Blogging in Sickness and in Health

I love this song “Hope Fell Down” from the album Difford & Tilbrook sung by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the British duo from Squeeze. The phrase “Hope fell down” describes my past few days perfectly…and I’m not alluding to politics. Just my out-of-whack digestive system.

 

Hi everyone,

I’ll post Part Two of Afterlifethoughts and Angels next week; I’m not in the most angelic of moods today and the topic deserves to be written when I’m in a better state of mind & body. I got sidetracked this week by a stomach bug that struck Tuesday night and it made me feel inhuman, devoid of hope, and a big bitch to anyone crossing my path.

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I made the big mistake of not immediately getting ahold of my glorious liquid salvation (a.k.a. Pepto Bismol) which I can safely take with my meds. I have two bottles now and those puppies are worth their weight in gold.

The bug was weird because it would come and go unlike any other variety of ick I’ve had. I thought I was doing better yesterday, enough so that I took Lucy out for her late afternoon walk. While I seemed okay physically, I wasn’t thinking clearly, because I took her at the absolutely wrong time of day in the redwoods: dusk. 

Why is that wrong?

One word: mountainlions.

(Okay, okay, that’s two words, but you know what I mean!)

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A three-week-old puma cub – awwww! Like human babies, they’re so dang cute when they’re little, but when they grow up they say “I hate you!” or they eat you!

I know what to do if I see a mountain lion: I make myself appear bigger in size, i.e. raise my arms high, yell, throw rocks, and DON’T RUN! (That awesome info. is courtesy of the local Santa Cruz Puma Project.)  I should’ve known better! At least I got so freaked out and mad at myself for my stupidity that chances are high I won’t ever make the same mistake.

When I got home, I ate dinner on auto pilot – I wasn’t hungry. Big mistake. Then I was sick again, and I felt less than human into the wee hours of the morning.

Today I have the huge luxury of being able to stay home and take it easy. My husband dropped off the kids at school and he can pick them up too. This kind of help is something single parents often don’t have. I don’t forget how fortunate I am to have a partner to turn to for support when I’m sick.

Black Mirror’s Season Three, Episode One, Nosedive

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Being bedridden has been the perfect opportunity to binge watch a riveting, disturbing series called Black MirrorMake that Disturbing with a capital D, but it’s fascinating all the same. The British series has been compared to the Twilight Zone, but I think it’s a totally separate animal.

I’m up to Season Three’s first episode called Nosedive and it’s one of my favorites; I’d suggest watching this one first instead of Season One’s first episode about the Prime Minister. Trust me. (Each episode is a contained story so you don’t need to watch them in order.)

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Lastly, I want to share with you about my friends Jean Lee (Jean Lee’s World, author of Middler’s Pride on Wattpad) and Ann Preston Roselle’s (Bipolar & Me) inspiring, extraordinary blog posts.

Jean, one of the best writers I know, reveals facing “The Monster” who sexually abused her in “These Worlds Are Knives and Bridges.” She is coming to terms with being a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member. I can’t tell you how amazed I was at this woman’s strength after I read it. Even though she wrote about dealing with a horrific kind of abuse, her post brought me up, not down, because of her bravery. She has taken a road so high it’s touching the clouds. 

Ann’s post “Maintaining a Little Hope” beautifully, poignantly expresses how  she has gone through the sheer hell of depression, but she didn’t let bipolar disorder steal her goals or her hope. She’s a tremendous role model and power-house advocate. I can’t wait to call her Dr. Ann! 😉 

I’ll see you after Thanksgiving – in the meantime, I send you lots of love and strength as the holidaze begin. Be good to yourselves!

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – 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.

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My Movember Forward Debut @ MakeItUltra!

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This is an interesting biography about Split Enz, a New Zealand rock group I’ve loved for over thirty years. Co-founder/artist Phil Judd, who created the “Mental Notes” painting on the cover, has bipolar disorder. The Enz’s late drummer Paul Hester (who eventually joined the internationally acclaimed group Crowded House) allegedly suffered from bipolar disorder as well.

Stranger than Fiction popped into my mind since it describes what my life has been like lately…I’ll fill you in on Friday.

                                        

 

Good morning my friends,

I hope you had a good Halloween!

I was honored to have my post The Found Girl kick off the blog MakeItUltra!’s Movember Forward series. Thanks to MakeItUltra! founder Eric and editor Cait for their support.

My month has gotten off to an amazing, surreal, and heartbreaking start. All I can do is keep on moving and visit the redwoods with Lucy for a daily mental/physical reboot. 

Now it’s time for Dia de la Sugar Detox in my house! 😉

Love to you all,

Dyane

p.s. Several years ago my I changed my original blog title “Proudly Bipolar” (a phrase inspired by Anthony Bourdain’s description of his intrepid crew in his book No Reservations) to “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder,” the title of my upcoming Post Hill Press memoir. 

Keepin’ It Light

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Over the past few days I’ve griped about being cooped up indoors with my beloved sick ones.  Sticking to my daily routine, I used my Sunbox bright light every morning.  As a longtime sun-worshipper, I made a beeline for our deck when the afternoon sun graced it briefly.  Despite using my Sunbox and sunbathing (with SPF and a hat) I’ve still felt overwhelmed by our house’s darkness and coldness.

I rented rooms for fifteen years, so I’m ever-grateful to own a home, but this particular abode is very dim and it’s very, brrrr, cold, even in the summer!   We use a wood stove for heat, but we stopped using it it when we ran out of wood a few weeks ago, and we won’t be purchasing more wood until the fall.  I’ve lived in this area for twenty-seven years, and one would think I’d be acclimated to the climate by now.  I’m not – I grew up in Los Angeles in a home blessed with central heating, and my inner-thermostat is firmly set in place for warmth!

Apart from the spring chill permeating my bones, my attitude has been focusing on the negative side of life lately more than I have been comfortable with.  I can’t blame anyone else for why my perspective has been this way.  So today I’m taking full responsibility for making an attitude adjustment and that’s starting now.

That means staying away as much as possible from certain topics, people and situations that don’t make me feel good.  I’m going to pay greater attention to what lifts me up in body, mind and spirit, and immerse myself in those things.

Today is Easter Sunday.  Technically I’m Jewish, but I don’t observe any religion.  I wasn’t brought up in a religious household.  While I’ve explored different religions over the years, nothing “took”.  In any case, I respect others’ religious beliefs, and I find beauty in how people celebrate their religious traditions.

All I know about Easter (apart from egg hunts, candy and the like) is that it’s a celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  Easter seems like a fitting day to create my own sort of resurrection.  I don’t mean to use “resurrection” in a blasphemous way, but as it’s defined on Dictionary.com as a a rising again, as from decay, disuse, etc.; revival.”  

To that end, I’m beginning my “negativity diet”.  (It’s calorie-free!)  I won’t bury my head under the sand about our world events or anything like that.  However, I’m going to be more circumspect with what I surround myself with such as social media, my inner-dialogues, and my environment.  Less Facebook, more time with my girls.  Less worry about what others think of me, more nature excursions.  Less obsession with the future, more present-moment focus.  

I’ll have ample opportunity to practice my new anti-negativity credo.  Our household is athrill with the anticipation of a little life joining our family .  We are adopting a friend’s puppy in the coming month!  Twenty years ago I raised two puppies by myself, so I know that a puppy is not easy to care for.  There will be frustrations a plenty.  Moreover, there will be times that I’m anything but positive when I step in an “accident” or find something cherished chewed up to bits.

So yes, there will be difficulties.  But I’m going to do my utmost to keep it all light ‘ sunshiny in between the challenges to the very best of my ability!  Our family has been through the fire over the past eight years because of my illness.  Now I’m in a position to be proactive in making life better.  I feel a sense of resurrection as I type these words, and I don’t even think it’s the extra-strong French Roast coffee that’s causing that to happen.  (Well, maybe just a little bit.)

Here’s wishing you some uplifting renewal that’s all your own, and appreciation for what you already have right in front of your eyes.

Dyane

p.s.What keeps it light for you?

Let me know what lifts you up – I’d love to read about it!

 

 

 

Hoping for a cure for bipolar – why the heck not?

imgres-3imgresimgres-2Last Thursday evening, I watched the first live episode of the “The Bipolar Panel Project”, an online series created by Jared Wilmer of “I Am Not Crazy” (www.not-crazy.org/) .

The panel featured Jennifer Killi Marshall (“Bipolar Mom Life” blogger & the creator of the “This Is My Brave” show), Natasha Tracy (“The Bipolar Burble” blogger), Andy Behrman (author of the awesome memoir Electroboy) and Bret Bernhoft (founder of the “Being Bipolar” community & a medical cannabis advocate.).  Each panelist discussed his/her background, and then Jared chose viewer-submitted questions for the panel to answer.

A question by “Kevin” was presented to the panel:

One of my big questions about bipolar disorder is because there is no true cure for the disorder, why should we go through a lifetime of perpetually trying to do the impossible…impossible being curing bipolar disorder?”

While I huffed, puffed and wondered, “huh?” (I was using my elliptical while watching the show) Natasha Tracy addressed Kevin’s question.

She replied,So we’re not trying to do the impossible; I’m not trying to cure bipolar disorder; I know that’s not possible and that’s not going to happen.  What I’m trying to do is live my best life possible, so I’m trying to get the best treatment that I can, be as successful as I can, and live a life that I personally consider to be fulfilling.  So the goal isn’t impossible – the goal is to live your best life.”  

After listening to Natasha’s quote twelve times to make sure I typed it correctly, I believe that she was advising viewers not to get discouraged with a “cure” concept, and to focus on the here and now.  However, I felt that her answer was incomplete.  She could have mentioned how there are numerous major research organizations (The Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund @ the University of Michigan, CREST BD, and the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program to name a few…) that are aggressively seeking a bona fide cure to this treacherous illness.

I know it’s unethical to lead people on with false hope about curing such a complex brain disorder.  I’ve never even thought of a cure as being a possibility until quite recently, but I must admit it’s a nice subject to ponder.  It’s particularly poignant for me to imagine a cure since I have two daughters with an approximately 25% chance of inheriting bipolar disorder.

You simply never know what to expect in life.  If you told me fifteen years ago about the existence of the internet and my precious Kindle, I would never have believed you!  Flight, the polio vaccine, and many other advances of all kinds were once thought to be impossible.

Why not a cure for bipolar disorder?  

A few days ago I was at my monthly check-in appointment with my psychiatrist.  I felt so thankful that it was a “shooting the breeze” type of session rather than the crisis meetings we used to have.  I brought up how ever since I was diagnosed with bipolar, I felt like I was “damaged goods”.  Since we were almost out of time, my doctor suggested I explore the concept further with my therapist, as I see her more often.

I thought about this theme of “damaged goods” as I drove towards home.  Let’s say a cure for bipolar comes our way.  Would a cure increase my self-esteem?  Would a cure give me back the past eight years since my postpartum bipolar disorder emerged?  Would a cure make my life easy?  Of course not.  But it would be so nice to give up my fear of relapse, cease taking meds, and stop thinking about bipolar so much of the time.  It really would be lovely.

So I’ll let myself dream a little.  There’s a saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  I hope all those bipolar researchers are dreaming their little buns off!

You can watch the first Bipolar Panel Project episode here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSEvjUrJU9c