Review — Birth of a New Brain: Healing from #Postpartum Depression by Dyane Harwood

 

 

 

 

I want to thank my writing mentor Wendy K. Williamson for writing this wonderful review of my book! I only paid her five bucks to do it! ūüėČ

If it wasn’t for Wendy, I don’t know if my book would have been “born!” I’m forever grateful to this intrepid writer for her encouragement, humor, and wisdom.Wendy’s belief that my writing was good enough to share with others truly kept me going.

Be sure to check out her two books I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar (an outstanding memoir that was ahead of its time) and Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival (which I wish I had to read in 2007 when I was diagnosed); please follow her blog & Twitter too @bipolarwendy.

Wendy has some amazing blog posts – one of my favorites is her post called “Go Ahead Writer”:

https://wendykwilliamson.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/go-ahead-writer/

Once again, Wendy, thank you. I’ll always be in your debt unless I win the California SuperLotto Plus jackpot – in that case, I’ll build a writer’s colony and name it the Wendy K. Williamson Center for the Literary Arts. It will have a cafe called “Diner Girl,” a bookstore heavily stocked with her books, and I’ll give you a million dollar stipend! How does that sound? (I wish I could do that!!)

Xo,
Dyane

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Order on Pre-Sale at Amazon   Click Here

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Blurbs & A New Section: “You’re Rejecting Me? Prepare to Learn Some Cat Facts!”

 

Aimee Mann has been one of my favorite musicians ever since her ‘Til Tuesday¬†“Voices Carry” days in the 1980s. She has a new CD coming out called¬†Mental Illness, and this brief interview explains why she gave her CD this title.

 

Hi there, my friends!

I hope you had a good week and HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

I was too lazy to dress up Lucy, so I’m using this photo instead:¬†

In other scintillating news…

I’ve continued putting out the feelers for book endorsements.¬†

Some fantastic authors and advocates have agreed to endorse the book -hurrah!

I had another rejection, but thank God it didn’t sting very much. I had emailed Andrew Solomon, the author of the bestseller¬†The Noonday Demon, on a whim.¬†I thought it was a longshot, but it was worth a couple minutes of my time to contact him. That same day, I received such a gracious response. Andrew explained he was overextended with his new book’s release, but he wished me the best of luck.¬†

My pet peeve is when I contact someone and I don’t receive a reply.

In a time when it’s so easy to send a brief email brush-off, there’s no excuse for rudeness.¬†

I know what you’re thinking….you’re thinking that when I don’t get a response, my email could’ve gone into the spam folder. You’re right! That’s always a possibility, and it happened with one person. And I’m not such a narcissist that I assume it’s all about me – the person could be sick or going through a crisis, for all I know. But something tells me that hasn’t been the case with a couple other folks.¬†

What can be done? 

Well…I could call and leave a voicemail message as a follow-up. BUT I will only call once because I don’t want to be a phone stalker.

And then there’s always the Cat Facts option, which I’ll explain later on.

 

Using Twitter to Make Connections – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Twitter has been very kind to me…

and Twitter has been a bit of a bummer!  

Through Twitter, I was able to thank the multi-talented comedian/actor/bestselling author/mental health advocate & Mohr Stories podcast host¬†Jay Mohr¬†for his re-tweet.¬†¬†He shared my Huffington Post Postpartum Bipolar article with his followers, and after that happened, I informed him about my book, but didn’t ask for anything. He surprised me by endorsing my book on Twitter! (I’m sorry the tweet is so tiny and¬†blurry!)

My tweeting experience with Minnie Driver didn’t have such a happy ending, but I’m okay with it now. I’ve admired Minnie Driver’s acting, singing, and songwriting for a long time. I thought she might be receptive to endorsing my book because last year she starred in the film Return to Zero.¬†The film is about a married couple who loses a child through stillbirth.

Plus she’s a mom.

Minnie Driver and Paul “He Rocked Private Practice” Adelstein in the heartrending film¬†Return to Zero

In my 1st tweet to Minnie, I complimented her Academy Awards dress and she “liked” it! Oohhh! I was jolly because many famous people don’t look at their fans’ tweets. ¬†

My tweet #2 was about Minnie’s song “Down” from the¬†Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket album.¬†I love that song & I tweeted her about how much I’ve enjoyed it, and guess what – she “liked” that tweet too!

High on the success of my two tweets, I tweeted my book cover to her. I asked if I could send it to her for her consideration, but there were crickets.

I guess I should have gone through her publicist or manager, but I took a foolhardy chance. Sometimes you need to do that, right? 

And now, drum roll please….and a big, throaty MEOW because you’re about to read my new section.

¬†“You’re¬†Rejecting¬†Me? Prepare to Learn Some Cat Facts!”

I’ll begin by stating for the record that this is an immature activity, but hey – at least it’s not malicious or illegal. I’m referring to PrankDial – The Original Internet Prank Call Website. This company gives you three free calls. You enter the number to be dialed on the site, and they take it from there. (PrankDial¬†claims your number and personal information won’t appear to anyone else, but don’t take my word for that!)

I decided to give PrankDial a try. There was only one choice that appealed to me and that was Cat Facts!

I knew just who needed to learn about Cat Facts. I can’t name him here, of course, but take my word for it – this guy is LAME and he needed to learn about cats! (He had nothing to do with my book…)

When PrankDial called him, it recorded his replies. After the Cat Facts call ended, the website played that recording back to me. Hee hee hee! The Lame One didn’t sound angry; in fact, I was amazed he listened to the entire recording. Perhaps he’ll show greater respect for cats, if not humans!¬†

Please prank call responsibly…or at least try to, anyway!

In the future, if someone rejects my lovely email or voicemail, I might need to share Cat Facts with such a cold hearted snake! 

I hope you got something out of this post.

It’s not touching on bipolar disorder (there are plenty other posts that do!) and it’s not deep, but that’s how I roll sometimes.

After so many years of living in my internal Nightmare On Elm Street film, it’s nice to focus on other things, even if they’re silly.

I wish you a great weekend!

Next week I’ll let you know if I contact anyone about Cat Facts!¬†

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane Harwood‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď 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.

It‚Äôs available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link ‚Äď Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!

A Woodsy Vlog: Endorsements & The Awesome Mohr Stories Podcasts

My Fall Creek Redwoods Vlog 

If you’re brave enough to listen (and braver still to watch my shaky camera work), you’ll be updated about my quest for book endorsements¬†and other tidbits. I forgot to mention that my Scottish collie Lucy has the same birthday as I do: March 18th! She’s turning a whopping 3. (By the way, sorry for the abrupt end…)

Jay Mohr and “Mohr Stories”¬†

Jay Mohr in the hit show The Ghost Whisperer as Professor Rick Payne

Here’s Jay with Mean Jennifer Aniston and Kevin “Bacon Grease Hair” Bacon

Yes, America’s beloved “Jen” was very cruel to Jay during the filming of¬†Picture Perfect. In fact, her atrocious behavior¬†actually made him cry!¬†

If you want to hear the funny-yet-gory details, listen to Podcast #7 “The Rachel.” That podcast is in the archives, and you’ll need to download the free Mohr Stories app – it’s no big deal, but if you run into problems, just let me know.

My favorite picture of Tom Cruise 

I also love Jay’s podcast about acting as the villain sports agent “Bob Sugar” opposite Tom Cruise in Cameron Crowe’s classic film Jerry Maguire. Podcast¬†#5 “The Legend of Tom Cruise” is fascinating.

Ever since I started following the comedian/actor/producer/advocate Jay Mohr on Twitter (@jaymohr37) I’ve listened to his acclaimed Mohr Stories podcasts while walking Lucy or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. These podcasts are entertaining, educational, heartrending, funny, raunchy (sometimes) and inspiring. What’s especially cool is that every podcast is unique. Rumor has it that yours truly might appear on a Mohr Stories podcast this summer – I’ll keep you posted!

Jay has recorded over 380 (!!!) podcasts. He has said he enjoys doing these shows more than acting or even stand-up comedy, which he has done since he was sixteen. When you hear Jay interact with his guests in his garage Fake Mustache Studio, you can tell he loves what he’s doing. It’s no glitzy, superficial presentation, but an authentic conversation.

These guests include Charlie Sheen, Jerry Seinfeld, Eric Roberts, Penn Gilette, Gabrielle Reece, Krista Vernoff (she’s a writer for Grey’s Anatomy & a mini Shonda Rhimes, and it’s a great podcast for any writer!), Tom Arnold, Perez Hilton, Kevin Pollak, Dr. Drew Pinksy, Illeana¬†Douglas, Adam Carolla, Melissa Rivers, Henry Rollins, David Lee Roth, Rufus Wainwright, Ice Cube, Jay Leno, Colin Quinn, Stewart Copeland just to name a few…what an eclectic list, eh?

Jay has a special interest in mental health topics such as anxiety,¬†bipolar disorder, and depression. He had severe anxiety/panic disorder during his two years as a featured player on Saturday Night Live¬†which he wrote about in his bestselling book¬†Gasping for Airtime.¬†Jay is a mental health advocate and a spokesperson for the “Keep Oregon Well” mental health campaign.

Logan Lynn

I encourage you to listen to Jay’s latest podcast he recorded with his close friend Logan Lynn, an incredibly inspiring person.

Logan is a survivor of multiple suicide attempts and childhood sexual abuse. He’s a musician, writer, producer, filmmaker, television personality, mental health advocate and LGBT activist from Portland, Oregon. Lynn’s music is most commonly classified in the pop, indie, rock, electronic, techno and dance genres.

In 2017, The National Council for Behavioral Health honored Logan with the prestigious “Award of Excellence” for “Excellence in Artistic Expression” for his music and for creating the “Keep Oregon Well”¬†campaign and social movement to fight the stigma of mental illness through the arts.¬†

The Mohr Stories app is free, and here’s the link for the Logan Lynn podcast.

Take the time to listen to it. You won’t regret it!

 

And I thought I’d write a very brief introduction to the vlog. Ha!

Take care, my friends. Have a good weekend!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

 

Dyane Harwood‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď 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.

It’s now available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link!

The Evolution of a Book Cover/Update

 

Welcome and Happy Freaky Friday, my friends!

I’m writing this post in a zombie-like state.

(Now, before some of you comment, “That’s nothing new,” please hear me out.)

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I met my editing deadline on Wednesday night, and I swear I felt like I had a baby. I’ve¬†never worked that hard on something before, with the exception of labor. I was so exhausted that I actually slept well. (
My fellow insomniacs will get the significance of such an event!) I’m slowly coming back to life…

I look forward to reading your blogs again and replying to your wonderful comments.

Some of you have seen the current cover on the Facebook page (please “like” & share the love!) and Twitter. It’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon¬†¬†(woo hoo!), and the Kindle pre-sales option will come this summer. It’ll be out October 10th.

A week ago my book got posted on Amazon, and it was SUPER-exciting! It went to #20 on Bipolar Book bestsellers for an hour! ūüėČ It was the #1 Hot New Release in Amazon’s “Pregnancy & Childbirth” category for an afternoon or so!¬†
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But yesterday I had a little surprise!

My publisher asked me to consider changing the front cover title font¬†from cursive to regular. (Regular…schmegular…whatever that word is! I told you I’m a zombie!)

Although I’ve disagreed with them before on other points, I was okay with this suggestion. More than okay. But I don’t like the all caps element. (You’ll see what I mean when you look at the 2/16 image.)

Some backstory you should know is that I negotiated with my publisher to handle the cover design, but they would get final approval, of course. And they did approve what I submitted. (Hope that makes sense.)

Moving on…

Here’s how the cover came to be:

My daughters and I thought of an idea. We created this mock-up. (Sorry for the terrible picture, but you get the idea…) The title, subheader, bylines were black on the mock-up, but we wanted our designer to use a sparkling white color instead of black.

Avonlea wanted the title font to consist of stars (and those fonts exist), but that didn’t quite work out.

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We gave that mock-up to our remarkable graphic designer Vanessa No Heart to play with. Vanessa sent us a bunch of ideas that boiled down to this image with three different color palettes:

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I liked this one the best:

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My publisher prefers this font. They have a very good rationale which I’ll paraphrase below.

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2/16 Image

I’m down with the publisher’s font, BUT I’d like “Birth,” “New,” and”Brain” to have the first letter capitalized. ¬†I’m really hoping they’re going to be honky dory with that feedback!

Here’s the loosely paraphrased rationale:

“Dear Dyane,

We think the design you submitted will hurt sales. 

Readers use visual elements to identify the book’s topic, and this process happens super-fast

Usually, script fonts signify humorous topics, light topics

Your memoir covers a serious, important topic. Our font makes it look more serious, not like a Harlequin romance novel

When you look at books online or in a store, you spend a fraction of a minute¬†looking at a cover. Cursive is harder to read. Many readers pass on the book ONLY because they don’t want to take a closer look at the font!”

Okay, that all makes 100% sense! Like I mentioned, I just don’t like the all-caps version. It’s too stark and I don’t feel the magic! ūüėȬ†

The publisher also wrote they wanted my approval on the suggested font, which was very cool of them to do. Technically, I think they could have insisted that I had to accept the new font. At least they are being respectful.

In the big picture of worldly events, this is a very, very, VERRRRRRY minor situation, and I’m not going to freak out. But I do love nice book covers, and I’d like to be proud of mine, you know what I’m sayin’?¬†

Stay tuned…..let me know your deep or shallow thoughts on the matter, and if you don’t like the cover, I understand – it’s not for everyone…& most importantly, have a GREAT weekend!!!!!

XOXO

Dyane

Dyane Harwood‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď 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.

It’s now available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link!

 

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Cover Reveal Coming….I Miss You All!

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Dear blogging friends, hello there!

I know, I know….I promised I’d do the exciting cover reveal yesterday, but I lied. Just kidding. The truth is that I’ve been TOTALLY flipping out about meeting my Feb. 15th deadline. (It’s nothing major…it’s just the deadline to submit my revised manuscript to The Great and Powerful Oz.)

 So please, I beg of you, give me an extension! The truth shall be revealed!

Speaking of book covers, some of you have seen the following image, but for those who haven’t had the, um, experience yet, I’ll reveal what the cover is NOT going to be.

The cartoonist Chato Stewart generously submitted this artwork pro bono for my consideration. I was grateful, but after careful consideration, I decided to take a pass.

Mental Health Humor and psychological disorder humor and cartoons by Chato Stewart
Mental Health Humor and psychological disorder humor and cartoons by Chato Stewart

The cover¬†won’t be this:

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This is picture of a bona fide mountain lion who lives near me! Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Puma Project

The cover won’t be this either, primarily because it’s my husband’s book’s cover:


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It won’t be¬†this:

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(courtesy of Bookshop Santa Cruz)

On the other hand, THIS could work!

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Have a great Valentine’s Day! I send you each a virtual tray of calorie-free pastries from the glorious heaven known as the Ben Lomond Baking Company.

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Sending you lots and lots of love,

Dyane

Dyane Harwood’s memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď 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.

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Two Editing Gems & Cover/Pre-Sale Update!!!

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Hello, my lovelies!

This will be the shortest post I’ve written in a long time. I read somewhere that an ideal blog post length is around 500 words. Since I usually publish 2000+ words, I’m happy I won’t bog you down this week!

In next week’s post, there’s a chance I’ll be revealing the cover of my memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder¬†and¬†I’ll¬†provide an Amazon link where it’ll be available for groovy pre-sales!!!!

I’ve scanned books on Amazon for years. (Don’t ask me how many books I’ve bought for my Kindle because it’s downright freakish.) It will be incredible and surreal to see my book on my Kindle Fire’s fingerprint-covered screen.

Aside from avoiding being a tasty nibble for our neighborhood mountain lion

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I’ve continued editing every day.

I’ve killed more darlings! (I must admit every “murder” has felt good!)

I invested in two awesome, relatively inexpensive editing tools: Grammarly Premium, and  ProWriting Aid, which is relatively new and remarkable to boot.

I learned about ProWriting Aid at the awesome *¬†Beyond Your Blog¬†by Susan Maccarelli. I encourage you to read Susan’s review “How A Non-Human Leveled Up My Writing.” ProWriting Aid has been the most helpful to me, and has more features than Grammarly. You can try ProWriting Aid for free, and if you want to purchase it, you can do that too! With Susan’s discount code provided on her blog post, I received 20% off the cost. I paid less than $40 for a year’s subscription, which is the same amount of money I’ve been known to blow at the Italian-owned, dreamy Ben Lomond Baking Company¬†down the road; they made me gain ten pounds – it’s all their fault.

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Damn you, Ben Lomond Baking Company! I can’t quit you!

ProWriting Aid has been worth its weight in chocolate ganache cupcakes and gold.

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog. Phew!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for putting up with my being incommunicado during the home stretch to publication! And thanks, as always, for reading!

Love,

Dyane

p.s. I can’t take all the credit for editing. My ghost writer Lucy has been working very hard too.

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With her hedgehog baby

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Stretching before returning to take over the laptop

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After an intense editing session, Lucy took a dognap on Craig’s pillow – please don’t let him know, although in truth she’s the cleanest member of our family!

* Beyond Your Blog¬†is¬†“a site helping bloggers successfully submit their writing for publishing opportunities beyond their personal blogs. Susan also offers online training and consulting to new bloggers looking for direction on submitting their writing for publication. Susan has interviewed dozens of editors from publications like The New York Times, Huffington Post, Brain, Child, Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Washington Post, and speaks at many respected writing and blogging conferences.”¬†

 

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Dyane‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď 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.

My Old-School Meds Helped A Star’s Treatment-Resistant Depression!

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It’s another rainy Thursday, but I’m in a better state of mind. The past week I haven’t thought much about being rejected by Team Voldemort.

As¬†Kermit and Fozzie sing, it’s time to be:

Movin’ Right Along!

 

Over the past few nights, I read country music superstar¬†Naomi Judd’s new memoir¬†River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope. The instant bestseller was co-written by Marcia Wilkie. Although I’m not a country music fan, I wanted to read about Judd’s experience with severe mental illness.¬†

I found the book absorbing and well-written. Like many gifted musicians, Judd had a very tough childhood. She was traumatized by sexual abuse, a profound lack of parental love, and much more. She became the young, single mom of Wynonna and Ashley, and put herself through nursing school. She endured more physical and emotional abuse. Her story is a remarkable one.

However, Naomi Judd differs from many of us in that she had the finances to spare almost no expense in her quest to get well. She attended rehabilitation centers such as Promises Malibu, which costs $75,000-$90,000 a month for a single room with a shared bathroom or private suite!

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She was treated by an acclaimed psychiatrist who made an exception to meet with her due to her fame. However, I brushed these inequities aside. I wanted to discover how, exactly, she got better from severe, treatment-depression.

Little did I know I’d be surprised in Chapter 17. At that point, Judd had taken¬†all kinds of meds for her anxiety and depression. She had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which, as some of you know, saved my life. ECT helped her somewhat, but just like with my case, ECT didn’t eradicate her unremitting, soul-sucking depression.

Her psychiatrist Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum, head of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggested she try the medication combination I’ve taken since 2013: lithium and the MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) Parnate. Parnate’s generic name is tranylcypromine.

She wrote, “He explained (Parnate) is an old-school second-line treatment that works best for people with major depressive disorders combined with extreme anxiety.”

I do wish the authors included how Parnate can also help treatment-resistant bipolar depression. I’m sure many of Judd’s readers have bipolar or know someone who does.¬†

I have mixed feelings about the book. I was thrilled that the doctor suggested Parnate and lithium ¬† — they are the only meds out of 30+ I tried that lifted my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. But I was disappointed about some misinformation. Judd wrote, “I was given an entire list of foods that the drug could react with and possibly kill me. This includes chocolate.”

That is utter hogwash. You CAN eat chocolate while taking a MAOI, as long as you don’t gobble gallons of it! While researching my book, I discovered that some people who suffer from terrible depression won’t take a MAOI¬†if it means giving up chocolate. This, my friends, is a¬†case of serious WTF-itis! I’m one of the biggest chocolate lovers you’ll ever meet, but I’d give up ANY food to feel better. Even (Jean Lee, you won’t believe this), gasp, coffee!!!¬†

Judd wrote about how much she loved to research the heck out of any medical topic. Apparently, she didn’t research two small, old, but profoundly convincing studies. These studies indicated that lithium and Parnate worked powerfully together to alleviate treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Although the subjects had bipolar depression, it would’ve been useful to cite that study¬†or more recent Parnate/lithium studies in her book.

Most importantly, Judd downplayed how much lithium and Parnate helped her. She wrote,

“About seven days after beginning both prescriptions, I could feel a slight change, a peek at a new dawn on the horizon. It was more like a spark of stability that was within my sight. For the first time in two and a half years, I could sense the possibility of ascending from, instead of descending deeper into, a dark and lifeless hole.”

¬†“Though Parnate was the the first medication that proved to have an effect on my depression, it was not without a price,”

referring to hair loss she had, although it was possible it could’ve been a side effect from¬†lithium.

During the previous two and a half years she was incredibly depressed and suicidal. This medication cocktail was the true turning point.

Then, she added, “I was also prescribed many other medications.”¬†

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I was flabbergasted that she didn’t name what those other meds were, or if they even had anything to do with depression. I hope she’s asked about these meds at her book talk Q&A session.¬†

Despite my misgivings, I’m glad I read the book, literary warts and all. If you want to read more about my take on MAOI’s and lithium, please see the following two posts: Now and Then: Thank You MAOI’S and Lithium¬†and Misinforming the Public About MAOI’s Isn’t Cool.

Meanwhile, back at the (Judd) Ranch…

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Naomi’s Ranch

It just so happens that Naomi Judd lives in the small town where my publisher’s main office is located: Franklin, near Nashville. Dangnabbit, it’s a small world!

 

I hope you have a good Friday, and I’ll see you next week!

Love,

Dyane

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Dyane‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď 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.