A Tale of 2 Breaks (My Broken Jaw & My Blogging Hiatus)

My jaw!


Last Saturday afternoon I was walking by myself on a flat, concrete surface a few blocks away from our house. It was a sunny, beautiful day. I finally felt healthy after having reached my weight loss goal. (I had gained twenty-five pounds after my book was published thanks to a daily dose of two high-end chocolate bars, chocolate gelato, and chocolate Italian pastries.) 

I was looking forward to a rare evening alone with my husband Craig while our girls were at a sleepover party.

All was well in my world—until I checked a text on my cell phone and tripped. 

In a matter of seconds, I fell forward and slammed down onto the concrete face-first, specifically jaw first. I felt the lower half of my face crunch and I knew I had broken something. I had also gashed my chin in what turned out to be a minor injury, but it was scary and painful nonetheless. At first, I had no idea how bad the gash was since I couldn’t see my face.

As I sat there on the ground, shaking and terrified, blood poured out of my lacerated chin. I reminded myself that a cut can often bleed heavily yet not be that bad. I pressed one hand hard against my chin to stanch the bleeding and my skin stung at the contact.

Not a soul was in sight and that was unusual. But I didn’t want anyone to see me that way—I only wanted one person’s presence: Craig. Luckily I had my cell phone and I was able to reach him. The reception sucked but he heard my crying and the words “fall,” “bleeding” and the street name.

He had just dropped our girls off at the sleepover and came to get me. Even though it took him less than 12 minutes to arrive, it felt like forever. As I sat there, I prayed. Yes, I prayed. I prayed to every spiritual figure and angel I could think of, I prayed to my father, I prayed to my grandmother, and then I visualized bright light healing whatever was wrong with my jaw and chin.

When Craig got there, he took one look at me and said, “We’re going to the E.R.” Four hours, several chin stitches and one CT scan later, I was told by the E.R. physician that he conferred with a maxillofacial surgeon. I didn’t even know what a maxillofacial surgeon was, exactly, but I’d soon find out. Here’s a nutshell definition: “Oral and maxillofacial surgeons focus on treating problems related to the hard and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and jaws (the upper jaw is referred to as the maxilla).”

You could say it wasn’t exactly the romantic evening date I had imagined. 

The surgeon offered to call me the next day, which was a Sunday, to offer his advice. I was extremely relieved to get his call. During our conversation, he gave me different options to consider, including treatment at other practices, and he patiently answered my questions. My intuition told me he was a good doctor. (God knows I’ve spoken to a gazillion doctors and I can tell a golden egg from a bad egg if you know what I mean!) 

I met with him for my consult last Monday since time was a big concern – I only had a two-week window to get the surgery done so my jaw would heal properly.

When I met him, he reminded me of the ECT anesthesiologist I wrote about in Birth of a New Brain. Once again, I encountered a doctor who was a lot younger than me who looked like he could be on the cover of Surfer Magazine! 

After we met, I booked him to do my surgery which will be on Monday the 19th. I’m having pins put in different places in my jaw. He’s attaching tight bands that will help the jaw and teeth alignment heal back into the right position; yes, bands, not wires.

I haven’t been able to chew any food but I love smoothies and pureed soups, so I’m not freaking out. I even throw in organic baby spinach in my vanilla Orgain & coconut milk smoothies since I can’t chew lettuce. (The smoothie actually tastes good because you can’t taste the spinach!)

I’ve been hypervigilant about walking carefully—I’m so scared I’ll trip again. I long for the time when I wasn’t worried about such a basic activity. And yes, I feel like a f*cking idiot this happened in the first place, but I can tell you I got the message loud and clear from the universe that I need to be more present. 

I wanted to return to the place where I tripped so I wouldn’t become phobic, so I went there two days after my accident and it was fine. (I think I walked in slow motion, but it was fine.)

In all seriousness, though, in light of the Parkland shootings and all the other horrible, tragic events we read and hear about day after day, my injury is teeny-tiny in comparison. Yet it’s my reality.

If my accident had happened before I found the meds that eradicated my treatment-resistant bipolar depression, I would’ve plummeted into an even deeper depression. However, after the pain and shock of the first 24 hours post-accident, I’ve been doing relatively well mentally. I haven’t binged, either – of course, not being able to chew certainly helps me avoid doing that, but I haven’t wanted to compulsively overeat at all—this is another positive surprise. I’m very thankful for these blessings and I’m relieved that my injuries weren’t worse, i.e. a head surgery or a serious illness.  


Thank God not all falls are bad. I’ve hiked up to Yosemite Falls and it was spectacular. The fall is one of my favorite seasons, and, of course, there’s the best fall of all: falling in love.

Singer/songwriter Sam Phillips, the former Christian pop artist and ex-wife of producer T Bone Burnett, has an unusual voice. She was originally promoted as the “Christian Cyndi Lauper” and composed the score for the television show Gilmore Girls.

I love Sam Phillips’ voice, in part, because Craig introduced me to her Martinis and Bikinis album when we first got together in 1998. Her song “When I Fall” (featured in The Last Supper film soundtrack) sums up my 20-year-long relationship with Craig.

She sings, “I think you’ll be there when I fall….”

And he was.



Parting Tidbits

I’ve published 441 posts on this blog and it has been a such a good run, to say the least! But I’ve been losing steam for blogging. I’ve neglected reading my beloved blogs and commenting, which feels plain-old-bad. It’s time to take a break from blogging and the blogosphere. 

Right after I made this decision, my good friend L.E. Henderson published the insightful postTo Blog or Not To Blog.Call me superstitious, but her post seemed like a sign I was making the right choice.

I’ve absolutely loved blogging and reading your blogs. It has been wonderful to make such amazing friends and to feel understood by many bloggers in the bipolar blogging community. To those of you who encouraged me as I approached my book’s publication date, your support helped me immensely. Before I take off, I’d like to share a few tidbits.


Tidbit #1 – Never Say Never

Two days before my accident, I attended a Meetup creative writing group for the first time. I used a lined notebook and a pen instead of my laptop. It turned out the founder of the group did the same thing—we were the only two members who showed up! (Meetup is kind of like that…)  Handwriting felt strange and painful as far as my wrist was concerned, but it was good, too.

Handwriting may have stirred up something in my brain. Some of you know I vowed I’d never write another book. Why? Reasons include: “I didn’t have a good idea,” “Aren’t there enough books in the world?,” “It’s so stressful,” and more. But after my Meetup, an idea came to me that got me excited. I relinquished my vow and I abandoned my reservations and I started writing a proposal! We’ll see where it goes…


Tidbit #2 – My Remote Presentation at the 2020 Mom Project’s 2018 Annual Forum 

If you watch this, please jump to where therapist and Mom and Mind podcast host Dr. Kat Kaeni appears at the 14.30 mark. She introduces my presentation.


Tidbit #3 Awesome Website/Blog/Resources & More

Laura Marchildon of Our Bipolar Family has an incredible website, including a great book review section. Check it out at this link. Laura wrote a book review about Birth of a New Brain here

Please keep in touch with me on Twitter (@DyaneHarwood) and check back here once in a while…

Take care, my friends!

Lots and lots of love,



Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw. Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!




27 thoughts on “A Tale of 2 Breaks (My Broken Jaw & My Blogging Hiatus)

  1. I’m so sorry to hear of your fall and I hope everything goes well for you. Don’t worry about blogging or not–you’ll do what is best for you and that’s great. Best wishes–

    • Hey, Twitter buddy – I’ll definitely be there and I will keep in touch with you!!!!!!!! I’ve tried to quit Twitter and I just can’t do it, LOL! Facebook, no problem – buh bye! Instagram, piece of cake – see ya wouldn’t want to be ya!
      Twitter? No way, especially since a cool, hilarious, and brilliant IT chick named Bipolar On Fire is on there!!!!!!

  2. I’m SO sorry you broke your jaw Dyane!!!! I’m surprised you can write anything! I’ll miss reading your wonderful blogs but I completely understand. I took a hiatus of my own recently without really planning it. I was feeling burned out and I felt like I just needed to live my real life for a while and recharge. It was nice. I hate that you have to take a break under such painful circumstances though. I really hope you feel better very soon!!!! My cat and I are sending good thoughts your way! XOXOXO

  3. Too many falls, but I love the falling in the song and of course falling for you. Lady, I’ll light a candle for you on the 19th. I am proud of how you handled the fall and all, take the blogging break you need, develop your proposal and get back when and if you want. I;ll be here for you and know where to reach you in the meantime. Did I say I was also writing another book? Reading and writing bug bite me so bad and I fell so far hohoho

  4. Oh, Dyane, I’m so sorry to hear that you broke your jaw–and even sorrier that you’re going on a hiatus! I will miss your insightful writing. I will just have to be more active on Twitter so I can keep up with you there!

  5. OH NO, Dyane! So sorry to hear this! You are in my thoughts and prayers Monday and through your recovery which I hope will be restorative physically and emotionally. What can I do to help? I would love to do something with your girls, bring a meal…etc. Just let me know! Lots of love and healing thoughts going out to you, friend! Take good care.

  6. Oh man, that is AWFUL! but thank goodness your kids weren’t along for that, and your husband could get you to the ER. And I’m so happy and proud that you bounced back on the inside so well! Now of course you focus on that bounce back on the outside. We’ll be here, O Empress Percolatia, waiting to give you hugs whenever you need a break from Book #2! Java Jean of Adventure’s Bean 😀 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. Oh, Dyane – I’m so sorry to hear about your fall. Sending you lots of love for your operation on Monday and for a really speedy recovery afterwards.
    But congratulations on reaching your goal – that’s quite an achievement in such a short time. I’m with you on the blogging. I’ve loved following your blog but I’ve slowed down blogging myself. It’s time consuming and I was starting to feel enslaved by it. I’ll look out for you on twitter, although I’m on there less and less now, and I’m falling out of love with FaceBook too as I’m trying to throw myself into writing the next book. All the best for the idea you have for another writing project too – there can never be too many books in the world, especially written by you!
    Take care and lots of love and hugs for next week xxx

  8. So relieved you were not seriously injured! Rock on, Honey Pot!

    Ever and always so proud of you!

    P.S. I was never the prolific blogger you have been, but have lost enthusiasm for it as well.

  9. Aside from you breaking your jaw, this is a lovely farewell post. You’ve been blessed to have Craig there when you’ve fallen. Just as I’ve been blessed to have Nick there when I’ve fallen. Interesting that we’ve both literally fallen and physically injured ourselves in the New Year. As we both know, having a loving and supportive spouse helps immeasurably when struggling with mood episodes.

    Your video presentation at 2020 Mom is wonderful. You have much to be proud of, and much to look forward to. Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Lighting this candle in front of the Madonna for Dyane Harwood | Marie Abanga's Blog

    • Thank you, you truly beautiful “E” & God bless you!!!!! In 5 weeks I’ll get the screws out & be able to chew again and I’ll be singing “Glory, Hallelujah” real loud, I kid you not! :)))) and hopefully in tune! 😉 Sending you blessings and love! XOXXOOXXO

  11. Dearest Dyane, hope you are feeling better and your jaw is healing! You did incredibly well, dealing with a pretty awful injury. I’d fallen on concrete and skinned the hell out of my knee about a year ago, still have a bad scar. Ugh I hate crooked sidewalks!
    About stopping blogging, I am totally of one mind with you, I used to love to blog but now find myself doing it because I think I should. Every once in a while the spirit moves me but taking a break seems like a good idea to me too. But you and I will stay in touch thru Twitter even though I’m not that good at it haha!
    Sending you lots of love and many hugs. Hope you recover soon and stay well. 💖💜❤️💙🌷💐🌸

  12. You’ve been on my mind lately. So sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you’re recovering. I’ve also been on a blogging break – no major reason other than I haven’t felt inspired and I’ve been busy living life – lots of joy, lots of other. Take care, sweet friend. Until our paths cross again… sending love and good energy to you. ~ Viv

  13. Speaking as the queen of falling all I can say is I am glad you’re okay. That was a bad one Dyane and that’s from a gal here who got 2 concussions in one year falling backwards in icy parking lots in Minnesota. I must be more “present” now as I heed your cautionary tale as you call it. And it is wonderfully told! Now I manage to fall without hitting my head and only on carpeting! Thank you for your support of my blogging efforts… your book is my shining light as I struggle to resume efforts in mine. Take good care of yourself, Dyane!

    • Oh my God – TWO concussions from falling backwards in icy parking lots??? You are so lucky you made it through each one – how terrifying! Once I was in Lake Tahoe in winter, out for a walk wearing Sorel boots. I thought they were good enough but I slipped and fell back on my head. Somehow I didn’t get a concussion. After that I bought some YakTrax for the boots to help with traction, but they weren’t perfect – I slipped a few times. (They were the cheapest model – if I go back there, I’d buy the best ones if I could swing it!) Anyway, please be careful – no more falls anywhere! And it’s the least I can do to spread the word about your blog however I can. Your review was wonderful as were your tweets – they (and YOU) are a blessing. Lots of love!!! p.s. my stomach is better – I think I had coffee too late in the day XOXOOXOXXO

      • Dyane, your compassion knows no bounds! Believe me, I try to never fall… I’m somewhat accident prone, but working hard to reform. I love the YakTrax and begin with great tread. I haven’t had more concussions! Thank you for helping with my blog! You’re very dear! Your book has helped me. I’m using orange oil for one!

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