A Nerve-racking, but Ultimately Fulfilling Book Talk!

Park Hall Community Center, December 7th, 2017

Dear Friends,

Last night was my big book signing/educational presentation – it’s the last one I’m doing this year. I had done a ton of publicity in advance of my talk—I arranged and gave 3 local newspaper interviews, I posted flyers all over the valley, I used social media, and I was a guest on a popular Bay Area radio show.

Unfortunately, I spaced out about getting the talk recorded yet again. Drat!

I didn’t read my speech to the audience verbatim; in fact, my main mistake was going off-topic far too much, resulting in a presentation that was at least 15-20 minutes too long. I cringe thinking about it!!! The good news is that I learned my lesson and I won’t do that next time!

This talk was a benefit for NAMI/National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Valley Women’s Club and $300 was raised for them through my book & refreshment sales! 

Ten-year-old Marilla sold books again and did an amazing job. My husband took care of the PowerPoint projector side of things. I’m tuckered out and plan to wait at least a month before scheduling another local talk. 

Wonderful people from the Valley Women’s Club and the Friends of the Boulder Creek Library helped me with the event – they sold cookies & coffee, they helped set and clean up the room, and they provided moral support. There were also incredible friends and acquaintances who showed up such as my postpartum doula/author Salle Webber (The Gentle Art of Newborn Family Care) and my virtual friend/social media genius/blogger Carol Stephen, who I met in person for the 1st time, and my fantastic friend Martha Graham-Waldon, author of the award-winning Nothing Like Normal – Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia. Martha helped Marilla sell books and they got an A+ – for doing an excellent job!

There were also strangers who moved me deeply during the Q & A session when they shared some of their own struggles. A few of them were near tears due to heartbreaking situations they were currently facing. I was able to put them in touch then and there with a perinatal therapist I knew well and she happened to be in the audience. I knew she’d be fine with the instant referral (she was) and they spoke after the talk.


I created a handout I gave to everyone last night that’s chock full of useful info. I’ve copied it for you below.

I’m going to go get a bite to eat and watch one of my favorite Netflix or Acorn TV shows. These include Australia’s The Heart Guy, Glitch—Season 2 (which has Rodger Corser the star from The Heart Guy; he’s such a brilliant actor), New Zealand’s The Brokenwood Mysteries, and the U.K.’s Love, Lies & Records. 

I wish you all a good weekend in which you take care of yourself and do some things that make you happy!

Lots of love,



Park Hall Community Center Author Talk, December 7th, 2017

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

General Information and Resources

Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (“PMADS”)

1)Antenatal (during pregnancy) and postpartum depression

2) postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

3) postpartum psychosis

4) postpartum bipolar disorder (bipolar, peripartum onset in the DSM-5)

5) postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

5) postpartum panic disorder

6) postpartum anxiety disorder

Symptoms of Mania:

Elevated mood, irritability, pursuing goal-directed activities more than usual, heightened energy, a decreased need for sleep, excessive talkativeness, pressurized speech, racing thoughts, spending sprees, hypersexuality, and grandiosity.

Symptoms of Depression:

Feelings of anger or irritability, {postpartum-related: lack of interest in the baby, possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself}, feelings of sadness, tearfulness, crying, emptiness or hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports, sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much, tiredness and lack of energy, even small tasks take extra effort, reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain, anxiety, agitation or restlessness, slowed thinking, slowed speaking or body movements, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame, trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things, frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide, unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.

Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis (not a complete list)

Delusions or strange beliefs

Paranoia and suspiciousness

Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)

Rapid mood swings

Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s Suggestions: Exercise for Mood Stability

1) Get your doctor’s blessing to exercise, then find an exercise you enjoy doing such as walking, hiking, yoga, swimming, running, treadmill, etc.

2) Exercise 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Research shows that this is what’s needed to affect the brain.

3) Make sure your activity is intense enough so you break a sweat and can’t maintain an ongoing conversation. (If you can’t exercise 6 days/week, shoot for a minimum of 5 days.)

(For more information please visit: medium.com/@MoAlsuwaidan)

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Santa Cruz County Chapter

http://www.namiscc.org          Help Line: 831-427-8020

NAMI Santa Cruz Support Groups link: http://www.namiscc.org/groups.html

NAMI offers a variety of educational classes for consumers and caregivers


DBSA (Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance), Los Gatos/San Jose Chapter

Join DBSA San Jose/Los Gatos’ Meetup Support Group, Organizer: Mike Pearl

Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA San Jose)

San Jose, CA
97 Members

Find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting, and where you can make a difference in the lives of others.  DBSA San Jose support groups are volunteer ru…

Next Meetup

Depression/Bipolar Peer Support Group (Mountain View)

Saturday, Dec 30, 2017, 10:00 AM
2 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


CaringBridge Website

Use this wonderful free resource to help organize community support, give updates during a health crisis, receive donations for medical costs and much more.


 Postpartum Support International Warmline


PSI Warmline: (Toll-free) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773) You’re welcome to leave a confidential message anytime, and one of the Warmline volunteers will return your call as soon as possible, providing you with basic information, support, and resources in your area. If you’re not able to talk when the volunteer calls you, you can arrange another time to connect.

 International Bipolar Foundation

(858) 764-2496, comprehensive information & resources about bipolar disorder

BP/Bipolar Magazine


 Suicide Hotline Numbers

If you’re in the U.S. and thinking about suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800- 273-TALK (8255) suicidepreventionlifeline.org—they are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.If you’re outside the U.S., please visit this link for a list of international suicide hotlines: suicide.org/international-suicide- hotlines.html

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has a database of international crisis centers at iasp.info/resources/ Crisis_Centres/

Postpartum Psychosis Resources

 “What is Postpartum Psychosis? Teresa Twomey, TEDxBushnellPark


Author of Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP)
The APP website offers a link to a private forum for mothers with postpartum psychosis and/or bipolar disorder.


Emotional Support Animals

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one symptom of the disability. Emotional support animals, typically dogs, but sometimes cats or other animals, may be used by people with a range of physicalpsychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. To be afforded protection under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of disability and must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability. An animal does not need specific training to become an emotional support animal.[1] Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation, such as a waiver of a “no pets policy”, for any assistance animal, including an emotional support animal, under both the FHAA and Section 504.[3]

 Mom & Mind Podcast with Dr. Kaeni & Dyane Harwood

Episode 70, Postpartum Bipolar Disorder


Dyane Harwood’s Website

Sign up for Dyane’s newsletter—just scroll down to the bottom of the page for occasional e-updates about events.


Recommended Blog

 Kitt O’Malley www.kittomalley.blog


Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the perinatal psychiatrist and acclaimed author Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Now available on Amazon in paperback & Kindle versions!

24 thoughts on “A Nerve-racking, but Ultimately Fulfilling Book Talk!

  1. Congratulations, Dyane! I am so proud of you for promoting yourself and selling so many books! Good job on your talk, and making such an informative handout!

    • Thanks so much, Cass! On many days I’m so socially anxious I struggle while ordering coffee at the local coffee shops, so for me to get on a stage in front of strangers and talk about my life is a big leap, as you can imagine.
      I’m lucky I didn’t pass out or fall down the stairs that led from the stage to the audience.
      (At least the venue *was* conveniently located right down the street from the fire station/volunteer emergency team!)

      Next time I do an author event, which won’t be for a while 👀, I’ll play it safe and speak at one of the library branches. They don’t have stages and staircases to navigate and they’re a lot smaller than this venue was! 😉

      Hope you’re having a great weekend and thanks again for your support!! 💜

  2. Thank you for your research and dedication to helping people who either have BP or have family and loved ones who are struggling with it.
    I am one proud mother.

  3. Dyane – deeply impressive, wonderful hard work – let me know if I can further assist by having a special event with my musical band, invite guests who will enjoy your book and smooth jazz music!!

    • Thank you so very much! I wish you lived closer to me as I would’ve LOVED to have your musical band take part! 🎼Any plans to move to California? 🌞
      Once again I want to thank you for your lovely support and encouragement. Whenever I read your comments, they makes me happy and I smile. I hope you and your beautiful family are having a wonderful weekend!!!! 💞

  4. Oh hey, you did it, O Empress Percolatia! I know what you mean by going off on a tangent; I’ve done that in teaching, too. It’s far, far more important that you sharing so much of yourself inspired your audience to share themselves, too, and through your talks found new paths of strength and hope. Warm hugs and warmer coffee for you from Java Jean of the Nummy Bean! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Thanks, my sweet pal! Oh boy, the tangent I went off on (make that tangents) – well, I don’t have words to depict how tangential the tangents were (although imagine some of my comments I’ve made on your blog & that will give you some idea- the horror, the horror!) but I only had a few walkouts, LOL! 👀 At least I was myself and I tried m y best, aw shucks – I’ll give myself that! And we had good coffee and sugar available….how could anyone fault me for that???? Warm hugs right back at you, Java Jean of the Nummy Bean!!! ☕️💖☕️💖☕️

      • Nummers! And tangential tangents are the best, especially when these crazy days demand everything. Just. So. You know? So a moment’s silliness makes all the difference. 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Thanks so much, Ashley!!!! 💞 Yes, it was a great evening, but it was scary 😱and frankly I’m super-glad it’s over, LOL!!!

  5. Wow wow wow my lady, was I so sick and carried away I forgot to light you a candle on your special day. But am happy all went so well and Marilla was our hero once again. Great Martha came again and am even a bit envious she’s already met you twice lol

    • Oh my friend, I’m so sorry you were sick. That’s terrible.
      But….you owe me two candles for the next event; no worries, you have time as it won’t be until 2018, ha ha ha! 💖

      How I wish you could have been there with Martha (and author Sara Gethin from Wales, who I also consider to be a kindred spiti!)

      Yes, Marilla was a trooper – how many 10-year-olds would want to sell books for her mom twice & listen to her mom go on and on about mood disorders. At least there were three pictures of Miss Lucy in my presentation! Rilla could have been playing one of her favorite video games you know? But she went with me and I felt very lucky in that respect.

      I know some people were helped that night by connecting with a couple postpartum therapists who were in the audience, or by seeing they weren’t alone with their troubles, etc. which also made me feel lucky too.💞

  6. Sounds like it all went wonderfully, Dyane – congratulations! I’m sure the audience didn’t mind getting an extra 20 minutes of you. I did the same thing in my last talk, as I was trying to make it a mix of scripted and off the cuff – it’s so hard to do! Congrats on the money raised too and the people you were able to direct to help – that must be very rewarding. Enjoy your well-deserved break xxx

    • Awwww, thanks, Sara! How I wish you had been there!!!! 🍰

      Yes, it’s very difficult to mix the scripted + the impromptu styles, but I bet you were “brillo” at it.
      Oh yes, I’m definitely going to enjoy this holiday break and we’re going to the snow, which is always fun since Lucy absolutely loves romping around in it.

      A few days ago on a whim, I found a good novel to sink into (“The Black Witch” by Laurie Forest) and I’d still like to check out one of the books you wrote about on your blog – it involved ghosts, I think? I need to go to your blog and find it.

      Back in a tic!

      “Snow Sisters” by Carol Lovekin! Yay! So glad I found it.

      I’m still awaiting Welsh writer Paula Brackston’s new book. It’s taking forevvvvvvverrrr! Whine whine whine….

      I’m looking forward to reading your latest blog update about how the new novel is shaping up, etc!
      In the meantime, lots & lots of 💗 from your friend across the pond

    • Thank you so much!!! 💗Sorry to take forever to reply – some weeks (and months) I’m terrible at it. I’m hoping I have much better blogging manners in 2018! 👀 I really appreciate your kind words about the handout – it’s packed with a lot of info. and overwhelming to look at (I’m no graphic designer, LOL!) but it has good resources! You never know what might come in handy, right?

      Once again, many thanks, my dear Katie & I’ll reply to your email before I turn 90 – I promise you that! 😜

  7. I’m so proud of you, Dyane! And it was so wonderful to finally meet in person! You did a great job answering everyone’s questions (there were quite a few, too!), so I didn’t think the talk was too long at all. We’ll have to go hiking soon (aka forest bathing).

    • Here’s a belated and very big THANK YOU, beautiful Carol!

      It was awesome to meet you too! It meant so much to me….I had no other “meet ‘n greets” quite like that one! 😜 I did get a lot of questions, didn’t I, after the initial silence for a good 60 seconds, LOL!. I appreciate your kind words so much.

      Next year I might speak at a few more library branches—I like how the libraries have smaller rooms , they do a lot of PR for the talk, and I wouldn’t have to pay to rent the rooms, either! (Yes, I had to pay $70 to rent Park Hall and I got the non-profit rate, but I’m glad I gave it a try.)

      I’d LOVE to go hiking/forest bathing soon! You can help me spot off-leash dogs in the distance (sometimes I’m daydreaming and don’t see them.) and we’ll get a decent workout avoiding them!

      Thanks again for your wonderful support & friendship & Happy (almost) Sunday! 💖

    • Thanks so much!!! There aren’t any plans for it to come out in audio, but you never know. A friend of mine, Wendy K. Williamson, took years to create her audio version of “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar” so there’s hope I might do it someday! 💗

      • I hope you will think about it anyway at least, it’s good that he will be in print though, I wonder if it would be on kindle? I’d be interested, I can only access it and neither audio or kindle because I am blind

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