Julie A. Fast Official Diagnosis… it’s more than bipolar disorder!

If you are new to my work- here is my official diagnosis. I find it helpful to have a diagnosis and know for sure that hearing the words, “You have bipolar disorder,” saved my life.
1. Diagnosed with depression in my 20s. First major depressive episode was at 19. No one ever talked to me about mania, so it was completely missed. My mania started at 17.
2. Officially diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar two with psychotic features in 1995. This was one year after my then partner was diagnosed with bipolar disorder one. We were together for ten years as a couple. I wrote Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder about being a parter of this wonderful man for ten years.
3. I started to chart my moods as soon as I was officially diagnosed. I realized that I didn’t have rapid cycling. I had ultradian rapid cycling -a term that wasn’t used back then. I cycle every day sometimes all day and it has been this way for all of my adult life with only a few breaks.
4. I then got clear about psychosis and through charting and writing down my symptoms realized that I had WAY, WAY more psychosis that the average person and in fact, started my mental health symptoms with psychosis at age 16. I figured out that I have a separate psychotic disorder as well as bipolar. My office diagnosis is schizoaffective. In my opinion, there is no such thing as bipolar with psychotic features. What we actually have is schizo affective. I am NOT scared of the words schizo or schizophrenia. I am definitely on the schizophrenia spectrum which is why using THC from cannabis was extremely dangerous for my brain.
5. I had a biking accident in 2012 that resulted in a serious right brain injury that led to vicious panic attacks and an increase in my anxiety. I now deal with a separate set of anxiety symptoms.
My books teach us to chart our mood swings and to write down our symptoms. No one can really do this for us. We need to do it for ourselves. Otherwise, we can’t get better.


This is me at 16. The year my psychosis began. Unless we are really sick, there is no indication of what is going on in our minds. We MUST chart our experiences and share them with people who can help.

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