BP Magazine Blog: Are Cortisone Shots Safe for Bipolar Disorder?

I’m on a cortisone awareness crusade! It’s essential that all people with bipolar disorder and the family, friends and health care professionals who care for those with bipolar disorder understand the facts behind the shots! 



You would not believe the horror stories I’ve heard from people with bipolar disorder who had cortisone shots. This is also a common theme I hear from my family member and partner coaching clients.

  • Full blown euphoric manic episodes.
  • Aggressive dysphoric manic episodes that lead to jail.
  • Suicidal depression and hospitalization.

…. one series of shots can cause severe mood swings even if a person has been stable for years.  Prednisone for swelling due to a head injury or asthma and the ever present testosterone treatments for ‘men over 50′ have the same risks as cortisone shots.

This is why I am so adamant that those with bipolar try everything to treat an injury, before they take the risky move of getting a cortisone shot.

Please click here to go to my BP Magazine blog for the remainder of the newsletter. I wanted to put this on the BP Magazine blog so that everyone can leave comments. I think you will find this information very timely, important and interesting.


Bipolar Disorder and Thanksgiving Part One…………..


Let’s Make Thanksgiving Great This Year!



There is a commercial on the radio where I live here in Portland, Oregon that always makes me laugh. It says… ‘Beware of the holiday horrors! Buy all of your holiday presents now, the day after Thanksgiving and save yourself the stress of waiting until the last minute!”    Oh, it sounds like torture to me! When did Thanksgiving become so much about Black Friday sales? In case you didn’t know, Black Friday is a sales day after the Thursday Thanksgiving. It’s called Black Friday because it’s a day businesses can make enough money to balance the books instead of being in the red!


As a person with bipolar disorder or a person who cares about someone with the illness, there’s a good chance you have had some difficult holidays.

I hear people laughing all the way to the Starbucks where I am sitting in Portland, Oregon.

For those outside the US, our Thanksgiving is a family holiday based around a traditional dinner  held in honor of the dinner served between the people who ‘founded’ the US and the people who found the country way before any British showed up- the Native Americans. The food usually includes the following: Turkey, stuffing or dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, pies such as pecan or pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. Many families have a Thanksgiving dish they remember growing up. For me, it was my grandmother’s homemade corn bread dressing.  I had many wonderful Thanksgiving holidays while growing up – mostly in Alabama.

As I got older, the holidays became a fun time with friends.

And then…. they just became too much.

Is it the same for you? Maybe you don’t want to cook, don’t have the $200 to spend on a dinner for eight. It might be you don’t like your family! And finally, the hardest is when you don’t have anywhere to go. It doesn’t mean you don’t have friends- it might just happen they are all with their families and yours is out of town.

And finally, it may be that your family is here, but the atmosphere is stressful. I’ve seen a few snarky faces at Thanksgiving. It’s hard to have to be happy and united for a day.

It’s a lot of pressure.   To lighten the mood, check out this turkey. Yes….

It’s a turkey wrapped in bacon!


PS:  Thanksgiving can be wonderful, but it’s usually challenging when bipolar disorder is an unwanted guest.   That’s why we have to plan ahead! Part two of this post is below.

Bipolar Disorder and Thanksgiving part two…….

Continued from Thanksgiving part one…..

My friend Margery who has bipolar disorder just called and told me that her sister has decided to come down to Portland instead of staying in Seattle.  Margery said, “I cooked her dinner a few years ago, Julie. I’m not spending days cooking for something that is gone in a few hours. It’s too stressful!” I agree. Margery just reserved a full Thanksgiving dinner from Whole foods.  She picks it up Thanksgiving  morning! She said it was so cheap when everyone went in on it.  These stores have great and inexpensive salad bars as well.

Good idea:  Say no to cooking if it’s too much for you. Let others do it or buy dinner from a store and bring it home.  Or, eat out!

I’d like to say I’m immune to the whole Thanksgiving thing- but I’m not. I have to make sure I have something to do that day or I know I will get depressed and lonely.  It’s my nature. The concept of Thanksgiving has been burned into my American brain.  My dinners were so wonderful as a child- that is what I remember.

Here are some tips if Thanksgiving is important to you:

1. Plan now. Where do you want to be? Start hinting to the people you know that you would be a good addition to the party.

2. Send out an email to friends saying you are looking for a fun dinner. You will get replies.

3. Volunteer for the day. Many people do this and you meet new friends.

4.Crash a party!

5. Go to Target to check out the Black Friday specials. Oh – this just sounds terrible…  but people love it! Buy a TV the next day! ;) I’m joking.

6. Go to the movies with a friend. Pay for one and then sneak into the others…hehe

7. If you are going to order a dinner from a place such as Whole Foods, do so ahead of time. They do sell out.

Or… you can be like me.

5. Watch football!

If you’re someone who doesn’t have firm plans yet, start making them today. It’s hard to be lonely on the holidays when you have bipolar disorder.

There is a place for everyone.


Can Pets Help with Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings? Can Pets Help with Physical Pain?

chair bibi 11 14Yes, they can!  They help my mind and body. I’ll write soon about my back injury from a biking accident, but I wanted to share this picture of myself with my cat Bibi and one with my mom’s dog Cookie. I’m in an anti gravity chair to help my back. The family pets keep me company! They are so intuitive.

Dealing with a serious physical injury while still managing my bipolar disorder has taught me to love my body. 

I have an appreciation for what the body does instead of just dwelling on how my body looks. I now love and respect my body and can’t wait until I can walk, sit and stand with ease! I will never complain again about being too fat (when I wasn’t at all! ) And I will never again judge myself by how I look.

I’ve learned  that strength, health and mobility are what matter. If you have a stable mind and a healthy body you can accomplish anything.

I haven’t written about my accident as I was waiting to get better before explaining it all- but alas, I’m still getting better so it’s time to explain why I don’t answer my blog comments as quickly as I would like! ;)   I’m able to do my coaching and professional writing gigs, but writing my latest book and speaking are out for awhile.  It has been a lesson in coping with what’s on your plate at the time- even if it’s something icky! Like liver and onions.  Wow, I doubt this reference will make sense outside of the US. ;) The best treatment for pain is a positive attitude. Julie

chaircookie 11 14


Bipolar Happens! is the #1 Bipolar Disorder Book on the Kindle!

BHenhanced  65Bipolar Happens: 35 Tips and Tricks to Manage Bipolar Disorder is the #1 Bipolar Disorder Book on the Kindle!

That’s exciting. I went to the Kindle store to see how my books Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder and Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder were doing on the bipolar disorder page. These books are in the top ten ranking- and then I saw that Bipolar Happens! was #1.

Fantastic! Bipolar Happens! is an enjoyable book about a serious topic.

Guess what- it’s only $.99 I want it to be available to everyone.

Yes, I think this is a great deal and a good way to get helpful information about bipolar disorder at minimum cost. Bipolar Happens! was my first book. I knew I wanted to talk about how I manage the illness, but I also wanted to tell stories about how it affects my life daily.

There are stories about anger, manic spending, anxiety at a baseball game and what it feels like to be psychotic! It’s a book that family members love too. I love it myself. It’s hopeful.

Click here to go to amazon.com. You can read part of the book and then add it to your Kindle. Wow, $.99!


PS: If you’re new to my work, this is a great way to experience my writing style and the quality of my information. If you like it, you can come back for more.

Pt 1 What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder Dysphoric Mania?

What is Dysphoric Mania?

Dysphoric mania, also known as agitated or mixed mania is a bipolar disorder mood swing that is often missed due to confusing symptoms.

Dysphoric mania is the opposite of euphoric mania- it’s still a chemically elevated (in terms of energy) mood- but it has none of the good feelings associated with euphoric mania.  Dysphoric mania is very confusing for the person in the mood swing.  The anger can be so quick and so real.

I am angry at you for many things! I’m just angry! Leave me alone. Stop bugging me!

I don’t have a problem. Why don’t you look at yourself! You are the one with the  problem! It can’t always be me. You’ve been getting on my case about this for years. In fact, just last month on the 21st I remember that you said something about my behavior.

I’ve changed. My eyes are open and what I thought I wanted isn’t good enough. I want out. I couldn’t tell you this before because I didn’t know I was so unhappy.

Why do you always want to change me? Can’t you just see that this is who I am and your snooping into my life is just making me want out more than ever.

I’m going to #$%#$% rip the sink out of this #$%#$% wall if you don’t get the #$%#$ out of this kitchen. I hate you! I hate everyone in my #$%#^@#  life!

Part 2 of this blog has a bipolar disorder dysphoric manic checklist!  You can visit my Facebook page at Julie A. Fast and read more comments on this post.



Here is a question from Maddie about the above blog:

Hi Julie,

Right now I’m so p.o’d with everyon, even if I don’t want to be and I know I shouldn’t. But omg! I want to say I feel a little psychotic depressive (if its possible to only be a little psychotic) hallucinations, constant anxiety and fear, thoughts of killing (myself and others even though I don’t feel like acting upon them) I imagine my wrists slit open or see myself get hit by a bus, etc. I feel like every person I pass is watching me and is going to do something. Its so bad -does this sound like bipolar psychosis? I am bipolar (not officially so I can’t say if bipolar I or bipolar II etc.)



Hi Maddie,

When I’m pissed off at EVERYONE it tends to be bipolar disorder. It’s pretty hard to be mad at the world- there are usually a few good people who don’t deserve our anger! This is usually anxiety or a mixed episode for me- also called dysphoric mania. You can use your sleep as a guide- if you see significant changes in your sleep, it’s usually mania. If you have trouble sleeping due to restless thoughts- but can still sleep, it’s usually anxiety. Also, what are the possible triggers. I just wrote my latest column for BP Magazine and it’s about giving up the triggers that make us sick, even if we like the triggers!

What you describe 100% sounds like stress psychosis. I get it when life is too hectic- such as when I have to speak in front of a big crowd or I’m in a situation I can’t control. I always called the hallucinations where I saw myself get killed- ‘death images.’ Then I realized it was psychosis. Homicidal thoughts are common too- wanting to kill someone out of anger is a scary feeling. The thinking that people are watching you is typical paranoia. If you are experiencing this with depression, then it could be bipolar. But the only way you can have bipolar is if you have had an obvious hypomanic or manic episode.  You can look on my blog subject menu for more information on psychosis and mania. I definitely suggest you go see someone for an evaluation. Psychosis is not super common, so something is going on with your brain that can be fixed! If you want to find out a more general description of bipolar disorder, my book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder is the best option. I suggest you see if you fit the symptoms for bipolar II and then go get some help. There is no way you want to live like this- and I know from personal experience that you can get a LOT better. Julie

take charge  66




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