Alexis Zinkeman’s “A Mile a Minute Newsletter” Please sign-up!

This is sure to be a great newsletter from Alexis Zinkerman, an author, journalist, blogger, mental health advocate, runner, and much more!

Check out this Amazon five-star review about Alexis’ remarkable novella “Brooklyn’s Song” here:

https://www.amazon.com/Brooklyns-Song-Alexis-Zinkerman-ebook/dp/B07JZHDKMY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Alexis+Zinkerman&qid=1582488561&s=books&sr=1-1

You can follow Alexis on Instagram @amileaminute.blog & she’s over at Facebook

and Twitter at @azinkerman.

I hope you have a good week!

Take care,

ūüíóūüíóūüíóūüíóūüíóūüíó

Dyane

p.s. Here’s yet another shameless plug for my book Birth of a New Brain‚ÄĒHealing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder. I’m honored I received an Amazon five-star review a few days ago.

Thanks to Kevin for this lovely review!

 

 

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“Birth of a New Brain” awarded 5 stars by JenChaos Reviews!

 

Hello everyone! 

The following link will lead you to a unique review written by Jennifer, a blogger who specializes in book reviews and book news. 

https://jenchaosreviews.com/2018/11/14/book-reviewbirth-of-a-new-brain-healing-from-postpartum-bipolar-disorder-by-dyane-harwood/#comment-1560

Please go visit her blog, take a peek, and comment telling her she sure knew what she was doing when she reviewed my book. ūüė䬆 (Just kidding!)¬†

Take care and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Love,

Dyane 

 

Ah yes, here’s the latest Lucy picture wearing a scarf styled by yours truly. ¬†

It stayed on her for about 10 seconds.

Lucy Scarf

 

Groggylicious

 

Bobs #!

 

Good Monday morning, everyone,  how are you?

This past week I’ve gotten off to such a slooooow start in the mornings. ¬†If it wasn’t for the roaring LifeFlight rescue helicopter I heard¬†at 5:00 a.m.¬†(we live across the street from its landing field) I wouldn’t be up right now.

The time change threw me off, which I expected, but¬†I still hoped it wouldn’t affect me to the extent that it did. ¬†Despite using¬†my¬†cheery Sunbox light as soon as I get up, I resemble a cast member from the film “Dawn of the Dead”. ¬†I kind of look like this fellow, but with long brown hair.

imagesIt ain’t a pretty sight!

I suspect another culprit for my sluggification is the change of seasons. ¬†I’m simply not a cold-weather gal; I was born and bred in balmy, 70 degree Los Angeles for heaven’s sake. ¬†Although I still live in California, it gets very chilly up¬†here.

Adding to the fun is the advent of¬†“Leak Week”. ¬†As my husband lovingly told me the other day, our bed looked like the setting of a hunting accident. ¬†A visit from Auntie Flo always makes me tired. ¬†(Sorry for T.M.I., but please believe me, this post could be much worse.) ¬†

Case in point:

https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/my-freaky-malodorous-urgent-care-life-lesson/

I’ve been trying harder to be healthy in order to boost my energy level. ¬†I work out almost daily¬†on my elliptical and ¬†I usually get enough sleep. ¬†While I take lithium, tranylcypromine and quetiapine, all¬†notorious¬†for¬†causing fatigue, I haven’t made any med changes up to now. ¬†

But I’m still exhausted.

I need to reduce my sugar intake, as I know that causes “sugar crashing” and I eat too much of it.¬†It seems like there’s always something new, sugary and tempting that hooks me in. ¬†The latest product is¬†Marley’s One Drops with Jamaican coffee. ¬†I could rhapsodize all day about how tasty¬†these One Drops are. (I don’t work for the Marley Beverage Company, LLC. ¬†I’m not being paid to advertise for them – I wish! ¬†I could use a little cash to buy a new laptop.) ¬†

Anyway, apart from that, I promised to report on how the book writing is going. ¬†I’ve been plugging away. ¬†It helps immensely¬†to have a virtual writing mentor in Wendy K. Williamson (bestselling author of “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar” and “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival”). Wendy holds me accountable. ¬†Moreover, she truly understands the challenges of writing a bipolar-themed memoir. ¬†But as wonderful as she¬†is, Wendy can’t write my book for me. ¬†She’s writing two or three of her own books at the moment, and promoting her most recent book “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival” so she’s a bit busy.

If any of you have energy-boosting tips, I’d love to read about them. ¬†Also, if you’re participating in “NaNoWriMo” ¬†(National Novel Writing Month, an annual writing project in which writers complete a¬†novel in a measly month!) I want to know how the hell you do it, especially if you have young children running around your house. ¬†

I wish you all an energy-infused week in which you make progress on the creative projects close to your heart.  

take care & thanks for reading as always,

Dyane 

Bobs #2

Please endorse me for the WEGO Health Award – if you want to share the link that’s fine too. ūüėČ

I was nominated by the super-awesome bestselling author/bipolar advocate

Wendy K.  Williamson. It takes  about 20 seconds to endorse nominees. Visit:  

https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/4811

Getting Past Being Our Community Horror Story

Image

On Presidents’ Day, a school holiday, I awoke to an unscheduled day.¬† I needed something to do with my daughter Marilla, so I decided to take her to the park. (My other little girl, Avonlea, headed for her best friend’s house.) ¬† The weather was clear and sunny, but my mind was stormy and gloomy. ¬†I wanted to hide in my bed, read a book, and not have to interact with anyone.¬† It was actually a promising sign of my recovery that I was able to leave the house, so off we went.

The park was near our home and frequented by many families.¬† During the seven years of my visiting it, my park experiences have ranged from enjoyable to atrocious. One of my worst visits occurred when I tripped over an innocent-looking root on a perfectly flat trail. ¬†I was alone and no one saw me fall.¬† I slammed down to the ground, breaking my collar bone from the impact. ¬†Luckily I had my cell phone and I reached Craig for help. ¬†More pleasant times included the afternoons I spent there with a kindred spirit mom while our kids had fun playing tag with one another.¬† We’ve held birthday parties for both of our girls at these grounds. ¬†During those events I’d feel happy watching my girls’ excitement, but I also suffered with social anxiety.

It is here, at this park, where I’ve been both “B.D.” and “A.D.”:

before diagnosis and after diagnosis.

After we moved to this area with baby Avonlea, I wanted to meet other moms.  Through the internet I located a baby playgroup that met in my neighborhood.  I immediately joined the small group and met some friendly moms who I am still in touch with now.

This was “B.D.”. ¬†I would not become the “Bipolar Mom” in our community for almost two more years. ¬†It’s hard for me to believe that back then I was perceived by others as relatively normal. ¬†I had been battling depression for many years, but I hid it well. ¬†I didn’t talk openly about my depression at the playgroup and neither did any of the other moms, although I sensed I wasn’t the only one struggling in that way.

Then fall of 2007 came along, I gave birth to my second beautiful girl Marilla, and all hell broke loose after her debut. ¬†My lack of sleep, a genetic predisposition to bipolar, and wacked-out hormones combined to trigger postpartum bipolar disorder. ¬†Two months after Rilla was born,¬† I had full-blown postpartum mania. ¬†I reluctantly admitted myself to our local hospital’s locked-down mental health unit. ¬†Despite the fact that the building opposite my unit had a fully equipped maternity wing, the staff couldn’t find me a breast pump to ease my painful engorgement. ¬†(It was such a nightmare admission that we forgot my Medela pump in the car.) ¬†I actually had to call a friend on the pay phone to loan me her pump. ¬†The hospital’s ineptitude with the breast pump was a prelude to their incompetence in every other aspect of the place. ¬†I could have run a better unit, especially in my energetic manic state. ūüėČ

After my stay at the hospital, I entered a new epoch of my life: “A.D.”

When I returned home after my hospitalization, our extended family, friends and acquaintances knew what had happened to me. ¬†I’ve written about this time in depth in my¬†Birth of a New Brain draft.¬† Suffice it to say that I was not treated like I had a “casserole disease” by certain people I knew. ¬†It broke my heart how these individuals were unable to offer empathy and practical support. ¬†(If you are reading this, and you visited with me or helped our family in any way, please don’t take offense. ¬†I’m not including you here!)

Where I live, the mental illness stigma is still very strong.  This is a conservative rural community.  There are so many churches up here that thinking about them makes my head spin.

As far as I know, I am the only ‚Äúout‚ÄĚ mom with bipolar around these parts. ¬†I founded our county’s chapter of the DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) and I created my first women’s support group. ¬†We started with over twenty members, but the group eventually ran out of steam when I relapsed.¬† When I created the women’s support group, I was profiled in two local newspaper articles that included pictures of me with my girls.¬† I don’t regret doing that, but I believe that my going public had personal repercussions. ¬†Our Press Banner’s editor Peter Burke did a nice job in the following piece:

http://www.pressbanner.com/pages/full_story/push?article-A+new+day+dawning%20&id=7251763#comments_7251763

Over the years since I was diagnosed, I didn’t think I came across as “crazy” to others – anxious, yes, but not psychotic.¬† I know the publicity I did (some of which mentioned I had been hospitalized) backfired on me socially.¬† I sensed that some school moms who knew of my medical history didn’t want to develop friendships with someone like me. ¬†I’ll never know that for sure, of course, but my intuition tells me I’m right. ¬†I can’t go back to undo my past, and I wouldn’t change my actions if I could, but it’s isolating and lonely having bipolar where I live.

Since 2007 I’ve only been approached by two other mothers with bipolar. ¬†I’m incredibly fortunate that both of them have become close friends.¬† One of them even had ECT with the same doctor who helped me. ¬†These women’s cases were less severe than mine, as none of them were ever hospitalized for mental illness. ¬†I apologize for being a whiner but I feel like a pariah for being known as the worst case mental illness scenario ’round here. ¬†It’s difficult to express this concept without sounding like an ingrate of some sort; this has been one of the hardest posts for me to write.

More importantly than any of the above is that I don’t want my girls adversely affected socially because their mom has a brain disorder.¬† The point that keeps popping up in my head is that I can’t be the only local mom who was in a locked-down unit for mental illness, but I feel like I am. ¬†There are thousands of folks in the large valley where I live, and statistically speaking, there is no way there aren’t other moms who have been hospitalized for bipolar.¬† We don’t have support groups around here where I could potentially meet some of those moms. ¬†I’m not starting yet another group, as I’m burned out.

I may never completely get past feeling ashamed about being the “community horror story” but as you can infer by reading this post, I have a ways to go. ¬† I want to come to better terms with my past, but I can’t do it alone.¬† My husband, close friends, and therapist can help me navigate this tricky issue. ¬†When I adopt another dog, that will help me too! ¬†(Really!)

We all harbor darkness such as sexual abuse, self-harm or depression. ¬†I want to remember each and every day that I am not the only one suffering, and that it’s possible that other “normal” moms I encounter may be keeping their serious mental health issues under wraps. ¬†If I try my best to be productive and focus on the positives in my life (rather than on the crap) I think my shame will fade in the years to come.