Holiday Encouragement

You are not your family. You are YOU. You are not what others say about you. You are YOU. You are not anyone’s image. You are YOU. As you go into the events that have a lot of family dynamics, remember who you are.

If being quiet works, then be quiet. If speaking out in a calm and loving way works, then speak out. But no matter what, remember that your body HOLDS you. It is not YOU. Your thoughts can sound true, but not be YOU.

Remembering who you are- what you want and what you need on a holiday is difficult, but possible. 

We create our own families out of the people who treat us kindly. Being with family members who are not kind is always a chore, but if you know your CORE, you will survive.

Slings and arrows
Remarks about weight
Why aren’t you working?
You don’t look so great!

All of these comments from people who say they care
Can go in one ear and march out of the house


You can do it! Make today better than any past holiday. Work towards internal harmony in the face of family chaos.

Take a break.
Do what you need.
Ask about others
Focus on children

If you are filled with abundance, do something for those who have less.

Reach out from the real YOU
And may your day be blessed.


Julie, Help! I don’t have plans for the holiday weekend!

A Christmas Cake from the amazing Alana Jones Mann

Here are some ideas:
1.Know you are not alone. I have spent many lonely holidays simply from not planning ahead. 
2. Remove yourself from the idea of what this day SHOULD be like and focus on what you can make happen from this moment forward. Holidays are stressful because even though they are simply a day on the calendar, society puts enormous stress on what we should be doing on that day. Step out of this and create something of your own.
3. If there is time, plan something now. Call a person you think might be available. It you were invited to a party and said no because you were depressed, call and say you’re coming. If, and this is important too- you are expected to be somewhere and truly feel it will make you worse and that doing something else would be better, make the change now.
4. Learn from your mistakes. If you feel rotten that you don’t have anything planned this weekend, plan something now for New Year’s Eve.
5. Ask people to come to you. Ask for company. Don’t worry if you feel embarrassed, that is NORMAL. If you ask, you will receive. If you don’t ask, you will probably stay alone. There is someone like you in the world who wants company today. Find that person. I always loved going to Christmas Eve karaoke with my friends. That is a blast. If you’re religious, find a church and GO. If you’re spiritual, find a group that celebrates this weekend in a way you enjoy. If you’re lonely for your love, create something beautiful for that person and send it out in the world.
As you can see, all I’m saying is that even when we are depressed, we control our destiny. If you are not sure where you will be tonight- and being somewhere tonight is important to you, make plans now. Visit and find an event! I do this all of the time.
We make our own happiness. Loneliness today- lack of plans today- doesn’t have to be loneliness and a lack of plans for tonight or tomorrow. YOU CAN DO IT!
PS: Make a Christmas Cactus Cake and take it to a place that would make people happy. Click here to see the directions on how to make this cake.  This is from the Alana Jones Mann website. 
Post on Facebook that you don’t have plans for tonight and want to meet like minded people to see LA LA Land this evening!
Remind yourself that if you’re depressed, it’s normal. You don’t have to listen to it. You can fight it and go out anyway.

I believe in you!

Talking with Kids about Bipolar Disorder. The Julie and David Talk Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Julie A. Fast talks with her 14 year old nephew David about bipolar disorder.  She started the conversations when he was four.

A note from Julie: It amazes me how easily David and I can talk about such a serious illness.  I started off by educating him on my own depression, mania, anxiety and psychosis symptoms so that he could better understand my behavior. Now he is one of the greatest minds I know on the topic! He has so much insight. We can teach young people how to talk about and manage this illness. David doesn’t currently have bipolar disorder, but we have talked about the genetics of having it in the family. I hope you enjoy our discussion on how to talk about bipolar disorder in an open and relaxed way.

This podcast is on Soundcloud. You can listen to it from your computer. Please download the Soundcloud app to listen on your phone. You can also download this video and use it to start a conversation with your own family. Health care professionals have permission to use the podcast as well.


Student Mental Health Panel at Oxford University

I recently spoke at Oxford University in England at the Oxford Union

The event The Student Mental Health Crisis – What Next? was a great success. 

“25% of adults suffer from mental health conditions; this figure doubles among Oxford students. Many believe that drastic action is needed to respond to this crisis in care, engaging with both the general stigma and failing institutions.”

 As a person who flunked out of my first college due to my untreated bipolar disorder, I’m passionately committed to helping students succeed in school.  I eventually received a degree eight years after I started. It doesn’t have to be this hard.  Universities, parents, students, health care professionals and teachers can band together and create a system that works for those of us who need extra assistance to get our degrees. I also want to encourage those of us who have experienced weight gain or other physical changes to get out there and shine. We can lose the weight eventually, but we can’t get the experience again.  Words to live by!


PS: I used my travel plan for bipolar disorder in order to take the trip and still dealt with daily mood swings.  We can get things done when we have bipolar disorder, but it definitely takes a lot of planing and recovery time when the event is over.

Tuesday ‘Get it Done’ Work Club with Julie A. Fast

get it done cover
Bipolar disorder scatters my thoughts, causes panic attacks, makes me restless, leads to worry and basically disrupts my life on a regular basis. But, I still have to and want to work. Right now, I’m sitting down with a plan and would love for you to join me. For the next two hours, I am going to finish the work I need to do. I want to stand up, go to a movie, watch a video, read a book, talk with someone, eat junk food and pretty much anything else that would keep me from working. This makes little sense, but it’s my life with #moodswings.
Here is my list of what I will do in the next two hours. Please join me on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page and share your list. Make it a realistic list. My list is very realistic. For each project I finish, I will explain my process and will check back in. I’m using the strategies from my book Get it Done When You’re Depressed. My first strategy- put yourself in a place you can work. I have done that. Now, I am going to work. It’s 11:45. I am going to time my work to keep myself on track. Oh, I hate this work anxiety, but I want to move forward in life. There is a way to get things done- it shifts around, but we can catch it and use it.
1. Send out email to people who listened to the Avoid the Bp Magazine Coaching call.
2. Send coaching homework to my much loved clients.
3. Answer coaching inquiries.
4. Put Rudy Caseres interview on Soundcloud.
That is a basic list. I will keep you posted.
What is yours?
The minute I wrote the list I wanted to run away. Nothing new. But, I know I will not feel GOOD about myself if I put off this very important work. I am committed to getting things done, no matter how painful it feels.
Your list might look like this.
1. Put on regular clothes.
2. Get bills in one pile.
3. Organize bills.
4. Pay one bill and then the next if I have time.
My list looks like this on MANY days. Today, I’m a big more high functioning and hope to stick to my regular work.

Straight Talk about Hypersexuality in Children with Bipolar Disorder by Dimitri Papolous

From Bp Magazine. Here is one of the best posts I have read in a LONG time.  By Demitri Papolos, MD who wrote The Bipolar Child.
A very common symptom of bipolar disorder— hypersexuality — is one that particularly affects and disturbs the families of children who have the illness, and yet is rarely talked about.

By Demitri Papolos, MD


PrintHypersexuality in children is rarely openly discussed for two reasons: one is that sexuality in children (bipolar or not) is simply not spoken about in public; and the other, sadly, is that parents of hypersexual children are afraid to mention the subject. They are petrified that child protective service agencies will find out and wrongly assume that a hypersexual child is an over stimulated child, and that overstimulation stems from sexual abuse in the home. Few people—even the professionals at child protective service agencies— realize that hypersexualityis very common during the manic or hypomanic stages of bipolar disorder in adults and in children.

What is the definition of hypersexuality?

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary describes “hypersexual” as “unusually or excessively interested in or concerned with sexual activity.” It is an accepted fact that hypersexuality hypersexuality is a symptom of hypomania or mania in an adult who has bipolar disorder.

In children, the symptom may manifest as a fascination with private parts and an increase in self-stimulatory behaviors, a precocious interest in things of a sexual nature, and language laced with highly sexual words or phrases.

Click here to visit Bp Magazine and read Straight talk about Hypersexuality in Children with Bipolar. 

A note from Julie:

 If you have bipolar disorder, do you have hyper sexuality? This is a common symptom of mania, especially euphoric mania. I have struggled with hyper sexuality symptoms since age 17.
At what age did yours start and how do you manage them now?
I have worked on this for many years and finally have it under control. Imagine dealing with the symptoms as a child!
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