Tag Archives: Interviews

World Mental Health Day: Questions to Dyane Harwood Author, Birth of a New Brain (Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder)


Birth of a new brain cover

Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) is published by Post Hill Press this very October 10th 2017.

It’s available on Kindle and paperback

Hello World, today on this very special day, I mean very, very special day: Today is World Mental Health Day and the Birth of Dyane Harwood’s long awaited literary baby; I have the singular honour, pleasure and modesty to interview my dear friend, one I fondly call Lady D and The Captain – the author, dynamic wife and mother par excellence. I connected with Dyane early into my blogging adventures, and we have stayed friends since then. I still look forward to visiting Dyane in her corner of the Western Coast in the US, and take a “redwood bath” with her and her famous Scottish collie Lucy.

I salute Dyane’s courage to go through with it and not give up. Dyane is equally a seasoned author and has written for the Huffington Post, SELF Magazine, BP (Bipolar) Magazine, and more. With this said, I’ll interview her for your reading pleasure and let her tell us more about herself and her life journey, mindful of her postpartum bipolar disorder diagnosis.

1) The Profile

1. Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:
Hello, my dear friend Lady Marie! I grew up in Los Angeles, California with my brother Martin and of course a dog – an Irish Setter named Amber! We had two very loving parents and many blessings; however, it was a difficult childhood as my father had bipolar one disorder and his mental illness took its toll on our family.

2. About your Memoir, how did you come up with the title – you must admit it is one of its kind?
I love my title! Originally I titled the book Quest for Rest because when I began writing it in 2007, I was manic and hypergraphic (which is excessive compulsive, writing associated with bipolar mania and epilepsy, of all things, Marie!) — later on, I switched titles because I no longer felt attached to Quest for Rest. Birth of a New Brain simply popped into my mind and felt right.

2) The Soul Journey

1. I lost my only brother to bipolar disorder and its complications – hence I dread the word and diagnosis; what’s your take on that word?
I cannot STAND the word “bipolar”! I agree with Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, the author of the classic memoir An Unquiet Mind, who prefers “manic depression.” I think that term describes the mood disorder so much better than “bipolar”ever could. It’s just a really dumb word and to be honest, I have problems saying it out loud.

2. How did you get your diagnosis and how have you fared since that diagnosis?
In 2007, approximately six weeks postpartum, I voluntarily admitted myself into the local psychiatric unit as I was manic. I was diagnosed at that unit and it took me seven years to find the right medications to help me. During that time I went through two phases in which I tried to live without medications; one of those phases involved a very slow, systematic tapering schedule that I had researched before undertaking it. I do not want to sound like a drama queen, but I almost died after each attempt to live meds-free. However, some people can live with bipolar and stay stable without taking medications.

3. How have you been coping with your mental illness and yet still been able to function at times enough to write and publish?
The book has been the most challenging project of my life. When I finally secured a publisher, I found the entire process was far more difficult than I had imagined. I coped fairly well although I ate a ton of sweets and gained 15 pounds despite using Lose It! And exercising! My medications and having a stable, loving family complete with Lucy the Scottish Collie/Writing Muse enabled me to get through it all.

3) The Writing

1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
Oh yes! Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir and books by Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time) and L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) have influenced my writing, but there are many other books that affected me too! I have a list of some of them in the book’s appendix section.

2. Did you have a writing mentor?
Wendy K. Williamson (author of the bestseller I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar and the co-author of 2 Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival) believed in my writing, and she inspired me to “go for it” in terms of sending my proposal to publishers.

3. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
That’s a great question. I’d definitely say the “One Pill Can Kill” chapter about how taking one Elavil (amitriptyline) pill made me acutely suicidal and when I realized what was happening to me, I asked to be taken to the emergency room at the hospital. I won’t go into other details (and I don’t go much into them in the book because I felt there were plenty of books about that topic already – it didn’t seem necessary) but I also want to say that this specific medication works well for other people! We all know medications affect every person differently…thus the need for caution when trying a new medication and have someone on hand to observe your reaction to it if it all possible!!!

To be cont’d tomorrow, kindly visit again…

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Interviewed by the Divorce Magazine


This week, I want to do posts with more personal insights. I share today my interviews on the Divorce Magazine where I am a humble and modest contributor.

You should know I assume, that writing a book is different from talking about it right? 

Yes, publishing a memoir is nerve wrecking but being interviewed about it and not even knowing the questions in advance, men …

To make it more nerving, my book is on the unconventional fence because it ‘spews’ it all out.

So in the first series, Soila leads me through my ‘twin divorces’ and how the first one impacted the second one. Let’s get it right, the first was my parents and the second mine:

Part two of the interview is the difficult one too, albeit the most sensational part of the series. Soila gets me to talk about my adulteries and the why, how, when ,what and all. Gosh, it was tough and I was nervous. There is no doubt I wrote that book and wanted it all out but now talking about it and probably over and over:

Then we got to part three.   I love this part most because I talk about my kids and my struggle. I share my struggle to stay connected with them because in the wake of trying to stay alive and sane, yes I left them in that same home I ran away from:

Now, I wrote that book first and foremost for therapy.

What next?

I am realizing my journey isn’t going to be just therapeutic, it is going to be a real message to you all and a testimony. It is inspiring and motivating so many others to even look at themselves in the mirror, analyze their emotions and their management thereof of their lives, relationships and all.

I have decided by next year to have a revised edition, a great website, a good marketing strategy, a  plan for this and other books I will hopefully write, and above all, a great team for my coaching business.

I may not even be on the first step right now, but as Brendon Burchard, founder of the High Performance Academy rightly beckons, we must never let our ‘small business’ make us small minded.

Dear gentle readers and followers of mine, I am on a mission, fueled by passion to reach out to as many as possible, to inspire and motivate just as I have and still am. These interviews are just steps in my journey and soon I will be taking greater steps.

Thank you sincerely for reading, liking, commenting and sharing.