Another Book Review from Another Awesome Blogger!

Is Lucy going to lick my book?

 

 

Dear Friends,

I’m writing this post from the beautiful snowy mountains of Lake Tahoe, and I plan to take some pictures to share with you next Friday.

I can’t resist sharing one more review of my book. I don’t care if you skip the review – you have my blessing, but just make sure you check out the awesome blogger Ashley’s Mental Health @ Home” – I love her tagline:

“BUILDING MENTAL WELLNESS BY FINDING A FOUNDATION OF STRENGTH.” 

Sign me up for that foundation, Ashley!

Here’s the direct link to Ashley’s review:

https://mentalhealthathome.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/book-review-birth-of-a-new-brain-healing-from-postpartum-bipolar-disorder/

By the way, Ashley has worked as a nurse and pharmacist and she’s the author of numerous medical articles. She has some excellent posts about different meds—take a look.

I’ll be back next year (on Friday, Jan. 5th, that is) and in the meantime, please take good care of yourselves.

Love,

Dyane

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!

 

Mental Health @ Home

Birth of a New Brain book coverBirth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder chronicles author Dyane Harwood’s journey with postpartum onset bipolar disorder.  The story’s rich, vivid descriptions draw the reader along on the intense roller coaster ride of the author’s illness experience.  Many elements of her story will be hauntingly familiar to those whose lives have been touched in some way by bipolar disorder, including mood symptoms whose true nature only became apparent with hindsight and well-meaning attempts to get off medication that result in disaster.

Mental illness was a part of Dyane’s life from the beginning, as her father had bipolar disorder.  When she first began to struggle with her own mental health, she was diagnosed with depression.  Glimmers of hypomania made occasional brief appearances, but as is so often the case with hypomania the symptoms were only recognizable as such upon later reflection.

Depression is the most recognized postpartum…

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The BipolarStyle Podcast & Happy Halloween!

BipolarStyle Podcast, October 22, 2017

with host John Emotions & yours truly!  To listen to our chat, visit this link


Official Podcast Episode Description

“John and Dyane discuss her new book Birth of a New Brain about postpartum bipolar disorder. They discuss what the condition is, how Dyane experienced it, and how the book came to be. They also talk a little about their favorite Netflix shows including Black Mirror, Lady Dynamite, and Theo Vonn. Also, we include more talk of a #bipolarcabal on Twitter and lots of bipolar digressions.”

When John and I recorded the podcast, I was in a freezing room and I drank lots of highly caffeinated Tazo chai to quickly warm up. Although I had sworn not to become over-caffeinated again during a podcast recording, I must be honest with you: I broke my vow.

(I was fortunate that John not only tolerated my here-there-and everywhere digressions but ran with them like a gazelle—he was incredibly gracious.)   

John Emotions is such a breath of fresh air. Despite having bipolar disorder, John asserts he’s an optimist; his attitude truly amazes and inspires me. I’m so glad the internet brought us together.

John’s new Facebook page: Bipolar Creative Society  

The original Facebook page: Bipolar Style

On Twitter: @BipolarStyle 

Visit the Bipolar Style website to buy cool tank tops like the one I’m wearing. Go there to let John know you’d like to be a podcast guest! It’s also a place to network with other people with bipolar, connect with life-saving resources, access exclusive content & more; it’s ever-evolving! 

See you next Friday & have a wonderful Halloween!!!! 

 

XOXO,

Dyane

p.s. Are you dressing up for Halloween? 

 

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!

Please Listen To My First Podcast!

Hi everyone and Happy Friday!

Last Monday I recorded my first podcast with Dr. Katayune Kaeni.”Dr. Kat” is the host of the popular podcast Mom and Mind. She’s a psychologist & has lived experience in Perinatal Mental Health Training, Advocacy, Treatment, and Stigma Crushing!!!

Dr. Kat was a wonderful and patient host. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to guide me through my first podcast experience. I know it might not seem like a big deal to record a podcast, but I was able to rustle up all kinds of anxiety, all the way from the technical to the emotional aspect of the process!  

It will be available this Monday and I’d love it if you could listen to it and/or spread the word about it via your social media.  You can follow Dr. Kat on Twitter at  @DrKaeni, she has a Facebook page, and her website is: http://www.momandmind.com

Our conversation will be available this Monday and I’d love it if you could listen to it and/or spread the word about it via your social media. 

Last week I promised to write about a tool that can potentially help lift depression.

What is it??? It’s an air ionizer of all things! My psychiatrist emailed me an article that has the details and I’m copying the info. for you below. Please let me know if you’ve heard about air ionizers for depression! If you have a success story to share, let me know in the comments so I can mention it in my upcoming book talks.

A Hopeful Contender for Bipolar Depression

While some psychiatric breakthroughs are greeted with a hope that borders on hype (think ketamine), others are met with undue skepticism. The humble air ionizer falls into the latter category. These devices purify air by creating negatively charged oxygen ions. The idea that they could treat depression is so implausible that scientists first employed them as placebos, before discovering that they actually worked.

Evidence in unipolar depression

That discovery was first reported in 1995 by Michael Terman’s laboratory at Columbia University,1 and since then 5 controlled trials have emerged in unipolar depression Each has been positive, with effect sizes in the range of what we see with antidepressants (total sample size: n = 168) Ionizers are well tolerated and lack significant risks, and the research that supports their health benefits dates back to the 1950s. Although their safety and efficacy are reasonably well established, we know little about their mechanism of action, which is part of what has hindered their mainstream adoption.

Which device?

Another factor that has limited their use is the difficulty of finding air ionizers with the right specifications. Without FDA regulation, it’s hard to know which device to use. Many ionizers produce ozone as a by-product, which can damage the lungs. Others don’t generate a high enough density of negative ions to treat depression. In the clinical trials, only high-density ionizers worked; low-density devices served as a placebo.

Recently, Dr. Terman has helped remove that obstacle by identifying a low-cost device that’s feasible for clinical practice: the Wein VI-2500. (My psychiatrist wrote: I looked up the price of the Wein VI-2500 – $74.00) This device generates ions at a high enough density to treat depression (450 trillion ions/sec), with ozone production well below the FDA’s cut-off for safety (< 0.05 ppm)

How to use

The Wein is easy to use, and Dr. Terman has a useful guide on his website. Patients can either sit near the device for daily sessions or have it turn on while they are asleep using a socket timer. Sessions should be 30 to 90 minutes. Either way, they need to be close to the device (within 3 feet) and keep things that would pull the negative ions away from them (mainly other electronic devices) away from the ionizer. Unlike the lightbox, air ions do not affect circadian biology, so the device could feasibly be used at any time of day, or even left on throughout the night, although the available studies employed a morning protocol.

Dr. Terman expects to see improved air ionizers in the near future and keeps updated product recommendations at www.cet.org

While we may not understand their mechanism in the brain, we do know what they do in the air, and that story has some natural appeal. If you’ve ever enjoyed the fresh air around a waterfall, ocean breeze, or humid forest, then you’ve experienced natural air ionization. When water breaks into the air, it creates negative oxygen ions. Those ions have a pleasant scent and also filter out pollutants such as cigarette smoke, dust, and mold. Indoor air tends to be depleted of negative ions, mainly because of the effects of air conditioners, heaters, and dehumidifiers.

Ionization and bipolar depression

What remains unknown is whether these devices will work in bipolar depression. One study has been published, but the primary aim was to test light therapy in bipolar depression, and the high-density air ion group was too small to draw conclusions (n = 2)

On the other hand, we have no evidence that these devices destabilize mood, and Dr. Terman is not aware of any cases of hypomania caused by ionization.8 Air ionization has been tried in manic patients, with results that suggest it may improve manic symptoms. Those 2 studies did not have the rigor to conclude anything beyond the suggestive. They used a double-blind crossover design with single treatment sessions in a total of 28 patients. Their findings are consistent with a host of small studies in normal populations that suggest negative air ions improve irritability and tension, while positive ions tend to have the opposite effect. Dr. Terman does warn that the ionizers can raise energy and alertness, so they should be used in the morning if tried in patients with bipolar disorder.

The bottom line

My previous column listed 20 treatments with at least some controlled-trial support for bipolar depression. In practice, that list is often insufficient to meet the clinical needs of patients with this chronic and highly recurrent condition. Beyond that evidence base, I’ll consider treatments that work in unipolar depression and have a low risk of destabilizing mood. Aerobic exercise makes that list, and air ionizers deserve a place on it as well. Their empiric support may not be as robust as what we have for exercise and depression,but their ease of implementation will be a plus for many patients whose depression has sapped their energy and motivation. 

REFERENCES

1. Terman M, Terman JS. Treatment of seasonal affective disorder with a high-output negative ionizer. J Altern Complement Med. 1995;1:87-92.

2. Terman M, Terman JS, Ross DC. A controlled trial of timed bright light and negative air ionization for treatment of winter depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998;55:875-882.

3. Goel N, Terman M, Terman JS, et al. Controlled trial of bright light and negative air ions for chronic depression.Psychol Med. 2005;35:945-955.

4. Terman M, Terman JS. Controlled trial of naturalistic dawn simulation and negative air ionization for seasonal affective disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163:2126-2133.

5. Flory R, Ametepe J, Bowers B. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of bright light and high-density negative air ions for treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Psychiatry Res. 2010;177:101-108.

6. Perez V, Alexander DD, Bailey WH. Air ions and mood outcomes: a review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry.2013;13:29.

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What do you think?!?!?!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Today I didn’t get a chance to find some cutesy memes I love to intersperse through the post (it’s one of my favorite things about blogging!) but I hope to have time to that next Friday. (And for all I know, maybe some of you are muttering “Thank God, I can’t stand memes!”)  😉

Have a wonderful weekend  and please take good care of yourselves,

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 Kindle and paperback pre-sales.

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.

Mother’s Day…I’m Just Not That Into You

I don’t need flowers, I don’t need a fancy dinner, and I don’t need lingerie.

I DO need chocolate.  But I prefer to pick it out myself since I have VERY high standards!

I am referring to Mother’s Day, of course.  While I know that many people appreciate this holiday, I’m not one of them.  I’ve never connected with it, even after I became a mother.  All I cared about growing up was my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – that was it.  This year I’ve felt particularly repelled by the incredible amount of spam that has appeared in my email folder over the past three weeks.

Strawberries for Mother’s Day!!!  Floral bouquets for Mother’s Day!!!  You-name-it for Mother’s Day!

For me this day has become too loaded with happy expectations and it ends in disappointment.  Who needs it? Especially since you all know I have THE best Mother’s Day gift ever:   snooze

Seven-week-old puppy Lucy snoozing on my pillow despite the fact she’s technically not supposed to be on the bed.  Please let that be our secret!

As thrilled as I am to be under Lucy’s spell, she’s not a panacea to all my problems. I’m having one of those days in which PMS symptoms are beginning to rise their ugly heads.  As a result, I’ve been irritable and unable to relax.  All day long I’ve had an annoying feeling that I should be accomplishing a lot more than I’m doing, and I’m not cutting it!

I wish I could just nap in an instant as sweet Lucy does, complete with puppy dreams.  With two lively children in this house, I don’t see a nap in my immediate future.  What will help me is working out and breaking a good sweat.  That’s my plan for the late afternoon.  My workout becomes all the more alluring because it’s the time when I read your blog posts on my Kindle.  All the juicy, incisive, inspiring writing I read makes my elliptical workout whiz by.

Despite my aversion to Mother’s Day, I admit I’ll take advantage of the holiday all the same.  I’m not asking for much, so I’m easy compared to other “high-maintenance” moms. who require high-end jewelry and Creme de Mer.  I want to be able to hang out with fluffball Lucy, write, work out, and eat something yummy at home.  I know the girls have made me gifts at school and those will be the only gifts I need.

The other day I read a fascinating post on Stigmama.com that discusses Mother’s Day in a different light.  Stigmama.com founder/author Dr. Walker Karraa also mentions other topics close to my heart in relation to motherhood, maternal mental health and awareness campaigns.  Dr. Karraa writes in a highly original, powerful way and her perspectives are never boring!  The post is located at:

http://stigmama.com/2014/05/05/mother-may-i/

Speaking of that which is powerful, yesterday I watched the documentary “Running From Crazy” featuring Mariel Hemingway. The film examines the Hemingway legacy and it takes a close look at suicide and the genetics of mental illness.  What affected me the most were the scenes of Mariel having candid mental-illness themed conversations with her two grown daughters.

Neither daughter said she had severe mental illness, but in one scene Mariel told her daughter pointedly she had been “very worried” about her when she suffered depression.  Mariel had every right to be gravely concerned when depression surfaced in her child, as a whopping seven of her family members had taken their lives, “maybe more” as Mariel said.

While watching “Running From Crazy” it occurred to me for the umpteenth time that as a mom with two daughters of my own I’ll always worry about my girls succumbing to bipolar disorder.  I don’t want my Avonlea and Marilla to feel like Mariel Hemingway.  I don’t want them feeling like they are “running from crazy” throughout their lives, sprinting like mad to escape severe mental illness that arose in the generations before them.

On second thought I’d like the money my husband will spend on a Mother’s Day fancy card, flowers, and dinner to go to a meaningful cause: The International Bipolar Foundation.  The International Bipolar Foundation helps those with bipolar and anyone else affected by bipolar, and they’re active advocates.   As we’re a family on a super-tight budget, we rarely donate to non-profits.  However, since I’m fairly certain that money shall be spent on me for Mother’s Day, I’d like to direct it to a place that makes me feel good.

And now that I’ve gotten theses concerns off my motherly chest, I shall forget about putting away dishes, doing laundry and paying bills and return to Puppyland!!!  Happy Sunday.  😉