Looking for a Good Book?

The following authors graciously endorsed my memoir, and they have written fantastic books. I urge you to read their work!

  

 

“Birth of a New Brain is a gripping account of the awful juxtaposition of childbirth and the onset of bipolar illness. Dyane’s book is an informative and important contribution to our understanding of this triggering of mental illness that happens more often than is generally recognized.”

Kay Redfield Jamison

Author of An Unquiet Mind and Robert Lowell,
Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character

 

 

 

“This is a story of when love alone can and cannot heal in bipolar disorder. It is a story of mental illness seen through the eyes of a daughter, a wife, and a mother. Birth of a New Brain was a privilege to read.”

Dr. Greg de Moore

Author of Finding Sanity: John Cade, Lithium, and the Taming of Bipolar Disorder, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Westmead Hospital, Australia

 

“With artful prose and brutal honesty, Dyane Harwood depicts her struggle to have a stable, peaceful life as a wife and mother amidst the turmoil brought on by postpartum bipolar disorder in Birth of a New Brain. Despite many false starts, missteps, and even cruel and indifferent treatment at the hands of certain medical professionals she encountered, Harwood soldiered on and finally arrived at her own truth. The answers, for the most part, were inside her all along and consisted of self-care habits, including healthy eating, sufficient sleep, and consistent exercise. Thoroughly researched with a wealth of resources for mothers and families, Birth of a New Brain is an invaluable resource and reference point for mothers grappling with shifts in mood after the birth of their children.”

Matt Samet

Author, Death Grip: A Climber’s Escape from Benzo Madness

Editor, Climbing Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

“Dyane Harwood’s writing eloquently brings to life the complex interaction between the person, her world and the changes in how she how she perceives it wrought by the onset of mania following childbirth. She unpicks the essential conflict faced by all of us who experience chronic mood problems—between the pressure to follow sometimes uncertain ‘medical advice’ uncritically and the need to retain some sense of self-agency because with that comes the hope of being able to lead the kind of lives we want to live. She rightly challenges the doctors who project their own failings onto the ‘problem patient. Indeed, she highlights the importance for all of us of finding a doc in whose expertise one can really invest some respect and trust. We are all so much more than our ‘illness’ but can find that goal hard to achieve. Dyane Harwood’s extraordinary book shows us how to do it.”

Dr. Linda Gask

Author, The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir of Depression, Emerita Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry at the University of Manchester

 

“Dyane’s journey through mental illness has taken an astonishing amount of twists and turns, and in Birth of a New Brain, she generously and courageously shares her experience so that others may learn from it. Birth of a New Brain is an invaluable and hopeful guide for anyone confronting mental illness so that they can get the help they need and deserve, from professionals and family, without shame.”

Mark Lukach

Author, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

 

 

 

 

“Dyane Harwood’s new book Birth of a New Brain is a phenomenal gift to the mental illness community, especially for postpartum sufferers. Dyane’s clever weave of gut-wrenching honesty entwined with intricate storytelling illuminates an under-profiled mental illness. Birth of a New Brain is an important addition to the world’s mood disorder literature, and it will help those with perinatal and bipolar disorders of all kinds. Delve into Dyane’s incredible story, one that untangles the baffling and under-reported illness of postpartum bipolar disorder. Prepare to be moved. You won’t regret it.”

-Wendy K. Williamson
Author, I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar and co-author of Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living with Bipolar Disorder http://www.wendykwilliamson.com

 

Dr. Carol Henshaw, who wrote my book’s foreword, co-authored The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry. 

Dr. Henshaw writes the wonderful travel blog On the Road Again – Wanderlust and the Need to See More of the World

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Toastmasters Humiliation & Kay R. Jamison Blurb Bliss

This is what I’m going for, T.S. Eliot!

 


Last Wednesday at Toastmasters, I turned on my laptop and spent a considerable amount of time placing it in the perfect position to record my speech #2.

I was so freaking nervous that I spaced out on pressing the “record” button so I can’t share the video as I had planned!

During the five minutes of my speech “The Dr. A. Way,” I was a shaking bundle of exposed nerve endings. I made a complete ass of myself.

I was hit particularly hard because I thought I had a chance at improving just a little bit. I spoke about a topic I knew well (“Exercise for Mood Stability” by Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan) and I even brought some fun props, but nope – I still blew it.

I won’t give up on these speeches! In five months I’m presenting my first book talk. I refuse to be a mass of quivering jello in front of my family, friends, and community members.

Now, I know I won’t conquer all of my anxiety – I’m realistic – but I’m going to work hard on dialing it down a notch or ten… 

The cool thing (or sadistic thing, depending on how you look at it) about belonging to Toastmasters is that I’ll face my public speaking fear every seven days. It’s up to me when I want to schedule the remaining eight speeches of the “Competent Communicator” program, but at each meeting I’ll be required to speak through various roles, i.e. Ah-Counter, Table Topics, etc.

Meanwhile…

I still can’t quite believe Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, author of the classic memoir An Unquiet Mind, is endorsing Birth of a New Brain!  It’s a wonderful feeling to think that someone like her will support my book. 

Last night Rilla told me to “stop bragging on Twitter” about the KRJ endorsement, so I erased a braggy tweet I was writing. I reluctantly admitted she was absolutely right. It’s humbling when your nine-year-old is more mature than you are. 

All is quiet here tonight, and I’m off to enjoy a late dinner and watch my new favorite show Rosewood.

Rosewood’s star Morris Chestnut is a fantastic actor. I wasn’t familiar with his work until I saw his performance as an ER doctor in Nurse Jackie. If you’re looking for a new show, I encourage you to check out Rosewood on Netflix.

I hope you have a good weekend!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

 

 

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 on October 10th, 2017. It’s available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales; Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

 

Thank You Dr. Jamison & The Unknown Angels

 

Dear Friends, 

Last year, I wrote about Anthony William’s book Medical Medium

William explained how praying to a group called the “Unknown Angels” helped him a great deal. At first, I was quite skeptical. However, the thought of asking those mysterious-sounding Unknown Angels appealed to me so I went for it and I started talking to them.

Every day for the past six months I asked the Unknown Angels out loud (per Mr. Williams’ instructions) to help me in specific ways.

I spoke to them at least once a day, preferably where no one could see me! 

My requests were pragmatic and focused on safety and happiness for my kids and my husband. I prayed before walking my dog Lucy in the forest and asked that we wouldn’t encounter mountain lions. (So far, so good.)

At some point during each prayer, I asked that my “dream author” (clinical psychologist/bestselling author Kay Redfield Jamison) endorse my book. 

 

I knew Dr. Jamison’s endorsement wasn’t likely to happen, but I sent a letter to her staff anyway. If I didn’t take a chance, the phrase “nothing ventured, nothing gained” would haunt me forever.

Dr. Jamison wasn’t known to endorse books very often; in fact, I hadn’t seen any book endorsed by her except for the outstanding The Midnight Disease written by her friend Dr. Alice W. Flaherty.

Why would Dr. Jamison endorse a first-time author like me? (Well, I had some good reasons, but I was doubtful she’d agree with them!)

On Monday around 7:30 a.m., I found out that Dr. Jamison will supply my book’s cover blurb. My neighbors found out too — I screamed and sang obnoxiously loud for five minutes. Lucy, alarmed to see me act like such a freak, chimed in with her cacophonous howls.

Now, I don’t have Dr. Jamison’s exact words yet.

She could change her mind. 

Maybe I should’ve waited to share my happy news with you until I had her endorsement in hand, but I can’t help it.

I only wish I could tell my father about this wonderful honor.

In any case, I want you to remember my story when you’re on the fence about pursuing something you consider a major longshot.

I want you to go for it.

And even if you’re a skeptical agnostic like I am, take a look at my blog post about the Unknown Angels, or if you believe in something else, focus on connecting more with it.

If you talk to the Unknown Angels, you might get flak from family & friends. I sure did! At least it’s a positive focus, right?

You might even be happily surprised with what comes your way….

Have a good weekend, and thanks so much for reading & commenting!

Love,

Dyane

 

p.s. Remember the interview I was fretting about? It went absolutely ***fine**** & it was 100% drama free. When the link is up, I’ll share it with you here.

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 on October 10th, 2017. It’s available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales; Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

 

Stoked I Didn’t Pass Out During My 2nd Toastmasters Talk!

 

 

 

Hi there, my friends!

I hope you’re doing well…

So yes, I survived presenting my Toastmasters “Thought of the Day” to my Redwood Ramblers group yesterday.  

Once again, I was nervous as hell.

 

At least my head-to-toe shakiness wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been during my Icebreaker speech. I was less freaked-out this time, but don’t get me wrong, it was scary!!! It probably didn’t help that I forgot to, um, breathe much.

Each meeting has a different theme chosen by the member assigned the “Toastmaster” role. The Toastmaster serves as the host of the meeting. All roles, both speaking and non-speaking, rotate weekly so everyone experiences each role. Roles include the Ah-Counter (the person who counts the filler words in every person’s speech), the Grammarian (guess!) and the Timer. Yes, every speech gets timed. It’s very precise. I like it!

Yesterday’s theme was Clutter.

(Ha! It could’ve easily been re-named Dyane’s House.)

My speaking role, the Thought of the Day, needed to relate to the theme and last one-to-two minutes.

I decided upon the topic of “Clearing Mind Clutter.” I thought it would be cool to share something that actually helps clear my befuddled brain. 

The following paragraph is what I wrote on my practice notecards. When I spoke to my group, I surprised myself and didn’t use the cards, although it would’ve been fine to refer to them. Instead, I paraphrased my notes and I did silly things like the scrubbing move! (Watch the video for that one…) Oh well. I have no problem making a fool of myself – I have a PhD in tomfoolery!

 

Without further adieu….

What can we do to clear out the clutter, the confusion, and the disorder in our minds?

I found something that’s easy, enjoyable, and free that everyone in this room can do. Plus we’re in the perfect area to do it! It’s called Shinrin Yoku*** in Japanese, and in English, it’s known as forest bathing. 

I didn’t even know forest bathing even existed until I read about it last year in  Good Times. Forest bathing is a leisurely stroll in the woods for fifteen to twenty minutes. Every now and then, you stop and take extra notice of your surroundings, and during your walk, you take deep breaths…making sure you don’t hyperventilate, of course!

Deep breathing allows you to inhale organic compounds given off by the trees. The amazing benefits include lower stress, lower blood pressure, increased energy, better sleep, better focus, and an increase in the NK cells (your natural killer cells) which fight cancer — all this from a leisurely stroll!

Doing this has helped me feel better and manage the clutter in my head. I encourage all of you to take a stroll in the redwoods over the next few weeks, notice how you feel, and let me know about it.

***I encourage you to check out this forest bathing site for more info. – it’s a cool resource!

At the close of the meeting, all talks are evaluated either briefly or in depth. There’s much more scrutiny given to the “Project Talks” (Thought of the Day isn’t one) so I only got a couple comments: the speech was “well-developed and demonstrated planning,” and “giving a call to action was effective.”

At one point I walked down the aisle and back to the podium, exposing the group to my rear. (Good times!) The president advised me to consider walking slowly backward so the group saw my front and I could utilize those moments, LOL!  

Slick move, eh?

See you next week when I’ll reveal some juicy details about my upcoming interview. 

Lots of love,

Dyane 

 

 

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 on October 10th, 2017. It’s available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales; Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

 

My Life-Affirming Alternative to “13 Reasons Why”



The novella Brooklyn’s Song by Alexis Zinkerman


A few weeks ago I published the post Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s Metronome – my post title says it all. Please read it if you haven’t had a chance yet.

After I read Metronome, I bought Alexis’ novella Brooklyn’s Song and I wrote a review that doesn’t begin to do it justice, especially since I was repeatedly interrupted by my girls while attempting to focus.

Their crisis? They were in need of a special medicine called ice cream. (I need to fix the broken lock on my door!) At least I can always improve the review later on. In the meantime, I’ve included it in this post.

Here’s a sidenote:  I haven’t watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix nor have I read Jay Asher’s book, and I have no plans to do so. I rarely read or watch anything about suicide because I’m too triggered. While my intuition told me to steer clear of 13 Reasons Why I sensed Alexis would create a work that wouldn’t trigger me, and I was right. 

Brookyln’s Song –A novella by Alexis Zinkerman/5 star review

The heartwrenching topic of teen suicide has recently been covered in film, television, and young adult fiction more than it ever has before. Some of these endeavors are sensitively produced. However, other productions are harmful – they sensationalize teen suicide, depriving young people of realistic role models and situations.

Alexis Zinkerman’s outstanding novella Brooklyn’s Song was ahead of its time when it was first published in 2012 under the title Crazy Tragic Magic Life. Few books have ever addressed teenage suicide in such an insightful, wise manner.

The novella’s unique literary style is ideal for conveying the gravity of the subject matter without overwhelming the reader. At just eighty-eight pages, Brooklyn’s Song is the perfect length for depicting the journey of a teen’s grief over a great loss.

In concise, moving poetic stanzas, fifteen-year-old protagonist Brooklyn shares her shock of losing her best friend to suicide.

The reader is immediately drawn into the narrative from the first page. Brooklyn’s best friend Emily is still alive, and she reveals a secret to Brooklyn while the girls are attending a special event. The scenario quickly changes into one of tragedy.

As Brooklyn begins to move through the stages of grief, she’s resistant to therapy, but she gradually learns that counseling can help her a great deal. In a refreshingly unexpected way, Brooklyn utilizes the creative expression of writing to help her heal. Ultimately, Brooklyn begins to feel hopeful about the future again.

In each intriguingly titled chapter, Brooklyn reveals different sides of her personality. She describes her vulnerability, her loneliness as a high school student, and her burgeoning confidence in her writing. After some time has passed, she chronicles her exciting relationship with her first boyfriend.

Despite the harrowing storyline, I didn’t want to put it down – I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Brooklyn!

Brooklyn’s Song is an artfully nuanced book. The novella reminded me of my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle’s classic A Ring of Endless Light in significant ways. Each author writes vividly, powerfully, and in a pragmatic manner. The two books’ complex-yet-clear storylines appeal to teens and adults alike. Each work grapples with the theme of suicide, the death of a beloved, and how death affects a sensitive, inquisitive teenage girl. Hope is woven throughout Brooklyn’s Song and A Ring of Endless Light, making these books truly worthwhile reads.

Brooklyn’s Song is a book I want my two daughters to read. It is a book I wish I had read when I was a teenager before suicide touched my life firsthand. This book rings true; at age thirty-three, Zinkerman was affected by suicide when her best friend took her own life. Because of that heartbreaking experience, Zinkerman was galvanized to write Brooklyn’s story.

I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to read this beautifully written book. I highly recommend Brooklyn’s Song to anyone interested in how it’s possible to move forward in life after an a unimaginably painful loss takes place.

I’ll be back next week to share with you how my very first book interview turns out. I’m nervous, especially since I did a little virtual snooping homework on the journalist who has been assigned to interview me. Things were looking great until that changed. That’s all that’s fit for print…for now, that is. Stay tuned. 😉 

Purchase the paperback edition of Brookyln’s Song on Amazon at this link.

Author Alexis Zinkerman

Check out Alexis’ mental health website A Mile A Minute – Refreshing Takes on Mental Health here. (Great blog title, isn’t it?)

Take care, my wonderful kindred spirits!

Love,

Dyane

—————

All photos courtesy of Alexis Zinkerman

 

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 on October 10th, 2017. It’s available now on Amazon for paperback pre-sales, Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.

unknown

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! 😉

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

wendykwilliamson

Order on Pre-Sale at Amazon   Click Here

View original post 186 more words

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 albumI 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’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.

It’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!