Tahoe Editing, Mount Everest & Adam Ant

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Don’t hate Adam Ant because he’s still beautiful…at 56!

 

Happy New Year, my friends!

I’m still in Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe for a few more days, and we’ve had a very heavy snowfall. I must admit I prefer to visit here in August when the wildflowers are blooming and I can escape the confines of The Munchkin cabin to take long hikes, bears and all!

I’m wimpy when it comes to this kind of cold – perhaps it’s my Los Angeles upbringing. But this has been the perfect setting to hunker down and work on my editor’s feedback, which I’d like to discuss in next week’s post. It’s a workout, to say the least. My deadline is the end of this month and that’s a powerful motivator, as you can imagine. While here Craig and I have traded off taking the girls out so we can focus on our work; he has been very supportive when it comes to my “Other Man.” (I used to call his book his “Other Woman”!)

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I’ve taken some breaks to sit in front of the roaring fire and watch movies, and I want to share a favorite with you: the documentary Everest. It’s an amazing film, and while I’d NEVER attempt to hike Everest even if you paid me ten million dollars, it’s fascinating to watch these intrepid souls scale the highest mountain in the world.

wp-1483632264427.jpgEverest is poignant because the filmmakers chronicle the ascent of the son of the late Tenzing Norgay; Norgay was the first Nepalese man who completed the first Everest summit with Sir Edmund Hilary. Everest is narrated by the actor Liam Neeson, whose lilting Irish accent makes me, oh, I’ll admit it…swoon just a little bit!

I also love the soundtrack, which has beautifully arranged versions of some of my favorite George Harrison songs – his famous hits and the more obscure tunes, such as This Is Love from one of my all-time favorite Harrison solo albums Cloud 9.

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I brought along a Jack Bond documentary titled Adam AntThe Blueback Hussar, but I haven’t watched most of the film yet. I’ve admired Adam Ant for years; first during his 80s musical splash, and then when he went public with having bipolar disorder. He wrote the remarkable memoir Stand and Deliver and I had high hopes for this film, but I haven’t been able to get into The Blueback Hussar the way I expected I would.

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However, I’ll definitely finish it and see how it all pans out. And I won’t miss the special features that include a duet with Boy George – oh yes, please! 😉 Have any of you seen it???

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 Lucy was more enraptured watching Adam AntThe Blueback Hussar than I was!

There’s not much else to report – I’ve been pretty quiet on your blogs while we’ve been up here (we don’t have internet available at the cabin, and I hate using my cell for comments, don’t I, Marie?) but I’ll get noisier in your comment sections as the year rolls on.

Take care, have a great day, and I send you lots of love!

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Somewhere Over the Technicolor Rainbow

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Last Friday we headed for Alpine Valley, Lake Tahoe, a five-hour-long drive from our home. Minutes after this selfie was taken in our ancient Subaru Forester’s back seat, one of my daughters unloaded a “Technicolor rainbow” all over the place. I sat next to her. Suffice it to say, my smile wouldn’t be seen again for some time.

Suffice it to say, my smile wouldn’t be seen again for some time.

I was enormously relieved when she said she felt better, but during the rest of the trek, I was on the verge of doing the same thing. It was one of the most miserable journeys of my life, and when we pulled up to The Munchkin cabin, I nearly kissed the snowy ground in relief!

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We rent The Munchkin each year and if I won the lottery, I’d convince the owner to sell it to me. Seven years ago my husband Craig found this rental on Craigslist , appropriately enough. The cost was extremely reasonable for pricey Lake Tahoe, but we had no idea how nice this place was until we pulled up to the steep front staircase. Our mouths dropped at our good fortune.

Since then, Craig befriended the owner and she has dropped the rent for us, making this stay incredibly affordable, especially because Craig makes this a working vacation.   

The Munchkin is modest compared to the nouveau-riche McMansions that dot the street, the neighborhood…and virtually all of Lake Tahoe! Unfortunately, the older, quaint cabins are becoming a thing of the past. I prefer cozy to cavernous any day.

We’ve enjoyed The Munchkin during the summer and winter, and Lucy loves being here no matter what the season.

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 Don’t let Lucy’s pensive expression fool you – this dog has a complete blast romping around in the snow. 

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This is the view from the deck where I’ve written my book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder almost every summer we’ve come here, except when my bipolar depression was so horrible I couldn’t do much of anything. 

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Right after I snapped this shot, the girls got into a vicious snowball fight – what else is snow good for?

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This giant Santa greeted me when I walked to the top of the street. This photo doesn’t do his size justice – trust me, he’s BIG!

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My older daughter loves to cook and bake on snowy days. Here she’s putting the finishing touches on lemon meringue cups. Unlike me, she isn’t a chocoholic, which is a blessing because if she made chocolate-anything, I’d eat the entire batch.

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I took these mountain shots during one of my daily late afternoon hikes. In the summer I must watch out for bears, which makes for a rather unsettling hiking experience.

I’ve even had a bear encounter in The Munchkin (to read more about that, check out the post “Bears, Shrinks, and Mindfulness”) and I take bears very seriously! But now that it’s cold and the bears are fast asleep, I can put that worry to rest, well, for the most part. Thanks to the guide Bear Aware, I know what to do in case I come across a bear.

As far as my book’s editing is concerned, I haven’t made much progress yet. Due to a glitch, I had to sit tight and wait for my publisher to fix the file filled with copyedits and assorted questions. I received the file last night and I’ll begin working on it today. We don’t have internet at the Munchkin, so it’s off to the Crest Café this morning where I’ll download the file, gulp hard, pass out (just kidding) and put my nose to the grindstone.

I can’t write this post without mentioning the loss of Carrie Fisher, her mother Debbie Reynolds, and George Michael – they have all been on my mind. I still can’t believe they’re gone, and I’m glad there have been so many insightful blog posts and articles written about their lives.

Only two weeks ago I sent a letter to Carrie Fisher’s staff about her participating in a World Bipolar Day project. I never thought in a zillion years that she wouldn’t be here to ring in the new year. My heart goes out to her daughter Billie, her brother Todd, and the rest of her family and fans.

I wish you a Happy New Year, my friends! Please take good care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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My Old-School Meds Helped A Star’s Treatment-Resistant Depression!

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It’s another rainy Thursday, but I’m in a better state of mind. The past week I haven’t thought much about being rejected by Team Voldemort.

As Kermit and Fozzie sing, it’s time to be:

Movin’ Right Along!

 

Over the past few nights, I read country music superstar Naomi Judd’s new memoir River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope. The instant bestseller was co-written by Marcia Wilkie. Although I’m not a country music fan, I wanted to read about Judd’s experience with severe mental illness. 

I found the book absorbing and well-written. Like many gifted musicians, Judd had a very tough childhood. She was traumatized by sexual abuse, a profound lack of parental love, and much more. She became the young, single mom of Wynonna and Ashley, and put herself through nursing school. She endured more physical and emotional abuse. Her story is a remarkable one.

However, Naomi Judd differs from many of us in that she had the finances to spare almost no expense in her quest to get well. She attended rehabilitation centers such as Promises Malibu, which costs $75,000-$90,000 a month for a single room with a shared bathroom or private suite!

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She was treated by an acclaimed psychiatrist who made an exception to meet with her due to her fame. However, I brushed these inequities aside. I wanted to discover how, exactly, she got better from severe, treatment-depression.

Little did I know I’d be surprised in Chapter 17. At that point, Judd had taken all kinds of meds for her anxiety and depression. She had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which, as some of you know, saved my life. ECT helped her somewhat, but just like with my case, ECT didn’t eradicate her unremitting, soul-sucking depression.

Her psychiatrist Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum, head of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggested she try the medication combination I’ve taken since 2013: lithium and the MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) Parnate. Parnate’s generic name is tranylcypromine.

She wrote, “He explained (Parnate) is an old-school second-line treatment that works best for people with major depressive disorders combined with extreme anxiety.”

I do wish the authors included how Parnate can also help treatment-resistant bipolar depression. I’m sure many of Judd’s readers have bipolar or know someone who does. 

I have mixed feelings about the book. I was thrilled that the doctor suggested Parnate and lithium   — they are the only meds out of 30+ I tried that lifted my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. But I was disappointed about some misinformation. Judd wrote, “I was given an entire list of foods that the drug could react with and possibly kill me. This includes chocolate.”

That is utter hogwash. You CAN eat chocolate while taking a MAOI, as long as you don’t gobble gallons of it! While researching my book, I discovered that some people who suffer from terrible depression won’t take a MAOI if it means giving up chocolate. This, my friends, is a case of serious WTF-itis! I’m one of the biggest chocolate lovers you’ll ever meet, but I’d give up ANY food to feel better. Even (Jean Lee, you won’t believe this), gasp, coffee!!! 

Judd wrote about how much she loved to research the heck out of any medical topic. Apparently, she didn’t research two small, old, but profoundly convincing studies. These studies indicated that lithium and Parnate worked powerfully together to alleviate treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Although the subjects had bipolar depression, it would’ve been useful to cite that study or more recent Parnate/lithium studies in her book.

Most importantly, Judd downplayed how much lithium and Parnate helped her. She wrote,

“About seven days after beginning both prescriptions, I could feel a slight change, a peek at a new dawn on the horizon. It was more like a spark of stability that was within my sight. For the first time in two and a half years, I could sense the possibility of ascending from, instead of descending deeper into, a dark and lifeless hole.”

 “Though Parnate was the the first medication that proved to have an effect on my depression, it was not without a price,”

referring to hair loss she had, although it was possible it could’ve been a side effect from lithium.

During the previous two and a half years she was incredibly depressed and suicidal. This medication cocktail was the true turning point.

Then, she added, “I was also prescribed many other medications.” 

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I was flabbergasted that she didn’t name what those other meds were, or if they even had anything to do with depression. I hope she’s asked about these meds at her book talk Q&A session. 

Despite my misgivings, I’m glad I read the book, literary warts and all. If you want to read more about my take on MAOI’s and lithium, please see the following two posts: Now and Then: Thank You MAOI’S and Lithium and Misinforming the Public About MAOI’s Isn’t Cool.

Meanwhile, back at the (Judd) Ranch…

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Naomi’s Ranch

It just so happens that Naomi Judd lives in the small town where my publisher’s main office is located: Franklin, near Nashville. Dangnabbit, it’s a small world!

 

I hope you have a good Friday, and I’ll see you next week!

Love,

Dyane

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

Sour Grapes, Rejection, and Perspective

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As I write today’s post, it’s a rainy, cold, and dreary day. The gloom depicts how I felt after I learned I wasn’t selected to be in a documentary called Be Vocal. The fifteen-minute film features people who live with bipolar disorder. It’s affiliated with singer Demi Lovato (who has bipolar), five national mental health agencies, and Sunovion.

I had been nominated by a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) staffer to be a candidate. She read my Life Unlimited profile on the DBSA website in which I wrote about my postpartum bipolar diagnosis. I was honored; nothing like that had ever happened to me. Despite my anxiety at the prospect of the required  interview, I immediately scheduled it with the production team.

My hopes were high before my phone interview with the six-person panel. I bared my soul to those strangers (I eventually dubbed them “Team Voldemort”) during a nerve-wracking forty-five minutes. After I hung up the phone, my gut told me I wouldn’t make the cut. It was a sucky feeling that I couldn’t shake, and to be honest, I wish I hadn’t been nominated in the first place. As I wrote in last week’s post, this wasn’t a mere job interview but something much more personal; people were judging my personality, my way of speaking, and my life “story” instead of my typing speed.

While this post is basically “word vom,” I’m sharing it because this experience has tested me and triggered my ever-present insecurities. (By the way, I never heard of “word vom” until I read Raeyn’s The Scarlet B post “Death to Concern Trolls.” Thanks, Raeyn, for bringing a smile to my face. I needed it!)

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2017 will be a significant year for me. My memoir Birth of a New Brain, nine years in the making, will be published in October. With that in mind, you can see why I was tempted to interview for the documentary after I read the following email sent to me by a Voldemort:

“One of the key projects for Be Vocal this year is to create a documentary that will include the stories of three individuals living with a mental health condition who are vocal in unique and powerful ways. The Emmy-nominated documentary film director working on this project is Shaul Schwarz.

The documentary will be placed on Demi Lovato’s Be Vocal website and shared widely with news outlets, online, on social media, through advocacy organizations/support groups, etc.”

You might already be familiar with Be Vocal. Recently the campaign announced ten portraits of people living with mental illness that was blasted all over social media.

Mental health awareness is such a worthwhile cause, in part, because stigma is still pervasive in our society. However, I was put off by this mental health awareness-themed photo collection for a few reasons. For example, one of the subjects with bipolar disorder has gotten a TON of media attention to date. Please believe me when I tell you she didn’t need yet another photo session. It’s time for her to move over and let someone else take a turn in the spotlight.

SPLAT!!!!!

That was an imaginary sour grape I just flung at my innocent computer screen! 

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Here’s an excerpt of my rejection email:

“Hi Dyane,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. As you know, we want to ensure that the Be Vocal documentary features a mix of individuals with different stories, experiences, backgrounds, ages, etc. For this reason, unfortunately, we need to move forward with other candidates to ensure we have this diversity. 

We think your story is incredibly inspiring and hope you will continue to share it with others… 

Sincerely,

Team Voldemort”

Yuck! How I hate rejection letters! 

I’m going to have a hard time in February when Be Vocal is heavily promoted and released. I know the film will be all over the internet due to the Demi Lovato Factor. Did you know she has 30 million fans called Lovatics? Yes.

To that end, I’m planning on dialing down my bipolar social media subscriptions so I won’t see press releases everywhere. I don’t want Twitter and Facebook to remind on an hourly basis that, for whatever reason, I wasn’t interesting enough and my story wasn’t relevant to the Voldemorts.

After my blogging friend Vic read my last post he decided to write a post called Promotion? Perhaps about what helps him through rejection. He explains how it’s all about perspective. I encourage you to take a look. As you can see, I need to improve my perspective, and I’m glad Vic shared his positive, helpful insights.

Apart from developing a healthy perspective, something that helps me to lessen rejection’s sting is getting immersed in a new project. (And I’m not talking about “making a batch of brownies and eating all the batter” project!) 

I’m currently contacting authors and other notable movers and shakers about endorsing my book with a few lines known as “blurbs.” (How I love that word.) While this endeavor is guaranteed to involve plenty of rejection, I’m better-prepared thanks to the Voldemorts and Vic’s post.

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Finally, I’d like to send out a big, ‘ol thanks to those of you who wrote such supportive, kind posts last week. Every one of your comments helped me.

I apologize for this post being whiny and, at the end of the day, superficial compared to the problems we face in living with bipolar depression and mania, etc. I hope you’re still reading! If so, I’d like to create a blogging award & cute meme just for you, but I’m not sure what to call it. Hmmm.

Do you have any ideas for an award bestowed upon faithful readers who read your blog posts no matter what topic you ramble about???

Let me know!

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Love,

Dyane

 

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

 

 

NEW T.V. SHOW!!! BIPOLAR HOUSE: Rapid Cyclers Edition

 Hosted by Adam Ant, Musical Superstar/Author of Stand & Deliver 

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1980:

Bold Adam Ant becomes an icon! 

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Adam Ant, a mental health advocate still cutting albums, looks fab at 61!

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Join Bipolar House Leaders Carrie Fisher and Tom Cruise on a one-of-a-kind adventure you’ll never forget!

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What’s it like to be a fly on the wall in a small West Hollywood home occupied by ten celebrities who have bipolar disorder?

Bipolar House’s intrepid participants have been given the challenge to plan a benefit concert. Their goal: create a special event with the spirit of the seminal Live Aid Concerts to fight mental illness stigma!

Don’t miss the Solitary Confinement episode in which celebs who break the House Rules spend eight hours in a bathroom as the Enya catalogue is played in high-fidelity stereo!!!

Watch each house guest’s reactions to being placed on a vegan diet/detox cleanse made famous by Gywneth Paltrow!!!

Enjoy Carrie Fisher’s performances of her critically acclaimed one-woman shows to the housemates. She’ll also recite chapters from her upcoming book The Princess Diarist!!!

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Throughout the series, Carrie explains what it was really like working on the Star Wars movies, providing plenty of juicy details. Viewers are in for a treat as she falls in love with a special guest during the eight weeks of shooting, and has a new lease on life!

And in a truly stunning and moving revelation, Tom Cruise comes out to the world that he has bipolar disorder and takes fifteen psychiatric medications!!!

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In the bonus Scientology episode, Tom discusses how being a Thetan and signing a billion-year-long contract with his fellow Scientologists has helped him cope with bipolar disorder.  He closes this episode with a reprise of the song that made him famous in the film Risky Business: “Old Time Rock ‘N Roll” complete with his original costume.  (Or lack thereof.)

Guest Appearances by:

Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Demi Lovato, Jim Carrey and Jean-Claude Van Damme singing whatever their mood swings tell them to sing!

The Bipolar House finale includes a spirited group singalong of hits including “We Are the World”, the Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love” and the entire Frozen soundtrack! 

Prepare yourself for evenings in front of your television where you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh, and maybe you’ll cry again!!!

But that’s okay.

We’ll still love you because you’re…

MORE THAN BIPOLAR!!!

(* Dyane’s original song – she wishes Adam Ant would cover it! Click this link to hear it.)

 While Bipolar House is a figment of my imagination, I wish this show was a reality, because if it was I’d go work on it!

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017, unless Bipolar House gets picked up by Bravo: Watch What Happens. 

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Super Secret Surprise!! Breaking News!!!

Hello my friends!

I’m so proud of my remarkable, resilient friend Jess, of Jess Melancholia, and I want to share her good news with you! Please read her post for details. (Jess, you better remember me when you hit the big time!) 😉

I’ll be back here at the end of the week – I’m cooking up a post for you, and so far all of my ideas have been too tame for my new vision! Stay tuned…

XOXOXO
Dyane

p.s. I promise you, there will be no nude memes in my next post, or any other for that matter! That comment was directed at Bipolar On Fire, a fabulous blogger. Take a peek at her “An Open Letter to Meme Posts” if you dare! 

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The Bipolar Compass

Ready. Set. Sail!

So far so good. I have to say that this is the longest I’ve been Stable in God knows how long. Years. Either it’s Depression or Mania with me. NOT THIS TIME!! I have been Stable for a solid 3 weeks. Thank God! That’s seriously the longest amount of time I haven’t felt undeniably horny or overwhelmingly distraught. I love it. I can think clearly and basically there is no sign of Mania on the horizon. I’m not bored either. Well. Work has been slow so there’s that. Other than that, no drama.

I want to just say how amazing this is. I want to treasure this while it lasts. God I don’t want to go back up again. I know I said that already but I mean it. It’s more trouble than it’s worth.

The only problem I keep facing is the constant reminders of what…

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Dy’s Fave Blogger Blahpolar’s Bipolar Linkdump.

 

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Designed by the one & only Blahpolar

 

Friends, how are you?

I’m doing much better thanks to your support! Thank you!

As far as this recent flurry of blog posts goes, I try to stick to sharing one post a week, and I avoid reblogging. However, I’m publishing posts a whopping three times this week, and two of those posts are reblogs, LOL!

During 2014 I published a daily post for several months, but that’ll never happen again, I promise you. I’m still not sure how I was able to do it! I’m dead- serious. It might have been mild hypomania due to starting 100 mg of Seroquel a night, but I’ll never really know. Snooze-O-Quel certainly no longer has that affect on me anymore- I get groggy and sluggy when I take 25 mg PRN. 😦 Boo.

So, why another reblog within a few days?

Two words: Blahpolar Linkdump

Blahpolar is my favorite blogger. She’s brilliant, funny, heartbreaking at times. She shares all kinds of resources that will help you grapple with bipolarland.

She regularly features the linkdump in which she compiles all kinds of recent bipolar-related articles she has gathered from every corner of the world. I always find at least couple links I want to explore and that has been very satisfying and illuminating.

So please, do yourself a favor and start following Blahpolar. Enjoy this latest linkdump. Try not to let that grisly image of Charlie Sheen make you lose your appetite.

I promise Friday’s post will be short – i.e. under 500 words. Anyone want to bet me $1 that I can do it???

Be well,
Dyane

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2017 unless she gets hit by a giant asteroid or eaten by Bigfoot.

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It was fair to call it depression. She felt like shit, all the time. If that was depression, she had it. It must have been contagious. She’d caught it from the world. Lev Grossman – The Magician’s Land

(Just a note about the quote – the Magicians trilogy has some interesting mental illness angles woven into it, in various minor ways. Not a reason to read the books necessarily, but a cool aspect of them.)

Okaaay… Nice quote, nice song… Now letsgosmackabitch!

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