Bipolar Happens! is #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 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.


Here is basic info about bipolar disorder mania. It’s MANIA 101!

 I’ve decided to label mania each time I talk about it.

As you may now there are two levels of mania: hypomania and full blown mania.

People with bipolar disorder II (two)  have hypomania only. People with bipolar disorder I (one)  have hyomania and the very dangerous and very life disrupting full blown mania. I have bipolar disorder two, but I’m one of the unfortunates- My type of hypomania is right on the verge of full blown mania. If I ever do move into full blown mania, I will then have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder one.  Fingers crossed that never happens!

Within these levels of hypomania and mania, there are two types of mania: Euphoric and Dysphoric mania. It’s simple to describe the difference between the two.


What are the signs and symptoms of euphoric mania?

Elips speech red 50uphoric mania feels better than the greatest sex a person can have. It feels like falling in love, getting a dream job, winning an Oscar, traveling the world and seeing flowers bloom.  You get the picture.  People with bipolar disorder  get these feelings without any of the actual events. People tell me that cocaine has a similar feeling, but unless you have experienced euphoric mania, you will not understand how good it feels. It feels so good it gets people with bipolar disorder into a lot of trouble. I met my boyfriends and two husbands while manic- then they had to deal with my depression! Wonderful guys- they stuck with me- until I left! Often when manic. (In case this sounds stressful- I should let you know that this is NOT my pattern now. The Health Cards helped me cure that manic behavior!) 

When the euphoric mania strikes,  I’m more artistic, sing karaoke with no stage awkwardness, talk with anyone and I mean anyone, can pick up any guy and talk so fast it’s hard to stop myself, but I donl’t really want to stop because it feels so darn good!

 What are the signs and symptoms of dysphoric mania?

 Now for the tough, tough, awful dysphoric hypomania and mania. It’s easy to describe this mania  as well- it’s often called a MIXED STATE because it’s a combination of the very high energy of hypomania and mania combined with agitated depression. There is no feeling of good will or peace or fun- it never feels good.  The body is restless, jumpy and the mind is always irritated, often aggressive and swirling like a blender full of ickiness! Once again, there is little way to describe it unless you have experienced it.

mania dysphoric

Dysphoric mania is often mean, accusatory, unreasonable and fickle. Nothing is every right with life when you are dysphoric manic. I had a big episode a few years ago where almost every moment of the day I thought- I have to leave Portland. I must get out. My life is terrible -people are terrible- moving is all I can do. Luckily, I once again had the Health Cards and they got me through it. Much of this episode was internal. I wrote about it in my Bp Magazine column.  Dysphoric mania has a high rate of road rage and suicide. Most of the people in jail who have bipolar disorder are there because of a full blown dysphoric manic episode. 

Both levels of mania and both types of mania have some very specific and shared symptoms.  1. It’s extremely and I do mean extremely hard to see that you’re manic. 2. Pressured speech. That’s why I used the mouth graphic for this blog post! 3. Need a lot less sleep, but are never tired the next day. 4. Increase in non thought through and unsafe behaviors- such as driving way too fast or sleeping with someone you don’t know- something you would not do normally. 4. The behavior is not part of your life while stable.

There are many more symptoms of course, but those are the main ones the two have in common!  One thing I should add- there is one very big difference between the levels of mania: people in a full blown manic episode often have full blown psychosis. This is especially true with dysphoric full blown mania. Hypomania rarely has any psychosis.

My book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder has an excellent description of mania- as well as a management plan. To be honest, I work well when I’m mildly to moderately depressed- but mania! Wow, like anxiety, it’s tough to recognize and treat. This is why preventing euphoric and dysphoric hypomania and mania is the ONLY treatment path that works!

If you have mania, I wrote a lot on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page about my last euphoric and very funny episode – involving the picture below.  Mania can be managed, but it has a nasty way of slipping back into your life when you least expect it!



PS: Mania and Depression are two side of the bipolar disorder coin. One is not better or worse than the other- they are both BAD.

shopping cart mania 50





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

earrings four 9 9 14I’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 one from tonight.

” Julie, please help me. I feel like I can’t go on….”

When I first started in 2002, I listed my email online. I didn’t know what I was doing of course- no one had eBooks back then except a few of us and I wanted to be available to everyone. The new media was so exciting- and still is. We can reach so many people. I received thousands of emails- not a typo- and for two years I answered them.  I then had to take down my email of course- and for many years, my contact with my dear readers was through their buying my books, reading my social media or hearing me speak.

Now that DM is so popular with Facebook and other programs, I’m getting a lot of ‘email’s’ again. I have to decide how to deal with this. I want to be available, but I’m not able to answer them individually as the number of messages has become very high again. So, my idea is to post general answers.

Here is my first one.

Many, many people write me and say they can’t go on and ask how I do it.  The answer is 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 new medication (geodon) 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. 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. !!!!!



PS: Here is a picture of the earrings I made tonight for the contest winners on FACEBOOK rom last week. Believe me, there are a few tears in amongst all the beauty. Just like life! I do a contest every week- so definitely check out my page at Julie A. Fast

Embracing the Journey. Guest Blogger Martin (Marty) Baker: Author of Gum on My Shoe: One Step at a Time with My Bipolar Best Friend

marty with frannie 2014


Like many of the friends I’ve met on the internet, Marty charmed me with his commitment to helping those with bipolar disorder, especially his friend Fran. I asked him to write about his experiences as a friend of someone who has bipolar disorder and how it has changed his life. You can read more about Marty in the bio below, and of course there are lots of links, because if you are a mental health writer, you need to know Marty!!


Embracing the Journey  by Martin Baker

“You’re stuck with me now, Frannie.”  ”Like gum on my shoe!”

People are always interested when I say I’m writing a book called Gum on My Shoe. What’s it about they ask? I say,  “It describes my friendship with Fran who lives 3000 miles away. Fran has bipolar disorder. She gets depressed, manic sometimes and is frequently suicidal. Despite the distance, I’m her main support.” 

I wonder if you can guess some of the responses I get:

“Gee that’s rough on you!” “I couldn’t do that!” “She’s lucky to have you!”

I always reply in the same way: It’s not rough on me at all, our friendship is a giving, loving and very rewarding two way street. You might find yourself in a similar situation one day, don’t sell yourself – or your friends – short! And yes, Fran is lucky. And so am I, to have her in my life.

Recently someone asked a  different question – one that was easier to answer, “What gifts does your friendship bring you?” I could tell she understood how and why I get so much from being friends with someone who has bipolar disorder.  Being friends with an “ill” person is challenging. Of course it is! But it’s also powerfully rewarding, life-affirming — and  joyful.


What gifts does my friendship with Fran bring to my life?

We’ve been friends now for three years, and we’ve journeyed together through  mania, depression and debilitating fatigue, with suicidal thinking a more or less constant companion. Fran’s said many times she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my support: “We live 3,000 miles apart – and I would not be alive without you.”

But our friendship has never been a burden. I’ve learned so much, and I’m still learning. I’m learning about tears, laughter, despair and the courage it takes to live an honest life. We share life’s ups and downs — and an occasional beer — like all friends do. We meditate together and  I’m also exploring mindfulness and other life-skills. I’ve taken courses including Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

I’m learning I can make a difference and that I have a voice and a reason to use it. I’m meeting some amazing people.

I’m embracing the journey. One step at a time.


PS:  I’m in the writing process for Gum on My Shoe and will let Julie know as soon as it’s published!







About the author

Martin Baker (“Call me Marty”) lives in the northeast of England. It’s a writers’ household. His wife writes historical fiction and their son is working on a fantasy novel. A Mental Health First Aider and a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mind, and BipolarUK, Marty is passionate about raising awareness of mental health issues. He is active online and runs the social media for Gum on My Shoe. In May 2014,  he completed a zip-line challenge for the UK homelessness charity Crisis and will complete a 10 kilometre walk in September 2014 in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. As a ‘virtual walker’ he will accompany co-author Fran Houston on the annual fundraising walk for NAMI, in Portland, Maine. Marty and Fran are currently seeking an agent for their non-fiction book Gum on My Shoe: One Step at a Time with My Bipolar Best Friend.




 Links:             The Gum on My Shoe Website and Blog    ****    Twitter    ****      LinkedIn   

Please feel free to email Marty and let  him know what you thought of his blog.  martin.baker    @    Hotmail dot com. 

You can find Martin’s Facebook pages under Martin Baker and for the book Gum on My Shoe. His Goodreads page is under the name Marty Baker.

marty bw


A note from Julie: Wait! There’s more! Marty is having a contest on his Gum on My Shoe website where you, dear reader can win books from mental health authors, including myself and fellow guest bloggers Gayathri Ramprasad and Sherry Joiner. Here is the link and here’s a pic of some of the books offered. The contest goes until Sept 30, 2014, so you have plenty of time to enter. Marty is quite a mover and shaker when it comes to getting the word out about mental health management. Thank you Marty for all that you do!






Guest Blogger Sherry Joiner: It was like my head was so much clearer…. before

Sherry with ballerina and book 2014  50

It was great doing an interview for the Bp Magazing blog with Julie about the differences between schizo affective disorder and bipolar disorder.  Julie asked me to write what life was like for me after I finally had the correct diagnosis of schizo-affective disorder.


After the diagnosis, I got on the right meds and that really helped. It was like my head was so much clearer on the meds. Before, it was like it was like I had a block of metal and I hammered on the metal for an hour and then threw it in the fire- then doused it out with a cold pitcher of water- that is how I described my pain.

The cold hard pain of mental illness. 

The meds stopped this. I could finally see that I was not the problem. My problem was living with schizo affective disorder, complicated with living with childhood abuse.  I wasn’t causing this. I went to a new doctor- Dr. Ward T. Smith and he changed my life. I talk about him a lot in my book Sherry Goes Sane.  We talked about my paranoia, depression, hallucinations and flashbacks. He talked with me about the conflicts I was having with people. He helped me interact with others and maintain my relationships and develop my art work and my life with my husband who had diabetes and a few personality quirks of his own.  


Julie, you often comment on how happy I am. It’s true.  I always say to myself- tomorrow is going to be a different day. It’s not the same day. I was having feelings of grandeur the other day and I talked to myself and remembered what I could do to manage the psychosis- paint, take a walk, talk to my sister, my higher power or help others who have this illness -which helps me. I lead meditations at the psychatric ward and I help people from going off the deep end. That’s what keeps me going.



PS: A note from Julie. Sherry,  you help me keep going too! I love your book! Readers, you can click here to read more about Sherry’s book on Amazon.  It’s available in hard copy and on the Kindle. Here is a link to part one of the interview I did with Sherry for Bp Magazine on What is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Sherry goes sane book cover


What Do I Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder Mania? Take the quiz!

manicBipolar Disorder Mania Quiz

Are you ready to test your mania knowledge?  Good luck! Answers are  below.

1.Mania has two levels of intensity. What are they?

       a. Euphoria and dysphoria.

       b. Awake all night and feeling groggy the next day.

       c. Full blown mania and hypomania.

       d. Talkative and non talkative.


2. Which of the behaviors below represent manic behavior?

    a. Driving 90 miles an hour down the freeway while playing air guitar on the  steering wheel.

    b. Yelling and raging at the people who care about you and telling them to leave you the @$@# alone!

    c. Meeting someone and moving in the next week.

    d. All of the above.


3. There are two types of mania: euphoric and dysphoric. What is the main  difference?

    a. Euphoric mania isn’t serious.

    b. Dysphoric mania doesn’t come with sleep problems.

    c. One is an upbeat mood where a person feels great, creative and excited about life’s possibilities. The other is a negative, agitated and depressed mood  that feels physically uncomfortable, irritable and miserable.

   d. Only dysphoric mania has impulsive decisions regarding sex, spending,  travel and work.

4. What medications are used to treat and manage mania?

   a. Anti psychotics

   b. Lithium

   c. Anti Epileptics

   d. All of the above.



1. Mania has two levels depending on a diagnosis. What are they?  (The answer  is c.) Full blown mania and hypomania. They share similar symptoms, but the full  blown mania is far more serious and often requires hospitalization. It can also  be combined with psychosis.  But don’t think that hypomania doesn’t cause  problems. It certainly does!  People with bipolar I have full blown mania.  People with bipolar ii have hypomania.

2. Which of the behaviors below represent manic behavior?  (The answer is d.)  All of the above. I know because all of the answers were my behaviors before I was  diagnosed!  They still show up.

3. There are two types of mania: Euphoric and Dysphoric. What is the main  difference? The answer is c. The other three are simply wrong!

4. What medications are used to treat and manage mania? (The answer is d.)   All of the above.  And sometimes all at once!  Anti epileptic medications such a Lamictal, Depakote and Tegretol  are used as mood stabilizers, but they were originally for epilepsy.  Interesting!


How do you feel about you mania knowledge now?

This was originally posted on the Oprah and  Dr. Oz website Click here to see my answer to the question:  How is Bipolar Disorder Mania Different from Extreme Happiness?


I’m a mental health expert for the site and have answered 111 questions so far!


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