A Shameless Plea for Your Support! (Not $!) & Much More…

 

Dy & Lucy  kiss

Throughout my life I’ve been great at promoting others who I believe in with all my heart, whether it be their books, their causes, their blogs, their music, their food…whatever! 😉

But when it comes to tooting my OWN horn, it’s another story.  However, today I’m in the mood to toot away because Wendy W. Williamson, author of the bestselling memoir I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar and co-author with Honora Rose of the acclaimed Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living with Bipolar Disorder, has nominated me for a WEGO Health Activist “Best in Show” Blog Award.  

I normally post on Friday, but I’m so excited about this news that I’m firing off this post right now!!!

A WHAT-GO?  you might ask?

A WEGO!

Here’s more to know about WEGO:  WEGO empowers health activists to help others.  WEGO Health is a different kind of social network, built from the ground up for the community leaders, bloggers and tweeters who are actively involved in health online. WEGO Health is a platform for committed health advocates to foster new relationships, gain access to helpful resources, and to grow their communities.

To endorse me takes under thirty seconds.  After you endorse me, you’re prompted to share the nice act you just did (and to ask for endorsements on my behalf) via your Facebook and Twitter accounts, etc.

To endorse me (and to nominate/check out other worthy candidates – check out the misc. categories on the Wego site!) please visit:

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

Wendy wrote an incredible nomination blurb that I might wind up having tattooed on my face…although it’s long, so my derriere would be a more fitting location –  here it is in all its glory – my head swells up every time I read it:

Dyane’s site is the best out there. I love that she tells it like it is and supports her fellow followers. A gifted writer, she clearly conveys through humor and honesty what is happening in her world and the world around us. Dyane taps in to our feelings beautifully, saving us from emotional isolation. Activist, champion, Dyane is both and more.”

You may be wondering what does a WEGO winner actually get.  Well, they each get $50,000 and a lifetime supply of chocolate!  No, just kidding.  

Here’s what WEGO has to say on the matter:

“Winners will be publically announced during our ceremonies in March, 2015 and each winner will receive special Health Activist Awards business cards signifying them as the winner of this year’s program, a donation to their Health Activist, a feature on WEGO Health’s blog and social channels, special access to WEGO Health opportunities throughout the year – including chances to speak at or attend conferences.”

(This would be awesome because I haven’t had a business card in a decade! 😉 No, really, an association with WEGO would allow me to reach more women with postpartum bipolar disorder and beyond….it would be fantastic!)

So I’m a happy camper this morning.  Once again, I’m amazed by what happens when we connect with others through the internet who inspire us. When I first read Wendy’s engrossing memoir I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar, I found myself unable to put it down and I finished it the same day. I never imagined that I’d be in touch with this author, let alone be gifted with a wonderful friendship and writing mentorship with her.  

The same thing happened to me in terms of inspiration when I contacted Jennifer Marshall of the Bipolar Mom Life blog.  She’s also a 2013 WEGO Health Activist finalist and creator of the groundbreaking “This Is My Brave” Show.  There are so many positive things I could write about Jenn & her mental health advocacy that it would take a glowing blog post to begin doing her justice, and that’s just what I did – I wrote one.  See here for my post about Jenn:

https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/the-blog-that-ignited-my-writing-spark-bipolar-mom-life-and-the-this-is-my-brave-show/-

Jennifer and “This Is My Brave” co-executive producer Anne Marie Ames are bringing the show to other cities in 2015, & you might want to participate.  

The show’s concept can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=186WMMJI-xQ

The entire “This Is My Brave” premiere show is on YouTube and it features my friends Elaina J. Martin (“Being Beautifully Bipolar” blog on Psych Central & http://www.blog.elainaj.com/) and Meagan Barnes (http://www.anxietyangel.com/) :

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uag3WVfRMZE

So I’d like to dedicate this post to four extraordinary women who have made a huge, positive difference in my life over the past year:

MY FRIEND WENDY K. WILLIAMSON, WRITER EXTRAORDINAIRE

MY FRIEND DR. WALKER KARRAA, FOUNDER OF STIGMAMA.COM, AND AUTHOR OF TRANSFORMED BY POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: WOMEN’S STORIES OF TRAUMA AND GROWTH TO BE PUBLISHED BY PRAECLARUS PRESS THIS FALL, 2014 

http://www.drwalkerkarraa.com/

MY FRIEND, THE BLOGGER KITT O’MALLEY  

http://kittomalley.com/

AND MY FRIEND JENNIFER MARSHALL, ANOTHER WRITER EXTRAORDINAIRE, FOR HELPING IGNITE MY WRITING SPARK THAT WAS LATENT FOR YEARS THANKS TO BIPOLAR DEPRESSION!  

http://bipolarmomlife.com/

and a special thanks goes to Cristi Comes, creator of the “Motherhood Unadorned” blog (http://www.motherhoodunadorned.com/)and founder of the Mental Health Blogging Network. Cristi’s encouragement, advocacy, and networking have been invaluable to me.

Last but not least, I must thank LUCY THE CANINE MUSE – I can’t leave my furry girl out because she sits on my foot while I write, and she makes me so happy!   Lucy does not have a blog or website at this time, but watch out – she never ceases to amaze me with her puppy brilliance.

LOVE TO YOU ALL,

Dyane

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The 3:18 A.M. Anxiety Woes

imagesToday’s blog post isn’t going to win any BlogHer awards because I’ve been a mess since the inhuman hour of 3:18 A.M.  I woke up early because one of the girls had a nightmare and the poor thing started screaming at the top of her lungs.  Instead of getting back to sleep as I usually do, I just sat there in the dark, ruminated on negative things and felt very anxious.

I had taken my usual dose of quetiapine (Seroquel) at bedtime.  This medication has been an enormous help to me in terms of sleeping through the night and helping keep depression at bay.  But I didn’t want to take an additional amount at 3:00 a.m. because it would make me too groggy come sunrise.  That was the time I needed to take care of my girls and drive them to school.  So today anxiety is on my mind.  

 I have a few interesting resources I’ll share here for those of us who suffer with anxiety.  Perhaps you could explore one or all of them and let me know what helps you!

It’s rare for a blog post’s title to make me laugh out loud, but blogger extraordinaire “Bipolar On Fire” managed to do just that with me last week.  While I perused my WordPress reader I spotted the title “Holy Shit Tapping Really Works!”.

I was intrigued.

I knew Bipolar On Fire would never make a claim for any modality to work unless she truly meant it.  Her passionate title made it clear that she was on to something that was, at the very least, helpful, and possibly significant in her healing.  I had to know more about this tapping business, and I read her post with bated breath.

After a job loss, she wrote,

“I have been tapping, saying “I am safe and secure.” And lo and behold, I HAVE been feeling quite safe and secure, not having the major meltdown like I would have in the past…

To say that this has been a transformative few days would be an understatement. Tapping is really helping me to change my life!  Shit that I’ve spent ten or twenty years talking about in Talk Therapy (with no change) is CHANGING!! I can’t tell you how good this feels!  It’s like a miracle! I encourage you to Google “Tapping”, or look it up on YouTube. Do it, and then let me know how it goes. It’s Tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). It’s real. Thank God, whatever or whoever that is. I am grateful.”

To watch the Nick Ortner YouTube video suggested by Bipolar On Fire visit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfZBHWSbrsg

I watched this long clip and I tried the personable, easy-on-the-eyes Nick’s brief tapping demo he gave to two thousand people.  His demo doesn’t come up until towards the end, so you may want to jump ahead to that.  I want to try it again,as I didn’t give it a fair chance and I admit I’m more curious.  I  may explore one or two of his other YouTube demos.  I also plan to check out the EFT founder Gary Craig’s free EFT tutorial at the following website:  http://www.emofree.com/

To read more of Bipolar On Fire’s tapping post please visit:

http://bipolaronfire.com/2014/05/07/holy-shit-tapping-really-works/

Meanwhile, bestselling author Wendy K. Williamson has written two great books: “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar” and co-authored the recently published “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide To Survival: Tips for Living with Bipolar Disorder”.  Wendy and I connected through the blogosphere in which she read my blog post about how I suffered with anxiety.

In case you want to check it out, that post is:  https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/anxiety-woes/

Wendy’s graciously wrote a comment on “Anxiety Woes” which gave me effective-sounding advice that I need to follow!!!!  Wendy wrote,

“Check this out. It’s the free meditation series.

https://chopracentermeditation.com/
A couple tips, otherwise I find I don’t get good results. You’ll find what works for you, but these have worked well for me…
1. I do it right when I wake up.
2. I listen/do the meditation with headphones from my phone. (try it for the 22 day program. Click on the email link and plug your headphones in to your phone.)
3. I do it pre-coffee/tea in the morning.
4. I also make sure I don’t do too much. (ie: feed the cats, make the bed, etc.) I’ve noticed, for me, it doesn’t work as well.
5. If the cats are bouncing around I’ll go back in to the bedroom. Finding a quiet place is key. The minute I hear television or the cat jumps on my lap, concentration is broken and I’m no longer in meditation mode.
6. Also, I write about what came to me during the meditation right afterwards so I don’t forget. Sometimes I’ll go back a few days later and re-read it. It’s so cool.

As for another anxiety buster, I often write in the morning (and/or meditate) and it gets out my anxieties.I find my day runs smoother when I spend 10 or 15 minutes in the beginning of the day getting out what I have woken up with in my head. It’s all fear…”

You can follow Wendy’s blog at: http://wendykwilliamson.wordpress.com/

The Two Bipolar Chicks website: http://www.twobipolarchicks.com/

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another wonderful free resource that has helped me over the past couple years. Meagan Barnes founded the Facebook page and group called “Women Conquering Anxiety”.  She is an amazing mental health advocate. Meagan knows a thing or two about anxiety and she has completely transformed her life for the better.  Just this past year Meagan graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and she coaches clients, specializing in anxiety.  You can download her free “10 Ways to Feel Better Today” brochure off her website http://anxietyangel.com.  Her Facebook page is:

https://www.facebook.com/AnxietyAngel

AnxietyAngel

Thanks for reading and please feel more than welcome to comment about anything that helps you reduce your anxiety, especially the “wee hours of the morning” type that I hate with a passion!!  

take care, Dyane

 

 

Anxiety Woes

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Over the past few weeks my anxiety has skyrocketed.  Thank God depression has been kept at bay, but still, is it unrealistic to aim to have neither condition, for the most part?  I think it is possible.

I know I’d rather be anxious than depressed any day of the week, but I don’t want either of this yucky maladies within one inch of me!  A “no brainer” that I should confess right now is that I need to cut down my coffee consumption.  I’ve already started doing that, but the heavy-duty anxiety is still prevalent.

My usual modus operandi with a challenge such as this is to turn to my counselor and to self-help books for guidance. (Medical cannabis hasn’t helped me with anxiety;  it made me too tired during daytime.  So far the Indica strain I tried only helped insomnia, not anxiety.  I know I could try different strains, but I want to work on other options first.)

When I met with my counselor last Tuesday, I asked her to lead a brief meditation to ground myself for our session.  She is a highly experienced meditator and she led an awesome five-minute-long guided meditation.  I wish I brought a tape recorder to capture her narration – it was that good.  She loves to meditate and at one point she was meditating a whopping twenty minutes twice a day.  (That was before children came into her life!)  I suggested we do a brief meditation at the start of every session since it helped reduce my anxiety.  I also suggested that I kidnap her so I have have her by my side as my very own “Linus blanket”.

My psychiatrist also meditates.  He’s the first psychiatrist I’ve seen who has shared this with me, and I’ve seen quite a few.  He’s an enormous proponent of meditation as well. Dr. D. advises taking baby steps in beginning a practice, i.e. start with one minute a day.  But even that paltry amount felt overwhelming to me.  He believes it could be my “missing link” in order to get a grip on the anxiety.  I know that I need to give meditation a proper try, but I feel incredibly resistant to it all the same.

I thought that the “right” way to meditate was to close my eyes, and I thought that if I did that, I’d want to go to sleep.  Dr. D. said that I don’t have to close my eyes – I can have them open and focus on a object.  In the morning I am super-groggy, and again, I didn’t want to have to meditate at such a tough time.  Once again, my doctor was able to give me an option: I can meditate at night and it still counts!

Last spring a book was published that caught my attention: The Tao of Bipolar: Using Meditation & Mindfulness to Find Balance & Peace by Alexander and Annellen Simpkins. I bought it and I started reading with a totally lackluster attitude, and it was no surprise that I gave up after a few chapters.  I definitely wasn’t giving the book a fair chance.  Now I’m feeling that I must read the entire book since my anxiety sucks so much.  How can I not read it when the Simpkins explain the benefits of meditation specifically in regard to bipolar disorder?  Three of its six Amazon customer reviews are written by people who don’t have bipolar, which raised my eyebrows a bit, but five of those reviews are positive. The editorial reviews are excellent.  The book description is pretty darn tootin’ convincing too:

“If you have bipolar disorder, you struggle with psychological balance, swinging between highly depressed and highly manic states. For you, finding the middle path can be a challenge, which is why the Tao understanding of energy can be so helpful. “Tao,” is a Chinese word meaning “the way” and a metaphysical concept for understanding the universe as a circular flow of energy. The Tao understanding of bipolar disorder is that symptoms are the result of a disrupted or imbalanced energy flow that can be brought back to harmony with dedication and practice.

In The Tao of Bipolar, you will reconnect with your essential, stable, balanced nature, which, according to the Tao, is the inherent state of all matter. In the book, you will learn to manage your energy with meditation and other techniques so that you can always return to their stable center…this book encourages you to use mindfulness and meditation to consciously shift your energy back to this center before a bipolar episode gets too extreme.

When it comes to bipolar disorder, managing emotions, preventing manic episodes, and dealing effectively with periods of depression is key to your mental health and well-being. This book will give you the tools you need to get your bipolar disorder under control, and get back to living life.”

Being the bibliophile that I am, I sampled another book about anxiety: Paul David’s At Last A Life – Anxiety and Panic Free.  To read his first chapter it sounds like David has discovered The Secret.  After a ten-year-long battle with anxiety, he achieved full recovery and claims his self-help book has helped countless people.  I don’t think he’s part of a cult, but it sounds too good to be true.  The book has almost seventy reviews on Amazon , and most of them have five stars; that piqued my curiosity.  So I am going to buy the book and I’ll let you know if it helps me down the line.  Here is David’s book description:

“The complete and natural cure for anxiety and panic issues.

At Last a Life is my own experience and recovery through anxiety, panic and depersonalisation. One of my main aims in writing this book was to make it as easy as possible to read and understand; to get my message across from a sufferer’s point of view and dilute all the jargon that you may have found hard to understand in the past. 

I also felt strongly that I had something else to say than had been churned out before, mainly by people who had never actually been through it. Every common symptom is explained in the book, not just the anxiety, but also the feelings of unreality, the racing thoughts, feelings of dread, lack of confidence, depression, the constant worry cycle and many more symptoms that I have come across over the years. 

The book has had huge success around the world and is often referred to patients by doctors and therapists alike.”

Finally, aside from meditation and bibliotherapy, I have one more modality I’m going to pursue.  It’s flower essence spray, so it definitely falls in the alternative health realm.  My first concern was to ensure that this stuff is compatible with the meds I’m taking.  The company Siddatech claims that it’s safe, but I’ll check with my psychiatrist.

Normally I wouldn’t turn to flower essences to handle anxiety.  In the past I’ve tried similar sounding substances (essential oils, Bach flower remedies and more) and while they helped in a subtle way, I know my current anxiety is a cat of a different color.

The only reason I am trying this specific potion and brand is because a dear friend of mine bought two of their sprays last week.  She told me the “Female Balance” spray was helping her mood, honest-to-God (she’s SUPER-discriminating!) and the “Male Virility” spray she bought her husband helped him dramatically.   I made a beeline to the Siddatech website to see if there was an anxiety spray.  The spray that seemed most fitting  for me is called “Relief”,  and its description reads:

“Relief addresses stress in a more generalized and yet fundamental way.

  • Take the edge off
  • Ease overall long-term stress
  • More balance and deeper peace
  • Elegant, Refined, Gentle and Profound

It takes the edge off, smooths out the rough patches and is always gently suggesting deeper balance.  • Perfect for people who are “frazzled” and want to try something but have no specific complaint.  • Like all of our products, Relief can be used long term with no ill effects. In fact, it works progressively and cumulatively to clear stress from every nook and cranny. Because of its general nature, Relief can truly be used for all kinds of stress. However, other remedies yield quicker results in more specific ways.”

All of this for $20.00!  I have to try it!

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I know that meditation alone, or a few popular books, or a flower essence spray, or all of those things won’t solve my problem, but I’d be happy for a mere reduction in the anxiety’s intensity.  I will definitely write about this topic again.  I’ll let you know how I fare with these three approaches and if I try anything else that is useful.

Thanks for reading!!!  Dyane 🙂

P.S. And oh my goodness, I can’t believe I almost left this awesome resource out – there’s a wonderful Facebook page and a separate forum created by my inspirational friend/women’s mental health advocate/health coach Meagan Barnes.  The page is called “Anxiety Angel – Women Conquering Anxiety” and when you join it you will receive steady support, helpful tips and great resources.  Here are the links:

https://www.facebook.com/AnxietyAngel

https://www.facebook.com/groups/146477875499212/

To check out The Tao of Bipolar: Using Meditation & Mindfulness to Find Balance & Peace on Amazon, and read the reviews, visit:

For information about Siddatech’s Flower Essence “Relief” & to watch a brief testimonial video about the “Relief” product visit:

http://www.siddatech.com/?ac=details&nm=S1600

For Paul David’s book At Last, A Life – Anxiety and Panic Free go to this link: