It’s time for all of us with mood disorders to achieve our goals, whether it’s getting out of bed at 6:00 a.m., taking on a volunteer job, or being present with our family. It’s time to surround ourselves with people who love us.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Dyane Harwood, author of Birth of a New Brain. She offered me a free copy of her book in exchange for a review on my blog. I was touched, especially considering my blog is brand new. I agreed because I knew that her story would be a perfect fit here. Dyane’s book is about her experience with Post Partum Bipolar Disorder. It also chronicles her struggle with chronic depression.
Dyane’s story reached into my soul and connected to me in a way I didn’t think was possible. I didn’t think I would enjoy this book, as most other memoirs of this type feel so disconnected from what I’ve experienced. I don’t connect well with flowery or over exaggerated stories on mental illness. Dyane’s book was nothing like this. I feel so deeply connected to her story, even though we come from completely different backgrounds.
What makes Dyane’s story so inviting to me is that despite the fact that she’s lived a life completely different from my own, I can relate to her because our experiences are so similar. I didn’t graduate college, but I have felt the sting of chronic depression. I don’t have parents who can cover my rent, but I’ve lost relationships and friendships in my agitated and sleep deprived states. I might have had my child at a much younger age than Dyane had hers, but I’ve experienced a postpartum mood disorder that deeply affected my life.
Dyane details her life story using her mental state as a timeline and I believe it to be so fitting to the way people with chronic depression and other mood disorders experience their life. My mental state is so entwined with my life experiences that I couldn’t imagine it being written any other way. I think anyone who’s experienced life with a mental illness can relate to the way Dyane writes her story.
Typically in my reviews, I would explain whether the mental illnesses are described accurately, but being as this is a personal experience it’s not necessary. Dyane writes her story. She writes about chronic depression and Post Partum Bipolar Disorder the way that she’s experienced it. Everyone’s experiences are different and it’s important to remember that we don’t all experience our illnesses in the same way. I also love that Dyane has appendixes at the end of her book that gives information about bipolar disorder, tips for living with bipolar disorder, and guidelines for starting a support group.
What makes this book so life-changing for me is that Dyane described a symptom she experienced over and over again that I never even knew existed. It’s called hypomania, and even though I have people in my life with bipolar disorder I’ve never heard of this symptom. The way that Dyane describes her hypomania made me realize that it’s something I’ve experienced myself. I’ve never experienced anything like full-blown mania, but I’m glad this symptom is on my radar now. I can bring it up to my doctors and watch for an underlying disorder I may have never even known about. That’s why I believe stories like these are important. We have to share our experiences so that no one has to live their life thinking they need to hide their symptoms.
Dyane is offering her book to those affected by mental illnesses in a free PDF copy, and she can be contacted via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy her book on Amazon here.
I want to thank Dyane for putting her story on my radar. I genuinely enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who has experienced postpartum mood disorders, and anyone who loves someone with a mood disorder. Dyane opens up her soul in this book, and I’m glad she’s brave enough to do so. If she only changed my own perception of myself, she did something good in this world. I hope she can do the same for you that she did for me.