A monthly support group for women who suffer from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder will begin this month in Boulder Creek.
The group — facilitated by Dyane Leshin-Harwood and Linda Lininger — will meet on the third Saturday of each month from 3 to 5 p.m. at Boulder Creek United Methodist Church, 12855 Boulder St., in Boulder Creek.
The first meeting is Saturday, May 18.
Leshin-Harwood, a Boulder Creek mother who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 37 with a 2-month old baby and a toddler, says no official diagnosis is needed to attend.
“Unfortunately there is still a deep, dark stigma about mood challenges such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder,” Leshin-Harwood said. “Many women are afraid to discuss these personal topics for fear of being judged by others in the community.”
Leshin-Harwood said the group, called Hopeful and Naturally Healing, will address all levels of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, not just major or severe mental illness.
“I’m creating the group that I would have wanted to attend 18 months ago,” she said, “in that there are powerful, natural options available to help with mood disorders of all types and degrees.”
Group members will be able to share experiences, struggles and remedies in a confidential setting.
Part of the impetus for founding the group, Leshin-Harwood said, is that she wants to share how she lost 60 pounds she gained due to bipolar disorder and depression and. She said she’s been free from medication for a year.
“I am about simple, free and low-cost natural ways to feel better,” she said.
Occasional speakers will provide information, and free childcare is available at each meeting.
Leshin-Harwood is also in the midst of publishing her first book, “Birth of a New Brain: My Ultimately Medication-Free Recovery from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder,” which is due to be published by Praeclarus Press in 2014.
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