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Recently, my daughter had to have heart surgery to close a hole in her heart that should have closed on its own shortly after she was born. She is 18 months old and is now 7 weeks post surgery, healed quickly and is now considered to be healthy and normal.  But the stress of the situation caused a relapse in the stability I was so proud of...
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Life Preserver

December 16, 2014
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) logo is a life preserver. I think the idea is that the organization brings people together who want to preserve life and prevent suicide. For those of us who have tried to help a loved one who has to navigate life with a mental illness, the idea that you, personally, are a life preserver for...
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 We've all heard it before, or something similar, "This too shall pass". "Just puts your big girl panties on". "You've been here before, you can do it again". While our loved ones mean well, in the throes of depression, these are sometimes the absolute worst things to say to someone living in what seems to be the depths of doom....
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Why I Save My Dad's Voicemails

November 12, 2014
 I've been wanting to write about this topic for a while, but I kept putting it off.  It wasn't that I didn't want to do it, but more and more I found myself easily distracted. (Thank you social media!  I'm blaming you!) ;) I realized that the most inspiring time to reminisce would fall close to Halloween, my favorite day...
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Out of the Dark

November 4, 2014
Mental Health Awareness Week occurred from October 5-11 and on October 11 I participated in one of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s ‘Out of the Darkness Walks’ in Northern California. I was planning to go alone because I had attempted to persuade friends and family to join me, but I got the same response, ‘Susanna that is too...
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This is part three of a three part series: Part One: Planning for a Family When You Have BipolarPart Two: From Pregnant to Mommy Part Three: Returning to Work The next hurdle was returning to work. I’ve been back to work for almost 6 months now, and was quite surprised with myself that the transition went very well. It turns out...
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Dyane L. Harwood

I had great aspirations to write a high-quality bipolar-themed blog post last weekend.  I envisioned typing a few paragraphs filled with a pearl of wisdom or two that I’ve learned since I started recovering from bipolar depression.It ain't gonna happen.  I've given up.  I realized that I need a levity break.  Summer is in the...
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Stigma from the Source

April 21, 2014
"Stigma = a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation"I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder in October of 2007, six weeks after the birth of my second daughter.  I was thirty-seven-years-old when I admitted myself into a locked-down mental facility at our local hospital. While there, a psychiatrist met...
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Nicole Lyons

Trying to explain Bipolar Disorder to a three year old and a five year old was one of the hardest things I have ever done. How was I going to put this into words that they could understand? Telling them that I was in the hospital because I was tired was more confusing to them. Everyday they saw me taking my medication, and everyday...
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Dyane Harwood

On Presidents’ Day, a school holiday, I awoke to an unscheduled day. I needed something to do with my daughter Marilla, so I decided to take her to the park. (My other little girl, Avonlea, headed for her best friend’s house.) The weather was clear and sunny, but my mind was stormy and gloomy. I wanted to hide in my bed, read a book, and not have...
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Dyane Leshin-Harwood

I am going to touch upon a subject in which I might offend someone I know. I’m willing to take this chance, however, for if I influence anyone who may someday take action if given the chance, I will be thrilled. If someone you know is hospitalized in a locked-down mental health ward and she is allowing visitors, GO FOR A BRIEF...
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Story Tradition

July 18, 2013
What is it about stories of past episodes in our life. We all love to tell them. The amazing thing is we retell and retell the same stories to our family and friends as if they constituted a fresh audience every time.My in-laws are well into their seventies and, although they winter in Florida, they spend the rest of the time in our house. Being...
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