My PMAD (Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder) Gets No Respect! Part Two





My favorite high school English teacher was Mrs. Redclay.

Mrs. Redclay was different than my other English teachers at Palisades High School. Instead of the Shakespearean canon, she taught us Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Dressed in her 70’s-era outfits, she stood out among the conservative, monied set of West Los Angeles; not quite a hippie, yet definitely eccentric. 

Mrs. Redclay wrote my college recommendation letter and noted, “Dyane has a fine value system that reflects deep respect for herself and others.” 

While I must admit that wasn’t exactly true back then,

I’m all about r-e-s-p-e-c-t now!

Especially when it comes to recognizing ALL eight perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. 

Sock it to me!

When we wrote our essay assignments, Mrs. Redclay implored us to answer the question “So what?” in each piece.

Sometimes students received their papers back with a “So what?” scrawled at the top instead of the highly anticipated “A+”. My English teacher’s “So what?” lesson has stayed with me for a whopping thirty years.

And in this post I’ll attempt to answer “So what?” (Please don’t grade me.) 

You may be wondering…

Dyane, with all the important things going on in our world, who cares if people don’t know about this obscure postpartum mood disorder/form of bipolar disorder. There are thousands of other rare illnesses. You don’t hear folks afflicted with those maladies whining; they’re just trying to survive, for Pete’s Sake!

Good point.

However, even though postpartum bipolar disorder isn’t as common as the other seven PMAD’s, I wouldn’t classify it as obscure. If postpartum bipolar disorder was an obscure condition, I’d still be writing this post because we all have issues close to our hearts, and this one is mine.

I know I’m not the only one who has suffered with PPBD, but I feel that way. I was diagnosed in 2007, and now I’m reaching out in the hopes I can connect with those who understand life with this type of mood disorder.




Whenever I check my Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds I’m reminded that both the postpartum and bipolar communities ignore PPBD’s existence. Why? Ignorance or thinking that PPBD doesn’t count as a bona fide perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and form of bipolar.

I’ve found that the best way I can channel my frustration is to publicize PPBD’s existence, explain its exact definition, and to share anecdotal experiences through this blog.

I’m also contacting PMAD and bipolar organizations, doctors, researchers, and advocates. (And getting blown off by some that I can’t believe don’t give a damn-  more on that next week!)

I’m always on the lookout for other women diagnosed with PPBD.

While I have certain significant things in common with women diagnosed with some of the other postpartum mood disorders or have bipolar disorder, PPBD is unique. 

To visit most PMAD websites and never see anything mentioned about my specific mood disorder has made me feel that PPBD isn’t valid or worthy of support.  Pardon my potty mouth, but it feels like crap. Sounds ridiculous, but if you haven’t experienced it firsthand, I ask for your empathy. 

Whenever an opportunity arises I share my PPBD information.  An hour ago while surfing Twitter, @WmnMentalHealth (Women’s Mental Health, a perinatal & reproductive psychiatry information center at Massachusetts General Hospital) tweeted a link to the Washington Post article “8 Things You Didn’t Know About Perinatal Mood Disorders“. I read the article. 

Due to the title, I thought that PPBD might be mentioned, but that wasn’t the case. There was no mention of PPBD. I took time to write a detailed comment thanking the article’s author for addressing perinatal mental health. I provided some information about PPBD. I tweeted the link to my PPBD Part One post with the article’s author. She “liked it” it, but she chose not to retweet it. 




In time, the postpartum and bipolar communities

will recognize the ignored PMAD: bipolar, peripartum onset/postpartum bipolar disorder.

PPBD counts too.

#NotJustPPD  #EveryPMADCounts


Thanks to the organizations and individuals that tweeted & reblogged Part One – this is not a complete list. I’ll always be grateful to each of you!

The International Marce Society for Perinatal Mental Health, Joel Sax, Postpartum Stress Center, Dr. Katayune Kaeni, Supporting Mamas, Bipolar Blogs, International Bipolar Foundation, Postpartum Support International, Kitt O’Malley, Two Bipolar Chicks, L.E. Henderson, Liza Brock, Alchemists Heart, NAMI Santa Clara, Ann Preston Roselle, A Mothers Sanctuary, The Sage Mum, Yvette Nicole Hess, The Lithium Chronicles, Jeanleesworld, The Perinatal Mental Health Project in South Africa, Jennifer Moyer, Sharon K. Gerdes, Olivia Rodriguez of The Bipolar Diary, Demonic Divas, Jessica McNeill Azar, Dr. Tams Van Rheenen, Dr. S. Melzter-Brody, Dr. Helen M. Farrell, OzoneparkPatti, Tidbitsofexperi, DBSA South Orange County, Pacific Post Partum, M1keM1n, CityPsych Wellness, The Maternal Health Task Force, and the flagship program of the Women and Health Initiative at Harvard School of Public Health.   Please forgive me if I left anyone out, and please comment to remind me you helped out, so I can thank you in the next post! 😉 

I’m now on Instagram! You can follow me here: birthofanewbrain

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth)will be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2017.





35 thoughts on “My PMAD (Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder) Gets No Respect! Part Two

  1. Lady, I forgive you for leaving me out which however I understand and really don’t need to forgive you. I think you are doing a brave job and one good for your mind. You know that sometimes it takes tiny shaky steps before the baby gets to walking properly right? And although it may be just one or few people who cheered and helped the baby take those steps, every one is proud to see them walk in public. So my unsollicited advice is this: Make your tiny, shaky steps but make them with the determination and dedication which will reflect consistency – the final outcome whenever that’ll be, will be very good in your (and all our) sight 🙂

    • My FG, please, please forgive me. I KNEW that I was leaving out someone REALLY important & that was you!!!!!!!

      You’ve been incredibly supportive in so many ways – with your eloquent words of wisdom, love…with lighting a candle during my first “women with mood disorders” support meeting, plus gifting me with an autographed copy of your magnificent “BATTERED, TATTERED, BUT NOT SHATTERED” memoir!!!

      I’ll take your advice whenever you feel like dishing it out, beautiful Marie! I’ll keep on making the baby steps – I wrote another reply to you just now and the power on the Chromebook went out, erasing it! Gotta rush off but I’ll return and write some more that I want to share with you! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOO
      Baby Dy

  2. Congrats on the long and impressive list of folk who share your post. Are the other postpartum disorders transitory, whereas PPBD is permanent, but triggered by hormone changes? I guess I should look up the diagnostic criteria and delve into the subject more myself. Thanks, Dy!

    • Stupidly, I left about Marie Abanga and I’m sure I forgot a few others…You posit an ***excellent*** question about postpartum disorders and whether or not they’re lifelong!! I’ve come across conflicting information about postpartum depression. Regarding bipolar, well, you and i know we’re stuck with it no matter what the trigger. I’m curious about the other PMAD’s – please let me know if you find out anything! You’re an awesome researcher and what’s particularly cool is that you share your findings with your blog’s following & I ‘ve seen how so many of your readers benefit from your miscellaneous posts.

  3. Hi Dy, I don’t see Part One anywhere, where is it? Part Two is awesome, full of information about PMAD, so colorful and alive, just like yourself! xxxooo

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  5. Great piece — eye-opening and something that needs more understanding and awareness. I plan to read more and educate myself further. I definitely know women who had symptoms similar to yours who might have missed out on proper treatment if more had been available. So good for you! Your tireless efforts to raise awareness will certainly help others in the future!

    I think some sort of glitch in WP made me unfollow your blog (several others as well) during my blogging respite. I noticed it last night and quickly remedied the situation. I look forward to catching up. I’ve missed reading your posts. 🙂

    • Thanks my dear!

      I ***loved**** reading your slinky post & gotta go back there & comment. I’m sorry for being so lazy!

      I appreciate your encouragement because I know that to some people I’m being a total pain in the ass!

      Yes, I noticed you re-followed the blog and I figured out that something was up with WordPress. I’m glad you caught the glitch! 🙂 I know from reading your last post about how much you have going on, and I admire you for many reasons – especially your overall attitude and sense of humor! Looking forward to your next post as always…

      Hope you guys have a great weekend! XOXOXOX

  6. Hey Dyane! Sorry for not commenting on your part one. I am on family vacation right now. I want to let you know that I totally support your cause. I have felt left out too when I searched my diagnosis on postpartum Progress. I even talked to my psychiatrist about it to make sure I got the right diagnosis. I thought it could have been PPP instead of PPBD. But according to my symptoms and when they started he is convinced it was PPBD. He told me back then that it could be a temporary illness that could last only a couple years. Well,.. It’s been almost 6 years now and I am still on medication even though it is a small dose. He now thinks I’ll have bipolar for the rest of my life. I was happy to see that Postpartum support international recognizes PPBD. They talked about it in one of their webinars for postpartum support groups. That’s awesome!

    • Hey there Geneviève! I miss seeing you on Facebook, but you know why I took my little “Facecation”.

      Never worry about comments – it’s more important to me if you simply stop by to check out a post.You have enough going on with your family.

      You’re lucky you had a psychiatrist who believed you had postpartum bipolar.I think that many doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, etc. are unaware of its exact symptoms. I’m so glad you found me on Postpartum Progress! In the next few months l’ll double check with Dr. Varinder Sharma (I believe he’s one of the top doctors in the experts about PPBD & he has done some groundbreaking studies) about the conflicting info. I’ve come across about whether or not postpartum bipolar is lifelong – if anyone knows, he’ll know. And I promise to let you know what I learn from him. At least you’re on a small dose of medication but it’s still a pain in the butt I’m so happy that Postpartum Support International (PSI) discussed it in that webinar! I was tempted to take it since I run a group, but I had too much going on. I might see if they have it archived – i’m so glad you told me this. I’ve had a great experience interacting with Wendy, PSI’s Executive Director. Anyway, please keep in touch. I haven’t contacted any mom about being in the book yet; I might wind up just incorporating quotes, but you’re at the top of my list. :)))) And thta wouldn’t be until late fall or early next year when i bug you. Take care & thanks for this wonderful comment!

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  8. There doesn’t seem to be any link to Part One of this article, and no search box to find it. Can you post the link?

    • Hey DJ! Thanks so much for pointing this out; I just heard the same thing from a friend of mine and will see what’s going on…

    • Okay, it’s back up – I hope you get a chance to read it & feel welcome to comment – I love comments! 🙂 Thanks again for the alert.

  9. Fantastic post! I admire your effort to educate people on PPBD. These are disorders that I don’t know a lot about (I’ve never been pregnant), but I am excited to learn from and support you however I can. Many internet hugs your way!

    • Miss Tara! I love your name!

      I named my beloved Sheltie of 15 years Tara – she was the “flower dog” in my wedding (she had a stunning flame orange calla lily corsage) and I even saw her birth. Her mom Little Girl had to have a c-section as prior to being pregnant she had been hit by a car and had to have her pelvis pinned together – when she went into labor she couldn’t deliver the puppies, hence the c-section.

      Tara died in my arms of a heart attack at age 15 and she was an amazing, amazing bundle of love. Like anyone named Tara, she was very beautiful too! 😉

      Now that I’ve shared all that with you, thank you for your kind comment!!!!! I need to get Part One back up (I’m having some technical difficulties) and hope you can check that out. Sending lots of hugs back to you, dear Tara! Xo, Dy

      • Aww! I’m sorry to hear about your loss, but I’m glad you got to spend many years with her! I just found part one and read it as well. 🙂

  10. Reblogged this on How To Get Up From An All-Time Low and commented:
    Reblogged, very important info for people who have post-natal bipolar WITHOUT psychosis (not me then haha) as because bipolar is classified as a “Psychotic Disorder” (rather than “Personality” etc) it often makes mental health professionals confused when they write websites about whether all bipolar people have psychosis or not. I read somewhere that many folk with bipolar don’t actually have psychosis (the symptom), but I can’t remember where I saw that.


      You get ALL my respect! Seriously, I greatly appreciate your support and wish you a wonderful day.

      p.s. last night working out was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I wanted to eat Kettle Chips in front of the tv. I forced myself and once again I was amazed at how much better I felt afterwards, mood-wise.

  11. Pingback: Don’t Dream It’s Over (My Postpartum Progress Update) | Birth of a New Brain

  12. Reblogged this on Advocate for Mental Illness and commented:
    As a Mental Health Advocate I have to reblog this post on Post Partum Bipolar Disorder. We need to make this more recognizable as a mental health disorder just as important as bipolar disorder itself.

    • Thank you Tessa- you a truly packed with awesome! Next week I’ll be blogging about a few major bipolar & postpartum organizations that have recently blown me off. It’s mind-boggling. But I will keep spreading the word, being a pain in the ass if I need to (strangely enough, it seems the more of a pain I am, the more likely I get a reply, but it sucks to have to be like that!) and your support means more to me than I can properly express! :)))))

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  14. I stopped by your blog while trying to find something that worked for my depression, after failing 6 or so meds and wasting 10 years of my life with this unsettling emptiness. I learned about MAOIs from browsing through your personal struggles. 2 months later on Parnate I think I’m beginning to feel… just fine. I like it. Thank you.

    • Oh my goodness, you are so welcome! Your comment was truly wonderful to read – I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Parnate is helping you!!!!! It means a lot to me that you took the time to write and let me know. Do you mind my asking…are you also taking anything else such as lithium?

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