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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My Q & A with Postpartum Psychosis Advocate/Author Jennifer Moyer

 

Dear Friends,

Recently I was honored to be asked by Jennifer Moyer to do a Q & A for her blog.

Several years ago I found Jennifer’s book A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness: A Story About Overcoming Postpartum Psychosis in which she not only suffered from postpartum psychosis but was ultimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I urge you to get a copy and read it.

I wrote the following 5-star review on Amazon:

I found A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness to be a clear and very compelling memoir. I commend Jennifer Hentz Moyer for her longtime dedication for writing about her suffering as well as her triumphs after being diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.

As a mother who was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder (PPBD), I took a particular interest in Jennifer’s story. She was not only was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis but ultimately bipolar disorder, postpartum onset. I felt so inspired after reading her book and it will help many women who face the agony of a postpartum mental illness as well as stigma. I discovered Jennifer while reading her profile in the acclaimed book Back from the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder by Graeme Cowan.”

 

Jennifer and her loving family

Please go to this link to read the Q & A on Jennifer’s blog, and if you could leave a comment so Jennifer & I know you stopped by, that would be awesome!

Have a good weekend, 

Love,

Dyane

p.s. On Wednesday our local paper Good Times published Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld’s article about my book Birth of a New Brain. I took a hideous picture; I’m not photogenic like Miss Lucy, but the article is great!

http://goodtimes.sc/santa-cruz-news/dyane-harwood-postpartum-bipolar/#respond

 

Miss Lucy “I Can’t Take A Bad Picture” Harwood 

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.

Thanks For Your Support – Good News!

 

 

bp Magazine has come to its senses!

Let me begin by telling you I had given up all hope of bp Magazine seeing the postpartum bipolar light!

Ironically, after I had unsubscribed to bp‘s Twitter feed and their email newsletter and closed off my heart to them, I got an email from bp’editor.

Lo and behold, I was informed there would be an opportunity for me after all. I was invited to write about postpartum bipolar for the “On My Mind” column in bp‘s Winter 2018 issue!

I wish I could say it was my magical, powerful “I’m disappointed” email I had sent to bp’s publisher that did the trick. But I suspect other actions came into play.

What I believe had the most influence was that some of you contacted the editor. (THANK YOU Kitt O’Malley and thanks to everyone else who wrote the editor and who retweeted on my behalf including Samina of the Bipolar 1 Blog and Bipolar on Fire.) Please let me know if you helped out in the comments and I’ll give you credit in the next post!

After I sent the publisher my “I’m very disappointed” email and didn’t hear back, I wrote a lengthy email to the editor. Then I did something I was sure was going to have bp’s staff place my name on their sh*t list.

I conducted a week-long Twitter Tantrum. Every time a reputable organization such as the UCLA Semel Friends, Postpartum Support International, or DBSA tweeted my SELF postpartum bipolar article link (which they all did numerous times) I retweeted it and tagged @bpmag.

It was a helluva lot of tweets!

For the record, I do not recommend doing this if you’re upset with someone or with a group. Remember, I had given up on hearing from bp Magazine forever!

I mega-tweeted to prove a point to them.

I knew that chances were very high I’d be burning a bridge with their staff, but as you guessed, I was past the point of caring about consequences. 

When I spotted the editor’s email in my in-box yesterday, my hands turned cold and clammy and I started to freak out. I was sure the email would say something like this:

 

 

When I forced myself to read the email, it was a very pleasant surprise.

So there you have it! I guess the moral of the story is really about how awesome the blogosphere and Twittersphere can be in one’s time of need. If I didn’t have amazing virtual friends (you know who you are!) then this dramatic turn of events wouldn’t have occurred.

The magic of the “I’m Disappointed” email can only go so far…

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next Friday, perhaps even with the post I promised to share about rich people and dog poop!

Love,

Dyane

 

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 available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available in early September.

Off to Tahoe to Ice Skate & Edit, Perhaps Simultanously…

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Squaw Valley, California

December 2012

In 2012, my family made our annual winter visit to Alpine Meadows located near Squaw Valley, California, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics. When we visited Squaw Valley, I wore a Santa hat proclaiming I was “Nice,” but in all honesty, it should’ve read “Hopeless.”

Craig, the girls and I rode the Squaw Valley Aerial Tram up to High Camp. I was severely depressed, extremely anxious (especially in social situations) and thirty-five pounds overweight. Although we were in a spectacular setting, I couldn’t appreciate the beauty that surrounded us.

To top it off, I was terrified of being in a metal box a whopping 2000 feet above the snowy ground, suspended by a cable which I thought might snap apart any second. I forced myself to go on the tram because my daughters loved it. When we reached our destination at the top of the mountain, I felt flat and Scrooge-like.

I hadn’t yet found the two meds that would lift my treatment-resistant bipolar depression: lithium & the MAOI tranylcypromine (Parnate). It wouldn’t happen for another year. (I write about how these meds helped me here and here.)

We’re heading to Alpine Meadows today, and I’m excited about it! Our Scotch collie Lucy is coming with us, and we’ll take daily walks in the snow. I’ll be wearing spikes on the soles of my boots; they’re a miraculous device so I won’t slip on the icy roads. Lucy’s thick, furry coat will come in handy in the cold. She loves the snow, and it’s so much fun to watch her romp around.

In book news, yesterday I received the edited file of my Birth of a New Brain manuscript from my publisher! I’ll be bringing my laptop so I can review the editor’s feedback and make the necessary changes. Lucy will sit in her usual place while I write: on my foot.

Apart from that, I’ll go ice skating with the girls. Skating is something I would never would’ve contemplated doing in 2012. I skated last year, and I had a blast until it started snowing hard. The skating rink’s ice plow machine broke, so the powder snow grew thick upon on the ice, yet we were allowed to keep skating. Let me tell you, skating through more than an inch of snow is not the ideal way to do it!

I want to thank each of you for making the blogosphere such a supportive place. I see it as full of virtual kindred spirits! Back in 2012 before I blogged regularly, I didn’t imagine I’d discover amazing bloggers who would add so much joy, inspiration, and illumination to my life. I’m so glad that happened – I’m so glad you all are not only “out there” (along with the truth – sorry, that’s what happens when you watch too many X-Files episodes) but in my heart too. Have a good holiday and see you late next week.

Lots of love,

Dyane

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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 in October 2017.

Writing Heals My Brain

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Writing Heals My Brain

I write because I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eight-years-old.

I write because my mother gave me wonderful books to read as a child, and she always believed in my writing ability – she continues encouraging my writing as she approaches her eighth decade!

I write because it grounds me.

I write because the act of writing restores me; it helps me remember the person I was before a mental illness almost destroyed me.

I write to prove to myself that all the soul-sucking medications I’ve taken didn’t kill my creativity after all.

I write because writing has given me the opportunity to interview extraordinary people. Before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was a freelance writer. I interviewed Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, author of the bestselling book An Unquiet Mind, for a magazine article I was writing. Little did I know I would eventually share the same diagnosis with Dr. Jamison.

I write because I can write, even after I had electricity pulse through my brain over fifty times during electroconvulsive treatments (ECT). My long-term memory is still intact.

I write because it stimulates some mysterious part of my brain and makes me feel better.

I write because it’s free therapy.

I write to share and connect with other people worldwide who have suffered with bipolar disorder like I have.

I write to help other moms know they aren’t alone with their perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

I write because no one, not even bipolar disorder, can take away the fact that I’m a Writer

 

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth)will be published by   Post Hill Press in Fall, 2017.

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Snow Therapy

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My girls with their new friend – and yes, Rilla is licking him, but she lived to tell the tale!

 

I’m writing this post from the snowy shores of West Lake Tahoe. It’s a spectacular area – if you haven’t had a chance to visit Lake Tahoe, I hope that someday that you’lll have the opportunity.

Yesterday we left our Santa Cruz Mountains home and drove five hours to reach Tahoma. It usually takes us only three hours, but the stormy weather forced us to slow down. While making the journey we experienced three “seasons” in one day. I was reminded of one of my favorite Crowded House songs Four Seasons In One Day. We drove through sunshine, rain, sleet and snow.

We’re staying at a friend’s cabin who rented it to us for a song, so we’re able to afford this trip. I didn’t think we’d have internet, but I figured out how to access it, and voila! I’m stoked! 🙂 It’s very healthy to unplug, but it’s also frustrating if you’re like me and used to keeping up with your blogosphere family. I wrote about that last year when we stayed in Alpine Valley without internet access.

So….ever since I wrote my last two posts, I’ve been thinking a lot about mortality. My vibrant friend “N” died a little over a week ago, and his son wrote something very beautiful that moved me:

“During his lifetime, my father soaked up the good will, compassion and kindness from many people like yourselves, to the point that the love in his heart could no longer fit inside of one mortal body. And now that love will have the freedom to be shared boundlessly and eternally…”

These weren’t empty words; they rang true for this remarkable man I knew for a decade, and who I trusted to take care of my little girls. After reading his son’s tribute I thought, If I could have my children write that about me when I’m gone, then I’ll be the luckiest person in the world.

Anyway, this afternoon I took a vigorous snowy walk. Lucy accompanied me and that hound was blissed out – she was so cute, with snow sprinkling her sweet furry face like powdered sugar. I walked with confidence on the snowy streets because I had Yaktrax on the soles of my boots, ensuring traction for a much safer walk.

Last year at Alpine Meadows I fell twice during my walks. I was so foolish – I could have easily hurt myself, and I must have had a guardian angel watching over me. I didn’t know about Yaktrax back then, but after seeing a guy jog by me one day, I knew he must have had something special on his shoes. I asked around and found out there are devices you can attach to your boot soles to cut down on spills. After having three friends experience fall-related head injuries over the past month, there was no way I was going walking here without Yaktrax!

While on our trek, I breathed in the amazing-smelling, icy air. I looked at all the different cabins lit up with Christmas lights as Lucy stopped every few feet to sniff at a snow bank. Being in such a different environment and getting my heart rate up was so good for my mental state. I was in a crappy mood when I started out. The rest of the family were squabbling and I had cabin fever. When I returned from my walk I felt much better. I’ll be walking every day I’m here because it’s not daunting exercise – it’s the very best kind. I wish you could join us! 🙂

If history repeats itself, as I’ve done during prior Lake Tahoe trips, I’ll be blogging a bit more than my usual 1x/week. I hope to write about any alpine adventures that come my way. I’ll let you know if I spot Tahoe Tessie, Lake Tahoe’s version of the Loch Ness Monster, or any Yetis when I go for my jaunts in the woods! (Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t worry. I’ll be extremely careful this time!) 

Take care of yourselves and have a great beginning to your week!

love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Two Concussions in One Day

Yesterday was weird.

Let me back up.

I live up in the Santa Cruz Mountains where the wild banana slugs roam, and every day is a little bit weird.

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But yesterday was weirder than usual.

After taking the kids to school (and only having one road rage-ish tizzy fit -a personal best!), I returned home to read the latest post by my friend Samina Raza of the award-winning Bipolar1Blog. 

Samina wrote about her first time ice skating. Her post was accompanied by a pictorial, which started out showing happy, beautiful scenes of Samina on the ice, and a video, but then it turned into something very different.  

Interestingly enough, Samina’s adventure wasn’t all gloom ‘n doom. While she took a spill and suffered a concussion, something else happened that day that was good – you need to read her post “went Ice Skating” to believe it!

I never would’ve guessed what happened to Samina in a zillion years. I want what she got, but I wouldn’t want to do what she did to get it!

(Say that 10 times fast!)

 

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A couple hours later I waited at the elementary school to pick up my girls. Craig called me to let me know that a good friend of ours had fallen that morning. He cracked some bones in his neck and was at the hospital; those were the only details Craig knew so far.

The news of my friends’ concussions gave me pause. 

Sabina mentioned that she wasn’t wearing a helmet, but promised she’d  definitely put one on the next time she goes to the rink. I’m so proud of her wanting to go skating again!

My other friend got his concussion from simply skipping a step on the staircase – we all do that sometimes, don’t we? His accident could happen to any of us.

These two incidents tie into my last post Always Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop. For much of yesterday, I felt like a Payless Shoesource store could drop on me, but today the paranoid feeling is subsidingI’m slowing down a bit, driving extra-carefully, and de-hunching whenever I catch myself with my shoulders almost hitting my ears. Oh, and I’m trying my damndest not to hold my breath, a nasty, longtime habit of mine…

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My eight-year-old has third grade “mental math” homework in which she has to figure out the problems in her little noggin. Instead of mental math I’ve begun to do a little bit of “mental gratitude” list in my head. Yes, I’m lazy. I was always too lazy to do a gratitude list – don’t tell Oprah! But thinking about it certainly counts. 

Yesterday served as a wake-up call to appreciate what I have right now.

I can’t end this post without making a reference to one of my all-time favorite bands Crowded House. Their hit song Four Seasons in One Day contains lyrics that beautifully express how we never know what will happen, even in this age of psychic superstars and satellite weather systems.

Below is a link to a gorgeous video of Four Seasons in One Day. This was the first Crowded House video to be made in New Zealand. Auckland director Kerry Brown and film producer Bruce Sheridan wanted to emphasise the surreal, fantasy elements of the song, using distinctly NZ imagery. Locations included beaches and dense bush of the South Island’s West Coast, the plains of Central Otago and the Victorian architecture of Oamaru. Scenes of an Anzac Day ceremony and marching girls also highlight the homeland setting. Kerry Brown took inspiration from Salvador Dali paintings for the psychedelic effects added in post-production.

Check it out!

And please…stay safe, my friends. 

Love, Dyane

It doesn’t pay to make predictions
Sleeping on an unmade bed
Finding out wherever there is comfort there is pain
Only one step away
Like four seasons in one day

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/four-seasons-in-one-day-1992

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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