Setbacks and What Can Help in Tough Times



This is one of the rare occasions that I wish I could be an anonymous blogger.  If that was the case, then I’d write in detail about what recently happened to me.  Since I can’t reveal specifics, I’ll stick with the basic facts….

Ever since I became stable on my meds in the fall of 2013, I knew that eventually I’d be challenged with an awful situation, such as illness or the death of a loved one.  I was hoping that challenge would come later (much later) rather than sooner, of course!

A couple weeks ago I was hit with a completely unexpected situation which sent me reeling. 

The incident had nothing to do with me, which felt like a novelty, to tell you the truth, since I was used to being the one who “screwed up” because of my bipolar disorder.    

I received the bad news with my girls in the same room.  I held myself together with all my might so as not to alarm them. 

At first I considered my ability to contain my emotions in front of my children to be HUGE progress!   I was wrong about that.

Ever since my diagnosis with postpartum onset bipolar disorder in 2007, whenever I became very upset, my typical pattern was to rage whether or not my children were in the room.  Everyone who has bipolar one disorder behaves in a unique way, of course, and what manifested for me was that I became a frequent rageaholic.

I’ll regret the times when I lost it in front of my little ones until the day I die.

After I received the upsetting news, my attempt to keep my rage under wraps was obviously a temporary solution to a deep-seated problem.  My anger needed to be released, and when my daughters were gone for the day, I erupted.  I didn’t hurt anyone, including myself, but I “went there”.  

I raged and raged, becoming a monster version of myself.  It took me a couple days for my emotional hangover to dissipate.  I was absolutely mortified with myself.  I thought I was doing so much better, dammit!  Over the last year, my psychiatrist has told me how well he thinks I’m doing.  He’s not one to say things like that for no reason.  My therapist has made the same type of comment during our sessions over the last six months.  

Despite this positive feedback from my therapy team, deep down inside I knew it was only a matter of time until I’d be tested and I didn’t know how I’d do. When that test arrived, I wanted to score a frickin’ A+.  Not an F-.

After my setback occurred and I calmed down, I didn’t email my psychiatrist for advice because this wasn’t a crisis per se.  I felt that meeting with my therapist would be most helpful.  Our standing appointment was coming up in a few days.  I could have called my therapist for an emergency phone session, but I decided to wait because I felt confident that I wouldn’t “go there” again so soon.  She uses cognitive behavioral therapy among other techniques, and  I knew she’d help me process what happened so that I’d react in a healthier way the next time my rage is triggered.  We have only just begun to work on this, so I’ll share more details about working with her in a future post.  

Aside from therapy, I want to share with you what else (both small and bigger things) has helped me over the past few weeks in the hopes that when you face your own challenge, you might utilize one or more of these options.  

1) I connected with an understanding friend, and our exchange helped me a great deal. 

2) I worked out on my elliptical each day for an hour, even on the setback day, and I sweated up a storm.  I believe that activating endorphins may have prevented me from spiraling into depression.  You don’t have to work out nearly as long as I do to benefit.  I’m a former A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and 10K runner, and I love working out for long amounts of time! 😉


3) I hung out with my puppy Lucy and I hugged her a lot.  (She seems to like hugs!)

4) I read your blogs every day – oh, how I did (and do) love reading your blogs.  Thank God for them!  Even when the subject matter is dark, I’m inspired.

5) I read memoirs (Current books: British actor Terence Stamp’s “Stamp Album” and athlete Gabrielle Reece’s “My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper”).  I don’t care if I’m reading non-intellectual material – I simply welcome getting lost in the minutiae of another person’s fascinating life

6) I eat some high-quality, snobbylicious chocolate.  

7) I use essential oils.  You can use any high-quality essential oil brand that contains lavender and/or citrus (these are calming and mood elevating essential oils, respectively) and they truly are helpful. I used to work at the College of the Botanical Healing Arts, an essential oil practitioner college and I studied the efficacy of essential oils for mood.   (For information about using essential oils for anxiety, consider joining my friend/anxiety coach Meagan Barnes’ Facebook group “Essential Oils and Mental Health” at the link below.)


8) Music.  Any music that soothes you, play it…immerse yourself in it.  The best place for me to listen to my music is in my car, but I’m sure you have your favorite spot.

9) Connecting with my girls and husband.  Sharing hugs. Hanging out. Listening to them. Being present with them.

10) Using my Sunbox bright light in the morning.

I feel like I’m forgetting something else obvious, so if/when it comes to me, I’ll include it in a future post.  

In the meantime, I hope you all have a good week, I’ll see you next Monday, and I can’t believe I’m already typing this, but… 


take care,



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58 thoughts on “Setbacks and What Can Help in Tough Times

  1. Oh Dyane, how I see myself in that post. I too am bp1, diagnosed (for sure) after postpartum depression 19 years ago and can soooo relate to everything in that; the guilt at losing it in front of the kids, the hope that you won’t lose it for a while, if at all, in front of them again, the fear that you’re not as balanced or well as you thought you were, all of it. You are human lovey! you are a bipolar human and with that comes those unexpected bumps in the road that for us morph into mountain ranges to climb over. Take it easy on yourself… you fell, you picked yourself back up and you’ve dusted yourself off ready to start down the road again.. one day at a time.. thinking of you!!

    • Thank you for such a beautiful and meaningful comment, Placid’s Place! You truly understand & have a helpful perspective. Loved reading these wise words of yours, and I hope you & your family are doing well!!! XOXO

  2. While I know how utterly upsetting it can be to lose control in front of the girls, there is something beautiful in showing them that you are an emotional, flawed, and perfect human being. Being able to show them all of you is teaching them to understand and cope with your illness. Bipolar is hard enough to understand as the sufferer, but as a child not being able to see a physical wound borders on the inconceivable. Having said that, there are limits to what our children should know about us, and I applaud your ability to keep your emotions in check, even if only for a little while.
    Don’t be ashamed and don’t feel bad. You are not damaging your babies! They will grow up to be more compassionate, more understanding, more forgiving, because they have a mother who isn’t afraid to admit that she can’t be 100% all of the time. You are amazing! One day at a time, my friend.
    Internet hugs!!!

    • Dearest Sage Mum,

      Where do I begin as far as thanking you, Ms. Superbusy Mom of 3 (!), for taking the time to write this amazing comment? I can’t thank you enough!

      I guess I’ve had so many crazyass shitstorms in front of my girls, including having the police over here on a 5150 call, that my guilt runs deep. Add to that I was born Jewish and guilt is every Jew’s middle name. (Sorry if that offends anyone! 😉

      Anyway, despite all that, as usual, you are right about everything you address. You are right….the girls are and ***will*** be okay – they aren’t “damaged” and yes, they will grow up stronger and more compassionate as opposed to living with a repressed, Stepford Wife/Mom.

      Your insightful, kind words mean more to me than you know. The day I came across your blog, I scored! I found not just a literary goldmine but a wonderful and real friend. Much love to you, you fabulous mum!

      xoxox always,

  3. I am so sorry you’re having a hard time. I don’t know the specifics, but from what you’ve written, I SO get the feelings you describe. I am queen of holding in emotions only to have them explode through the surface at an inopportune time. Like you said, I think it’s even more difficult when we’ve been trying so hard — going to appointments, taking our meds as prescribed, exercising, all of it. For me anyway, when I have a setback, my initial reaction is to collapse and ask — What’s the freaking point? I like your tips. Mine are pretty much the same. I’m slowly learning the importance of reading/watching happy, uplifting material. I just finished a YA book, Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell and I’m listening to a book by Fannie Flagg of Fried Green Tomatoes fame. Great literature or not, I need a happy story with interesting characters to take me away. Happy December!

    • Hey there Grief Happens!

      Your comment is another blogosphere gift. Out of the 230+ posts I’ve published over the past year, I’m getting the most helpful feedback from writers such as you and my other blogfriends in response to my “warts & all” post.

      It makes me feel better to know that you have similar tips! What has also helped me (and this will sound rather superficial) is having a clean & organized house to counteract the chaos within my soul. We planned for my Mom to visit here (a 450 mile trip for her) for Thanksgiving, and our house was decrepit, so we splurged on a professional husband/wife cleaning team (“Happy Planet” – I gave them 5 stars in Yelp!) who I’ve had clean here once before for a deep-cleaning job. It was my birthday gift to myself last year! 😉 Forget about spa day, right?

      They did a wonderful job for my birthday, and they did another fabulous job again this past week. Their hard work really helped me, and even though each day the house gets a little messier, the “base level” of clean still continues to cheer me up every day. It wasn’t cheap, but it was well worth it.

      I love YA books, and the one you mentioned sounds great – how can you miss when the author’s name is Rainbow? I have a phone session with my therapist in an hour and I really look forward to hearing more of her insights. I’ll make some notes to share here at some point this month.

      Thanks for your kind comment – I knew you’d get it! I really appreciate your taking the time o write as I’ve seen your to-do list, ha ha, and I KNOW how busy you are!!! I think you just need to add one more item to it: “buy white turban”. 😉 (My silly joke from your wonderful blog, as you know, but I couldn’t resist adding that here. Humor is essential!) Take good care of yourself, sweet G.H.

      (((big hugs))) from Dy

      • I’m gonna buy a white turban and have a glamour shot made just for you! 🙂

        Thank you for the kind words. Seriously, they mean more than you know right now. I’m actually taking a break from cleaning right now, so yes, i completely get that a clean, organized space is crucial. I’m SO glad someone else understands that. I’ve been really down, but today im spending lots of time in the beautuful SUNSHINE and cleaning out my car and garage. I’ve been at it for an hour or so and feel loads better already.

  4. So… either my fat fingers accidently unfollowed you or an alien did it… I’m not sure!!!! I wondered where you went. You are back now. Or I am or something. … yeah, or something. ..

    • I just have to say that this comment cracked me up! I don’t think you have pudgy fingers, so I’m betting on the alien!!! Glad you are back in the loop, as the only “something” I think you are is something *special*! 😉

    • Okay, Kitt – have you worked out or “worked in” (i.e. yoga) today?? You got off to a great start yesterday!! I was proud as a peacock when I read about your going to the yoga studio in your fantastic blog.

      If you can’t go to the studio today, maybetake a short walk sans hounds, or perhaps you could try a yoga video at home? I know it’s not the same as going to a class, but there are so many great videos. I used to do two of them long ago during my yoga phase: Ali McGraw’s video (beautiful music, gorgeous scenery, and her moves were easy enough for me to do, as I am not a yoga person) and the infamous “Yoga Booty Ballet” – while that one is effective, it’s hard. And not yoga-y! 😉

      • Okay. I have to get dressed now, as I have an appointment to get my hair cut. Maybe I’ll walk in the rain. Maybe I’ll dance or exercise in front of the TV. Thanks for nagging me.

      • Once a certified personal trainer, always a C.P.T. I want to know what you wind up doing! If I didn’t love you to pieces, I wouldn’t nag! 😉 I hope you enjoy your new hair cut too!!!

    • Thanks lovely B! It made me feel good to know you were “out there” reading this post, and I will get back in touch when things settle down. In the meantime, thinking of you! Hope you & the family are doing well!! xoxo

  5. Sorrry to hear that you went through that Dy but glad to hear you managed to get through it. It must have been tough fo you. And some good strategies there to help you get through the tought times.

    • Thanks dear Glenn! Honestly, reading these comments of support, empathy, and true understanding from lived experience is worth its weight in gold to me. It really helps me more than I thought it would! I know you can relate to this, right? I wish I started blogging 20 years ago! 😉

  6. Oh I still have to watch myself in the car in front of my girls, that’s where my rage is most obvious, but I’m so cautious of how it effects them and feel so terrible when I do get arsey in front of them. But we must remember, bipolar parents, depressed parents and just every day average parents all lose their noodle at their kids sometimes, sure we are more prone to these things with bipolar but don’t beat yourself up over the past behaviours you can’t change, just learn from them 🙂
    And I feel for you on the postpartum! I wasn’t diagnosed til years after I had both of my girls but the pregnancies and the period after giving birth was just a nightmare!

    • Oh yes, mckarlie the car is one of my zones of massive pottymouthitis!!!!! At least I stopped flipping the bird a while ago – it’s wrong for a variety of reasons, of course, but especially since it’s dangerous with all the tragic road rage shootings I keep reading about. 😦

      Anyway, I totally appreciate whenever you comment, as you write from the heart with true understanding. I’m so sorry you also had it so rough during the postpartum times…thank God they’re over, eh?

      I hope that things are going well for you and your family!!!! take care and thanks again for stopping by and taking time to comment so thoughtfully.

      • I will never forget when my husband and I were married in Australia and we were moving back to England because his visa was expiring, he sat me down and said ‘now karlie, you can’t flip people off and stare people down in England like you do here in Australia, it will get you shot or stabbed’ – of course being bipolar and young I didn’t listen and nearly got myself attacked by a crazed junkie in town one night! It’s amazing how the rage can effect us isn’t it! I consider myself a kind person, but out on the road or in shopping malls people become the enemy lol it’s just the strangest thing but I’m so glad you’re working on it, I definitely am too! I will admit the bird comes out on very rare occasions these days and it’s usually before I can stop myself, I NEVER do it with the kids around anymore thankfully but I do need to work on my language a bit.

        Thank you so much for your lovely thoughts and comments, I really appreciate your kindness and it means a lot that you appreciate my thoughts 🙂

      • XOXOXOOXXOXOO Thought of you today, Karlie – I flipped the bird but did it below my dashboard – I had just dropped off the girls at school. It felt REALLY good and no one was the wiser! 😉

      • Haha BRILLIANT idea hun!! From now on I will flip my birds below the dash lol see we’re now accountable to each other, whenever we road rage we will remember this conversation and make sure we flip low haha, have a fabulous day lovely one 🙂

    • Great to see this comment from you, beautiful supermommyoftwins. Reading remarks such as yours truly give me strength. That is why I am drawn to blogging!!! :)) And I know you are too.

      Hope you and the family are well – you are truly amazing with all the things (and babies! 😉 you’re juggling! Sending you my love and a hug.

      p.s. I loved loved LOVED that last post of yours re: breastfeeding photos etc.! You know I loved it, ha ha, based on that huge, glowing comment I wrote!

      You rock!!!!

  7. It’s wonderful that you push yourself to use self help tools even when you’re really upset. Exercise is a great help for getting my emotions out! It’s really hard to see the expressions on my families faces after I rage, even my dogs looked freaked out. Everything will be okay. 🙂

    • Hi Kennedy, mom to one of the cutest pups EVER! 😉

      I forgot to write in this post that when I had my temper tantrum my 8 month-old puppy Lucy *was* here and I couldn’t even look at her face. She didn’t go hide under the bed or even downstairs, but stood by her out-there human. I’m sure my behavior scared her, and I feel so shitty for doing that.

      Things are much better now, and I just hope & pray that I really learn from this setback. Reading these comments help me.

      It’s wonderful to receive encouragement from ***you***, and I wish you the absolute best!!! Keep in touch!

      • Aw, yup dogs are so sweet but that makes you feel even more guilty! It`s all right, my dogs see me flip out pretty frequently haha. We all have our moments and it`s okay to have setbacks!

        Don`t worry, we learn just by experiencing these thing. If you even have thoughts about how to learn from this, you already have. 🙂

        Thank you, I wish you the best too. And I definitely will. 🙂

  8. Thanks for this! ^_^ Awhile ago, I made a list of simple therapeutic things for myself to do to stay afloat. Looks like I really have to add to that list, so I’m thinking about using the elliptical.

    • Hi sweet hazelnutpie. (I want one! 🙂 Good for you for making a list to keep you afloat! I encourage you to use your elliptical – let me know how it goes if you can! And if not that, maybe take a walk (if the weather is ok) or try a home video or DVD.

      I know how easy it is to blow off the whole exercise thing! I’ve done it a lot! While working out consistently doesn’t solve all my problems (darn!) it really does make a big, positive dent in my overall day-to-day life/mood. Some days I notice it works better than others – but any improvement is welcome in my brain!!

      Take good care & I’ll definitely swing by your blog soon!
      thanks for stopping by – I really appreciate it.

  9. Even though you felt crummy about your relapse ( totally relate by the way. It’s been months since I’ve punched a wall for example…but you’re always kind of waiting for the moment something triggers it again) You totally stepped up. You acknowledged what you did. Yes you felt bad but just the fact you recognized it the way you did…that’s big! 🙂 Your tips are great! There isn’t a person here who wouldn’t benefit from them. You’re able to share that and be open instead of fuming to the point of danger.

    P.S I love reading your blog too 🙂

    • Thank you, thank you Cavelle! It’s hugely positive for me to read your words because you totally know what I’m talking about. You recognize how positive a step it was that I recognized my meltdown instead of sweeping it under the rug. I wish I just threw pillows around when I got so upset, you know? Oh well. It’s the past, thank God!! 🙂

      I’m so happy you enjoy this blog, and I look forward to reading more of your blog. As I wrote in response to your last post, I hope your writing is published on a wide scale because it’s so helpful, practical and positive! You’re a beautiful, blossoming flower in the blogosphere! 😉

  10. Dyane, I think you did come a long way because you were able to hold your rage at bay in front of your kids. Therapy, as I’m sure you know, is a long process. You might not “get it right” the first time a situation comes up, but each time you will do exactly what you’re doing, acknowledging, having self-awareness, having a list of self help methods ready to review, etc., and your responses will improve with time. it’s so much more of a learned skill for those with MI, I think, than it is for “normal” (whatever that is) people who have a better innate grasp on things. You’re making progress, and you are aware of what you need to work on.

    • Hey there Lisa, it’s great to see you here!

      As a mom of 4 (right?) I totally respect your opinion & experience!!! I’m frankly terrified at what the next trigger-out-of-nowhere will be, and how I’ll respond to it, but that’s what therapy is for right? (Well, one thing it’s for!) And everything you mention in your comment is spot-on and awesome. I can tell you know what you’re talking about!

      My therapist calls me a drama queen. I’ve been seeing her for a long time & I love her, and she’s right, I am a drama queen! I wasn’t offended by her saying that, as she’s very blunt. Because I’m a D.Q. I overreact to things all the time, whether they are big or small.

      Both of my parents were award-winning stage performers, so I really do have drama in my blood. I started acting in elementary school, and in 6th grade I won the lead role in our big play which was produced by a professional theater company. And get this – the reason I won the lead role was because in my audition I played an angry wife who raged like a total freak! The role was loosely based on Kate in “Taming of the Shrew”. I have to admit that I did an incredible job, if I may say so without sounding completely obnoxious. I blew the panel of 5 theater professionals away – I could feel it – and after I was done, you could hear a pin drop in the room! So this long-winded recollection is my way of saying that I need to really watch it when it comes to my rage. I need to figure out a better way to cope with crisis/triggers/etc. ( I can’t & won’t do benzos or booze anymore to soothe the savage beast inside!)

      Sorry to go on and on here – please forgive me! Thanks again for your comment; it means a lot to me, and I’ll see you over at your rockin’ new blog “My Bipolar Mind” really soon!!!!

  11. Life is about how you rise to challenges and risen you have! You should be proud of what you have done and love/accept yourself for who you are. We are all flawed creatures, so do not strive to be perfect but simply strive to be you.

    • Hi Vic! You won’t ever see me striving to be perfect, ha ha, but you’re right – we are indeed all flawed. I would like to lose the intensity of my rage when adversities come my way. I know I’ll still get upset/furious when life goes all wrong, but I need to ratchet my reaction down any way I can…as long as it is healthy/healthier.

      I know you’ve been through so much yourself, and you’re someone I learn from with each of your blog posts. I’m so glad we connected, and I want you and your family to have much happiness in the years ahead! I’m stoked you had such a great trip in November – it was fun looking at the beautiful photos…. xoxo hugs to you!

  12. I’m sorry to hear that you have had a set back. But I agree with the ljcriswell that you did an amazing job to keep the rage down in front of your kids – especially as this is your normal go to reaction. You also have a list of things that you know help you, and you are doing them and helping yourself. Set backs will happen, it is how you deal with them that is important. And you seem to be doing an AMAZING job at dealing with the situation and helping yourself. Best wishes.

    • You are a big sweetie! I’m doing better now, and it helps so much to read these comments – they are truly the best ones I’ve ever received. It’s a form of therapy for me! I know you can relate to that, especially after that remarkable post you wrote about suicide. By the end of reading it, I was totally inspired by your resiliency.

      Thank you for your warm words – you too have been through hell , and I know you don’t judge me for my meltdown. Your steady encouragement and kindness is such a joy!

      Here’s looking forward to learning more from one another across the miles, and for knowing there’s a kindred spirit out there! xoxo DyDy

  13. I’ve recently been experiencing some setbacks of my own. I’ve been dealing with postpartum for the last few months, and have had some truly dark days over the past couple weeks. Your post inspired me to call my doctor tomorrow about looking more at my symptoms, as I feel it’s moved beyond postpartum into something else. I want to be better: not just for myself, but for my husband and daughters as well. You’re not alone – baby steps (no pun intended). 😉

    • Dear Lindsay, I’m so sorry you’ve been going through such a difficult time.
      I am SO stoked you’re going to call your doctor! I’m proud of your courage.
      It’s incredibly hard to make that kind of phone call – I know it is.

      I’m rooting for you to feel better VERY soon. You (and your family deserve) it!!!!
      (((big, big hugs)))))

  14. Dyane, once again you connected so many dots for me. First, I want to tell you that your transformation out of raging in front of your kids is HUGE. (And I have tears as I write this.) I have always suspected that my father was an undiagnosed bipolar. I have many of the same symptoms and behaviors he did, which is what initially brought me to a doctor. Whenever I describe him, I use the term, “rageaholic.” I walked on eggshells my entire childhood because his rages were unpredictable. You have saved your children from years of fear and uncertainty.
    Second, do not dwell on the past – know that because of your willingness to manage this illness, to put your children first, and to educate others, you are lifting an entire generation of children and their mothers out of a place of darkness and stigma.
    Bless you and your continual courage to step forward.

    • Dearest Susan, please forgive me for taking a couple days to get back to you. I was totally floored (in a wonderful way!) by your comment. The fact that you had tears writing your thoughts moved me deeply…..I am so sorry about how you were affected by your father’s rages and can relate to that. As you might know, rages can also be associated with borderline personality disorder. I bought a book about borderline p.d. titled “Stop Walking on Eggshells” – that is definitely the feeling one experiences around a rageaholic, regardless of the diagnosis. Thank you for recognizing the significance of my not raging in front of the girls!! XO And more thanks for your advice to stop fixating on the past. I’ll take you up on that – I’m certainly pretty sick ot it! 😉 Sending you much love and blessings as well. You lit up my day with your words of support. I’ll never forget it!

  15. Now I get to see the famous elliptical! 🙂

    I’m sorry you had upsetting news, but I am glad that you could hold it together in front of your girls. I loved the comment about Lucy staying with you during your explosive moment; a dog’s loyalty is precious.

    I know you feel bad for the setback/fall down/bump in the road/whatever-you-categorize-it-as, but that’s when we need to show grace to ourselves. It’s comforting to me (as a Christian, though I know you’re unsure of the whole God-thing) to think that even when I fall into those rages (been there, made the bread bag explode on the kitchen counter, done that!), God still loves me, protects me, and gives me the grace and strength to get up and move on.

    • Yes, that is indeed my NordicTrack elliptical. That contraption has helped me so much that I’ve been known to actually kiss it after a workout. (I just give it a brief peck of gratitude. I’m weird, but not *that* weird! 😉

      Anyway, I’m doing better as a I write this. Lucy is enjoying chewing the daylights out of a high-end chewy that we splurged on – she deserves it, of course!

      You’re right about my uncertainty when it comes to a Higher Power, but I find comfort in reading about the faith of others, especially those of the Christian faith like you and Kitt O’Malley. My psychiatrist is also deeply religious, and he has no compunctions about discussing it in a session if it relates to what we’re talking about. His belief in the ultimate good of God is also very comforting to me.

      Thank you for reading, and for writing. It’s always a treat to learn from your insights in your blog, and its a huge help to know you understand what I go through having “been there, done that!” yourself with the bread bag event, etc. I remember that post!

      take care, dear Laura!

    • Thanks so much, lovely Amanda! Your comment made me smile (a real one – not one of those dorky fake grins!!!!!!) I still have a loooooooooong way to go in every respect, it seems, but comments like yours helps keep me going and not want to give up. I know that sounds like a 70’s song, but I mean it.
      XOXO Dy
      p.s. hope you’re doing ***welll***!!!! I’m totally looking forward to your next awesome post!

  16. I wouldn’t rate your reaction to being tested an F- at all. You held it together in front of your girls which you should be very proud of, and despite losing control while they were gone, you’re doing really positive, healthy things for yourself. You’re incredibly inspiring. I’m sorry about your bad news. I hope things turn out okay.

    • Hello there August Sunrise (I love your name, in part, as my second daughter was born in August, although her debut came a few hours after sunrise!)

      You have a great point. I no longer think I deserve an F- , and your comment helped me see that. Thank you so much. Things are much better. As my therapist and I discussed yesterday, it’s a given I’ll be tested again. That’s how life is, right? As one option, she suggested that I could call her right away and even if she couldn’t answer her cell, she’d get the message quickly & assess things to see if an emergency phone session could help, etc. We also talked a lot about how I grew up and how those circumstances affected my reactions, etc. It definitely was helpful to gain more perspective in that way.

      Thanks again for reading and for your kindness in taking a moment out of your busy day to comment – it means more to me than you know!!! :))) take good care!

  17. I tend more on the down side of bipolar with really bad anxiety added in, but I’ve had some really bad near hospitalization mixed episodes, just crying out for help and quite loudly too. 🙂 Reading you list, I can see how very much energy you need to get out from your emotions on the high end of the scale. Even if it isn’t “reasonable” (that’s can be a very relative word speaking about bipolar) to be so upset as you fear you may become in front of your children, It’s all reasonable for someone who is BIPOLAR! lol I hope the people around you can understand that and how hard you’re trying. I’m sure they are, you mentioned a close friend. Bipolar may be one of those things that you manage,not completely conquer especially every single time. That would feel like horrible stress to me to try to be completely normal at all times, but it sounds like you’ve found ways to manage it well that fit you very well.
    When I get in my moods (usually low), I will just sit and re-watch the same episodes of “The Middle” over and over again to keep anxiety low and nothing new happening that could upset me. I turn my mind off to emotional things as best I can until I feel I’m calmer. May be days, weeks, etc. I just shutdown trying to wait for the medicines to work so I don’t do or make too many hasty decisions, but that tv show and similar ones keep me calm. I try to avoid going further into a very emotional low that could turn into a mixed one soon. It’s very different from your list, but has worked for me. Thank-you for your advice!

    • Dear livingbreathinglight, thank you so very much for your comment!!

      Your comment speaks volumes of understanding, and I am grateful you read my post and wrote. I too suffer with terrible anxiety, so I am so sorry you go through that as well. 😦

      I agree with you 100% that bipolar disorder as something to manage, never “conquer” exactly. That’s great that you have a go-to activity (i.e. watching “The MIddle” repeatedly, as well as other shows) to help simmer down your anxiety instead of letting it become more and more free-floating and intense. We all have our tactics, but as long as we have something to grasp (that won’t harm us, of course!) that’s what matters.

      Thanks again for stopping by, and I wish you decreased anxiety and more joy – we all deserve that in our lives!!! take good care of yourself & have a wonderful day!!!!

  18. The fact that you held it together in front of your girls, recognized and checked your rage, and found ways to cope speaks volumes for your progress. I have had 11 years since my diagnosis, 5 years stable, and just this week experienced my first life-shaking challenge so I get your fear about continuing with your progress. Just know that being self aware and recognizing your challenges is the best thing you can do! It sounds like you have some excellent coping mechanisms, something I desperately lack, so I might borrow some of your techniques!

    • Wow – thanks so much for such insights!!!! I love your new blog “Carefully Ever After”. I discovered it yesterday while I was scanning blogs with the tag “bipolar” on WordPress. This morning I was notified that an online newspaper called the Postpartum Post picked up the link I tweeted about your blog last night.

      The Postpartum Post shared the link to your blog with its readers, although it’s kind of weird they put it under “Arts & Entertainment”!!! If you go to the link I posted below and scroll way down, you see “shared by Dyane Leshin Harwood” next to “Here We Go…Carefully After , which seems a little misleading, but it’s still good to get the word out about “Carefully Ever After”! 🙂 Readers will figure it all out…

      To see it, go to:!all

      If you don’t see it, let me know.

      take care & thanks again for stopping by my blog to comment – it really means so much to me!


  19. An amazing journey through the moment. I still struggle with what I’d consider to be meltdowns: you know them. That weight that just blindsides you, and once you’re on the ground, crashes onto your rib cage and can’t be shoved off by any small kisses or hugs. It’s. THERE.

    But like you, I’ve come to realize I HAVE to let it out. Honestly, Bo wasn’t always good about this–he used to just be a wall, and my tears and words would drip off with little impact. Nowadays he better understands the importance of listening AND responding, especially when I need a reality check over the little things that set me off (“Jean, do you really think our friends will care if the basement’s clean? They’ve got three kids the same age as ours. Tell you what–I’ll check for forgotten snacks and exposed sockets. Pretty sure they won’t care about the rest.” And surprise surprise, they didn’t. 🙂

    I’m glad you found a process that helped you shift down from the rage without going into DEF-CON 1 mode. I think that when we discover that process, the steps that bring us back, it’s a…matter of pride? No, that sounds uppity. But you know: there’s a strength in realizing: “I was in a really, really shitty place, and I figured a way out. I used help when I needed it, and I helped myself.”

    The fact that we are able to help ourselves at all…’tis an amazing thing. You continue to inspire me, Dyane.

    Much love and hugs and other squishy stuff–

    • Bo’s line cracked me up (in a good way!): “I’ll check for forgotten snacks and exposed sockets. Pretty sure they won’t care about the rest.” That could be a title of short story “Forgotten Snacks and Exposed Sockets” as a metaphor for, what, I’m not sure. I only inhaled one cup of PEET’S coffee today – clearly not enough (please note, it’s not “Peels” which appeared in I comment I just posted at your blog!)

      Dang – I want to write more here but both girls got up (at least they slept in until 8:00 which is a true miracle!) but thank you for recognizing what truly matters in my posts. You’re an awesome distiller of what I’m trying to get across! 100% alcohol-free, I may add!

      • LOL! I was wondering about Peel. yes, I’ve heard of Peet’s! They were in Wisconsin for a short time when Caribou coffee (based in MN) pulled out. Not sure why Peet’s left–they were pretty good! Hmmm. Yes, that could make for a great title in the future. Yet another nut to store away for later! 🙂 xxxxxxxxx

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