Highlands County Park, California, October 2016
Welcome to my blog!
Hi there, my name is Dyane Harwood. I’m forty-six, which has always sounded old to me, but I still feel like I’m fourteen!
In 2007 I received a postpartum bipolar one diagnosis. I was seven weeks postpartum and in addition to my baby girl, I had a toddler in tow. No one suspected I had bipolar disorder until childbirth triggered it, even though I had a strong family history. My father had bipolar one disorder, and he was a violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Many of his colleagues also struggled with mental illness, and his close friend died by suicide due to bipolar disorder.
I’ve been a freelance writer for two decades, and my articles have been published in local, regional, and national outlets. In my blog my writing approach is informal, and I consider my current posts to be more like letters to friends. Aside from blogging about bipolar disorder, I’ve written about topics including the challenges of writing, envy, insecurity, runaway hamsters, Bigfoot, Facebook unfriending fallout, and much more.
I’m thrilled to announce that my memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press next October.
After years of despair due to treatment-resistant bipolar depression, I’m finally happy to be alive. I came close to taking my life twice; each time I asked to be hospitalized and requested ECT, which worked for me. The side effects I had were minimal. I realize not everyone is so lucky. My father had ECT, and while it didn’t damage his memory, it didn’t help him the way it helped me. Everyone responds differently, and it’s a highly personal choice.
ECT saved my life, but I was still depressed afterward. An out-of-the-box thinking psychiatrist and an old-school, seldom-prescribed medication in combination with lithium helped me get myself back. My family, exercise, therapy, and my collie Lucy have been other mainstays in my life.
While I’m stable, I’ll never rest easy until there’s a cure. A born worrywart, I’ll always dread relapsing (especially because it has happened to me numerous times) but I’m working hard to keep relapse the hell away!
Reading your blogs helps ground me and provides me with amazing inspiration and community.
Take a look around – I hope that some of my posts will speak to you. I welcome your comments, and I’ll also be checking out your blog if I see your Gravatar!
Take good care, and thanks for stopping by,