What is Dysphoric Mania in Bipolar Disorder?

MANIC-PANIC-onlyThe main difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II is the type of mania. Bipolar I has full blown mania- Bipolar II has hypomania. Bipolar II never has full blown mania- if it happens, the diagnosis is changed to Bipolar I. People with Bipolar I can definitely get hypomanic as well as fully manic!

Euphoric and dysphoric mania…..

There are two types of mania seen in both Bipolar I and Bipolar II : euphoric mania and dysphoric mania . Euphoric is just like it sounds. Dysphoric is harder to understand as we are not used to the word! Dysphoric mania means agitated mania. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling!

There is a lot of mental and physical agitation with dysphoric mania , but a person in this mood swing can be very aggressive and even violent. There are always sleep problems – the person looks haggard and worn out. They may sweat a lot and can look pretty wild in the face. I went through this with my former partner Ivan. He was in a dysphoric mania/psychotic episode for many months. He doesn’t get euphoric mania very often.

I’ve always felt this picture depicts what it’s like to be in a dysphoric and psychotic manic episode:

mania dysphoric

Whew. This illness is very complicated. If you have bipolar disorder, what kind of mania do you experience the most? If you care about someone with the illness, how would you describe their mania?

I have bipolar II hypomania. I mainly dealt with euphoric mania from age 17 until I was in my 40s. Then the dysphoric mania hit me hard! I force myself to get help when the euphoric mania is here.   It’s hard to ask for help during dysphoric mania as you feel like everyone else is the problem.

It takes a lot of practice and self awareness to acknowledge and get help for bipolar mania! But we can change our lives for the better by understanding the signs of dysphoric mania and using a plan to stop the mood swing before it goes too far.


PS: My absolute worst dysphoric manic episode happened when I tried medical marijuana after dislocating my pelvis in a biking accident.  I write a lot about this experience and hope that we can all be aware of external substances that can lead to dysphoric mania and psychosis in people with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder on the Road: Bipolar Disorder and Traveling the World

china one















One of my  future book projects covers the topic of how to travel safely and stably when you have bipolar disorder. This book has been in the draft process for quite awhile, but the topic is so timely I thought…… Julie, just get the tips out there. People need them! Here’s the introduction to the book. The pictures are from Japan and China in the 90’s. I used to just pick up and go anywhere! Who knew what mood would follow? I move to Europe in two months. I’ll share my process on this blog and on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page. I’m prepping for the time change now- and am working hard to stay stable. We CAN travel successfully when we have bipolar disorder. It just takes a plan. 

Bipolar Disorder on the Road: Four Steps to Successful and Stable Travel

An Introduction

The smoother the travel, the more stable the mood.

 For most of my life I traveled two to three times a year. Between 1982 and 1995, I visited Europe many times, lived in Japan for three years, traveled all over Asia, went to school in China and frequently went between my home in Seattle and my mother’s home in Hawaii. All of this travel involved time changes that inevitably led to mood swings. I had NO idea why my moods would change so much when I traveled.

When I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995 at age 31, I had to modify my travel lust in order to get the illness more under control. I only traveled to Hawaii for quite a few years after my diagnosis and worked diligently on using my Health Cards to keep myself stable.

I moved to France for six months in 2002 with my then partner Ivan (who is French )and finally moved to my home in Portland, Oregon and have been here ever since. I always assumed I would continue to travel the world throughout my life. But the reality is that travel is tough for me. To be blunt, travel makes my bipolar disorder a lot worse.

Since starting my management system,  I’ve paid daily attention to the triggers of bipolar disorder. And one of the strongest triggers for many people with this illness is traveling. I’m now happy to announce that I can once again travel all over the world, but it takes a lot more planning than in the past in order to make sure the trip is successful and stable. This book explains the four steps I use every time I travel. Bipolar disorder management takes a lot of practice, but it is possible to find what works and get your life to a place where traveling is fun!

*** end of introduction***

Check back to the blog for my travel tips.


Bipolar Disorder is a Fascinating Illness

dragon eggA few ideas to ponder. I’d love to hear your views as well.
1. Restlessness. This can be mental or physical. It’s a definite symptom of mania, but I also think it’s a personality trait of many of us with this illness. We simply crave change and can have trouble saying no to something new, even though it’s not good for us!
2. Bipolar disorder is a sleep disorder. All people with bipolar disorder have sleep problems. The more we learn about the genetics of the circadian rhythm, the closer we get to a bipolar disorder cure. I believe this!
3. Bipolar disorder is a lifestyle illness– this means that our lifestyle choices affect our moods. Changes in lifestyle can be as powerful as medications.
4. Much of what we know is still in the chicken or the egg stage. For example, does lack of sleep cause mania or do we have sleep problems because the mania is already there? It’s fascinating.
What parts of bipolar disorder do you find interesting? Julie

Bipolar Disorder Depression: An Unhappy Morning from My Past

frog stepThe post below is from many years ago- it’s important to look back and see how far we have come. I was depressed off and on for 30 years. I went through intense, suicidal downswings that could last for months and sometimes years at a time. I never thought I would see the day where bipolar depression didn’t rule my life. 

Depression no longer rules my life. I’m rarely depressed and when I am, I have tools to deal with it. It’s still scary and intense and I hate it- just as you probably hate your own depression, but I want to let everyone know that no matter how long a person has been depressed, life can change. I read over the post below and thought to myself- how did I survive this? How did I live with this almost every day and not just give up? The answer is in my books- I created a treatment plan and used it even when I believed it would never work. Then it worked. I want the same for you or a loved one. Let’s make 2016 the most stable year of your life. If you care about someone with bipolar disorder, you can learn to help them find stability. I don’t want us to live like I used to live-  here is the post. Isn’t it great that I got better. It means you can get better too. Julie 


My post from the past:

I woke up depressed- nothing new unfortunately. I knew it was going to be a tough morning- but it doesn’t have to be a tough day!

My feet felt like they were tied to concrete bricks. It would be so much easier to just stay in bed- or so my mind wanted me to believe. That’s a lie of course- I reminded myself that there is NEVER an occasion where staying in bed while depressed is a good decision. Beds are for sleeping. I said this to myself, “Beds are for sleeping Julie. You don’t stay in bed when you’re depressed.”

Putting on my shoes helped me move forward- making myself get dressed kept me moving out the door.

It’s hard to get going when your first thought in the morning is that there is no purpose to your life. I have to remind myself that I didn’t feel this at all yesterday and that this is depression talking. Now I have to get out and work on my book proposal- see friends and get going! I will not listen to this depression. It’s an illness and it’s not real.



I’m so thankful this depression is no longer in my life ever day. I want the same for you.

Julie A. Fast Bipolar Disorder Coaching News 2016

As many of you know, I’m fulfilling a life long dream and moving back to Europe in 2016.  My work will stay the same with one change- I’m not currently taking long term coaching clients.

For now, I’m offering a one time 90 minute session where we tackle one problem. I like this format. I ask clients to send me their situation and we choose one problem to face and fix. I have worked with partners who are not sure to stay or go, parents who want help getting a child off marijuana, parents who have a child who is having trouble in school and just a few days ago, a client where the mother wanted to let her daughter get more out in the world now that her bipolar disorder is more under control. Click here to  visit my coaching page for more information. 
Please note that I’m still working with my current clients, but am only available for this one time session for new client- until further notice. I normally do not work directly with people who have mental health disorders, but I can do so in this short format.
My new book query is moving forward- I’m writing through the holiday stress. If you have a project due, I want to encourage you to work no matter what- even if it’s for 10 minutes at a time. I have learned that getting things done is about persistence and not necessarily time. I still have to record a call I did in the spring- and you know what, I will get it done eventually. When you have bipolar disorder, life gets modified.

Find Your Inner Drill Sergeant: Get Up! Get Out! Get it Done!

This is my blog from 2007.  Isn’t it amazing how this illness just keeps chugging along even when we do our best to stay stable! My depression is so much better, but I still have the tough days – the stunned days.  I have to get out my drill sergeant pretty often!

drill sargeant 75

From 2007:  I woke up depressed. I was up a few nights ago so I’m obviously rapid cycling. I called a friend to tell her I was manic- this is part of my treatment plan- and she said, “Ok. What happens next?” I said, “Well, I feel so good right now, but I will probably go down. It always happens even though I never believe it will. I just have to look at the way it has been in the past.” Two days later I am down.

When I was sitting in my bed with what I call stunned depression- this is where I just sit and worry and can’t seem to move- I used my drill sergeant voice I talk about in Get it Done When You’re Depressed and I said, “Get up Julie. Get up and get on with your day. Get out of this bed!” And I did.

I feel better.

I don’t like bipolar disorder, but I’m glad I have a plan to keep me going. I may cry today and get upset at my life today- but it’s an illness and I have to remember that.


PS: Depression is an illness that can be managed. I never thought I would get so much better, but I have. If you are depressed right now, keep going! Find your inner drill sergeant and use it to get yourself out of the house so that you can feel better!

GTD small

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