My Little Surprise & Humiliation at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!


Dear Friends,

Prepare yourself for a post filled with thrills

of the amusement park ride persuasion….

and chills I’m getting from the thought of proofing my book yet again!

Yesterday I received a PDF file from my managing editor at Post Hill Press. It was the paginated interior of my book!

It was a surreal experience scrolling through the file. Birth of a New Brain now looks like a bona fide book complete with photos and professional formatting, unlike the ARC (advanced review copy) which is a simple Word document devoid of photos or any stylistic touches. 

 

The ARC of Birth of a New Brain didn’t look like a “booky wook.” 

 

I didn’t know I’d have the opportunity to proof my book again, which was my little surprise. However, I knew the ARC had typos and other problems – errors that I wanted to fix, so now I can give it another shot.

While examining 250+ pages will be tedious, I’m thankful I get the chance to do it. I have eighteen days – gulp. Eighteen days sounds like a decent amount of time, but it’ll go by in a heartbeat.  I might need to eat a piece of humble pie and beg for a few more days.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Lost Boys was filmed at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk thirty years ago, the year before I moved here!

I took the girls to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Monday. Whenever I take them there, which is rare because it’s costly even with season passes, I consider the trip to be a profound event. (I wrote about why that’s the case in my post The Found Girl.)

I managed to have a panic attack on the Freefall ride in the children’s zone! I had never been on that ride before, but Avonlea had. She told me I’d be fine, and while I had an inkling I wasn’t going to like the ride, I was clueless I’d react the way I did.

The Boardwalk’s website blatantly lies – it describes Freefall as “Great training for bigger thrills! Freefall springs riders up and drops them down for a giggly good time.”

My Nemesis: Freefall

 When you watch this video, the ride doesn’t look scary, but the woman’s incessant laugh is frightening!!!

 

Our observant teen ride operator took pity on me when he heard my agonized screams and saw my terrified face. He stopped the ride and asked me if I wanted to exit.

Of course I did!

A little girl no older than four seated next to me laughed at my pain! My girls were fine. Avonlea is a daredevil and has been on Double Shot, the big, freaky-to-the-100,000,000th degree version of Freefall!

Marilla was a little scared at first, but her fear quickly went away. They didn’t mind getting off the ride so they could support their freaked-out, humiliated mom.

The Double Shot a.k.a. the 10th Circle of Dante’s Hell

 

Years ago I survived the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. The ride does the same type of up-down-up-down moves as Freefall, but it’s far scarier. My Tower of Terror ride took place years before I was diagnosed with the ultimate Terror: bipolar disorder.

On Freefall, I felt completely out of control since I wasn’t in charge of the stomach-twisting ups and downs. That helpless feeling triggered bad feelings. (You’ll never find me pretending to be an eloquent writer!)

Now I know I must stick to my favorite rides: the bumper cars, the flume log ride, and the wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster, which was built in 1924 and survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake!

 

1911 Looff Carousel with my girls

“The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s 1911 Looff Carousel is a National Historic Landmark and local treasure. The hand-carved merry-go-round has been turning children’s seaside dreams into golden memories since 1911.”

This ride is featured in the tense opening scene of The Lost Boys at the one-minute markI love this film! Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, the Two Coreys, Dianne Wiest, Edward Hermann (the gentleman who narrated all those History Channel shows), and 80’s music!!!

What’s not to love? If you haven’t seen it yet, promise me you’ll put it at the top of your bucket list. 

As you can tell, I get carried away when I reminisce about The Lost Boys. Please forgive me – I can’t help it. I’m such a sucker for it. Ha ha ha ha! If you’ve seen this movie, do you get it? 😉

Thanks for reading, and have a great Friday & weekend.

Sending you my love,

Dyane

 

 

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.

 

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 Life-Affirming Alternative to “13 Reasons Why”



The novella Brooklyn’s Song by Alexis Zinkerman


A few weeks ago I published the post Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s Metronome – my post title says it all. Please read it if you haven’t had a chance yet.

After I read Metronome, I bought Alexis’ novella Brooklyn’s Song and I wrote a review that doesn’t begin to do it justice, especially since I was repeatedly interrupted by my girls while attempting to focus.

Their crisis? They were in need of a special medicine called ice cream. (I need to fix the broken lock on my door!) At least I can always improve the review later on. In the meantime, I’ve included it in this post.

Here’s a sidenote:  I haven’t watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix nor have I read Jay Asher’s book, and I have no plans to do so. I rarely read or watch anything about suicide because I’m too triggered. While my intuition told me to steer clear of 13 Reasons Why I sensed Alexis would create a work that wouldn’t trigger me, and I was right. 

Brookyln’s Song –A novella by Alexis Zinkerman/5 star review

The heartwrenching topic of teen suicide has recently been covered in film, television, and young adult fiction more than it ever has before. Some of these endeavors are sensitively produced. However, other productions are harmful – they sensationalize teen suicide, depriving young people of realistic role models and situations.

Alexis Zinkerman’s outstanding novella Brooklyn’s Song was ahead of its time when it was first published in 2012 under the title Crazy Tragic Magic Life. Few books have ever addressed teenage suicide in such an insightful, wise manner.

The novella’s unique literary style is ideal for conveying the gravity of the subject matter without overwhelming the reader. At just eighty-eight pages, Brooklyn’s Song is the perfect length for depicting the journey of a teen’s grief over a great loss.

In concise, moving poetic stanzas, fifteen-year-old protagonist Brooklyn shares her shock of losing her best friend to suicide.

The reader is immediately drawn into the narrative from the first page. Brooklyn’s best friend Emily is still alive, and she reveals a secret to Brooklyn while the girls are attending a special event. The scenario quickly changes into one of tragedy.

As Brooklyn begins to move through the stages of grief, she’s resistant to therapy, but she gradually learns that counseling can help her a great deal. In a refreshingly unexpected way, Brooklyn utilizes the creative expression of writing to help her heal. Ultimately, Brooklyn begins to feel hopeful about the future again.

In each intriguingly titled chapter, Brooklyn reveals different sides of her personality. She describes her vulnerability, her loneliness as a high school student, and her burgeoning confidence in her writing. After some time has passed, she chronicles her exciting relationship with her first boyfriend.

Despite the harrowing storyline, I didn’t want to put it down – I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Brooklyn!

Brooklyn’s Song is an artfully nuanced book. The novella reminded me of my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle’s classic A Ring of Endless Light in significant ways. Each author writes vividly, powerfully, and in a pragmatic manner. The two books’ complex-yet-clear storylines appeal to teens and adults alike. Each work grapples with the theme of suicide, the death of a beloved, and how death affects a sensitive, inquisitive teenage girl. Hope is woven throughout Brooklyn’s Song and A Ring of Endless Light, making these books truly worthwhile reads.

Brooklyn’s Song is a book I want my two daughters to read. It is a book I wish I had read when I was a teenager before suicide touched my life firsthand. This book rings true; at age thirty-three, Zinkerman was affected by suicide when her best friend took her own life. Because of that heartbreaking experience, Zinkerman was galvanized to write Brooklyn’s story.

I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to read this beautifully written book. I highly recommend Brooklyn’s Song to anyone interested in how it’s possible to move forward in life after an a unimaginably painful loss takes place.

I’ll be back next week to share with you how my very first book interview turns out. I’m nervous, especially since I did a little virtual snooping homework on the journalist who has been assigned to interview me. Things were looking great until that changed. That’s all that’s fit for print…for now, that is. Stay tuned. 😉 

Purchase the paperback edition of Brookyln’s Song on Amazon at this link.

Author Alexis Zinkerman

Check out Alexis’ mental health website A Mile A Minute – Refreshing Takes on Mental Health here. (Great blog title, isn’t it?)

Take care, my wonderful kindred spirits!

Love,

Dyane

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All photos courtesy of Alexis Zinkerman

 

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 now on Amazon for paperback pre-sales, Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

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I Broke the Ice at Toastmasters!

 

This isn’t me!!! It’s one example of a Toastmasters Icebreaker speech – you only need to watch the first minute to see her concept was clearly out of the box!  😉

 

 

During the last month, I posted here and here about my enormous fear of public speaking and my experience joining Toastmasters International.

A couple weeks ago I scheduled my first author talk. Setting that date motivated me to get used to public speaking by committing to Toastmasters for a minimum of six months. 

On Wednesday I gave my first Toastmasters Icebreaker speech. Those six minutes were some of the MOST nerve-wracking minutes of my life! After I spoke, I plopped down in my chair and felt vulnerable. I was incredibly embarrassed about my public speaking shortcomings, but I can’t deny I was proud as hell of myself!

I had come a long way from my psych unit hospitalizations.

I had practiced my speech “From the Darkness to the Light” close to thirty times without shaking. I spoke in front of my dog Lucy, in front of my family, and in front of my mentor, the President of our Toastmasters group.

During every practice run, I was still as a stone. But when I stood in front of the Toastmasters group on Wednesday, my body and voice shook like a freakin’ quaking Aspen tree the entire six minutes – even my face shook. My shakiness threw me off so much. I was totally humiliated, but at least I didn’t sprint for the exit!

Each speaker receives a few minutes of detailed oral feedback from the Evaluator immediately after the speech. In addition to that, she gets brief written comments from each group member to take home and review. Here are some of the following remarks that were given to me:

“I thought you had been doing this a long time, had I not met you first,”

“Excellent Icebreaker! Relax, enjoy, your story is compelling!”

“What an inspiration you are – I can’t wait to watch you growing in confidence as a speaker!”

“You are a natural speaker. You did not seem terribly nervous. Great material, and putting yourself into your speech. Relax! You are among friends!”

“No need to reflect on your nervousness when you’re on stage”

(At the end of my talk I apologized for being so nervous!)

I was going to post my speech here, but there was a glitch in the recording and it didn’t record. I’ll make sure I don’t have the same technical difficulties during my next speech so you can see if I shake like Elvis in his heyday…or not.

Here’s a sample from my practice session with my mentor…

Have you faced one of your profound fears lately? Do you plan to do so anytime soon? Please share! 

Have a great weekend!

Love,

Dyane

 

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

 

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!

I Faced My Fear! (Well, Partially…)

Last Wednesday I went to my first Toastmasters Meeting and I survived! (I wrote about my fear of public speaking in this post and described a little bit about what the Toastmasters do.)

With a groovy name chapter name like “The Redwood Ramblers,” how could these Toastmasters not be a cool bunch? Nevertheless, I had my doubts…

I had a surprisingly good time! After the hour-long meeting flew by, I wanted to linger and get to know these brave souls!

I had almost bailed an hour before the meeting began, but I knew if I did that, I’d feel rotten. Plus one of the members had taken the time to contact me a few days beforehand (I RSVP’d on their Meetup site), and she encouraged me to show up. I felt compelled to give this group a chance.

I’m so glad I faced my fear.

When I arrived, I was made to feel so welcome by the members. Guests are allowed to be a fly on the wall, and that was a blessing since I wasn’t quite ready to speak! (Um, that’s my understatement of the year!)

This is me!!!

Everyone gave a short talk approximately four minutes long (most members spoke less than that) and each person was interesting. It was “Soap Box” day and we met outside in a park, but the meetings are usually in a building.  The topics ranged from inspiring to educational to “ranty” to funny.

The meeting was well organized; it started and ended right on time since it was the lunch hour. There were treats that included red velvet cookies – how exciting! 😉 (There were healthy snacks too.)

My first assignment or “Project One,” is called “The Ice Breaker.” I was given a packet of materials and the instructions for The Ice Breaker are four pages (!) but I’ll sum it up for you:

For your first speech project you will introduce yourself to your fellow club members and give them some information about your background, interests, and ambitions. Practice giving your speech to friends or family members, (I interject here: Lucy is in for it, that poor dog!) and strive to make eye contact with some of your audience.

You may use notes during your speech (I interject again: HELL YEAH, I’LL USE NOTES!!!) if you wish. Read the entire four pages before preparing your talk.

Objectives: To begin speaking in front of an audience

To begin speaking in front of an audience

To discover speaking skills you already have and skills that need your attention

Time: four to six minutes

Gulp.

The next meeting is the Open House, and I want to do my first project the week after that, and then I’ll report back here!I ran a DBSA peer-to-peer support group for moms with bipolar. I like how Toastmasters is also based on peer-to-peer feedback and interaction.  

Simply getting to the first meeting was a huge step, and their slogan says it all for me:

“It all begins with that first visit.”

On a final note, yesterday my good friend, the author/blogger Lisa Henderson, shared a very cool find with me – you may already know about it because I think it has been around for a year.

(Shameless plug: Be sure to check out her new book Paw on Amazon, her blog Passionate Reason is here.)

These products made a big impression on the girls and Craig who are massive Star Trek fans. As cute as the suits are, I think I’m taking a pass until they come up with a Tribble-themed suit!

Okay, my friends, have a great weekend! 

Lots of love,

Dyane

p.s. Are you going to do something you’re afraid to do anytime soon? Tell me about it!

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!

Wake-Up Calls from the Universe

 

 

During the past week, I had an epiphany courtesy of my inner universe.

The inner universe is the area comprised of mysterious brain synapses and who knows what else…

Maybe subatomic bits of chocolate?

I can’t type “inner universe” without thinking of Crowded House’s hypnotic song Private Universe. 

Ever since the creation of my ARC, I’ve been obsessed with attaining book endorsements. I’ve contacted bestselling writers, experts in the bipolar and perinatal mental health fields, and celebrities.

When the rejections started coming in, they weren’t fun, as you can imagine. Some of my emails were ignored. (I’d rather get a rejection than no response at all!) But I knew from the get-go that rejections would be part of the process. 

I received five blurbs (you can see them here under Editorial Reviews) and more are on the way. 

How many blurbs does an author really need?

Well, there are publishing pros who believe a writer only needs a few blurbs. Other marketers such as Sarah Bolme suggest getting twenty to thirty! I encourage you to read her brief post about her rationale. Although Sarah’s specialty is Christian books, her perspective applies to all genres.

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I thought this book cover endorsement was witty. The image is blurry, so look closely & if you can’t read Julie’s quote, I copied it at the end of this post.

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Since March, I’d often think of an awesome celebrity I wanted to ask for a blurb. 

Stephen Fry!   Jessie Close!   Adele!   Sia!

 

Yet I already had more than enough blurbs. Last week I realized I knew what I truly wanted, and it wasn’t fifty glowing endorsements of my book. 

What I yearned for was a Mount Everest-sized amount of validation that I was worthwhile.

I thought that if extraordinary people approved of Birth of a New Brain, I’d have irrefutable proof that I was worthy as well. 

Stigma and all.

It was time to smash my longtime habit of seeking approval from others and look inward.

As Stuart Smalley would say….

 

As I looked inward, it wasn’t pretty. I noticed my shame of having a mental illness, feeling like I’m a mediocre writer, struggling with body image issues, and knowing I sometimes fail as the mother, wife, and friend I want to be. 

I spoke about all of that with my therapist this morning. She helped me reframe how I saw myself and my life. It wasn’t her first time doing that and it won’t be her last, but I’m determined to chip away at the shame and insecurity that have plagued me for a long time.

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My Scottish collie Lucy serves as an inspiring role model even though she is of the canine persuasion. She possesses a healthy amount of self-esteem.

Just like Stuart Smalley, Lucy’s good enough! She’s smart enough! And gosh darn it, people like her! 

(Cats aren’t exactly thrilled with her, but hey – you can’t have everything!)

Here’s my furry girl after her bath. She pulls off her spiky Cher hairstyle with aplomb! 

On a completely separate note, I want to share a very cool, free resource with you. I can’t remember how I found out about it, but I’m glad I did. 

It’s called Net Galley and you can participate in it as a blogger. Here’s their nutshell description:

Why Register for NetGalley?

We’re looking for readers of influence who help to build buzz about new books. As a member, you will be able to request or be invited to read new books, primarily before they are published. In the book trade, these are called “galleys” (hence our name!).

You will be able to read galleys digitally, on all major reading devices and platforms, and provide reviews, recommendations, and nominations for industry lists, right from your account.

We’re delighted to be in the business of helping “professional readers” evaluate new titles. Anyone who reads and recommends books can use NetGalley for free. Welcome!

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To register visit this link

I suggest you read this page before you create your blogger profile so publishers will like it and grant your book requests! I’ll start reading an advance copy of Jen Waite’ s A Beautiful, Terrible Thing this weekend.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Oh yes. There’s one more thing.

Have you had any epiphanies lately?  I’d like to know about one if you’re up for it! 

Lots of love & see you next week,

Dyane

 

When I did a Google search for “beautiful images of the universe” this picture came up.

 “The Real Miss Universe”

 

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!

 

  • “Pure genius. Brilliant. A literary masterpiece”
  • Julie Kraft (the author of the book! 😉