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! ūüėČ

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! ūüėČ 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

66db9-incjb2bhigh2bres2bfull2b1913x2850

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Image

I got the happy news today that I’ve been nominated for a “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”! ¬†

I want to thank Labeled Disabled for totally making my day in nominating me!!!

Here’s the link to her amazing blog:

http://breakdownchick.wordpress.com

 

The rules in accepting this award is as follows:

  • Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional:¬†Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you. ¬†(You better believe I will!)

Seven (-ish) Facts About Dyane

1) I’ve written six original songs, sing and play a little guitar. (A clip of me singing my song “The End of the Day” is here:¬†https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/the-end-of-the-day-click-link-to-open-up-my-song)

2) I was filmed live for a New Zealand T.V. news program when I visited the North Island. (I was at  a music industry party.)

3) I studied for my pilot’s license when I was 23 and flew a Piper Cub airplane above Santa Cruz County.

4) I’ve sat on two toilet which were each used by two famous people I greatly admire! ūüôā

5) I was an American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.) certified personal trainer.

6) I’ve met my all-time favorite author Madeleine L’Engle at her writing workshop – she said she liked my sonnet about dolphins!

7) I landed a publishing deal for a book in 2013, but I cancelled it due to bipolar relapse. ¬†(I’m gonna get another one!;)

 

AND THE NOMINEES ARE... (Sorry if I left anyone out – I’m doing this in a rush! ¬†I wish I could have listed 30 blogs! ¬†The list is a tad bipolar-heavy, but hey – what can I say? ¬†It’s my field of expertise, dont’cha know! ¬†These are all truly wonderful, u nique and inspiring blogs that touch on all kinds of topics.)

1) Moorestorms Support for the Bipolar Parent

2) Kitt O’Malley

3) A Bipolars Reality

4) A Way With Words

5) Fleetiris

6) Struggles of Bipolar Woman

7) Passionate Reason (The blog of L.E. Henderson)

8) Come Unglued

9) Musings From A Ragged Soul

10) Bipolar, Unemployed and Lost

11) The bipolar mama

12) Motherhood Unadorned

13) Inside A Bipolar Mind

14) The REVELATION of Being BIPOLAR

15) Thinking about life

Validated!

 

images-1

If we don’t ask for what we need, we usually won’t get it. ¬†Yes, that’s an simple truism, but when we start incorporating it into our lives and ask for what we need, awfully nice things can happen, both big and small.

It hasn’t been easy for me to ask for what I’ve needed, for I’ve often felt unworthy and I’ve feared rejection.

images-2

Yesterday I blogged that¬†I emailed an Associated Press journalist named Frazier Moore. ¬†I contacted him to ask if he would consider changing his writing terminology in regard to bipolar disorder. ¬† His review of the new ABC television show¬†Black Box was¬†titled “Bipolar Doctor” and there were other phrases in the piece¬†such as “bipolar people”, etc. ¬†I explained in detail why I prefer to say ¬†“I have bipolar.” instead of “I am bipolar”.

My post about this topic can be found here:

http://www.ibpf.org/blog/i-am-bipolar-i-am-blessed-it-and-get-it-over-itis

After emailing the journalist, I got on with my day. ¬†I let the whole matter go – I didn’t even expect a reply. ¬†By simply writing my email, I experienced a nice¬†catharsis. ¬†As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, ¬†I received a courteous response from Frazier. ¬†He agreed with me! ¬†Frazier wrote that in his future articles he’d take my point and “aim to be more sensitive in writing about this subject in the future…”

Super-cool!

Every success inspires me, and my small victory with Frazier fired me up to ask people more often about matters important to my heart.

imgres

 

 

 

 

This past month I asked  to have postpartum bipolar disorder (PPBD) be officially recognized by the most influential non-profit addressing pregnancy/postpartum issues facing mothers: Postpartum Progress.

header-358x200

The Postpartum Progress website states:

“We offer in-depth information, community and hope for pregnant and new moms with¬†postpartum depression¬†and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth (including postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, depression during pregnancy, post-adoption depression, postpartum PTSD, depression after miscarriage or perinatal loss and postpartum psychosis)…. We are fiercely proud to be the world‚Äôs most widely-read blog dedicated to these illnesses, with more than 1.1 million pageviews annually.”¬†

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been “pooh-poohed” when I’ve mentioned I have postpartum bipolar disorder to others, either face-to-face or through writing. ¬†Hardly anyone has heard about this postpartum mood disorder. ¬†However, I feel excluded that my mood disorder is not found in the list in the above paragraph. ¬†It’s nearly impossible for me to explain my feelings of feeling a sense of invalidation in the postpartum world to my family and friends.

What has helped me the most when it comes to my diagnosis is to bring my experience out into the open and write about it. ¬†Writing is not only validating; when I hear from another mother who has read my writing and has also experienced postpartum bipolar disorder, I feel like I’ve found a member of my tribe.

Last March Cristi Comes, a content editor for the Postpartum Progress website and founder of Motherhood Unadorned, gave me the opportunity to write for Postpartum Progress about PPBD.

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/story-postpartum-bipolar-disorder

This was the big break I had been wanting so badly!   I submitted my piece about postpartum bipolar disorder to Cristi, and she and Postpartum Progress founder Katherine Stone published it on the website.  I received great feedback and comments from other mothers with PPBD.

After my piece was published on Postpartum Progress, I stepped outside my comfort zone, and asked Katherine to please add PPBD to their list of mental illnesses afflicting mothers, and she did! ¬†That may seem like a minor triumph, but for me it was a giant step for humankind! ¬†If I didn’t force myself to ask, it wouldn’t have happened.

So I invite you to join me in moving forward¬†together to ask for something you normally wouldn’t ask for – services, favors, money, guidance – whatever we want! In the comments tell me what you want to ask for and I’ll support you in your vision. ¬†I’m currently asking for donations for my Postpartum Progress¬†Climb Out of the Darkness¬†walk that I’m doing on June 21, 2014.

I¬†loathe asking for money, but I’m doing it anyway because it truly is for a worthy cause; it’s not for me to spend on some fancy designer shoes. ¬†It’s easier for me to ask via social media, I must admit, so I’m going to challenge myself and ask three people face-to-face in the coming week if they care to donate. ¬†I’ll let you know what happens!

For more information about my June 21st walk for Climb Out of the Darkness and to donate please visit:

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/join-climb-out-of-the-darkness-2014#comment-18563

ClimboutoftheDarknesspageHead1

Draggin’, Green Cupcakes & Climb Out of the Darkness

Image

I am draggin’ today. ¬†The weather is gloomy, and while I’m not depressed (Thank you GOD, thank you GOD. Always thank you GOD for that one!) I’m feeling lethargic and anxious for no good reason except perhaps existentially-speaking. ¬†It’s just one of those days where I’ve become¬†banana slug-like.

ImageImage

(Here’s a sluggish side-note. ¬†I live in banana slug heaven: Santa Cruz County, California. U.C. Santa Cruz, the college I graduated from, boasts none other than the banana slug as its mascot. ¬†Banana slugs love to creep and crawl where I live up in the redwoods, especially on a rainy day like today. ¬†They are not dangerous, so that’s good – just slimy.)

So on this day of apathy what do I do?

I commit to participating in not one, but two special events taking place within the next two months.

May is Mental Health Month and its theme is “Mind Your Health”. ¬†(Kinda cute…) ¬†I was reminded of that early this morning when I groggily attended¬†an online meeting of the International Bipolar Foundation’s Consumer Advisory Council. ¬†Our facilitator was Ashley Jacobs, the Director of Operations for the International Bipolar Foundation. ¬†At the close of our meeting Ashley asked if any of us would be participating in Mental Health Month-related activities. ¬† There was a resounding silence; out of nowhere I felt my mouth open and I spurted out, “I could make green cupcakes with green fondant ribbons symbolizing mental health, and sell them somewhere! ¬†The proceeds would go to the International Bipolar Foundation!”

“That’s a great idea!” Ashley replied.

imgresimages-1

Some backstory is helpful here. ¬†Ashley and I have worked together for some time, and she edits my weekly blog for the International Bipolar Foundation. ¬†She diligently answers my plethora of IBPF-related questions, never judging me for their sometimes-strange content. ¬† Apart from IBPF topics, we’ve emailed one another about baking, specifically cupcakes.

Ashley knows¬†that my daughter Avonlea is going through a¬†cupcake-obsessed phase. ¬†I’ve emailed Ashley photos of our cupcake creations (mostly failures, I hate to admit) that Avi and I have toiled upon. ¬†Ashley has given me links to amazing baking websites to inspire us. ¬†Ashley is pro-cupcake.

Green frosting is a bit sketchy, as I’m not thrilled with using yucky artificial food coloring. ¬†There are natural (costlier) alternative colorings, however, and I’ll consider buying one ¬†– but they’re three times the price of regular food coloring.¬†¬†I also feel conflicted about selling sugary treats instead of healthier ones, but green vegan banana bread won’t cut it. ¬†I need to figure out where to set up my table, and I’ll contact our local paper for free advertising, and give it a go.

The other event,¬†“Climb Out of the Darkness”,¬†¬†is¬†connected with Postpartum Progress, an amazing non-profit founded by women’s maternal health advocate Katherine Stone. ¬†Stone describes this annual event, the only one of its kind, on her Postpartum Progress website:

“It‚Äôs¬†the world‚Äôs largest event raising awareness of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and OCD, postpartum psychosis and pregnancy depression and anxiety. The event was created by and benefits Postpartum Progress Inc., a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization that raises awareness and supports pregnant and new moms with maternal mental illness.

Women around the world participate in this grassroots event by going on a hike, climb or walk outside on the longest day of the year (June 21st) to shine a light on PPD and related illnesses. The event is open to anyone and everyone who supports our cause. Anyone can participate, as long as they¬†register, and registration is free.”

A few days ago¬†I commented on the Postpartum Progress Facebook page. ¬†I wrote that I’d love to be involved in the¬†Climb¬†by producing a large-scale¬†walk¬†in my town in 2015, not 2014. ¬†I added that I have experience in special event production and I’d want a full year to plan the event.

I forced myself to mention that in order for me to take part, I’d like my postpartum mood disorder (postpartum bipolar disorder/PPBD) to eventually be added to Postpartum Progress’ list of maternal mood disorders before the June, 2015 climb. ¬†(I’ve bolded the currently displayed postpartum disorders in the Climb¬†description above .)

I’ve wanted PPBD to be recognized by Postpartum Progress for a while. ¬†When the Postpartum Progress content editor Cristi Comes (Motherhood Unadorned) gave me the chance to write about my PPBD experience for the website, I jumped at it. ¬†If PPBD was acknowledged by Postpartum Progress, I could truly put my heart and soul into my efforts. I want my mood disorder to be represented, ya know?) ¬†It’s a perfectly reasonable request, I think.

After noticing that I wished to hold off until 2015, Katherine commented¬†asking me, “Why not start out this year?” ¬†I paused for a moment. ¬†Then I reviewed the Postpartum Progress Climb¬†website more closely ¬†and I realized that I didn’t have to organize a big, ol event in less than sixty days. ¬†(By the way, I could have joined another Climb¬†group, but the closest one is too far away from me for my comfort.)

This June 21, the Climb date, it can all be very simple. ¬†I won’t have to gather up a bunch of people. ¬†There are three ways to participate, and of them is that I can walk as an¬†individual. ¬†I can¬†involve my family and friends (and hopefully my new puppy!!) if I choose. ¬†That’s the perfect way for me to¬†get crackin’. ¬†I registered a few minutes ago, and if you’d like to sponsor me, please visit this link:

http://www.crowdrise.com/dyaneharwood-COTD2014/fundraiser/dyaneharwood

My two daughters donated the contents of their piggy banks, and my husband donated too!

Thanks, as always, for reading, and I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Dyane

 

For more information about the Climb Out of the Darkness event and Mental Health month, please visit:

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/join-climb-out-of-the-darkness-2014

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

 

Unplug Sunday – To unplug or not to unplug? That is the question!

imgres

My psychiatrist Dr. D., the best psychiatrist I’ve ever seen, has shared with me about healthy habits he incorporates into his life. ¬†Some examples include: he meditates daily, he’s deeply committed to a faith, and he “unplugs” on Sundays. ¬†He genuinely seems like a happy, mellow guy. ¬†Dr. D. is onto something good, that’s for sure, and God knows¬†I’d like to be more easygoing and grounded like him.

When Dr. D. told me about his unplugging habit, I almost gasped. ¬†That was when I was still in love with Facebook. ¬†I recently returned to using Facebook after a long hiatus, and I was having a blast with it. When I opened a Twitter account it added fuel to my plugged-in fire. ¬†Don’t even get me started about emails – I’ve always been a bit overzealous with them long before Facebook got off the ground in 2004.

To top things off, I discovered that if I could find a good network ¬†signal, my Kindle Fire could connect to the internet when I was out and about. ¬†In using all these devices I wasn’t manic by any means, for I wasn’t up at all hours online or doing anything foolish. ¬†I was simply online too much and I used Facebook and Twitter to procrastinate on exciting tasks I should have been doing, like researching my Medicare drug plan and starting traffic school. ūüôā

Then I started my blog “Birth of a New Brain”. ¬†Filling my hours with blogging and reading others’ blogs made the time while my girls were at school¬†made the hours fly by.

But as I got more and more active with Facebook, and Twitter,¬†I developed the¬†“I might miss something really important if I’m not online every few minutes” syndrome. ¬†A couple Facebook friends I admired seemed to have the same affliction as me. ¬†They both mentioned to me that they were going to leave Facebook for while. ¬†I realized that I was felt tempted to take an Facebook¬†vacation¬†of my own.

Early this morning, I realized that my joyful use of Facebook and Twitter and my love for blogging are¬†becoming besmirched. (Besmirched is such a great word:”to soil, to detract from the honor or luster of”.) ¬†In any case, I’ve become too obsessive in using Facebook, Twitter and blogging. ¬†Both of my daughters tease me about being on the computer too much; they are absolutely right, and their observation makes me feel lower than a anaconda’s belly.

This morning I also panicked because the coming day had a complete lack of structured plans, and that unnerved me. ¬†My¬†Facebook/blog routine is firmly set in place each morning. ¬†I wake up earlier than the rest of my family, take my meds, eat pomegranate Greek yogurt, and make my blessed coffee. ¬†I prepare the girls’ lunches¬†and pack snacks. ¬†Then I sit in in front of my Sunbox for half an hour to Facebook/Tweet/email to my heart’s content. ¬†The thought of giving this routine up for even one day a week freaks me out. ¬†But maybe, just maybe, I’ll appreciate my social media all the more if I take a 24-hour-long¬†hiatus each week. ¬†I need to reassure myself that if something really important happens online, I’ll find out about it eventually and the sky won’t come falling down.

imgres-1

In what could have only been divine timing and a good omen, this afternoon I came across a blog post by the writer Cristi Comes of the acclaimed blog “Motherhood Unadorned”. ¬†Her article is titled “When Blogging and Social Media Overwhelms”, and it was exactly type of subject I wanted to read about. ¬†I’m superstitious and a believer in signs and in my opinion, this was a bold sign from the universe that I needed to read her¬†post immediately.

Cristi’s¬†post was a fascinating, personal read. ¬†Her social media experience was relevant to so many, and her post¬†gave me hope for dealing with my online addictions¬†in a healthier way. ¬†I couldn’t figure out how to “reblog” her post, so I’m pasting the link for you below. ¬†(Cristi’s blog is worth checking out for many other reasons as well; she’s also an editor at Postpartum Progress and an amazing mental health advocate!)

http://www.motherhoodunadorned.com/2012/08/15/bloggingandsocialmedia/

I’ll definitely report back about my quest to unplug on Sundays (or maybe another day of the week!) and I promise I won’t lie if there are slip-ups. ¬†There’s a reason I call my Kindle my third child…it’s going to be tough to cut off my virtual stimulation, but I have a strong feeling unplugging will be worth it so I can focus on something else besides a screen.

images