Introducing DBSA Santa Cruz with a Board Full ‘O Chicks!



Last week after I published my postpartum bipolar post, I was so happy that it was reblogged, retweeted, and received wonderful comments – thank you so much! That same day I got some more good news. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) confirmed that my DBSA Santa Cruz County Chapter application was accepted.

Years ago I founded a DBSA chapter but when I relapsed with bipolar depression, I wasn’t able to continue. My replacement wasn’t able to keep it going either, so it folded.

I renewed the chapter for a variety of reasons, but here are just a couple: I wanted to give the “Women with Mood Disorders” support group I facilitate more credibility in our community. When I promote our support group to the press it sounds more legitimate if we are affiliated with the DBSA. I wanted to utilize DBSA’s numerous Chapter Resources as well.

I live in a mountain valley comprised of four towns and we need more than just one free mood disorder support group – my group is the only one around. That’s unacceptable in a community of thousands, and my goal is to recruit other peer leaders to run more groups.

A DBSA Chapter needs a Board of Directors and I’m honored that the co-authors of the bestselling Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival Wendy K. Williamson (author of the bestselling Im Not Crazy Just Bipolarand Honora Rose are serving as Vice President and Secretary.

BipolarChicksCover 200x300 cropped


We have my husband Craig S. Harwood, author of the award-winning Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West, as Treasurer.


Lucy is our mascot and as some of you know, she’s working on her first book

When Your Human Has Bipolar! to be published by Life Is Ruff Press.



Meanwhile, I’ll be quiet on WordPress during the next few weeks. We’re returning to Tahoe to the internet-less Munchkin Cabin – the very spot where a bear cub came into the house, quiet as a mouse, while we were all home. (It was someone’s fault. Someone forgot to shut the front door and left a sack of garbage in the hallway – a big no no in bear country!)

I’ll miss my daily check-ins with your blogs.

Have a great few weeks and I’ll check in upon our return!



Alpine girlsAvi on John Muir Trail w:LucyEvening at Squaw

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of  Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growthwill be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2016. 

22 thoughts on “Introducing DBSA Santa Cruz with a Board Full ‘O Chicks!

  1. I know I don’t say it enough but I’m so proud of you my dear. 🙂 you’re a God-send to so many others out there.

    I really do look up to you.

    I salute you!



    PS enjoy the quiet 😉 we’ll miss you more

    • You’re the sweetest – you do say you’re proud of me enough, ha ha! :))) and I love it, of course. I look up to you too, my friend. Your BP magazine blog post that was published today is EXCELLENT! Well done! XOXOOX

  2. Oh this is all such exciting news! I am so thrilled for you and all of the women this will help. You are an amazing soul and the work that you are doing will be so beneficial to many (yourself included)

    Have a wonderful time away, and keep the damn door shut. 🙂

    See you when you get back.

    Lots of Love
    Nicole ❤ XOXOXO

    • Thanks my dear, and hey – I always shut the door!!! “Someone”, well, he means well and he should know better when it comes to bear awareness/safety as one time a bear stepped on his foot when he was in a tent in Yosemite!!! XO

  3. Thanks for all your hard work and efforts towards helping and educating people who have BP disorder or who have family and friends who do . Brava

    • Thanks!!!!! I love those pictures too – especially the wildflower one of the girls – every flower was absolutely stunning and unique – if that doesn’t prove that God exists, nothing does! XOXOX p.s. I guess you could say the same thing about babies, right? LOL!

    • Thanks! Remember last time we went every day I went out to walk (either aloneor with Lucy) neglected, unleashed dogs lunged at me and Lucy in the snow – I even got knocked down. This time I’m going to be smarter….I’m thinking of bringing a water bottle spray on my walks. I don’t think that’s inhumane…or if it would even work. I guess I need to investigate this! :000 Let me know if you have suggestions too. I wish these Tahoe freaks would be good, responsible dog owners.

      • Honestly, I do not even know how to control my own dogs while on leash. Nick and I walked them at night (fewer temptations) the other evening. Good luck!

      • Thanks! I’ll let you know if I come across some groovy idea that could keep errant dogs away from me! Maybe bring doggie treats and throw them far, far in the opposite direction so the dog goes after them?

      • Or perhaps some of my 25mg Seroquels? (JOKE!!! SICK JOKE!!! I love dogs and would never do that! Although I can’t say the same thing about some relatives…)

  4. You are doing wonderful work, be proud . Glad to know you, so glad we met, even if only on a blog. Have a great break, be careful with the wildlife !! 💕 Van

    • Thanks as always for your positive support, dear Van! You never know…life is strange and we might bump into each other someday IRL, perhaps (wait for it…) down by the river!! On the banks of the San Lorenzo, I’ll be giving a motivational speech to the locals and the wildlife, which in some respects could be considered the same thing, eh?

  5. YAY! Great news! Can’t wait to watch it unfold. And thank you doing so much great work, my dear. You’re inspiring, to say the least. Enjoy the downtime.

    • Thank YOU, my friend! Your last post about being in the closet with depression has been a big, big hit, and I know it helped many readers.

      I’m not feeling too inspiring at the moment….perspiring yes, inspiring, not-so-much. (Thanks for the kind words, though!!)

      I think I could do a lot of good in this town if I got one of those fancy Alpura cow suits and danced on the street corners. (In cooler weather! Even if it had one of those fans, I bet those things heat up quickly!)

      I’ll be in touch soon – would love to go for a walk with you before school starts up again! In the meantime, let’s keep in touch virtually and I look forward to your next post!

      Xo Moo!

      p.s. here’s the link to Greg Archer’s latest blog post.
      I wish he was on WordPress – I don’t like Blogger!

  6. Is the DBSA Santa Cruz group still active? If so, when and where does it meet? I am new to Santa Cruz County and have found DBSA groups extremely helpful in the management of my depression in previous places I’ve lived.

    • Hi Tracy, and welcome to Santa Cruz.

      Thanks for the follow! I’m so glad DBSA groups have helped you so much; that’s awesome, and I’m sorry to say there is no longer an active DBSA chapter in this county as of April 2017.

      However, NAMI Santa Cruz is very active, the president Carol Williamson is amazing, and they offer a variety of support groups. I suggest visiting this link and see what the latest schedule is:

      If you want to join a DBSA group, I checked the DBSA website today and the closest chapter is Palo Alto, which is relatively far from here (90 minutes one-way, approx.) Surprisingly, we had someone in that area drive to our weekly Ben Lomond group when it was active! She actually liked getting out of town for 1/2 the day to come here! (The Palo Alto chapter info. is below. )

      Also, you may want to contact DBSA’s Chapter coordinator Angie Day. She’s very helpful, works at DBSA National in Chicago, & and you can email her:

      or call her toll-free: (800) 826-3632 to see if a new chapter closer to this area might be in the works.

      DBSA also has online support groups at this link:

      Palo Alto Chapter
      DBSA Palo Alto
      Contact 1: Alexander Tudor
      Phone: (650) 400-9978
      Contact 2: Bruce Leininger
      Additional Phone: (415) 571-1764

      I hope you don’t mind all this info. – I figured it’s better to put it all out there since you never know….

      Take care and enjoy your new home – it’s a beautiful, special place to live! 🙂


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