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.
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Writing Rejection Strikes Before Publication Day!

When I read this quote my first thought was:

“Whoa…Sylvia Plath must have been manic when she wrote that!”

 

(Please note: this post was written before the Las Vegas tragedy.)

 

 

I know that things could be worse in my life.

Much, much worse.

Those of you familiar with my background know what events I’m referring to, but for those of you who are new to my blog, here’s the backstory:

I’ve been a revolving door hospital patient. I suffered from treatment-resistant bipolar depression for seven years, I’ve been suicidal, and I’ve had two rounds of electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy.

After all that, one would assume a writing rejection is not that big a deal.

Right?

Wrong.

This particular rejection really got to me. I thought my submission was good—it wasn’t amazing, but I felt it had merit. Despite the fact my submission focused on a rare mental illness, its content was relevant to readers with mood disorders of different kinds. The essay fit the editors’ specifications I had carefully perused. I had checked with the editors to make sure my topic would be appropriate and I got the go-ahead.

Here’s my rejection email:

Dear Dyane,

You are a horrible writer and geez – you need to do something else, anything else, like take up knitting, or create an herb window garden, or explore vegan cooking.

(Just kidding.)

Thanks so much for your submission to How the Light Gets In. After reading through entries, conferring, reading, and conferring more, we’re sorry to tell you that we won’t be including “The Deja vu Conversation” in the anthology. As writers, we know how much time and effort (not to mention gumption!) it takes to craft and submit a piece. Thank you for trusting us with it. We received an overwhelming amount of beautiful entries.

It was a nice problem to have. But also, it made the process of choosing very difficult. We sincerely appreciate you sharing your work with us. Also, thank you for adding your voice to the larger story of mental illness. It’s encouraging to see that there are many of us speaking up and helping to break the stigma that surrounds mental health. None of us are alone in our battles. 

Again, thank you for submitting and all the best as you move forward,

Kelley and Gillian

My take: they should have stopped the email after the first paragraph. The remainder seems saccharine and uses a cliché. I believe a rejection email should be brief and condescension-free unless it has specific feedback for the writer.

Everyone gets rejections – one of J.K. Rowling ‘s rejection letters said she should join a writing group!

 

I was especially vulnerable on Rejection Day because I had a cold. I get a nasty bug every October, although this year I was doing all I could to prevent it, i.e. taking the cold-busting, vile-tasting Wellness Formula.

Because of my cold, I wasn’t able to get out with Lucy for our restorative, attitude-adjusting, walks that almost always improve my mood.


Recently, I was inspired by my blogging friend Sara Gethin whose hit novel Not Thomas received very challenging criticism in the British daily newspaper The Guardian. While it wasn’t writing rejection per se, negative reviews have much in common with writing rejection.

She took the criticism in stride—she has such a great attitude, one I wish she could bottle and sell to me. Gethin’s situation was unique and I encourage you to read this post, part one, and this post, part two, about her experience being nominated for a fiercely competitive reader’s choice contest. 


By the way, if any of you submitted a piece to those editors and it was accepted, please take my hissy fit with a grain of salt! I will be happy for you! I will promote you! Don’t be afraid to share your good news

I need to focus on something wonderful instead: the publication of my book on Tuesday! And guess what? My first case of my books arrives TODAY by 6:00 p.m.!!!!

I’m so excited!

I’ll be taking pictures of the books fresh out of the box. I feel like they’re my babies. (I know that’s weird, but it’s true.)

Please don’t forget to tell your friends, your social networks, and everyone else you know on this planet to buy Birth of a New Brain on Tuesday, October 10th and, if at all possible, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I’ll be forever in your debt!

Have a good weekend, and thanks for reading!!!

Love,

Dyane


This collie looks so much like Lucy, it’s uncanny! I’m not getting the costume though. It got bad reviews, and I know Lucy would hate it.

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

With a foreword by perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw,

will be published on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10th – hurrah!

Until then, Birth of a New Brain is available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback pre-sales.

 

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…

View original post 404 more words

33 Days to Go!

You might be asking, “33 days to go to what?”

(Lucy already knows the answer—she’s such a smart Scottish collie!)

October 10th is my book’s official “birthday,” otherwise known as its publication date. That momentous day will be the perfect excuse to buy a super-yummy chocolate cake. Even if a snarky one-star review is posted, I can drown my freak-out in amazing chocolate!

I’m excited to tell you that at last Kindle pre-orders are now available! 

Thanks to Candice Curry for the image – her blog also has suggestions about how to launch a book heremy favorite is #6: Stand in your street and scream all about it.

This morning I read two great articles by fellow National Association of Memoir Writers author Lizbeth Meredith. Check out her blog’s About page featuring her truly incredible story here.

First, I read her insightful Independent Publisher article “Lessons Crisis Taught Me, Revisited During Publication.” 

Then I read Lizbeth’s blog post “Five Easy Ways to Launch My Book.” She gave excellent suggestions on how her followers could easily support her book launch. Lizbeth inspired me to reach out to you for your help!

(When your time comes, I’ll owe you one!)

 

These suggestions originally appeared in Lizbeth’s blog post. I edited them and added a few silly things of my own.

1. SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORT:

Please “LIKE” my author page on Facebook. Poor little me—I don’t have many likes. Apparently, it helps to look like you’re The Bloggess or Cheryl Strayed in terms of having a bazillion Godzillian likes. How does that really, truly help someone like me? I don’t know, but it’s easy, you’ll gain good karma if you believe in that, and I’d be grateful for your support!  

Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/Birth-of-a-New-Brain-Healing-from-Postpartum-Bipolar-515878388510811/

I’d love you to follow me on Twitter (@DyaneHarwood) – as some of you know, I’m a big Twitter fan. I invite you to share news about my book through tweets and via other social media of your choice. I haven’t used my #BirthOfANewBrain hashtag very much, but feel free to do that and tag me anytime!

2. BUY Birth of a New Brain: Please consider buying the book, especially now that it will be on Kindle and cost less $! Even if you don’t want to read it (which I TOTALLY understand!!!) you can give it to someone, donate it to a library, or give a copy to a nonprofit involved with mental health.

Anyone who gives a copy (or three) to Bipolar UK will get a very special gift from me!!!

3. REVIEW: After you’ve read the book, post a 5-star review of the book on Amazon. (Okay, okay, I’M KIDDING ABOUT THE FIVE STARS. Am I joking? Well, not really, heh, heh, heh! The old chestnut “There is truth in jest” comes to mind!)

Lizbeth wrote something very important about reviews: “If we’re friends or family, please acknowledge that or Amazon may erase your review. Full disclosure is the best policy.” Thank you Lizbeth!

4. GOODREADS: Please add Birth of a New Brain to your shelf on Goodreads and review it when you can. I’m still learning about Goodreads – I know I could probably do a lot more networking on there, but I’m lazy.

5. NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Finally, please sign up for my newsletter at my website: http://www.dyaneharwood.com (Scroll to the very bottom.) I won’t send you too much info. – in fact, I haven’t sent a thing to my whopping list of 5 members yet. But maybe I’ll have some cool giveaways, maybe I could promote your cause if it’s mental health related….who knows what I can do? Whatever it’ll be, I promise it will be good.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading my blog!

Love,

Dyane

 

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.

Should bp Magazine Publish A Postpartum Bipolar Article?

The original topic for today was going to be “Dog Poop & Rich People” and believe me, I’ll cover that subject soon! It’s a subject very close to my heart. But there’s another topic I’m passionate about & I could use your social media support

I’d be so grateful for your help!

Some of you may have heard of bp Magazine, the world’s largest magazine that focuses on all things bipolar.

bp Magazine’s publisher Joanne Doan was kind enough to contribute this endorsement for my book. She wrote:

There is a distinct need for Dyane Harwood’s book Birth of a New Brain. Although Dyane had a specific trigger for her bipolar disorder, peripartum onset after the birth of her second daughter, her story applies to anyone who has been affected by depression, mania and anxiety, either firsthand or through caring about someone who lives with a mood disorder. Dyane’s perseverance in finding treatments and strategies to regain stability will offer hope to those on the same journey, whether they’re at the very beginning or somewhere along the way.

Joanne M. Doan

Publisher of bp Magazine | hope and harmony for people with bipolar

In 2016, one of bp Magazine’s writers contacted me to be quoted in her article – I think it was about anger. I asked if she would pitch her editor about writing a bipolar, peripartum onset/postpartum bipolar story at some point, and she said yes. I sent her my press kit which included all the wonderful blurbs by Joanne Doan, Kay Redfield Jamison, Dr. Verinder Sharma, etc and asked her to forward it to her editor with the pitch.

Recently she pitched the editor. The editor passed.

I was shocked. This pitch wasn’t all about promoting my book – it was mainly about bringing attention to a form of bipolar in a magazine dedicated to bipolar disorder! (There has never been an article written about it before.) Of course, my book would be mentioned, but not in depth.

By the editor passing on her pitch, it can be implied she thinks that expert opinions such as Kay Redfield Jamison’s are meaningless:

Dyane Harwood’s Birth of a New Brain is a gripping account of the awful juxtaposition of childbirth and the onset of bipolar illness. Her 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

Ironically, SELF magazine asked me to write an article about postpartum bipolar. The article was published online last Tuesday. While that was wonderful, I’m so disappointed (!)  bp Magazine finds this topic unworthy. I’ve gotten great feedback from the SELF piece and from organizations that have retweeted the article (Intl. Bipolar Foundation, UCLA Semel Friends, Postpartum Support International, DBSA, and many others) indicating there’s a strong interest in this subject.

ww.self.com/story/postpartum-bipolar-disorder

SO, my friends, I know I need to let it go, but before I do could you please consider contacting bp Magazine asking for a postpartum bipolar article? One idea is you could write something along the lines of:

“Hi. I read the SELF postpartum bipolar article and I’d like more information from the #1 bipolar magazine in the world!”  😉  

There’s nothing else I can do except ask you to help, please.

Here are the best ways to reach bp Magazine with your opinion:

TWITTER

@bpHopeMag

You can write a Letter to the Editor!!!

Either email: mailbag@bphope

or

http://www.bphope.com/connect/letter-to-the-editor/

Send a general comment to:

http://www.bphope.com/connect/contact/

If you’re a writer, pitch them YOUR idea about a postpartum bipolar article! (You will get paid!) Maybe you could interview me! 😉 Subtle hint, eh? 

How to query bp Magazine: Send your query letter in body of an email, not as an attachment. Your query should be accompanied by three recently published attached samples and a professional resume. Email queries all to mailbag@bphope.com

Look on their website for more details here. 

You can send a message on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/bpMagazine/

THANK YOU!!!

XO,

Dyane

P.S.This is the first time I’ve shared a GoFundMe link in this blog. My friend Julie Horner could use $ support to save her home. She’s a writer and a wonderful person, plus she’s promoting my book events through her volunteer work for the local paper.

Every $1 counts. If you can give anything and/’or share this link, thanks from the bottom of my heart!

https://www.gofundme.com/help-julie-horner-save-her-home

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s “Metronome”

The gifted author/poet Alexis Zinkerman

 

 

Alexis Zinkerman is a journalist, poet, and mental health advocate, and she has bipolar one disorder. She holds an MA in Writing from DePaul University, and her novella Brooklyn’s Song is available on Amazon. Alexis was first diagnosed with bipolar in 1996, but it took her many more years to find the right treatment course.

I discovered Alexis’ blog A Mile A Minute – Refreshing Takes on Mental Health through her International Bipolar Foundation blog. She also has a website right here where you can sign up for her Love Notes newsletter.

Alexis is the reason why I broke my “I Only Donate to One NAMI Participant/Year” rule.

When it comes to NAMI walks, I’ve always donated to my dear friend, the advocate/blogger Kitt O’Malley. (Follow her blog here!)

But I made an exception for Alexis. You’ll see why after you read her April 14th post “You Can Help Too. No Amount Is Too Small” which I’ve copied, in part, below. (I changed the color settings and font sizes found on the original post.)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To celebrate I will be running/walking in a 5K to help NAMI-CT. NAMI-CT offers support groups for people with mental health conditions as well as monitors legislative activity at the state level on mental health policy. They also educate schools and parents on mental illness. I wrote their annual report a few years ago.

This is a cool organization and I hope you’ll help me if you can…I sincerely understand if funds are tight for you, readers. But if anyone out there wants to forgo that morning coffee and support a great cause, no amount is too small. All your donations will go directly to NAMI-CT. I have been training for this 5K for over a year now with strength training and running on the treadmill and outside when weather permits. I will think of all my readers as I run/walk this event.

And…anyone who donates will receive a personalized poem from me on the topic of their choice.” 

 

I donated $10 to Alexis’ NAMI group, and this is the poem she wrote for me:

 

Metronome

Stability.

Why am I this dried up

when on meds?

Lithium, you save my soul

but

I no longer have the creativity

and manic energy

I need to function

There are manic floods

and depressive droughts

Then, there are droughts

caused by the meds

Droughts where you feel

nothing

not the highs or the lows

The doctor evened you out

so you forgot how to feel

I want to be manic again

so I can sing poetry to the sky,

write all night,

be super-productive…

I want to be manic again

I miss my creative thoughts

coming at rapid speeds faster

than I can write them down

But the drought of no emotion

is here to stay

I must re-learn how to feel

what everyone else feels

without the extremes.

I don’t like it this way

but at least, I have a life.

 

(c) Alexis Zinkerman

 

After I read Metronome, I emailed Alexis. This is an excerpt of that message:

My god, you have the poetic gift, Alexis!

I'll start with the title:  Metronome.

Well, it's perfect in many ways. It brought back memories of my 
violinist Dad's metronome ticking away in his practice room which 
was next to my bedroom. I found it to be an object of fascination 
as a little girl.

I'll be honest - I'm usually not a poetry fan. I've never 
gravitated to the majority of the poems of Madeleine L'Engle & L.M.Montgomery, my two favorite authors. They were *big* on writing 
poetry, and they frequently referenced others' poems in many of 
their works.

Your style reminds me of Madeleine L'Engle's: bold, vivid, and true

Your amazing piece spoke to me.
First off, I could understand it - that's a major plus.
There are soooo many poems that are beautiful to read, but frankly I have no idea what they're about, therefore I get frustrated and Ifeel dumb.

Not so with yours! Hurrah!

Second, you get bipolar. You clearly understand mania and what 
lithium can do. In a remarkably concise way, you express this 
complex mood disorder (including the hypergraphia I had) so 
poignantly and lyrically.

Wow!  Just wow!

 

Please consider donating a few dollars to Alexis’ team (and Kitt’s, if you’re flush with cash! 😉 and you’ll be thrilled when you receive a personalized poem in return.

You can follow Alexis on Twitter: @azinkerman

Next Friday, my friends I’ll publish a post about how my first talk for Toastmasters went.  I’m scheduled to do it on May 3rd.  It’ll be a tale of sweat, tears, anxiety, and (hopefully) triumph for making it through the four-six minute speech without passing out.

I’ll try to record it so I can share it with you here.  In the meantime, take good care of yourselves!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

 

Dyane Harwood’s memoir is Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Dr. Henshaw is the co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders, 2nd Edition published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in March 2017.

Birth of a New Brain will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017, and it’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon here; Kindle pre-sales are coming this summer!