About the Author

Sarah (waiting for a bus)


My name is Sarah Sullivan and I am one of nearly 8 million Americans living with bipolar disorder. I am also one of the few in that group willing to talk openly about it.

Sometimes I have intense rushes of energy, and other times it is as if energy has been drained from my body.

Sometimes I have extreme emotional responses that don’t relate to what is happening around me.

Other times I have emotional reactions to things that happen, but the response is far outside the realm of what is considered reasonable.

These extreme emotional states and energy fluctuations can last anywhere from minutes to months, and this malady is commonly called Bipolar Disorder.

For me, the onset presumably began when I was 16 years old (which provided quite the awkward high school speed bump), or at least my symptoms became serious enough to require hospitalization at that time. I’m now 30 and have a total of four hospitalizations under my belt (the latest being in October 2014).

Unfortunately, my body chemistry is so sensitive that 95% of the medications I’ve tried have been intolerable or caused allergic reactions. Since I have not been able to rely on medications to stabilize my moods, I use a number of cognitive tools, therapy, and mood tracking techniques I’ve picked up over the years to track how I’m doing, then I adjust (what I refer to as) my “External Variables” (aspects like my sleep, eating habits, stress level, and social time, among other things) in an attempt to curb episodes. Sometimes I am more successful than others.

I have a degree in Fashion Design, but am highly attracted to all creative endeavors. Bipolar Disorder makes it difficult (alright, try impossible) for me to work the traditional 9-5 job, so I try to focus instead on projects in areas that I really love. Film, fashion, costuming, writing, textile design, weaving, interior design, visual merchandising, and the like. I am also a total sucker for the great outdoors.

Happy Sleepy Puppy

I live in Seattle with my Boston Terrier, Luna. I’ve been involved with Seattle’s bipolar community for several years now, encouraging people to talk about their experiences and helping create a supportive network of bipolar individuals.

I am not a stranger to discrimination, but it has only encouraged me to speak up louder. The more we talk openly about mental illness, the sooner we can alleviate the stigma that surrounds it.

This blog explores the infinite nature of the emotional spectrum that is the defining mark of bipolar disorder while asking questions addressing its curiosities.

68 responses to “About the Author

  1. Can I leave comments on this blog, and if so how? I’m not too tech savvy.

    • Absolutely! From the main page with the dated entries you can scroll through just click on the title of the post you’d like to leave a comment about. That should direct you to a page with just that entry and a comment box (not unlike the one you used on this “About” page).

      Hope that helps, and thanks for reading!

  2. Hey ColonialPunk! I’m so glad to meet you! In the coming days, I will read through your recent posts. Thanks for the subscription to As the Pendulum Swings. It’s my first public exploration as a woman with bipolar disorder. I look forward to blogging with you!

  3. Hi, there.
    I’m a dog mom with bipolar disorder, too.
    Maintaining a career is definitely challenging for us – creative careers are often easier to manage.
    Familiarize yourself with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any employer with 15 or more employees must provide accommodations for you (irregular hours, extra time off when needed, etc) unless they can prove it will create undue financial stress for them.
    You do not have to disclose your condition until an offer has been made. If the offer is withdrawn because of this then you have been discriminated against.
    You are MIGHTY!

    • Unfortunately in my experience most companies would rather play “chicken” with me over having a disability, meaning I usually wind up with the discrimination and the challenge to get myself a lawyer (which I absolutely cannot afford). I don’t know if it is the economy or the intense amount of ignorance out there, but it is certainly a pain in the behind.

      Thanks for the encouraging words!

  4. I wanted to leave you a congrats! I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!

  5. You’r a braver soul than I. Every time I out myself I get a bad response. So now I just tell people I’m retired when they ask what I do. I know I’m a chicken but it just hurts so much to lose friends and acquaintances because they are so scared of mental illness.

  6. You are incredibly brave. I am looking forward to reading more but just this introduction is compelling. In a world of tolerance there is still so much misunderstanding on mental illness and the road that has to be navigated and traveled.

  7. disorderlychickadee

    Hi Sarah – This is a great blog! I’ve nominated it for the Liebster Blog Award because I really enjoy reading your writing. And the graph the other day? AWESOME! 🙂

  8. Hi there, in recognition of your bravery and the work you are doing to diminish the stigma surrounding mental illness, I have nominated you for The HUG Award©.
    I you wish to accept it please follow this link to find out more about it and what to do next… http://wp.me/p1J9Lk-W9

  9. I’m newly diagnosed, and appreciate the blogs of those who have walked this path, and can lend some insight. Thanks for putting yourself out there! Look forward to learning from all that you share.

  10. Thanks for reading!

  11. Found your blog today while searching for a form to schedule small tasks and celebrate them as accomplishments. That, makes task and accomplishment one a celebration worthy event. I will reward myself with a moment or two of “I knew you could do it, do it again if you want,” approbations. I appreciate your approach to managing this disease.

    You did good today Sarah. Thanks

  12. I found your blog while looking for posts about depression and bipolar disorder. My wife has recently been diagnosed with bipolar type II and reading about others have been truly inspirational.

    I’m looking forward to be reading more of your posts.

    • Excellent! I’m a firm believer that getting perspective from others with a similar issue is one of the most helpful things one can do.


      • Can I find you at facebook?

      • ColonialPunk

        Hello! I am actually working on updating the blog layout (should be happening sometime within the next week) which will include a facebook link. Thanks for asking, and be sure to check back if you can for that link!

  13. Hi Sarah,
    I just popped across to let you know that because I appreciate and respect your work on your blog I have nomited you for the Leibster Award.

    You can read about my nomination here: http://voicesofglass.com/2012/03/09/the-liebster-blog-award-i-am-so-very-grateful/

    Just thought I would let you know.
    Kind Regards.


    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      Thank you Kevin, I am honored!

      Loved the follow up sleep post with the pie charts, by the way!

  14. Congrats, Sarah! I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award: http://wp.me/p26KTD-8a, mostly because I’ve found your posts really inspiring. I hope you don’t mind!

  15. Hi Sarah,
    These awards seem to come along like buses. LOL

    Having just received an Inspiring Blog Award and being required to nominate 7 other inspiring blogs I thought long and hard over who I would choose and simply had to choose your blog as one of mine.

    You can find out more about it here. http://voicesofglass.com/2012/03/11/inspiring-blog-award/

    Kind Regards

  16. Hi Sarah,
    A little while back I thought it might be really good if we had a recognizable community of writers who, as part of their writing, write about mental health and mental well-being.

    So, being the kind of person who figures having ideas is on thing but you then have to do something about it, I started up the Mental Health Writers’s Guild and being familiar with your writing I really would like and really do feel you deserve to be a part of it.

    It’s nothing special really I just figure that through it such things as support and encouragment as well as comnpetitions and the such could be offered to members.

    The address for it, so that you can check it out and find out more about it, is as follows: http://mentalhealthwritersguild.wordpress.com/ and as i say I really do feel you should and deserve to be a part of it,

    Let me know what you think 🙂
    Kind Regards.


    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious


      very cool idea, and now that I’ve spent some time checking it out I can say I’d love to be included!

      If you need me to do anything specific, shoot me an email at host@thebipolarcuriousblog.com

      Thanks for thinking of me!

      • Hi Sarah,

        Really pleased to be able to include you.

        I m going to go add you to the list of members on the Guild Membership page.

        Please feel free to visit it and copy the members logo on that page and display it on your website should you want to.

        Again, really great to hear from you. Sorry for th delayed response but I am unwell today.

        Kind Regards


  17. Hi Sarah,

    This morning I was nominated for two awards with very similar names, which was slightly confusing. One was called ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ and the other ‘The Vesatile Blogger Award.’

    Both had different pictures and yet both required me to share 7 things about myself and to nominate 15 other blogs which I follow.

    You can find out about them and my response to them here: http://reson8freedom.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/versatile-blogger-award-the-versatile-blogger-award-a-double-blessing/ but even though I am sure you have already been nomimated for at least one of them I thought I would nominate you for the both of them.

    I hope that is ok but I really do enjoy reading your blog and wanted to include you in my nominations.

    Kind Regards


    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      Thanks Kevin, always appreciated!

      • you are welcome 🙂

      • you are welcome 🙂

        Hmm not sure this is going through as I just got a little red message telling me..
        “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.”

        Lol how many times in one day am I told to slow down by people? And now the computer is telling me! Too funny

  18. Hi, Sarah: Don’t know what happened – somehow I accidentally unsubscribed, then I popped in this morning and WOW! Does the blog look great! Keep up the good work and give Luna a big snuggle. Vivian

  19. Can I just say your intro rocks? I’m just starting to deal with/talk openly about my diagnosis. I’ve been looking through other blogs, hoping to see what others are doing. What you say about careers definitely sounds like me; gods, I never thought it might have to do with being bipolar! Just reading that made me feel SO much better about myself just now.

    Thank you!

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      Thanks, and welcome!

      As far as I can tell, having a sporadic employment history is pretty common for people with bipolar disorder -which is something I didn’t know for a long time (and tended to get down on myself about my own history) as well. Thanks for stopping by! 😀

  20. Pingback: When is honesty the best policy? « Living on the Green Edge

  21. Hey, Sarah! I nominated you for the Outstanding Blogger Award, which you so richly deserve! You can read about it here: http://butshescrazy.com/2012/06/13/more-awards/

  22. Hi I’ve nominated you for The Versatile Blogger award.

  23. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

    I’m happy to have come across your blog today! We’ve got a game of tag going on and I’ve tagged you! Collect your tag here: http://quietbpd.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/tag-time-again/

  24. Pingback: I am a Wikipedia cut and paste « Living on the Green Edge

  25. One thing I find a bit weird about bipolar disorder… all the really old stuff I’ve read about it, talks about the episodes nearly always lasting weeks or months, if not years. And yet most people today talk about bipolar episodes that are far far shorter. I’ve had manic blips several times this year, that literally lasted only a few hours ~ but usually at night, meaning I got no sleep at all. A couple of weeks ago, I went into a depression that lasted all of 2 hours (but it was really intense) ~ I doubt any doctor would take that seriously… except that when the 2 hours were up my mood went higher and higher until I was hypomanic, and stayed that way all night. Even when I’m not in what I’d call an “episode” my mood either follows a wavy line, or stays below “normal”, so I’m mildly depressed. I barely ever feel properly “normal”, except in the few days after a hypomanic episode. When I did go full-on manic last year it took literally weeks and weeks, with the mood constantly wobbling up and down (but never coming down to “normal”) for it to resolve itself. And then it “resolved” itself into a lovely depression. O ain’t life fun!!

    I heard rapid cycling is more common among people who use street drugs. And also that antidepressants can trigger it off. I read an article on “mild bipolar” that says bipolar ii is so prevalent today because the antidepressants many people (who would never have been prescribed antidepressants before the Prozac era) took in the 1990s “uncovered” so much bipolar. Here’s the article:

    Personally I believe what set me off was the antidepressants I took in the 90s (though apart from the 6 months I did on Prozac, I never stayed on anything for very long)… and also the Ecstasy, ketamine, acid and mushrooms I did… I reckon that’s what caused the damage. My diagnosis is “schizoaffective bipolar” by the way. My doctor said I was too cuckoo to be just bipolar. I avoided telling or showing doctors any of my bipolarity for years… then when I do come to terms with the fact that I am bipolar, I find out I’m schizophrenic as well! O ain’t life fun! 😉 I’m putting your blog on my roll…

    • Interesting, it definitely sounds like your mood swings are similar to mine, to some extent. I have have intense suicidal depression sometimes that lasts only a couple hours (though it can also last months for me), as well as totally off-my-rocker manic episodes that cover the span of an afternoon, an evening, or all night. It is funny to me that this is usually considered to be less severe than full on episodes, but for me these quick mood swings are almost worse than longer episodes because I may not always catch what is going on right away and might be more impulsive because of that.

      I agree that there are a lot of people who have had bipolar disorder surface because of antidepressants. That’s what happened to me (or it accelerated it, anyway) but I do genuinely believe that if it hadn’t been set off that way, it still would have either been set off my something else, or just occurred over time. I have watched several people I know develop full-on bipolar symptoms very gradually (without being brought on by antidepressants) and part of me wonders if it is going to happen, if it shouldn’t just be brought to light right away (by the use of an antidepressant, for example)? I think I have been able to come a long way since everything really took off, while the people I know who are just discovering they have bipolar disorder have been struggling with the invisible (to them) effects of it all for years. Is one way better than the other? More painful? Less painful? More or less harmful to our lives?

      Thanks for your comments, and take care!

  26. I’m gonna be a dork here and say I have a Boston, too! I liked your image on your front page. Also, the title of your site really drew me in right away. I’ll keep visiting!

  27. Sarah, there is a pledge called the 2013 Blog For Mental Health. I think you would be perfect for this because you often write posts with information to help other people, in addition to writing about yourself. No pressure, but if you want to check it out, go to:

  28. It’s quite sad that having a mental illness usually means never talking about it or mentioning it. I don’t mean in the way where you meet someone and it’s like, ‘I’m suchandsuch, I have bipolar’ that’s just needy. But on abroader level people don’t get it, or even want to bother to get it.

    When people are worrying about their own stuff or are happy, they especially don’t get it. How can you be depressed? etc etc, I’m sure you know how it goes.

    Well done for battling through the hospitalisations.

  29. I wanted to invite you to Blog for Mental Health 2013! It’s not an award or anything, just a collection of bloggers dedicated to blogging about mental health issues and I thought you would be perfect! Check out my post to see what it’s all about! http://rosiesmrtiepants.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/blog-for-mental-health-2013/

  30. Your blog is wonderful. There is so much information here and I think it’s an amazing resource to have in one place. You seem like such an amazing person who has accomplished a lot despite a diagnosis and it’s great that you’re giving back to others.

  31. Hi, Sarah! Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your journey! I’m personally not too familiar with bipolar disorder (and am probably misinformed about it), but I’m really keen to learn more. I’ve struggled with various degrees of depression. I would describe my last, most severe experience with it as being trapped in a vortex of mind games, lies, and self-loath. For the veil to be lifted, be it occasionally or for good, is truly a miracle. Stay strong! Know that you’re encouraging and inspiring a lot of people with your honesty + spunk! I look forward to learning more from your experiences and insights! 🙂 (P.S. I blog about mental health, faith, and life in general.)

  32. Am a new follower. Good for you for helping to educate, motivate and fight the horrifying stigma!

  33. You are a brave soul. Thanks for all the wonderful insight and information here. I will visit often.

  34. Thank you for helping us family members understand.

  35. Thanks for reading my blog on Buddhism and Mental Illness. It is nice to see that you found some worth in it. If you ever have any feedback or suggestions on articles you would like to see.. let me know.

  36. Thank you for your very nice reply to my post on Emotions and Decision making. I am glad that you found it useful. Keep writing. Your blog has a lot of value and I am glad that someone like you is out there educating.

  37. Hi Sarah,
    I have today just awarded you the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. There is absolutely no pressure attached to this, just my way of showing my respect for your work.
    You can read about it more here :http://voicesofglass.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/touched-and-honoured/
    Kind regards and God bless you.

  38. Just Plain Ol' Vic


    Thanks so much for blogging your story. I am married and my wife is bi-polar. For the longest time I thought I was alone but I realize there is so much support out there. I look forward to your insight & getting better educated so I can support my wife better.

  39. Hi. There are many like you, me and a lot more people with bipolar who need to vent or just to express their world. So don’t feel so alone. And what do you mean with bi.curious, polar…?

  40. I seriously don’t know how I found your blog. Maybe you liked something I wrote. I try to visit everyone’s blog. Anyway, I am so happy I found you. I wan to say so many of the things you have said, but sadly I am not a writer. I would like to re-post some of your posts. I’ll shoot you an email. Hang in there, I know it is hard.

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