How to Say THANK YOU, NO THANK YOU when You Have Bipolar Disorder


Julie, come to the concert with us! We have a box and I know you love the band! You will love it!

Thank you so much for thinking of me. I want to go and the stable me would LOVE to go. Unfortunately, the bipolar me, the one I dislike but have to live with every day simply can’t handle the big crowds. I get overstimulated and this can lead to so many symptoms I simply can’t have in my life right now. I am sad to miss this. I know you are going out to dinner first, and I can definitely join you for that part of the evening. Thank you very much for asking me!

Julie, I don’t see why it’s so hard for you to travel. You love it so much. We are just going for the weekend. It’s the coast and it will be fun. I will drive! Come with us! 

Thank you! I wish with all of my heart that the regular me you see in public is the me I have to sleep with at night. I can’t and don’t want you to have to understand what I go through to be honest- it sucks, but I can say that as much as I want to go with you, I want to be stable more. I have to give up so much so that I can be the friend and family member I want to be. Please send me a video. In fact, a video chat would be amazing. I feel sad I have to miss this. I feel that I miss out on a lot of things, but I can say that I’m healthier than I have ever been since I’ve been really watching my triggers. Travel at this time is too much for me. I hope you have fun!!!

It’s all about trigger management when you have bipolar disorder. 

It’s hard for people who don’t have bipolar disorder to understand that FUN things can make us sick. Triggers are ANYTHING that causes mood swings. There is no positive or negative to a trigger. It’s just a trigger!
Learning to say no in a way that also educates people about how you take care of yourself really makes a difference. People know to keep asking you- because maybe you can go in the future, but they also get to see that you are committed to staying stable so that you can maintain the relationship!
Woo! hoo!


Signs a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder Needs Help

1. Current behaviors are not in line with past behaviors. For example, – a person who has been empathetic throughout life suddently becomes selfish and callous and says, “I don’t love you and never have! You are finally seeing the real me!”

2. They stop paying attention to what has always been important. This can include being with their children. People who once cared about helping animals will forget to feed them or might kick them for example.

3. They don’t listen. And when you point this out, you are always the one with the problem.

4. They simply can’t see that they they are doing or are about to do isn’t going to end well.


I’m not as disciplined as you might think………


I often read comments that I must be very disciplined in order to write books and do a blog. If you guys think I’m disciplined- think again. HEHE! It’s a daily struggle and sometimes a minute by minute struggle for me to get things done. Ask the people I work with and they will all say the same thing.

Working with me is like herding cats.

Work is a huge issue for me- a lifelong struggle with focus that started when my bipolar got serious at age 19, over 30 years ago. I also have a right brain injury from a 2012 biking accident that greatly affected my memory around dates, times and numbers.

I think I had a breakthrough today as to why I have not been able to improve my focus over the past few years and it’s not about the brain injury. I call this…….


How much of my extreme focus problems are due to social media being on my work device?

I am easily distracted- many of us with bipolar are this way. What does it mean for my brain that the computer is literally my work station and at any second, I can click off of my work and look at something that gives me a hit of dopamine?

I am addicted to the Daily Mail Newspaper in a bad way. I feel better when I look at it even though it is filled with destructive stories. I see this as calming myself down when my work anxiety is high. Maybe it is the opposite. Maybe the dopamine is calming- but it’s also distracting and addictive. The research is VERY clear on this now that social media and our instant access to information has been around for a decade.

Dopamine. What a lovely feeling. But it is NOT helping me work in any way. It is distracting and destroying in terms of my focus.

I also see how this affects my beloved 15 year old nephew.

It’s not pretty.

I am doing something about this. It’s experimental and I am not sure of the results in terms of working, but I have to do something. There is too much I want to accomplish. Not being able to focus is harming my life.

My Social Media Limitation Experiment

As a brain researcher and someone who wants to get better every day, I am now limiting my social media. For the first time ever, I turned off my phone while watching my beloved football (soccer) this week. And today while watching Barcelona LOSE TO JUVENTUS!, I turned off my phone and put it in my bag.

I have decided that when I am with friends, the phone goes off. I am addicted to information. I want to be fully present for my friends and family.

It starts with me.

The next step is figuring out how to write without having social media so easily accessible. This may mean using a different computer with disabled internet access for working on my book project. Then, I will come back to my MAC when I have to do my social media work.

I am not able at all to simply NOT look at the social media. I go to it automatically as most of us do. I have OCD and simply saying no while it is still turned on has not worked.

We are adaptive creatures. We can manage our brains.

Join me!


This pic is by Eron Hare. I love it!


A Moment of Beauty to Calm a Worried Mind

It’s Normal to Be Worn Out if You Have Bipolar Disorder


It is normal to get worn out if you have bipolar disorder. And before someone writes and says, “Everyone gets worn out Julie!” Please know that the type of WORN OUT that those of us with bipolar disorder experience is NOT experienced by the general public.

This is bipolar worn out!



PS: Click here to read my latest blog from Bp Magazine on the topic It’s Normal to Struggle if You Have Bipolar Disorder. 



Parent of a Young Child with a Mental Health Disorder?

I’m looking for three families who want to be a part of the team for my new book Hortensia and the Magical Brain: Poems for Kids with Bipolar, Anxiety, Psychosis and Depression.
Hortensia and the Magical Brain is a book of therapeutic poems for kids with symptoms of mania, depression, anxiety, psychosis, ADHD, irritation, violent behavior and so much more.
The book will be a conversation starter for parents and health care professionals to help kids talk about their symptoms when they don’t have the words to explain what is happening in their brains.
Parents on the editing team will receive poems to read to their kids to see how the child responds and what suggestions the child has for changes to the poems.
Here are the requirements for participation in the project:
1. You have a child between the ages of 4 and 12 who has diagnosed mental health symptoms that need treatment.
2. You are open to reading poems to the child and reporting what suggestions the child (and you!) have on the content. This has worked really well so far with the parents who helped me with the Kickstarter for the book. 
3. You are looking for a comprehensive plan for your child that includes medications if needed, as well as management modalities such as occupational therapy, drawing, movement, singing, writing, meditation and working with a wide range of health care professionals on a plan the whole family can use.
ALL participants in return for helping with the poems and the book will receive coaching sessions from me at NO CHARGE. I am not taking on new paying clients so that I can focus on Hortensia and the Magical Brain. The three new families I work will become my clients. I want to give as much as I receive.
The book will come out in the fall. Before writing, please make sure you have a few hours a week for the next three months to devote to the project.
For more information, please e-  mail      Julie Fast Books  at G-mail dot com with a bit about yourself and I will be in contact.
 Thank you!


Illustrations are by the incredible Kaytie Spellman.
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