Cool Mental Health Podcasts Aplenty!

What a striking logo – I love it!

 

Do you listen to podcasts? I’m a relative latecomer to the podcast world, but hey, better late than never, right?

Thanks to Lucy’s daily walk, I’ve turned into quite the podcast connoisseur. We strut our stuff for 20 minutes. At that point my girl gets tired so we head for an empty baseball field. Lucy hangs out on the grass while I walk laps around the dugout. That’s the perfect time to listen to downloaded podcasts on my cell phone’s speaker – some people prefer headphones. You can listen to podcasts in cars, at home, at the gym, standing in line at the market (just kidding – you’d get lots of glares unless you have headphones! ūüėČ etc.

Once again I must remind you Lucy is so darn cute, and the hound is thirsty after powering out those twenty minutes. Because I love to spoil her rotten, I bring a plastic bowl I fill with a bottle of water. She chillaxes and rehydrates in the great outdoors while I get in my workout!

When freshly bathed, this furry beast appears half her size!

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When I began my podcast exploration, I started out with the best of the best:  Mohr Stories on Podcast One.

Mohr Stories is¬†hosted by actor, comedian, poet, author, and sports enthusiast, Jay Mohr. ¬†Here’s the podcast description:¬†

“Each week, laugh, be surprised and think deep, as Jay talks to an entertainer, athlete, musician, author or game-changer about showbiz, comedy, and life beyond your typical interview conversation. Guests have included Anthony Bourdain, Perez Hilton, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jay Leno, Reggie Watts and more. Frequent visitors include John DiMaggio, Brad Williams, Jim Jeffries, Adam Carolla, and of course, the occasional Christopher Walken impersonation.”

Last year Jay invited me to be on Mohr Stories¬†but I wanted to wait until after Birth of a New Brain was published in October. When the air date is confirmed, I’ll let you know!

The super-cool hosts Alisha Perkins and Colleen Lindstrom of Mind Full

 

Mind Full is “an open, honest and entertaining discussion about mental & physical health, hosted by author, runner, and baseball wife Alisha Perkins, and MyTalk 107.1 radio personality Colleen Lindstrom.”¬†

I’m really enjoying reading Alisha’s memoir Running Home: Big-League Wife, Small-Town Story¬†about living with anxiety, long-distance running (which I used to do until I blew out my knee), and glimpses of what it’s like being married to a high-profile baseball player – there’s much more to it than that, of course.

Alsha’s eye-catching cover!

To listen to Mind Full, visit this link.

I’m recording an episode with Alisha and Colleen in late September & I’ll post the air date when I know it!¬†

Then there’s the popular¬†Mom and Mind¬†podcast with Dr. Katayune Kaeni. “Dr Kat” is an internet friend of mine and she invited me to be a podcast guest a while ago, but I wasn’t ready to do that until now. Here’s the description:

This podcast is for new mothers, new fathers, families and the health care providers who support them. We discuss the things you need to know about your mental health during the transition to motherhood and parenthood. It’s for partners too, who are also going through their own changes. Dr. Kat, a¬†specialist¬†in maternal mental health, interviews moms, dads, experts and advocates about how to cope, manage and recover from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. We talk about postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and SO MUCH MORE! We get real. We get honest. We put on our stigma crushing boots and address the realities of the transition to motherhood and parenthood¬†while offering hope, healing,¬†and resources for help. Please find more information at http://www.momandmind.com”

 Mom and Mind is on iTunes Рyou can visit the link here. 

 

I want to check out the podcast archives at:

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

and

The Hilarious World of Depression 

 

Both of those podcasts have gotten a lot of praise. If I come across a particularly cool episode, I’ll be sure to share it here. And if you have a favorite podcast, please tell me about it in the comments!

Have a good weekend, my friends! Until next week, lots of love! 

Dyane

 

You can read my latest article here: SELF Magazine “We Need to Talk About Postpartum Bipolar Disorder”¬†

 

Dyane‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď 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.

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Losing Ulla

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Ulla’s dog Solo

 

Ulla. Where do I begin?

When I told someone yesterday my friend died by suicide, adding that we never met face-to-face, I sensed that she didn’t understand the power of a virtual friendship.

Of course that’s not her fault –¬†if you haven’t experienced being friends with an online “kindred spirit”, it’s hard to relate to the idea. But I was frustrated all the same because it¬†was a genuine friendship.

How I hate writing that word “was”.

Ulla was a better friend to me than most of the friends I’ve ever had; hell, she was¬†there for me during some of my toughest times far more than some of my relatives.

Oh Ulla.

She supported my writing, and — this was big– she helped me grieve¬†my father’s death. She¬†truly understood what it was like to lose a parent since she had been through it too.

She sent me e-books. She made me laugh through her original, feisty, always-brilliant blog posts. I looked forward to her provocative, witty, informative linkdumps Рcheck out one example here. 

Even when she was way down, Ulla would check in with me out of the blue to see how I was doing.

We loved going off about crazy Scientology – Jeez, they gave us SO MUCH to make fun of – we couldn’t help it!!!!

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Thetan looks like a lady

 

Best of all, Ulla sent me pictures of Solo, her sweet hound.

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We tossed around the idea of her making a meme of my Lucy, and she gave me this fabulous image:

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I feel guilty that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) didn’t help her out of the evil treatment-resistant bipolar depression. When Ulla began asking me about my ECT¬†experiences, I shared¬†how the treatments helped me.

I was suicidal after my father died, and once again after I relapsed after ¬†tapering off meds. (Word to the wise: just don’t do it!) Anyway, I had ECT each of those times, and it brought me out of those horrendous states.

While I didn’t feel happy¬†after the rounds of ECT, I stopped thinking that I had to kill myself all the time.

She tried ECT. It didn’t work. Should I have¬†encouraged her the way I did? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so gung-ho about it. If I go down that route, I feel worse. Ulla would probably tell me to shut the f*ck up and remind me that she wasn’t a puppet – ever the meticulous researcher, she made an informed choice.

When I found out the news about Ulla, even the lithium coursing through my bloodstream couldn’t prevent tears from falling down my face. (The salt usually does keep my tears at bay; it’s a very odd feeling. But that’s one shitty, unhealthy side effect this drama queen could do without. We need to be able to cry sometimes.)

Upon seeing their mom’s twisted-up face shiny with rare tears, my daughters wrapped their arms around me.¬†A concerned Lucy circled around us and barked as if ten ambulances were speeding past our front door.¬†

Ulla.

Platitudes come to my mind:

“She’s in a better place.” “She’s at peace.” “She’s with her mom now.”

I’ll be honest with you – I want to believe those cliches are true. I want to believe Ulla’s okay, and that she’s no longer suffering. And here’s the final kicker:

I want to meet her…and thank her…. in person in “Some Fantastic Place” (a beautiful Squeeze song written about their friend who died) because I’ll never get the chance to do that here.

On Saturday, September 10th (World Suicide Prevention Day) Jill of¬†My Spanglish Familia and Yvette¬†of Yve’s Corner have organized an online vigil at this link¬†at Ulla’s blog¬†Blahpolar,¬†the blog I’ve mentioned¬†numerous times as being my #1 favorite.

Yve and Jill invite us to:¬†Bring…your fondest memories, your favourite posts, some ‘food’, ‘flowers’, ‘candles’, and let‚Äôs honour her struggle and mourn her loss together.”

I’ll be there.

 

 

Dyane‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of¬†The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry)¬†will be published by¬†Post Hill Press¬†in October, 2017.¬†

Post Hill

Worrying Too Much About Other People

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I wish I was the one who took this photo, but I was home bedridden with bipolar depression on this beautiful, sunny day.

 

When I first started writing this blog, I didn’t care that much about who read it and I wrote about all kinds of subjects. I was blogging for myself, first and¬†foremost, and as selfish as that sounds, it felt really good to get my thoughts onto the screen. Hell, it felt good to be writing again after a¬†loooong hiatus due to good, ‘ol bipolar depression!¬†

As time passed by, I started thinking more about what I was putting out into the world. I began censoring myself because I fretted about offending people. I didn’t write about my benzodiazepine addiction and (after I quit¬†benzos) alcoholism¬†for fear of¬†getting reported to Child Protective Services (C.P.S.). They have a file with my name on it¬†due to my 5150 history, so I’m not being paranoid when it comes to CPS. (My publisher Post Hill Press isn’t concerned with my blog¬†as long I don’t write something egregiously slanderous¬†about them!)

My self-conscious, paranoid self-censorship began sucking the soul out of my writing, and out of me. 

I didn’t want to¬†be a stream-of-consciousness blog where I’d write about anything that crossed my mind, throwing caution to the wind. I wanted a balance of mixing my personal experience and thoughts with more general observations.

But (there’s always that damn “but”!) I kept suppressing¬†myself here more than I wanted to. Today I’ve decided to be more myself in this¬†blog and if someone doesn’t like it, there about twenty billion other blogs to read! ūüôā

While there is one close family member who reads Birth of a New Brain, apart from her, I’m not aware of anyone¬†I know IRL who reads it. I’ve tried hard to not write anything that would freak out my close family member. I’ll continue to¬†make that effort, and respect her wishes for privacy.

I think letting loose a bit more here will be the healthiest thing I’ve done in a while.

My husband doesn’t read my blog, although I’ve invited him to do so a few times over the years! He’s just not into my blog or anyone else’s blog, which is good, ha ha – I¬†have a slight jealousy problem.¬†

Plus, I’m one to talk –¬†I haven’t even read all of his award-winning book Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West yet and he’s not mad!

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(Nor have I attended any of his popular book signings. He’s very different than I am, thank God – he doesn’t hold a grudge against me about my passing on his book talks. I admit that I’d be pissed at him if the situation was reversed.)

Here’s what I’m at today:

My main problems are:

Anxiety/”the other shoe will drop” syndrome, blogged¬†about here, fatigue (may be med side effect),¬†raising two children, marriage (It’s NOT easy and anyone who tells you it’s easy is full of shit), compulsive overeating challenges, and last but not least, not being happy with my book draft, i.e. the writing quality. It’s sucking, but it’s not over until Oct. 1 when I submit the final draft!

My main problems used to be:

Feeling passively suicidal most of the time, feeling acutely suicidal some times,¬†hating life, feeling hopeless,¬†being bedridden,¬†admitting myself to¬†shitty psych hospitals ¬†(7 visits total; I’m still paying for those bills!)¬†

I’ve come a long way, haven’t I?

But life remains hard and scary. It’s not a my My Little Pony world, let me tell you! My girls love this show so I hear those screeching ponies “sing”¬†a lot.

My Little Pony could easily be redone as a horror movie complete with vampires, goblins and zombies! I bet someone will do it Рyou read it here first!

My psychiatrist thinks I’m doing well – he even used the “S” word (stable) to¬†describe me during our last few visits. For many years¬†I never thought¬†anyone¬†would call me stable¬†again, so it’s nice to hear him say it.

I have good stuff going on, like these two girls who have seen the best and very worst of me, and they still love me:

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And this adorable Scottish Collie beast. She’s a two-in-one antidepressant/mood¬†stabilizer and she doesn’t make me fat or tired!

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Miss Lucy

Now I’m going to go watch the rest of¬†The Life of the Not So Secret Manic Depressive with Stephen Fry. I was finally able to watch it online for free by using Hola! It’s very good so far. Rachel’s story in particular (and noting¬†¬†how she interacts with her mom/caregiver) has been a wake-up call.¬†

When all is said and done, blogging remains a joy, even when I write about the not-so-glossy aspects of life. And I’m going to be doing more of that!¬†

This afternoon I’m sending you my love, and my hope you have a good night!

Xo

Dyane

 

Dyane‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder¬†will be published by¬†Post Hill Press¬†in Fall, 2017.

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A Pie Dough Sculpture’s Worth A Thousand Words

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Avonlea’s Thanksgiving Pie Dough “Pig Face” made in a fit of pique

 

Thanksgiving is a weird time in my head.

I feel the loss of my Dad most deeply on Thanksgiving. He died in 2009, but I think of him often and I miss him. An avid cook, my father loved making all sorts of Thanksgiving dishes. Each year he tried a different exotic stuffing recipe in one of his favorite cookbooks The Silver Palate.

Thanksgiving stopped truly feeling like Thanksgiving when he left us.

There are other holes in this Thanksgiving such as an estrangement with someone I love. Apart from that awful rift, a few weeks ago I decided to no longer spend time with some extended family members who are toxic to my mental health. For the past eight years I was passive about how they acted due to my severe bipolar depression and often feeling suicidal.

Now that I’m doing better, I refuse to be around anyone for more than five minutes who will affect my hard-won stability.

The estrangement feels bad – there’s no way around that at this time. Hopefully that¬†will change someday. But my decision to stop¬†being around those who are detrimental to my mental health¬†feels empowering. My husband fully supports my decision because my mental health is of tantamount importance to him. (I know “tantamount” sounds pretentious, but it truly does describe how important my mental health is to Craig!)

There are wonderful people to focus upon such as my immediate family, Miss Lucy (she’s more human than most humans) and my Mom. My mother joined us for Thanksgiving and in her honor I gave Lucy a bath so that Mom could enjoy the beast when she smelled oh-so-fresh. I used an awesome lavender mint dog shampoo by Cloud Star, a company that donates some of their¬†proceeds to great animal welfare organizations.

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“I’m cleaner than you are!”

Lucy Harwood, age 1 & 1/2

We had fun watching some of the 2014 National Dog Show (I don’t get the right channel for the 2015 show.) and I swear Lucy looked just as sleek and glamorous as those fancy hounds! I don’t usually watch dog shows so it was interesting to see all the incredible variety of breeds as well as witness the love and trust between the dog and handler. ¬†I know I could write an entire blog post about the dark side of dog shows, but today it’s about the love. There has been enough dark lately.¬†

So that’s all the news that’s fit to blog.

I know yesterday was tough for many of you – it’s especially hard for those of us with bipolar disorder. I hope you got through the day relatively unscathed.

I’ll see you next week and in the meantime, I send you my love as always!

Dyane

Lucy snoozing on her beloved bean bag

beanbag

 

Dyane‚Äôs memoir¬†Birth of a New Brain ‚Äď Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder¬†with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of¬†Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women‚Äôs Stories of Trauma and Growth)¬†will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Happy Birthday to Us!

Today, March 18th, my beautiful puppy Lucy turns one while I turn forty-five. I love the fact that we share a birthday!  

Being forty-five seems¬†rather bizarre, because in a lot of ways I still feel like I’m fourteen. ¬†

As my favorite American author Madeleine L’Engle said,

“‚ÄúThe great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.‚ÄĚ

In case you missed it, here I am with¬†Madeleine L’Engle at¬†a writer’s conference at a Santa Barbara monastery. ¬†This photo was taken when I was the tender age of 27, a decade before my postpartum bipolar one diagnosis.

Dy and L'Engle 2

 

So here I am having another birthday. ¬†Just as I felt at age fourteen and all the other ages, I’m hoping that something unexpected and magical happens today. ¬†But I just realized that something magical and unexpected¬†did¬†happen exactly one year ago that would affect my forty-fifth birthday and hopefully many more.

This special event occurred last year when Lucy was born on my forty-fourth birthday!  

Pisces girls unite!

looooovFurry SiblingsLucy’s brothersMom Layla & Dad

Lucy’s Mom and Dad¬†

 

My birthday will never feel complete since my Dad isn’t alive to wish me a happy day in his resonant voice, and play me the birthday song on his violin. ¬†Since that can’t happen, I’ll sing¬†a song by a couple of guys named Paul McCartney and John Lennon to Lucy today:

“I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine” ¬†

“Getting Better”, The Beatles

For those of you who’ve been kind enough to read this blog, you know that my¬†past year has had its share of shit. ¬†I suffered two “mini-relapses” due to sleep deprivation. ¬†Some other challenging situations cropped up that I didn’t exactly handle with aplomb. ¬†But I’m determined to make this next year better, and the year after that one even better. ¬†

I’m making up for many chunks of lost time. ¬†Time that stolen by my¬†evil bipolar depression. ¬†

I’m working hard to (I hate this phrase, but I’ll use it anyway) practice self-care.¬†What’s my version of self-care? Part of my laundry list includes exercising the Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan way*, getting enough sleep, family time, taking meds religiously, and laughing at Alpura Dancing Cows. and anything else funny. (I loved watching Russell Brand’s Messiah Complex¬†over the weekend!) ¬†My new support group for women with mood disorders rocks. ¬†And how could I forget mentioning Lucy?

Lucy. ¬†She’s the hound of a lifetime. I’m so used to referring to her as a puppy, but she’s a dog now. ¬†My children and I adore her, and the feeling seems mutual, but she worships alpha male Craig, so he can’t resist her charms either. ¬†I thank God for this beast every day. ¬†It’s not easy to take good, responsible care of a dog – my last two dogs Tara and Shera were with me for fifteen years to the end, when they both died in my arms… but she’s worth it. ¬†I held Lucy when she was eight-weeks-old in a way similar to how I held my newborns. I gently cuddled her with reverence and a deep, pure love. ¬†

While it might be nice to win the California SuperLotto Plus, land a book contract with a great publisher, or win a session with the kooky Long Island Medium, I have my family: Craig, my girls and my angel with paws, Miss Lucy.  

I wish you all an unexpected birthday gift that you’ll treasure the rest of your life; something awesome such as my furry girl. ¬†

Have a great day, friends!

Dyane

 

 

 

 

* http://kuwaitmood.com/exercise-mood-part-iii-from-science-to-action/