Bipolar Disorder and Relationships: When I have to ask myself, should I stay or should I go……..

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My answer is completely dependent on how the other person is affecting my bipolar disorder!

I’m at a cafe answering my coaching inquiries and heard these song lyrics:

Loving you was never good for me.

I’ve lived in that world with a few men and I’m very happy to say that I stopped the behavior 100%.  I learned that having someone in my life who makes my bipolar disorder worse isn’t an option.



I have a zero tolerance policy for ANYONE who willingly makes my bipolar disorder worse. It’s not about them-  I don’t control the behavior of others, but I sure as heck can decide to stay or go.

I made the decision to GO! GO! GO! when my bipolar disorder is triggered.

This was years ago and I’m happy and stable now. So much of my bipolar disorder was about my behavior around romantic relationships. When I removed the equation, I started to heal and became more stable.

You can do the same. Should I stay or should I go is another great song lyric. Life became so simple for me when I left the people who hurt me. Life is even better now that I don’t let them into my life at all!


Guest Blogger Tara Rolstad: Parenting Children with Mental Health Disorders. It Gets Better!

Tara book signing 2 13 15(Note from Julie: Tara and Dave’s book, No Really, We Want You to Laugh: Mental Illness and Stand Up Comedy Transforming Lives was just nominated for an independent book award.)

Unique, alone, and never-ending.

When I started my journey seven years ago walking alongside family members who lived with mental illness, I was pretty sure those words would always define my experience.

My husband and I had become foster parents for two nieces, and I became legal guardian of a third, and we helped my parents as they took in a fourth. It wasn’t long before the severity of the girls’ PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, depression and anxiety became clear.

We who had known nothing, really, about mental illness would eventually become skilled advocates, experts in DBT, CBT, and OHCHWGA. (That last one? “Oh, holy crap here we go again,” familiar to many an overwhelmed family member.)

But at first, as we were swept up in a chaotic storm of self-harm, suicide attempts, ER visits, and psych unit admissions, we felt like No One Anywhere in the History of Ever could possibly know our fear, our exhaustion, or our desperation to help our loved ones. Or just get one worry-free night’s sleep.

Now I know differently .

After seven years of sharing my story, first hesitantly in conversation and then through stand-up comedy, I’ve found that like all experiences of the human condition, ours aren’t unique.

We aren’t alone. Now I know there are thousands of family members who have walked this road, known our fear, inhabited our exhaustion. I’ve talked to them in churches, in conferences, at schools and after comedy shows. They come up to me and say,

“How did you know? Who told you? That was MY story, MY experience, MY terror.”

Now I know, after walking alongside my fierce girls as they have fought for recovery, for stability, for a voice in their treatment and a voice in their lives, I know differently.

Never-ending? Nah. Mental illness is a lifelong experience for many, but it CAN get better. Recovery IS possible. So are meaningful relationships, new experiences, and fulfilling lives. I’ve learned that from my nieces, from the stand up comics I’ve trained, and from all who’ve rushed to share their story with me when they find out they AREN’T unique, or alone, and it won’t always be this way.

It gets better, and sometimes, you’ll laugh. I promise.


Tara Rolstad, along with the amazing Dave Mowry is co-author of the book, No, Really, We WANT You to Laugh: Mental Illness and Stand Up Comedy Transforming Lives that tells the stories of six comedians whose lives and experiences with mental illness were changed through learning stand-up comedy.

Click here to read more about Tara and Dave’s book on amazon. 

Julie no really 2015

It was so exciting to hold the book in my hands. I’ve been the MC for Dave and Tara’s stand up comedy routines.  Laughing about our experiences with mental health disorders is life changing. If you’re a parent of a child with bipolar disorder and are looking for a tool to help your child get back into the world- I believe that No Really, We Want You to Laugh can transform lives! 


Parent of a Child with Bipolar Disorder?

Julie at mike blog

(The group coaching call is Sold Out! Thank you for your interest in my work. The call will be available as an MP3 in the future. Please make sure you’re on my mailing list or Twitter @JulieBipolar or Facebook  at Julie A. Fast for more information.  My next coaching call will be for partners.)

Join me for two calls that will change your life and your relationship with your child forever… and for the better.

Is it time to get YOUR life back from the jaws of a child’s out of control illness? It is possible. You can learn to help your child while maintaining your life and relationships. Join me for two days of life changing group coaching calls that will help you identify, stop and ultimately prevent the detrimental patterns that arise when a beautiful child’s ugly illness has taken over your family life. Change is possible and it can be quick.

I love it when lives change for the better. Click here to read about my coaching call for parents and caretakers of children with bipolar disorder.


PS: These calls work for all caregivers of teens and adults with bipolar disorder.

Partner of a Person with Bipolar Disorder?


Love is a wonderful thing.  Love keeps relationships alive.  Love is beautiful.

Bipolar disorder laughs at love.  Bipolar disorder doesn’t care. The only way to keep a relationship going strong when one person has bipolar disorder is to treat bipolar disorder first. Here’s why:

  • Less stress on the relationship- when you’re arguing about mood swings, there is no time to discuss real issues.
  • Fewer medical bills- bipolar disorder is expensive in every way you can imagine.
  • Less addictive and dangerous behavior- when bipolar disorder is managed, we are far less likely to drink and do drugs.
  • Creates a stable environment for children- children can be taught that bipolar disorder is an illness, but it’s still traumatic for them to witness out of control mood swings.
  • Work is possible- so true! When bipolar is raging, work suffers. When we are stable we can work and contribute to a relationship.
  • Money can be managed more effectively- partners of people with bipolar disorder often live in fear of manic shopping mistakes. Prevention is the only answer.
  • Life can be enjoyable again- no matter how sick your partner has been in the past. Your partner can get better and bipolar disorder can be managed.

Say no to a relationship controlled by bipolar disorder. Say yes to a relationship based on love!


My book Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner is in its second edition. There is a new chapter on medications!


Bipolar Disorder Focus Problems?

julie fast get it done cover

Having trouble getting things done?

Here’s a tip I’m currently using with my business partner as we sit at the table and curse our ADD brains! 1. Put yourself in a place you can work. We often meet at coffee shops where I’m perfectly fine in the noise and bustle. My partner prefers the quiet. We compromise. If your office setting isn’t working, pick up your work and go to another room. It is possible. Where you work affects your output. Look around- are you in a location that is conducive to getting things done? Julie

Ps: Click here to read my Bp Magazine Blog: Bipolar Disorder and Focus Problems: A Day in the Life of a Swivel Head.


Bipolar Disorder Depression: ” Julie, Can You Help Me? I Feel Like I Can’t Go On….”

circle flowerHere is a post from last year when I was in a down swing. I hope it helps if you’re in a downswing today. Julie

I’ve been posting a lot to Facebook lately. I have a wonderful bipolar disorder community on my page and I find great solace, fun and a lot of joy from the posts. Here is a question from a reader and my answer.

” Julie, please help me. I feel like I can’t go on… How do you do it? .”

 It took me many years to find the answer, but it’s simple- I understand and accept that the feeling that I can’t go on is just another symptom of bipolar disorder and it’s common when you’re in a down swing. It’s common after you have had a bad manic episode- it’s so common that I wrote two posts about shame just in the past week because I had to deal with it after being manic once again.  When you feel like you can’t go on- the feeling is real. It does feel literally like you can’t go on, but you can. You have probably done it many times before. I believe that thinking that one day that feeling is going to stop is what gets us into trouble. Feeling that you can’t go on is a symptom just like feeling euphoric when you’re in a super good feeling up swing is a symptom. They are equal. One makes you feel like you can take on the world, the other makes you feel that you can’t handle another day. NEITHER IS REAL! Does that make sense? Just like we have to learn that chasing euphoric mania is not good for us, it’s equally not good for us to believe that we can’t go on.

I’m down tonight- which is the normal brain chemistry event that happens after a manic episode. I was manic yesterday and I’m down today. It makes sense as I have ultra rapid cycling bipolar disorder two. I’m simply experiencing the illness.  This is what makes me such a great writer and coach- I go through the mood swings just like everyone else. If you have written me and asked for advice- here it is.


My plan is to take my meds- reach out to dear and loving friends- I just texted my friend Karen and will call my friend Sherry right now because it’s what I need to do- believe me, it’s not what I want to do! And I have a favor. If you have had the feeling that you can’t go on, please leave your advice below for how you deal with it and move through it- remember, if you have bipolar disorder, it’s not going to disappear. It will return if triggered. But that is the ONE GOOD THING ABOUT THIS ILLNESS! It’s episodic- we can and usually do go back to baseline. I plan to. And darn it- no matter what, I will get out of this down swing in the next few hours by doing what I write about in my books. Helping others is what works for me. I’m interested to know what works for you and I know that all of the people who write me who are in pain would love your advice as well.


Please visit me on Facebook at Julie A. Fast

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