Don’t Let Society Define Your Worth

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Laura Droege is such an insightful writer and prolific as well – she has written several novels and has one currently in the works. I’ve been following her blog for over a year. The one & only Kitt O’Malley referred me to Laura – that gal has good taste as many of you know.

Laura lives with bipolar disorder, but she definitely doesn’t let it define her, and I find that inspiring.¬†I was very honored Laura shared my song “More Than Bipolar”with her followers. I’d encourage you to follow her because she writes with conviction, faith and humor. Moreover, her posts will expand your knowledge of literature, even if you have a literature degree like I do! ūüôā

Speaking of literature, I’m off to the Catamaran Writing Conference on Wednesday and I’m sure I’ll return with tales to tell. Writer catfights and such. (Just kidding!) I’m scared about sharing the first chapter of my memoir Birth of a New Brain¬†with seven strangers, but I also know it’s exactly what I need to do. If the feedback gets too bad I can always burst into tears, bolt from the classroom, and scream “Die, you elitist literary snobs, die!” as I run out of the building.

It’s important to note that¬†this conference offers free coffee all day long, but there’s no chocolate to complement all that java. This is a serious problem, so I need to go buy some Dagoba milk chocolate bars and a couple other ridiculously expensive brands, as without chocolate I simply cannot write. I’m sure you understand the gravity of this situation.

Until next week, please take care everyone!
Xo,
Dyane

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My 1st Fellowship Award! The Catamaran Writing Conference

 

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On Tuesday I was awarded a Fellowship to study Creative Nonfiction and Memoir with Frances Lefkowitz at the 2015 Catamaran Writing Conference. 

I still can’t believe it!

A little backstory: in 2012 I read about the new, local Catamaran Literary Reader. Each issue was filled with first-rate writers. Many of them had received the highest writing accolades possible. I never dreamed of submitting my writing to the editors, especially since my unrelenting bipolar depression got in the way.

In 2013 after a seven-year-long search, I finally found a medication combination that alleviated my paralyzing depression: lithium and an MAOI. I started this blog and returned to work on my partially written memoir Birth of a New Brain.

Fast forward to last month. I wanted to attend a writing workshop that could help me improve my first draft. Through a Google search I found the Catamaran Writing Conference. This annual event is held at a beautiful Pebble Beach campus complete with field trips. It sounded like a glorious summer camp for writers!

I looked at the cost and gulped. No way,¬†I thought. Ain’t gonna happen.¬†

However, I couldn’t get the conference out of my mind. After three cups of Steve’s Smooth French coffee (for the record, the coffee mug was small!) I wondered if¬†scholarships were¬†available¬† I emailed an inquiry¬†to the Catamaran office and got on with my day. Within hours the conference coordinator emailed¬†me,”Yes, we offer several fellowships, and here’s the link to apply.”¬†

Why the hell not? I thought.

Some of you know I’ve been through plenty of literary rejection that brought up slight ūüėČ anger and insecurity issues. See this link for the gory¬†details:¬†https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/lets-play-the-schadenfreude-game-a-writers-1st-rejection/

 

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To get fired up to write my application, I re-read the¬†description of the Nonfiction Workshop I wanted to take. The teacher, renowned¬†writer Frances Lefkowitz¬†(author of¬†To Have Not, a highly acclaimed memoir about growing up poor in San Francisco), seemed like she’d be an ideal¬†guide. Lefkowitz¬†has led numerous¬†memoir workshops. She won a grant to teach free memoir workshops at libraries – how cool is that? (I’ve worked for the Santa Cruz Libraries and Friends of the Santa Cruz Libraries; I’m a bit of a library fan.) Participating in her workshop would be a unique opportunity, bar none.

Moreover, Frances Lefkowitz has the same first name as my beloved Granny who was also a gifted teacher. I blogged about my remarkable grandmother for the first time last week. The name coincidence and timing seemed like a good omen that tickled me in the face.

Still, I knew that it was highly unlikely I’d be awarded a fellowship. Surely the staff received a gazillion entries from outstanding writers with talents far superior to mine¬†– writers who were destined¬†to win oodles of Pushcart Prizes and PEN Literary Awards.¬†

On Tuesday morning¬†I sat in front of my laptop, perplexed. The past month I’ve gone¬†through an awful¬†writing block. I’ve worked on my book here and there instead of during every precious child-free opportunity that I’ve had. (I suspect¬†that my Seroquel withdrawal has had something to do with my¬†struggle.)

My dog Lucy sat on my foot, her warm, furry flank reassuring me of her affection. I began to sob with frustration. Lucy immediately jumped up in alarm and licked my face. As soon as I dried my tears, I noticed a new email had popped up in my in-box.

It was from the Catamaran Literary Reader.

I stared at my in-box. I felt slightly¬†sick to my stomach. I wanted¬†this fellowship. Ever since I emailed¬†my application I wrote nightly affirmations stating I’d¬†receive the award. I furtively placed these slips of paper under my pillow. (This is¬†hippie-dippie¬†Santa Cruz after all, and in twenty-seven years of living here, I’ve never written positive affirmations!)

Despite my pillow plea to the Universe, I knew that the email¬†was likely to be a rejection. Before opening it¬†I braced myself.¬†I took a deep breath. I opened the email and read, ”¬†The editors have chosen you to receive a¬†Fellowship¬†Award¬†to study Creative Nonfiction and Memoir with Frances Lefkowitz during the 2015 conference.”

I let out an enormous, happy scream. Poor Lucy. She barked madly while I danced around in circles like a freak.¬†I’m so grateful for this beautiful award, and I’m honored that the Catamaran editors¬†were “impressed” with my submission!

Since then, I’ve been absorbed with reading¬†my teacher’s memoir; it’s not required, but after reading its rave reviews and spotting its $2.99 cost on Kindle, I was compelled to buy it. I’ve read the first few chapters and it’s incredible. My good friend/blogger Kitt O’Malley (http://kittomalley.com) noticed my enthusiastic tweet about this book and she also bought it. I know she’ll find it a riveting read as well.¬†

I’ve checked out Lufkowitz’s blog Paper in My Shoe¬†and some of her interviews to get a sense of her teaching style and philosophy. All of¬†these interviews contained excellent writing advice.

Here’s one piece of wisdom she shared on the¬†Fictionaut blog that many of us bloggers/writers can utilize.¬†

http://fictionaut.com/blog/2012/04/11/fictionaut-five-frances-lefkowitz/

What’s the best writer’s advice you ever got?

Frances Lefkowitz: When submitting stories to publications, always keep several pieces in circulation, so when one comes back rejected, you still have the others keeping hope alive. Also, for the same reason, send that rejected one out immediately to another journal. This advice came from the wonderful Pamela Painter, who taught me fiction at Harvard’s night school.

It’s not too late to sign up for the conference! Details are posted below.¬†

I’ll be back next week with an update on the Seroquel withdrawal blues, which was meant to be¬†today’s original topic until I got this lovely conference news. ūüôā¬†

take care, and have a wonderful weekend!

love, Dyane

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To buy To Have Not go to :http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003GDIA32/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=0434WR0JN7PNWSVJ7ACW&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=2079475242&pf_rd_i=desktop

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@YesFrances
Frances Lufkowtiz’s cool website/blog¬†Paper In My Shoe¬†

http://www.franceslefkowitz.net/blog/

 

For information about the 2015 Catamaran Conference in Pebble Beach this August, visit:

http://catamaranliteraryreader.com/conference-2015/

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Dyane’s memoir¬†Birth¬†of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder¬†with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth)¬†will be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2016.¬†

My Favorite Birthday Gift: A Book Deal with Post Hill Press!

Post Hill

Dear Friends,

This post won’t focus upon errant hamsters, dancing cows, or much darker thoughts. I have great news to share, and I hope you’ll understand why I want¬†to sing¬†it from the mountaintops!¬†

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After a nine-year-long labor, in Fall, 2016 (as long as an asteroid doesn’t fall on me), I’ll finally be giving birth to…drum roll please!

 

          Birth of a New Brain РHealing with Postpartum Bipolar Disorder                           

Last month on my 45th birthday, I woke up groggy as usual and made a beeline for the coffee machine. I trudged over to my laptop and opened up my email. ¬†While sipping my beloved Steve’s Smooth French brew,¬†I spotted a message¬†from¬†Post Hill Press and braced myself for another patronizing rejection. ¬†As I scanned¬†the lines, I couldn’t believe my eyes. ¬†They read my proposal and were interested in speaking with me! Yes, it was the same proposal that was rejected by a¬†mean¬†publisher which I whined about here:

https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/lets-play-the-schadenfreude-game-a-writers-1st-rejection/)

Over the past month¬†I received a contract, successfully negotiated a few amendments, signed and mailed the blessed document back to them. Now my goal is to produce a manuscript I’m proud of,¬†and that’ll sell¬†more than three copies. ¬†(To people I don’t know!) ūüėČ

The brilliant Dr. Walker Karraa has¬†agreed to write the foreword. She’s the¬†author of the highly acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma, Healing and Growth¬†(a #1 bestseller in the Amazon postpartum category) and founder of the wildly popular site Stigmama.¬†http://stigmama.com./

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Now, many of the bloggers I read are absolutely amazing writers. (I bet you’re one of them!) There are numerous¬†blogs containing¬†writing that’s¬†far superior to mine. So why did this deal happen if my writing isn’t National Book Critics Circle Award-worthy?¬† I’m stealing an answer¬†from the talented author Kim Hooper. Hooper recently acquired a book deal with St. Martin’s Press for her book¬†People Who Knew Me, and in her blog http://www.kimhooperwrites.com/she states,

“I still believe that getting a book deal is based less on talent than on luck and persistence. ¬†I mean yes, you have to be a good writer. ¬†But you have to keep trying, again and again and again. ¬†And again.”

Kim’s¬†right.

For years¬†I’ve searched high and low for a book depicting PPBD, and to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing¬†out there. ¬†Like every author who’s passionate about her book, I believe my topics are worthwhile, interesting, and unique. That belief keeps me going when I wonder why the hell anyone would read my book.

Life hasn’t been all wine and roses since I got my happy news. ¬†I’ve woken up many mornings at the grisly hour of 4:00 a.m. in a panic, wondering if I can pull any of this off. ¬†I’ve been heartened by¬†the encouragement of bloggers including Kitt O’Malley¬†http://kittomalley.com/¬†Blahpolar Diaries¬†https://bipolardyke.wordpress.com/ , Genevieve Desrochers/ Birth of a Bipolar Mother¬†http://www.post-partum-bipolaire.me/, Anonymous,¬†https://hidinginthespotlight.wordpress.com/, L.E. Henderson¬†http://passionatereason.com/¬†and Laura Droege¬†https://lauradroege.wordpress.com/.

All of your comments have bolstered my spirits¬†when I’ve felt like giving up! Thank you!!!¬†

I’m also extraordinarily¬†lucky to have a writing mentor in Wendy K. Williamson.¬†https://wendykwilliamson.wordpress.com/¬†and¬†

http://www.twobipolarchicks.com/

I discovered Wendy years ago through one of my first Kindle purchases. I bought her bestselling¬†memoir I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar, never imagining that we’d correspond and become friends.

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Author Greg Archer (Grace Revealed) has also served as a magnificent mentor. The day Greg surprised me with a profile in the Huffington Post in which he praised my writing nearly made me keel over.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-archer/agents-of-change-5-inspir_b_5992870.html

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My husband Craig went through the publishing process for his award-winning book Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West.  When it came to negotiating my contract, he helped me fully understand every item in the document.

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There’s a little more to my publishing journey that makes this “birthday gift” significant.

In 2013, I landed a book deal with another publisher.¬†When I got my contract it was absolutely thrilling, of course! Unfortunately, a few days later I relapsed with bipolar depression. I was hospitalized three times within six weeks. When I was released from the unit the third time, I remained terribly depressed. I continued with the bilateral electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy I had requested as an inpatient. ¬†ECT helped me out of suicidal ideation, but back then I couldn’t write a few sentences to save my life. ¬†I had to back out of my contract.

I didn’t think I’d get a second chance at remotely¬†feeling like writing a book, but maybe my Dad had a hand in this one. Finding a great psychiatrist and an effective combination of medication were¬†essential.

 

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Richard Leshin, May 22, 1927 РJanuary 6, 2009   How he loved reading!  

And Mom, you inspired me to read. Thank you for buying me wonderful books as soon as I could hold one up, and for always believing I was a writer. Xo

 

I’m¬†excited¬†to work with Post Hill Press, an independent, progressive publisher.¬†www.posthillpress.com¬†¬†The team I’m working with has experience at several “Big Six” publishers, and their list features 20 New York Times non-fiction and fiction bestsellers. Post Hill Press publishes books that I purchased long before I even wrote my proposal. (I took that as a good omen!) ¬†

Thanks for reading, thanks for inspiring me through your blogs, and thanks for your “likes” and comments, all of which have motivated me to¬†keep submitting my book proposal again and again and again.

(and again!)

 Dyane

 

Please “like” the Post Hill Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/PostHillPress

Follow Post Hill Press on Twitter:

@PostHillPress

Medications| International Bipolar Foundation & More, Oh My!

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 Lucy, stick to dog kibble!

¬†There’s something in the blogosphere air this week…

After months of my faithfully posting every Friday, no more, no less, these past few days I’ve been full of blogging & re-blogging excitement! I just can’t help myself, especially when it comes to the topic that my good friend Kitt O’Malley addressed today in her acclaimed blog. ¬†Kitt’s post contains an International Bipolar Foundation post written by our our mutual friend Susan Zarit. ¬†I also have been blogging for the International Bipolar Foundation once a month, but I haven’t tackled the slippery slope of medication yet. ¬†What has dissuaded me in part is that bloggers aren’t allowed to mention specific medications in our posts, so it’s a good thing I have my own blog! ūüôā Please read on…

I’m on a mission to let people know about a rather “obsolete”, unsung bipolar medication combination that DID work to lift my years-long, insidious, evil¬†bipolar depression. ¬† I’ll tell you one thing, my friends, it wasn’t no gift! ūüėČ

What still boggles my mind to this day is that none of the numerous psychiatrists I consulted with ever thought to mention this medication until my most recent doctor, Dr. D. ¬†Since I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar one disorder in 2007, Dr. D.¬†is the best psychiatrist I’ve ever seen, bar none, and a big reason why that is the case is because he thought out of the box, he had extensive experience, he was patient, and most importantly…he cared. ¬†

In late 2013, per Dr. D.’s suggestion, I started taking an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) medication called Parnate, which is an old-school anti-depressant medication. ¬† I’ve never had any anti-depressant throw me into hypomania or mania, but of course that was a concern. The fact I was taking a therapeutic dose of the mood stabilizer lithium was a safeguard in a way, but of course I needed to be closely monitored. ¬†

There are a few different MAOI’s and they’ve been used for decades for bipolar-medication resistant patients! ¬†So yes, again, I wonder why didn’t any psychiatrist think to tell me about MAOI’s as a possibility before Dr. D. suggested them? ¬†I’d love your take on that one! For the record my father (who also had bipolar one) took an MAOI in the early 1980’s, but it didn’t work for him as he drank alcohol while taking it, which is a BIG BIG no no.

Parnate works especially well when used with lithium;¬†I take 900 mg of lithium a night and I’m extremely lucky that my blood tests have all been normal and I can tolerate it very well..

I never like to give false hope when it comes to bipolar & meds, but this combination of an MAOI and lithium has been nothing short of miraculous in my life. It hasn’t been perfect; there are sacrifices I’ve made (some good, i.e. the nixing of alcohol!) but dammit – these sacrifices have been completely worth it. ¬†Read on for more info. – and I’ll try not to blog again until my regular Friday. Famous last words….. ūüėČ

p.s. feel free to ask me any and all questions about MAOI’s & if I don’t know the answer I’ll ask my psychiatrist when I see him on Thursday.

Kitt O'Malley

My friend Dyane Harwood of Birth of a New Brain responded to a recent IBPF blog article by Susan Zarit entitled Medications: To Have Or Not, That Is The Question! Susan Zarit of Bravely Bipolar has struggled unsuccessfully to find a medication combination that works. I can only imagine what Susan must go through mood cycling on a daily basis. Neither Dyane Harwood nor I are medical doctors. Please see a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications and to discuss medication changes. Medication of psychiatric illnesses requires the expertise of a psychiatrist. In my opinion, serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are best treated with medication by board certified psychiatrists. Supportive psychotherapists should be expert in working with our populations. We need more specialized support than, say, relationship counseling.

Dyane Harwood | Tue, 2015-03-03 09:34

Hi Susan! thanks so much for writing about this topic!

I know you wrote…

View original post 239 more words

The Most DANGEROUS Support Group In Town!!!

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After I published my blog post last Friday, I received a phone call from a beloved friend who reads my blog.  By the icy tone of her voice I prepared myself for criticism about my topic.

“I must tell you,” she said soberly, “that I’m very concerned about this support group you’re forming. ¬†I’ve spoken with Jabba the Hutt (her counselor) and he and I agree that it seems dangerous!”

At first I thought she was referring to the recent mountain lion sightings in the area roughly where our first meeting will take place.

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Nooooooooooooooooo, she was not!  

She wasn’t referring to those magnificent-yet-potentially life-threatening beasts!

Her disparaging comments concerned a cat of an entirely different color.  

She declared,¬†It’s just not safe to be around those BI-POH-LAHS!”

Yes, the very “bi-poh-lahs” who would be in attendance, including…

BI-POH-LAH ME!

¬†She added,¬†Jabba and I think that you need to have a professional with you!” ¬†

Matt Foley

(Chris Farley in his SNL role as the “professional” motivational speaker Matt Foley*)

While yes, it’s a wise idea to have a professional facilitator at some groups, I deemed it unnecessary at my informal, social group. ¬†I had sound reasons for my decision, some of which I¬†wrote about in my last post.

Now I knew¬†that my friend didn’t intend to hurt me. ¬†I realized that her opinion was based, in part, upon decades of deep-rooted stigma imbedded¬†into our society. However, her¬†opinion and tone still cut me to the core. ¬†

What also angered me was that my experience in forming and facilitating other support groups wasn’t acknowledged by my friend.¬† I created the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) ** Chapter of Santa Cruz County. ¬†The DBSA is a credible, national organization that provided me with group training materials and other resources designed for leading (safe) support groups. ¬†

I arranged for a therapist to attend our first DBSA group to give me feedback after the meeting. I was grateful for her help, especially as she donated her time.  The therapist offered useful advice, but frankly her points were ones I had realized on my own.  

As you can guess, my conversation with my friend ended badly, and I was very upset.  I turned to some friends for support (thank you Lady K. & Sista Sweet), and I worked out on my elliptical.  I calmed down.

Over the next few days I thought about what separates a good, safe support group from a bad one. ¬†I became a little paranoid. ¬†What if I was creating a¬†dangerous support group after all? Meetup can only give me so much information in¬†each¬†applicant’s profile. I had asked prospective members to fill out a detailed questionnaire before I accepted them into the group, but who’s to say they were telling me the whole truth in their answers?

My paranoia grew.  I envisioned a few members turning up at our first gathering brandishing large knives, ready to strike if they encountered anyone resembling the dumbass FOX commentator Tom Sullivan!  

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Other members might¬†be of the unwashed hippie persuasion. ¬†Their five-foot-long, crusty dreadlocks could¬†be filled with families of mice. I’m sure that their body odor would be fetid enough to make anyone sitting close by them become woozy or even pass out! ¬†

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Lest I forget, several ambiguously Pagan folks might grace us with their presence, carrying some cauldrons and magical wands. ¬†They’ll surely wear enough Stevie Nicks-style velvet to clothe a small village. ¬†Their patchouli oil perfume will be so pungent that it’ll scare away all the approaching hungry mountain lions!

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Of course it almost goes without saying that a cannabis grower will take a seat, ready to share a batch of medical marijuana brownies and a cannabis cake topped with edible flowers.  To round out the group, a Scientologist or two will probably join us so they can convert us to stop taking our medications!  

ha ha Guess who?  

My¬†imaginary support group is truly dangerous… ¬†

Not a support group of women with bipolar, anxiety and/or depression.

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“Matt Foley” Saturday Night Live skit – it’s truly funny!

*http://www.hulu.com/watch/4183

**¬†To read my DBSA Life Unlimited Profile & my friend Kitt O’Malley’s profile, please visit this page:

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_life_unlimited

Back to Reality & Exercising for Bipolar Disorder

Dearest Bloggers, 

I’m back and I’m ready to dive into your blogs one again. ¬†In the meantime, I wrote the following post last Monday while we were still in snowy Tahoe, waaaaaay back in the year 2014 ¬†– I hope you like it! ¬†Happy Belated New Year! love, Dyane

Wintry Musings

¬†Happy New Year, everyone! I‚Äôm still stuck in the old year as I write this in the ‚ÄúMunchkin House‚ÄĚ on a sunny, cold Monday morning.

¬†This is the view outside my window:DSCN0174It‚Äôs the Alpine Valley, California mountainside ‚Äď Squaw Valley is just over the ridge…I‚Äôve gazed at this view in the spring, summer and fall, and I love having seen it in all four seasons:

 

Last month while speaking with one of my favorite bloggers, my friend Kitt O‚ÄôMalley. (www.kittomalley.com) I whined about how I wished there was a live support group in my area for those with mood disorders. I was in a unusually dejected state. I had just found out that one of my closest friends ‚ÄúKaren‚ÄĚ was moving several hundred miles away from our town. While I knew we‚Äôd stay in touch, I still felt a void over her leaving.

Kitt reminded me that I do have a support group in front of my very eyes:¬†the blogosphere! I didn‚Äôt need to pressure myself to create another support group. As some of you know, I‚Äôve formed several mood disorder support groups over the years. Nothing ‚Äútook‚ÄĚ long-term as I relapsed with bipolar depression every time and the groups fizzled out. I realized Kitt was totally right in recognizing our virtual community of support, and that was more than enough for me for now. I‚Äôm incredibly grateful for her friendship and for your support.

I’ve written before about the affinity I feel with many of you, i.e. the diverse, amazing bloggers I follow regularly! I only know some of you by aliases, but ironically I feel closer to you than I do to a few of my relatives!

I‚Äôve focused on subscribing to blogs written by those living with bipolar disorder. I also read a few about anxiety, and derealization/depersonalization. According to some well-meaning friends, my selecting mostly bipolar-related blogs implies that I‚Äôm ‚Äúobsessive‚ÄĚ about bipolar and that ‚ÄúI identify too much with the illness‚ÄĚ. I disagree. I read some blogs that focus on recovery with bipolar as the primary theme, but every blog I follow helps me in one way or another. ¬†The bottom line is that I‚Äôve found my tribe, and I don‚Äôt associate an unhealthy obsession with this¬†virtual network.

Speaking of networks…

It has been almost a whopping two weeks that I‚Äôve been off Facebook, Twitter and the WordPress Reader. ¬†While my Facebook and Twitter networks are filled with great people, I find them to be different experiences compared to following your blogs. ¬†Blogs allow me glimpses into your souls. ¬†It’s a more satisfying experience to read a post compared to a status update or tweet. Moreover, many of my Facebook and Twitter contacts don‚Äôt have bipolar disorder, and they can‚Äôt understand my challenges in living with it. That might explain while I was able to easily detach from Facebook and Twitter during this trip. I was very, VERY surprised to find that I didn’t miss Facebook and Twitter for the most part, because I‚Äôve been heavily addicted to these forms of social media. Conversely, I have¬†missed my daily hour of reading blogs on my WordPress Reader! ¬†(You know that already!)¬†¬†Sure, I have books to read and I love books, but I like to have my cake and eat it too. I want books and blogs! ¬†ūüėČ

Where am I going with all this? I don‚Äôt know ‚Äď I‚Äôm just blogsick, I guess!

Meanwhile, I’ve gone on daily thirty-minute walks in the Tahoe snow; today it was 16 degrees. (!!!!) I could have stayed indoors in front of a cozy fire, but I pushed myself to get outside because the psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s asserts that those thirty minutes of vigorous exercise a day will keep bipolar depression at bay.  

I’ve re-posted Dr. Alsuwaidan‚Äôs suggestions and link for those of you who didn’t see it in my last post.

It is beautiful to walk in the snow, but I prefer my elliptical and blasting the Pandora channel during my workout.

So by the time you read this message, we’ll be headed back home to my glorious internet connection. I look forward to catching up with your lives via the blogosphere, and as we start 2015 together I hope with all my heart that this is the bet year yet for each of us!!!

Love,

Dyane

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DYANE’S EXERCISE FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER¬†RESOURCES

A powerful tool that’s helping prevent the onset of my bipolar depression is following the guidelines of my exercise hero, the psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan

For specific details about what to do and why to do it, please read Dr. Alsuwaidan‚Äôs brief blog article at ‚Äď it will take you less than five minutes:

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

I don’t want to sound like a cult member, but this brilliant psychiatrist’s advice, which he follows himself, can change your life for the better!   

I can‚Äôt help but lovingly encourage you to start doing 30 minutes a day of exercise, especially if you have bipolar disorder, per Dr. Alsuwaidan’s guidelines, i.e. vigorous, enough to make you break a sweat and not be able to carry on conversations with others.¬†Is this easy? ¬†No. ¬†

Annoyed walk

Annoyed during my walk – I had just fallen on ice…

Is it worth the trouble? YES!!!!

If your depression is so bad that the very idea of exercise makes you want to hurl, please put this info. in the back of your head for when you start feeling a little better.¬†¬† If you can try 5 “Alsuwaidan-style” minutes (again, please read Dr. Alsuwaidan‚Äôs blog post first about what to do/how to work out) and build up from five minutes to thirty minutes, I‚Äôll send you a little surprise!

I beseech you to visit this link below to listen to Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan‚Äôs International Society for Bipolar Disorders-sponsored webinar. This is what profoundly affected me in terms of why I should exercise for bipolar. ¬†It‚Äôs about eating chocolate to lose weight and gain muscle ‚Äď just kidding! ¬†I can‚Äôt stand listening to webinars, but this one is worth it! The second half is especially convincing as to why you should aim to work out for your mood ‚Äď listen for his section about exercise as a ‚Äúpanacea‚ÄĚ for bipolar disorder. ¬† It’s fascinating, and convincing as hell!

“Exercise for the Neurological Treatment of Mood Disorders” webinar

http://www.isbd.org/education/webinar-series

Lastly, if you haven’t had a chance to read my December International Bipolar Foundation blog post about my different take on exercise and my professional fitness background you can find it here:

 http://www.ibpf.org/blog/different-take-exercise-and-why-i-want-you-join-me

Blogosphere Angels: Kitt O’Malley & Glenn Archibald

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While brainstorming for today’s topic, I¬†wanted to focus on something resoundingly positive to counter disturbing events that have occurred¬†in my town¬†this past week. ¬†I’m posting today rather than¬†my usual Monday so you can check out these positive resources sooner rather than later!

But first, here’s a bit of a backstory…

On Wednesday¬†I woke up, uber-groggy as usual, and over a cup of coffee I checked out¬†my Facebook newsfeed. ¬†My neighborhood’s Facebook group reported that a fatal car accident a few minutes down the street from my house had just occurred. ¬†An hour later I received news that the high school where I taught received a threat of a mass shooting. ¬†The FBI were involved and the school shut down for the day. ¬†To add to the general sense of gloom I felt, the weather was¬†rainy, foggy and cold. ¬†While we’ve definitely needed the rain, the grim weather was not my cup of tea!

Today, Friday, I wanted to counter the negativity that I’ve felt increasing since Wednesday. ¬†I pondered about¬†what has consistently¬†uplifted my spirit. ¬†I wanted to share whatever came to mind in this blog so you could benefit too! ¬†The answer came while I brushed my teeth:¬†I wanted to write about how the¬†bloggers Kitt O’Malley of California and Glenn Archibald of Australia have helped me this past year. ¬†

When I became¬†a consistent blog reader, ¬†I noticed that a fellow named Glenn Archibald and I followed many of the same blogs. ¬†His cheery gravatar that accompanied his comments popped up on practically everything in my Reader.¬† I also spotted that Glenn almost always left a compassionate, helpful reply on those blog posts. ¬†The comments weren’t usually that lengthy, but every single one was heartfelt. ¬†

I kept thinking, “I wish I had someone like that reading my blog. ¬†I should start following Glenn’s blog; hopefully then he’ll read mine and comment away!” but I was lazy, and for some silly reason I kept putting such a simple thing off. ¬†

Thank God¬†Glenn was proactive, for¬†he noticed that we were fans of the same bloggers and he began following “Birth of a New Brain”. ¬†At last, I located his¬†“Glenn 2.0: Opinions on Life, the Universe and Mental Things” blog, and pressed “follow”. ¬†Despite the thousands of miles between us we’ve developed a lovely internet friendship. ¬†I never know what topics to expect from Glenn 2.0 – this is quite a diverse blog. His life story (like all of yours) is profoundly inspiring, (and like most of you) he lives with a mental illness. ¬†He has a unique, clear writing style all his own, and it’s easy for me to follow whatever he expounds on even if they’re about subjects I’ve never contemplated. ¬†Thank you Glenn!

Kitt O’Malley has also been a truly amazing contributor to the blogosphere. ¬†Like Glenn, she usually replies to almost any blog post she reads, and her comments have a certain depth and soulfulness to them. ¬†I’ve often thought of Kitt as doing a “blogging ministry” so to speak because she has religious training and it’s beautifully clear that she wants to help others. ¬†Kitt’s comments¬†contain the utmost respect and empathy. ¬†She¬†designs¬†her responses¬†to help and encourage the many bloggers she follows. Kitt’s¬†also honest and she won’t placate any blogger with useless platitudes. ¬†Kitt is the best kind of follower to have, in my humble opinion. ¬†

As an active mental health advocate who recently completed¬†NAMI’s extensive Peer-t0-Peer Course, Kitt has a wealth of practical information to share with those living with bipolar disorder. She also disseminates mental health information through her blog, which covers a variety of topics apart from mental health.¬†

So there you have it. ¬†Two awesome, inspiring bloggers in recovery, helping others who have bipolar disorder live better lives. ¬†Here’s how to reach them: ¬†

 http://glenn2point0.wordpress.com/

kittomalley.com

Oh, I almost forgot to write, “Happy Thanksgiving!” my friends!!! ¬†Take care next week, be extra-good to yourselves, and try to take a little time out for yourself amidst all the hubbub. ¬†

(Isn’t hubbub a great word?)

XO

Dyane

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Please endorse me for the WEGO Health Activist Award

I was nominated by the bestselling author/bipolar advocate

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

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