Bipolar is not my fault!

Bipolar Disorder is not your fault Julie!  I say this to myself a lot when I get sick.

It took me a long time to accept my diagnosis. I was diagnosed in 1995. How is it possible I’ve dealt with severe bipolar disorder since 1995!

I used to wake up and think- I have a mental illness. This isn’t happening to me!

I have nothing to do with having the illness-  mood disorders are in my genes on both sides of my family.

I am only 100% responsible for managing the illness. It took these 13 years to get good at it! Now I put all of that experience in my books- it doesn’t have to take you 13 years to get better, that is for sure.


American Idol

OK. I have to do a shout out for David Cook!

I didn’t have a television for years- it helped a lot in terms of staying stable. I now watch reality shows with my mom- the joyful reality shows that make you hopeful when you’re feeling sick.  It’s also something we can do together that doesn’t involve family issues, weight, worry, work, stress, etc!

So You Think You Can Dance started tonight here in the States. It’s a joyful show.

There really are shows out there that help depression!


 David Cook!

Bipolar Disorder and Children on the Cover of Newsweek

newsweek cover The interest in bipolar disorder and children never ends. It’s such a tough diagnosis.

I recently did an interview with Dr. Ajit Jetmalani on the topic of childhood psychiatric disorders.  Here is a link to the radio show- it is a great companion to the Newsweek article on bipolar disorder.

Childhood Psychiatric Disorders Radio Show

You may have to download this show onto your computer to listen.

Treating childhood bipolar disorder is complicated.


Bipolar disorder, work and jail

Dear Julie,
Do you have any information on how to help someone (my brother) with BP who is required to pay child support, but cannot due to his BP condition?  He is headed for jail b/c he is so behind on his child support payments.  There must be some type of justification in the courts that understands that he cannot work enough to make the payments. It is very stressful for all of us. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,

 Hello L.C.
 Wow, this is quite a question. The justice system is very used to seeing
 mentally ill people- but are not always up on what to do.
Here are some ideas:

– Get an official letter from his doctor with detail on his diagnosis, the meds he takes and his work ability. Can he get a doctor’s statement that he’s actually not able to work?

– Search your county for a court that is known to understand mental health concerns. He is probably assigned a judge, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Here in Oregon, we have mental health courts- they are changing the way the justice system handles mental illness.

– Find out if he has any rights under American Disabilities Act- this is a long shot, but worth a try.

– And finally, he needs to talk with his partner and explain the situation- he has probably done this many times, but it has to happen.

If he is not able to financially support his children, I am sure she wonders who will. It is not her fault your brother is not able to work and I assume she just wants his help. I think your brother has to look at it from both sides. What would he do if he were in her position?

I, of course don’t know any of the details of the situation, but it seems that there has to be better communication all around. This may be a very frustrating answer to your question as you may have tried all of this already, but if it didn’t work the first time you have to keep trying.

Does your brother use a very effective treatment plan daily so that he can hopefully go back to work one day and support his children? That is a goal that is reachable and one that will certainly help the situation.

Yes, this is complicated, but there are options.


A Radio Update

I’ve received so many kind and supportive letters about my new radio show. I wish I could answer more of them! I just received a nice letter from a radio listener.  She asked why there was not a show posted the past few weeks. Well… I had NO idea how much work the show would be. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my working life- but easily the most stressful endeavor of my working life. It’s definitely more stressful than writing books. I’m learning what real stress feels like. It’s hard to deal with, but not impossible. It’s nothing like the stress that comes from being sick with bipolar disorder.
I was a bit scared when I took on the show that I would have a lot of mood swings. I’m so used to getting sick when I work too much. In the past, too much was part time. 
I know what stage fright – I should say radio fright- feels like now! I spoke to over 200 people for an event a few months ago. I had no stress and loved giving the talk. But the first few weeks of the radio show were so bad that I couldn’t go out at night on the weekends at all. I sometimes doubled over with a stomach ache. I felt anxious and downright panicked. It was odd. I knew I could do the show. I never thought it would be easy. But I honestly had no idea what it would feel like to go on air and be so nervous I could hardly talk. If you listen to the first shows, it may be hard to tell, but I was so nervous I felt like I was going to throw up. I could hardly breathe and the show felt like I was under water.
It’s getting better. My fabulous cohost Avi has made such a difference. Have you heard his voice? Believe it or not, he had never been on the radio and just turned out to be a natural.
This is longer than I intended! What I wanted to say is that I have a new show that should be up within the next day. It’s on child and adolescent psychiatric disorders and I’m very proud of it.
I can do this. Taking a risk is the only way to reap big rewards.

Your support means so much to me.

Listen to Andy Behrman on the Julie Fast Radio Show

Hello! If you haven’t had a chance to listen to my new radio show- this is a great place to start. I interviewed best selling author Andy Behrman about his book Electroboy and his amazing life in general.  What a story!  I’ve never heard a better description of mania- you will be amazed.

Click on the link below to stream/download the show.

Electroboy on the Julie Fast Radio Show