might help us, isn’t it? I’m back to using my Sunbox DL bright light in the mornings as we ease into colder, darker times.

Have a good weekend, friends, and please let me know how you’re doing if you feel so inclined…

Love,

Dyane

p.s. My book finally became available on Kindle!  I was excited to see it made Amazon’s Top 100 bestsellers list in the “bipolar” category. While that sounds groovy, I knew the list fluctuates wildly and I’ve been told by published authors the ranking system is inaccurate and worse. So, while I don’t take the list seriously, I couldn’t help feeling thrilled to see it near Carrie Fisher’s #1 book!

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback pre-sales.

new brainDyaneHeadshot

I first came across Dyane Harwood’s blog after she left continuous comments on my blog and we began a conversation through email and in the comments. Dyane writes her blog after being diagnosed with peri-partum bipolar 1 disorder to help others make sense of their condition and find resources. Dyane’s bipolar was triggered by childbirth.

“It was a trifecta of hormones, genetic predisposition, and sudden sleep deprivation,” she said during a fifty minute conversation we had over the phone.

Dyane’s father was also bipolar. And even though she lived though a childhood of moodswings, her own mood shifts were not treated until the births of her daughters. She said that today there are medication studies by perinatal psychiatrists about how to treat women who have been diagnosed before becoming pregnant.

Her new memoir Birth of a New Brain takes one through her journey and how she learned to treat her…

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33 Days to Go!

You might be asking, “33 days to go to what?”

(Lucy already knows the answer—she’s such a smart Scottish collie!)

October 10th is my book’s official “birthday,” otherwise known as its publication date. That momentous day will be the perfect excuse to buy a super-yummy chocolate cake. Even if a snarky one-star review is posted, I can drown my freak-out in amazing chocolate!

I’m excited to tell you that at last Kindle pre-orders are now available! 

Thanks to Candice Curry for the image – her blog also has suggestions about how to launch a book heremy favorite is #6: Stand in your street and scream all about it.

This morning I read two great articles by fellow National Association of Memoir Writers author Lizbeth Meredith. Check out her blog’s About page featuring her truly incredible story here.

First, I read her insightful Independent Publisher article “Lessons Crisis Taught Me, Revisited During Publication.” 

Then I read Lizbeth’s blog post “Five Easy Ways to Launch My Book.” She gave excellent suggestions on how her followers could easily support her book launch. Lizbeth inspired me to reach out to you for your help!

(When your time comes, I’ll owe you one!)

 

These suggestions originally appeared in Lizbeth’s blog post. I edited them and added a few silly things of my own.

1. SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORT:

Please “LIKE” my author page on Facebook. Poor little me—I don’t have many likes. Apparently, it helps to look like you’re The Bloggess or Cheryl Strayed in terms of having a bazillion Godzillian likes. How does that really, truly help someone like me? I don’t know, but it’s easy, you’ll gain good karma if you believe in that, and I’d be grateful for your support!  

Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/Birth-of-a-New-Brain-Healing-from-Postpartum-Bipolar-515878388510811/

I’d love you to follow me on Twitter (@DyaneHarwood) – as some of you know, I’m a big Twitter fan. I invite you to share news about my book through tweets and via other social media of your choice. I haven’t used my #BirthOfANewBrain hashtag very much, but feel free to do that and tag me anytime!

2. BUY Birth of a New Brain: Please consider buying the book, especially now that it will be on Kindle and cost less $! Even if you don’t want to read it (which I TOTALLY understand!!!) you can give it to someone, donate it to a library, or give a copy to a nonprofit involved with mental health.

Anyone who gives a copy (or three) to Bipolar UK will get a very special gift from me!!!

3. REVIEW: After you’ve read the book, post a 5-star review of the book on Amazon. (Okay, okay, I’M KIDDING ABOUT THE FIVE STARS. Am I joking? Well, not really, heh, heh, heh! The old chestnut “There is truth in jest” comes to mind!)

Lizbeth wrote something very important about reviews: “If we’re friends or family, please acknowledge that or Amazon may erase your review. Full disclosure is the best policy.” Thank you Lizbeth!

4. GOODREADS: Please add Birth of a New Brain to your shelf on Goodreads and review it when you can. I’m still learning about Goodreads – I know I could probably do a lot more networking on there, but I’m lazy.

5. NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Finally, please sign up for my newsletter at my website: http://www.dyaneharwood.com (Scroll to the very bottom.) I won’t send you too much info. – in fact, I haven’t sent a thing to my whopping list of 5 members yet. But maybe I’ll have some cool giveaways, maybe I could promote your cause if it’s mental health related….who knows what I can do? Whatever it’ll be, I promise it will be good.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading my blog!

Love,

Dyane

 

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales.

Marie Abanga’s Goodreads Review of “Birth of a New Brain”

My wonderful friend of over thirty years, Mike Freeman, created this beautiful image for my Facebook book page. Thank you, Mike!


Birth of a New Brain Goodreads Review by lawyer/author/coach/speaker/ advocate/mom/blogger/poet and many more talents: Marie Abanga 

It was difficult to pick just one photo of Marie – there are SO many stunning pics of this dynamo on her blog. However, this still image is one of my very favorites and I love how it shows her in powerful, confident action!

Review by Marie Abanga

Indeed, a new Brain can be born even from the deepest dark of a debilitating mental illness

Mental illness is more often than not associated with incompetence, fragility, frugality, vulnerability, undesirability: I don’t make that association, however, and memoirs like Dyane’s will challenge those who think a mentally ill person is a ‘no good’!

Dyane’s epic memoir of one of the ‘not so well-known’ mental illnesses is worth its weight in gold.

Some people think: We don’t care about those ‘lunatics’ because we are not them and we will never become them. Sometimes, and as in Dyane’s case, we so wish our sick ones well, but we don’t try to learn and understand what is going on. We don’t even know what questions to ask them or how to ask questions in a respectful, compassionate way. It gets to a point where we look forward to either their being removed from our ‘normal’ existence, or  we leave them and go far away – be it for studies, work or just a fresh start.

One thing I learned from this memoir is that close or far, we can be so impacted by mental illness of a close one. Paradoxically, Dyane starts having troubling ‘mental issues’ after she has left home and is on her own, although she had felt for so long before then that something ‘weird’ was going on.

And yet:

A lot of good things, in my opinion, happen to Dyane in between the time she leaves college and when her second child is born – the birth which sparks her postpartum bipolar disorder. She takes on different demanding jobs and meets a vast array of people, most especially her ever-supporting husband.

I am so interested to know what keeps her husband staying with her in spite of her seemingly ‘unappeasable’ mental illness and mental health altogether. Maybe she’ll write a second memoir about this. He is portrayed as a caregiver par excellence both to her and to their kids, juggling these all with his stressful geological engineering job. People like her husband are to be celebrated because many with a mental illness are sooner or later abandoned even by their families.

It is once more interesting to read in this memoir about the treatment mentally ill patients seem to attract. There are basically two types of treatment. You are either treated as a human being with an illness like every other (very rare) or most often you are treated with such stigma and near shunning altogether. Dyane, even while very sick, can tell and appreciate when she is treated with empathy and even sympathy. She also narrates the times she’s treated like ‘one of them lunatics’ in and out of the psychiatric units.

All is not lost. After she has tried many different medications (making her become a guinea pig of sorts), after trying to go off medications (the first time cold-turkey, and the second time through systematic, slow tapering), and after silently challenging one of her doctor’s sarcasm about alternative treatments, Dyane has come to find a balance. Even ECT wasn’t left out; she desperately needed a new brain and thought ECT was her last chance at having a mind free of suicidal ideation and severe depression. 

Her narration is not only so funny at some points— you also wonder where she found some offbeat words and different styles. (Oh yes, she has a B.A. in English and American
Literature.) Reading the book, I noticed her courage as she started over and over again taking different medications over twenty-five times, sometimes with almost catastrophic results. 

As other advanced reviewers have noted, her memoir is a big bonus to the mental health community—a community I dare say should concern all of ‘us’ because all of the ‘thems’ we see today were once ‘us’ before. There is really no point for stigma which to me shows insecurity and fear of the unknown.

I, without any reservation, recommend this memoir to all and sundry.


Thank you, Marie!!!!!

Thanks to all of you who read today’s post! I still need to fulfill my promise to write the “Rich People and Dog Poop” post, but I’m waiting for a special kind of inspiration! (I might need to visit Lake Tahoe again for that, ha ha!)

The Birth of a New Brain’s Goodreads page also has the awesome blogger/advocate Kitt O’Malley’s advance review. While you’re there, I invite you to mark down “To read” so I know you have good taste in books! (The link is below.)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34227998-birth-of-a-new-brain?from_search=true

 

Have a great Labor Day weekend, my friends!

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available mid-September.