Bipolar Obsessions and Compulsions

Is he going to call back?

Is she ignoring me?

What time are we meeting? Why isn’t anyone telling me! Are they avoiding me?

I need more information. Why doesn’t someone tell me what is happening?

This thinking can be so physically painful, the body compensates with physical action.

– Compulsively checking social media or your phone.

– Calling and leaving more than one message.

– Continually texting…  and really upsetting stable people.

Uncertainty is painful for the bipolar brain. We want answers NOW! in order to feel better. If we can’t get the answers, our bodies choose repetitive behaviors as a calming tool.

This doesn’t work!

If obsessive behaviors are a part of your life, there is help.

I love the work of Don Miguel Ruiz and his book The Four Agreements. It changed my life.

Dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT) is an excellent tool for managing obsessions that lead to compulsive behaviors.

Compulsions harm. They hurt us and the people around us hate them. We overwhelm others with our worries   

We can learn to manage uncertainty internally



Three Signs of Bipolar Disorder

We spend too much time talking about depression in bipolar disorder and not enough time talking about mania.

Bipolar disorder is a mania illness. Yes, we have depression and it can be awful, but it’s mania that gives us the most problems. It’s the hardest mood swing to treat and the hardest to prevent.

if you’re wondering about yourself or someone you care about regarding bipolar disorder, look for signs of mania, not depression.

Mania is all about energy. The energy can feel good (euphoric) or bad (dysphoric), but it always will be an increase in energy that’s not necessarily related to what’s going on in life.

I have thousands of blog posts, interviews, videos and articles online about mania. You can simply type in your question along with my name and something will pop up.

Why is this so important? Because bipolar depression is completely linked to mania. When we manage mania, we manage depression. Not the other way around.



Bipolar Depression is a Succubus

I never thought I would live past age 50. I’ve had relentless, suicidal, psychotic depression since age 19. It plagued me. No matter how hard I tried to get rid of it, the depression just kept on dogging me.

Many loving relationships. Two marriages. Four colleges. Japan. Hawaii. Hong Kong. France. England and eventually China.

That damn depression would not let me be. Meds, for a myriad of reasons didn’t work for me. One day I realized that I would have to LIVE with this depression in order to survive this depression.

I created a plan in 1998 and have used it every day since to keep myself alive. It’s hard work, but it works.

A few minutes ago, a big, freaking bucket of depression dumped itself on my head. NOTHING is wrong. It is simply the chemicals in my brain.

I have genetic depression. It’s no different than diabetes. My brain doesn’t work. It is wonky. It creates emotions and thoughts that feel real, but they are NOT.

When it dumped on me a few minutes ago, I said,”Oh $&! That feels awful!” I cried a bit and reminded myself that I have bipolar and it has been VERY active during this pandemic. I will probably have a few suicidal thoughts later as this is the typical pattern.

My depression is about 20% of what it used to be. I use the ideas in Take Charge and Get it Done and I found a med that works. Meds alone are not enough.

The depression is terrible, but I have taught myself to FIGHT the unreal feelings and thoughts of this succubus illness.

It takes a lot of my energy and so much fo my time, but I choose a life with a bucket of depression once in a while than a life where I was basically swimming in depression for 20 years.

You can survive depression. We can do this.

I have been here before and I will be here again. It is simply an illness.



Ideas to Sleep Better with Bipolar

I often do question sessions on my Julie Fast Instagram.  Here’s a post on how to sleep better when you have bipolar disorder:

Bipolar is basically a sleep disorder.

Managing sleep is the number one way to manage this illness. Sleep is nature’s medicine.

Managing sleep requires consistency. I know that what I’m about to say is hard to hear… but we don’t get to manage sleep on some nights, party on other nights and stay up gaming the rest and expect ourselves to manage bipolar. That’s simply not how it works.

Practice good sleep behaviors every night. You’ll see an enormous difference. Yes, it’s a trade off. No, it’s not fair. But it’s our life.

Sleep podcasts are the greatest thing ever! I use the Sleep with Me Podcast Sleep with Me Podcast every night. You can also try Moshi Sleep  Moshi Sleep  

If you’re having sleep problems, check your meds. Antidepressants are not indicated for bipolar and the majority of them will cause problems. ADD meds cause problems. But most importantly, we have trouble with hypnotics such as Ambien and many over-the-counter sleep products as they can make us slightly psychotic while sleeping. Once again, not fair! But our reality. And of course, NO caffeine until the sleep is figured out. Damn! I know!

Learn about the circadian rhythm. Bipolar reacts greatly to time changes. This is why travel is so hard for us. When I say go to bed on the same day you woke up, this means following the body‘s natural sleep rhythm. We simply do better staying up during daylight and going to sleep at night. It has to do with the balance of melatonin and serotonin.

I have many articles online about sleep and bipolar disorder. In order to manage the illness, I suggest starting with.Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder.

Never give up on getting better sleep. I’m still going at it 25 years in. I’ve had to give up a lot to manage my sleep. but it has created much more bipolar stability.

Please join me on Instagram





Do People with Bipolar Need Meds?

I need daily meds for suicidal depression. Without them, life is very hard. I function and get on with my life, but I suffer. My suicidal depression is separate from my general bipolar depression.

I need lithium orotate for mania that I can’t control on my own.

I can’t tolerate antipsychotic medication, but would take it if I could. I manage my psychosis through the plan in my books.

Medications work. People who are anti medications usually have a personal agenda or have confused medication efficacy with side effects.

The real problem with medications is how they affect the physical body. This is where we need to focus.

My plan is as follows:

1. Reduce my symptoms using the ideas in my books through intense lifestyle changes that then become a norm in my life.

2. Use meds for symptoms I can’t manage on my own. In terms of suicidal thoughts, mine are consistently manufactured by my brain, so I need the meds. The mania is greatly affected by lifestyle. If I keep things as calm as possible, I rarely need lithium.

3.  I need sleep meds every night.

Your medication regime will look different from mine. If we know that medication side effects are the biggest problem with psych meds, doesn’t it make sense to manage symptoms ourselves and then take as few meds as possible!?

We can prevent episodes and reduce side effects using this model.

At the same time, we need to encourage medication manufacturers to focus on side effects. I can tell you from experience that this is not their biggest concern.

Life with bipolar is usually too hard to live without some medical help. Medications are dynamic. What you need now may be different in the future.


Kanye and Kim: What Can a Family or Partner Do When Someone is Sick with Bipolar Disorder?

Click on the image to play the video on the AM Northwest Website.

I did an interview with AM Northwest on Kanye West, bipolar disorder and what family members and partners can do to help a loved one who has untreated mental illness. Make sure you read underneath the video as they actually put my show notes online. I am impressed!

The questions were thoughtful and I think we can all raise a cheer for the focus on family and partner rights when a loved one is ill. I don’t presume to speak for Kanye West or Kim Kardashian, but do believe their situation shows the world what all of us with a loved one who has untreated serious mental illness experience.