The Stay-In-Bed Mom’s “Mommy and Me Book Club”picture books about overcoming mental illnesses, & a couple other tidbits…

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And now here’s part deux, once again reblogged from the super-awesome Stay-In-Bed-Mom!

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This week the intrepid Stay-In-Bed-Mom shares her selections for the “Mommy and Me” Book Club. The theme is related to the Mommy book Birth of a New Brain. In her post, you’ll find books about bipolar disorder, depression, childhood depression, and childhood trauma/PTSD.

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The club doesn’t solely focus on mental health; in fact, it has mainly featured fiction in previous posts. I love how Stay-In-Bed-Mom explains her unique book club. She writes,

“Here’s something I hope will make you smile. A favorite literature professor of mine once said, and I’m paraphrasing, people study literature “to one up someone at a cocktail party.” For all you stay-at-home moms and dads out there, the next time someone says, “what do you do all day?”, you can talk about all the great books you’re reading.

If you’re anything like me, reading is a big part of your identity. But lately, maybe you haven’t been able to read anything outside of laundry care instructions on your children’s clothing. Maybe you’ve been too tired, too busy, or feeling “a little blue”. I’m trying to reclaim reading, as it’s been a source of happiness in my life. Let’s ease back into reading or [fill in the blank with your favorite recreational activity].

For every “mommy book” read, I’ll suggest a “me book” for your children with a similar theme. It is my hope that this “mommy and me” book club is a fun activity for you and your children.

A wise person told me “more is caught than taught.” If your children see you reading, then they will read too. Model quiet time in your household where you read quietly or aloud. You may pick one book and read it together as a family, chapter by chapter. Or you may encourage each individual family member to pick out a book to read quietly and independently. The primary goal is for us to read to or with our children. The secondary goal? For you to have some stay in bed time!

Happy reading!”

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I highly recommend following Stay-In-Bed-Mom’s blog, her Facebook page , and Instagram @stayinbedmomblog, which only has a measly 10.3K followers – she clearly needs more of them, eh!? 😉

By the way, I turn 50, yes FIFTY, in exactly one month from today. I do have crow’s feet, the “11,” and some other “bipolar wrinkles” (yep, that’s what I call ’em!) and while they don’t show up in this selfie, believe me, they’re there, alive and kicking! Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 7.27.14 PM

In a beautiful coincidence, I share this birthdate with my beloved Scotch collie Lucy.

She’ll turn six!

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I have a feeling I’ll be moved to write something here as that day approaches…stay tuned.

And most importantly, I hope each of you reading this is doing well.

If you’re struggling like I’ve been struggling, I hope our struggles ease as the spring approaches! 🌻🌞 

I’m not a patient person by any means, but I liked this image/quote all the same: 

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Lots of XO (and patience) to you,

Dyane

Stay-in-Bed Mom

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my previous post on Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder for a book summary and “quotable quotes”.

As you’re reading Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder by Dyane Harwood in bed (or in your favorite armchair), feel free to share these picture books with your children.

For every “mommy book” read, I’ll suggest a “me book” for your children with a similar theme. It is my hope that this “Mommy and Me” book club is a fun activity for you and your children.

Picture Books About Overcoming Mental Illnesses; Bipolar Disorder

The Bipolar Bear Family1. The Bipolar Bear Family: When a Parent Has Bipolar Disorder (2006) | Angela Holloway 

A young cub struggles to make sense of his mother’s behavior and her…

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Birth of a New Brain by Dyane Harwood (Mommy and Me Book Club)

 

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well.

Yes, my blog is still on hiatus, but I had to share the awesome blogger Stay-in-Bed Mom’s thoughtful, wonderful post about “Birth of a New Brain.”

I’m honored “Birth of a New Brain” made the cut for her blog’s “Worth Staying Up Late” to Read Category – hurrah! (Stay-in-Bed Mom knows her check is in the mail….I’m just kidding; really, I am!)

I loved reading the “Quotable Quotes” she selected from my book— I totally forgot I had written most of them, LOL!.

Be sure to check out Stay-in-Bed Mom’s “Mommy and Me” Book Club to find out what book she suggests (the “me book”) for your children that has a theme connected with”Birth of a New Brain. “

This extraordinary mom is also on Instagram & Facebook.

Reading this beautifully written, educational post was the best part of my day – thanks again, Stay-in-Bed Mom! And to all of you, lots of love and take care.

Dyane 

Stay-in-Bed Mom

Thanks for joining my“Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my thoughts on the previous book, Where the Crawdads Sing. While you’re reading Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, don’t forget to share these picture books [coming soon!] with your children that relate in theme!

Title:Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Author:Dyane Harwood

Page No.:272 pages

Publisher:Post Hill Press

Price: $15.19 (Amazon)

Genres:nonfiction; mental health

Summary:

When a new mother becomes manic overnight from a rare form of bipolar disorder, she stops at nothing to find the mental stability she needs to stay alive.

After the birth of her baby triggers a manic maelstrom, Dyane Harwood struggles to survive the bewildering highs and crippling lows of her brain’s turmoil. Birth of a…

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Another beautifully written book review!

MePlease visit Brandy’s new blog Live Mentally Well. It’s another excellent blog and here’s an excerpt from her About page:

Welcome to Live Mentally Well. I’m Brandy. Like you, I struggle every day to get well and stay well, go to work, and take care of my family. I developed Dissociative Disorder as a young child. Like PTSD, Dissociative Disorder is a result of some form of trauma which for me was child abuse. Later in childhood, I developed Social Anxiety and finally Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Just when I thought I was out of the woods I was hit with a new diagnosis.  I developed Postpartum Bipolar Disorder which later became Bipolar I Disorder. So 15 years ago I desperately began seeking mental wellness. I have been in recovery now for many years. Recovery means something different for many people. For me, it means making a commitment to mental wellness, learning about my mental illnesses, close monitoring, working with the mental health professionals, and using coping skills and tools to compensate for symptoms and medication side effects. 

From my thrill-a-minute life, I want to bring you the knowledge of a former mental health nurse and the real life experience of a mental health consumer. I have been actively speaking out for years about mental health stigma by openly sharing my mental illness throughout life. I want to be a voice for all the mental health consumers out there that aren’t able to speak out.

I hope you enjoy reading Live Mentally Well. The areas I am focusing on are, Bipolar, Anxiety, Depression, Navigating Mental Health, Trauma, and Ramblings in Recovery. Ramblings  in Recovery is an update of whatever I’m thinking about or dealing with.I hope you will share your stories with me as well. I look forward to hearing them. Leave questions, comments, and prayer requests down below. Suggestions for new posts are welcome as well.

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I’m extremely grateful to receive two amazing reviews in one week from Samantha (My Bipolar Mind) and Brandy, who also had a father with bipolar disorder. Once again, thank you Brandy!!!!

https://livementallywell.com/categories/book-review-birth-of-a-new-brain

StalePressed & A Reprise of My Song “More Than Bipolar”

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I read online that bloggers who maintain their blogging habit for more than a year are likely to stay at it for the long-term. (I believe everything I read on the internet – just kidding!) Seriously, today’s post is short; it’s not necessarily sweet, but I’d rather keep up my blogging momentum and publish this “StalePressed” post than skip a week.  If you want something brilliant, go see my friend Blahpolar Diaries. (I have many other blogs I could refer you to, but hey – it’s 7AM and I’m not awake yet! I’ll share those links in future posts.)

Blogging/writing is kind of like an exercise routine. (I was an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer for several years, so I can’t help but use an exercise/writing analogy.) Once you start playing hooky here and there from your workouts/writing time, hooky becomes every other day, and then every day. Before you know it, your routine that you worked so hard to get off the ground melts away.  

Writing, at least for me, seems to work the same way as exercise – I need to keep it going – even if it’s “only” blogging once a week or working out for a few minutes instead of thirty-sixty minutes. 

On a separate (musical) note, I’m re-posting my song “More Than Bipolar” just in case any of you missed it last week.  I promise next time (and there will be a next time – I’ve written four other mushy love songs that have nothing to do with bipolar. ) Lucy will have a stunning solo.

Lastly, I’d like to share a relatively new blog.  It was created by my former writing boss at Good Times/acclaimed author Greg Archer. (His latest book Grace Revealed  deserves to be on the New York Times Bestseller list, but sadly its rightful place is taken over by a Wrong Brothers I mean Wright Brothers-themed book that’s full of cliches and lies. Please see my husband’s book Quest for Flight – John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West for a true take on aviation history.) 

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I digress. Sorry! Greg Archer’s writing is hilarious, insightful, hopeful, sometimes a little bit profane (which I love) and so much more.  Greg had the guts to upheave his life and move to the hideous  island of Maui for three months to babysit an olive grove. Sadly I couldn’t convert Greg to WordPress, so his blog “Know Place Like Home” is on Blogger. That’s okay. It’s worth the trip to this link – check it out:

http://knowplacelikehomeblog.blogspot.com

 

Be good to yourselves, eh? See you next week, my dears!

Much love,

Dyane

 

 

“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.

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.

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 😉 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. 🙂 

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 – Healing 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!) 😉

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 – January 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