I have changed. My management ability has changed. I am alive and often have great happiness in my life. It’s a fight for me. A fight I will win.
“Well, that’s just how it is.” My mind said this to me as I sat down and worked this morning. I’ve not been able to just sit down and work for almost two months. If I have work that involves other people, I can do it just fine. But to sit down by myself and work? That is… rough. Especially as my favorite work in the world is writing.
As we get older with bipolar, our brain ages with us. If we get a concussion, experience a stressful event or realize that our offspring has bipolar as well, this changes us. It changes our brain. Having a plan for what bipolar does to our lives in essential. If you’re young- you have a lot of time to get things right! You can learn from my mistakes!
If you have bipolar disorder, start now to prepare for a life that you can handle. Make changes now that cushion you from the reality of the illness:
Get help with money now.
Learn to be a good friend as you will need friends when you get sick.
Read books that teach you how to manage the illness. Create a plan that you use daily.
Join a support program.
Do what it takes. It’s time to see bipolar as a serious mental
illness. It’s not a simple problem. It’s a big brain issue.
When I sat down today and started working, I thought, “I
can’t believe this! So much struggle for so many months and today I just sit
down! This is ridiculous! I hate it! It’s not fair! I just want to get my work
to the world! I don’t want this life! Others get to work as much as they want
and they complain about it too! I am stifled! I am disabled by this damn
illness! I hate it!”
Then, my brain said, “Well, that is just how it
True. Nothing has changed in my brain since my first psychosis at 16, first euphoric hypomania at 17, first dysphoric mania at 18, first suicidal depression at 19 and then the beginning of ultradian (daily) rapid cycling at age 21.
My brain is the same brain. It’s an illness. Just
Julie A. Fast is the author of "Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder," "Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder," "Get it Done When You’re Depressed" and "The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder." She is a columnist and blogger for BP Magazine and won the Mental Health America journalism award for the best mental health column in the US. Julie was also the recipient of the Eli Lily Reintegration award for her work in bipolar disorder advocacy. Julie is a bipolar disorder expert for the Dr.Oz and Oprah created site ShareCare. Julie is CEU certified and regularly trains health care professionals including psychiatric residents, social workers, therapists and general practitioners on bipolar disorder management skills. She was the original consultant for Claire Danes for the show Homeland and is on the mental health expert registry for People Magazine. She works as a coach for parents and partners of people with bipolar disorder. Julie is currently writing a book for children called "Hortensia and the Magical Brain: Poems for Kids with Bipolar, Anxiety, Psychosis and Depression." You can find more about her work at JulieFast.com and BipolarHappens.com.
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