Julie A. Fast Bipolar Disorder Event in Portland, Oregon: Bipolar, Genetics and Epigenetics: A Path to ENDING Bipolar Disorder Forever

Join bestselling mental health author Julie A. Fast for a life changing evening. She will share her latest research and show how we can greatly change the chance of passing on bipolar disorder to the next generation.

A note from Julie: I want to end the hold bipolar has on our lives. I want to teach you how to protect children from the genetic expression of bipolar disorder. Join me on Sunday, January 20th from 3-5 PM for a life changing discussion on the evolving theory of epigenetics and bipolar disorder. Learn about the history of bipolar disorder, what we know about the genetics of the illness and how the new field of epigenetics might be the answer to ending bipolar disorder forever.

This special event is open to family members, partners and health care professionals.

I will share the ideas from my research on how we can prevent bipolar expressing itself in future generations and the hopeful news that what we do now to treat bipolar first just might change the course of the illness forever.

There is hope and epigenetics holds one key to how we can each change the role bipolar has in our family tree.

This is a lecture with time for Q&A. The room can hold 15 if we really squeeze in, so I ask that if you sign up, please come early so that we can figure out the logistics well before 3 PM. The food is also excellent as is the drink. Please do check out the menu and order food before we begin! It’s delicious and I love supporting the wonderful Toffee Club.

Also, due to past attendance where people sign up, but can’t attend and don’t cancel, this is a prepaid event.

Let’s change the world of bipolar disorder. You are the key.


Please visit my Bipolar Info Group for Parents and Partners on Meetup to register.

Let’s END Bipolar Disorder in the Next Generation

Daniel Horowitz for NPR


The #1 way to prevent #1 way to prevent disorder in the next generation?

Do not use any SSRI anti depressants in your children if you have bipolar in the family tree. Yes, I actually said this and I mean it.

What Do We Know about Bipolar and Genetics

Substance induced bipolar disorder allows us to see genetic expression in action. If a person has bipolar disorder in the family and has only experienced depression with no mania, this person might or might not actually have the genes that lead to bipolar. At this time, we have no way of measuring this. What we DO know is that if this person uses an SSRI anti depressant for depression, there is a very good chance that the result will be mania and what was once only depression becomes the much more serious illness of bipolar disorder. We call this turning on the bipolar gene. This tells me that many more people actually have the bipolar gene that is non expressed than don’t.

What is Epigenetics?

This is the THEORY that we can make changes in our current life to change the expression of our genes. The concept of epigenetics only works if these changes to the genes are then passed to offspring. We do see this in plants. There is no evidence of this in humans when it comes to bipolar. Much more research is needed, but it does provide some hope. I’m writing an article on the topic this week and will put the link here when it’s ready. ALL people with bipolar who want to have kids need to learn about the theory of epigenetics.

Is Not Taking Anti Depressants Epigenetics in Action?

Possibly, but we can’t know this for sure unless we do studies on people with substance induced genetic bipolar and whether their children are more likely to have bipolar. I say let’s not risk it and make sure that no one who has bipolar in a recent part of the family tree uses SSRI anti depressants.

By recent I mean parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

This is one way to ensure that the children of people with bipolar can keep that particular group of genes dormant.


Update:  A Facebook reader made a very good point after reading my post. What if your child has a serious illness outside of bipolar that is only helped with SSRI drugs? Then, this is a trade off. I would suggest using the drug while always looking for signs of mania. This would involve teaching the child to look for signs of mania in his or her thinking and sleep patterns. I can be a bit one sided in my writing when I get passionate about something and always appreciate someone pointing out where I need to change my language. 

This pic is from an NPR story Combining The DNA Of 3 People Raises Ethical Questions.


Honest Talk about Life with Bipolar Disorder – someone has to tell the truth!

I had one year when I was 21 that I remember being rather stable. After that time, I do recall a few months or maybe half a year where I simply got on with life without being in a mood swing. Overall, I was in contact flux. I called it GOING THROUGH CHANGES as I had zero concept of #bipolar disorder until my then partner Ivan was diagnosed with bipolar one in 1994.
I was diagnosed at age 31 and put on a variety of anti depressants that greatly increased my already serious rapid cycling bipolar disorder. I wrote my Health Cards in 1997 in order to save my life. Meds were never a full option for me due to side effects. I take some meds now and wish I had more relief from meds. I would take more if I could.
Since 2002, I have had one long stability. It was 35 days. Stability means that I am not manic or depressed.
This means that in 16 years, I have had just one month of feeling like a regular person. It is as bound as it sounds. It is hell.
We need to talk more openly about the serious nature of bipolar disorder.
My first psychotic symptoms were at 16. Hypomania at 17 and 18 and then a full on psychotic, suicidal depression at 19. I have a genetic illness that affects every waking moment. I can stay positive and I can always look on the bright side of life and see that many things in my life are good and always have been, but overall, this is hell.
Talking about bipolar openly will save lives. I believe we need to let people know that bipolar is serious and dangerous.
It’s no different than insulin dependent diabetes. It can kill use if we are not careful. If we are careful, we can have wonderful lives.
I don’t feel we take our illness seriously enough. We focus so much on stigma and making sure that people talk nicely about the mentally ill that we have lost our way. I have a serious mental illness. It prevents me from doing what others can do with ease. It prevents me from working full time. It prevents me from traveling the world like I want and it prevents me from writing books in the way I want to write book.
Let’s talk more openly about what life is really like with bipolar and at the same time talk about what we are doing to create the best lives possible despite having this diagnosis. That is always my goal. I have a GREAT life in many ways, but this doesn’t take away the incredibly difficult life I live almost daily due to this illness.



Bipolar Support


I will continue to manage this illness to the best of my ability.  I will learn more with each passing day about BiPolar Disorder. I will treat myself with kindness. I will always thank God for what I have.

I am who I am. The world can see the real me and accept me for who I am. I like myself now.

All people have challenges in life. Mine is mental health. I face and accept the challenge. I ask for help.

Living with bipolar teaches me compassion for others, but also compassion for myself. #noteTOself

What affirmation- I know, it’s a bit of cliche to use this word, but affirmations work!….. What affirmation can you create now to help you make it through today?

It’s hard to be nice to yourself when you have a not so nice illness.  These days, my affirmations are focusing on money and that there is an abundance of resources in the world.  Plenty of people have plenty of money.

Sure, affirmations can seem a bit hokey, but they are simply the opposite of our negative thoughts. We all know that negative thoughts hurt us and ruin our days- so it makes sense that the positive thoughts will boost us and improve our days.  No matter what your spiritual beliefs, it’s ok to say something a bit woo woo as one of my friends says, as long as it helps you find happiness and stability!


PS: Yes, I loved the Secret!

Why We MUST Prepare for Bipolar Triggers

This is a post for family members and partners. People with bipolar can let me know what they think about it as well.
A few weeks ago, I started to wind down a job I love – soccer marketing for local English pub. I kept the job for seven months and finally realized that if I wanted to get my next books written and edit my Health Cards and help people in mental health, I could NOT continue to do soccer marketing on the side.
The work was very enjoyable. I LOVED my boss/partner. I did a fantastic job. The choice to leave the work was mutual and a good choice for my future.
Please notice what I said. There was nothing negative about this work. There was no relationship issue. Not one thing was wrong with the situation. I simply decided that I could not get my mental health work done if I continued to dabble in soccer marketing.
My bipolar literally went crazy the day the job ended.
I felt fine about ending the work, but my bipolar reacted as though my best friend had died.
I am not being flippant here. I want everyone who loves someone with bipolar disorder to truly understand the concept of triggers.
Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder was/is the first book to ever mention trigger management as a way to manage this illness. That is how new this concept is for many people.
Change = Trigger
Bipolar is a circadian rhythm illness. It is about our internal clocks. Changes upsets these clocks in a way that no one can actually explain. All I know is that change- what I called triggers in Take Charge is the enemy of people with bipolar.
Many of us who don’t get relief from medications and even people who are on full medications can have a serious bipolar mood swing simply from change.
– Finishing a semester at school and heading into a summer internship.
– Traveling to a beautiful country.
– Getting into a new relationship.
– Getting married.
– Having a baby.
– Landing your dream job.
Triggers are not always negatives. Triggers simply mean that something is changing.
How do we get thorough this? We first of all have to be ready for triggers. As parents and partners, we have to think ahead and picture a calendar of our love one’s life and think- what change is coming and how can I help my loved one get through this.
Example: Every single time my dad comes to visit my brother, my brother has dysphoric mania. Every single time. No one prepares for this. No one talks about this and we all suffer for weeks before, during and after.
I knew that I might get sick from leaving the job I loved. I thought I planned ahead. Nope. Sick as a dog. For weeks.

Read Take Charge and Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder and create a trigger list for your loved one. Show this list to your loved one. Have a plan for yourself so that you don’t walk into the Bipolar Conversation during one of these triggered mood swings and always remember:
Mood swings end. They are episodic. If we use a system every day of the mood swing, we will get out of the mood swing.
I am out of mine. Now I once again have to catch up with work. That is ok. I will be fine. Work is just work. Money is just money. What matters is that I no longer ruin my life during mood swings.
I want the same for you and your loved ones.


PS: Here is a pic of my next project. It is a year behind due to mood swings. What can I do except keep on keeping on! The book will be in my hands and your hands one day. Forza!

Julie A. Fast Talks Strategies to Prevent Bipolar Disorder in Your Children

If you have bipolar disorder, there is bipolar in your family genetically.
Genetics means that your matrilineal or patrilineal family line had bipolar disorder and passed it on to you. It can skip a generation, but in my experience, it is pretty easy to find bipolar disorder in your family tree.
This means that any child who has a grand parent, parent, aunt, uncle or cousin with bipolar has a chance to get bipolar disorder.
It’s in the child, percolating. In many cases, due to lack of the written word, we can’t track back far enough to find our genetic bipolar, but the stories are there.
– We had an uncle who was SO smart, but he kept getting married and divorced and could not stay off the sauce.
– My mom would disappear for months at a time- we were told she was visiting her mother. She was in the hospital.
– My cousin could never calm down. First it was drugs and then jail. The stories go that he was the smartest in the family, but when you needed him, he fell apart. Soon, we just called him lazy.
Today, with the internet and a lot more understanding of bipolar, we know that these stories are often a sign of untreated bipolar. Today, far more people are diagnosed, especially when there is a big drug and alcohol problem that is actually self medicating.
Unlike other illnesses such as cancer, we have WAY too little research into bipolar, but we do know that it’s genetic. It’s my goal to prevent an entire generation of kids from getting bipolar disorder by educating children from day one of what what make this gene express itself.
If you have the illness, your kids have a 25-35% chance of bipolar expressing itself naturally. If your child experiences any of the following situations and substances, the chances can double and triple of that latent gene expressing itself.
1. Constant changes in sleep. Going from sleeping on a regular schedule to a job that has uncertain hours where you sometimes have to work all night. My coauthor Dr. John Preston lists this environment as #2 on his list of bipolar triggers. I interviewed him extensively as I was writing Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder. The info in the book is true today and even more important in our internet society where we DO write down our symptoms for the world to see.
2. Medications for anything that can affect the mood. Cold medicine with pseudo ephedrine such as Sedated. Allergy medicines with steroids such as Flonase. I suggest that no child with bipolar in the family use anti depressants or ADD meds. It is simply too risky.
3. Cannabis. I can’t stress this enough. Many people are now seeing bipolar manifest after using today’s high TCH marijuana. Educate kids on this. Explain the difference between CBD and THC and teach them that THC can cause bipolar to come out if there is bipolar in the family.
I want you to think.
If you have bipolar, you KNOW how awful it can be. Start educating your children now about sleep and the medications and substances they put in their bodies. Teach them to stay stable.
My nephew is the love of my life. I will do anything to help him stay stable.
Keep that genetic bipolar gene LATENT!