Tahoe Bliss

 

Twilight beauty in Alpine Meadows

Tahoe Bliss is the name of my all-time favorite lip balm that’s made right here in Lake Tahoe, but it’s also a mellow state of mind. I haven’t had any grand adventures take place since I last posted – only small ones that occurred primarily on my walks and hikes, but small is good enough for me. 

During one of my daily walks, I noticed this roof was alive…
And on another stroll, I discovered this beautiful split tree trunk bridge 

Lucy chillin’ & experiencing Tahoe Bliss after her pond swim!

 

The girls playing large-scale chess at The Village at Squaw Valley. I couldn’t believe it when a crowd formed to watch their intense game! I took this shot when they were just getting started.

(Little sis won!)

I’ve been lazy during most of this trip, but I’ve made some progress with my book.

With the help of my former coworker at the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, the date for my first book event is set! It’ll be at one of the library branches on Thursday, October 19th at 7:00 p.m. – further details will be firmed up in early August.

The heat is now officially on – I have three months to get my presentation together, and you can bet my new Toastmaster friends are going to help me with it.

On the promotions front, Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, inspired me to create a “press kit.” My publisher has a 1-page standard press release, but I wanted a more extensive, professional-looking press kit I could share with certain individuals and organizations.

 

I started reading Linda’s new memoir Song of the Plains last week. It’s  beautifully written, and I love the cover!

 

I felt a little audacious asking Linda if she would let me see her press kit, but I pushed through my fear because I knew it would be excellent. After all, she’s a memoir and publishing expert. Linda graciously said yes, and her awesome layout has been a tremendous help!

Lastly, I’ve had a culinary grand adventure, come to think of it. I’ve found one of the best brownie mixes ever: Sutter Buttes Natural and Artisan Foods’ Blood Orange Olive Oil Brownies Baking Kit. I’ve tried many brownie mixes, and this mix blew me away.

If you’re a brownie lover and a blood orange lover, order this dream-come-true – you will thank me. (They have double chocolate flavor too.)

Isn’t the little bottle of extra virgin blood orange olive oil cute?

And on that sweet note, I bid you a wonderful weekend!

See you next week!

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.

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

dyane-chunkers

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

post-hill

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.

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Real Tweets

Rillaonhorse

 

Horseback fun in Alpine Meadows

 

I’ve been missing reading your blogs in Alpine Meadows, but it’s good to be forced to unplug every now and then. Although there is no Wi-Fi in our cabin, I brought along my MacBook and Avonlea figured out how to use the Mac’s iMovie app. I didn’t even know I had iMovie or what it is, so it’s very cool to have my ten-year-old show it to me. (And here I am, a former American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women intern!) Anyway, Avi and her sister had a blast making a bunch of trailers; see below for one wacky example.

I’ve been low-tech for the most part, taking long hikes with Lucy. We’ve been exploring trails overlooking the appropriately named Red Dog Ridge. I love hiking – I used to do it all the time in L.A. Hiking reminds me of the happiest times in my life in which the word “bipolar” wasn’t part of my lexicon. 

Watching Lucy sniff wildflowers and tree stumps, her tongue lolling out to the side in ecstasy, is one of the best parts of this trip. We haven’t run into any bears yet, but I’m on the lookout, and I know what to do if we have an ursine encounter. (Mom, do NOT worry!) Lucy’s ear-splitting barking will help frighten them away, and I’m to make very loud noises, and/or sing loudly. Craig said that if I belt out my beloved Crowded House catalogue, my shrill voice is guaranteed to drive away any bear.

In the evenings we’ve been watching a BBC series called From Lark Rise to Candleford. For you Downton Abbey addicts it has the fantastic actor Brendon Coyle, a.k.a. Downton Abbey’s John Bates.

I haven’t been writing as much as I hoped I would, but I’ll be honest with you – I’d rather hike than write! Plus I’ll be doing some heavy-duty writing soon enough. Want to join me? There’s still room in my Catamaran Writing Conference Nonfiction workshop with Frances Lefkowitz. Lefkowitz is the author of an incredible memoir  * entitled To Have Not and the founder of the Community Memoir Project. She has taught memoir courses alongside luminaries including the high holy Cheryl Strayed. The registration deadline has been extended to August 1. Visit www.catamaranliteraryreader.com for details.

I look forward to catching up with your lives next week when I plug back in to my daily dose of reading devouring your blogs.

Have a great weekend!

Dyane

 * That’s for you, L.E. Henderson, author of the five-star A Trail of Crumbs to Creative Freedom: One Author’s Journey Through Writer’s Block and Beyond.

This prolific writer lives with bipolar and has been a tremendous inspiration. I do declare…“titled” is so pedestrian!

 

Back to Reality & Exercising for Bipolar Disorder

Dearest Bloggers, 

I’m back and I’m ready to dive into your blogs one again.  In the meantime, I wrote the following post last Monday while we were still in snowy Tahoe, waaaaaay back in the year 2014  – I hope you like it!  Happy Belated New Year! love, Dyane

Wintry Musings

 Happy New Year, everyone! I’m still stuck in the old year as I write this in the “Munchkin House” on a sunny, cold Monday morning.

 This is the view outside my window:DSCN0174It’s the Alpine Valley, California mountainside – Squaw Valley is just over the ridge…I’ve gazed at this view in the spring, summer and fall, and I love having seen it in all four seasons:

 

Last month while speaking with one of my favorite bloggers, my friend Kitt O’Malley. (www.kittomalley.com) I whined about how I wished there was a live support group in my area for those with mood disorders. I was in a unusually dejected state. I had just found out that one of my closest friends “Karen” was moving several hundred miles away from our town. While I knew we’d stay in touch, I still felt a void over her leaving.

Kitt reminded me that I do have a support group in front of my very eyes: the blogosphere! I didn’t need to pressure myself to create another support group. As some of you know, I’ve formed several mood disorder support groups over the years. Nothing “took” long-term as I relapsed with bipolar depression every time and the groups fizzled out. I realized Kitt was totally right in recognizing our virtual community of support, and that was more than enough for me for now. I’m incredibly grateful for her friendship and for your support.

I’ve written before about the affinity I feel with many of you, i.e. the diverse, amazing bloggers I follow regularly! I only know some of you by aliases, but ironically I feel closer to you than I do to a few of my relatives!

I’ve focused on subscribing to blogs written by those living with bipolar disorder. I also read a few about anxiety, and derealization/depersonalization. According to some well-meaning friends, my selecting mostly bipolar-related blogs implies that I’m “obsessive” about bipolar and that “I identify too much with the illness”. I disagree. I read some blogs that focus on recovery with bipolar as the primary theme, but every blog I follow helps me in one way or another.  The bottom line is that I’ve found my tribe, and I don’t associate an unhealthy obsession with this virtual network.

Speaking of networks…

It has been almost a whopping two weeks that I’ve been off Facebook, Twitter and the WordPress Reader.  While my Facebook and Twitter networks are filled with great people, I find them to be different experiences compared to following your blogs.  Blogs allow me glimpses into your souls.  It’s a more satisfying experience to read a post compared to a status update or tweet. Moreover, many of my Facebook and Twitter contacts don’t have bipolar disorder, and they can’t understand my challenges in living with it. That might explain while I was able to easily detach from Facebook and Twitter during this trip. I was very, VERY surprised to find that I didn’t miss Facebook and Twitter for the most part, because I’ve been heavily addicted to these forms of social media. Conversely, I have missed my daily hour of reading blogs on my WordPress Reader!  (You know that already!)  Sure, I have books to read and I love books, but I like to have my cake and eat it too. I want books and blogs!  😉

Where am I going with all this? I don’t know – I’m just blogsick, I guess!

Meanwhile, I’ve gone on daily thirty-minute walks in the Tahoe snow; today it was 16 degrees. (!!!!) I could have stayed indoors in front of a cozy fire, but I pushed myself to get outside because the psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s asserts that those thirty minutes of vigorous exercise a day will keep bipolar depression at bay.  

I’ve re-posted Dr. Alsuwaidan’s suggestions and link for those of you who didn’t see it in my last post.

It is beautiful to walk in the snow, but I prefer my elliptical and blasting the Pandora channel during my workout.

So by the time you read this message, we’ll be headed back home to my glorious internet connection. I look forward to catching up with your lives via the blogosphere, and as we start 2015 together I hope with all my heart that this is the bet year yet for each of us!!!

Love,

Dyane

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DYANE’S EXERCISE FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER RESOURCES

A powerful tool that’s helping prevent the onset of my bipolar depression is following the guidelines of my exercise hero, the psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan

For specific details about what to do and why to do it, please read Dr. Alsuwaidan’s brief blog article at – it will take you less than five minutes:

http://kuwaitmood.com/exercise-mood-part-iii-from-science-to-action/

I don’t want to sound like a cult member, but this brilliant psychiatrist’s advice, which he follows himself, can change your life for the better!   

I can’t help but lovingly encourage you to start doing 30 minutes a day of exercise, especially if you have bipolar disorder, per Dr. Alsuwaidan’s guidelines, i.e. vigorous, enough to make you break a sweat and not be able to carry on conversations with others. Is this easy?  No.  

Annoyed walk

Annoyed during my walk – I had just fallen on ice…

Is it worth the trouble? YES!!!!

If your depression is so bad that the very idea of exercise makes you want to hurl, please put this info. in the back of your head for when you start feeling a little better.   If you can try 5 “Alsuwaidan-style” minutes (again, please read Dr. Alsuwaidan’s blog post first about what to do/how to work out) and build up from five minutes to thirty minutes, I’ll send you a little surprise!

I beseech you to visit this link below to listen to Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s International Society for Bipolar Disorders-sponsored webinar. This is what profoundly affected me in terms of why I should exercise for bipolar.  It’s about eating chocolate to lose weight and gain muscle – just kidding!  I can’t stand listening to webinars, but this one is worth it! The second half is especially convincing as to why you should aim to work out for your mood – listen for his section about exercise as a “panacea” for bipolar disorder.   It’s fascinating, and convincing as hell!

“Exercise for the Neurological Treatment of Mood Disorders” webinar

http://www.isbd.org/education/webinar-series

Lastly, if you haven’t had a chance to read my December International Bipolar Foundation blog post about my different take on exercise and my professional fitness background you can find it here:

 http://www.ibpf.org/blog/different-take-exercise-and-why-i-want-you-join-me