The BipolarStyle Podcast & Happy Halloween!

BipolarStyle Podcast, October 22, 2017

with host John Emotions & yours truly!  To listen to our chat, visit this link


Official Podcast Episode Description

“John and Dyane discuss her new book Birth of a New Brain about postpartum bipolar disorder. They discuss what the condition is, how Dyane experienced it, and how the book came to be. They also talk a little about their favorite Netflix shows including Black Mirror, Lady Dynamite, and Theo Vonn. Also, we include more talk of a #bipolarcabal on Twitter and lots of bipolar digressions.”

When John and I recorded the podcast, I was in a freezing room and I drank lots of highly caffeinated Tazo chai to quickly warm up. Although I had sworn not to become over-caffeinated again during a podcast recording, I must be honest with you: I broke my vow.

(I was fortunate that John not only tolerated my here-there-and everywhere digressions but ran with them like a gazelle—he was incredibly gracious.)   

John Emotions is such a breath of fresh air. Despite having bipolar disorder, John asserts he’s an optimist; his attitude truly amazes and inspires me. I’m so glad the internet brought us together.

John’s new Facebook page: Bipolar Creative Society  

The original Facebook page: Bipolar Style

On Twitter: @BipolarStyle 

Visit the Bipolar Style website to buy cool tank tops like the one I’m wearing. Go there to let John know you’d like to be a podcast guest! It’s also a place to network with other people with bipolar, connect with life-saving resources, access exclusive content & more; it’s ever-evolving! 

See you next Friday & have a wonderful Halloween!!!! 

 

XOXO,

Dyane

p.s. Are you dressing up for Halloween? 

 

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!

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Thanks For Your Support – Good News!

 

 

bp Magazine has come to its senses!

Let me begin by telling you I had given up all hope of bp Magazine seeing the postpartum bipolar light!

Ironically, after I had unsubscribed to bp‘s Twitter feed and their email newsletter and closed off my heart to them, I got an email from bp’editor.

Lo and behold, I was informed there would be an opportunity for me after all. I was invited to write about postpartum bipolar for the “On My Mind” column in bp‘s Winter 2018 issue!

I wish I could say it was my magical, powerful “I’m disappointed” email I had sent to bp’s publisher that did the trick. But I suspect other actions came into play.

What I believe had the most influence was that some of you contacted the editor. (THANK YOU Kitt O’Malley and thanks to everyone else who wrote the editor and who retweeted on my behalf including Samina of the Bipolar 1 Blog and Bipolar on Fire.) Please let me know if you helped out in the comments and I’ll give you credit in the next post!

After I sent the publisher my “I’m very disappointed” email and didn’t hear back, I wrote a lengthy email to the editor. Then I did something I was sure was going to have bp’s staff place my name on their sh*t list.

I conducted a week-long Twitter Tantrum. Every time a reputable organization such as the UCLA Semel Friends, Postpartum Support International, or DBSA tweeted my SELF postpartum bipolar article link (which they all did numerous times) I retweeted it and tagged @bpmag.

It was a helluva lot of tweets!

For the record, I do not recommend doing this if you’re upset with someone or with a group. Remember, I had given up on hearing from bp Magazine forever!

I mega-tweeted to prove a point to them.

I knew that chances were very high I’d be burning a bridge with their staff, but as you guessed, I was past the point of caring about consequences. 

When I spotted the editor’s email in my in-box yesterday, my hands turned cold and clammy and I started to freak out. I was sure the email would say something like this:

 

 

When I forced myself to read the email, it was a very pleasant surprise.

So there you have it! I guess the moral of the story is really about how awesome the blogosphere and Twittersphere can be in one’s time of need. If I didn’t have amazing virtual friends (you know who you are!) then this dramatic turn of events wouldn’t have occurred.

The magic of the “I’m Disappointed” email can only go so far…

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next Friday, perhaps even with the post I promised to share about rich people and dog poop!

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s 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 on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available in early September.

“I’m Not A Mess” Redux with my daughter Marilla

Last night I had just finished working out when my precocious daughter Rilla walked into the room.  As I stood there exhausted, she said “Mommy, I have something special I want to show you!” I dragged myself upstairs to see what she was talking about.  I thought it would be her latest Minecraft creations.

It turns out that she recorded herself on PhotoBooth singing a ditty that I wrote a few months ago. It’s called “I’m Not A Mess”, and in it I admonish the media for portraying women with mental illnesses as messes.  Rilla’s rendition was so cute, but the words were hard to make out, so we created a duet. It contains a potty sentence which might offend some people. (I explained to Rilla not to use it until she’s eighteen.)

 

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Love him!

Below are some classic examples of women doing the “head-clutch” move portrayed by the media.  The amazing Stephen Fry is working with the Time to Change * to  publicize this issue.

Hope you like the song, and I’ll see you next Friday. Have a great weekend everyone!

love,

Dyane

 

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images-1 My personal favorite, even though she’s not clutching her nogginimages

 

* Here’s the link to the article about Time to Change and its groundbreaking campaign “launched to stop depression being illustrated with head-in-hands pictures.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/campaign-launched-to-stop-depression-being-illustrated-with-headinhands-pictures-10116855.html

Good Surprises, Bad Surprises (I prefer good ones.)

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Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m glad it’s here because Spring Break begins for my kids.  I’ll enjoy a respite from the frantic morning rush, as well as a breather from the passive-aggressive minivan brigade en route to school.

Today I was interviewed by a psychologist-in-training.  She’s interviewing mothers with bipolar disorder for her dissertation, and she made quite a trek to reach these Deliverance-esque mountains.  We spent an intense ninety minutes while I answered her questions. I was thankful she was very compassionate, because I discussed the toughest, most disturbing years of my life.  I was drained afterwards, but I’m glad that I did it because I know her research will help other clinicians understand moms with bipolar a little better.

Meanwhile it has been a weird week.  Well, it’s always weird around here, but it was a touch weirder than usual.  

Bad surprise #1 happened Wednesday morning.  I woke up around 4:30 a.m. as nature called.  I needed to answer her fast or regress to six-years-old and wet the bed.  On my way back to bed, I paused in the doorway and spotted a puddle on the floor – ooops, Lucy had an accident. It happens once in a while, and it was actually a blessing in disguise. When I crouched down to clean it up, I saw movement to my left.  I gasped inwardly, as I didn’t want to wake everyone up, especially Lucy, who was out of sight on the other side of the bed.

It was Zoe, Rilla’s Syrian hamster.  Somehow Zoe had escaped from her cage and she was having a splendid time exploring the house. Miraculously Lucy missed her spree.  I hadn’t handled the little creature much up to that point, but I immediately scooped her up before Lucy awoke.  I thought she’d wriggle out of my hands, but she was calm.

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I thanked God over and over that I was the first one to find Zoe; if Lucy had seen her, Zoe would’ve become a Scooby snack and Rilla and Avonlea would have been devastated.  (It turned out that there was a faulty part of her cage.  She leapt five feet down from its perch without hurting herself, another small miracle.) While I categorized this as a bad surprise, it did have a happy ending. Hurrah!

hector

Good surprise #1 was “Hector and the Search for Happiness”. This was a wonderful film!  I watched it on my portable DVD player with headphones while the kids were glued to the insipid Nick Jr.’s “Austin and Ally”, a show that makes me want to scream.

“Hector and the Search for Happiness” is about Hector, of course. He’s a burned-out psychiatrist (what a surprise, eh?) who goes on a pilgrimage to research how to help his patients (and himself) be happy.  I don’t want to give away spoilers, but it was unique as well as a great reminder about what creates true happiness.  Some of my favorite actors are in it (Toni Colette, Stellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno and Christopher Plummer, still going strong in his 80’s!) and actors who I was unfamiliar with, namely the outstanding lead Simon Pegg.  I definitely give it a “thumbs up”.  

On to bad surprise #2.  Some of you know I work out almost daily on my beloved Nordic Track Elliptical. Yesterday as soon as I hopped on it, the flywheel made a ghastly screeching sound.  I had to stop, which sucked as I really needed an endorphin boost.  Craig came downstairs to see what caused a noise that could wake the dead. He took the elliptical apart to discover a huge amount of fluffy pink insulation material stuffed inside the flywheel that wasn’t supposed to be there – surprise! It was jumbled up with scraps of paper. You can guess where this is going, right?

My workout machine had become a haven to RATS!!!

rat

Oh. My. God.

Grooooooososssssss!  At least there was no rat poo in it as far as I could tell, and there were no rats or parts of rats in the elliptical.  That was a major plus, yes indeed.  Our home is rat-free; we had sent our rats to the afterlife long ago.  But this was definitely a bad surprise, and there’s no way I can put a good spin on it!

I certainly can’t end on that note.  Good surprise #2 came from my seven-year-old last night.  Rilla and I were talking about odds and ends. She said, “I look up to you, Mommy and I want to be a writer too.  I want to be like you!” 

I was so moved by what Rilla said, because I haven’t exactly been Mother of the Year since her birth in 2007;  the year I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar less than two months after she was born.  To hear that she wanted to be like me (she knows I have bipolar, and yet she didn’t let that get in the way of anything) was beyond awesome.  I was also surprised that my writing has made a positive impression upon her.  

After all the crap I’ve put this child through as a result of my mental illness, I harbor residual guilt.  I worry about the trauma my girls have suffered from bipolar-related events. So you can imagine how cool it was for me to hear her words, to feel her soft arms wrap themselves around me in a hug, and to hold her small hands with their tiny, scraggly fingernails….the hands of a budding writer.

Until next Friday, I send you my love, and some good surprises that will make you smile.

xoxo,

Dyane

ril

 

 

Facing challenges with writing books when you have bipolar

That’s what’s on my sleepy mind this rainy morning – how authors with brain challenges have the ability to complete an entire book.  I wish there was a magic potion I could drink that would get me to sit down and finish the piece I’ve been working on (and mostly off) the past several years.  I’ve been thinking books-books-books all stormy weekend long.  I selected some of my longtime “friends” (I know it sounds schmaltzy, but I consider books to be friends) for my blog hit lists that I wrote over the weekend.

If you search Amazon listings you’ll find that a brand-new bipolar memoir is being published almost every day.  Many of these books are self-published, and they usually run the price of a small double mocha instead of twenty-five dollars.  As much as I’d love the author to make more of a profit, I love that affordability.

It’s getting easier and easier to get your work out into the world, which is wonderful.  I’ve noticed that more authors are using self-publishing companies such as CreateSpace and Author House.  While it’s a blessing that these organizations give writers the opportunity to share their stories with a worldwide audience, it’s also easier for mediocre or downright awful books to emerge.

Even if a new book is lousy, I still have so much admiration for the author; I’m also envious because I want to complete a project too.  Anyone who can focus enough to finish  a two-hundred page manuscript has made a remarkable achievement.  I’ve been wondering why I want to finish my book so badly.  The reasons are simple: I want all my suffering to help other moms with bipolar feel less alone, I want to feel productive, and I want to be able to tell people (and myself) that I’m a bona fide author.  It’s true am a writer – the fact that I’ve made a couple thousand dollars off my articles tells me that, but it’s different to have a book published.  A book is (usually) a true labor of love.  Writing a book was a labor of love for my husband Craig Harwood, who took seven years to write his book Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West in his free time.

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(shameless plug!)

Yesterday I was working out on my NordicTrack elliptical.  While I’ve had phases where I’ve been an exercise purist eschewing magazines, lately I’ve been reading my Kindle on the machine.  The workout time flies by while I surf Facebook and read books on my Kindle and I still break a decent sweat.  I also blast the Pandora Disco channel.  There’s nothing like hearing the Bee Gees’ “More Than a Woman” or Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” while on an elliptical.

A couple days ago I was working out and Kindle surfing.  I spotted a book announced on Amazon that very day: Deborah Kaminski’s Bipolar and Me for just $2.99.  What caught my eye was the book cover – it was hard to miss, even with sweat dripping into my eyes:

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(There’s nothing quite like an eye-catching cover.)

The author describes her book simply on Amazon: “This book talks about my journey with Bipolar Disorder and has information for both those suffering and those who have loved ones who suffer with bipolar.”  Her self-publishing company is BookRix.  I had never heard of them, and their recent press release sounds too good to be true .  They “will no longer charge for their eBook-distribution-services, allowing authors to publish eBooks for free via BookRix and distribute them to all major eBook stores such as Amazon.”  When I observe books being published so frequently by these types of companies, I am reminded that I can just go for it.  I’ve seen books that are only fifteen or twenty pages long for sale on Amazon – to me that’s more of a chunky brochure, but I admire the writer’s resolve in getting her work out into the world.

Many people with bipolar have attention challenges and/or struggle with sedation due to medication side effects.  I have both of those issues, but I won’t let them stop me.  If others can do it, I can too.  I also realized that I won’t become a career blogger or a fly-by-night sensation who gains thousands of followers.  It’s a hard to give up the idea of hitting it big via a blog, but I can’t blog regularly and work on a book – at least not now.  I have two little girls who are my priority, and at this point I am not able to do everything I want to do.

However, I can still set out to accomplish my dream to complete a book project.  One of my favorite authors Madeleine L’Engle had her infamous A Wrinkle In Time manuscript rejected by at least 26 publishers, because it was, in L’Engle’s words, “too different”, and “because it deals overtly with the problem of evil.”   She also went through an entire decade of getting rejection slips, which is hard for me to believe.  She describes that tortuous decade in her own writing in the book Two Part Invention – the Story of A Marriage. (It’s one of my favorite books.)

I’ll boast about this until the day I die, but none other than Madeleine L’Engle liked my writing, even though it was just a measly fourteen line sonnet I wrote with sweaty palms about dolphins.  L’Engle had me recite it at her writing workshop.  Take my word for it, she was not the type to lie about liking anyone’s writing.  She made that astoundingly clear at the two workshops I was lucky enough to attend.

There’s the famous saying that to be truly excellent at anything, one must practice for 10,000 hours.  I’ve been using this blog to get into the daily practice of writing, and I’m hoping it won’t take me another 9,995 hours to get where I want to be.  At least I have the aforesaid hope, and if I have hope, I can write a book – I really think I can.  I’m going to finish reading this:

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and hop to it!

I’ve selected March 1st as my start date to return to writing/editing my Birth of a New Brain manuscript.  (I have one hundred pages so far.)  I will devote at least a half an hour each day to writing.  My husband told me he spent twenty minutes every morning to write his book Quest for Flight.   He woke up before the rest of us each day to do it, which I can’t realistically do yet.  The three medications I take (lithium, Seroquel and the MAOI Parnate) make it so that I need to sleep as long as I can in the morning.  Then my girls get up, and we all scramble to get ready for the bumper-to-bumper schlep to school.

I’ll stick to blogging for the next couple weeks and try to shorten my posts.  I never thought I’d write overly long blog posts, but I figure you can skim it or maybe you’re hopefully a fast (and tolerant) reader!  Thanks for reading this from the bottom of my sleepy heart!