The Face of Mental Illness: Mine. 

I am putting a face on mental illness, mine. It doesn’t just happen to someone else, it happens to you, to me, to out friends and family members. It doesn’t just happen to abnormal people, most of us are totally normal most of the time! As am I. And you, all my lovely friends have accepted me and are supporting me through the ups and downs of it. I am so fortunate and so grateful for your love and support! I’m sending all of you my love and hugs in return.

Bipolar and Triggers

What Julie Fast is talking about in this video (I couldn’t upload it her, so if anyone wants to watch it, they will have to go to the link below) is exactly what I am living through right now. A series of triggers and here I am in mixed phase/ hypomania land. All the triggers but one have basically resolved themselves or don’t mean much to me anymore, but this last one is big and its resolution is not up to me. So this is the difficulty I am living with, anxiety, huge amounts of it, and then getting sicker as a result. I was supposed to go to Hawaii tomorrow, but I canceled the trip today. Unfortunately, I’m in no shape to travel thousands of miles away.

I just wanted to say thank you to my blogger friends and so many of my FB friends who wrote loving and encouraging messages to me. It truly means a lot to me to know that I have such wonderful friends in my corner. I’m here for ALL of you as well.

Hoping to get better soon. Hoping things outside of my control also get better. This is so difficult, to see a loved one struggle yet be unable to fix all their problems.

And so… we go on, and hope for the best and work towards the best.

With honest reflection of what sets off your bipolar disorder, you too can curb your triggers and cut your symptoms in half.

This is Julie Fast for bp Magazine.

As you can see, I’m doing my video from my car today. Normally, I like to set up a location, make it beautiful, plan everything perfectly, beautiful sunshine, etcetera. It didn’t work out that way this week. You’ll also notice that I’m going to trip over my words a little bit in this video. You might also notice that my eyes are a little bit puffy. What could be happening? Well, I’ve had a lot of triggers in the last month that have led to a lot of bipolar disorder mood swings.

So my topic today – Triggers and Bipolar Disorder – is very applicable into my own life. Of course I managed to do this video just as trucks are going behind me and it seems to be rush hour on my street. But you know what…with bipolar disorder, sometimes you just have to do your best and it’s not going to be as great as you’d like it to be. I need to get this video out, so I’m going to do it.

Triggers are anything that cause bipolar disorder mood swings – not much more simple than that. A trigger can be positive. A trigger can be negative. For example, my trigger was that I was living in France where I was doing quite well and enjoying myself and I decided to come back to the United States in order to work on two books. My bipolar disorder did not like this!

I didn’t have enough time to prepare for the travel back and forth and I’ve had a month of mood swings. I had three weeks of down, suicidal depression and then I had…(you can see how disjointed I am compared to my other videos…I’m just going to let you see this).

I then had a week of dysphoric interchanging with euphoric mania. That’s what ‘big travel’ can do to us. I tend to be relatively stable unless a trigger hits me. So it makes sense that trigger management is my number one tool to manage bipolar disorder.

Two main triggers that you always have to look out for are substance abuse and sleep changes.Substance abuse is something I deal with. I have to learn to live with it. We all have to watch what we put in our bodies in order to feel better because often that substance can make your bipolar worse.

But sleep changes are something that we really can work on and it’s free. I have learned that I have to go to sleep at a similar time every night and wake up at a similar time every morning. That’s not easy to do! That’s what circadian rhythm management is about and it makes all the difference in the world with your bipolar disorder.

So, look into your life and think: what am I doing right now that increases my bipolar disorder symptoms? Write it down. The next thing you can do is you can say, “What do people in my life tell me I’m doing that increases my bipolar disorder symptoms? Write it down. You have to be rigidly honest with yourself to manage this illness.

You’ve now got a trigger list. My book, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder has a big chapter on triggers and you can learn to manage them. Also, of course, the bpHope website has wonderful articles, blogs and video blogs on managing bipolar disorder.

So look over your life. What are you doing? Or, what is being done around you that triggers your bipolar disorder? Make a list and then change those triggers. Is it easy? No! But do you want to cut your symptoms in half? Trigger management is the way.

Thank you so much for your patience with my lovely location, with my stumbling over my words and with my bipolar disorder mood swings. I have to be patient with myself as well.

Thanks to everyone who follows me, everyone who comes to, and I’ll talk with you soon.

Can’t tell from looking at me…

Couldn’t really tell you why, but this year, the bottom has fallen out and I’ve landed straight in hell. This is not me. I am not this hopeless and terrified. I am not this anxious and panic stricken. I’ve lost 10 lbs in a week! This is bipolar. This is what this awful illness is doing to me. I’ve talked to my doctor and increased the lithium and the Seroquel. Now I need for these to kick in and take effect and for me to stop feeling so god awful, for me to start feeling better and more like myself. That day cannot come soon enough. I can’t wait to feel happy, calm, peaceful, not afraid for my beloved son. 

This is what this horrible disease does to us. It makes us not ourselves. Always in crisis. Too many emotions, far too intense, so intense that it is literally painful. Don’t need it, don’t want it, go away bipolar, leave me alone!


img_2274The series of events continue, sad and unbearable almost. You think you have your life under control, you get educated, you get married, you have children… but in the middle of all that you develop bipolar 1 disorder. Your husband is affected by it, your child is certainly affected by it, your life is affected by it. You feel you’re doing fine, but in the early days after diagnosis, you are anything but fine. Things get better but still you have major mood swings. Your husband is an adult and can more or less handle it. Your child, your precious baby doesn’t know why his loving mom turns into a raving banshee sometimes. Your precious son suffers and is traumatized. He is also extremely sensitive and has anxiety. How could he not have anxiety? My mother had and mother in law has major anxiety disorder, as does my husband and lately my anxiety is off the charts. So not ony did my son have the genes for it, he lived in a stressful environment. I loved him as much as anyone possibly could have and still do. But sometimes, as sad as it is, love isn’t enough. The effect my illness and my husband’s stress had on my baby was bad. He is angry at us and has a lot of anxiety. And recent events in his young life have made things worse. Everyone has told me that I visit him too much, so I am staying away. I am allowing him to learn from the adverse events and handle them himself. It is one of the hardest things I’ve done. My instinct is to jump on a plane, get to him as quickly as possible and give him lots of hugs and comfort him and tell him that everything will be alright. I cannot stop crying at his unfortunate circumstances, BUT I also know that he will handle it, learn from it, and be stronger for it. He doesn’t need his mommy to hold his hand, he needs to know he can handle life. So in his best interest, I’m staying away. Not easy, but I’m doing it.

Again, dear readers, send me your positive thoughts. My family needs them. Love and hugs for all of you.

Most Unfortunate September

A disastrous visit.

An occurrence in Buffalo.

Some disappointing things that happened.

My brother’s birthday.

Another incident.

Yet another incident.

Taking warrior Leo to veterinarian. He fought tooth and nail and he is STRONG!

And it’s fall, usually the time for me to get hypomanic 😟

And believe me none of the things listed above were minor. I’m just not at liberty to talk about them here. However I do know that I overreact when my mood is off, so that may also have made things seem more awful than they truly were. In any case, I have been through the wringer and my mood has taken a hit. 

With all of the above happening, I feel absolutely SICK! In bed. My butt is whooped! . Calling my doctor on Monday. If I have to get myself hospitalized, I will. Wish me luck. And a quick recovery, please, yes a quick recovery, more than anything else.

Prince Harry: I will dedicate my life to helping mentally ill ex-servicemen and women

He’s a true prince, charming, kind, compassionate and he seems to have found his calling in supporting the veterans of war who grapple with mental illness.

Prince Harry: I will dedicate my life to helping mentally ill ex-servicemen and women

Prince Harry calls for better approach to mental health as he joins injured veterans for ‘Walk of Britain’
By Lucy Clarke-Billings
5:23PM BST 30 Sep 2015

The 31-year-old Prince is patron of the Walk of Britain 2015: Walking With The Wounded and said as country ‘we need to do more’

Prince Harry says he wants to dedicate the rest of his life to working with ex-servicemen fighting mental health problems, as he reveals he feels lucky to have escaped Afghanistan alive.
As he prepared to join injured veterans on part of their 1,000 mile walk across Britain, the Prince said more needs to be done to help personnel with “hidden” injuries.
The 31-year-old is patron of the Walking With The Wounded Walk of Britain and today said as country “we need to do more” to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Prince Harry joins Walking with the Wounded’s Walk of Britain team at Ludlow Castle in Shrophire as they trek the length of the country on their own personal roads. 
He has previously spoken of the “very difficult” transition to civilian life that former service personnel face, particularly those who carry the scars and burdens of the war.

“That military banter never goes, that dark sense of humour will always be there,”
And in an interview with ITV News he has made clear his life-long commitment to helping people battling to overcome grievous injuries, both physical and mental, suffered in the line of duty.

“Mental health is a sensitive subject but it doesn’t need to be,” he said. “We need to talk about it more, get rid of the stigma.
“What better people to bring that to the forefront than these guys? They are mentally strong and they are willing to talk about it.
“I love spending time with these guys. I like to think I know roughly what they’re going through as well. It’s hard to say that because everyone is unique but the main focus, from my point of view, for the rest of my life anyway is to make sure they get the best support possible because I know, and more people are starting to see, how valuable they are within society.
Prince Harry takes a break to play some American Football with NFL representative Dan Marino
Prince Harry takes a break to play some American Football with NFL representative Dan Marino Getty Images

“Whether it’s in this country, or the USA, they are the best people on this planet to bring people together, to improve communities. I think it’s something people need to take notice of.”
Prince Harry also said he missed parts of the army and feels a strong connection to his comrades.
“I miss parts of it,” he said. “That’s another reason why I will be involved with these guys for the rest of my life.
“Because that military banter never goes, that dark sense of humour will always be there. We’ll get into trouble together.”
And while he says an unbreakable sense of patriotism keeps you going, you always feel lucky to return home safe and well.
“If you’re lucky enough to be able to serve your country then you don’t think of anything else,” he said. “Even when these guys are getting injured, the first thought is in their mind is ‘Christ it’s happened to me’.
“You never believe it will happen to you. Of course you believe you’re lucky but let’s not forget the families who are put through that pain and stress as well.”
The prince lent his support to the six-strong team who have taken on the 1,000 mile walk across the country.
The five men and a woman, including two ex-US Marines, are all battling with different injuries, both physical and mental.
Among them are three victims of IED blasts in Afghanistan, amputees and two who suffered traumatic brain injuries. Another lost an eye.
“Of course you believe you’re lucky, but let’s not forget the families who are put through that pain and stress as well,”
Speaking ahead of today’s walk, the Prince said he was “hugely looking forward” to joining the team on their “formidable” challenge.

Today’s section has been taking the team through the picturesque English countryside near Ludlow in Shropshire.
He praised the members of the public who’ve been putting hard-earned money in the donation buckets as the marchers make their way around Britain.
“The support has been amazing,” he said. “People come out to give money and then when they hear what it’s for they put another £20 in.”
And for Prince Harry, spending time with the veterans on the march was the perfect day for him.
“You just have to chat to these guys for five minutes to appreciate what they can still contribute,” he said.
“What’s important is to recognise that the mental health support for these guys, former servicemen and women is there. They have served their country. They have put their lives on the line for their country.”
As he made his way out of a small wood near Craven Arms, jokingly complaining that his legs hurt, he talked about the number of empty homes that can be used in part for homeless veterans.
Prince Harry shows off his beard as he participates in the Walking with the Wounded hike
The prince has always supported the charity since its formation James Watkins/

“That’s why I was so happy we did he DIYSOS building, getting together to help house veterans.”
Part of the walk took them through Onibury where Vicky Bailey, 37, who had just picked up her son Miles Bailey from school, stopped him and handed over £5.
“I think he is amazing and what he does is really good,” she said. “Seeing that landlords are giving up homes for veterans who don’t have homes and jobs to go to is great. I hope he keeps up the good work.”
Further along the road Daniel Evans, 30, put a couple of pounds in the bucket and showing off his five month old son to Harry was teased by the prince, “That’s not how you hold a baby.”
But he declined the option to hold him.
On the outskirts of Onibury Harry stopped to play some American football.
The trek started in Scotland in August and is set to take 72 days, finishing at Buckingham Palace on November 1.
Harry has supported WWTW since the charity was formed, taking part in its treks to the North Pole in 2011 and South Pole in 2013.
He was also patron of its Everest expedition in 2012.