A Tale of 2 Breaks (My Broken Jaw & My Blogging Hiatus)

My jaw!


Last Saturday afternoon I was walking by myself on a flat, concrete surface a few blocks away from our house. It was a sunny, beautiful day. I finally felt healthy after having reached my LoseIt! weight loss goal. (I had gained twenty-five pounds after my book was published thanks to a daily dose of two high-end chocolate bars, chocolate gelato, and chocolate Italian pastries.) 

Anyway, I was looking forward to a rare evening alone with my husband Craig while our girls were at a sleepover party.

All was well in my world—until I tripped.

In a matter of seconds, I fell forward and slammed down onto the concrete face-first, specifically jaw first. I felt the lower half of my face crunch and I knew I had broken something. I had also gashed my chin in what turned out to be a minor injury, but it was scary and painful nonetheless. At first, I had no idea how bad the gash was since I couldn’t see my face.

As I sat there on the ground, shaking and terrified, blood poured out of my lacerated chin. I reminded myself that a cut can often bleed heavily yet not be that bad. I pressed one hand hard against my chin to stanch the bleeding and my skin stung at the contact.

Not a soul was in sight and that was unusual. But I didn’t want anyone to see me that way—I only wanted one person’s presence: Craig. Luckily I had my cell phone and I was able to reach him. The reception sucked but he heard my crying and the words “fall,” “bleeding” and the street name.

He had just dropped our girls off at the sleepover and came to get me. Even though it took him less than 12 minutes to arrive, it felt like forever. As I sat there, I prayed. Yes, I prayed. I prayed to every spiritual figure and angel I could think of, I prayed to my father, I prayed to my grandmother, and then I visualized bright light healing whatever was wrong with my jaw and chin.

When Craig got there, he took one look at me and said, “We’re going to the E.R.” Four hours, several chin stitches and one CT scan later, I was told by the E.R. physician that he conferred with a maxillofacial surgeon. I didn’t even know what a maxillofacial surgeon was, exactly, but I’d soon find out. Here’s a nutshell definition: “Oral and maxillofacial surgeons focus on treating problems related to the hard and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and jaws (the upper jaw is referred to as the maxilla).”

You could say it wasn’t exactly the romantic evening date I had imagined. 

The surgeon offered to call me the next day, which was a Sunday, to offer his advice. I was extremely relieved to get his call. During our conversation, he gave me different options to consider, including treatment at other practices, and he patiently answered my questions. My intuition told me he was a good doctor. (God knows I’ve spoken to a gazillion doctors and I can tell a golden egg from a bad egg if you know what I mean!) 

I met with him for my consult last Monday since time was a big concern – I only had a two-week window to get the surgery done so my jaw would heal properly.

When I met him, he reminded me of the ECT anesthesiologist I wrote about in Birth of a New Brain. Once again, I encountered a doctor who was a lot younger than me who looked like he could be on the cover of Surfer Magazine! 

After we met, I booked him to do my surgery which will be on Monday the 19th. I’m having pins put in different places in my jaw. He’s attaching tight bands that will help the jaw and teeth alignment heal back into the right position; yes, bands, not wires.

I haven’t been able to chew any food but I love smoothies and pureed soups, so I’m not freaking out. I even throw in organic baby spinach in my vanilla Orgain & coconut milk smoothies since I can’t chew lettuce. (The smoothie actually tastes good because you can’t taste the spinach!)

I’ve been hypervigilant about walking carefully—I’m so scared I’ll trip again. I long for the time when I wasn’t worried about such a basic activity. And yes, I feel like a f*cking idiot this happened in the first place, but I can tell you I got the message loud and clear from the universe that I need to be more present. 

I wanted to return to the place where I tripped so I wouldn’t become phobic, so I went there two days after my accident and it was fine. (I think I walked in slow motion, but it was fine.)

In all seriousness, though, in light of the Parkland shootings and all the other horrible, tragic events we read and hear about day after day, my injury is teeny-tiny in comparison. Yet it’s my reality.

If my accident had happened before I found the meds that eradicated my treatment-resistant bipolar depression, I would’ve plummeted into an even deeper depression. However, after the pain and shock of the first 24 hours post-accident, I’ve been doing relatively well mentally. I haven’t binged, either – of course, not being able to chew certainly helps me avoid doing that, but I haven’t wanted to compulsively overeat at all—this is another positive surprise. I’m very thankful for these blessings and I’m relieved that my injuries weren’t worse, i.e. a head surgery or a serious illness.  


Thank God not all falls are bad. I’ve hiked up to Yosemite Falls and it was spectacular. The fall is one of my favorite seasons, and, of course, there’s the best fall of all: falling in love.

Singer/songwriter Sam Phillips, the former Christian pop artist and ex-wife of producer T Bone Burnett, has an unusual voice. She was originally promoted as the “Christian Cyndi Lauper” and composed the score for the television show Gilmore Girls.

I love Sam Phillips’ voice, in part, because Craig introduced me to her Martinis and Bikinis album when we first got together in 1998. Her song “When I Fall” (featured in The Last Supper film soundtrack) sums up my 20-year-long relationship with Craig.

She sings, “I think you’ll be there when I fall….”

And he was.



Parting Tidbits

I’ve published 441 posts on this blog and it has been a such a good run, to say the least! But I’ve been losing steam for blogging. I’ve neglected reading my beloved blogs and commenting, which feels plain-old-bad. It’s time to take a break from blogging and the blogosphere. 

Right after I made this decision, my good friend L.E. Henderson published the insightful postTo Blog or Not To Blog.Call me superstitious, but her post seemed like a sign I was making the right choice.

I’ve absolutely loved blogging and reading your blogs. It has been wonderful to make such amazing friends and to feel understood by many bloggers in the bipolar blogging community. To those of you who encouraged me as I approached my book’s publication date, your support helped me immensely. Before I take off, I’d like to share a few tidbits.


Tidbit #1 – Never Say Never

Two days before my accident, I attended a Meetup creative writing group for the first time. I used a lined notebook and a pen instead of my laptop. It turned out the founder of the group did the same thing—we were the only two members who showed up! (Meetup is kind of like that…)  Handwriting felt strange and painful as far as my wrist was concerned, but it was good, too.

Handwriting may have stirred up something in my brain. Some of you know I vowed I’d never write another book. Why? Reasons include: “I didn’t have a good idea,” “Aren’t there enough books in the world?,” “It’s so stressful,” and more. But after my Meetup, an idea came to me that got me excited. I relinquished my vow and I abandoned my reservations and I started writing a proposal! We’ll see where it goes…


Tidbit #2 – My Remote Presentation at the 2020 Mom Project’s 2018 Annual Forum 

If you watch this, please jump to where therapist and Mom and Mind podcast host Dr. Kat Kaeni appears at the 14.30 mark. She introduces my presentation.


Tidbit #3 Awesome Website/Blog/Resources & More

Laura Marchildon of Our Bipolar Family has an incredible website, including a great book review section. Check it out at this link. Laura wrote a book review about Birth of a New Brain here

Please keep in touch with me on Twitter (@DyaneHarwood), my Facebook author page, and my website www.dyaneharwood.com where you can sign up for my newsletter at the very bottom.

Take care, my friends!

Lots and lots of love,



Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw. Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!





Bring It On, Sole Water—Show Us The Magic!

I grew up hearing this cheesy commercial often, but the song is catchy!

Yes, Bain de Soleil has a different spelling of “sole” (both refer to the sun) but it’s pronounced the same.


Happy Birthday, Mom!



Dear Friends,


Hi there! Below you’ll find the links I mentioned in the video that will explain how to make sole water and why you’d want to do it in the first place.

Even though this is just a small amount of water and Himalayan pink salt, please check with your doctor before embarking on this; better safe than sorry!


For a longer list of benefits, check out this link:



Lose It! Update

Blogger Kitt O’Malley and I have been participating in the free Lose It! program. Today I was thrilled to learn our fellow blogging pal Bipolar On Fire has joined us in Lose It!’s “Bipolar Battlers” community group which you can find on the Lose It! website under “Community.”

I’ve lost 15 pounds, I stopped my nightly binges, and I’m figuring out with my therapist how I can break the insidious emotional overeating cycle.

Keep in mind you don’t need to be in a group; you can go solo or create your own group –

visit this link to make it happen!

Let me know if you have questions. 


As for that stressful situation I referred to in the video, I promise I’ll include it in next Friday’s post! (Hint: It involves a writer’s fragile ego…um, yeah, my ego. And there might be a silver lining to it. So y’all come back to my blog next Friday, ya hear?)

Speaking of stress, I wish you anything BUT a stressful weekend!!!



p.s. Here’s the link to a British podcast I just started listening to during my walks with Lucy. I’m really enjoying listening to the insights of the hosts Sydney Timmins, a writer, and Becky Lawrence, a secondary school teacher. There’s even a rumor I might be a guest on it this spring!


Twitter: @MHBC_Podcast

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!



I Like Being A Loser!



Lose It! Update

Last fall, I gained 30 pounds in less than three months.




I’ll boil it down to three words:



Book launch stress!    


I hit rock bottom in December. If I kept gaining weight, my fatigue would only worsen. I didn’t feel comfortable in my body and I felt plain-old-gross. 


It was time to take action and I’m so glad I did. Blogger Kitt O’Malley and I have been participating in the free Lose It! program. We’re in the “Bipolar Battlers” community group which you can find on the Lose It! website under “Community.” I’ve lost 15 pounds, I stopped my nightly binges, and I’m figuring out with my therapist how I can break the insidious emotional overeating cycle.


By the way, you don’t need to be in a group; you can go solo or create your own group –

visit this link to make it happen!

Let me know if you have questions. 

Dr. Ellen Vora

I want to tell you about another very cool holistic psychiatrist. In previous posts, I mentioned the holistic psychiatrist Dr. Denise McDermott who practices in southern California. (You can hear our podcast at this link.

Well, yesterday I came across Dr. Ellen Vora, a New York-based holistic psychiatrist. I think I spotted her name on Twitter. Anyway, she’s currently traveling around the world with her family for six months to visit cultures she believes are healthier than ours. She’s recording short-but-informative YouTube videos at each country she visits. Some of the topics are very relevant to those of us with bipolar and anxiety.

She has great handouts on her website that you can print out – for bipolar (mood stabilization), visit here.

I particularly liked watching Dr. Vora’s YouTube videos about insomnia, “caveman” sleep, lowering your standards for exercise, and being dehydrated even if you drink a lot of water.  There are 43 videos; I’m sure some of her other topics will appeal to you.

Here’s the YouTube link to get you started

See you next Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

Lots of love,




Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!

Au Revoir, Fat & Dr. Benicio Frey’s Webinar

Dear Friends,

If you’ve read my book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, you’ll know I was an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and worked in a gym for a few years.


This was me, “B.B.D.” (Before Bipolar Diagnosis) 

At college, I gained the “Freshman 20+” instead of the typical “Freshman 15.” Ever since my uni days, my adipose tissue (the fancy term for fat) has fluctuated in quantity due to a variety of reasons; bipolar depression and stress/anxiety have been the main reasons for my weight gain.


Last year was one of the most stressful years I’ve ever experienced.


I was under a deadline with Post Hill Press to deliver my edited manuscript. At least writing my book didn’t almost kill me (During that same year, Bipolar Burble blogger Natasha Tracy published a post called Writing a Book about Bipolar and Depression Almost Killed Me), but what did happen was that I gained almost 30 pounds in only a couple months.


If I kept up that rate of weight gain, I’d turn into Jabba the Hutt!


On a serious note, I’d risk developing very serious health conditions and complications.



I realized I had to come to terms with my emotional stress eating once and for all.

“Coming to terms” sounds nice and granola-y, but what does that really mean?


Well, for me, it begins with enlisting my counselor’s support and making a commitment to myself stop this vicious cycle.


It means bringing my shame out into the open, which is why I’m publishing this post despite having second, third, and fourth thoughts.


I’m also a fan of self-help books, although I admit I never do the exercises they usually require. Nevertheless, I just started reading a self-help book and a healthy food cookbook. Both of them are inspiring me and I’ll share those titles here after I finish reading them.

The only thing that has ever helped me lose weight has been using a free tracking app called Lose It!

Last year I wrote about using Lose It!:Losing a Mirror Carp Feels Good.


If you’re like me—an emotional, compulsive overeater/binger/midnight fridge marauder—and you’d like to join me and get healthier, please consider joining Lose It! I keep reading that pairing up with others when embarking on weight loss greatly increases your chance of success. 


On Lose It!, I belong to two groups where we cheer one another on. Once you’ve signed up, go to “Community”, then select”Find Groups” and type one (or both) of these in:

Moms with Bipolar group

Bipolar Battlers group

And now for something completely different….


Dr. Benicio Frey

Apart from my weight woes, I wanted to let you know psychiatrist Dr. Benicio Frey will present a free webinar about perinatal mood disorder research next Wednesday, January 17th from 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. PST.  

The webinar is sponsored by the International Bipolar Foundation and it’s not too late to sign up – just go to this link!

The following section is just part of Dr. Frey’s impressive bio.; you’ll find the rest of it on the IBPF link:

“Dr. Frey is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, Academic Head of the Mood Disorders Program, and Director of the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare. 

In 2008, Dr. Frey received a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship award to study brain imaging in perimenopausal women with depression, at the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Currently, Dr. Frey has over 100 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.”

Lastly, I want to share a cool new resource with you – it’s run by John Emotions, the charismatic podcaster and founder of Bipolar Style. John wanted a “private, more focused area to talk about Bipolar” that will surpass Facebook forums, etc. He created Bipolar Party on Yammer and I really like the layout – it’s original and it has great potential. 

Come join us! If you’re interested, email me your email address so I can send you an invitation: dyane@baymoon.com 

And on that note, have a good weekend, and I’ll see you next Friday. (I hope I’ll see some of you on Lose It! too. Feel free to ask me any questions about it in the comments!)

Take good care & lots of love,



Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!

Last Time at the Munchkin


An unexpected side effect due to my meds? 


Drinking too much espresso at Squaw’s Coffeebar – talk about a buzz with a view!

The beautiful sunrise on Red Dog Ridge. I watch this sunrise each morning from the cabin. Squaw Valley is directly on the other side of the ridge.


Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! 

I’m writing this post from the Munchkin cabin in Alpine Meadows, California. We’ve been coming here in the winter and summer for the past ten years. Craig found this place on Craigslist, appropriately enough, and the first time we pulled up to the cabin I couldn’t believe how big and spectacular it was. Normally we couldn’t afford this kind of rental, ever! However, we’ve been super-lucky the owner charged us 1/4th of the typical rate for Alpine Meadows cabin rentals. That’s nothing short of miraculous.

I’ve blogged about my Munchkin visits throughout the last decade. It’s where I’ve spent terrible trips due to my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. I’ve weighed as much as 170 pounds up here and I hardly did anything active except stuff my face with chocolate and shuffle around.

Zonked out on Xanax at 170 lbs, I’m praying the gondola won’t fall

Other times when I’ve been a much healthier 135-140 pounds and depression-free (something I never thought would happen in my lifetime),  I’ve had the energy to hike to my heart’s content. The hikes have never been easy due to the altitude, which is approximately 6480 feet, but once I get going I feel so much better mentally.

I’ve had a few terrifying experiences in the Munchkin. One summer I saw a BIG bear right outside the window. The bear had just been in our cabin, silently eating garbage near the entrance in the basement and he/she was undetected by any of us! How did the bear get in? Well, the front door had been left WIDE open and I’m happy to tell you I wasn’t the one who did that!

During another winter visit when I was deeply depressed, Craig fell down the steep stairs and broke his foot. I had to drive him and the girls to the hospital on icy roads—I think I drove less than one mile per hour!  

There have been happier times too, thank God. After my lithium/MAOI combination finally lifted my bipolar depression after seven years of hell, I was able to do fun things like take the girls ice skating and go on the Squaw Valley Gondola without popping a Xanax. I felt like myself again.

I wrote and edited a sizable chunk of my book in the Munchkin.

The view from the bathroom—in the summer the hill is covered with all kinds of wildflowers!


Last month the owner told us she’s selling the cabin so this will be our last visit. Sadly we don’t have close to a million dollars to buy a second home like many others do in this area. Hopefully, we’ll find another affordable place we can rent. 


A gorgeously lit home I passed during my walk last night

Today is our last day at the Munchkin and later on in the afternoon I’ll take Lucy on a snowy hike.

My hound LOVES the snow! Her super-thick Scottish collie fur will keep her cozy throughout our ramble. 

I hope that each of you will find your own version of “The Munchkin” —a special, beautiful, affordable place where you’ll only experience good things! You won’t suffer broken feet, bipolar depression, or chunky bears oh-so-quietly coming into your home.

See you next Friday!



p.s. My 1st article for BP/Bipolar Magazine’s Winter issue is online. Please visit the link and take a look. If you can share the article via Twitter, Facebook, etc. (and if you want to knock my socks off, please comment) I’d be very grateful!



Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder With a foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw. Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!

“The Dr. Denise Show” Podcast (She’s an Awesome Holistic Psychiatrist!)

Dr. Denise and her beloved dog Boomer

Happy Friday, my friends!

When I received a confirmation email from psychiatrist Dr. Denise McDermott that I’d be a guest on her show, I was nervous. Then I freaked and considered canceling. You see, before I had contacted her to be a guest, I checked out her credentials and they were impressive and intimidating!

When I listened to her podcast archives I felt better. She was warm, personable, and nothing like 99% of the psychiatrists I’ve encountered. Dr. Denise believes in the mind-body-spirit connection. 

Dr. Denise believes in the mind-body-spirit connection. She’s traditionally trained—I’m not saying she’s a mega-granola-eating, patchouli-drenched physician-hippie (a “phippie”??!!), BUT she believes in combining allopathic and holistic approaches. She’s a proponent of using the least amount of meds necessary. That is very cool.

As soon as we began recording our podcast, Dr. Denise completely set me at ease. We just jumped right in and I felt like I was talking with a friend. There was none of that lofty “pdoc” attitude (i.e. “I’m an M.D. and I’m clearly better than you! You’re a M.D.-degree-less nothing!”)

We’re about the same age and we share some of the same cultural references, plus she’s based in Southern California and some of you know that’s where I grew up. 

Click here for the link to our podcast.

Dr. Denise’s E-Book

Dr. Denise shares how our thoughts, feelings, and actions coupled with our DNA determine our sense of happiness and wellbeing. We hope this ebook will inspire you to embrace your mental wellness and take a new stand for your mental health – feeling empowered and strong no matter what challenge you or your loved ones are faced with right now in your life.

My Amazon Review:

November 11, 2017: Verified Purchase

As a mom with postpartum bipolar disorder, I found Mental Health and How to Thrive such an uplifting, fascinating read. It was refreshing to read a psychiatrist’s perspective on spirit, mind, and body instead of taking of a purely clinical, boring approach. Dr. McDermott packs so much into this short book.
Learn about the word “neurostyle” Dr. McDermott prefers to use instead of other terms typically used for mental illness. She explains how it’s possible to thrive through crisis and go above and beyond surviving. She discusses a variety of mood disorders (a.k.a neurostyles) in children and adults, and she stresses the importance of incorporating mindfulness into one’s life. Other chapters examine how sleep affects mental health, a family peace plan (one of my favorites!) and essentials for mental health. I highly recommend this fantastic book to anyone seeking better mental health.

Visit Dr. Denise on Twitter

(She has lots of beautiful & inspiring tweets with stunning images & thought-provoking quotes!)


Click the links below to connect with:

Dr. Denise on Facebook 

Dr. Denise’s Website

As a famous bunny once said:







Have a great weekend & see you next Friday!



Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the perinatal psychiatrist and acclaimed author Dr. Carol Henshaw. Available on Amazon in paperback & Kindle versions!


A Nerve-racking, but Ultimately Fulfilling Book Talk!

Park Hall Community Center, December 7th, 2017

Dear Friends,

Last night was my big book signing/educational presentation – it’s the last one I’m doing this year. I had done a ton of publicity in advance of my talk—I arranged and gave 3 local newspaper interviews, I posted flyers all over the valley, I used social media, and I was a guest on a popular Bay Area radio show.

Unfortunately, I spaced out about getting the talk recorded yet again. Drat!

I didn’t read my speech to the audience verbatim; in fact, my main mistake was going off-topic far too much, resulting in a presentation that was at least 15-20 minutes too long. I cringe thinking about it!!! The good news is that I learned my lesson and I won’t do that next time!

This talk was a benefit for NAMI/National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Valley Women’s Club and $300 was raised for them through my book & refreshment sales! 

Ten-year-old Marilla sold books again and did an amazing job. My husband took care of the PowerPoint projector side of things. I’m tuckered out and plan to wait at least a month before scheduling another local talk. 

Wonderful people from the Valley Women’s Club and the Friends of the Boulder Creek Library helped me with the event – they sold cookies & coffee, they helped set and clean up the room, and they provided moral support. There were also incredible friends and acquaintances who showed up such as my postpartum doula/author Salle Webber (The Gentle Art of Newborn Family Care) and my virtual friend/social media genius/blogger Carol Stephen, who I met in person for the 1st time, and my fantastic friend Martha Graham-Waldon, author of the award-winning Nothing Like Normal – Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia. Martha helped Marilla sell books and they got an A+ – for doing an excellent job!

There were also strangers who moved me deeply during the Q & A session when they shared some of their own struggles. A few of them were near tears due to heartbreaking situations they were currently facing. I was able to put them in touch then and there with a perinatal therapist I knew well and she happened to be in the audience. I knew she’d be fine with the instant referral (she was) and they spoke after the talk.


I created a handout I gave to everyone last night that’s chock full of useful info. I’ve copied it for you below.

I’m going to go get a bite to eat and watch one of my favorite Netflix or Acorn TV shows. These include Australia’s The Heart Guy, Glitch—Season 2 (which has Rodger Corser the star from The Heart Guy; he’s such a brilliant actor), New Zealand’s The Brokenwood Mysteries, and the U.K.’s Love, Lies & Records. 

I wish you all a good weekend in which you take care of yourself and do some things that make you happy!

Lots of love,



Park Hall Community Center Author Talk, December 7th, 2017

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

General Information and Resources

Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (“PMADS”)

1)Antenatal (during pregnancy) and postpartum depression

2) postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

3) postpartum psychosis

4) postpartum bipolar disorder (bipolar, peripartum onset in the DSM-5)

5) postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

5) postpartum panic disorder

6) postpartum anxiety disorder

Symptoms of Mania:

Elevated mood, irritability, pursuing goal-directed activities more than usual, heightened energy, a decreased need for sleep, excessive talkativeness, pressurized speech, racing thoughts, spending sprees, hypersexuality, and grandiosity.

Symptoms of Depression:

Feelings of anger or irritability, {postpartum-related: lack of interest in the baby, possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself}, feelings of sadness, tearfulness, crying, emptiness or hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports, sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much, tiredness and lack of energy, even small tasks take extra effort, reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain, anxiety, agitation or restlessness, slowed thinking, slowed speaking or body movements, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame, trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things, frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide, unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.

Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis (not a complete list)

Delusions or strange beliefs

Paranoia and suspiciousness

Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)

Rapid mood swings

Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s Suggestions: Exercise for Mood Stability

1) Get your doctor’s blessing to exercise, then find an exercise you enjoy doing such as walking, hiking, yoga, swimming, running, treadmill, etc.

2) Exercise 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Research shows that this is what’s needed to affect the brain.

3) Make sure your activity is intense enough so you break a sweat and can’t maintain an ongoing conversation. (If you can’t exercise 6 days/week, shoot for a minimum of 5 days.)

(For more information please visit: medium.com/@MoAlsuwaidan)

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Santa Cruz County Chapter

http://www.namiscc.org          Help Line: 831-427-8020

NAMI Santa Cruz Support Groups link: http://www.namiscc.org/groups.html

NAMI offers a variety of educational classes for consumers and caregivers


DBSA (Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance), Los Gatos/San Jose Chapter

Join DBSA San Jose/Los Gatos’ Meetup Support Group, Organizer: Mike Pearl

Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA San Jose)

San Jose, CA
97 Members

Find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting, and where you can make a difference in the lives of others.  DBSA San Jose support groups are volunteer ru…

Next Meetup

Depression/Bipolar Peer Support Group (Mountain View)

Saturday, Dec 30, 2017, 10:00 AM
2 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


CaringBridge Website

Use this wonderful free resource to help organize community support, give updates during a health crisis, receive donations for medical costs and much more.


 Postpartum Support International Warmline


PSI Warmline: (Toll-free) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773) You’re welcome to leave a confidential message anytime, and one of the Warmline volunteers will return your call as soon as possible, providing you with basic information, support, and resources in your area. If you’re not able to talk when the volunteer calls you, you can arrange another time to connect.

 International Bipolar Foundation

(858) 764-2496, comprehensive information & resources about bipolar disorder

BP/Bipolar Magazine


 Suicide Hotline Numbers

If you’re in the U.S. and thinking about suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800- 273-TALK (8255) suicidepreventionlifeline.org—they are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.If you’re outside the U.S., please visit this link for a list of international suicide hotlines: suicide.org/international-suicide- hotlines.html

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has a database of international crisis centers at iasp.info/resources/ Crisis_Centres/

Postpartum Psychosis Resources

 “What is Postpartum Psychosis? Teresa Twomey, TEDxBushnellPark


Author of Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP)
The APP website offers a link to a private forum for mothers with postpartum psychosis and/or bipolar disorder.


Emotional Support Animals

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one symptom of the disability. Emotional support animals, typically dogs, but sometimes cats or other animals, may be used by people with a range of physicalpsychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. To be afforded protection under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of disability and must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability. An animal does not need specific training to become an emotional support animal.[1] Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation, such as a waiver of a “no pets policy”, for any assistance animal, including an emotional support animal, under both the FHAA and Section 504.[3]

 Mom & Mind Podcast with Dr. Kaeni & Dyane Harwood

Episode 70, Postpartum Bipolar Disorder


Dyane Harwood’s Website

Sign up for Dyane’s newsletter—just scroll down to the bottom of the page for occasional e-updates about events.


Recommended Blog

 Kitt O’Malley www.kittomalley.blog


Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the perinatal psychiatrist and acclaimed author Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Now available on Amazon in paperback & Kindle versions!