The Lies Bipolar Tells Me—Uncovering the Truth

By Julie A. Fast

It may not be easy, but part of managing bipolar disorder depression is recognizing when your negative thoughts are simply not true.

Photo: Getty Images/SIphotography

By Julie A. Fast


Bipolar is such a liar! It says things that are not true, but they feel real and it’s hard not to get caught up by the thoughts that we KNOW are unrealistic—they feel so real it’s hard to fight the words and feelings that are generated from the “bipolar brain.”

An example: I am currently sitting in the English Pub where I watch my favorite sport (international football) and where I’m about to participate in an evening pub quiz.

I came a few hours early to get some writing done, so I am currently alone at my table. There are other tables filled with people having a good time. The minute I walked in, I had this thought,

“Julie, look how much fun everyone is having. You never have fun like this! Most people have groups of friends they hang out with. You are always alone. Look at them! Laughing and having fun. They get to work together. I bet they have easy lives. They are all laughing and you are always alone!”  

What the heck?!

Really?  I am early to MEET THE PEOPLE I will be with all evening IN A GROUP doing a pub quiz. One of my closest friends will be here soon just to chat and have dinner before the quiz.

How many lies does my bipolar brain have to tell me until I finally realize that my bipolar brain is not to be trusted?

And before anyone says this is about self-esteem or personalty, please know that I’m NOT like this when my life is stable. I have these thoughts and worries when I am slightly depressed, as I am today. This is my stress response and not the real me.

The real ME, my stable SELF simply walks in a pub, sits down and gets on with life.

My goal? To recognize when my bipolar brain is lying to me. I simply can’t listen and I must be very careful not to act on the lies my brain tells me when I am feeling down and stressed.

What about you? Do you know the difference between yourself and your bipolar brain? It helps to have a list of the lies your bipolar brain tells you. They usually have a pattern and you can learn to recognize the pattern and say NO when your brain is not being your friend.

Learn more:

How to Be Kind to Yourself When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Relationships and the Bipolar Trap 




About the author
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 and
  1. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 2.5 months ago. I am currently going through a mixed emotion episode. A few days ago I spoke with my mother about needing a good support system while learning this. Of course she has her own life with 2 little girls at the age of 46 and does not have the time nor patience to learn this with me. My family has always been very closed minded about Mental Health and believes it is just in your head and you can fix it by saying “I am happy, I am fine” I have tried to take my life more than 6 times in my 23 years of life. Not once has anyone taken me to the doctor. I told my mother that sometimes the things she will say to me really hurt me. Especially when she says that I should be normal and have a normal life. Or when she says that she is happy I am getting the help I FEEL I need. With out my medications or my doctors I would not be here today. But she does not understand that. Last night she messaged me back saying that it hurts that I blame her for this and for everything. I have told her many times that I do not blame her nor am I mad at her. I understand that not everyone can handle this in their lives. But of course I would like the support from my own family. But after what she said to me I will never get that from her nor anyone else in my family. I am very thankful I have my husband but he alone can not take care of me when I get this way. I am currently very suicidal and am scared I will not be able to fight off the thoughts. It’s killing me that my own mother doesn’t want to be a part of my life and thinks that I blame her and think she is a bad mother. I love my mother very much. How do I explain this to her better or do I just move and and wish her the best?

  2. Joan, my drug regiment involve mood stablizers, anti-anxiety and a drug to keep my bipolar under control. I take seroquel for sleep, Xanax for anxiety. Propranolol for tremors. Buspar for mood. Depakote for the same.
    Sounds like a lot but they keep me out of the hospital and seem stabilized.

    1. I came off meds for sleep and anxiety when I started medical marijuana (I’m in Canada). Now THC helps my anxiety, and CBD helps me sleep. ❤️ And without the side effects of chemical meds.

  3. I know bipolar is different for everyone but I would like to know what medications are taken generally for depression & also for mania & if there is any concensus or regime people find the most helpful.
    Most articles don’t mention actual medication that has helped them stabilise.

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