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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Fears of Public Speaking (Kitt, Can You Impersonate Me?)

 

After a morning thunderstorm, Lucy and I took a long walk at the high school. My Scottish collie was tired, so where did she decide to rest? In a rainwater puddle, of course! 

 

 

Today I felt inspired to write about a book promotion-related fear I’ll face this fall. I’ll eventually write about other book-related trepidations, but I won’t ignore topics close to my heart ranging from the serious to the superficial, i.e. bipolar disorder, motherhood, the supernatural, coffee (a.k.a. the 5th food group), miscellaneous cool resources, and, naturally, my dog Lucy.

It’s safe to say there will be no more anecdotes about mountain lion encounters or freaky spiders – hurrah!

Public Speaking

Some of Us Have the Oratorical Bug…

Some of Us Don’t

 

I wish I could have mental health advocate/blogger Kitt O’Malley impersonate me this fall when I do my book events.

Kitt is a passionate and gifted speaker. She taps into her talent as a NAMI Provider Educator at the hospital where she received inpatient and partial day treatment over a decade ago. Kitt educates staff on what it’s like to live with mental illness and to be in mental health recovery. As a mom with bipolar, she has many responsibilities and she does all kinds of activities. Somehow I don’t think she has the time to fly up here to pretend to be me, but I certainly could try bribing her. You never know… 

I adore Kitt!

As a mom with bipolar, she has many responsibilities and she does all kinds of activities. Somehow I don’t think she has the time to fly up here to pretend to be me, but I certainly could try bribing her. You never know… 

My husband Craig is also an accomplished and dynamic public speaker. After his book Quest for Flight – John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West was published, he was psyched to give book talks wherever he could. Craig has given over fifty presentations at libraries, aviation clubs, museums, and other groups. He continues to receive speaking invitations even though his book was published in 2012!

I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, it’s time to drag myself to the Redwood Ramblers, my local chapter of TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL.

TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL is a non-profit organization that aims to help its members develop “public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback in local clubs since 1924.” 

Look at all the TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL benefits:

You know, that list reminds me of the tenets of this rather mysterious dogma!

There’s no need for me to feel paranoid. A trusted source tells me that TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL is proud to be GMO-free

and Tom Cruise-free!

(If you’re a Scientologist, I don’t mean to offend you…much.)

Book Endorsement Pupdate Update

Meanwhile, the ARC (advanced review copy) of my book is being read by a variety of amazing psychiatrists, mental health advocates, and authors. They live in Australia, Kuwait, England, Western Canada, Oregon, upstate New York, and Massachusetts.

Karen Kleiman is the founder of the Postpartum Stress Center, a bestselling author, and postpartum expert. She emailed me a blurb that actually brought tears to my eyes. 

“Bipolar illness is serious and widely misunderstood. When it emerges in the postpartum period, women and medical professionals are often blindsided due to the current lack of awareness. Birth of a New Brain is a brave and deeply personal account of how bipolar illness can impact a new mother. Her honest reveal of startling references such as mania, ECT, hospital wards, suicide and “tsunami obsessions” creates heartfelt transparency and highlights its stigma-busting potential. Postpartum women in distress will relate to Dyane Harwood’s genuineness and be grateful for this book.”

Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW

Author, The Art of Holding: An Essential Intervention for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and Founder, The Postpartum Stress Center

Karen designed this fantastic meme that appears in my book

 

If you have public speaking advice (either happy stories, horror stories or both!) I’d love to know the details. Please share away…

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!

Sending you lots of love,

Dyane

 

Dyane Harwood’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.

It’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!