Recap: 1st Book Signing/Educational Presentation @ BC Library!

Reflecting about last night’s daunting educational presentation & book signing….

Here are some pictures from last night’s event at the library – I wish you could have been there with me & I hope you enjoy them!

I had a great, attentive audience. Not a heckler in sight! The highlight was having my daughter and most of my Toastmasters club members there to cheer me on!


My daughter Marilla did an amazing job – she not only set up 40 chairs, she arranged the cookie table and sold books!

 

And here’s a picture of my wonderful friend & longtime supporter,  the author & columnist Merry Ruthe Wilson! (Visit her Amazon Author page for info. about Merry’s memoir Waaaay Beyond Lemonade & her two beautifully illustrated children’s books) Merry’s picture by Blaine Brunelle

Book Signing Pictures by George Haas Photography

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by perinatal psychiatrist and acclaimed author Dr. Carol Henshaw, now available on Amazon!

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Silly Video of Seeing My Book the 1st Time!

 

Thank you, Kitt O’MalleyMarie Abanga, & Greg Archer for your wonderful Amazon reviews!

Also, big thanks to the author Maricela Estrada-Morena (Bipolar Girl) for her beautiful Kings River Life review of Birth of a New Brain! To read her review & enter for a chance to win a copy, please visit this link!

 

I’ll be giving my first educational presentation/book signing at the library next week—I never would’ve considered doing such a thing but joining Toastmasters back in March made me able to make such a commitment. 

 

100% of the book sales and refreshment proceeds will be given to the Friends of the Boulder Creek Library and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Santa Cruz County Chapter. I hope I’ll have someone record the talk and if that works out, I’ll share it here—at the very least I’ll write about the experience in next Friday’s post.

 


Have a great weekend and thanks so much for reading!

Love,

Dyane

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder With a foreword by perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw, now available on Amazon!

 

on October 13, 2017
This book has offered a way to the other side, from feeling out of control to gaining the necessary insight to balancing one’s life after bipolar disorder. The author’s story is a testament to overcoming the obstacles people with mental health face. Dyane Harwood’s groundbreaking memoir not only shares her inspiring story but offers readers practical advice she has used herself and excellent resources as well. I am a daily essential oil user and appreciate how she uses orange essential oil to uplift the spirit so she motivates herself to go exercise. I feel it is necessary to bring nature’s medicine chest into the equation, and that is exactly what she has done to gain equilibrium and balance. “Birth of a New Brain” is easy to read and reaches out to the mental health community with heart and soul along with sound advice and the resources to “birth a new brain” and live a life with passion and grace.

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Dyane

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

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

new brainDyaneHeadshot

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Review by Marie Abanga

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

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

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

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

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

And yet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thank you, Marie!!!!!

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

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

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

 

Have a great Labor Day weekend, my friends!

Love,

Dyane

 

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

Kitt O’Malley’s Review: “Birth of a New Brain” #PostPartumBipolar

Kitt O’Malley’s Review: “Birth of a New Brain” #PostPartumBipolar

 

This review of “Birth of a New Brain” by the blogger/writer Kitt O’Malley is one of the first ones I’ve read. I’m very grateful for her insights and impressions.

As a mother with bipolar disorder, Kitt has a particular appreciation for my experience. She has an outstanding blog so if you haven’t read it, I encourage you to look at the variety of her posts and be sure to read her “About” page – she’s a truly remarkable person, and I’m proud to call her my friend.

Kitt O'Malley

Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder by Dyane Harwood. Foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Dyane Harwood thrilled me when she sent me an advance copy of her memoir, Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder. (I pre-ordered it and was anxiously awaiting it’s October 2017 release.) Her memoir fills a much-needed niche in sharing the experience of bipolar disorder, peripartum onset (beginning during pregnancy or within four weeks after delivery).

With her friendly approachable writing style, her strong spirit shines throughout her memoir, even when describing the devastation of bipolar disorder. Her story shows how important it is to not give up. She had to undergo ECT and multiple medication trials to find what worked for her.

Dyane explains both the traumatic symptoms she experienced and technical psychiatric information clearly and accurately. She managed to inform and inspire the me. Her book is well-researched and includes useful and informative resources throughout and in her appendices. She even includes me as…

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Cool Mental Health Podcasts Aplenty!

What a striking logo – I love it!

 

Do you listen to podcasts? I’m a relative latecomer to the podcast world, but hey, better late than never, right?

Thanks to Lucy’s daily walk, I’ve turned into quite the podcast connoisseur. We strut our stuff for 20 minutes. At that point my girl gets tired so we head for an empty baseball field. Lucy hangs out on the grass while I walk laps around the dugout. That’s the perfect time to listen to downloaded podcasts on my cell phone’s speaker – some people prefer headphones. You can listen to podcasts in cars, at home, at the gym, standing in line at the market (just kidding – you’d get lots of glares unless you have headphones! 😉 etc.

Once again I must remind you Lucy is so darn cute, and the hound is thirsty after powering out those twenty minutes. Because I love to spoil her rotten, I bring a plastic bowl I fill with a bottle of water. She chillaxes and rehydrates in the great outdoors while I get in my workout!

When freshly bathed, this furry beast appears half her size!

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When I began my podcast exploration, I started out with the best of the best:  Mohr Stories on Podcast One.

Mohr Stories is hosted by actor, comedian, poet, author, and sports enthusiast, Jay Mohr.  Here’s the podcast description: 

“Each week, laugh, be surprised and think deep, as Jay talks to an entertainer, athlete, musician, author or game-changer about showbiz, comedy, and life beyond your typical interview conversation. Guests have included Anthony Bourdain, Perez Hilton, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jay Leno, Reggie Watts and more. Frequent visitors include John DiMaggio, Brad Williams, Jim Jeffries, Adam Carolla, and of course, the occasional Christopher Walken impersonation.”

Last year Jay invited me to be on Mohr Stories but I wanted to wait until after Birth of a New Brain was published in October. When the air date is confirmed, I’ll let you know!

The super-cool hosts Alisha Perkins and Colleen Lindstrom of Mind Full

 

Mind Full is “an open, honest and entertaining discussion about mental & physical health, hosted by author, runner, and baseball wife Alisha Perkins, and MyTalk 107.1 radio personality Colleen Lindstrom.” 

I’m really enjoying reading Alisha’s memoir Running Home: Big-League Wife, Small-Town Story about living with anxiety, long-distance running (which I used to do until I blew out my knee), and glimpses of what it’s like being married to a high-profile baseball player – there’s much more to it than that, of course.

Alsha’s eye-catching cover!

To listen to Mind Full, visit this link.

I’m recording an episode with Alisha and Colleen in late September & I’ll post the air date when I know it! 

Then there’s the popular Mom and Mind podcast with Dr. Katayune Kaeni. “Dr Kat” is an internet friend of mine and she invited me to be a podcast guest a while ago, but I wasn’t ready to do that until now. Here’s the description:

This podcast is for new mothers, new fathers, families and the health care providers who support them. We discuss the things you need to know about your mental health during the transition to motherhood and parenthood. It’s for partners too, who are also going through their own changes. Dr. Kat, a specialist in maternal mental health, interviews moms, dads, experts and advocates about how to cope, manage and recover from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. We talk about postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and SO MUCH MORE! We get real. We get honest. We put on our stigma crushing boots and address the realities of the transition to motherhood and parenthood while offering hope, healing, and resources for help. Please find more information at http://www.momandmind.com”

 Mom and Mind is on iTunes – you can visit the link here. 

 

I want to check out the podcast archives at:

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

and

The Hilarious World of Depression 

 

Both of those podcasts have gotten a lot of praise. If I come across a particularly cool episode, I’ll be sure to share it here. And if you have a favorite podcast, please tell me about it in the comments!

Have a good weekend, my friends! Until next week, lots of love! 

Dyane

 

You can read my latest article here: SELF Magazine “We Need to Talk About Postpartum Bipolar Disorder” 

 

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

Spiders in the Night Make Me Tired

It’s 10:30 a.m. and I’m tired.

Yesterday evening I received a disturbing email from a relative. It was unsettling because its content indicated that the relative has some signs of Alzheimer’s. (Kitt, I plan on reading your Bipolar and Dementia blog post today!)

Later that night around 2:00 a.m., one of my girls woke me out of a deep-ish sleep (which in itself is extremely rare!) to tell me there was a big black spider by her bed and I needed to send it to Spider Heaven STAT!!!

When I got to her room,  I found not one, but two of the creepy crawlers, plus there were two other spiders in the hallway! (Bipolar on Fire, my fellow arachnophobist, I thought of you!) 

Ahhhhhh!!!  

I do not like spiders!

As Dr. Seuss wrote in Green Eggs and Ham,

“I would not like them
Here or there.
I would not like them
Anywhere.”

Sorry, spiders of the world, it’s nothing personal. 

At least I can look on  the bright side here – at least the spiders weren’t as big as this:

 

 

Did I mention I have poison oak…the second time this summer!  I guess I need to be more aware of those “leaves of three (and) let them be” once and for all!

These are small problems, well, except for the dementia issue, but I’ll be okay. When I take Lucy for her walk later this afternoon, that will give me an attitude adjustment.

As long as I keep away from the poison oak, ticks, and of course, spiders!

 

What is it about Alice Cooper that’s so gosh darn likable? Hmm, maybe I could dress up as him for Halloween this year!

 

Thanks for reading and an extra-big thanks for your encouragement over the past few weeks!!! Have a great weekend!

XOXO,

Dyane

 

 

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