What is a Bipolar Mixed or Dysphoric Manic Episode?


Today was a typical #bipolar roller coaster. It started with a catatonic #depression this morning, lifted for a few hours and allowed me to work on an article without too much stress, moved into a simple depression and then started with a bit of #psychosis this afternoon. By 7 PM, I felt a mood boost that wasn’t exactly pleasant, but it was creative. This is the mania coming into the mix.
This is why what I’m experiencing is called a MIXED episode or dysphoric mania. It is energized depression that is very physically and mentally uncomfortable.
I also live with psychosis and experienced olfactory delusions and hallucinations for a large part of the afternoon. This means that when I smell something unpleasant I am positive it comes from my own body- a delusion as I am ridiculously clean. Or, I will smell something that isn’t there which is the true definition of a hallucination. These are symptoms of my psychotic disorder and are a regular symptoms of schizophrenia. I don’t have schizophrenia, but I’m close to it on the spectrum.
What a life!
My goal is to work though my mood swings while continuing to do the work I love. This means finding ways to accept that I am in a mood swing while not allowing it to dominate my life.
Here are my suggestions on how we can live with our mood swings without letting them take over.
1. Acknowledge them and TREAT BIPOLAR FIRST. If I am not better by tomorrow, I will let my nurse practitioner Julie Foster of Pohala Clinic – A Place of Healing know and ask for help. We often do a homeopathic shot or I up my lithium orotate dose. Checking in with her is enormously helpful. I hope you have a health care professional who care for you as she does her clients. I also check in with her regarding my sleep.
2. Turn the mood swing into something useful. I wrote an article about unipolar and bipolar depression as well as a few blogs about being ill. This allows me to use my creative energy for work and not something that takes me on a very unneeded tangent- such as starting a new project!
3. Create something artistic. I am not an artist. I am teaching myself to express myself visually by using all of the free apps at our fingertips today. My only rule for myself is that everything I do has a message of hope and teaches some form of bipolar management.
The image on this post is a visual representation of the thoughts I’m having while looking absolutely NORMAL. I know these thoughts from my Health Cards lists. They are not the real me. Oh, I always hear a lot about how uneven my eyebrows are on camera! But that is actually true, so I can’t call that a bipolar thought.
PSS: This is a reposting of a Facebook post. Please join me on my Facebook pages.
My Julie A. Fast Facebook page is for those of us with the illness and people who want to know more about daily life with bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, psychosis, anxiety, irritation and anger, focus problems and more!
Julie A. Fast Books is my page for those of you who read and use the management plan explained in Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Get it Done When You’re Depressed and The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder.
The Stable Bed is my closed page for partners of people with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder.
The Stable Table is a closed page for family, friends and health care professionals who want to learn more about bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder management.

When Bipolar and Psychosis Mess up Friendships We Have to Be Honest About Our Feelings

I love doing guest blogs for helpful website. The Gum on My Shoe website was created by Martin Baker and Fran Houston to highlight the needs of friends who care about someone with bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. I love their book High Tide, Low Tide: A Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder and I appreciate how they allow me to be brutally honest about my life with bipolar and how it affects friendships.

My latest post, How to Gently and Kindly Talk with a Friend About Difficult Bipolar Symptoms talks about the other side of the bipolar friendship discussion. MY friendships with people who have serious mental illness.

Here is the beginning of the article:

“As friends of people with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder we want to be understanding and kind regarding the struggles people with serious mental illness face. But — and it is a very big BUT — there is a line to be drawn in terms of what you as a friend can handle, especially if the person’s symptoms are active.

I see this from both sides. I have bipolar disorder and a psychotic disorder myself. I know what the symptoms can do to our minds, and ultimately how they can affect our friendships. I have lost or left many relationships with people who have untreated mental health symptoms. On one occasion a friend with schizoaffective disorder decided that I had stolen one of her ideas. She texted me at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night and said:

I am very upset with you! I just saw your latest blog post and you’re using my ideas in this post and this is not cool. I need you to take it down and print a retraction!

Another time, a friend with bipolar one decided that he wanted to live the manic life and went off all meds, saying:

I am finally free to live the life I have always wanted!

Let’s look at these situations in more detail…”

Click here to read the rest of How to Gently and Kindly Talk with a Friend About Difficult Bipolar Symptoms from Gum on My Shoe.


Help for Catatonic Depression: You can get things done!


Today is a cationic #depression day. I woke up with an inability to make decisions. Where should I work? Coffee shop? Hotel lobby? At home? What work do I need to do? These questions run through my head and I DON’T HAVE ANSWERS! Instead, my #bipolar brain just tells me that my decisions are always wrong and that nothing will work. I know how to Get It Done When I’m Depressed! Darn it!

I said to my mom,

“I can’t make a decision. Please decide where I should sit and work.”

She chose the hotel lobby at the Monaco in downtown Portland and here I am.

Working! From not moving to working. It won’t be an easy day, but it’s won’t be a lost day. If you have catatonic, non moving, unable to make a decision depression, ask someone to make a decision for you. Then simply do what they suggest. It will NOT feel good. Do it anyway. I use this book on a daily basis. It is the well me talking to the ill me. If you have depression, Get it Done will help you get through your day.


We can do this!


Do You Really Want Help for Bipolar Mania?

I ask this question honestly. The truth is that many of us LOVE our mania, at least we love the euphoric kind, but in reality, mania represents illness in the same way that depression represents illness.

The following is a list of videos that will teach you about the tricks of mania. If you’re a parent, partner or health care professional, learning how mania operates is essential. We WILL seem better to you when manic. Don’t be fooled.

If you have bipolar and want to find a way to end the depression, but keep the mania… well, that is the same thing as saying, I’m going to stop taking downers, but I want to keep taking uppers! Sorry.

Mania is illness, even when it feels good.

Here are a few videos on managing mania:

Bp Magazine: The Lies Bipolar Tells Me—Uncovering the Truth

Bp Magazine: What I’ve Learned from Being ‘Tricked’ by Bipolar Mania


Webinar from the International Bipolar Foundation:  The Dangers of Loving Euphoric Mania.


Help for Anxiety during Big Events

What #anxiety and #OCD feel like and how we can manage these symptoms. People with #bipolar can have these symptoms when #manic or #deprressed, but if we have them when stable, they are a separate anxiety problem that is not connected to bipolar. Today, I’ll tell the story of how I handle my severe event anxiety- as a person who markets events as part of my job!
I will start with a story. It’s the Super Bowl today. I did the marketing for my side job and we have had a lot of attention at the pub where I work. It’s a soccer bar ⚽️⚽️⚽️ and we still got mention in the media as a great place to watch the Super Bowl. I and the owner, who is a wonderful work partner did a great job of marketing.
Because of this, I started to get worried that I WOULD NOT HAVE A TABLE FOR MYSELF, MY FAMILY AND MY FRIENDS.
These thoughts started three days ago and would not stop.
“Julie, you are going to get there and every single table will be taken and you will have two stand and there will be no tables and your friends will have to stand and you will not have fun and your back will hurt and you will not have a good time and you need to make sure you have a table and…😲😲😲
..you get the idea. This is called OBSESSING. It is the O in Ocd. I hate it. This obsessing has been in my life since my late teens. I don’t remember it arriving until I was about 18.
My Health Cards (the system I use to chart my symptoms) are filled with lists of what my anxious mind says to me when I have to go to an event and I am worried about a seat. It was so bad for many years that events were ruined and eventually I stopped going. It’s important to note that this is an illness and my thoughts are the symptoms. My thoughts have not changed in 30 years.
It is my goal and my job to work around my anxiety symptoms so that I can get on with life and go to events. I want to share with you how I handle this terrible and often life wrecking anxiety so that I can go out and do things like a regular person.
1. I ASK FOR SPECIFIC HELP: I have allies. I simply have to tell people about these symptoms and ask for help. The kind and amazing owner of the pub where I market is understanding. I can tell her the truth. I say, “This makes no sense, but as always happens, my worries about having a seat are getting in the way of my sleep and my ability to enjoy marketing the Super Bowl. Can I please reserve a table at noon so that I can come early and calm down?”
Of course she said yes.
But my brain, my ridiculous OCD brain doesn’t care. This started…
“She is out of town and no one at the pub will remember what to do. Julie, you are going to get there and all of the tables will be filled and you will not have a table and you will have to fight with someone and say- but it was reserved for me! I am not lying and then everyone will be upset… and”
Really! This is so freaking ridiculous. But, it is what my brain does, so I texted my patient boss again and said, “I am confirming that I will be there at noon.” She knows me and said, “Julie, the staff knows you are coming and the table will be reserved.”
Please know that none of this was weird. I simply stated what I needed once and then to calm myself a bit more, I asked again and then I let it go. I don’t need more than two assurances. That is not normal and not good for relationships.
My first piece of advice if you go through this as well is to yes, ask for help and ask for reassurance, but not more than twice.
Twice is ENOUGH.
People can’t assure you more than twice and it’s not natural to keep asking someone something they have already told you. With step one out of the way, it is now time for me to take over and deal with the Ocd myself.
2. I USE COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY TECHNIQUES: CBT works very well with anxiety. I use it every minute while dealing with the obsessive thinking. ALL obsessions are answered back in my brain with reasonable FACTS. I love the work of David Burns. His book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy changed my life. Here is how it works.
My brain in a loop: “Julie, there will be people at the table and you will have to fight them to get your place!”
My CBT response: “Julie, you just looked at the schedule for the pub. There is nothing happening at noon and no one comes to a Super Bowl party three hours in advance. You will simply have to trust that the people who know that you are coming have put up a reserved spot. Even if there are a million people there, it is a pub and people respect Reserved signs. So, say no to these thoughts. They are not based in any reality. And even if they were, have you ever not had a seat? The answer is no. You will always find a place to sit. You always do. Your brain is not being reasonable.”
This goes on all day. I counter act every single unreasonable thought about this seating situation. And by the way- if you are laughing at how dumb all of this is, I agree. From the outside looking in, anxiety is incredibly DUMB. But oh, please believe me, it is feels so real and we have to fight it or it will take over.
3. I FOCUS ON SLEEP: Anxiety is a sleep wrecker. Last night, I truly wanted to sleep without using so many sleep meds, but it was not a good night to try this. I simply could not sleep. So at 2 AM, I finally took my meds. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I know that this kind of anxiety will rob me of sleep and I truly should have just taken my regular sleep meds. I can try tonight to sleep without my meds. This meant I had to sleep in and I missed a soccer match I really wanted to watch. That is the trade off for health.
4. I GO EARLY: There is nothing wrong with getting to a place early if it’s possible. It calms the nerves and lets you be at peace before an event starts. I do NOT ask others to come early with me. This is my battle to fight. (Yes, I use these terms, others might say something like this is my path to follow or my mind to calm! I FIGHT!) I get here early and work if I can and I talk with people and I have my table and all will be well.
Nothing about anxiety is normal in the big picture world we have to live in. Anxiety is a small, tight, ball of obsession that gets in our brain and prevents us from living our lives. Using this system works well for me.
1. Ask for help,
2. Use CBT all day.
3. Focus on sleep.
4. Go early.
It is not always possible, but in most situations it works.
If anxiety is keeping you from living life, please get help. Your family, pets, coworkers and health care professionals want you to get out in the world.
You will know if your anxiety is trigger by an event if the anxiety is completely gone once you are safely at the event and then the anxiety thoughts about the event are gone once the event is done. Anxiety is an illness. It can be managed, treated and prevented.


Let’s Use Epigenetics Theory to End to Bipolar Disorder in Future Generations

#Epigenetic and the hope of ending #genetic illness. I hope you will read and comment on my latest article as it might be the most important work I have ever done. I know, that sounds a bit melodramatic, but after reading this, let me know if you feel the same. I believe we can END the devastating effects bipolar has on generations of a family.

The start is learning about #epigenetics.

It is my goal to teach family members, partners and health care professionals the substances such as SSRI antidepressants that are thought to turn on the bipolar gene group- or maybe there is one mania gene!

 If we make one simple change- do NOT prescribe SSRI drugs where there is known bipolar in the family tree (unless it is an emergency) and instead use treatment and management skills for #depression that do not lead to mania.

If you are a health care professional, especially a family practitioner, please know that the use of SSRI drugs in children of people with bipolar disorder is directly linked to turning on bipolar disorder mania.

Find other methods to help people with depression. We can do this if we all work together.

Let’s end bipolar disorder in the next generations.


Click here to read the Health Central Article What is Epigenetics Theory?