I’ve had enough of comments that knock my belief that there are situations where people with bipolar disorder desperately need medications.

As many of you know, I wrote my first book, Bipolar Happens! in 1998. I then wrote the Health Cards- a treatment plan that works with or without medications- and then Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and Get it Done When You’re Depressed. ALL of these books are based on the idea that medications are ONE part of bipolar disorder management. Not the end all and be all- but an integral piece of the puzzle, especially for those of use who are unlucky enough to have chronic, never ending mood swings.

To attack someone for using medications is sinister.

What can the motive for this behavior possibly be? Are these people writing MS and diabetes websites and telling people they should not take medications? Are they attacking breast cancer treatment in the same way? It ASTOUNDS me that some people believe that attacking a person for their use of medications when needed is actually helping anyone.

I’ve worked as a coach for family members and partners of people with bipolar disorder for five years now. I hear the horror stories that few people hear. Adult children living at home, refusing help and high jacking the parents’ house due to untreated bipolar disorder- and then, when even the most modest of medication regime is introduced, the child gets out of the room, goes to school or work- gets off the video games and the drugs and the drinking and says- thank you for believing in me.  Partners in loving and kind relationships who wake up one day to a partner who has so profoundly changed during a manic episode that the police have to be called.  In almost all of these situations- the person has been on meds that worked and then gone off meds with the result being a dangerous and life threatening mood swing.  Where do anti medication people stand when a parent or partner is crying in desperation because their loved one can’t see they are ill?

How can this possibly be a bad thing? Enough I say! No more- my stance is 100% clear and always has been. I don’t like having to take medications- and I’ve gone for very, very long periods where I didn’t take them- but just this time last year they saved my life.

I wish I could take them every day and not have to use the Health Cards every minute in order to just get out of bed.

If you do not believe in medications for bipolar disorder, THEN DON’T TAKE THEM!

It’s pretty simple. I take them when needed and will always support their use if I feel they will help a person have a productive life. If you are someone who wants to push a zero medication agenda, there are plenty of places- and conferences and blogs and websites where you can do so- just know that my sites are not the place to push any agenda. I will no longer post them on this site as I feel they are detrimental to those who are looking for help. I believe in BALANCE.

 I’m open to constructive criticism and positive reinforcement. As I write this, I’m thinking of my dear friend Gayathri Ramprasad-  colleague, executive director of AHSA international and the author of Shadows in the Sun- the first book ever written by an Asian woman that openly discusses depression, anxiety and suicide- I’m on the board of ASHA. Gayathri doesn’t take medications on a daily basis. I have many friends who choose to manage their mental health disorders with natural treatments- but let me be very, very honest here.

I don’t know of ANYONE with bipolar disorder who has not needed medications at some point in order to survive.

I’ve taken the so-called high road for over ten years and I’m done. I will not tolerate, accept or condone any more internet negativity from anyone- anywhere. regarding the use of medications when needed- in moderation- with open eyes- for people with bipolar disorder.  If you support a similar policy- then feel free to be vocal about it. We must take the internet back from trolls- from the negative and unhelpful- from those who accuse and mock and degrade those who are simply trying to get better. Enough I say- and onward to a more positive mental health internet!


100% Lesbian.. Except When Manic: A Guest Blog from Selina Glater

Selina Glater 2014 pic

100% Lesbian, Except When Manic by Selina Glater

   It seems that sexual orientation doesn’t change. You either know that you are heterosexual, or that you are gay, or that you might be both. In my opinion, I believe we are hard wired in our sexual orientation. I know that I’m a lesbian, but with one relatively simple wrinkle.

I’m also an individual with bipolar disorder.

Double whammy you say. You had better believe that it is! When I’m manic, I do many outlandish things such as talking too rapidly, spending more money than I have, and  you guessed it,  jumping into bed with men.

Normally, the idea of having sex with men is not exactly a turn on, but when manic all of my so called normal sexual tendencies as a lesbian fly out the window. This is often normal behavior for someone who is manic. So, if you consider yourself a heterosexual person, but you slept with someone of the same sex when you were manic, know that you’re just responding to the manic chatter in your head.

Mania can change how we perceive things. But, don’t get caught thinking that your sexual identity is dependent on your behavior during mania. It just isn’t so!



A note from Julie: Here’s a nicely detailed bio of the amazing Selina! 

Selina and I are working together on her coaching practice.  I will add more details once her practice is open for new clients. She works with the community she writes about in this funny, but realistic blog. Please leave any comments you have in the comments section below and I will make sure she receives them. She can also answer any questions you have.  If you would like more information about her upcoming coaching practice, please let me know as well.  Selina and I met when I was the keynote speaker for the Monterey County Mental Health Commission Fiesta of Hope Dinner in California. Lucky me!

*** BIO ***

Selina I. Glater is a mental health advocate, writer, speaker, and coach. She is also a lesbian who advocates for LGBT rights. Selina lives with bipolar disorder daily and understands the difficulties that people with mental illness face first hand. 

She is also a registered music therapist and psychiatric rehabilitation therapist.

Selina was the first consumer to be hired as the Coordinator of Self Help and Advocacy for Santa Barbara County Mental Health Services. She also served as the Director of Consumer Advocacy and Outreach for Sanctuary Psychiatric Centers of Santa Barbara. In 1994,  Selina was inducted into the California Governor’s Hall of Fame for People with Disabilities. She is a former governor’s appointee to the California State Mental Health Planning Council and currently serves as a Mental Health Commissioner on the Monterey County Mental Health Commission.

Selina is the annual Master of Ceremonies for the popular, and stigma busting Fiesta of Hope dinner that highlights individuals with mental illness and their contributions to the community. This event is sponsored by the Monterey County Mental Health Commission. Selina is currently working on a memoir of her experiences with bipolar disorder entitled, “The Bipolar Mistress.” She is also a gifted violinist and has won many awards for her performances. She has a B.A. Degree from Pepperdine University where she attended on a full music scholarship. Selina also has a M.A. Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she won a university wide teaching award for excellence in education. She lives in Monterey, California with her beautiful Burmese cat, Miss Ruthie. Selina, and her partner Cheryl, have been together for 12 years.


My Bp Magazine Blog: An Interview with Sherry Joiner. What is the Difference between Bipolar Disorder and Schizo-affective Disorder?

julie sherry 12.13

Do you know the difference between bipolar disorder and schizo-affective disorder?

I interviewed Sherry Joiner, the author of Sherry Goes Sane: Living a Life with Schizo Affective Disorder and asked her to explain the difference and tell us more about her life with the illness.


Sherry and I met at a writer’s meeting many years ago. She told me she wanted to write a book about living with schizoaffective disorder. Years later I spoke at a bipolar disorder support group. I looked up and there she was. She said, “Guess what Julie! I wrote my book!”   We are now close friends. I asked her about the differences between schizo affective disorder and bipolar disorder in part one of our interview.

Click here to visit the BP Magazine blog and read more!


flower painting details small

What the BipolarHappens.com Blog is… and What the BipolarHappens.com Blog isn’t…

No_Trolls_allowed_by_hawanjaWhy has the internet become a place where we think it’s ok to write inflammatory comments as though there is not another human being on the other side who will read them, take them in and have to answer them?

It’s a two way interaction.  I have read every comment on this blog for 10 years- and most have been insightful and thoughtful. Then there are those that are accusatory and inflammatory. I used to just post them and let readers decide to listen or not, but something in me has changed. I realize that we need to take more responsibility for what we write on the web and for making sure we stop others who attack people for their mental health opinions.

This is a mental health site that focuses on bipolar disorder and depression, though it also talks about mental health disorders in general in many posts. It’s for anyone affected by bipolar disorder including those with the illness and those who care about someone with bipolar disorder including health care professionals.

I will post any and all comments that state opinions different from my own- that is the spice of life!

But if there is a comment that gets accusatory or too personal- I will address this when I post the comment. You can see I have done so in the last few minutes under my most recent post comments.

I live with this illness 24 hours a day- yes- I wake up with it in the middle of the night just like many of us do. I am affected by what people say and can usually brush it off- as I have done since starting BipolarHappens.com in 2002. But I will not- and nor should you tolerate attacks on myself or my readers.  (Or on anything you post on the site.) It’s time for us to take back control of our websites and encourage constructive criticism and lively discussion.  This is a site for those who want to learn more about bipolar disorder, read more about my life and the lives of others affected by the illness and discover what treatments and management plans are available in my books.  I also support the work of others as you can see in the wonderful guest blog section.

But from this moment forward,  he Bipolar Happens.com blog will be devoted to the positive, lively and educational promotion of information on this illness- that the reader can then choose to use or pass by. 

I live with bipolar every day- maybe you do as well. We need a place to go for hope, healing and fun stories amidst all the turmoil this illness can bring.

I hope you enjoy the website and always feel free to leave your opinion in the spirit of change, growth and understanding!



Bipolar disorder… tips for making it through the tough days.

bad day not bad lifeOh boy can this illness make a person feel sick.  That is just a fact. I guess you can change that sentence around-  We can all get sick and tired of having this illness. One thing I want to do on this blog is to encourage people to keep going and going even when the days are really tough. One good thing about bipolar disorder is that it’s episodic- that means mood swings end. You can get better. Sometimes it takes  longer than expected- but life can be stable.

I talk a lot about depression as that is what I experience the most- some of my friends talk more about the agitated mania or the psychosis they live with, sometimes for a long stretch of time. I have a friend who has the type of bipolar disorder that is 90% mania.  It truly is a spectrum!

Today is a good day because I can get work done- today is a good day becuase I have an appointment with Julie Foster, my excellent nurse practitioner. We are going to tackle my latest sleeping issues. Today is a good day because I’m out and about and I get to do my coaching calls tonight.  By the way, I’ve been depressed for a  few days, so finding the positives isn’t easy.

It’s important to focus on the good stuff on the days when you’re having a hard time- even if it’s only the small things!


PS: At least there isn’t a goat in your kitchen! HEHE


goat girl

Do you Have a Child with Bipolar Disorder? Here is a must read article for parents of children with bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder changes a child’s behavior and
this changes your entire family.

Parents often take in an adult child with bipolar disorder and provide a safe environment but the child is not always cooperative.  Chaos can be the result. If you are in this situation The High Jacked House article is for you.  Simply click on the link below. It will pop up a PDF file that you can then save to your computer. Feel free to use this article to educate anyone in the family as well as health care professionals. I’ve learned a lot during my years as a family coach. This article reflects the patterns I see in many households. I know you will find it interesting!


The High Jacked House by Julie A. Fast

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