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End of the Day

End of the DayFor the past twenty years I've been a closet songwriter. During my first year attending the University of California at Santa Cruz, I was a regular at open mike night and I belonged to my school’s Concert Choir.  Our final concert was an exotic piece sung in the Esperanto language with an Indonesian gamelan orchestra.  I loved all kinds of music, and I still do!

I wrote my song "The End of the Day" when I was in solitary confinement for four hours in the hospital's mental health unit. That unforgettable reprimand took place during my first hospitalization for bipolar one disorder. Why was I put in solitary? It’s a long story, so I’ll be writing about that in a separate post soon!

It was October, 2007, just a couple months after my second daughter was born. I was diagnosed with bipolar one disorder during my stay at the unit.

In solitary confinement I practiced my song at the top of my lungs. To my surprise, the unpadded room actually had excellent acoustics. I remember one of my fellow patients could hear me through the wall and he yelled "Great job!" Another patient shouted something not quite as complementary, but I didn't care - I was manic, so I was immune to his criticism.  

I sang most of the Beatles catalogue, as well as every Crowded House song I knew. I couldn't believe that I remembered all the words, as I usually didn't have a good memory. I honestly believe that my mania activated a part of my brain that recollected lyrics.

In the accompanying clip, ( I introduce my song and then sing part of it. I apologize because I'm off-key for half of it, and I'm nervous. Please forgive me! I recorded this version "The End of the Day" when I was doing my “grand failure” of an experiment of tapering off bipolar medication. It is now difficult for me to watch this clip today and revisit that time. When I sang the song back then, it seemed like I had a shot at living med-free. I was acting and feeling fairly stable, and I had hope that I could treat my bipolar disorder only with holistic means. Some people can do that, but I cannot.

I had no idea that going off my meds would backfire for me in the worst possible way. I wound up relapsing so severely last spring that not only was I hospitalized three times during the subsequent summer, I asked for bilateral electroshock. (ECT) ECT helped me, but I face a long, long road back to recovery that took me almost half a year. I'll be writing more for the International Bipolar Foundation about why I chose to taper off bipolar medication, and what influenced me to make the decision, as well as what helped me get better one I started taking medication again.

For now, I'm going to keep popping my pink & white pills, be with my family and friends, exercise, be grateful and write. I'm going to work on cutting down on sugar, which is unfortunately still my nemesis. At the end of the day, that's all I can do!

The End of the Day

by Dyane Harwood

I have an illness in my head, I have an illness in my head

And it seems...I go to extremes

And everyone wants me to do it, everyone wants me to do what they say

Although I have my own way....

I don't know, but I do care

At the end of the day

You can call me crazy and I'll agree

At the end of the day

I know I'll be okay

I have two little girls, I have two little girls

I miss them more than words can ever say

It has been five long days, it has been five long days

since I was with them all day...and night, yeah

I don't know, but I do care

At the end of the day

You can call me crazy and I'll agree

At the end of the day

I know I'll be okay

You know I do see how this frustrates you

But I ask you, have you ever been in my shoes?

Have you ever had bipolar too?

'Cause I do, and now I know what to do...



Do you know if one can have too many ECT treatments? My daughter had 16 and says she can not remember very much. She would have had more, but she stopped them. It's been 2 years and she still has memory problems and is very paranoid. Do you have such problems?

Thanks and good luck with your treatments.


Dear Bonnie, I apologize for not responding to your question sooner than now. I am sure that people can have too many ECT sessions, but I have no idea what the suggested maximum amount is; I'm sorry that I don't know. I would check with a experienced psychiatrist on that point, as it's an excellent question! I am sorry about your daughter's memory loss and her paranoia. I am very lucky in that I do not have any memory loss. I did have some at first just after I finished my round, and my psychiatrist told me my memories would return in 6 months after my last treatment. I TOTALLY doubted him big-time! But it turns out that he was right in my case and I've heard from other psychiatrists that it's true, but the rule doesn't apply to 100% of ECT patients, unfortunately. I finished my ECT last year and I'm doing very well, knock on wood. I hope that your daughter's memories come back and that she's no longer paranoid. take good care, Bonnie! Dyane

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