Sometimes Walking Away is the Only Option

Situations that others can handle with a bit of stress are often impossible for me to handle.

Relationship issues that others can talk through, forget or forgive are not something I can live with as other people can.

Bipolar disorder tells me what I can and can’t handle and I have to listen to this illness if I want to stay as stable as possible.

I have left many relationships that my other friends could have tolerated.

I have said no to more work projects than those where I say yes.

I have walked away from book deals that were not going well. At great detriment to my finances.

That is life with bipolar. My goal is stability. This means I have to walk away from many situations that the stable people in my life can navigate with relative ease.

It is never in my favor to do this professionally or financially. Walking away always comes with significant personal loss.

I can accept this reality or fight it. I don’t get to work full time. I can’t be in relationships that are contentious. I can’t say yes to ‘great opportunities.’

Everything I do takes bipolar into account. Are there some people with bipolar who don’t have to live this way? Some. But the majority of us have to treat bipolar first.

The trade off isn’t fair. I hate it. But I am alive. Living with a serious mental health disorder isn’t fun. No chronic illness is fun!

But….the result is that I have at least 80% less mood swings than I used to. That is amazing!

The goal is to find peace in myself so that I can get on with life. I am SO much better now than in the past. The torment is gone. My relationships are solid. I do well on the work I am able to do.

The alternative is mood swings. I walk away when I have to. I choose the Stable Life.


The Duality of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder

It’s possible to love someone and be upset with someone.
It’s possible to love someone and be worried about someone.
It’s possible to love someone and be very, very angry at someone.
It’s possible to be two places at once with your emotions when you love someone with bipolar disorder.

Love is interesting. We can love those who harm us. We can love those who disappear. We can love those who refuse help. And we can love those who are too sick to receive our love.

Seeing the duality of loving someone with bipolar disorder allows you to have conflicting emotions.

Loving someone while also setting limits allows you to take care of yourself when a person is ill.

Saying no allows you to keep the peace in your own brain when the brain of a loved one is anything but peaceful.

Understanding that you don’t save the life of another person doesn’t mean you are abandoning someone you love.

I wrote Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder:Understanding and Helping Your Partner out of a place of love. I wrote it for all of the partners who went through and are going through what I experienced when my partner was so sick he said he didn’t love me, had never loved me and didn’t care if he ever saw me again.

I wrote Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder:  A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability for those of us with the illness, but it’s also for the family members, partners, friends and health care professionals who have to be on the receiving end of a mood swing!

You are not alone if today is hard. You are not alone if you love someone who can’t be there for YOU.

Decide what you need. Decide how you want to use your money. Decide the line that you will not cross to help someone who is ill. This is your life. Even parents have to make decisions that are painful. Partners have to make decisions that focus on the children sometimes at the expense of the partner who is ill.

Does this create guilt? Of course it does- Duality means that there are two emotions struggling with each other. Love and guilt. Love and anger. Love and frustration. Love and DONE.

Who are you in the journey of loving someone with a serious mental health disorder?

What role do you want in the life of someone who is ill?

Who can you talk to? What do you need?

Focus on yourself first. This gives you the strength of the multiple emotions everyone feels when bipolar is in the relationship.

And remember- treat bipolar first. Avoid The Bipolar Conversation. Ask for help from someone who has been there. Read Loving more than once. Highlight the ideas in Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder that you want to use in your relationships. Protect your kids from the bipolar gene by avoiding anti depressants and ADD meds in childhood. Learn all you can and take care of you!

We can live with duality if we know it’s normal part of loving someone with bipolar disorder.


If you’re a parent of a child with bipolar disorder, please join me on The Stable Table on Facebook. If you’re a partner, please join me on The Stable Bed. If you have bipolar and want to learn more on how to help those around you understand what YOU need, join me on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page!

How long does it take to ‘accept’ the bipolar disorder diagnosis? 🤔

This is a post from my Julie A. Fast Facebook page. I write about life with bipolar on this page daily……
    It’s amazing that we can use little pictures to capture life with bipolar mood swings!                
😀😕🤕😟😢😭….🤠😀🤪🤣🤬😈👿👹😕🤕😟😢😭….🤠😀🤪🤣🤬😈👿👹…    and on and on it goes!
A few thoughts on acceptance and bipolar. I know that many read my posts and never comment or like so as not to be seen on a bipolar page. That is fine with me. The fact that you are here is what matters. It means you are thinking about your brain.
It might help to know that I have never really ‘accepted’ this diagnosis. I am still shocked and upset that I have a serious mental illness. I am never used to it fully. I have had symptoms since age 16, was diagnosed at 31 and now in my mid 50s I still struggle with the reality of having bipolar.
Some never ‘accept’ the diagnosis at all. I find this disrupts lives and families. If you have mania and depression that you can chart, you have bipolar. Acceptance isn’t about whether you have the illness or not. Acceptance simply means you are open about the reality in your brain and ask for help to feel better.
Are your loved ones in pain because of your moods? Has someone asked you to go to the doctor, but you are scared to face the reality of having bipolar?
You are not alone. Do you think I like this awful, crappy, life changing AWFUL illness? Of course I don’t like it! But I do accept that there is something in my brain that affects my mind and body on a daily basis. Some days are easier to face than others. I still show up.
If you are on the fence about getting help and are reading this privately, it means you KNOW you need to make changes in order to feel better. Bipolar is real. It is life long. It never goes away. It is the diabetes of the brain! It is life changing whether you accept having the illness or not.
I feel better knowing why I get so sick. Calling it bipolar helps me. The diagnosis changed my chaotic life for the better. I want us to face reality. We are not in denial if we are on a page that is 100% devoted to bipolar. We are scared. We are confused. We are hoping that we don’t have the illness.
This is all normal. I encourage you to do what works for you to get help. Start with Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and go from there. It tells you exactly what to do if you have bipolar.
Saying yes to the diagnosis changes life for the better. Acceptance comes and goes, but asking for help is forever.


PS: No one can tell if you click on the link below. It shares a bit more about getting diagnosed with bipolar.

Bipolar and the Festive Season: How I Unplugged the Christmas Machine and Created Stable Holidays

I often write for the Gum on My Shoe website. Authors Martin Baker and Fran Houston created the site as a companion to their excellent book High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder.


Here is an excerpt from my latest article: How I Unplugged the Christmas Machine and Created Stable Holidays…

I love Christmas. I like the music and the colors. I’m listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack as I write this! I love the food and the snow and the lights on the houses. It is not a religious holiday for me, but one that I associate with really good childhood memories and a lot of family events.

And yet, there is also the bipolar disorder side of Christmas. Bipolar is an illness triggered by change, even if the change is positive. I write about triggers in my book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder. For all of my adult life I’ve loved Christmas, but once my bipolar started in my late teens, I kept getting sick at this time of year.

It took me years to figure out why. My bipolar diagnosis at age 31 helped, but I still wasn’t able to handle the up and down emotions during the holiday season here in the States. (Please feel free to substitute the holiday you choose to celebrate.)

Even after my diagnosis and creating my management system I lived with very serious depression and paranoia for many years. No matter how hard I tried I could not stay stable during the holidays. Each year I would promise myself that the time between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve — our biggest holiday celebrations in the United States — would not make me sick.

I usually failed……

Click here to read How I Unplugged the Christmas Machine and Created Stable Holidays!  We can have happy holidays. It takes a plan and it might take a few years of practice, but life gets better when we recognize what we need and take small steps to change the holidays for the better. We can do this!


Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Strategies for Partners ❤️

Partner of a person with bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder? Please join me on The Stable Bed. This is a group for partners and is based off the ideas in all of my books with a specific focus on Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder.
📘Loving was the first book on the market to speak to a partner of a person with a mental health disorder. It has sold over 400,000copies!
Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder will  help you better understand the illness and will also help you see that management is possible.
The image below is an excerpt from the book. It shows the practical advice included in the book. Chapter Six teaches you to create a What Works and What Doesn’t Work list for each mood swing. This is based off of the system you will find explained in detail in my Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder from my Bipolar Happens web page. The Health Cards and Loving go very well together.
🎭 Books are cheap. Their content is invaluable. I truly believe in the power of books to change our relationships for the better, especially when you love someone with bipolar!


Are You Ready for Your Next Bipolar Disorder Mood Swing?

💥 Are you ready for your next bipolar mood swing? Unless you are one of the few who can take meds and the mood swings stop, you will have to learn to deal with changes in the mood over a life time.
🌗 Bipolar is like insulin dependent diabetes. It is always there.
I have to remind MYSELF of this regularly. Nothing prepares me for the elation 😸 of euphoric mania, the violent thoughts and behaviors 😾 of dysphoric mania and the horrific sadness and hopelessness 😿 of my suicidal depression.
Nothing prepares me. Every single time I get sick, I have to remember to practice my own system.
My management skills have to be used – they don’t just pop into place when I get sick. I have to utilize what I know.
📘What is your plan to stay stable for the holidays? If you don’t have one yet, now is a GREAT time to read or reread Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder.
✍️ If you have the Health Cards, now is a GREAT time to make a Holiday Health Card.
If you have a child with bipolar, now is a great time to join me on The Stable Table, a private group on Facebook. If you have a partner with bipolar, now is a great time to join me on The Stable Bed. Health care professionals are invited to join both. I suggest Take Charge and then Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder for all parents and partners.
Planning and management are the answer. There is no cure. There IS relief to be had in management. We can shorten our mood swings and have great times in our lives that come from stability.
I want you to be READY for mood swings. When you’re ready with a plan that you can use even when you’re crying so hard you can’t see or you’re so high you think life is perfect, you can get back to stability and get on with life.
🌞🌝 My life is good. My bipolar is awful. Finding the balance between these two realities is how I stay afloat and how I stay positive in the midst of the whopper moods.

Julie 🦖