A Tale of 2 Breaks (My Broken Jaw & My Blogging Hiatus)

My jaw!

 

Last Saturday afternoon I was walking by myself on a flat, concrete surface a few blocks away from our house. It was a sunny, beautiful day. I finally felt healthy after having reached my weight loss goal. (I had gained twenty-five pounds after my book was published thanks to a daily dose of two high-end chocolate bars, chocolate gelato, and chocolate Italian pastries.) 

I was looking forward to a rare evening alone with my husband Craig while our girls were at a sleepover party.

All was well in my world—until I checked a text on my cell phone and tripped. 

In a matter of seconds, I fell forward and slammed down onto the concrete face-first, specifically jaw first. I felt the lower half of my face crunch and I knew I had broken something. I had also gashed my chin in what turned out to be a minor injury, but it was scary and painful nonetheless. At first, I had no idea how bad the gash was since I couldn’t see my face.

As I sat there on the ground, shaking and terrified, blood poured out of my lacerated chin. I reminded myself that a cut can often bleed heavily yet not be that bad. I pressed one hand hard against my chin to stanch the bleeding and my skin stung at the contact.

Not a soul was in sight and that was unusual. But I didn’t want anyone to see me that way—I only wanted one person’s presence: Craig. Luckily I had my cell phone and I was able to reach him. The reception sucked but he heard my crying and the words “fall,” “bleeding” and the street name.

He had just dropped our girls off at the sleepover and came to get me. Even though it took him less than 12 minutes to arrive, it felt like forever. As I sat there, I prayed. Yes, I prayed. I prayed to every spiritual figure and angel I could think of, I prayed to my father, I prayed to my grandmother, and then I visualized bright light healing whatever was wrong with my jaw and chin.

When Craig got there, he took one look at me and said, “We’re going to the E.R.” Four hours, several chin stitches and one CT scan later, I was told by the E.R. physician that he conferred with a maxillofacial surgeon. I didn’t even know what a maxillofacial surgeon was, exactly, but I’d soon find out. Here’s a nutshell definition: “Oral and maxillofacial surgeons focus on treating problems related to the hard and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and jaws (the upper jaw is referred to as the maxilla).”

You could say it wasn’t exactly the romantic evening date I had imagined. 

The surgeon offered to call me the next day, which was a Sunday, to offer his advice. I was extremely relieved to get his call. During our conversation, he gave me different options to consider, including treatment at other practices, and he patiently answered my questions. My intuition told me he was a good doctor. (God knows I’ve spoken to a gazillion doctors and I can tell a golden egg from a bad egg if you know what I mean!) 

I met with him for my consult last Monday since time was a big concern – I only had a two-week window to get the surgery done so my jaw would heal properly.

When I met him, he reminded me of the ECT anesthesiologist I wrote about in Birth of a New Brain. Once again, I encountered a doctor who was a lot younger than me who looked like he could be on the cover of Surfer Magazine! 

After we met, I booked him to do my surgery which will be on Monday the 19th. I’m having pins put in different places in my jaw. He’s attaching tight bands that will help the jaw and teeth alignment heal back into the right position; yes, bands, not wires.

I haven’t been able to chew any food but I love smoothies and pureed soups, so I’m not freaking out. I even throw in organic baby spinach in my vanilla Orgain & coconut milk smoothies since I can’t chew lettuce. (The smoothie actually tastes good because you can’t taste the spinach!)

I’ve been hypervigilant about walking carefully—I’m so scared I’ll trip again. I long for the time when I wasn’t worried about such a basic activity. And yes, I feel like a f*cking idiot this happened in the first place, but I can tell you I got the message loud and clear from the universe that I need to be more present. 

I wanted to return to the place where I tripped so I wouldn’t become phobic, so I went there two days after my accident and it was fine. (I think I walked in slow motion, but it was fine.)

In all seriousness, though, in light of the Parkland shootings and all the other horrible, tragic events we read and hear about day after day, my injury is teeny-tiny in comparison. Yet it’s my reality.

If my accident had happened before I found the meds that eradicated my treatment-resistant bipolar depression, I would’ve plummeted into an even deeper depression. However, after the pain and shock of the first 24 hours post-accident, I’ve been doing relatively well mentally. I haven’t binged, either – of course, not being able to chew certainly helps me avoid doing that, but I haven’t wanted to compulsively overeat at all—this is another positive surprise. I’m very thankful for these blessings and I’m relieved that my injuries weren’t worse, i.e. a head surgery or a serious illness.  

 

Thank God not all falls are bad. I’ve hiked up to Yosemite Falls and it was spectacular. The fall is one of my favorite seasons, and, of course, there’s the best fall of all: falling in love.

Singer/songwriter Sam Phillips, the former Christian pop artist and ex-wife of producer T Bone Burnett, has an unusual voice. She was originally promoted as the “Christian Cyndi Lauper” and composed the score for the television show Gilmore Girls.

I love Sam Phillips’ voice, in part, because Craig introduced me to her Martinis and Bikinis album when we first got together in 1998. Her song “When I Fall” (featured in The Last Supper film soundtrack) sums up my 20-year-long relationship with Craig.

She sings, “I think you’ll be there when I fall….”

And he was.

 

 

Parting Tidbits

I’ve published 441 posts on this blog and it has been a such a good run, to say the least! But I’ve been losing steam for blogging. I’ve neglected reading my beloved blogs and commenting, which feels plain-old-bad. It’s time to take a break from blogging and the blogosphere. 

Right after I made this decision, my good friend L.E. Henderson published the insightful postTo Blog or Not To Blog.Call me superstitious, but her post seemed like a sign I was making the right choice.

I’ve absolutely loved blogging and reading your blogs. It has been wonderful to make such amazing friends and to feel understood by many bloggers in the bipolar blogging community. To those of you who encouraged me as I approached my book’s publication date, your support helped me immensely. Before I take off, I’d like to share a few tidbits.

 

Tidbit #1 – Never Say Never

Two days before my accident, I attended a Meetup creative writing group for the first time. I used a lined notebook and a pen instead of my laptop. It turned out the founder of the group did the same thing—we were the only two members who showed up! (Meetup is kind of like that…)  Handwriting felt strange and painful as far as my wrist was concerned, but it was good, too.

Handwriting may have stirred up something in my brain. Some of you know I vowed I’d never write another book. Why? Reasons include: “I didn’t have a good idea,” “Aren’t there enough books in the world?,” “It’s so stressful,” and more. But after my Meetup, an idea came to me that got me excited. I relinquished my vow and I abandoned my reservations and I started writing a proposal! We’ll see where it goes…

 

Tidbit #2 – My Remote Presentation at the 2020 Mom Project’s 2018 Annual Forum 

If you watch this, please jump to where therapist and Mom and Mind podcast host Dr. Kat Kaeni appears at the 14.30 mark. She introduces my presentation.

 

Tidbit #3 Awesome Website/Blog/Resources & More

Laura Marchildon of Our Bipolar Family has an incredible website, including a great book review section. Check it out at this link. Laura wrote a book review about Birth of a New Brain here

Please keep in touch with me on Twitter (@DyaneHarwood), my Facebook author page, and my website www.dyaneharwood.com where you can sign up for my newsletter at the very bottom.

Take care, my friends!

Lots and lots of love,

Dyane

 

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw. Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!

JamisonBook

 

 

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Au Revoir, Fat & Dr. Benicio Frey’s Webinar

Dear Friends,

If you’ve read my book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, you’ll know I was an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and worked in a gym for a few years.

 

This was me, “B.B.D.” (Before Bipolar Diagnosis) 

At college, I gained the “Freshman 20+” instead of the typical “Freshman 15.” Ever since my uni days, my adipose tissue (the fancy term for fat) has fluctuated in quantity due to a variety of reasons; bipolar depression and stress/anxiety have been the main reasons for my weight gain.

 

Last year was one of the most stressful years I’ve ever experienced.

 

I was under a deadline with Post Hill Press to deliver my edited manuscript. At least writing my book didn’t almost kill me (During that same year, Bipolar Burble blogger Natasha Tracy published a post called Writing a Book about Bipolar and Depression Almost Killed Me), but what did happen was that I gained almost 30 pounds in only a couple months.

 

If I kept up that rate of weight gain, I’d turn into Jabba the Hutt!

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On a serious note, I’d risk developing very serious health conditions and complications.

 

 

I realized I had to come to terms with my emotional stress eating once and for all.

“Coming to terms” sounds nice and granola-y, but what does that really mean?

 

Well, for me, it begins with enlisting my counselor’s support and making a commitment to myself stop this vicious cycle.

 

It means bringing my shame out into the open, which is why I’m publishing this post despite having second, third, and fourth thoughts.

 

I’m also a fan of self-help books, although I admit I never do the exercises they usually require. Nevertheless, I just started reading a self-help book and a healthy food cookbook. Both of them are inspiring me and I’ll share those titles here after I finish reading them.

The only thing that has ever helped me lose weight has been using a free tracking app called Lose It!

Last year I wrote about using Lose It!:Losing a Mirror Carp Feels Good.

 

If you’re like me—an emotional, compulsive overeater/binger/midnight fridge marauder—and you’d like to join me and get healthier, please consider joining Lose It! I keep reading that pairing up with others when embarking on weight loss greatly increases your chance of success. 

 

On Lose It!, I belong to two groups where we cheer one another on. Once you’ve signed up, go to “Community”, then select”Find Groups” and type one (or both) of these in:

Moms with Bipolar group

Bipolar Battlers group

And now for something completely different….

Frey

Dr. Benicio Frey

Apart from my weight woes, I wanted to let you know psychiatrist Dr. Benicio Frey will present a free webinar about perinatal mood disorder research next Wednesday, January 17th from 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. PST.  

The webinar is sponsored by the International Bipolar Foundation and it’s not too late to sign up – just go to this link!

The following section is just part of Dr. Frey’s impressive bio.; you’ll find the rest of it on the IBPF link:

“Dr. Frey is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, Academic Head of the Mood Disorders Program, and Director of the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare. 

In 2008, Dr. Frey received a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship award to study brain imaging in perimenopausal women with depression, at the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Currently, Dr. Frey has over 100 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.”

Lastly, I want to share a cool new resource with you – it’s run by John Emotions, the charismatic podcaster and founder of Bipolar Style. John wanted a “private, more focused area to talk about Bipolar” that will surpass Facebook forums, etc. He created Bipolar Party on Yammer and I really like the layout – it’s original and it has great potential. 

Come join us! If you’re interested, email me your email address so I can send you an invitation: dyane@baymoon.com 

And on that note, have a good weekend, and I’ll see you next Friday. (I hope I’ll see some of you on Lose It! too. Feel free to ask me any questions about it in the comments!)

Take good care & lots of love,

Dyane

 

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!

Last Time at the Munchkin

 

An unexpected side effect due to my meds? 

 

Drinking too much espresso at Squaw’s Coffeebar – talk about a buzz with a view!

The beautiful sunrise on Red Dog Ridge. I watch this sunrise each morning from the cabin. Squaw Valley is directly on the other side of the ridge.

 

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! 

I’m writing this post from the Munchkin cabin in Alpine Meadows, California. We’ve been coming here in the winter and summer for the past ten years. Craig found this place on Craigslist, appropriately enough, and the first time we pulled up to the cabin I couldn’t believe how big and spectacular it was. Normally we couldn’t afford this kind of rental, ever! However, we’ve been super-lucky the owner charged us 1/4th of the typical rate for Alpine Meadows cabin rentals. That’s nothing short of miraculous.

I’ve blogged about my Munchkin visits throughout the last decade. It’s where I’ve spent terrible trips due to my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. I’ve weighed as much as 170 pounds up here and I hardly did anything active except stuff my face with chocolate and shuffle around.

Zonked out on Xanax at 170 lbs, I’m praying the gondola won’t fall

Other times when I’ve been a much healthier 135-140 pounds and depression-free (something I never thought would happen in my lifetime),  I’ve had the energy to hike to my heart’s content. The hikes have never been easy due to the altitude, which is approximately 6480 feet, but once I get going I feel so much better mentally.

I’ve had a few terrifying experiences in the Munchkin. One summer I saw a BIG bear right outside the window. The bear had just been in our cabin, silently eating garbage near the entrance in the basement and he/she was undetected by any of us! How did the bear get in? Well, the front door had been left WIDE open and I’m happy to tell you I wasn’t the one who did that!

During another winter visit when I was deeply depressed, Craig fell down the steep stairs and broke his foot. I had to drive him and the girls to the hospital on icy roads—I think I drove less than one mile per hour!  

There have been happier times too, thank God. After my lithium/MAOI combination finally lifted my bipolar depression after seven years of hell, I was able to do fun things like take the girls ice skating and go on the Squaw Valley Gondola without popping a Xanax. I felt like myself again.

I wrote and edited a sizable chunk of my book in the Munchkin.


The view from the bathroom—in the summer the hill is covered with all kinds of wildflowers!

 

Last month the owner told us she’s selling the cabin so this will be our last visit. Sadly we don’t have close to a million dollars to buy a second home like many others do in this area. Hopefully, we’ll find another affordable place we can rent. 

 

A gorgeously lit home I passed during my walk last night

Today is our last day at the Munchkin and later on in the afternoon I’ll take Lucy on a snowy hike.

My hound LOVES the snow! Her super-thick Scottish collie fur will keep her cozy throughout our ramble. 

I hope that each of you will find your own version of “The Munchkin” —a special, beautiful, affordable place where you’ll only experience good things! You won’t suffer broken feet, bipolar depression, or chunky bears oh-so-quietly coming into your home.

See you next Friday!

Love,

Dyane

p.s. My 1st article for BP/Bipolar Magazine’s Winter issue is online. Please visit the link and take a look. If you can share the article via Twitter, Facebook, etc. (and if you want to knock my socks off, please comment) I’d be very grateful!

https://www.bphope.com/mom-with-a-mission-peripartum-bipolar/

 

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!

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

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

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

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


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

 

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

Book Signing Pictures by George Haas Photography

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

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

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.

Caffeinated Podcast Adventures & Lessons Learned


TGIF, my friends!

I hope that you’re doing well!

As some of you may know, I was super-anxious to record my 1st episode with “Dr. Kat” of the program Mom & Mind. Fortunately, she was so awesome & encouraging that I was able to calm down.

Then last Monday I joined the hosts of Podcast One’s Mind Full program to talk about postpartum bipolar disorder. Mind Full’s Alicia Perkins and Colleen Lindstrom were great and they set me at ease from the get-go.

However, I made a royal brainfart (lovely word, I know!) when I scheduled our talk. I thought our appointment was 4:45 p.m. Pacific Time. I deliberately chose that slot because it’s when I usually get a second wind and take Lucy out for her walk. At the very last minute (i.e. the morning of the recording day) I realized the schedule said Central Time, not Pacific.

Arrgh! Our time wasn’t 4:45 p.m. but at 2:45 p.m. when I was still totally dragging energy-wise. I worried I’d sound like a zombie.

So I broke my “no coffee in the afternoon” rule. I glugged a gallon big cup of Peet’s organic shortly before our recording time.

The lessons I learned were:

1) Be far more careful when scheduling anything!

2) Do not drink coffee before recording a podcast!!!

I’m happy to say that it all worked out despite my jitters. One of my gracious hosts admitted that she had just downed some coffee herself at 5:00 p.m.!

When I find out the air date, I’ll let you know!

 

Meanwhile, I’m always on the lookout for intriguing mental health-themed podcasts, especially ones that have a bipolar focus. Last week I found one called Bipolar Style.

Here’s the promo blurb:

“Bipolar Style™ is a new podcast, hosted by , about life from a manic-depressive perspective!”

I encourage you to check out host @JohnEmotions’ heartfelt and entertaining observations from the perspective of one who works a “regular job” with his bipolar on the “DL”/down low – I guarantee you’ll relate to many of the topics he discusses, whether or not you’re working!

He’s seeking podcast guests so if that interests you, give him a shout! I really love the short format of 15 minutes, too.

To listen to the Bipolar Style podcasts go to this link.  Visit BipolarStyle.com for more info. & you can find John Emotions (who loves to network & help promote fellow bp tribe members) on Twitter at @BipolarStyle

Dr. Kat

Also, if you didn’t have a chance to hear my first podcast with “Dr. Kat” you can still do it! Go to this link

To check out Dr. Kat’s 69 other Mom & Mind podcasts please visit here.


That’s all the news that’s fit to blog, but in the next few weeks, I’ll have other things to write about, such as what it feels like to finally have my book published, and what it feels like to receive good reviews…..and not-so-good reviews!!!!

I appreciate your support so much! Thanks for reading this blog and for spreading the word about these worthy podcasts.

Have a good weekend!

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.

 

 

 

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.

A Mile a Minute

new brainDyaneHeadshot

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

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

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

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

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