Dyane Harwood is the author of Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Bipolar Disorder and I got to interview her for Episode 75.
I love Dyane’s memoir so much. As a maternal mental health advocate, it helped me understand bipolar disorder better. But as a woman who had postpartum depression, I related to so many of the themes and issues discussed in the book.
Dyane’s bipolar disorder was “activated” after the birth of her second daughter. She is stable now, but holy mother, she had an epic adventure to get there. She worked with multiple psychiatrists, was hospitalized seven times, and her husband even had to call the police once.
Dyane’s story hits upon so many relatable and important issues, including:
- money woes because hello, mental health care is not exactly cheap;
- the difficulty of asking for help;
- mortification and humiliation from having a mental illness;
- the difficulty of finding effective medication (I hear about this one from so many moms);
- the logistical nightmare of finding childcare when mom is suffering but there are babies and toddlers and children who need mom’s attention;
- prior history of depression before an actual diagnosis;
- caffeine and sugar and the difficulty of giving up something that you enjoy even when you know its suboptimal for your mental health (I could dedicate an entire blog to this subject);
- sleep deprivation;
- weaning off medications;
- and so much more – my highlighter was so busy while I read this book!
I could write about Dyane and her beautiful book all day, but really, you should just go read it for yourself. I would like to say that Dyane does a wonderful job of weaving clinical information into the story without making it feel too much like tenth grade chemistry (oh let’s not get started on the disaster that was my tenth grade chemistry class!)
Final note: Dyane mentioned CaringBridge.com during her interview, which sounds like a great resource for letting loved ones know when there’s a medical crisis.
Where you can find Dyane:
Upcoming website: www.dyaneharwood.com
Her blog Birth of a New Brain (currently on hiatus but the 440+posts remain accessible): www.proudlybipolar.wordpress.com
And finally, her beautiful memoir, Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder is available on Amazon.
Thanks, Dyane, for all that you do!