2020 – A Year in Review, A Different Year

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What a year, 2020. I think we can all agree that we have learned something new about ourselves and about the world. We saw polarizing political issues amid the worst pandemic in about 100 years. We made decisions about where we stood, and it matters not about right or wrong as much as we decided with our voices and by voting. Life will probably never be the same after a year like this one, but it has been a year of change for me.

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What can I take away from 2020? Do you have time for a novel? This blog post might become a series that I write as we near the end of the year, as with all things in my life it is up in the air. I let the universe lead me along with my inner I, and it allows me to be in the now. That was one of the things that I learned, thank you to my life coach alongside Eckhart Tolle, and while it works, I am still learning to adjust to here, without being in the useless past or looking toward the future. The past is done, and the future is unknown. Even with everything that I do now, it is important to me to always know where I am with my mental health, anxiety, depression, and how I feel.

If you listened to the podcast about my last year, it reveals a lot about what I went through since my mother’s untimely death on December 15, 2019. I was in pain beyond measure. I went to my default mode that I had used before and after my diagnosis in 2007. I allowed the pain to go into a box and not deal. That made the pain so much worse, and it grew into my infamous dark passenger. Eventually, it would take me over, and it became such a significant part of my daily life. Though I could still function and do my daily work, including school, work, and writing. It was all to keep the pain at bay and not feel the feels. Keep working, and it can’t touch you, except at night when I would have uncontrollable anxiety. 

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In April of 2020, I met a kindred spirit, and she became my life coach after I worked in a seminar with her in May. By August, after deciding to begin life coaching and taking a chance on myself. I began a four-month journey that ended on December 1, and it was a lifetime game-changer. I learned all the things that I had inside to be what I set out in my initial session, to live in the now, be myself, and above all, she made her coaching in a way that fit my reading and writing learning lifestyle. Those four months, I felt more like myself than at any time in my life, and since then, I have repaired relationships, myself, and worked on the flow of living in the gray area. The real James, the genuine inner I, has come out. It was life-changing. 

I would recommend to those dealing with mental illness and suicide to reach out to Grounds for Clarity LLC.

As a society and the global world, we learned that we are more alike than different, but there are still things to fix. We live in a pandemic world where we have to wear masks, a simple task, to help stop the spread of a deadly virus. We learned to social distance and stay at home, only going out for the essentials for months on end. The racial divide in America is becoming a forefront issue, long overdue, and we learned that Black Lives Matter, and it is not just about injustice; it is the system not working for specific cultural sections of our society. The divide only worsened as we learned that we can come together and vote for change, give a voice to those who need it, not be where we are, and be where we should act as Americans.

I love politics so much I minored in Political Science as an undergraduate. More Americans voted in 2020 than any other election in history, and while we all may land on different sides, it is time we become more together and less segregated. Unfortunately, the world got to see just how divided Americans are with how we voted, but democracy prevailing even with the outdated electoral college makes me proud to be an American. We are Americans first, and the America I know is a melting pot of every human being regardless of where we come from because let us face the facts, unless you are a native of this land, we all came from somewhere else, and many had no choice in the matter of how our ancestors were brought here. We have to be better to one another, and while pandemic showed us so much to fix, there is a long way to go from this point. Let us continue to be together and show the future, the kids, that we can be better.

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In 2020, I read more books in one year from every genre imaginable than at any time in my life. I am a voracious reader. Some of the best literature I have been able to absorb came from the era of American Realism and Naturalism. I got to read Jack London, Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Charolette Perkins Gilman, and Mary Freeman, just to name a few. I reread my favorite and classic books, and with a lot of resistance, I gave away books to small bookstores to find new homes. I found a home in second-hand book stores and what they bring, and I binged on the likes of books that I love. I read about grief and living in the now. Reading is love.

I did amazing things in my writing, including re-publishing my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, which was a fight to get back, and in December, on the anniversary of my mom’s passing, I was able to publish my fictional novella Angel on the Ward. Two books in one year are more than I could imagine. I was able to edit my major novel, the first in a six-book series, The Rise on the Nephilim, and continued to grow my business, The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services. New projects through my business will be significant in 2021. I have exciting writing projects like The Many Faces and Voices on Mental Illness, the two-year project. I found my place again in writing here on my blog again. 

To be continued in part two, to be released on Christmas Day.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

Visit my author website at http://www.jamesedgarskye.me

Purchase my Memoir and Novella here: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks

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The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir

It is already nearing the end of July. Even with everything that 2020 has thrown as us this year, the year is moving at a fast pace. I will be writing this week a few blogs that outline my future plans and projects, info on my Patreon account, exclusive content in video blogs for The Bipolar Writer blog from me, and the future. 

Today, let’s discuss my memoir because I haven’t really been talking about it much. My goal is always to get my work out there to the masses through this blog. Alongside my author’s website is the best place to market to you why you should purchase my book.

My memoir is about the first ten to eleven years of my diagnosis as Bipolar One. It revolves around the experiences that I had from 2007 to 2017. I wrote it as if I was sitting as a coffee shop with you, the reader, having a conversation. The memoir is very personal, and you get to see who James Edgar Skye and The Bipolar Writer became what he is today. My auhtor website goes into more detail.

There are plenty of ways to purchase my book.

  • You can purchase my book two ways on my author website through this link: Purchase my Book
    • The first link is to the paperback copy I sell on Amazon.
    • The second link is to the eBook, which you can purchase, and also it is available for free on Amazon KindleUlimited for free!

I am Looking for A Few Good Book Reviewers

I am also excited to offer my book for freely sending you a copy through the mail at no cost to you. All I ask is that you read the book and give your honest opinion. I will be offering it to the first ten people that reach out to me. Use the contact button at the top of the page if you are willing to write a review after reading the book, and I will get my book out to you ASAP.

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That Friend

Friendship doesn’t come naturally for me. Add a mental health diagnosis and it’s downright fraught. I tend to treat friend making like double Dutch jump rope. I watch some girls jump in, dance around and jump out. I watch for a really long time. Then I finally feel the beat, take the risk and make my move. I end up thwapped in the arm and the ropes are down around my ankles. It’s harder than it looks, apparently.

I’m the intense friend. I put a lot of effort into guessing how other people do it, this friendship thing. I crave connection and yet seem to thwart my objectives by over or under doing it. I’m enthusiastic and have a tendency to overshare. Or I anticipate rejection and clam up, revealing nothing. Where are the instructions for the middle ground?

During this pandemic, I’ve turned into the anxiety ridden friend. I recently finished my first book, a memoir. I had seven friends read it as beta readers. I’m having a hard time with feedback. It took a very long time to write the book and now that it’s complete, I could ask, “What did you think of X?” all day long. I feel pushy asking my pals for a dissertation on my work. I need their input to make final revisions and it has my laser focus right now.

I know what I should do: Relax. Easier said than done. I have bipolar affective disorder which comes with a side order of obsessive thinking. I think I’m having a revelation hangover. My truth is revealed in the book and I’ve heard both sides of feedback. You shared too much and you’re incredibly brave. I’ll have to be the final word on determining what I want to share.

Until then, I have to stop hitting “send” on emails and sitting there with a stopwatch waiting for the “Re:” response to come back. This stay at home time has allowed my clock watching to get seriously out of hand. I’m happy, okay ecstatic, the snow has finally melted where I live and May has arrived. I have to get out of my spot in front of my laptop and enjoy a nice walk in the woods. Thanks for being here, checking out my post and easing the angst of opening up, a little at a time. Maybe I’ll try jump roping again.

~CBD

 

A life in three halves

I apologise for the lack of recent posts.  A combination of overwork, overstress and … well, you know.   I don’t need to say because everyone on this site knows.

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I love this image it feels like a perfect reflection of my current state of mind – half mad half elated, half depressed.   A life in three halves.

I recently went – or rather than use the mundane word ‘went’– I would say I recently crawled to my GP, feeling so ill that it seemed nothing short of a miracle to me that I got there and was able to negotiate the stairs, sit in a chair opposite this clipped, professional person and string a few sentences together that may or may not have made sense.  When in my 8 minute allotted window of GP time I tried to explain I thought I was suffering from stress (haha, who am I kidding).     I was met with the reply ‘do you have much stress in your life?’

Perhaps the inference was ‘you’re not a GP and if you were a GP you would know the meaning of the word stress.’

Next please.

Sometimes I worry less about stress than I do about losing the plot completely.  I worry that I’ll end up like poor Bertha Mason striding up and down Mr. Rochester’s attic and I really hope not because that didn’t end well for anyone.  Well, Jane Eyre perhaps.

Anyway I have succeeded in drafting out a novel so not all is disaster.  Not all is disaster all of the time.  And carrying on the books theme because books are mostly my life when I get depressed.  Also when I don’t.    I would like to point folks in the direction of this amazing work by Vietnamese American writer Ocean Vuong  called On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous(Jonathan Cape, 2019).  He has amazing thing to say about bipolar disorder in this letter to his mother:

It’s the chemicals in our brains, they say, I got the wrong chemicals Ma. Or rather I don’t get enough of one or the other. They have a pill for it.  They have an industry.  They make millions.  Did you know people get rich off of sadness?  I want to meet the millionaire of American sadness.  I want to look him in the eye, shake his hand and say, “It’s been an honor to serve my country.”

The thing is I don’t want my sadness to be othered from me just as I don’t want my happiness to be othered.  They’re both mine.  I made them dammit.  What if the elation I feel is not another “bipolar episode” but something I fought hard for?

I don’t know whether the author suffers from this disorder or not, or whether he takes medication or not.  I’m not quoting this to come down on one side or another of the medication argument, but everything he writes is so beautiful and feels true to me so I thought I would share it.

Sometimes I agree that any sense of elation is something to be fought for – even though we are inclined to think we’re not supposed to experience that because there is a depressive episode coming.  Who knows?  Not the GP obviously.

The Bipolar Writer Needs Help… Again

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

This is my GoFundMe under my real name David TC (I wasn’t sure if I could get the funds if I used my Pen Name James Edgar Skye.) Thank you in advance for donating!


So, my goal is $300. The cost to upgrade. If 100 people donate 3 dollars, I can reach my goal quickly (the donation button is below through PayPal.) I am going to try and keep this post going all weekend in hopes that I reach my goal. Please, if you can help it would be amazing, and if you can’t, I understand. I haven’t done one of these in a while, so here it goes!

If you can’t donate please reblog this post or share my GoFundMe link above, it would mean the world to me!

You Can Also Donate Below!

Just Click the Pay with PayPal button!

Always Keep Fighting & Thank You

James

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A New Idea – The Bipolar Writer Blog

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to connect with more authors from the blogging world and also social media. I have been turning an idea over in my head over the last couple of weeks–a place where authors can sell their books through my platform. I am not sure how it could or would work.

I can also offer services like book reviews on Amazon and other retailers. This could be a place where people share their books related to mental illness or any authors. Why not? I think this idea could be the big thing for the Bipolar Writer blog 2019. I could really make use of the growing blog presence on my blog.

I am always looking for ways to expand my blog, and I have a local artist that I have worked for that wants me to grow my blog. I will think about it and find out what it would take. What are your thoughts?

Always Keep Fighting

James

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The Bipolar Writer Needs Your Help!

As some of you know (and others don’t) I am ready to publish my memoir! Seriously. I have edited and moved chapters around, and I honestly believe that I prepared for this next step. I have a great cover and manuscript. The issue? Do I self-publish or try to find a publisher?

I have done a lot of research, and I found a company to publish the physical copy of my book. I have watched endless videos on self-publishing on Amazon and other online self-publications. What is right? What is wrong?

I want to do this right because this is my first official novel (and though its non-fiction and I consider myself a fiction novelist) this is important to my brand and me. My memoir The Bipolar Writer is so important to me, so I want to do this right and not rush into something I will regret. I will admit that I am apprehensive about where to go. I thought self-publishing was the right path, but I have doubts. I am turning to my family (YOU) for any advice you can give me.

James

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Finally an Update I Will Love- My Memoir

It has been a long process. Seriously. There were so many days where I wanted to quit it all and give up my dreams of sharing my experiences with mental illness through a memoir.

My memoir— The Bipolar Writer, a dream that will become a reality in the coming weeks!

An Update on my Memoir – The Bipolar Writer

I had this goal at the start of writing my memoir. To show the many sides of my various diagnosis’ over the years— Bipolar One, Social Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety & Insomnia. Just to name the various issues that I cover in my book. It’s finally almost done!

It has been a long, arduous process to edit/proofread my memoir. So many chapters and I wanted to keep them all. I struggled internally with how to structure the memoir. To I tell a chronological story? Well, that would make sense except my story covers the first ten years of my diagnosis. There are points where I remember things, but it is never in order in the way that my story unfolded. So I chose to do something different— at least in my mind. Just tell parts of my story— no particular order.

I am so close to the final draft which has hit many speed bumps along the way. I still need a cover artist (if anyone is interested, please email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com with some samples and a price.)

Which leads me to self-publishing. I have been reading about different ways to publish my memoir. I can go the digital book route at first and see where that takes me. I can self-publish with a company and sell physical copies of my book, but I am not sure that I have enough money for that quite yet. I have raised a lot from this blog— but not enough. The digital route seems my best chance at getting my first non-fiction work to the general public.

It will be one year in September since starting my memoir. It’s been an amazing journey, but one I am ready to finish.

With that said, I am opening up to all of my followers for the best publishing advice that you have, it would mean the world to me to finally publish The Bipolar Writer.

As always— Always keep fighting (AFK).

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog