A Nerve-racking, but Ultimately Fulfilling Book Talk!


Park Hall Community Center, December 7th, 2017

Dear Friends,

Last night was my big book signing/educational presentation – it’s the last one I’m doing this year. I had done a ton of publicity in advance of my talk—I arranged and gave 3 local newspaper interviews, I posted flyers all over the valley, I used social media, and I was a guest on a popular Bay Area radio show.

Unfortunately, I spaced out about getting the talk recorded yet again. Drat!

I didn’t read my speech to the audience verbatim; in fact, my main mistake was going off-topic far too much, resulting in a presentation that was at least 15-20 minutes too long. I cringe thinking about it!!! The good news is that I learned my lesson and I won’t do that next time!

This talk was a benefit for NAMI/National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Valley Women’s Club and $300 was raised for them through my book & refreshment sales! 

Ten-year-old Marilla sold books again and did an amazing job. My husband took care of the PowerPoint projector side of things. I’m tuckered out and plan to wait at least a month before scheduling another local talk. 

Wonderful people from the Valley Women’s Club and the Friends of the Boulder Creek Library helped me with the event – they sold cookies & coffee, they helped set and clean up the room, and they provided moral support. There were also incredible friends and acquaintances who showed up such as my postpartum doula/author Salle Webber (The Gentle Art of Newborn Family Care) and my virtual friend/social media genius/blogger Carol Stephen, who I met in person for the 1st time, and my fantastic friend Martha Graham-Waldon, author of the award-winning Nothing Like Normal – Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia. Martha helped Marilla sell books and they got an A+ – for doing an excellent job!

There were also strangers who moved me deeply during the Q & A session when they shared some of their own struggles. A few of them were near tears due to heartbreaking situations they were currently facing. I was able to put them in touch then and there with a perinatal therapist I knew well and she happened to be in the audience. I knew she’d be fine with the instant referral (she was) and they spoke after the talk.

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I created a handout I gave to everyone last night that’s chock full of useful info. I’ve copied it for you below.

I’m going to go get a bite to eat and watch one of my favorite Netflix or Acorn TV shows. These include Australia’s The Heart Guy, Glitch—Season 2 (which has Rodger Corser the star from The Heart Guy; he’s such a brilliant actor), New Zealand’s The Brokenwood Mysteries, and the U.K.’s Love, Lies & Records. 

I wish you all a good weekend in which you take care of yourself and do some things that make you happy!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

Park Hall Community Center Author Talk, December 7th, 2017

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

General Information and Resources

Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (“PMADS”)

1)Antenatal (during pregnancy) and postpartum depression

2) postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

3) postpartum psychosis

4) postpartum bipolar disorder (bipolar, peripartum onset in the DSM-5)

5) postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

5) postpartum panic disorder

6) postpartum anxiety disorder

Symptoms of Mania:

Elevated mood, irritability, pursuing goal-directed activities more than usual, heightened energy, a decreased need for sleep, excessive talkativeness, pressurized speech, racing thoughts, spending sprees, hypersexuality, and grandiosity.

Symptoms of Depression:

Feelings of anger or irritability, {postpartum-related: lack of interest in the baby, possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself}, feelings of sadness, tearfulness, crying, emptiness or hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports, sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much, tiredness and lack of energy, even small tasks take extra effort, reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain, anxiety, agitation or restlessness, slowed thinking, slowed speaking or body movements, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame, trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things, frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide, unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.

Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis (not a complete list)

Delusions or strange beliefs

Paranoia and suspiciousness

Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)

Rapid mood swings

Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s Suggestions: Exercise for Mood Stability

1) Get your doctor’s blessing to exercise, then find an exercise you enjoy doing such as walking, hiking, yoga, swimming, running, treadmill, etc.

2) Exercise 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Research shows that this is what’s needed to affect the brain.

3) Make sure your activity is intense enough so you break a sweat and can’t maintain an ongoing conversation. (If you can’t exercise 6 days/week, shoot for a minimum of 5 days.)

(For more information please visit: medium.com/@MoAlsuwaidan)

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Santa Cruz County Chapter

http://www.namiscc.org          Help Line: 831-427-8020

NAMI Santa Cruz Support Groups link: http://www.namiscc.org/groups.html

NAMI offers a variety of educational classes for consumers and caregivers

 

DBSA (Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance), Los Gatos/San Jose Chapter

Join DBSA San Jose/Los Gatos’ Meetup Support Group, Organizer: Mike Pearl

Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA San Jose)

San Jose, CA
97 Members

Find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting, and where you can make a difference in the lives of others.  DBSA San Jose support groups are volunteer ru…

Next Meetup

Depression/Bipolar Peer Support Group (Mountain View)

Saturday, Dec 30, 2017, 10:00 AM
2 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

 

CaringBridge Website

Use this wonderful free resource to help organize community support, give updates during a health crisis, receive donations for medical costs and much more.

https://www.caringbridge.org/how-it-works

 Postpartum Support International Warmline

www.postpartum.net

PSI Warmline: (Toll-free) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773) You’re welcome to leave a confidential message anytime, and one of the Warmline volunteers will return your call as soon as possible, providing you with basic information, support, and resources in your area. If you’re not able to talk when the volunteer calls you, you can arrange another time to connect.

 International Bipolar Foundation

http://www.ibpf.org
(858) 764-2496, comprehensive information & resources about bipolar disorder

BP/Bipolar Magazine

http://www.bphope.com

 Suicide Hotline Numbers

If you’re in the U.S. and thinking about suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800- 273-TALK (8255) suicidepreventionlifeline.org—they are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.If you’re outside the U.S., please visit this link for a list of international suicide hotlines: suicide.org/international-suicide- hotlines.html

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has a database of international crisis centers at iasp.info/resources/ Crisis_Centres/

Postpartum Psychosis Resources

 “What is Postpartum Psychosis? Teresa Twomey, TEDxBushnellPark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7gyRpTkSP0

Author of Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP)
The APP website offers a link to a private forum for mothers with postpartum psychosis and/or bipolar disorder.

https://www.app-network.org

Emotional Support Animals

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one symptom of the disability. Emotional support animals, typically dogs, but sometimes cats or other animals, may be used by people with a range of physicalpsychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. To be afforded protection under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of disability and must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability. An animal does not need specific training to become an emotional support animal.[1] Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation, such as a waiver of a “no pets policy”, for any assistance animal, including an emotional support animal, under both the FHAA and Section 504.[3]

 Mom & Mind Podcast with Dr. Kaeni & Dyane Harwood

Episode 70, Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

http://www.momandmind.com

Dyane Harwood’s Website

Sign up for Dyane’s newsletter—just scroll down to the bottom of the page for occasional e-updates about events.

www.dyaneharwood.com

Recommended Blog

 Kitt O’Malley www.kittomalley.blog

 

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!

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The Unfriending – October Update

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A couple days ago I had an experience that completely unnerved me.

Someone with whom I had an intense virtual friendship with, but had never met in person, unfriended me on Facebook with no warning.

I was surprised at my reaction.  The abruptness of her unfriending stirred up deep feelings of rejection and insecurity within me.  I was also angry…not just at her, but at myself for getting so upset over this situation.

If we had a “real life” friendship then it would make more sense that I’d feel so deeply hurt, but I’ve always been a very sensitive person and her decision cut me to the quick.

I was aware she had serious mental health challenges.  Despite knowing she was fragile, I let down my guard with her in our messages and live Facebook chats.  She gave me her phone number and invited me to call her anytime if I needed to talk.  I never took her up on the offer, but I was moved by her willingness to listen.

Recently, when I stated my opinion on Facebook about an issue I believed in passionately, I noticed her virtual demeanor changed.  She vehemently, irrationally lashed out at another Facebook friend of mine, and that was the beginning of the end.

I’ll back up a bit…last year I took a long Facebook hiatus.  Then I decided to try Facebook again and I made a new rule for myself: I would only be friends with people I knew personally and with whom I had active relationships with. I no longer wished to be  friends with people I hadn’t seen in years (excluding a few relatives and a couple exceptions).  I didn’t want “trophy friends” or to maintain friendships with total strangers.  I soon broke my rule, however, and this friend who I write of today was one of those exceptions.

God knows I’ve suffered broken friendships in real life that dissolved in much messier ways than a simple click of a button, and I got through those rejections intact.

Each day I will think less and less about this unfriending, but it’s still fresh in my mind and it hurts.

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Writing about this unfriending helps me; writing has always been a healthy catharsis.  But writing doesn’t serve as a panacea for malice as much as I wish it did.

It occurred to me that maybe this person is having a crisis, and she acted out from an unstable place.

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Being cut off in five seconds flat is the risk anyone takes with social media friendships.  I hope that this is the first and last unfriending I have on Facebook.

Update 10/1/15 – Unfortunately it wasn’t the last unfriending! 😦

Please see this link for a tale of the 2nd unfriending that was rather bizarre:

https://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/fck-this-sht-i-love-you-goodbye/

In attempt to feel better, since this unfriending occurred I’ve been mumbling affirmations such as “I am a great friend” and “I am kind”.  I don’t want this experience to sour my soul more than it already has.  I’ll pay more attention to my beautiful girls, my husband, and myself – my virtual friendships need to take a backseat for now.  I hope that my “unfriend” finds peace and healing, and that she can turn to a network of friends who won’t give up on her even when the going gets rough.

To quote the great Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live:

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

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And here’s an insightful quote by Jenn Talley:

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

Please Help Me This Thursday! (My Video Blog)

 

 

I know the freeze frame makes me look scary & under the influence of something, but it’s just endorphins!

Please give this vlog a listen – I’d be extremely grateful to each of you.

I value your readership & support so much.

Thanks, my friends!

Dyane