Hello & Welcome from Dyane!

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Highlands County Park, California, October 2016

 

Welcome to my blog!

Hi there, my name is Dyane Harwood. I’m forty-six, which has always sounded old to me, but I still feel like I’m fourteen! 

In 2007 I received a postpartum bipolar one diagnosis. I was seven weeks postpartum and in addition to my baby girl, I had a toddler in tow. No one suspected I had bipolar disorder until childbirth triggered it, even though I had a strong family history. My father had bipolar one disorder, and he was a violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Many of his colleagues also struggled with mental illness, and his close friend died by suicide due to bipolar disorder. 

I’ve been a freelance writer for two decades, and my articles have been published in local, regional, and national outlets. In my blog my writing approach is informal, and I consider my current posts to be more like letters to friends. Aside from blogging about bipolar disorder, I’ve written about topics including the challenges of writing, envy, insecurity, runaway hamsters, Bigfoot, Facebook unfriending fallout, and much more.

I’m thrilled to announce that my 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 next October.  

After years of despair due to treatment-resistant bipolar depression, I’m finally happy to be alive. I came close to taking my life twice; each time I asked to be hospitalized and requested ECT, which worked for me. The side effects I had were minimal. I realize not everyone is so lucky. My father had ECT, and while it didn’t damage his memory, it didn’t help him the way it helped me. Everyone responds differently, and it’s a highly personal choice. 

ECT saved my life, but I was still depressed afterward. An out-of-the-box thinking psychiatrist and an old-school, seldom-prescribed medication in combination with lithium helped me get myself back. My family, exercise, therapy, and my collie Lucy have been other mainstays in my life.

While I’m stable, I’ll never rest easy until there’s a cure.  A born worrywart, I’ll always dread relapsing (especially because it has happened to me numerous times) but I’m working hard to keep relapse the hell away!   

Reading your blogs helps ground me and provides me with amazing inspiration and community.

Take a look around – I hope that some of my posts will speak to you.  I welcome your comments, and I’ll also be checking out your blog if I see your Gravatar!  

Take good care, and thanks for stopping by,  

Dyane

Lucy assistantWith Lucy when she was five & 1/2 months old.

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131 thoughts on “Hello & Welcome from Dyane!

  1. I truly know I had bipolar post-partum depression Dyane, but mine was different as I had severe depression instead of mania. The instant my daughter was born I had no feelings or emotions, absolutely none. I felt horrible but didn’t know why and i was too embarrassed to tell anyone. The OB Dr. gave me anti-depressants and said I had postpartum depression. It never got better, but instead got worse so the OB sent me to a pshychiatrist. Post-partum bipolar was never mentioned or even ever heard of back then. This was 25 years ago. Is there any different treatment anyway? Isn’t it just that the onset of delivery sets off your bipolar disorder or makes it worse? What is the difference? I had bipolar disorder after my babies were born, so I am sure it was or is postpartum bipolar but I dont think a name makes a difference really. Does it? Otherwise I am your other person that has postpartum bipolar. I am sure of it. I do add postpartum depression to my list of labels now but maybe I should call it postpartum bipolar disorder. How would I ever find out and then again would they care to make that difference in explanation of the diagnosis. It just seems to be a difference in a label for me now, but for sure ALL my troubles began after I gave birth to my first child and I had postpartum after each of my three children. Actually it may have even bagan during my pregnancy. I always had many questions about my birth and delivery and pre-delivery etc. I was never the same again and it did destroy my marraige for sure. Can you help my write my book? Maybe I should concentrate more on the postpartum aspect of it. I am writing my memoir, but never thought to take a greater look at the postpartum aspect. Maybe it would help us both and I could contribute to your cause more. What do you think???

    1. Hi there! I’m so sorry you went through so much 25 years ago. No mother should suffer like that! The DSM-5 (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) defines bipolar, peripartum onset as the onset of symptoms either happening during pregnancy or up to 4 weeks postpartum. Since I’m not a doctor I can’t speculate a whole lot more than that, but for me, it was childbirth that really and truly set off my bipolar disorder. While a label doesn’t mean much to some people I know (and I understand that because I use to feel that way) it means a lot to me now because it brings awareness to the condition itself. I only have one book in me, and it’s on Amazon for pre-sale now 😉 I had people laugh at me at a writer’s conference when I shared with them I only wanted to write one book. I didn’t care!

      Keep writing the book that’s in your heart! If you need to take breaks, do so, but don’t lose sight of your goal and make sure you return to your writing – you ***will*** complete it!

      1. Thank you for your feedback. I know I had postpartum bipolar for sure and was so severely depressed throughout my last pregnancy I never got out of bed barely for nine months. Yes I have quite a story but there is just so much I went through it is hard to decide which parts to focus on most… I just pray when it is complete I can find a true publisher. I just published a self published book titled My Bipolar Memoir of Poetry of Hope. It is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble etc. That was just for fun and I don’t know if I will sell many copies.

  2. Thanks for the like on my page. I am also blogging about bipolar disorder and am new to WordPress. I have been bipolar since I was young and have been having very bad issues in recent years. ECT might be around the corner for me. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Lynn! I’m so sorry you’ve been having such a hard time recently. Re: ECT – you might want to look at the article I wrote for Huffington Post about ECT helped my bipolar depression/suicidal ideation.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dyane-leshinharwood/how-electroconvulsive-therapy-ect-helped-me-survive-to-battle-bipolar-depression_b_9455412.html

      Also, the med combo that finally helped me (after 25 others didn’t!) was lithium & a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) called Parnate/tranylcypromine, which has been used successfully in treatment-resistant bipolar depression. The key is to use these two meds together (i.e. lithium alone never helped alleviate my depression; it subdued my mania) There are dietary restrictions when taking MAOI’s, but I found them to be totally worth it. I’ve written about it here:

      https://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/then-and-now-thank-you-maois-lithium/

      and here:

      https://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/misinforming-the-public-about-maoi-meds-isnt-cool/

      And here’s website which discusses MAOI’s that was just brought to my attention:

      http://psychotropical.info/much-ado-about-nothing-maois

      You might want to talk about those options with your doctor.

      Take care & good luck to you!!!!
      Xo,
      Dyane

  3. Hi Dyane,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Dyane Harwood – Birth of a New Brain has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Bipolar Disorder Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/bipolar_disorder_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Bipolar Disorder Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    Best,
    Anuj

    1. Thanks so much, Anuj.
      I must admit to you that I thought this was a spam comment or bogus, but it looks to be the read deal!
      I appreciate being part of this group! Have a wonderful day and thanks again. 🙂

      Dyane

  4. Dyane:

    Hey I was looking for an email to contact you personally but for some reason I couldn’t see to find one. So I guess I will let you know here.

    I have decided, after much internal debate, to shut down my blog so I can focus on my marriage, my family and myself. I wanted to let you know though that I highly value your friendship and I have learned a ton from your over the years. Ending my blog doesn’t mean we have to end our friendship as I will always be available to chat anytime you want through email. Besides…I did pre-order your book and I am holding you to your promise of signing my copy! 😉

    Know that I always wish you and your family the best and that you can reach me anytime through: vicsgeneric2012addy@yahoo.com

    Warmest regards,

    Victor

  5. Oops so sorry… For some reason my phone sent my comment filled with errors before I had a chance to correct all of them… So I will correct my errors and finish my comment… And of course seeing if I can find a good publisher. I pray I can finish my memoir or memoirs as that is my dream and passion. I hope I will be able to help others with my journey and my words… Hugs and blessings and Thank you very much. I appreciate you very much.You are a sweet wonderful awesome amazing beautiful inspiring​ woman. Soon I will share my story with you as my bipolar began or became beyond worse the day I gave birth and my life and my brain has never been the same. I gotta go. I just picked up my daughter… Have a very happy Easter. Love and hugs and blessings.

    1. Thank you for this comment, my dear & no worries about the errors!!!! Happy Easter to you and your family!

      By the way, right after I wrote you about the NAMW yesterday on the SAME day they announced a spring sale $40 off regular membership!!! Is it a sign? 😉
      “To help you celebrate we’re offering a special spring sale of $40 off our regular membership price—Only $109 for a year membership. Renewals are also discounted $40 off and are only $107. Our sale begins Friday, April 14th and ends at midnight on Monday, April 17th.”

      Check out this link! :)))

      http://namw.org/2017/04/spring-membership-sale/?inf_contact_key=d47291e83d1bfea1173ad5a0ac371c4fb845f4323daee045e68385b97b3272de

      1. Thank you so much for your comment and all of this information. Today is my last day to make my decision on possibly a great experience and education about writing my memoir. It is awesome that I will save $40 but, but $109 is still a lot of money. It is not a lot of money if it truly can help me, but if it can’t help me than it is too much money. Has it helped you? How much and why? I only have today until midnight to make a decision. I want to do anything I can to help me write my memoir. It is my dream and I have about three ideas at least for three of them and I know they will help many people and my journey and story are unlike any others of course. I want to educate and help and inspire people as that is my passion in life in many ways. I am blessed to be alive. One worry I have is when they have something online at a certain time only and I am not able to be home and I miss that educational experience, will I just miss out? So sorry to bother you will so many questions, but finishing and publishing my memoir and memoirs is my dream and makes my heart so happy just thinking about it. Thank you so much for your time. Answer only if you have time. Lotsa love and hugs and blessings. You are awesome… you are simply the best. ❤

      2. Okay, I’m still a relatively new member and when I joined I had *already completed* the writing of my memoir. I wish I had joined this group a long time ago because I believe it would have helped me so much along the way.

        All their online goodies are available at least for a certain amount of time, Linda Joy’s monthly call can be emailed to you, I believe, even if you can not join in…..many people can’t do “live”. Please double check me on this, but that’s my understanding.

        I bought my membership during the sale last year, and I think it was a little less than $100 (maybe 80) and yes, that is a major amount of money to me and I had kept putting it off until the sale. When I bought it, I charged it on my credit card so I’m still paying it off!!!

        I joined even thought the writing was done because I knew that I could still use the group for all sorts of benefits – there are so many listed on that site, like networking and marketing advice etc.

        One big benefit is that the founder Linda Joy is very accessible through emails and she’s fantastic – she is worth the $ alone.Linda Joy offers members a monthly call-in session where you can ask her anything and talk to the other callers too!

        so if you can swing it for one year, I highly recommend it! If you have other questions don’t hesitate to email them or call them! That’s why they exist! I hope I gave you a better idea of how it works and good luck, dear Sue:))))))

      3. Thank you again for your help. I have a big decision to make before midnight tonight to get the discount. If I was rich this would be an easy answer…. I would do it absolutely for sure. I am leaning more towards doing it, because I really want to concentrate on getting my memoir finished and prayerfully published and sold to many. That is my dream. Thank you so much for helping me hopefully getting closer to completing my dream. Gosh I would be so happy and overjoyed to write my memoir and find a publisher etc. Thank you and I will let you know if I sign up for this most likely awesome opportunity and tool. Hugs again…. ❤ Sue

  6. You are absolutely amazing and inspiring. I have so much to learn. I know I could learn so much from you. Thank you for who you are and all that you do and have done. I always love all of your posts and your blog. I hope you are not too busy but…I am very happy to nominate you for “The Versatile Blogger Award” because you are so awesome and fabulous. Here is my link to that post…. https://myloudbipolarwhispers.com/2017/04/12/i-am-very-honored-to-be-nominated-for-the-versatile-blogger-award/ Please complete the 5 rules as soon as you get a chance. I am eager to see your responses and nominees. Hugs and blessings to you always and forever. ❤

    1. Thank you SO much for this nomination! Wow! Talk about making my day! 😉

      I will certainly visit the link. I don’t usually accept awards anymore (I know that sounds horrible, but I don’t mean to be rude! I’m deeply honored….and I’m too lazy to do the requirements that blog awards usually require, LOL!) Despite my laziness, I’ll see if I can swing it this weekend!

      Re: Your memoir

      I often write about my mistakes I’ve made during the publication/promotion journey, so please refer to this blog when you’re on your way to getting your book out in the world, which IS going to happen! I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I’ve made. 👀

      Big hugs to you!!!! Thanks again for lifting my spirits and making me feel appreciated! 💗💗💗 I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words and knowledge and encouragement. You are so awesome. I need a lot of help getting my memoir completed just the way I want it and if course seeing if I can find a puuxnet. I pray I can as that is my passion and my dream. I gave to figure out a way to do it soon.

      2. Thank you. I read them both but have not had time to do anything about them as I was so busy as I had to work up to Easter and then had a lot to do for Easter. Hugs and love from Sue. ❤

      3. I forgot to include in the other reply that a cool benefit is that they have a private Facebook group where you can post your blog posts, ask the other members questions (Linda Joy also checks in & can answer you there if you “tag” her using her name) and it’s not busy so you can really utilize it if you like!

      4. Dyane dear I am worried about missing out on the “Webinars” because that sounds like a great experience. I know they will be worth the money but I am worried that I pay for that as part of the benefit of joining but I have to work at the time of the webinar or webinars. What happens then? Will I just miss them? I am very sorry for so many questions, but I am such a newbie… I am not even sure how the webinars work exactly. Thank you for your help. ❤

      5. The good news about the live webinars is that if you miss it they say on the website:

        “To join a teleseminar, you need to phone in using the phone number provided in the member section of the website. When you become a member, you receive a log in and password that allows you to access the content and member details for members.
        ***
        If you are not able to join live, audio downloads of the member teleseminar for that month will be available on the download section of the membership site.” So you would need to figure out how to download and listen to a webinar – maybe a friend can help?

        Another nice beenfit is that you can email ( customersupport@namw.org ) or call ( +1 (510) 859-4718 ) their customer service rep anytime with any questions (Erica) and she’s great about getting back to you with answers.

        No worries! I’m going to go answer your other questions (hopefully!) Xo

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words.

      I already started writing my submission last night! 🙂 I received a Facebook notification from a local group I belong to called Writers Nine, and we were referred to your site by author/group teacher Laurie Simpkinson.

      The working title of my submission is “The Deja Vu Conversation.” The piece recalls my speaking with my father when I was sixteen about his bipolar disorder. Twenty years later I move ahead in time to I answer my daughters’ questions and concerns about my bipolar one disorder, peripartum onset dx.

      I hope you’ll like it!!! I’d be honored to have the piece in your anthology.

  7. Hello Diane. I found your write up on the Postpartum Support International website. You had mentioned at the end you had never met another woman with postpartum onset bipolar and you would love to hear from anyone with experience. My younger, twin sisters both have experienced manic, depressive, and even on occasion hallucinatory episodes postpartum. Neither experienced any of these symptoms prior to parturition. Initially they were diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, but as the symptoms have remained and continued, the diagnosis has developed into postpartum bipolar (officially in one of them, mirrored symptoms in the other). So, you are not alone. If you have resources available to education the loved ones of those suffering on how best to support them, I’d love to learn more.

    1. Hello Kiefer,

      Thanks so much for your comment. Since I wrote that PSI comment, I have heard from some women with bipolar, peripartum onset/postpartum bipolar, and I don’t feel so alone with it. I’m sorry that both of your twin sisters suffered the symptoms you described. As far as resources go for the loved ones of those with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, I’d visit the PSI link I copied below, and complete it. PSI will know about the latest resources that hopefully will provide you with help.

      Good luck & take care,

      Dyane

      http://www.postpartum.net/contact-us/

  8. I love how you say reading our blogs grounds you. I read yours for hope. I abstained for a while because I was stable and thought ‘hella I can just ignore that I even have this illness’ but the BAM.
    Thank you for sharing your stories, and also for your openness about writing. It is something that I have always aspired to, but never had the courage to keep going (look how long my last hiatus was). For me, its like writing is for my emotional times, and TV is for my sane times. Cause you know, sane people don’t write lol

    1. You are so welcome, Raegina, for this wonderful comment. It took me a long time to gear up to write consistently and for more than minutes at a time – I didn’t really go for it until my 40’s. I *know* you can do it! Like you, I took hiatuses, but what matters is coming back. It’s not easy, not one bit!

      I feel so honored that you’ve read this blog (to begin with!) and that it has given you hope. I relate to “writing is for my emotional times, and TV is for my sane times,” that made me laugh! I get it! Write on, and enjoy those tv shows too….I know I do!

      1. Thank you Dyane. It makes me feel like this is part of the journey, and that there is nothing wrong with the path. You give so much hope, thank you xx

  9. Hello Dyane

    Thank-you for visiting my blog and liking my first real post.

    I just browsed your archives and read your post titled, from January I believe, My Pmad gets no respect part 1 (shortened version). I like your candor. As I read your article that sick and frightened fear started to eat at me again as i recalled my own postpartum Mania. Not that anyone other than I has ever called it that and maybe I am wrong to call it that myself. All I know is that Things got beyond normal strange for me for a few days there to the point that I took my kids and went back to my hometown where my old psychologist was who twelve years previous had diagnosed me with PTSD. I have always been terrified of Bipolar Disorder as my mother has Bipolar disorder and the first 9 years were not diagnosed and therefore untreated. Anyways this is not the platform to go blah. lol I look forward to reading more of your stuff and most likely discovering more about me in the process. Again thank-you for reading my new blog.

    1. Hi there chickabiddieshome! Welcome to the blogosphere and congrats on beginning your blog! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      I’m sorry your mother has bipolar disorder; I can relate to that somewhat as I had a father who had bipolar disorder, although it was diagnosed early on.

      You can write whatever you like here, by the way! 🙂 No worries. Whatever you experienced postpartum, (and it very well could have been postpartum mania) sounds awful. It’s so good you were able to take your kids to your old hometown where your former psychologist was based. I hope you never get bipolar disorder – I don’t blame you for being terrified one bit!

      Thanks for the follow and I wish you and your family the best. I apologize this reply is rushed – I have to go wake up and help get the kids ready for school, and that’s always a challenge, especially on a rainy day where they’d *much* rather stay cozy in bed! :0

      Take care, Dyane 😊

  10. You have a great blog and devoted fan base. I’m trying to learn from others. How do you get so much traffic? You are authentic and I feel I am as well. Maybe my shit is too heavy. You reach people in a special way. Whatever it is, keep up the good work!!

    1. Wow – I loved your comment, what more can I say? I don’t get that much traffic – say what? I’ve been a relatively longtime reader of 10 or so blogs and I comment as consistently as I can. And they return the favor and read mine & comment. But I don’t have big stats at all and I’ve come to terms with it. I’m no power blogger! You know I’m focused on my book more than anything. I don’t think you’re too heavy, by the way. Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you for the kind words about being authentic – that’s a tremendous compliment!!!!! It was almost as awesome as looking at Bobby Cannavale when he’s tidied up and dressed in Armani talking about his baby boy Rocco (!) I can’t believe he also has a 21 year-old too – what an age difference, eh? I wonder who the mom is? (Can you say “Bobby C. stalker”?)

      Check out this brief interview:

      1. I absolutely love Bobby Cannavale. first time I saw him was in a priceless version of the normally insipid Law and Order SVU guest starring with the late John Ritter playing a crazy sociopath narcissist psychiatrist. He was a simple construction worker in an affair with Ritter’s wife. She was pregnant with Cannavale’s baby. You gotta see this episode. It was the first time I’d seen Ritter in a dramatic role. One of his last performances. Then, did you see Cannavale as “Gyp Rosetti” from Sicily in “Boardwalk Empire?” Oh Oh Oh. It’s like Reservoir Dogs or Goodfellas. He lights a sheriff on fire.

    1. I’m happy you made it! 😛
      Nice to see you here, my friend!

      Guess who started watching “Little Women” with the girls a couple nights ago?
      I thought they wouldn’t stick with it, but I was thrilled to be wrong.
      They were ttotally into it and we saw almost half of the film – they wanted to keep watching but it was a school night and bedtime arrived.

      I have *you* to thank for the inspiration, and of course I paid special attention to the music!
      🎼🎼 🎼

      1. Aw, hooray! Yeah, I realize now that it is a good film, just like nowadays I have a much better appreciation for stories written by Jane Austen–back then I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near girlie frou-frou drama. But it really is a powerful story, and it’s awesome to learn your kids appreciate it. The music *is* gorgeous–and thanks to used bookstores, easy to find for a dollar if you’re so inclined! 🙂

  11. Thanks so much for your support via the ‘like’ on my recent post (Riding Blind). I’ve been clicking around on your blog and you express yourself beautifully. I just read your post about the ‘friend’ on Facebook who ‘unfriended you’. Truly spot on. Your daughter is one wise girl! Sending all good wishes to you.

    1. Thanks so much for this lovely comment! It was a nice way to start the morning and get me out of my zombie state! 😉 All my best to you & yours! take care, Dyane

  12. Hi,

    Thank you for liking my recent blog. I was diagnosed with Bipolar back in October last year and have been really finding it difficult as there is not a lot of support outside my family.

    I have read a couple of your posts and think they are great and will continue to keep reading. I think your blogs great and see it as an inspiration for me to continue posting!

    1. You are so welcome!!! Give yourself time to adjust – my goodness, you just found out the diagnosis and I can imagine how hard it must be – especially since you don’t have the amount of support you deserve!!!!!! Keep on posting – I’ve found the blogosphere to be way more healing than I thought! :))))))) There are so many awesome bloggers with bipolar – check out the Bipolar Blogger Network when can!

      http://www.bipolarbloggernetwork.com

      Xo Dyane

  13. I’m so interested to meet you having just found my way to a few ladies in the bipolar blogging community. Congratulations on your book coming out in 2017. This is so exciting. I am new to sharing in blog format but very keen to share ideas. Thanks for your blog and sharing your journey! I was diagnosed in 1997 and would like to think I’m pretty functional but was seriously sidelined for a long time with depression after my second child was born in 2007. It’s been tough getting to the point where I feel like me again, but well worth the wait!

    1. Jane, thanks for your lovely comment! Great to meet you too! There are many wonderful women in the bp blogosphere and men! 😉 And their partners, like Just ‘Ol Vic. I’m happy to hear that you’re doing well; like you I was sidelined with bp depression after my 2nd child’s birth in 2007. Same timing! Have fun blogging – it truly is fun, even when one writes about heavy topics it has been a positive experience for me and I know it will be for you too. Wishing you the very best and continued success – take care! Dyane

      1. Hi Dyane,
        Thanks for your reply. It was good to hear from you and find your blog.
        It feels good to connect with other people that have experienced the same things as me.
        Too often, I think I discount my struggle to get here.
        Thanks for your kind words and I’ll look forward to following your posts! Take care, Jane

    1. Thank you so much for this lovely honor, bittersweet1976!!! While I no longer accept awards, that doesn’t mean that I’m not very moved by your kindness! :)))

      I’ll share this message at the link you provided, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

      love,
      Dyane

      1. Dyane, your very welcome. I understand if you have a general policy about accepting awards, but maybe you can make an exception 😉 There is no time limit on the award. Next week, after chaos from Thanksgiving settles down, just consider adding 5 things you’re grateful for in one of your next posts.
        Cheers

  14. Wow. I’m not sure what to say. As someone who was just recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 2 I have to say that your story is so inspiring. You’re exactly the kind of person I want to draw strength and learn from. I can’t imagine what postpartum adds to the complexities of this already trialing mental illness (along with raising such beautiful looking children!) and dealing with it for 8 years!! Thanks so much for liking my tiny little blog. I hope you like what you read and can give me any kinds of tips/tricks you can think of. Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Jess, hi there! Your comment totally made my day. Thank you so much.

      After I read it I thought, “This is what makes me feel good about blogging” – not simply to have it be a ventfest (although believe me, I appreciate that aspect, ha ha!) but to be able to help other people I have something in common with. You will find that blogging can be a huge help in navigating bipolar 11.
      I started following your blog and I will definitely let you in on things that have helped me (and what continues to help me.)

      I suggest checking out two of my all-time favorite blogs – you can learn so much from these two and I consider both of them my friends.

      The first is Blahpolar Diaries; she hails from South Africa – a brilliant writer and also relatively newly diagnosed:

      http://www.bipolardyke.wordpress.com

      And Kitt O’Malley is at kittomalley.wordpress.com

      Kitt is a close friend and offers a ton of resources throughout her blog.

      Keep in touch! When you feel melancholy, remember it does get better – I won’t launch into a 70’s song here, well, maybe the Muppet’s 80’s classic “Rainbow Connection”, but seriously, it will get better. I can tell you have soul and determination, and you’re going to find your way through the bp maze and you’ll come through it and help other people along the way.
      (((hugs)))
      Dyane

      p.s. Thanks for your sweet words about my daughters! My dog Lucy is the prettiest girl in the family! 😉
      The girls freely admit it.

      1. Thanks dyane, I’ll definitely check out both those blogs. Thanks for those because any kind of help is appreciated! “Rainbow Connection” is an amazing song I agree 🙂

    1. Wow – thank you so much! I’m honored!!!

      I’m off to check this link out, my dear. You’ve made my day “sunshiny” so I can’t resist sharing THIS silly clip with you:

  15. Congratulations on writing a memoir about bipolar. The more we understand it, through stories like yours, the less fearsome it becomes. Although tough one to navigate. Why don’t you get in touch with me when your book is out, and I could feature you and your book in a post.
    How did you find me?

    1. Thanks so much for stoping by & for your lovely offer to mention me & “Birth of a New Brain” when it’s out net year. Please forgive me – I’m totally spacing out how I found you. :0 When I selected your gravatar it didn’t lead me to a link. If you prefer you can email me dyane@baymoon.com or just reply here – whatever you prefer. Thanks again for brightening my day, and I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

    2. I figured it out after finding your email – hurrah! I found your blog by scrolling through today’s WordPress posts tagged with “memoir” & now I know how to reach you. I love your first name! 😉

  16. Hi Dyane, I am in Buffalo visiting my son. Going back to Louisville tomorrow. How are you? Haven’t talked in a while. Are you still off FB? Everything ok with you? Also wanted to thank you for the fastest like finger west of the Rockies, heck even east of the Rockies!!! Love and hugs.

    1. Hi my dear Samina! I hope you had a wonderful time with your son in Buffalo! I’m still off FB and I don’t know when I’ll return, but I promise to let you know when I do. I think I’ll stay deactive at least through the summer. I’ll stay on Twitter, though – I can’t totally detach, ha ha! I’ll keep retweeting your posts whenever I can. Check out my latest post about the Seroquel Blues if you get a moment – I yowl on it with cutie Mariila, and Craig plays a little slide guitar, but we wanted to practice it much more & didn’t get the chance this wek – oh well, there’s next time! 🙂 XOXOX

      1. At airport, going back to Lville boohoo. Had a lovely time with Aral and my friends. Will check out your post as soon as I find my reading glasses. Yowling! Sounds like fun. Can’t wait. Xxxxoooo

    1. Hey Annie, your lovely nomination was in my Spam folder!! I just checked Spam last night (I hardly ever do that) so I’m so glad that my intuition prodded me to do so.

      Thank you SO much! I was truly honored and it was such a nice way to end a very stressful bummer of a day. You made me feel awesome!

      Like my pal Kitt, I no longer accept awards because it takes time and I need to focus on my work… but I’m going to admit I’m still thrilled all the same! :)))))

      Please pass the love on to someone else, and know that I’m sending you a big hug and lots of warm fuzzies! Xo
      Dyane

  17. Thank you for all that you do to bring light on the topic of bipolar disorder in the postpartum period, Dyane. I know that your book will bring understanding and honesty to this topic. I am honored to be a part.

    1. Thanks doesn’t begin to cover it, dear Walker!

      You’ve inspired me and encouraged me from the very moment we connected. Your creation of Stigmama has nurtured me both as a a mom and a writer.

      Stigmama continues to motivate me to write about my life and especially my postpartum experience through giving me (and so many other women) the opportunity to be heard and valued for our experiences! XoXo

  18. I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a “Blogger Award”. I really enjoy your blog. If you want to know what it is all about, check out my latest blog, about my award.

  19. Dy, I suddenly thought – because you have postpartum bipolar, you know what euthymia feels like, right? I wondered if you could tell me the difference between it and bipolar moods?

    1. Oooh – this is a stumper. I forgot what euthymia even meant until today – I’ll blame it on the ECT (that’s just an excuse – the truth is that I’m lazy) Well…..I used to experience euthymia before I was diagnosed with ppbd, i.e. I had periods of time in my life in which I was non-depressed and I had a reasonably positive mood.

      After bipolar struck, that hasn’t been the case. Even when the depression is gone, like it is now, I suffer with other chronic conditions that I haven’t blogged about that much yet: derealization/depersonalization (terrifying states of mind), PTSD and generalized anxiety/social anxiety. I just ate a bunch of chocolate and I’m not sure if I ‘m answering your question. I apologize if I’m not. Please…let me know!!! And you are welcome to email me at dyane@baymoon.com if you prefer. Either way, if I hear from you today I’ll write back before taking off manana. And I loved the nuns on your blog post today!!!!!

    1. Awww – thank you so much, cat! I’ve noticed your wonderful & encouraging comments at my friend Tempest Rose’s blog (you and I are her fan club, ha ha!) and your comment here really moved me. I’m so happy & honored you’re following my blog. I started following your WordPress blog as I like to check out the blogs I follow on my WordPress Reader each night. I look forward to getting to know you!

      Big hugs! XOXO
      Dy

      p.s. see you over @ Tempest’s too! 😉

    1. Kia orana and thank you so much, Leah! Your comment really brightened my day. It’s an honor to have you as a follower! You have a beautiful family. I was so impressed by your blog (your incredible writing and spirit inspire me!) and I’ll be sure to share my find of “Being a House” through my Twitter network etc!

      Take care, and I look forward to reading your next post!

      Meitaki (I hope I spelled that right…please forgive me if I goofed!)
      Dyane 🙂

  20. Your writing is so vivid and good, I really like it. So very glad you went to the hospital both times that you felt self destructive. You are beautiful, and a survivor! You can write your book, never doubt it. Much love.

    1. Thank you so much, my stunning friend! Your comment came at the perfect time this evening and it lifted my spirits!

      I’m deeply inspired by your family’s incredible, astoundingly rich history (talk about survivors) and most of all I’m inspired by YOU and your capacity for forgiveness, as well as your tenacity. (How’s that for a run-on sentence!)

      Thank you for sharing your life and please, I’ll write it once again, do not stop your blog. I LOVE it – it contains everything a blog should contain and more! :))

      xoxoxooxox

      1. I think my blog, like my mind sometimes, is everywhere, haha. But I really like writing, especially the stories, so I’ll keep going. I write a lot of run on sentences, always have and been criticized for it by all my teachers, haha… we can be the run on sentence sisters too. Your writing is brilliant, you present your thoughts so well, using the perfect words. Keep writing, you are a natural born writer!!! xxxooo

      2. Wow – my lithium sister, now you’ve made my entire day!

        I’ve been enjoying reading your archives so much, and again, I can’t believe what you’ve been through as well as your family members. You’ve endured so much agony (the loss of your amazing brother, the circumstances between you & your Mom – and yes, I know you do love her in spite of what happened…and there’s so much more with your other family members…) and yet despite all that, you appreciate the beauty of life. You haven’t given up. You keep moving on, and thank God you have a beautiful family and friends who adore you. I’m thrilled to that you’ll keep going with writing. It is a positive catharsis for you, and also remember you’re helping your readers in understanding the more intimidating aspects of bipolar such as writing so comprehensively and thoughtfully about the science aspects of bipolar/medication etc.

        I’ve never come across a blog that incorporates science themes along with a unusual personal history as well as creative poetry so seamlessly. That’s what makes your blog extraordinary.

        Thank you once again – your praise means more to me than I can properly express!

        much love,
        your Lithium/Run-On Sentence Sis!!! 🙂

    2. I found your blog due to mention of Hawaii- I live in Kailua Kona and have more experience with BP than I wish. Reaching out for knowledge and help….this summer I was hospitalized twice….and “under dose” of lithium orotate, then an over dose of Carbonate- both resulted in extended periods of hallucination, lucid dreaming, etc, etc. Haven’t been able to find a MD with much BP knowledge, even less knowledge of lithium in it’s various forms and appropriate dosing…..hoping for help or direction. Thank you for your blogging/knowledge….I’m desperate in Kona

      1. Usually 900mg/day in the dise fir bipollar d/o under the firection of a psychiatrist. Look up psychiayrists soecializing in mood disorders. Hope you find one. Best wishes. Keep in touch.

      2. Hello there! (Aloha!) So sorry to hear about your two recent hospitalizations…keep trying to find a good MD – don’t give up! It took me a long time to find a good doctor here – I don’t want to discourage you but it took many years. I realize that it’s more difficult to find a skilled doctor where you live in terms of choices/availability & finances due to the disability.

        Sending you good thoughts!!! Thanks for your kind words!

      1. Whoops, fat finger cut=off; fine motor skills are another problem, plus degenerative arthritis….waiting for a dbl knee replacement and a right hip is on my long term “bucket list”! But first is getting my mind/brain straightened out, and pain to a level I can bear.
        Curious what forms of lithium you have tried? I was very stable for 2 years on lithium orotate prescribed by a Naturopath in TX…That company went out of business and I chose another supplier…I found out the hard way that quality is not consistent. But for the 2 years it worked I was very stable, including non existent brain fog….so I want to go back to this form but I know I must be very careful, so I’m exploring using a compounding pharmacy(there is one in Captain Cook), but this is a long term project after I have acheived a higher level of stability- know anyone who has followed this path?
        Book? I’ve thought of this, I have lots of material….A silicon valley start-up. banhruptcy- corp and personal, divorce, homelessness, SS battles for Disability….could be very informative…or it could be a real soap opera….we’ll get straight first!!!~

      2. I’ve only tried lithium carbonate….I’m sorry that your lithium orotate supplier changed. 😦 I don’t know anyone who has tried using a compounding pharmacy for those purposes….

        As you wisely mention, get straight first and then I think you have fantastic material for a book!! Best of luck to you! Sending you good juju!!!

  21. Your story sounds similar to mine–I too was diagnosed bipolar I after the birth of my third child. I read a really scary stat once–50% of women with postpartum depression go on to develop bipolar disorder. That’s terrifying.
    I appreciate your being willing to blog about your experience. I recently started my own blog about my experiences at http://www.julielwhitehead.wordpress.com to try to help people as well. Thanks for continuing to post.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julie! I just visited your blog and followed it and hope you might follow mine too! 🙂 Yes, I’ve read a study about women with postpartum depression developing bipolar – the 50% statistic is just terrible!!

      I look forward to reading your blog and I commend you to for writing too -it takes guts to do so!!! I wish you & your family the best!

      take care, Dyane

    1. Rachelsweetie – MANY thanks for this nomination! I’m smiling as I write this to you! Thank you for lifting off the pressure for me to do it again; today I shared with fellow awesome blogger Tempest Rose that I’m foregoing these lovely awards and other projects (i.e. freelance articles) to focus once and for all on my book! I’ll check out the link to your post & I’ll be catching up on your blog too – I’ve been out of town for the past 10 days.

      Once again, thank you for the wonderful honor! You deserve the Very Inspiring Blogger Award more than anyone I know!

      lots of hugs, Dyane 🙂

    1. Hey there lovely Tempest Rose! Thanks for nominating me to do the Virtual Blog Tour! I just got back home last night after being away for 10 days and I will read your blog posts over the next few days as I catch up with everyone’s blog. I’ve missed y’all! Hope you’re doing well!

      1. Hope you’re doing well.. as well! Haha. Good luck with catching up — the bloggers I follow have been posting at an alarming rate. I was gone from 9am-2:30pm today and had like 45 new posts in my reader!

  22. Hi, Dyane! Even though you were already nominated for the Sisterood of the World Bloggers Award by Finding Your Inner Happiness, I’m seconding her nomination. So you can feel doubly validated. No need to do anything about it, Dyane. Just take it as a compliment.

    1. Awwww – thanks, Kitt! I will do exactly as you suggest and enjoy the nom. but do nothing. I’m totally satisfied in terms of peer awards, although I will accept any and all cash awards and offers of food. 😉

  23. I am so happy to hear that you are happy to be alive and well. I like reading posts from people who are undergoing the same thing at me and read about their recovery. Thanks for following Phoenix-The Rebirth of My Life.
    Sending positive vibes your way -Phoenix.

    1. Thank you SO much for this kind comment, Phoenix! You really brightened my day when i read it. Yes, it’s so helpful to read about others’ recovery….and inspiring. It’s pleasure to follow your blog and I too send you positive vibes, sweet Phoenix. Enjoy your rebirth!!!!

    1. YAY!!!! Thank you so much for this nomination. I love your blog Labeled Disabled! I’m working on notifying my nominees right this moment! :)))))

      1. I just completed the requirements (including notifying the lucky 15) & hope I did well! 😉 Thanks again….you made my day.

    1. Thank you SO much for nominating me, you awesome blogger. I reviewed the rules both on your page and on this link: http://wordingwell.com/the-liebster-award-the-official-rules-my-first-blog-award-and-a-few-personal-secrets-revealed/

      & it kills me to write this, but I think I need to pass for now. If the # of blogs needed was 5 instead of #11 bloggers, I could do it, but I’m feeling so overwhelmed by some stuff right now that I’d wind up letting you down.

      I LOVE your blog and I am honored that you thought of me. I hope you’ll understand!!!!! Thanks again from one of your loyal fans!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Please forgive me as I wasn’t sure if I was following you or not, but then I figured it out. It’s not rocket science, I know. I’m there for good! I’m doing better, and Lucy Pup continues to be a delight – there’s nothing like a puppy to bring one out of negative rumination. I just hope she doesn’t give me a bill for pet therapy! Take care and I’ll be seeing you over @ your blog.

  24. Hey whyteknucklez!!!! Thanks for coming on over and following my blog. I feel special! 😉

    Well, I swear to God I thought I published at least one blog post about my going off my meds last year, and how I relapsed and became suicidal, but I didn’t.

    Let me start by saying I TOTALLY understand why you want to go off or reduce your dose.
    I cannot tell you how hell-bent I was in terms of wanting to get off medication. I even landed a book deal based on that concept! It seemed in the cards. No one could stop me. I really thought I could do it. There is some statistic floating around that says 10-15% of people with bipolar can be med-free & stable, and I milked that one and told people I was going to be in that category.

    I did a super-slow lithium taper that took almost a year, I think (I’m still going over my notes) and when I got down to around 450 mg, I became hypomanic, then manic and then suicidal.

    In March I was contacted by a “Kathy” who wanted to go off her meds. I wrote her a long reply through email and just now I looked for it for 20 minutes to no avail. Sh*t.

    I remember suggesting to her that if she was going to stop meds, get Will Hall’s “Harm Reduction Guide” online, which I believe is still free, and also invest in Peter Lehmann’s “Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs” book which you can buy on Amazon. (I think I paid around $25, it was a lot, but I really wanted it.)

    Aspen Morrow published her book “Med-Free Bipolar” a couple weeks ago; I bought it out of curiosity, but I haven’t read it yet. I used to be in touch with Aspen via the internet when I was gung-ho with the med-free path, but once she found out I relapsed off lithium, I didn’t hear from her anymore. I know Aspen claims that a supplement in her book (Q96/Empower+ or something like that) helps her remain off meds, & she advises people to try it, but I tried a form of it and it was a total waste of money.

    There are internet communities of course, but I’m blanking on the biggie site that I used to visit – if I remember it, I’ll write you again, of course. I’m bummed because I wanted to share that long email with you. All I found was this brief p.s. I sent to Kathy, answering her question about what I thought could have done differently:

    ” Kathy,
    I thought about what I could have done differently in getting off
    lithium..it’s so hard for me to figure that out. Maybe I could have
    consulted closely with at least several people who successfully tapered
    off it and were thoughtful, intelligent and organized in the way they
    approached the tapering process.

    No cold turkey, whatever you do!

    Also I could have found a psychiatrist who specialized in getting off
    lithium safely to supervise me.” (I asked two pdocs to help me and they wouldn’t do it. So I gave up on finding one.)

    If I think of anything else to share with you ‘ll contact you, whyteknucklez!!!!!

  25. I see you have updated the header, though the address is the same. You’re brain is undergoing a rebirth. Still you remain proudly who you are and how you were made. You’re diagnosis doesn’t diminish you nor define you, but it remains a formative part of your experience,

    1. Hi Kitt and thanks for your comment! I am impressed that you are the only one who noticed that I updated my header but kept the address. That tells me you have excellent attention to detail.

      I hopped over to your blog & I am now your latest follower. I really enjoyed reading the posts about your life as well as your Q&A and your resume.

      I love your comment here – that my brain is “undergoing a rebirth” – that’s exactly what’s happening. I am now even prouder, in a sense, because last year I “failed” so badly when I went off meds, and I picked myself off the ground to start yet again, reborn in a sense.

      I value your reading my blog very much, and I look forward to your future insights! take care and have a wonderful day! Dyane

      1. Been reading some of your older posts. I find your transformation helpful to me as I embark on my journey with my new diagnosis. Something in your comment really caught my eye, “because last year I ‘failed’ so badly when I went off meds, and I picked myself off the ground to start yet again.” I’ve been strongly considering going off my meds or taking less then my “therapeutic” dose to feel “more me” I don’t know. Can you direct me to some of your earlier blogs that dealt with you going off your meds and your experiences with that?

  26. Hi Dyane, i was reading my friend Carol Kivler’s blog when I saw your comment. I grew up with a bipolar mom who became bipolar as a result of childbirth with me. She suffered deep depression and had shock treatments. It was a cross to bear for my mother and my sister and I living with my mother’s illness. I find it amazing in this time in history that you are able to harness your disorder and be empowered with it. Such a different and stigmatizing world it was back then in the 50’s and 60’s. I wish you every blessing. It sounds like your book and work will help many. Gail

  27. Looks awesome. Keep it up. If you want a hand with the finer aspects, just give me a shout. Hm. Not sure that’s working that well. Having typing problems. *Hugs* Give everyone there hugs, except maybe the chickens, not sure what they think of hugs.

    1. Thank you so much Jigme! I’d definitely want some help with all the nuances of WordPress – it’s amazing (and overwhelming) to me to see so many creative options. I send you hugs as well. We have very friendly chickens – our Dominique black & white “Hazel” in particular seems to love hugs from our six-year-old Marilla. They are so cute together; I need to get a photo of them sometime. Thanks for everything and I’ll be in touch soon! xo, Dy

      1. Sounds great. Some of the formatting has not worked out as well as *I* like it to. Some of that is due to not understanding fully how WordPress works (I think) others are (I think) due to “copywriting” issues. We can talk later.

  28. Hi Dyane,

    It’s me – your biggest fan over here on Scenic Way!! I love your blog – I was so touched by your story of calling up hospitals to find an open spot – that had to be very difficult to do. Just in case you ever need to go to the hospital again I think you can go to any hospital’s emergency room and if they don’t have a space for you there they will call around. Or, you can call me and I will help.

    See ya on friday!!
    Theresa

  29. Love the title. Though I must say I’m more of the Annoyingly Bipolar crowd. The ‘don’t say hello cause then I might cry’ type. I’m emerging now from a pretty thick bout of down swoop and my new blog is the flip side up swing from that low point. I did a nice nose dive after quitting a job for mental health reasons, not very encouraging, but I was physically hurting myself in a subconscious attempt to get myself out of a bad situation. Luckily I’m aware enough of myself and tendencies to see the signs before I did something permanent. But the drag was the guilt of quitting an income that was crucial to our financial stability. With help from a generous sis in law, 2 months of mentally beating myself up and (luckily) mild suicidal thoughts have now ended and the resultant dramatic joy is manifesting itself in tons of creative energy focused on building a sustainable nurturing home based business. So yeah, I get ya lady! Keep up the good work and keep being aware of yourself!
    Tracy

  30. Hi Dyane!

    I thank you for sharing your blog with me. I look forward to reading it on a regular basis too to educate myself on mental illness. How often will you be blogging?

    I knew several people with mental illness and feel a need to understand them instead of being scared and hurt. So I just want to thank you again for the privilege. I’ve felt a need to understand mental illness even more so after I heard of Paul Hester’s suicide. I miss him very much too. I’m glad you are alive too! It was truly a joy to meet you at the Tim Finn concert in San Fran.

    Helen

  31. The entry is chilling in its honesty. Beautiful too, because you’re still here. Your writing is so raw and transparent I feel like I’m listening to you from across the table over a cup of tea. Thank you for putting yourself out there in the world. It’s a pleasure, it’s moving, and it’s inspiring.

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