Thanks For Your Support – Good News!

 

 

bp Magazine has come to its senses!

Let me begin by telling you I had given up all hope of bp Magazine seeing the postpartum bipolar light!

Ironically, after I had unsubscribed to bp‘s Twitter feed and their email newsletter and closed off my heart to them, I got an email from bp’editor.

Lo and behold, I was informed there would be an opportunity for me after all. I was invited to write about postpartum bipolar for the “On My Mind” column in bp‘s Winter 2018 issue!

I wish I could say it was my magical, powerful “I’m disappointed” email I had sent to bp’s publisher that did the trick. But I suspect other actions came into play.

What I believe had the most influence was that some of you contacted the editor. (THANK YOU Kitt O’Malley and thanks to everyone else who wrote the editor and who retweeted on my behalf including Samina of the Bipolar 1 Blog and Bipolar on Fire.) Please let me know if you helped out in the comments and I’ll give you credit in the next post!

After I sent the publisher my “I’m very disappointed” email and didn’t hear back, I wrote a lengthy email to the editor. Then I did something I was sure was going to have bp’s staff place my name on their sh*t list.

I conducted a week-long Twitter Tantrum. Every time a reputable organization such as the UCLA Semel Friends, Postpartum Support International, or DBSA tweeted my SELF postpartum bipolar article link (which they all did numerous times) I retweeted it and tagged @bpmag.

It was a helluva lot of tweets!

For the record, I do not recommend doing this if you’re upset with someone or with a group. Remember, I had given up on hearing from bp Magazine forever!

I mega-tweeted to prove a point to them.

I knew that chances were very high I’d be burning a bridge with their staff, but as you guessed, I was past the point of caring about consequences. 

When I spotted the editor’s email in my in-box yesterday, my hands turned cold and clammy and I started to freak out. I was sure the email would say something like this:

 

 

When I forced myself to read the email, it was a very pleasant surprise.

So there you have it! I guess the moral of the story is really about how awesome the blogosphere and Twittersphere can be in one’s time of need. If I didn’t have amazing virtual friends (you know who you are!) then this dramatic turn of events wouldn’t have occurred.

The magic of the “I’m Disappointed” email can only go so far…

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next Friday, perhaps even with the post I promised to share about rich people and dog poop!

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available in early September.

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Facebook, Unfriending & Havoc Created: Part 1

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I rarely reblog, but I’m reblogging this post for several reasons. First, the blogger Grief Happens (So Does Joy) is a superb writer. I’m a huge fan, and I suggest you visit her blog and get to know her and of course follow the blog. She also writes at a new blog called Live. Snap. Write. – Exploring what moves us. Take a peek.

Another reason will be obvious to those of you who read my last post “Mommy, It’s Her Loss” about my being unfriended by someone I trusted, promoted and admired. I’m still giving the issue far too much attention in my head, but it has gotten better each day – much more quickly than I expected, as a matter of fact.

Why?

Well, after I got such empathic, insightful comments from you, my blogging friends, your support truly helped me. There’s no other explanation for it. 🙂 So thank you again! (I still plan on replying to a few comments, by the way. Each one is a gem.)

I’m so glad you’ve stopped by today. As always, I’m grateful to you for reading this blog! See you at the end of this week with my Friday post, and take good care of yourselves.

Love,
Dyane

Grief Happens

On Friday, I read a post on my friend Dyane’s blog that reminded me of a life-altering experience my friend, Tara, had several years ago.

I do a lot of thinking about social media — the connections, behaviors I see, the benefits, the drawbacks. I ponder how I prefer using various platforms, both personally and professionally, and often find myself weighing the pros and cons of meshing my professional life and personal life within virtual spaces. It’s a tricky thing. I have no firm answers, but I’ve determined that so much of it is a highly individual decision that varies depending on the situation.

I find myself frequently having these conversations with  real-life friends, often after they’ve had negative experiences and need to talk through them.

I commented on Dyane’s blog and shared that I wanted to add more but was pressed for time and would do my best to…

View original post 1,671 more words

Novamblings

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Lucy chillin’

What do you get when you combine the words “November” + “ramblings”?

Novamblings of course!

(I know it’s dorky, but I just can’t help myself from dorking out!)

My November days have been filled with taking care of my two girls, playing with Lucy, eating bon bons (I wish) and working on Birth of a New Brain.

I have a super-rough draft which I call the “skeleton”. Natalie Goldberg gets the credit for that moniker. She wrote the classic book Writing Down the Bones which I read when it was published waaaay back in 1986. I was sweet sixteen that year; little did I know I’d be writing my first book a whopping 29 years later.

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I’m reviewing each of the twenty chapters from start to finish, filling them with “adipose tissue”, or rounding out this draft with the right facts, incidents and more. (Doesn’t adipose tissue sound more lyrical than fat?) Then I’ll go through the chapters again and add “guts” to make the writing juicier, and hopefully far more interesting to the reader than it is now. It will be a fine line between the guts having T.M.I. and not enough T.M.I. , but I’ll do my best! 😉

Every writer follows her own set of rules. This is how I’m approaching my draft, which is subject to change. (Mercurial me!)

In September I signed up for a writing class with the world-renowned author Laura Davis. Unfortunately I had to drop out after my brother-in-law passed away. I’m glad that Laura gave me credit towards a future class, and it was great to finally meet her in person after hearing about her for years.

Meanwhile, I’m still going strong with my Dr. Alsuwaidan-style daily workouts.

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JUST DO IT the Dr. A. Way!

Being sick with an evil cold/cough for almost two weeks threw me off. I missed all my workouts and my mood suffered – my whole family noticed that. But I got back on track to everyone’s relief, most of all my own.

What else?

The horrific events of Paris reminded me that I’m incredibly fortunate not to have been directly affected by such evil. 

Despite reading about what took place in Paris and being aware of atrocities happening every day worldwide, my preoccupation with petty dung (mainly regarding social media content) and my road rage have been getting worse.

I’ve become too negative, angry, envious and outward-focused.

Does any of that sound familiar? 

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Remember when I gave up Facebook? I’m still Facebook-free and I don’t miss it at all. However, I ain’t no social media saint who can cut the virtual cord 100%. After I quit Facebook, I started using Twitter too much!  Twitter gradually grew into a Facebook-like trigger and it became too stimulating and, at times, upsetting.

Day after day I kept muttering “I have to cut back on Twitter!” to no avail.

Finally I saw the light. Something clicked over the weekend; maybe my despair about Paris speeded things up for me to make a positive change. I reduced the amount of people/organizations I’m closely following on Twitter. I’m now only reading tweets by those individuals and groups who lift me up, and who I want to support.

One such organization is Postpartum Support International. I became a member last week, and I’m excited to tell you that PSI has created a free online support group (both English and Spanish) for those with postpartum depression! How cool is that? You can use your name or be anonymous. For more information please visit:

http://www.postpartum.net/psi-online-support-meetings/

Speaking of things that lift up one’s spirits, I wanted to share a resource that you probably already use – you’re all so hip – but just in case, here’s the info.

During my writing time I’ve been listening to a YouTube feed that claims to enhance focus in one’s brain

You might prefer AC/DC – just play whatever makes you happy and productive, right? Music is powerful. I’ve been around live music since in utereo – my father played the violin for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and my crib was located near his practice room. He praticed for hours every day. When he retired, over 100 people auditioned for his job!

I digress…but then again, I must keep this blog’s digression tradition alive.

When I must leave Lucy home alone, I put on anti-anxiety music for dogs so she’s not so freaked out. I think all of these New Age music loops help.  Do any of you use them?

And on that note (get it???) that’s all for now. Oh wait!!!!!

I forgot to mention this in my previous exercise post. I have chronic knee pain from two knee surgeries I had in 1991 and 2007. I had A.C.L. (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction and cartilage repair galore.

What helps me a ton with the pain, which worsens in colder weather, is homeopathic arnica. Arnica is cheap, it has no contraindications with other medications (and believe me, I take an MAOI, so I know that for sure) and it works! I like Boron arnica and I use their pills and the external gel. You can get each of those for less than $12 at most health food stores or online. If you have joint pain/bruises/soreness, this stuff is awesome.

Wishing you a good, safe week and I’ll let you know how Thanksgiving goes next week.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving – I’m incredibly thankful that you’re all out there, and that I’m lucky enough that you read my blog.

much love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Don’t Dream It’s Over (My Postpartum Progress Update)

 

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The decision could have gone either way and frankly I was prepared for the worst:

To be ignored…

To be shunned…

To have my deepest concerns minimized…

Some of you who read My Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Gets No Respect Part One and Part Two know that I contacted Postpartum Progress to ask if they’d include information about postpartum bipolar disorder (now termed “bipolar disorder with peripartum onset” in the DSM-5) on their ginormously popular website.

Postpartum Progress is one of the largest, most influential U.S. nonprofits that assists women living with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD’s) aside from Postpartum Support International. Both PP and PSI are amazing organizations which provide information, encouragement and networking for women living with postpartum mood disorders.

In 2014 Postpartum Progress published my article edited by Cristi Comes about postpartum bipolar disorder. After this article went live, postpartum bipolar disorder was included in a list of PMAD’s on Postpartum Progress’ fundraiser Climb Out of the Darkness page.  

However, postpartum bipolar disorder wasn’t mentioned on the most important website pages defining each PMAD. Some of these page titles include “PMAD’s We Think You Need to Know About”and “FAQ’s” – the very pages that anxious, possibly mentally ill moms scan when they’re in crisis. This information could help mothers  who might have this lesser-known disorder but not be aware of its symptoms.

I had a big problem with this omission and I couldn’t let it go – and believe me, I wanted to forget about it. The way I saw it was this: if you’re going to run a nonprofit for mothers with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, then you need to include every single PMAD in your information pages. It’s not enough to list PPBD in one paragraph and publish my article about it (which is buried among the hundreds of other articles) yet otherwise ignore its existence.

A couple days ago I decided to send a second email to Postpartum Progress as I had sent it almost a month ago but hadn’t heard back. Today I got great news in my email’s in-box from Postpartum Progress founder Katherine Stone. She apologized for not getting back to me sooner, explained they have an extremely small staff (which I knew) and wrote that if I write up something about bipolar disorder, peripartum onset, she’ll be glad to include it on the site. She also mentioned they’re redoing their “Warrior Mom” badges this fall (I explain this in my “Respect” posts) and she promises me there will be a badge for bipolar disorder, peripartum onset! 

(I like the sound of postpartum bipolar disorder better but I need to go with the DSM-5 terminology for Postpartum Progress. )

I was so happy to get Katherine’s email. I knew she was busy as their big Warrior Moms conference had just ended a few days before I sent my first email, and I wrote her that I understood that she or another staffer would need time to get back to me.

BUT…

I had to go with my gut and be a pain in the ass, hence email #2. 

Frankly, I might not have been so caught up with nagging Postpartum Progress to mention PPBD if I wasn’t constantly reminded that my perinatal mood and anxiety disorder doesn’t exist by almost everyone. It gets old real fast! I was pleased and stunned for a minute when I read BP Magazine editor Elizabeth Forbes’ article “Your Particular Slice of Bipolar” in the Summer 2015 issue – she included a “bipolar disorder, peripartum onset” definition. Oh joy!

Sure, I’m writing my book to educate people about postpartum bipolar, but we all know that almost everyone is writing a book these days, including my hound Lucy.

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As much as I’ll promote Birth of a New Brain (and at that point I’m probably going to lose my Seroquel belly from all the effort) it’s likely to get lost in the shuffle of the tribble-like profusion of books published every day. 

Those who can make the biggest impact to educate others about PPBD are established perinatal mental health nonprofits, doctors, hospitals etc. through the internet and other channels. After my book is published and promoted, I’d like to start a nonprofit for mothers with postpartum bipolar disorder.  I’ve worked for no less than three nonprofits and I know a thing or two about the good, the bad and the ugly. I’d really love to do this and we shall see!

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Moving on…(if you want a direct, concise “brevity is the soul of wit”-style post, this blog is not for you! 😉 I’ve noticed some women, including me, rarely get the assistance they deserve unless they get angry at the customer service representative or doctors or what have you. It’s bizarre.

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I’ve fired off emails that are sweet-as-pie and never get a response, but when I’ve sent emails with a subject title such as “I’m extremely disappointed”, “An unhappy fan”, or “I’m furious!” I got a speedy reply! It shouldn’t be like that, but it often is. So I’m glad I didn’t have to get angry (not “bipolar angry”, but simply angry) in this particular situation. I don’t like playing that game one bit. 

I’ve saved the end of this post for my Crowded House Don’t Dream It’s Over speech. If there’s something important to you that you want to do (but you keep putting it off) PLEASE don’t give up. Maybe you’ve attempted this difficult task a few times to no avail. I’m giving you permission this very moment to go easy on yourself about the whole matter, but give whatever it is one more chance. I want you to have your Postpartum Progress moment! Take to heart the words of the great Neil Finn:

“Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win”

 

Thanks for reading, my friends – have a great ‘n groovy weekend!

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Artwork by blogger extraordinaire Blahpolar Diaries – I actually thought this was a coffee mug at first! Can I blame the meds?

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, fingers and eyes crossed, published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2016

Singin’ My Song “More Than Bipolar”

 

“More Than Bipolar” by Dyane Leshin-Harwood

I don’t know – why should I care? 

About all the times that life was unfair

It’s so different now, I need to let it all go

Or else I’m gonna blow

So don’t call me bipolar ’cause it’s not my name

Can’t you see I’m a person –  there is no shame

And we have stigma that’s to blame…

I’m more than bipolar 

I’m more than bipolar

It hurts sometimes

And I feel all alone

What can I do?

Don’t want to pick up the phone

Time to break a sweat, cause this mood’s not over yet

And all you need to know…

Don’t call me bipolar ’cause it’s not my name

Can’t you see I’m a person, there is no shame

And we have stigma that’s to blame

I’m more than bipolar

I’m more than bipolar

 

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, fingers & toes crossed, published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2016.