The lengths we’ll go in order to feel good



Lately I’ve been taking an antidepressant I regard as a miracle drug. They don’t know exactly how it works but it works on some four different neurtransmitters as compared to Wellbutrin’s dopamine and Prozac or Zoloft’s Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitor. Those just work on one. This medicine has a side effect of violent nausea, and I’m not the only one. It’s listed as the third most common side effect.

There was a period of two weeks where I could not keep it down. This is three weeks ago. Mike had a trashcan next to the couch where I was laying while I tried every which way to keep this medicine in my system to retain my fine mood. I went through bipolar depression relapse in April-Mid July of this year and though I’ve gotten past ‘worrying’ about its’ inevitable return, I don’t want it to. This antidepressant is a huge boon. Nothing works quite as well. We’ve tried. In fact, it works so well I only need to take it twice a week. Why should I take more?

I ground it up and put it in my protein drink and attempted to work out at the Y. Bad idea. I ate full, balanced meals and still…..I was sick. I dropped 12 lbs in ten days by pure happenstance. When people tell me that certain drugs make them nauseated I don’t even want to hear it. I am desperate to claim the therapeutic benefits of this drug, Brintellix, no matter the cost. Depression is feeling like dying 24/7, or in my case, my waking hours. My whole world goes dark. I’m putting it off as long as I can. Of course it would be nice if a new antidepressant were to come along but there hasn’t been a new FDA approved medication for depression since 2013.  I think we’re due.

My Friend Dyane…take a look. All her efforts at advocacy is paying off for her and others…

Successful Working Mother Battles Bi-Polar Disorder


How do women measure success? Is it by mothering and having a career? How do they carry out both forms of work to their satisfaction? What helps? What hurts?

This is a weekly series about successful women who participate in the workforce in a range of ways building their careers while mothering. These women fly under the radar of the media but need to be heard. They are silently successful and warrant recognition. They are compassionate, persistently hardworking women who deserve our admiration and offer advice to new mothers. Each week I will spotlight a different remarkable woman.

Dyane Leshin-Harwood has two daughters, ages 3 and 10. She is a successful free-lance writer, author of Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder to be published in the fall of 2017. She is also the founder of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), Santa Cruz County, CA, and a member of the International Society of Bipolar Disorders, the Marce Society for Perinatal Mental Health, Postpartum Support International.

After Dyane’s second child was born she was faced with a postpartum health crisis, diagnosed with bipolar, peripartum onset, also known as postpartum bipolar disorder. She tells her story with deep devotion to her children and compassion:

“My mothering and writing fell to the wayside for the next seven years as I suffered through seven psychiatric unit hospitalizations, took over 30 medications to no avail, and requested two round of electroconvulsive therapy which I credit with saving my life. I tried my best during those years to be an attentive mother to my young girls, but I was a depressed shadow of my former self most of the time. Despite my guilt for not being the mother I hoped to be during those years, all I can do now is prioritize my hard-won mental health stability and be there for my family as a present and loving parent.”

Dyane describes the importance of motherhood to her while building her career:

“I always wanted to be a mother. Being a mother has literally saved my life. If not for my daughters, I wouldn’t have asked my husband to take me to the E.R. when I was acutely suicidal. I don’t take being a mother for granted – it’s a gift, an opportunity…and while I won’t lie and say it’s easy (with two daughters close in age who are either best friends or fight like little banshees, it’s never easy!), I’m profoundly grateful to be a mom.”

“At forty-five, I’ve maintained mental stability for over two years which has allowed me to be an involved parent. I consider this to be a profound achievement due to my lengthy battle with postpartum bipolar disorder. Landing my book deal has been an incredible privilege and I can’t wait to see my book through to completion. I created a support group for women with postpartum mood disorders that is going well. It has been fulfilling to see other women who suffer with depression, bipolar, anxiety, and trauma come together and support one another.”

Dyane has advice for new mothers with mental disorders who want to embark on careers while mothering with a significant support system:

“As a mom who runs a support group, I’ve witnessed the power of finding support and empathy with other mothers. There are groups for working mothers, for both new moms and those who are a bit more experienced. There are support groups associated with the maternity wings of hospitals as well. I’d call the closest maternity hospital for referrals. If you’ve suffered with postpartum mood disorder, Postpartum Support International is a fantastic resource for groups. “

Please leave comments for Dyane, a mother, writer, blogger and mental health advocate. She’s been honored as a “Story of Hope of Recovery” by the International Bipolar Foundation, a “Life Unlimited” by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and a Psych Central Mental Health Hero.

In sum, Dyane says, “I write to share and connect with other people worldwide who have suffered with bipolar disorder like I have. I write to help other moms know they aren’t alone with their perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Follow Dyane @birthofnewbrain on twitter.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst with a recent book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior, found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are found.

If you would like to participate in this series as a successful career woman and mother, contact Laurie and she’ll be glad to include you.

Movie “Spotlight” causes worry re fate of investigative Journalism

There was an article that interviewed editors of many prominent newspapers about the fate of investigative journalism. Because print publications are converting into the more ‘now’ digital news, the instantly breaking kind of stuff, for a publication such as The Boston Globe or The New York Times to devote dollars for staff to conduct long-term investigative research into local issues or problems is up in the air. Though the article said that the New York Times is still dedicated to this public service, and a few others in the Midwest and Washington too, this public service: letting the public know about local crises covered up by corruption, abuse of power, the clout of churches, etc, is at risk.


As consumers, I think we need to keep supporting publications that provide that. That’s why I have a seven day a week print subscription to the New York Times and Read it every day. That’s where I hear the skinny on exactly WHY certain generic medication’s prices have risen by 4000%. How and Why that happened.

It’s happened to me. ali

#SayItForward & Listen as well.

The SayItForward week has had me stymied. People in my recovery circle, be it bipolar or depression or AA people, are already aware of how important it is to reduce stigma and get help early on, when shame is stronger than the pain and prevents us from speaking. My ‘regular’ facebook page, comprised of people I used to work with in the music business are more sympathetic to artists who have mood disorders than people on the air and in programming. It’s true that some of the most famous people in charge of putting new music, promotions and disc jockeys on the radio have been eccentric, for sure. But when I post something about mental health on my page, there might be one ‘like’ and it’s from a sympathetic relative. For me to Tweet to #SayItForward seemed like preaching to the choir. So how can I get the message out there so that it makes a dent in the universe? Just a little one? I know I can do it, but how?

One of the things that hit me is how important it is for people to be willing to listen. That’s why the Peer Movement and Drop In Centers and AA have been so successful. Those people suffer too, and want to listen!

But what about those who think Bipolar Disorder is a spiritual weakness, a form of neurotic self centeredness or a moral flaw? I’m not sure we will ever change their minds. What about the people who are uncomfortable with the whole topic of mental health because of one factor or another? What about the people in my family who have ‘had it up to here,’ with my occasional issues? The topic is clearly not of interest to them, and among them are hard core religionists who don’t buy into the reality of mood disorders, period. Some of them truly think if I went to church regularly and turned my life over to…that I would not need medication or a psychiatrist. Even though they’ve seen me when I’ve been psychotically depressed and under the impression I have two children when I have none.

I think it’s important to #SayItForward, but what can we do to open the door for people to be listeners and help us take action when we need to but aren’t sure of our options? Why can’t all those who blame random violence and other extreme behavior on us believe in our stuggles when there aren’t any headlines on the front pages or home pages? I wish I knew the answer. I just got off the phone with a girlfriend who doesn’t think she’s on the right antidepressant and I tend to agree with her. The manufacturers of this old generic tricyclic bought up all the other makers so they could have a monopoly on supply and drive the price up to 10.00 a pill. It’s too much for her to afford.

That’s why she’s off of it. Like me, she’s on disability and her finances are stretched thin. She drinks when she gets depressed and I’m worried about her. She’s having a tough time speaking up and Even though she’s in DBT treatment and has a psychiatrist who sees her on staff there, I don’t think they are listening. It just seems like it’s Lori against the world and the world is winning. I’m trying to help her, trying to be there for her. Last time we spoke she was in tears from the depression.

As much as we need to speak, we need to listen. Because by and large, we seem to be the only ones. That I know of.