Does my Partner have Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is episodic. No exceptions.

Bipolar disorder is an illness and is not about personality.

Bipolar disorder can be managed.

Without management, people with bipolar disorder have stable relationships and then chaotic relationships.

If you add substances such as cannabis marijuana or stimulants, the person will be in and out of bipolar episodes consistently.

Start with Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder. It was the first book ever written for a partner of a person with bipolar disorder. It’s still the best in my opinion.

Julie

 

Bipolar Disorder and Video Games

🎮 Because the part of the brain used to play video games is different than the part of the brain used to complete a work project!

🦉Bipolar disorder deeply affects executive functioning. Executive functioning relates to the frontal lobe of the brain.

🕹Video games have a lot to do with intelligence of course, but they’re much more about reaction time and physical ability than executive functioning. It would be interesting to study if video game ability changes in terms of role-playing games vs. first person action games depending on what mood swing someone is experiencing.

If anyone has research on this, I’d love to see it. Or even a personal experience. Let me know what you think.

🏞 It’s the same reason we can scroll and watch videos and maybe even do short Instagram posts when we’re not well, but if you ask us to work, it feels impossible.

I struggle with this almost every day.

🏋🏿 How I manage my intense work struggles…

As a person with bipolar disorder, I have to train myself to work. My brain doesn’t allow me to work like a regular person as I am often in a mood swing.

When I’m stable, I don’t have intense work problems.

If your ability to play video games while not being able to work is episodic, it can definitely be bipolar disorder. Managing bipolar is the answer. You can still play video games, but you can work as well.

😝 Video games also create dopamine rewards that we rarely get from daily work.

Julie

Book recommendation: Get it Done When You’re Depressed Get it Done When You’re Depressed. This is what I use daily to somehow get this wonky brain to focus.

Euphoric Mania and Narcissism

 

A reader recently asked me about one of my Instagram posts called How Do I Know If I’m Euphoric Manic?

The image above is from the post. She writes:

Julie, You recently wrote somewhere that when you’re in a mania you are narcissistic, but you seem empathetic can you explain? 

Bev

Hello Bev!

Mania is the most narcissistic of all mood swings. Our frontal lobes are turned off and all we care about is our own pleasure. This creates the narcissistic behavior. But at the same time, euphoric manic is very upbeat, expansive and social. We give the appearance that we’re thinking of other people. In reality, we just want people to join us on our adventures.

– We don’t listen.
– We don’t do what others ask us to do.
– We focus on what our brain tells us to do and rarely think of the needs of others.
– We want to show people what we have accomplished.

But we will hug, kiss, appear interested, be very dramatic, sound supportive and be positive around others. It’s still all about us.

This is a typical bipolar disorder symptom. We know it’s bipolar as it is episodic and is in direct contrast of how a person would normally behavior. This narcissism ends when the mania ends. If a person you care about is always narcissistic, it’s not bipolar disorder.

I had to teach myself to say no to the good feelings I associate with euphoric mania. I am SO selfish and I harm others with my lack of empathy. I truly believe that ending the hold mania had on my life has changed my life for the better.

Thanks for your question!

Julie

➡️ Resources

Click here to read the original Instagram post.

Watch a video on bipolar mania and the frontal lobes from the wonderful Dr. Jay Carter.

Letter from a Euphoric Manic Person from Bp Magazine for Bipolar Disorder.

 

 

How I Manage Suicidal Thoughts

I would like to share the plan I use to manage and live with psychotic, suicidal thoughts.

My first suicidal thoughts were at age 19 after a breakup. I didn’t know I had bipolar and a psychotic disorder.

The thoughts were so shocking and so different than anything I had ever experienced, I simply assumed that everyone had them and I just didn’t know how to manage it very well.

That shows you how not talking about suicidal thoughts in the general public keeps so many of us in the dark when it comes to the workings of our brains.

I remember all of my suicidal episodes. It is such a profound experience that a person can’t understand it unless they’ve been through it.

I manage these thoughts through the plan I use in my books:

1️⃣I know exactly what my suicidal thoughts say to me. They really don’t change.

2️⃣ As soon as they show up, I have a plan ready that includes talking back to the suicidal thoughts, checking my meds and asking for help if needed.

3️⃣ When I say we can learn to live with suicidal thoughts, this doesn’t mean that I don’t try every day to prevent them. But when they show up, especially accompanied by psychosis, I am ready for them.

What if we approach suicidal thoughts in the same way we approach a diabetic crisis?

I have a friend with insulin dependent diabetes and watched her go through an insulin crisis while she was sitting in front of me.

Her lips went gray. She started to pass out. But during this whole thing she was telling me what she needed. Her husband was in the other room. I called for him and he did exactly what they do every time this happens. They had a plan.

It’s no different when someone with bipolar disorder or depression has suicidal thoughts.

Our brain chemistry isn’t working. These thoughts are normal when we’re sick and if we have a managementment plan in place we can tolerate and manage the thoughts. Tolerating means feeling the pain and knowing it is illness.

I know the pain and fear of suicidal episodes. I manage them in the same way I manage all bipolar symptoms.

We can do this.

Julie

Further reading:  Three Strategies to Talk with Kids About Suicidal Thoughts from Psychology Today.

 

Bipolar Disorder and Manic Hypersexuality

I used to think bipolar hypersexuality was normal. I used to think it was fun.

My first sexual feelings were during a mania. I was in my teens! I didn’t know any better. It was just so easy to meet guys! I was fearless. Who wouldn’t want to be fearless sexually!?

Now I know better.

– Cheating on a man who loved me
– Herpes
– Pregnancy scares
– Dangerous situations involving the police
– Incredibly inappropriate PREDATORY sexual behavior
– Waking up in a different CITY with a man I didn’t know
– Unbelievable drinking binges

Extreme confusion once it ended and the depression started!!

Incredible shame and a desperate search for help from therapists.

No one helped me. It was the 80s and 90s!

I was manic off and on from age 17 until 31 when I was finally diagnosed. At the time, I was married to an incredible man who was diagnosed with bipolar one the year before. (This is why I wrote Loving!)

No one taught me anything about mania management. Not one thing. So I created the plan that’s in my books.

It took me years of using this plan to finally end the hold bipolar hyper sexuality had on my life.

Today? I crave it sometimes, but I never allow it. When it shows up, I use my system. I am celibate and have been since the end of my last relationship.

Anything goes with bipolar hypersexuality.

You will sleep with anyone.

We have to prevent the mania to end the hold hypersexuality has on our lives.

Your thoughts?

Julie

Further Reading: Bipolar, Hypersexual and Celibate from Psychology Today. Bipolar, Hypersexual and Celibate from Psychology Today.

Just Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder?

I have an Instagram account where I focus on bipolar basics. You can find me @JulieFast.

Here is a recent post:

***

Just diagnosed with bipolar? I remember every moment of my diagnosis.

What has it been like for you?

Read over my strategies and let me know if they address what you’re going through.

The bipolar diagnosis saved my life. There is NO way I would still be here if I didn’t finally get diagnosed, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy!!

Life is messy. You can be thankful for the diagnosis, hate it and want to forget it… all while getting help. Let yourself be complex!

Julie