A Note from Julie A. Fast

Hello Dear Readers! As you can see, my websites are not in working order today.  WordPress made a non authorized change to my websites and I lost my banner and menu. Please feel free to read my blogs posts below.  Click here to read about my family and partner coaching. Click here to read about my books and treatment plan. Click here to read more about my work in general from my JulieFast.com website. Thank you for your patience.  Julie Fast


Why is it so Hard to Get Help for People with Bipolar Disorder Who are Ill and Smoking Pot?

amanda bynes

(A note from Julie, as you can see I’m having trouble with my websites due to a WordPress change. I will get them up and running as soon as possible.)

The majority of my bipolar disorder coaching practice involves a crisis situation where I help family members and partners get a loved on into treatment. In over 50% of the situations, the person with the illness is a heavy pot smoker which fuels the episode.

I have a plan I use and it WORKS, until we run into law enforcement that simply have no idea what they are up against when they go to the door of someone who has a mental illness.

In the past three days, I’ve worked with clients to locate the loved one who is ill so that we can send help. In every situation, the police arrive and the person with the illness 100% talks them out of this help. WHAT IS UP WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT?   There is training out there! 

One parent wrote me recently and said that the police officer who was sent to help his suicidal son who is aggressive and disruptive to the family called the father back and said- “This looks like a family problem, why won’t you help him?”

Can you even imagine a doctor saying this if we called for help for someone who is having a stroke or heart attack?

amanda bynes psychotic 2015Here’s a quote from a People Magazine interview I did about Amanda Bynes called ‘Why It’s So Hard to Help Amanda Bynes’.

“Indeed, Bynes was released from the psychiatric facility following a mandatory hearing that occurred three days after a judge ruled she needed to spend at least another month in treatment.

But her release doesn’t mean her mental illness is in check. Says family coach Julie A. Fast, who’s written several books on mental health, including Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: “Somebody with psychosis can be raging, screaming and threatening to kill you, but in front of an authority figure they can completely calm down.”

There is good news- my goal is to get someone into treatment and I do help families and partners make it happen. Sometimes we get help from the police and most often we do it on our own. It is possible! I wish Amanda’s parents would call me!


PS: We are in a marijuana crisis that is growing daily. Pot and bipolar disorder don’t mix. Ever.

Click here to read more about my family and partner coaching. I am here to help.

Amanda Bynes seen smoking a hand rolled cigarette in Time Square, New York City, USA. Pictured: Amanda Bynes Ref: SPL521698 080413 Picture by: GSNY / Splash News Splash News and Pictures Los Angeles:310-821-2666 New York: 212-619-2666 London: 870-934-2666 photodesk@splashnews.com

Bipolar Disorder is an Everyday Challenge we can Meet!

When you have bipolar disorder, doing your best means doing what you can within the parameters set by the illness. This isn’t being negative or hopeless, it’s being realistic.

I HATE IT! yuck! Ick!

But it’s my life. When you love to work as much as I do, learning what you can and can’t do in order to stay stable is essential for success. It’s not a situation that has an end point. I wish I could just climb a mountain and reach a summit that says-

Julie, you now know exactly what you can and can’t do!

It’s not fixed this way. Every week I learn more about myself and am more accepting of what I do accomplish instead of always thinking I could do so much more if I were just able to work like a ‘regular’ person. Bipolar disorder affects me daily as it probably affects you or someone you care about- it affects EVERYTHING. Learning to live with this fact has helped me stay stable and productive.

It’s a daily process to be kinder to myself for having bipolar disorder.


manga mountain FB

Bipolar Disorder and Focus Problems: How Do You Do it Julie?

rows tulipsHere is a reader question from Michelle. She asks important questions. How DO we get through the days, weeks, months and years when we have focus problems because of bipolar disorder! (By the way, writing this felt like going to the dentist!)


Hi Julie!

Can you please tell me how you are consistently productive and living with bipolar disorder?
I too, am a writer, and I start projects, but can’t finish them. I have boundless energy for awhile, then I crash. I can’t commit to making long term projects with people because I can’t depend on myself that I can follow through. Where do you get your energy? How do you manage on a daily basis? I wake up each day not knowing how I am going to feel. I have to live day by day, and it sucks. Any positive feedback and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Michelle,

Thanks for your question- to be honest, I go through everything you describe above- and I go through it every single day. My life changed when I learned to work as much as possible despite all of the bipolar symptoms. I created my Health Cards Treatment Plan for Bipolar Disorder in 1999. I have used the system every day for ten years- that taught me how to manage the illness. I learned what triggers most of my mood swings and how I have to take care of myself in order to be well enough to function. Without the Health Cards, I would not be able to work or have stable relationships. They saved my life. But, there are days when sticking to my plan feels impossible. I work though a haze of a mud bath where each step takes all of my energy.

Having a system doesn’t take away the illness. I agree with you, it’s exhausting. But, what matters is that we DO get things done.

It may seem like I really have bipolar disorder taken care of, but I still live with strong and constant bipolar disorder symptoms- today for example: I got up and had a hard time focusing on what I    (this is hilarious- I just went back to read this and see that I just left this sentence hanging!)

I want to write a blog every day, but wow, I’m lucky if I do one once a week.

I’ve learned to compare myself ONLY to others with bipolar disorder. If I compare myself to those without the illness, I will be a wreck.

I realized one day- with perfect clarity- that I didn’t want bipolar disorder to control my life. I did everything possible to change what was making me more ill. I had to find my triggers and reduce them or stop them. Then I kept trying meds until I found ones that work at the lowest doses possible.

On some days it’s so hard I actually have panic attack symptoms when I try to write.  On most days I just keep on trucking!

I could go on and on here- but my biggest piece of advice is to focus on the outcome of a project. If you focus on the project itself you will get overwhelmed. I know that if I stay here I will not only get work done, I will feel better when I do go see friends later this evening. This is all explained in my book Get it Done When You’re Depressed: 50 Strategies for Keeping Your Life on Track.

All of your excellent questions are answered in my books with a lot more detail- these are big questions so I can’t do them justice here. All people with bipolar disorder have them. I’ve managed to create a life where I can get things done because I use my own work on a daily basis. It’s already written down so I don’t have to constantly try new things.

boy focusI am sometimes so anxious – my focus is that of a seven year old! I’m staring and this and then I realize I’m not even looking at the page. I’m in some kind of catatonic fugue. But I will keep going because I know what outcome I want for today. I know you can do the same. It takes time. I’ve been using my system for 15 years – it’s fully in place now with myself and all of the people in my life. I’m here at a coffee shop writing this– I almost quit many times. I know that I want to have a new blog post and to do that I have to keep sitting DOWN.

Thanks again for your question. You can be a professional writer- it just takes a plan you can use every day! I wrote my first book at age 33- I used to start and stop projects and wonder why I was such a failure- when I realized it was bipolar disorder and that managing the illness helped my writing, I started to have success.

Accepting New Family Member and Partner Coaching Clients

b father

Over five years ago, I started coaching partners and family members of people with bipolar disorder as an addition to my writing career.

I never thought I would find work that I enjoy as much as I enjoy coaching. I feel at home with the parents and partners as I have been where they are- and I remain calm during the crises that many of my clients are going through while we are working together. Bipolar disorder is like a puzzle. It’s not always easy to find the right pieces on your own. It helps to have a coach as a guide.

My coaching practice has room for new clients. I take new clients about once a month-and then help them as best I can. It’s a partnership that saves relationships and often lives.

Coaching is not for everyone, but if you are concerned about your relationship with a person with bipolar disorder, it may be a good fit for you. The following link will tell you more. I look forward to talking.

Julie Fast Family and Partner Coaching



PS: My work often involves custody cases, helping loved ones get into the hospital, problems with loved ones who have a pot problem and many more situations that require extreme discretion.


Bipolar Disorder Agitated Mania/Dysphoric Mania

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 three months. He doesn’t get euphoric mania.

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!


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