The Post of My Heart: “The Found Girl” on The Lithium Chronicles

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Dear Friends,

It has been a hell of a week. ¬†Last Friday I was high (it was natural! No inhaling took place. ūüėČ from sharing my good news about my book deal with Post Hill Press. ¬†I’ll be honest with you – despite hoping to get a few solid hours of writing done, I¬†did diddly squat.

That same day, Nicole Lyons, the feisty founder of wildly popular The Lithium Chronicles Facebook community, kicked off her Mental Health Warrior month by publishing my post “The Found Girl” on her blog. I was honored, to say the least.

I selected “The Found Girl” because out of the 275 posts I’ve published, it’s one of my very favorites. I had problems trying to reblog it, so I’m posting¬†the link: ¬†

http://thelithiumchronicles.org/2015/04/30/mental-health-warrior-dyane-leshin-harwood/

I usually ramble for another 818 words, but today I’m giving you a break. I hope you’re all doing well, dear bloggers.¬†

love, Dyane

p.s. As some of you know, I enjoy promoting sites/resources I believe in, so I’m sharing¬†some of my favorites here. ¬†Please help me spread the word about ’em & I’ll be forever in your debt!!

Visit The Lithium Chronicles Facebook Community 

https://www.facebook.com/TheLithiumChronicles?fref=ts 

 To check out Post Hill Press visit www.posthillpress.com

Post Hill

Dr. Walker Karraa, who’s writing the foreword to¬†Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, created a wonderful site called Stigmama.¬†http://stigmama.com/ I’ve been a Regular Contributor to Stigmama for almost a year. I encourage you to visit Stigmama and consider¬†contributing your own writing to this cutting-edge site – it has over 19,000 likes on Facebook!

Dr. Karraa’s¬†new book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth has been the #1 Amazon bestseller in the Postpartum category! Please buy a copy¬†for anyone you know who has been affected by postpartum depression – it’s a truly remarkable, unique, and most important, inspiring book. ¬†To purchase a copy please go to:

 http://www.amazon.com/Transformed-Postpartum-Depression-Womens-Stories-ebook/dp/B00STTT334/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431040608&sr=1-1&keywords=Transformed+by+Postpartum

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Do YOU think bipolar disorder is a gift?

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Sooooooo, my friends, I usually just post once a week, but I can’t help posting once more.

I’ve gotten into a relatively new habit of checking out the Word Press Freshly Pressed selections.

On Thursday I spotted this post in the line-up:

https://mybeautifulmachine.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/bipolar-as-unexpected-gift/

While I was genuinely glad that the topic of bipolar disorder attracted the attention of the WordPress editorial staff, I was also disappointed.

Why?

Because, because, because, because…(and I know some of you will disagree with me on this point, but I still love you!)

I can’t stomach calling bipolar disorder a gift. ¬†My Dad had bipolar disorder, and he didn’t think it was a gift either! ¬†

I guess when it comes to mental illness, my attitude of non-gratitude runs in the family!

(And I wonder why Oprah won’t return my phone calls about being interviewed¬†on her

“Super Soul Sunday” show!!!)

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I’ve read numerous bipolar-themed memoirs and articles over the past decade. I observed in those works that a sizable portion¬†of the writers who felt their bipolar disorder to be a gift didn’t have children. ¬†I couldn’t help but notice that the author of the Freshly Pressed blog piece doesn’t have children. ¬†I feel that if asked, most children who have been adversely affected by their parent’s bipolar disorder would not consider the mental illness as a gift. ¬†

Other people who consider their bipolar disorder to be a gift are profoundly helped by their belief. ¬†Some of these “others” are my friends or acquaintances who I admire very much. ¬†Please – I don’t mean to offend you. ¬†We can agree to disagree on this matter. ¬†I won’t write about it much more; as you can see, I’m getting it out of my system today. ¬†To tell you the truth, I feel like a shit for not thinking the same way as you/them.

But back to the Freshly Pressed blog post! ¬†I skimmed the “Bipolar as Unexpected Gift” post’s comments so far,¬†and I didn’t recognize a single soul from my beloved bipolar blogging community. ¬†I was surprised about that! ¬†I wanted to see what y’all thought. ¬†I also noticed that not a single person to date has written to voice any disagreement with the premise that bipolar is a gift. ¬†That gave me pause; I’ll write more about that later.

Take a look at the Freshly Pressed post.  

What do you think?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

XO,

Dyane

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Wait!

Here’s a looong p.s.¬†

At first I felt so bummed out about the Freshly Pressed choice that I decided to write a letter to WordPress voicing my opinion.  I contacted the WordPress help forum to ask where I should send my email, and I wrote,   

To be honest, I was on the fence about even contacting WordPress, and I still am a bit hesitant. ūüôā¬†However, I feel compelled to speak up in the hopes that I will be heard.”

The longtime WordPress volunteer, with whom I had positive, friendly correspondence in the past, surprised me with her caustic reply.  

She wrote, “Understood but do be prepared to note that some think mental illness is a gift and some think it is a curse.”

Really??? ¬† I’d never thunka that before!¬†I thought.¬†

Just kidding!  

Her curt, patronizing reply made me think that maybe the WordPress folks, as much as I love WordPress, might not¬†get where I was coming from. Meanwhile the uber-paranoid part of me feared they’d shut down my WordPress “dissenter” account! ¬†I’d have to, gasp, go to the inferior Blogger!

I decided not to send it the “Happiness Engineer” after all. ¬†I felt that my complaint sounded too much like sour grapes (well, I admit maybe I was just a bit envious, okay, okay!) and it ultimately my email wouldn’t make a difference. ¬†Here are some excerpts from my email:¬†¬†

“Dear G.,

I appreciate your finding the topic of bipolar disorder a worthy Freshly Pressed selection! As a blogger with bipolar disorder, I was excited to spot the word “bipolar” in Freshly Pressed. However, the complete title “Bipolar as Unexpected Gift” made my heart sink.

Over the past few years there has been a media trend to sugarcoat bipolar disorder. ¬†This was most recently displayed in the Huffington Post article “The Six Gifts of Mental Illness” and in numerous other articles.

I follow bipolar disorder in the media very closely. ¬†I’m a longtime volunteer for the International Bipolar Foundation, a member of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders, and my WordPress blog was nominated for a WEGO Health “Best in Show Blog”. I’m a mental health advocate with a focus upon mothers who have bipolar disorder. My father had bipolar disorder as well.

Recently I did an informal study of responses to two articles about bipolar disorder being considered a gift.  I noted that roughly 50% of those replies disagreed with that concept.

While I’m genuinely glad that the Freshly Pressed blogger has found bipolar to be a gift in his life, I feel his point of view places pressure on those WordPress bloggers who have mental illness and haven’t found it to be a gift. (And I’m one of them, obviously! : ) When I see Freshly Pressed titles equating bipolar as a gift, whether it’s expected or unexpected, I feel that it minimizes my condition. ¬†Due to the total lack of any critical comments about his post so far, and the low statistics compared to other Freshly Pressed selections, I suspect that many people chose not to read his post after spotting the title.¬†

I love WordPress, and I was hesitant to contact you, but this is a topic that’s very close to my heart. ¬†I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your reading this, and I hope you’ll understand where I’m coming from. ¬† There is an incredible array of WordPress bloggers with bipolar disorder. ¬†For future Freshly Pressed choices¬†I encourage you to check out¬†Blahpolar Diaries, Kitt O’Malley, Stigmama, Bipolar1Blog, The Lithium Chronicles, and The Bipolar Mama. ¬†I’m leaving out other ones I love, but that’s a great start! ¬†Thank you once again for your time.

take care and all my best,

Dyane”