The Magic of “I’m Disappointed”

 My Dad, the Original “I’m Disappointed” Magician

 

I remember how much my father enjoyed going to various high-end West Los Angeles restaurants in the 1970s and 1980s. As a gourmand, he had high standards.

One evening Dad had a bummer of a meal at The Velvet Turtle. (By the way, turtle soup and anything else turtle-related or velvet-related was not served there!)

Dad didn’t go home to face indigestion of body and spirit. He wrote The Velvet Turtle’s manager a letter expressing his profound disappointment with his dining experience. This incident occurred long before the advent of email, so my father handwrote a double-sided letter explaining exactly what fell short at the establishment.

 

Lo and behold, Dad promptly received a profuse apology and a gift certificate for a full-course dinner for four. (I stole took his certificate and brought my then-boyfriend and grandmother out for dinner – the food and service were very good!)

I never forgot my father’s satisfaction with his informing the manager he had a less-than-magical experience, nor did I forget the end result.

 

Whenever I’ve been deeply perturbed by the actions of an individual or group, I get in front of my laptop to write my “I’m Disappointed” email.

My fond wish is that the“I’m Disappointed”email “technique” will work as well for you as it has worked for me. 

Here are two easy steps to take for your happy dance touchdown time.

  • The phrase “I’m disappointed with…blankety blank” always goes in the subject header and also the body of the email.
  • I never use foul language, despite having been very tempted to do so sometimes. I keep it short ‘n sweet and chock full of disappointment.

For you writers out there, here’s an example of an email I sent to BringChange2Mind. I asked for author/mental health advocate Jessie Close’s consideration to endorse my book. 

It’s followed by “I’m Disappointed” missive, & then the prompt, courteous reply I received from BringChange2Mind. 

 

--------------------------- Original Message ----------------------
Subject: Attn: Jessie Close/Book Endorsement Opportunity
From:    "Dyane Leshin-Harwood"
Date:    Tue, 7 March, 2017 2:23 pm
To:      information@bringchange2mind.org
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Jessie,

I hope you're doing well!

Like so many other readers, I bought "Resilience" and was deeply moved by your journey. I especially related to your love for dogs. I enjoyed seeing the photo of you with Redstone Rocket - I have a 
Sheltie/collie mix named Lucy, and her face looks a lot like Redstone Rocket's. I also loved the photos of your adorable Wowie and  
Snitz.

I'm a writer and mental health advocate.My memoir "Birth of a New Brain - Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder" will be publishedthis fall by Post Hill Press.

I'd be honored if you'd consider endorsing it.

You'd join other inspiring movers and shakers including:

--Dr. Verinder Sharma, Perinatal Psychiatrist
--Dr. Nancy Byatt, Psychiatrist/Professor, University of 
Massachusetts Medical School
--Mark Lukach ("My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward")
--Jay Mohr ("Gasping for Airtime," "No Wonder My Parents Drank," Podcast One's MohrStories, "Keep Oregon Well" Spokesman/Mental Health Advocate)

I've attached the front & back cover for your review. The book on Amazon for pre-sales and you can read its brief description here:

https://www.amazon.com/Birth-New-Brain-Postpartum-Disorder/dp/1618688014/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488918029&sr=1-1&keywords=Birth+of+a+New+Brain

I look forward to hearing from you very much!

Warm regards,

Dyane Harwood

 After two weeks with no reply, I sent the “I’m Disappointed” email:

Subject Header: Very Disappointed

“Dear Bring Change 2 Mind Staff,

On March 7th, I left a voicemail message at the website’s contact number
(for Annie) and I emailed that same day, but I never heard back from
anyone.

I realize that working at a nonprofit is demanding (I’ve worked at three
of them here in Santa Cruz!), but I’d really appreciate a confirmation
that you received my email and that my request is being considered.

Thanks so much,

Dyane Harwood”


The next day I received this response from BringChange2Mind’s Staff

Hi Dyane, thank you for your email, and please accept my sincerest apology for not responding sooner. It sounds as though you understand how time manages to slip by too quickly in the non-profit world! And, as a small staff of three, I am afraid that it’s always moving faster in the BC2M office than I would prefer!

Congratulations on your book! If you could send us a copy here at the office, I could put it in the mail to Jessie with the hope that she would be able to read it. She has been extremely busy lately so I can’t make any promises, but it’s always worth a try!

Thank you again for reaching out to us!

 ———–

I’m astounded at how quickly I usually receive a courteous response after I fire off the I’m Disappointed email. Oftentimes I’ve heard back from someone within 24 hours of sending it. Of course, I don’t always receive a reply or get what I want – although once in a while I do – but it feels good to get such a quick turnaround.

Try it the next time someone lets you down, and let me know if the magic happens for you!

Love,

Dyane

 

p.s. I’m writing this post at the Cliff Cafe which is down the street from the Munchkin Cabin in beautiful Alpine Meadows. My view of the Truckee River:

 

We’ve been coming up here for almost a decade. The cabin owner has become a friend and she gives us the “friend’s rate” that makes this trip possible.

Next Friday I’ll let you know about my latest adventures in this magnificent wilderness – hopefully I won’t have a bear come inside the cabin while I’m there (been there, done that!) or get lost in the Sierras (ditto!), or have Craig break his foot while walking down the stairs again, or ride Squaw Valley gondola when the staff fires off an avalanche-prevention explosive almost directly beneath the tram (yep!) – and hopefully I won’t need to write an “I’m Disappointed” email while we’re up here!

 

In this short video, I’m watching Lucy swim for the first time. She’s braving a pond that’s fed by snowmelt from the top of Alpine Meadows. I was so verklempt over my furry girl’s swimming prowess & her concern for Rilla! (Apologies for the loud “Oh my Gods” in the background!)

If you want another brief dose of Lucy’s cuteness, check this out! 

 

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 now available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available in August.

A Mellow Walk With Lucy, My Furry Antidepressant

Dear Friends,

When I referred to the tennis court I called it “chalk,” but I meant clay, LOL! (Sorry about the shaky camerawork!) 

Have a great weekend & 4th of July.

See you next Friday!

Love,

Dyane

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

My Little Surprise & Humiliation at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!


Dear Friends,

Prepare yourself for a post filled with thrills

of the amusement park ride persuasion….

and chills I’m getting from the thought of proofing my book yet again!

Yesterday I received a PDF file from my managing editor at Post Hill Press. It was the paginated interior of my book!

It was a surreal experience scrolling through the file. Birth of a New Brain now looks like a bona fide book complete with photos and professional formatting, unlike the ARC (advanced review copy) which is a simple Word document devoid of photos or any stylistic touches. 

 

The ARC of Birth of a New Brain didn’t look like a “booky wook.” 

 

I didn’t know I’d have the opportunity to proof my book again, which was my little surprise. However, I knew the ARC had typos and other problems – errors that I wanted to fix, so now I can give it another shot.

While examining 250+ pages will be tedious, I’m thankful I get the chance to do it. I have eighteen days – gulp. Eighteen days sounds like a decent amount of time, but it’ll go by in a heartbeat.  I might need to eat a piece of humble pie and beg for a few more days.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Lost Boys was filmed at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk thirty years ago, the year before I moved here!

I took the girls to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Monday. Whenever I take them there, which is rare because it’s costly even with season passes, I consider the trip to be a profound event. (I wrote about why that’s the case in my post The Found Girl.)

I managed to have a panic attack on the Freefall ride in the children’s zone! I had never been on that ride before, but Avonlea had. She told me I’d be fine, and while I had an inkling I wasn’t going to like the ride, I was clueless I’d react the way I did.

The Boardwalk’s website blatantly lies – it describes Freefall as “Great training for bigger thrills! Freefall springs riders up and drops them down for a giggly good time.”

My Nemesis: Freefall

 When you watch this video, the ride doesn’t look scary, but the woman’s incessant laugh is frightening!!!

 

Our observant teen ride operator took pity on me when he heard my agonized screams and saw my terrified face. He stopped the ride and asked me if I wanted to exit.

Of course I did!

A little girl no older than four seated next to me laughed at my pain! My girls were fine. Avonlea is a daredevil and has been on Double Shot, the big, freaky-to-the-100,000,000th degree version of Freefall!

Marilla was a little scared at first, but her fear quickly went away. They didn’t mind getting off the ride so they could support their freaked-out, humiliated mom.

The Double Shot a.k.a. the 10th Circle of Dante’s Hell

 

Years ago I survived the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. The ride does the same type of up-down-up-down moves as Freefall, but it’s far scarier. My Tower of Terror ride took place years before I was diagnosed with the ultimate Terror: bipolar disorder.

On Freefall, I felt completely out of control since I wasn’t in charge of the stomach-twisting ups and downs. That helpless feeling triggered bad feelings. (You’ll never find me pretending to be an eloquent writer!)

Now I know I must stick to my favorite rides: the bumper cars, the flume log ride, and the wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster, which was built in 1924 and survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake!

 

1911 Looff Carousel with my girls

“The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s 1911 Looff Carousel is a National Historic Landmark and local treasure. The hand-carved merry-go-round has been turning children’s seaside dreams into golden memories since 1911.”

This ride is featured in the tense opening scene of The Lost Boys at the one-minute markI love this film! Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, the Two Coreys, Dianne Wiest, Edward Hermann (the gentleman who narrated all those History Channel shows), and 80’s music!!!

What’s not to love? If you haven’t seen it yet, promise me you’ll put it at the top of your bucket list. 

As you can tell, I get carried away when I reminisce about The Lost Boys. Please forgive me – I can’t help it. I’m such a sucker for it. Ha ha ha ha! If you’ve seen this movie, do you get it? 😉

Thanks for reading, and have a great Friday & weekend.

Sending you my love,

Dyane

 

 

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

 

Looking for a Good Book?

The following authors graciously endorsed my memoir, and they have written fantastic books. I urge you to read their work!

  

 

“Birth of a New Brain is a gripping account of the awful juxtaposition of childbirth and the onset of bipolar illness. Dyane’s book is an informative and important contribution to our understanding of this triggering of mental illness that happens more often than is generally recognized.”

Kay Redfield Jamison

Author of An Unquiet Mind and Robert Lowell,
Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character

 

 

 

“This is a story of when love alone can and cannot heal in bipolar disorder. It is a story of mental illness seen through the eyes of a daughter, a wife, and a mother. Birth of a New Brain was a privilege to read.”

Dr. Greg de Moore

Author of Finding Sanity: John Cade, Lithium, and the Taming of Bipolar Disorder, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Westmead Hospital, Australia

 

“With artful prose and brutal honesty, Dyane Harwood depicts her struggle to have a stable, peaceful life as a wife and mother amidst the turmoil brought on by postpartum bipolar disorder in Birth of a New Brain. Despite many false starts, missteps, and even cruel and indifferent treatment at the hands of certain medical professionals she encountered, Harwood soldiered on and finally arrived at her own truth. The answers, for the most part, were inside her all along and consisted of self-care habits, including healthy eating, sufficient sleep, and consistent exercise. Thoroughly researched with a wealth of resources for mothers and families, Birth of a New Brain is an invaluable resource and reference point for mothers grappling with shifts in mood after the birth of their children.”

Matt Samet

Author, Death Grip: A Climber’s Escape from Benzo Madness

Editor, Climbing Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

“Dyane Harwood’s writing eloquently brings to life the complex interaction between the person, her world and the changes in how she how she perceives it wrought by the onset of mania following childbirth. She unpicks the essential conflict faced by all of us who experience chronic mood problems—between the pressure to follow sometimes uncertain ‘medical advice’ uncritically and the need to retain some sense of self-agency because with that comes the hope of being able to lead the kind of lives we want to live. She rightly challenges the doctors who project their own failings onto the ‘problem patient. Indeed, she highlights the importance for all of us of finding a doc in whose expertise one can really invest some respect and trust. We are all so much more than our ‘illness’ but can find that goal hard to achieve. Dyane Harwood’s extraordinary book shows us how to do it.”

Dr. Linda Gask

Author, The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir of Depression, Emerita Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry at the University of Manchester

 

“Dyane’s journey through mental illness has taken an astonishing amount of twists and turns, and in Birth of a New Brain, she generously and courageously shares her experience so that others may learn from it. Birth of a New Brain is an invaluable and hopeful guide for anyone confronting mental illness so that they can get the help they need and deserve, from professionals and family, without shame.”

Mark Lukach

Author, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

 

 

 

 

“Dyane Harwood’s new book Birth of a New Brain is a phenomenal gift to the mental illness community, especially for postpartum sufferers. Dyane’s clever weave of gut-wrenching honesty entwined with intricate storytelling illuminates an under-profiled mental illness. Birth of a New Brain is an important addition to the world’s mood disorder literature, and it will help those with perinatal and bipolar disorders of all kinds. Delve into Dyane’s incredible story, one that untangles the baffling and under-reported illness of postpartum bipolar disorder. Prepare to be moved. You won’t regret it.”

-Wendy K. Williamson
Author, I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar and co-author of Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living with Bipolar Disorder http://www.wendykwilliamson.com

 

Dr. Carol Henshaw, who wrote my book’s foreword, co-authored The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry. 

Dr. Henshaw writes the wonderful travel blog On the Road Again – Wanderlust and the Need to See More of the World

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny Toastmasters Breakthrough, Postpartum Bipolar Seminar & a Roving Gunman!

Dear Friends,

Hi there!

In this week’s vlog, I discuss my Toastmasters breakthrough. While it was only a wee bit ‘o progress, I got my first glimmer of hope I could be a decent public speaker someday! After I presented my “Thought of the Day,” I was lucky enough to receive kind, authentic encouragement from my mentor and the other Toastmaster members. That support will keep me going to this group despite my intense jitters.

Speaking of the jitters, in my vlog, I refer to Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic product used to reduce anxiety, but I neglect to explain what form I prefer. I’ve used the Rescue Remedy tincture, pastilles, the sprayand Rescue Plus lozenges. My favorite product is Rescue Plus and it’s the most affordable one at approximately $6.00 for ten lozenges. Rescue Plus has some healthy additions such as vitamin B5 & B12, hence the “Plus” in the name. For more information please visit this link.Postpartum Bipolar Education is Coming!

I’m deeply honored that Michael Pipich LMFT of the Bipolar Network is endorsing Birth of a New Brain. His feedback has been absolutely invaluable!
Michael will be presenting a session at the Postpartum Support International (PSI) Conference in July. It’s called “Peripartum Onset in Bipolar Disorder: Assessment and Treatment in a Three-Phase Approach Psychotherapy,” and you can understand why I’m thrilled a talk focusing on bipolar, peripartum onset is being offered! 
The description: “Childbirth has a strong influence on the development of bipolar disorder in women, however, many patients are misdiagnosed. Attendees will learn bipolar diagnostic techniques and a three-phase approach to treatment.” 
I wish I could be there! For those of you who plan on attending the PSI conference, it would be so cool if you could go to Michael’s talk, hint hint. 
 
Visit the PSI website at this link for more info. about others’ sessions and the keynote speakers. 

Did you know shock rocker Alice Cooper’s real name is Vincent Furnier, and he loves golf? Another fun fact: his father was a preacher!

 

 

School ended yesterday for the girls. I feel really thrown off during this time of year. It’s a challenge to switch from their predictable schedules to a loosey, goosey one. I’m thankful they took the initiative to arrange a last-minute playdate today – hurrah!

In addition to my feeling unsettled with school ending, the past two days have been extra-disturbing. On Wednesday night I was informed by a neighbor that a roving gunman was spotted on our road only a few minutes up the hill from my house. The neighbor saw the stranger fire his gun and take off towards my house.

Thank God the girls were at a friend’s house and Craig was several hours away, but I wasn’t jazzed it was just me and Lucy.

Yes, the police were called.

Yes, I locked all the doors as I was advised when I called to 911, but I felt helpless.  What would I do if this guy showed up? Offer him milk & cookies?

I didn’t even HAVE cookies because I gobbled them all after the neighbor called me. It was stress-bingeing at its worst!

I know what you’re thinking: Was the man ever found???

No.

During this event, it hit me that I’d prefer my terrifying mountain lion encounter to being faced with a gun-toting man. Talk about a bizarre thought, right? 

I’m incredibly thankful he didn’t show up at this house. The various law enforcement personnel I spoke with were awesome. These are incredible people who put their lives on the line.

They’re cute when they’re little!

 

Today is gloomy, chilly, overcast and misty, and this weather affects my mood in a not-so-groovy way. On Wednesday I skipped my daily walk with Lucy because the gun sighting happened during our usual walk time.

I skipped our walk yesterday because I was flat-out exhausted.

But I’m determined to take Lucy out for a walk today because it will help lift my mood. Walking always does that for both of us, no matter how fatigued I am when we begin! We’ll head out as soon as I publish this post.

I encourage you to get some exercise too over the weekend. 

What will you do? (Moving one’s hand from the pint of ice cream up to one’ s mouth doesn’t count!)

Thanks for reading, and take good care of yourselves!!!

Love,

Dyane

 

 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is now available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available later this summer.

My Toastmasters Humiliation & Kay R. Jamison Blurb Bliss

This is what I’m going for, T.S. Eliot!

 


Last Wednesday at Toastmasters, I turned on my laptop and spent a considerable amount of time placing it in the perfect position to record my speech #2.

I was so freaking nervous that I spaced out on pressing the “record” button so I can’t share the video as I had planned!

During the five minutes of my speech “The Dr. A. Way,” I was a shaking bundle of exposed nerve endings. I made a complete ass of myself.

I was hit particularly hard because I thought I had a chance at improving just a little bit. I spoke about a topic I knew well (“Exercise for Mood Stability” by Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan) and I even brought some fun props, but nope – I still blew it.

I won’t give up on these speeches! In five months I’m presenting my first book talk. I refuse to be a mass of quivering jello in front of my family, friends, and community members.

Now, I know I won’t conquer all of my anxiety – I’m realistic – but I’m going to work hard on dialing it down a notch or ten… 

The cool thing (or sadistic thing, depending on how you look at it) about belonging to Toastmasters is that I’ll face my public speaking fear every seven days. It’s up to me when I want to schedule the remaining eight speeches of the “Competent Communicator” program, but at each meeting I’ll be required to speak through various roles, i.e. Ah-Counter, Table Topics, etc.

Meanwhile…

I still can’t quite believe Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, author of the classic memoir An Unquiet Mind, is endorsing Birth of a New Brain!  It’s a wonderful feeling to think that someone like her will support my book. 

Last night Rilla told me to “stop bragging on Twitter” about the KRJ endorsement, so I erased a braggy tweet I was writing. I reluctantly admitted she was absolutely right. It’s humbling when your nine-year-old is more mature than you are. 

All is quiet here tonight, and I’m off to enjoy a late dinner and watch my new favorite show Rosewood.

Rosewood’s star Morris Chestnut is a fantastic actor. I wasn’t familiar with his work until I saw his performance as an ER doctor in Nurse Jackie. If you’re looking for a new show, I encourage you to check out Rosewood on Netflix.

I hope you have a good weekend!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. It’s available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales; Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

 

Thank You Dr. Jamison & The Unknown Angels

 

Dear Friends, 

Last year, I wrote about Anthony William’s book Medical Medium

William explained how praying to a group called the “Unknown Angels” helped him a great deal. At first, I was quite skeptical. However, the thought of asking those mysterious-sounding Unknown Angels appealed to me so I went for it and I started talking to them.

Every day for the past six months I asked the Unknown Angels out loud (per Mr. Williams’ instructions) to help me in specific ways.

I spoke to them at least once a day, preferably where no one could see me! 

My requests were pragmatic and focused on safety and happiness for my kids and my husband. I prayed before walking my dog Lucy in the forest and asked that we wouldn’t encounter mountain lions. (So far, so good.)

At some point during each prayer, I asked that my “dream author” (clinical psychologist/bestselling author Kay Redfield Jamison) endorse my book. 

 

I knew Dr. Jamison’s endorsement wasn’t likely to happen, but I sent a letter to her staff anyway. If I didn’t take a chance, the phrase “nothing ventured, nothing gained” would haunt me forever.

Dr. Jamison wasn’t known to endorse books very often; in fact, I hadn’t seen any book endorsed by her except for the outstanding The Midnight Disease written by her friend Dr. Alice W. Flaherty.

Why would Dr. Jamison endorse a first-time author like me? (Well, I had some good reasons, but I was doubtful she’d agree with them!)

On Monday around 7:30 a.m., I found out that Dr. Jamison will supply my book’s cover blurb. My neighbors found out too — I screamed and sang obnoxiously loud for five minutes. Lucy, alarmed to see me act like such a freak, chimed in with her cacophonous howls.

Now, I don’t have Dr. Jamison’s exact words yet.

She could change her mind. 

Maybe I should’ve waited to share my happy news with you until I had her endorsement in hand, but I can’t help it.

I only wish I could tell my father about this wonderful honor.

In any case, I want you to remember my story when you’re on the fence about pursuing something you consider a major longshot.

I want you to go for it.

And even if you’re a skeptical agnostic like I am, take a look at my blog post about the Unknown Angels, or if you believe in something else, focus on connecting more with it.

If you talk to the Unknown Angels, you might get flak from family & friends. I sure did! At least it’s a positive focus, right?

You might even be happily surprised with what comes your way….

Have a good weekend, and thanks so much for reading & commenting!

Love,

Dyane

 

p.s. Remember the interview I was fretting about? It went absolutely ***fine**** & it was 100% drama free. When the link is up, I’ll share it with you here.

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. It’s available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales; Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.