Note: I have wanted write this blog post since day one of starting The Bipolar Writer blog. It seemed to fit that on a day like today— my birthday— that I would share this letter. It means the world to me to be in a place where this is possible, to talk about where I have been. This letter is written to James Edgar Skye, my pen name.
A Letter to The Bipolar Writer
What a journey it has been to get here, James.
I can remember a time where you honestly believed that you would never make it. You always thought that the darkness that still sometimes engulfs your life would eventually take you— and there were a few close calls along the way. Somehow you find the will to fight, even on those days where you thought it would be your last.
Look at you now. Just a few months away from getting your Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing with a specialization in fiction. You found your writing side in the past few years in minoring in screenwriting, political science, and journalism. It has been a journey of peaks and valleys, the good and bad parts of being Bipolar seemed always find its way in your studies— and yet you are going to graduate summa cum laude. I remember the doubts you had over the last four years, and each time you proved yourself wrong by always excelling at everything school threw at you.
Even though you never got your Hogwarts letter, you still maintained your love for reading. Now you have turned that love into a writing career.
I can barely remember your first birthday after your diagnosis became Bipolar One. You were a different person then, and you have come so far from the days where you barely noticed time passing you by in this life. The first three years of your diagnosis was filled with so much negative. Depression became your most familiar companion. Anxiety seemed to fill your days, and so you hid from the world— and you barely left your house those three years.
I always wondered why you gave into the darkness three different times in your life and turned to suicide as a way to escape. It was the worst parts of your life, and luckily you survived. Now, look at you, sharing your experiences with suicide and self-harm to advocate that there is a better way. Suicide is never the answer— that is what you tell people now. You had to live through a lot, but it was all worth it to help others. I believe that you are helping people.
Who knew you could find the strength to tell your story. You really have come a long way, and now you have a real chance at helping others. Writing and creating The Bipolar Writer blog was the best decision that you made outside of going back to school. Now you have finished the first draft of your memoir, and now you are looking toward the future instead of the past.
On this journey, you have found ways to cope. Listening to music and your favorite K-pop group have gotten you through so much. Writing finally became your way of life, and you have indeed found your place in this world. It has helped you grow as a better person in life. It defines the best qualities of who you are— never let that go. You found watching baseball— the Los Angeles Dodgers— as your way to cope during the summer months. You get through the worst parts of your depression and anxiety, and you are always open to finding new ways of dealing.
Sure, you are still a work in progress. At times social anxiety gets the best of you. At times you lose yourself in panic attacks. Depression likes to sneak up and take over for a time. It’s not a forever thing. But this Bipolar life is always evolving, and you still find a way of adapting.
There is so much to look forward to James. Selling your screenplay. Publishing your memoir. Working on your Masters later this year. For the first time in this life, you are making plans for the future, and the goals that you have worked so hard on are within your grasp. There has been so much pain over the last ten years, but there was so much good. You found a way to live with being Bipolar— without it defining who you are inside and out. You just have to give yourself a break and work on not being your harshest critic.
There will be days where being Bipolar is all you can deal with, but you go to sleep each night knowing tomorrow is another day. Anxiety and depression are a part of who you are— but they don’t define you. The most significant thing I want to tell you is that you are a fighter. It was always there a part of you. It took you so long to get here, but the journey was worth it.
There was a time when you didn’t want to live. That time has passed. You know it is God’s plan that you are alive.
You used to wake up and hate that you were still alive. Now you wake up with the knowledge that the day before was a fight— and you fought well. Always keep fighting, it is the best part of you, James.
Here is to many more birthdays to come and finding happiness in this Bipolar and social anxiety life. I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up.