Julie’s Bestselling Bipolar Disorder Book is on Sale!

Big news! Amazon often does sales on bestselling books. Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder is currently on sale for the print copy. This is the book I recommend for all people who want to understand the basics of bipolar disorder.

This is the book where I introduced the idea of trigger management, symptoms lists, the bipolar conversation, time changes and how they affect bipolar disorder and how to create a health care TEAM.

It’s a great book for family members and health care professionals as well.

Click here to read more about Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder. 

Julie 

 

Do You Suffer from Self Stigma? I Did!

To find out, read the following symptoms:

1. “I am just going to keep my daughter at home until she is better. The hospital is a terrible place and I don’t want her to get labeled as bipolar.”

2. “I don’t want a psychiatric hospitalization to ruin his career chances.”

3. “I’m too strong to go to the hospital during an episode. Hospitals are for weaker people.”

4. “He is just having a tough time. His girlfriend left and wanting to die is simply a reaction to the breakup. He will be fine.”

5. “If you had been a better mother, our daughter would not be mentally ill.”

6. “I can’t let my daughter be locked up in some ward far away from home where they will pump her with mind numbing mediations and label her with some nasty illness that will be on her medical charts forever!”

7. “No son of mine has a mental illness. That doesn’t happen in our family. He will just have to deal with his problems and get on with life.”

8. “This is a drug problem. It’s not mental illness. Once he stops the drugs it will be ok.”

SELF STIGMA happens when our deepest, darkest fears and beliefs come to the surface during a crisis.

My former idea that going to the hospital is a weakness that would ruin my career is self stigma. I had to change. I looked at the strength it takes to check yourself into a psychiatric facility and I decided I want to be strong. Taking care of yourself is strong.

If I get too sick to take care of myself or if someone in my life tells me I need the hospital, I will go.

We talk so much about society and how it shames those of us with mental illness. I don’t buy into this idea. Our shame is internal in my opinion. Not having our picture on a social media page. Not liking or friending posts because people will know we went to a bipolar disorder site.

I want to change. I want to open my mind and tell the world that my mania, depression, psychosis, obsessions, anxiety, focus problems and general ‘odd thinking,’ are a part of my brain and not a reflection of my SELF.

I can change.

Join me!

Julie

The picture is me at age 16. The year my psychosis started.

What is it really like to work when you have active bipolar disorder, psychosis and anxiety?

 

I just sent out a newsletter. Here is what I experienced the entire time I was working:

1. Shortness of breath.
2. Felt like my heart was in my throat- literally- like a lump.
3. Dizziness
4. Worry
5. Guilt
6. Dread
7. Anger that I have to go through this CRAP
8. Lack of faith in what I was writing.
9. A great desire to simply quit what I was doing.
10. Zero belief I would reach my goal.

I have lived with this my entire life. It is my brain. I have a lot of mental health symptoms that simply show up when I work.

The secret is learning to work THROUGH them.

I sent that darn newsletter and it is beautiful. Who cares that I felt like I was dying while working on the project. I will keep going.

Julie

The Kickstarter for Hortensia and the Magical Brain is Live!

Hortensia and the Magical Brain introduces a therapeutic poetry technique that helps parents, caregivers and health care professionals lovingly talk with a child and create an open and healthy conversation around early onset mental health disorders.  The poems cover the mean and nasty, scary and suicidal, angry and elated, sad and over the top thoughts and behaviors children with mental health concerns regularly experience.

Let’s shine a light on these NORMAL mental health symptoms and teach kids that they are often a result of brain chemicals that can be fixed though lifestyle changes and if needed, medical help.

This is a beautifully crafted, hard back book that was created for kids whose brains aren’t always on track. Just like mine!

Please visit our Hortensia Kickstarter page to read more about this amazing book.  Pledges start at $1 and everyone receives a fun reward as a thank you!

Julie 

Why Can’t I Just Take a Walk When I’m Depressed?

I was recently asked why it’s so hard for us to get out of bed and just take a darn walk around the block when we are depressed. We KNOW we will feel better. Why can’t we do this, darn it!?

Here is my answer.

If your goal is to get out of bed and take a walk to feel better and get on with the day- the depressed brain will be overwhelmed and will often shut you down. Here is why.

When we are stable, we have NO idea how many steps go in to getting things done. We just do them.

The depressed brain is different. It breaks tasks into micro steps and gets easily overwhelmed. How many steps do you think are in the task you set for yourself in the morning to just take a darn walk to feel better? Without reading below, pick a number.

Here is how the depressed brain sees it:

1. Turn of alarm
2. Sit up
3. Put feel on the floor
4. Get out of bed
5. Go to the bathroom
6. Brush teeth
7. Wash face
8. Fix hair
9. Choose walking clothes
10. Put on walking shoes
11. Tie shoes
12. Walk into kitchen
13. Decide what to eat and drink
14. Prepare food and drink
15. Deicide where to walk
16. Decide how long to walk
17. Decide if I actually want to walk
18. Walk
19. If sweaty, take a shower
20. Put on another set of clothes
21. Fix hair

Get on with my day.

That is ridiculous if you think about it.

When depressed, we are not able to do the things that come naturally when we are stable. We don’t think about that list when we are well. We simply wake up, get ready and go walk.

The solution is to focus on the list and not the walking. When you do the first three things that it takes to actually get out of bed, praise yourself.

Good job! Today is one of ‘those days’ and getting out of bed is a big accomplishment.

Next, the bathroom stuff. Good job!

Next the clothes and shoes.

You get the idea.

To be honest- the walk is not the goal when you are depressed. The goal is to get to out your door so that walk can happen.

Then the walk is icing on the cake.

We can do this!

Julie

Three Signs You are Manic

1. Heightened artistic ability. The only way to know if this is mania is to compare your artistic ability to when you are stable. I NEVER draw when stable. I can barely do stick figures. The picture below definitely shows the manic brain at work.
 
2. You have ideas for big projects that you would normally find impossible. Stable people clean their rooms. When we are manic, we design a new organizing system for our room, go to the store and buy all of the supplies and then stay up all night building something that gives us a lot of pleasure. Everyone who sees this thinks, “What the heck is going on here? I have never seen her build anything in her life!”
 
3. Everything is sexual. Songs sound sexy. Men AND women look attractive. We really notice how people look. “Here hair is so shiny, I have to touch it!” “Look at those lips, I wonder what it would be like to kiss them?” And of course, the story of one of my manic episodes where I saw a man in Starbucks who had obviously just played a football match (soccer game) and I had the thought: “I’m going to get down on my hands and knees and LICK HIS CALVES!”
 
In the past, I would have given in to all of this EUPHORIC mania and fueled it with sex, booze and rock and roll. Now, I just prevent it.
 
I am MUCH happier.
 
What about you? When was your first manic or hypomanic episode? What did you think say or do?
 
Julie

 

 
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