Published on Apr 7, 2014
I could have easily kept my reality under wraps, hidden behind an airbrushed smile, but that would have only perpetuated the myth that I had all my 'ducks in a row', or even worse, made others feel as if they didn't. It is my greatest hope that in sharing my journey with bipolar disorder, I can offer insight into a 'world' that affects millions but is often misrepresented, misunderstood, feared or hidden. Every story has two sides, this is 'The Other Side of Me'.
- Julie Kraft
1 year ago (edited)
Just wanted to write and say a huge 'thank you' to everyone for your comments, support, and encouragement -- it all means so much and affirms that my journey is one worth sharing! To all those who have opened up and shared that you are struggling, please don't lose hope or ever give up! Living with a mental illness can feel like an uphill battle at times, but the light is always there and always returns, despite how dark and hopeless things may seem. I know I'm behind in responding to many of your comments - I'm sorry & please forgive me! At times, I can become easily overwhelmed and find it a struggle to answer even my own kids' texts! :) And so, despite my 'silence', please know that I appreciate each and every one of you and I wish you all the very best! xo
2 years ago (edited)
7:30 is one of the things I find hardest about bipolar. That "glimpse": seeing so clearly and so far... there is this big, bright world that's POSSIBLE and amazing and RIGHT THERE... and then all of a sudden you're overwhelmed and stuck in the mud, unable to figure out how to move forward. And all those things that were so bright and so clear and so real just seem to fade-- not entirely away, but just hazy enough that you can remember you had them right there, but you can't recall quite how to get to them again. You can't accomplish, you can't pursue.
I just end up feeling defeated, useless, and hopeless. I get this panic that I'll always get these visions of the possible, but never have the ability to make anything happen. And I wish I'd never seen them in the first place, because then I wouldn't feel so empty and unfulfilled.
I am grateful for being me SOMETIMES... but more often than not I hate this illness and I hate how my head works (or, doesn't). Sigh. "One day at a time" and all that, I guess.
- Julie Kraft
1 year ago
A huge hello to everyone who has taken the time to watch my journey and leave a comment. Although I haven't had the time to reply and thank each of you personally, please know that your kind words and support mean so very much to me! I initially had a lot of fear about sharing this 'side' of me. The stigma of mental illness back in 2014 was much greater than now, and stories of others walking a similar path were fewer and farther between. My fears were instantly put to rest. I was, and continue to be, overwhelmed by the understanding, empathy and acceptance that others have showered on me! To hear that my story resonates with so many of you warms my heart -- we are not alone! I wouldn't trade in my bipolar disorder for anything else in this world. Yes, it has been hard and painful at times but Alex Elle's quote says it best, "I'm thankful for my struggle because, without it, I wouldn't have stumbled upon my strength." In the years since 'coming out' I have experienced the freedom that comes with living a life that is authentic, real and unmasked. I have had friends come and go, but the ones who surround me now are people who love me unconditionally and respect my boundaries - I feel safe to be 'me' whether I'm feeling on top of the world or needing my space. And sharing my deepest struggles has connected me the most amazing, creative, compassionate and inspiring people ... all over the world. We are all in absolutely fantastic company! Bipolar disorder, or any other mental health struggle, is manageable and although it's not always easy, it is more than possible to live a beautiful & fulfilling life! Yay, us! Thank you again to everyone for taking the time to share your stories, encouragement, and yes even a few criticisms with me! It's ALL good! j xo
1 year ago
I like the comment below, "You're not bipolar, you have bipolar." Watching my beloved, beautiful son traverse through this for the last four years has been at times scary, heartbreaking, and frustrating. The hardest thing is how my son is treated by his brother and other relatives. His father took off with another woman and the divorce after 27 years has continued to shake my son up. Stability in our family was so much of what kept him together. I feel helpless a lot of the time and worry what will happen to him once I'm gone. Everything I do is to set-up a safety net for him.
1 year ago
Bipolar is what it is sometimes we're ok sometimes we're not, I get manic for the most part, a little depressed sometimes and then I don't care about anything or anyone I spend the days inside in my bedroom in bed sleeping now wanting to get up or do anything it can last for long time, sometimes weeks, months, and then all of a sudden the manic kicks in I'm on top off the world I'm like super human super happy, impossible on a shopping trip usually buying stuff etc ……
I got a good psychologist now and we're trying new drugs to bring me more level headed, it's ok but, even with all the medication I still get mood swings, it's just what it is
Thank for sharing your a good person
2 years ago
Hi Julie. Thank you for opening up and sharing a private part of your life story. I was recently diagnosed BPD-II with complicated combat PTSD (was former green beret, US Army Special Forces) and just like you it has taken me a long time to come to terms with this illness. I guess it doesn't matter where you come from, who you are, what you've done etc, we are all human and react the way your so eloquently described in your video. I'm still embarrassed, but I am more open to talking about my condition and not being defined by it. Please keep posting these great videos!
2 years ago
Hi Julie, after watching your video and sharing it with my husband and mother, the few that know of my struggles , I purchased your book through Anazon and am 3 quarters of the way through it. I have two daughters who although don't know the extent of my mental illness (bipolar type 2) apart from it not just being mums tired, upset and not in the best of moods, they now getting to the age (10 and 8 years) where they know it's more than that and that its's not normal or ok to treat the ones you love that way (as you say in your book, your husband has always been your punching bag, as has mine!) and for my daughters to constantly be exposed to that as they have been is heartbreaking and not ok. In your beautifully presented book there has been so much that resonated with me! After ten years of experimenting with antidepressants, I never sought help for the highs as I thought it was the real me! I welcomed those unfortunately never long enough periods! During those days and if I'm lucky enough it can be weeks I am creative, energised, nothing can phase me, on top of the world, nothing can get down, I can tackle or be anything I want, social (I'm normally very quiet and reserved) and someone who gets so much done before whack!! My huge fall from grace where I can go into a very dark place! Thanks to your book and you tube vid which prompted me do so a lot of reading and research, I am now on a Med specificly bipolar targeted and am feeling hopeful! Not that it will completely fix it but hopefully put me in a better frame of mind, take the edge of and give me that extra spark to put it some extra work on improving myself , like going to see someone regularly to work on some things I'd love to improve eg. Treating my husband and kids with the respect they deserve!
Sorry for my very lengthy post, I just wanted to thank you your your honest and raw words and beautiful book!
Love Laura from little old New Zealand xx
- niks gee
2 years ago
Well done you Julie. I am 47, my friend said to me 'you have to let go of your pride'. It was hard for me to admit. I hid my bipolar since age 16, all of my life. Then at 41, my daughter died at birth, I developed severe PTSD. Eventually, I couldn't hide it anymore. I got help. Watching videos online, and reading articles online, helped me to understand Me. I am not ashamed. When I am up I am creative, what a wonderful life that is.... I was funny outgoing, intelligent..... but of course, I would also spend lots of money, I would also get into trouble. Then the depression would hit. After my daughter died, I couldn't hide it anymore. I would hide away when I was depressed, people didn't see me. My brain stopped working. Well done you, for standing up, it has taken me so many years 30 years.... for me to say this is me. I am bipolar - and you know, it's ok. I am ok being bipolar.
2 years ago
Before seeing this video, I was very curious about the symptoms of bipolar as well as wanting a comprehendible explanation for this condition, since the sites I had visited complicated it more than it should have, and after seeing this video, I now have a better understanding and I appreciate your courage to share your experience with other people who either have bipolar or know someone who has bipolar and it has warmed my heart. Thank you Julie for such an amazing and admirable video. I do hope that you're doing well now :)