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Dyane Harwood

Thinking of Creating A Support Group? You Can Do It! Part 1

During the past year I received wonderful online support from bipolar-themed social media contacts and bloggers.  As fulfilling as their encouragement was, I also craved real life support, connection and friendships with people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. 

A peer-to-peer support group is a great place to do just that! 

Out in the Milkweed

I wrote this piece to express how I've felt stigmatized by those who haven't gotten past how I've been doing better with bipolar one.  While it's obvious in this piece that I am angry, I believe there is hope for healing for us all.

"Out in the Milkweed”

In some disturbing way that you would never openly admit You want me to remain Mentally ill, labeled by the seven-letter word bipolar You prefer me to fit neatly in a suffocating cocoon From which I can never fully emerge As the soaring, vibrant Monarch butterfly that I once was

A Different Take on Exercise, and Why I Want You To Join Me!

Long before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar one disorder, I led an active life.  After college graduation, I became an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer and I worked in a family-owned gym  My duties included greeting members and creating their fitness programs. 

While working there for two years, I noticed that members who worked out consistently seemed to be the happiest and healthiest of all.  I also knew from firsthand experience that working out made me feel good. 

Why I Save My Dad's Voicemails

 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 of the year.  I've loved Halloween ever since I was a little girl, and I've dressed up every year without fail - even during the bipolar depression years. 

Just Don't It

As I’m sure you noticed, I’m using a grammatically incorrect title, but I couldn’t resist.  (May my seventh grade English grammar teacher forgive me!)  

During the 1980's a trendy Nike ad campaign caught the world's attention with the tagline “JUST DO IT!”  Nike's message was loud and clear: there were no excuses when it came to exercise.  I think it was a brilliant campaign, as it motivated people to work out.  The catchphrase is just as true nowadays as it was a couple decades ago. 

Writing Heals My Brain

I've turned to writing during many times of bipolar depression.  I know that many of you are writers too.  We write in blogs and in our journals. 

We email, take notes for classes, and once in a while, we even handwrite letters the old-fashioned way! So many forms of writing exist, and they can all serve us well in terms of catharsis and self-expression.  The following is a free-form piece I wrote when I was asked by a dear friend, "Why do you write?" 

I write because I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was nine-years-old. 

A Great Divide

Lately I’ve been wondering about friendship, including what I can realistically offer as a friend now.  To be honest, I don’t have that much to give this summer.  It has only been a year since my last hospitalization for bipolar depression.   

I’ve had multiple hospitalizations for bipolar disorder since I was diagnosed in 2007 six weeks after the birth of my second daughter.  

Dyane Harwood

Dyane Leshin-Harwood holds a B.A. degree in English Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz.  Dyane was diagnosed with type I bipolar disorder in 2007 at age thirty-seven, six weeks postpartum after the birth of her second daughter. As a result, Dyane has developed a commitment to postpartum mood disorder education, and she's currently working on her book “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder”.

The Bipolar Identity Shift

Over tea, Dan recalled the young woman I had been at nineteen, long before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at thirty-seven.  He mentioned that, sure, I seemed moody at times, but he noted that my moods didn’t swing to either extreme.  While Dan isn’t a psychiatrist, I took his opinions as seriously as if they were the opinions belonging to a physician.

The Dreads Arrival

DogToday, despite it being summer and my not having to rush my two girls to school, I woke up in a big 'ol funk.  At 5:00 a.m. our precocious Lucy, now a thirteen-week-old bundle of energy, acted as a canine alarm clock and woke me up.  She was raring to go on a puppy ultra-marathon.  My husband rose early to let her outside, and he made enough noise in leaving our room that I couldn't get back to sleep.