Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s “Metronome”

The gifted author/poet Alexis Zinkerman

 

 

Alexis Zinkerman is a journalist, poet, and mental health advocate, and she has bipolar one disorder. She holds an MA in Writing from DePaul University, and her novella Brooklyn’s Song is available on Amazon. Alexis was first diagnosed with bipolar in 1996, but it took her many more years to find the right treatment course.

I discovered Alexis’ blog A Mile A Minute – Refreshing Takes on Mental Health through her International Bipolar Foundation blog. She also has a website right here where you can sign up for her Love Notes newsletter.

Alexis is the reason why I broke my “I Only Donate to One NAMI Participant/Year” rule.

When it comes to NAMI walks, I’ve always donated to my dear friend, the advocate/blogger Kitt O’Malley. (Follow her blog here!)

But I made an exception for Alexis. You’ll see why after you read her April 14th post “You Can Help Too. No Amount Is Too Small” which I’ve copied, in part, below. (I changed the color settings and font sizes found on the original post.)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To celebrate I will be running/walking in a 5K to help NAMI-CT. NAMI-CT offers support groups for people with mental health conditions as well as monitors legislative activity at the state level on mental health policy. They also educate schools and parents on mental illness. I wrote their annual report a few years ago.

This is a cool organization and I hope you’ll help me if you can…I sincerely understand if funds are tight for you, readers. But if anyone out there wants to forgo that morning coffee and support a great cause, no amount is too small. All your donations will go directly to NAMI-CT. I have been training for this 5K for over a year now with strength training and running on the treadmill and outside when weather permits. I will think of all my readers as I run/walk this event.

And…anyone who donates will receive a personalized poem from me on the topic of their choice.” 

 

I donated $10 to Alexis’ NAMI group, and this is the poem she wrote for me:

 

Metronome

Stability.

Why am I this dried up

when on meds?

Lithium, you save my soul

but

I no longer have the creativity

and manic energy

I need to function

There are manic floods

and depressive droughts

Then, there are droughts

caused by the meds

Droughts where you feel

nothing

not the highs or the lows

The doctor evened you out

so you forgot how to feel

I want to be manic again

so I can sing poetry to the sky,

write all night,

be super-productive…

I want to be manic again

I miss my creative thoughts

coming at rapid speeds faster

than I can write them down

But the drought of no emotion

is here to stay

I must re-learn how to feel

what everyone else feels

without the extremes.

I don’t like it this way

but at least, I have a life.

 

(c) Alexis Zinkerman

 

After I read Metronome, I emailed Alexis. This is an excerpt of that message:

My god, you have the poetic gift, Alexis!

I'll start with the title:  Metronome.

Well, it's perfect in many ways. It brought back memories of my 
violinist Dad's metronome ticking away in his practice room which 
was next to my bedroom. I found it to be an object of fascination 
as a little girl.

I'll be honest - I'm usually not a poetry fan. I've never 
gravitated to the majority of the poems of Madeleine L'Engle & L.M.Montgomery, my two favorite authors. They were *big* on writing 
poetry, and they frequently referenced others' poems in many of 
their works.

Your style reminds me of Madeleine L'Engle's: bold, vivid, and true

Your amazing piece spoke to me.
First off, I could understand it - that's a major plus.
There are soooo many poems that are beautiful to read, but frankly I have no idea what they're about, therefore I get frustrated and Ifeel dumb.

Not so with yours! Hurrah!

Second, you get bipolar. You clearly understand mania and what 
lithium can do. In a remarkably concise way, you express this 
complex mood disorder (including the hypergraphia I had) so 
poignantly and lyrically.

Wow!  Just wow!

 

Please consider donating a few dollars to Alexis’ team (and Kitt’s, if you’re flush with cash! 😉 and you’ll be thrilled when you receive a personalized poem in return.

You can follow Alexis on Twitter: @azinkerman

Next Friday, my friends I’ll publish a post about how my first talk for Toastmasters went.  I’m scheduled to do it on May 3rd.  It’ll be a tale of sweat, tears, anxiety, and (hopefully) triumph for making it through the four-six minute speech without passing out.

I’ll try to record it so I can share it with you here.  In the meantime, take good care of yourselves!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

 

Dyane Harwood’s memoir is Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Dr. Henshaw is the co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders, 2nd Edition published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in March 2017.

Birth of a New Brain will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017, and it’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon here; Kindle pre-sales are coming this summer!

Losing A Mirror Carp Feels Good

For Blog

Soaking up the sun with my John Cena-worthy 3-pounders. 😉

 

     30 pounds is the equivalent weight of this mirror carp!

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Whoa! 

 

Dear Friends,

I’ve been writing about my weightloss journey, and I appreciate your sticking with me, especially if you have zero interest in the topic. Rest assured, I’ll soon return to expoundng on other important subjects including Bigfoot and my Scotch collie Lucy’s career.

Now that I’ve reached my goal of losing the equivalent weight of a mirror carp, I’m proud of myself. I didn’t think I could lose 30 pounds, especially becuause I take lithium and tranylcypromine/Parnate, a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) for bipolar one disorder. I took Seroquel from 2013-2015, and that medication affected my metabolism, causing me to gain weight in the stomach area.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a compulsive overeater for decades. During the past year, I downed a pint of Talenti chocolate gelato every night, so I couldn’t blame all the changes in my body upon my bipolar medications.

Anyway, here I am, feeling so much better despite my black hairy tongue, hoping that I can keep up my new lifestyle, especially when the sh*t hits the fan.

Weight loss veterans know that the truly hard work comes after one’s goal is achieved.

I can’t loop too much about the future. No matter what happens, it has been awesome to take care of myself. It’s even better being a positive role model to my girls and Lucy. 

LucyYawn

Where’s my treat?

Little efforts add up. I bring a big bottle of water everywhere I go. When I take my kids out somewhere to eat, I don’t order a bunch of grub even when I’m not hungry the way I used to do. I’ll drink water or order a black coffee, and joke with the server that I’m a great tipper. (True.)

I haven’t returned to my 30-45 minute-long workout yet because I’m not ready, but every other day I lift my fearsome Target dumbbells for ten minutes. Bicep curls and tricep lifts – that’s it. I put on Pandora 80’s music channels which makes the ten minutes go by fast.

Yes, it’s all about baby steps. 

 

The Groovy Ketogenic Diet Update

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I’m halfway through reading Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet and while I want to try it because it allegedly helps with bipolar disorder symptoms, I find the logistics VERY daunting. 

Despite my intimidation, I found an interesting article about this diet’s affect upon bipolar. Check out Dr. Georgia Ede’s website Diagnosis: Diet – Nutrition Science Meets Common Sense: “Bipolar Disorder and Diet Part II: Low Carbohydrate Diets”. There are almost 100 comments, and I’m curious about what they say. In any case, I’ll keep you posted about what I wind up doing.

Do any of you follow the ketogenic diet? I’d love to know about your experience.

Even if you’re not ready to make a major change in your lifestyle (it took me almost two years to stop eating junk) please know you can lose weight while taking bipolar meds. I’m not claiming this credo applies to every person under the sun, but I think it’s true for many people with bipolar disorder. 

The free app that helped me achieve my goal is called Lose It! which is simply a food tracking/logging device. It’s easy to use and it woke me up.

If you want to try it, I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment. You can also sign up for free at www.loseit.com 

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170 pounds and so unhappy that I couldn’t even look at the camera.

Most of what I ate back then was Talenti gelato, countless packages of the Immaculate Baking Company’s raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream.

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Sorry for the blur – this pic has selfie-itis syndrome.

While I still have my Seroquel Spider belly, I can live with it because I’m feeling much healthier and happier. Three months ago I cut out 95% of the sugar I was inhaling. I began eating mostly organic food, and kept preparations as simple as possible. My husband supported me, thank goodness; he didn’t mind my doing my own thing. I stopped bingeing cold-turkey and started drinking lots of water and green tea. I also joined Scientology to follow my idol Tom Cruise. (Just kidding! Can’t get too serious about this healthy eating stuff…)

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You can do it!

 

As always, sending you lots of love, 

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.