Ideas to Sleep Better with Bipolar

I often do question sessions on my Julie Fast Instagram.  Here’s a post on how to sleep better when you have bipolar disorder:

Bipolar is basically a sleep disorder.

Managing sleep is the number one way to manage this illness. Sleep is nature’s medicine.

Managing sleep requires consistency. I know that what I’m about to say is hard to hear… but we don’t get to manage sleep on some nights, party on other nights and stay up gaming the rest and expect ourselves to manage bipolar. That’s simply not how it works.

Practice good sleep behaviors every night. You’ll see an enormous difference. Yes, it’s a trade off. No, it’s not fair. But it’s our life.

Sleep podcasts are the greatest thing ever! I use the Sleep with Me Podcast Sleep with Me Podcast every night. You can also try Moshi Sleep  Moshi Sleep  

If you’re having sleep problems, check your meds. Antidepressants are not indicated for bipolar and the majority of them will cause problems. ADD meds cause problems. But most importantly, we have trouble with hypnotics such as Ambien and many over-the-counter sleep products as they can make us slightly psychotic while sleeping. Once again, not fair! But our reality. And of course, NO caffeine until the sleep is figured out. Damn! I know!

Learn about the circadian rhythm. Bipolar reacts greatly to time changes. This is why travel is so hard for us. When I say go to bed on the same day you woke up, this means following the body‘s natural sleep rhythm. We simply do better staying up during daylight and going to sleep at night. It has to do with the balance of melatonin and serotonin.

I have many articles online about sleep and bipolar disorder. In order to manage the illness, I suggest starting with.Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder.

Never give up on getting better sleep. I’m still going at it 25 years in. I’ve had to give up a lot to manage my sleep. but it has created much more bipolar stability.

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Do People with Bipolar Need Meds?

I need daily meds for suicidal depression. Without them, life is very hard. I function and get on with my life, but I suffer. My suicidal depression is separate from my general bipolar depression.

I need lithium orotate for mania that I can’t control on my own.

I can’t tolerate antipsychotic medication, but would take it if I could. I manage my psychosis through the plan in my books.

Medications work. People who are anti medications usually have a personal agenda or have confused medication efficacy with side effects.

The real problem with medications is how they affect the physical body. This is where we need to focus.

My plan is as follows:

1. Reduce my symptoms using the ideas in my books through intense lifestyle changes that then become a norm in my life.

2. Use meds for symptoms I can’t manage on my own. In terms of suicidal thoughts, mine are consistently manufactured by my brain, so I need the meds. The mania is greatly affected by lifestyle. If I keep things as calm as possible, I rarely need lithium.

3.  I need sleep meds every night.

Your medication regime will look different from mine. If we know that medication side effects are the biggest problem with psych meds, doesn’t it make sense to manage symptoms ourselves and then take as few meds as possible!?

We can prevent episodes and reduce side effects using this model.

At the same time, we need to encourage medication manufacturers to focus on side effects. I can tell you from experience that this is not their biggest concern.

Life with bipolar is usually too hard to live without some medical help. Medications are dynamic. What you need now may be different in the future.


Kanye and Kim: What Can a Family or Partner Do When Someone is Sick with Bipolar Disorder?

Click on the image to play the video on the AM Northwest Website.

I did an interview with AM Northwest on Kanye West, bipolar disorder and what family members and partners can do to help a loved one who has untreated mental illness. Make sure you read underneath the video as they actually put my show notes online. I am impressed!

The questions were thoughtful and I think we can all raise a cheer for the focus on family and partner rights when a loved one is ill. I don’t presume to speak for Kanye West or Kim Kardashian, but do believe their situation shows the world what all of us with a loved one who has untreated serious mental illness experience.


Please join me on Instagram @JulieFast Where I Explain Bipolar in Pictures

I am determined to explain bipolar disorder through pictures and as few words as possible.  Please join me on my Julie Fast Instagram page as I take on this challenge!


Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Bipolar Disorder

I was interviewed on CBS News regarding Kanye, Kim and bipolar disorder. The presenters did a great job. It’s a respectable interview. Our bipolar world is getting correct representation in the media. We have come a long way!

The interview is based off an article I did for Psychology Today called Is Kanye West Just a Grandiose, Attention-Seeking Rapper?  The difference between bragging and grandiose manic/psychosis.

It helps to read the article before watching the interview.



Rapid Cycling Bipolar and Taking Meds

I’ve had more mania during this coronavirus quarantine than I’ve had in the last eight years.

Many of us are rapid cycling right now. This means that people who normally experience a lot of depression might flip into a mania they don’t know how to control.  Or, a person will go in and out of mania more often than normal. This increase in mania is hard on everyone.

Mania is much harder to manage than depression as it has a short treatment window.

How are your mood swings? If you love somebody with bipolar disorder, what are you noticing about your loved one’s mood swings!

I focus on general bipolar education on my Instagram page @JulieFast.  It’s my goal to teach bipolar disorder through images and fewer words.

If you want to see long form writing, please join me on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page. If you’re a partner, please join me on my private group The Stable Bed on Facebook. If you’re a family member or healthcare professional, please join me on my private group The Stable Table  on Facebook.

I don’t like meds, but I am taking my meds for this mania.  Bipolar is serious. I respect the bipolar!