What Anger Is To Me

Please don’t tell me that a smile and your sorrow just don’t go together.

I would not look upon my anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight. I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, and with non-violence.

When I get angry, I have to produce awareness: “I am angry. Anger is in me. I am anger”. That is the first thing to do.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Angel love and rainbows.

Love, Francesca.

A New Bipolar Writer Blog Milestone

12,000 Followers on The Bipolar Writer Blog

I always celebrate the significant milestones of the Bipolar Writer blog. I know I am not around as much, but I wanted to say The Bipolar Writer blog has reached the 12,000 followers milestone!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone following this blog and keeping it going. To my contributors, thank you for being there even when I can not by creating valuable mental health content. Let us celebrate our mental health advocacy, mental illness, and mental health recovery wellness.

Always Keep Fighting

James, and the Contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog

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Tony’s Interview Feature

Here is another interview, this time Tony. Please read and also look for the other interviews that will go live this month of April.

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Tony’s Interview Feature

If there is one thing that I have learned while writing interview features on my blog is that in every walk of life for someone dealing with a mental illness, the story is different. Our stories are what define us, and hopefully, make us better people in the end.

I always imagined telling the story of someone much like myself, and in truth, I have a real affinity for stories. It was amazing the number of people willing to have me share their story.

When I first met Tony, it was on my blog, and over the course of just a short time, he shared pieces of his experience within my blog posts. When the opportunity came to share the major parts of his story, Tony jumped at the chance to be featured on The Bipolar Writer. Here is the story of one human being and his journey from his orgins to today—Tony from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

How does one deal daily with the struggle of a mental illness? Tony’s explains his daily experience in this way, “Having depression is like having a fog, of varying colors, consistencies, smells that kind of sharp itself, hovers, reveals and conceals different things at different times.”

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It is always easier to capture how a person feels in their own words, and in the interview with Tony, he uses his creative side to describe the daily struggle with depression.

When talking further about depression Tony had this to say, “Sometimes, heavy as a lead blanket, sinking to the ocean floor. Other times sparse, allowing more breathable air, less stifling. Sometimes it’s grey, other times it is pink. But the fog is there, it just looks and feels different at times.”

The “fog” that Tony describes is commonly thought of how depression feels, and it can mean the difference between a good day and bad one. For Tony, the fog means simple daily tasks taking up most of this morning with time stretching out like a wad of gum, seconds cutting like blades, and every moment weighted down by the depression.

Tony can trace his diagnosis to his childhood days. When he was very young, Tony was diagnosed dysthymia (mild depression) with severe depressive episodes in which he describes as, “Kind of like cloudy, with a chance of storms.”

It was much later and recent when he received the diagnosis of Bipolar Two and avoidant personality disorder.

An avoidant personality disorder is described as a psychiatric condition characterized by a lifelong pattern of extreme social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and sensitivity to rejection. But for Tony, this diagnosis means so much more, “It’s a tendency to retreat than to face things (problems) face on.” This is common with someone with a mental illness, but for Tony, his avoidance is rooted in the history that is can only be told in his own words.

“I don’t really remember having a mental illness or not having a mental illness.”

It is easier to walk in another person with a mental illness’ shoes if you know his story, and Tony’s story is one of amazing perseverance in the face of turmoil. Tony was adopted at birth by a devoted family with loving parents, but he describes their personalities as much different than his own. “My adopted father was a hard-working gregarious man who severe Bipolar disorder who had to go off work permanently while I was still young,” Tony recalls.

Tony’s mother, who was also a nurse, spent most of her free time with her husband’s issues leaving little time for Tony and his sister. “She too was loving and kind, but distant as well.” It was most likely this isolation that led Tony to begin to show signs of his avoidant personality disorder and it didn’t help that he was diagnosed so young with mild depression.

Tony was identified at a very young age as a gifted child and got through his elementary school days well enough, and weathered most of the storms at home. But, Tony began to use food as a coping mechanism and began to gain weight all the way to the beginning of his high school days. At this point in Tony’s life, we see how turmoil can lead someone down disastrous behaviors with depression as the copilot.

Tony remembers his early days and describes himself as having crooked teeth and a lazy eye, which led to severe bullying in teen years, “By the time high school hit, I was already 300lbs, and was bullied on a daily basis. I started having the shit kicked out of me. I hated school so much I would set my alarm to 2 am and hit snooze for the next four hours until it was time to get up so that I could fall asleep and wake that many times knowing I didn’t have to get up and face the day.”

With the daily torment of his peers and need to find a way to cope with the darkest depths of his depression, Tony chose to use hallucinogens dropping acid or eating mushrooms just to get through the moments of his school life. It only made things worse for that he was labeled a stoner and had little support from his teachers who cared little about the struggling teen.

“I dropped out, I isolated, I sat in my bedrooms for weeks on end, not showering, doing anything, barely surviving. I was depressed. I was allowed and encouraged to be depressed by an ill parent.” It can be tough living with a parent that mirrors your own issues, and these types of relationships, when reflected on later in life, this can feel destructive. 

It was tough going for Tony for most of his childhood and his teenage years. But as a human being, our journey is one that teaches us perseverance, and though it may seem as if this life is not worth living in the struggles of a mental illness, there is always a time when things feel okay. As if life is showing you a little light in the darkest places.

Tony eventually found that he could be functional after losing the majority of the weight he gained over the years. Tony found a few years of “normalcy” that often comes with the end of a depression cycle. In this period of time Tony made the decision to go back to school where he received his college diploma in Social Service Work. As most stories with a mental illness go, this short period of normalcy was quickly followed by a glut of personal tragedies in his adult life.

Everyone experiences personal tragedies in their life, but for someone prone to severe depression it will often sink the sufferer deeper into depression as a response. The shorter the period of time and succession of tragedies can often leave a mental illness to suffer little time to compartmentalize these events.

“I experienced in a short period of time my dad’s brief fight with cancer, my sister’s own discovery of her own battle with cancer, the ending of my marriage, which was followed with the birth of a daughter who was born at 1lb 3oz at 25 weeks with bleeding on her brain and a hole in her heart.”

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Even the strongest of us in the mental health community can only hold on for so long. It is no surprise given the succession of tragedies in Tony’s life that he had a psychotic break and was hospitalized for twenty-one days. Tony recalls that experience well, “It was frightening, but I felt safe, and I away from all the shit of the world for a short period, and I didn’t have anything to do but get better.” It was in this experience that Tony started writing and doing collage art.

In Tony’s experience, it is often tough to get through a single day with his mental illness. When he is symptomatic he uses routines that help him complete tasks in a ritualistic way. It helps that Tony gets through a day alive, but on the worst days, he only accomplishes a fraction of what he had planned. To combat the bad days, he focuses on his limitations, trying not to get too ahead of himself, and try hard not to take the bad too seriously. These types of behaviors come from years of dealing with the darkness and finding wisdom.

That wisdom showed when Tony was asked about if he ever had suicidal thoughts, “Yes, I have several times. Once I got close enough to downing a bottle of pills that I knew enough to drag myself to the ward. When you can’t trust yourself with your pills, you know you’re in trouble.”

Writing can be the most therapeutic part of the life of someone with a mental illness. I know in my own experiences that is true, and Tony has found his place in his own blog and writing. In talking about his story with me it has helped Tony to process the past and to look to be grounded in the present.

“My blog and being creative in general have meant the world to me. I am not someone who talks about things. I sit on them” he recalls. Tony believes that seeking help is an important part of his recovery, but engaging others through creative expression is an amazing experience that he cherishes.

art stacks

In Tony’s life, he often finds solace and happiness in the little things in his life that make it easier to deal with his mental illness. Tony has his kids, nature, art, music, friends, and family that are his support system in his darkest times.

Every one of the human beings in the mental illness community wants their story to be one of many that make a difference or end the stigma that surrounds all of us. “At some point in our lives,” he explains, “I am pretty sure we could all meet the requirements for a mental disorder diagnosis. It’s okay. If we are honest and brave enough to be vulnerable and tell people what we are feeling, it’s a start.”

Tony believes that we all have a vulnerability that keeps us from seeking help, but if we are willing to be open-minded and willing to accept that we have a mental illness it could mean getting the right help. Tony believes that it’s not about weakness, laziness, or morals. It is about your health and illness.

Tony wants to tell the world his story, the ups, the downs, his love for his poetry and his art; to be featured on The Bipolar Writer in Tony’s eyes is a vital part of his healing process. Tony’s is one of the many, but there is no doubt that his story has to be told.

art were watching

Here are some links to written poetry Tony wanted to share:

https://handsinthegarden.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/sleepless-the-fever/

https://handsinthegarden.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/the-lonely-crowd-worded/

If you would like to know more about Tony and his journey you can visit him on his blog. “My Hand in the Garden” @ https://handsinthegarden.wordpress.com/

Written by: James Edgar Skye

Interviewee: Anthony “Tony” Gorman

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All art pieces on this article are done by Tony

Other Features written by J.E. Skye

Morgan’s Interview Feature

A Final Push – My GoFundme Campaign

I wanted to say first, thank you all to those who have already donated towards upgrading The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog to the business level. There have been some fantastic large donations and also amaing small donations that have brought us closer, but we are still not quite there–as of today we have made over 300 dollars, which is really amazing! I think this final push will help us finally achieve our goal.

Always Keep Fighting!

What is the Goal?

The next level. Upgrading The Bipolar Writer blog to the business level for the next year and a half. This will give the blog more options on getting the collaborative work out there into the world. I also want a place where authors can showcase and sell their work on here (I am working on how this will be possible.) At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to spread the stories and experiences of those in the mental illness blogging community with the world and end the stigma.

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

This blog has always been self-funded by my own money, but the community has also helped me with funding from time to time. Every penny that I raise is going towards this blog and spreading the many stories that feature on this blog. It takes just small donations (significant donations are also welcome) and with the 11,100 plus followers of this blog donating 2-3 dollars we can finally reach the goal! The final goal will be $425. 

You can also help my spreading the word by clicking the reblog button or sharing this blog post on twitter or facebook.

My GoFundme

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

There are other ways to donate

PayPal

This is another excellent way to donate, and to do so just press Pay with PayPal and you can choose to give a minimum of $2.00 (you can decide how much based on the number of donations, so 3 times would be 2 x 3 and you would donate six dollars.) 

Venmo – 831-287-4369

I don’t mind sharing my number (I have before several times in the past.)

That is it. I am hoping to raise enough money by this weekend. 

James Edgar Skye

What are Your Worst Mental Illness Symptoms

I feel better. My depression lessened over the weekend, and I have a good feeling about where the rest of February will go when it comes to the depressive episode being entirely over.

I have not felt this good since the first week of January. While thinking about what to write this week on my blog I came up with a question that I want to pose to the followers and contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog. Just a couple of questions.

Identify what you struggle with…

What are your worst symptoms?

How do you dea?

Feel free to leave your comments down below! Let us use this as a stepping stone to something great. Maybe it will inspire you to write a blog post!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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A Repost – Upgrading The Bipolar Writer Blog – I Need Your Help

Upgrading, and Why it is Important

There was some confusion about how to donate money to the cause, and I wanted to take this opportunity to redo my previous post. I will explain what upgrading means for this blog. These are the ways to donate.

My GoFundMe Page

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog&rcid=r01-154734596066-ffeec50b38af4a27&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

Now, I had to use my real name for this (I write under my pseudonym James Edgar Skye) so don’t be surprised by the name–David TC. Also, this allows me to show how much has been donated (I will give the running total at the end of the post.

Donate Through PayPal

This is another excellent way to donate, and to do so just press Pay with PayPal and you can choose to give a minimum of $3.00 (you can decide how much based on the number so 3 times would be 3 x 3 and you would donate nine dollars.)

Venmo – 831-287-4369

I don’t mind sharing my number (I have before several times in the past.

Right now we are at $110 total donations which is pretty amazing. Every penny will be going to the upgrade. I thank everyone who has already been a part of this goal. The goal is $325, what it would cost to upgrade for two years. When I reach this goal, I will be taking this page down.

What I am planning on doing is upgrading this blog to the business class. I can do a lot more with sharing the stories of others through this platform. What I want to do is take this blog to the next level. I want to be able to allow others to sell their work on my blog. (It will also help me sell my own work so there is that part of why I would like to upgrade.)

When this blog hit 10,000 (now plus) followers, I was thinking of ways to make it better. My goal is to spread the word about mental illness. Upgrading to a business blog would allow better SEO tools among the many positives of this upgrade. I would love to do it myself, it is my blog after all, but most of my money is going to my memoir. This would benefit any mental health blogger that wants to be a part of this fantastic community my collaborators, and I have created. I want this blog to be so much more and reach so many more amazing people.

Let’s do this together! If you can’t donate please share this blog post on social media. It could make a major difference!

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James

unsplash-logoIan Schneider

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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Share Your Story – A Mental Health Safe Place Pt. 2

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The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog is what I consider a safe place for those who are suffering from mental illness. A place where each of us can tell their stories. It could be as a collaborator, a guest blogger under your name, or an anonymous guest post.

I want The Bipolar Writer Blog to be a mental health place where people can feel free to share their stories. So here is what I will be offering.

  • Anonymous Guest Blog spots
  • Guest blog spots for regular bloggers
  • Interview Features that I write
  • Becoming a collaborative blogger on The Bipolar Writer blog.

This will be a safe place for all those that have mental illness.

All inquiries email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James

Photo Credit:

Brittani Burns

Micah Williams

Topics of Discussion – October on The Bipolar Writer Blog

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It is Fall!! I love this time of year because the coffee selection goes through the roof. Just in time too because I am getting back into the groove of school, and coffee is life.

So, what shall we talk about in October?

These posts have been helpful in the past so it is great to open the floor to my fellow followers and bloggers to what topics the Bipolar Writer should discuss here. I would love your feedback.

Interview Features – The Series

I want to also open up my series of interview features again, so if you would like to be featured on The Bipolar Writer blog, please email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com for more info and the list of questions. I’d love to add more interviews by the end of the year.

With that said, I look forward to hearing from you my followers and to have the most amazing October.

James

Always Keep Fighting

Photo Credit:

rawpixel

Veliko Karachiviev

Why do We Fight to End the Mental Illness Stigma?

Have you ever told someone that the mental illness you are going through is just a “phase?”

Action Speak Louder Than Words

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Words hurt more than anything. It pains me when someone says to me “you should just get over it, everyone else has to.” That is probably true at some level, but the truth is so much more profound– if I could go a day without mental illness, it would be a blessing. It would be so much easier to wake up one morning and not fear the day. Not worry that my anxiety may spiral at any moment. That this morning could be the morning that I want to end it all for no other reason than the wiring is all wrong in my head.

Today I read a sad story about a young boy just nine-years-old that was bullied to the point that he took his own life. How can we live in a world where words from bullying are so bad that someone so young could take his life? We should live in a world where everyone is welcome, and not judged by things like who we chose to be or love. Sadly, we do not live in such a world, but we can continue to fight to end this way of thinking.

It may just seem like words, but words can cut deep, and can have a lasting effect. Words can make mental illness seem impossible to live within this world.

So what can we do? We continue to give the voice to the people of the mental illness community. The shared experience that we that have lived in this world is what can make a significant difference. Maybe together we can end the stigma and let people know that suicide is not the answer. We can not continue as a society if we treat those of us with mental illnesses as second-class citizens and resort to bullying because we fail to fit what society believes we should act or feel. Mental illness is not a choice.

What Can We Do?

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I have found sharing through experience, the entire experience– the good, the bad, and the ugly is the best way to combat the stigma. When we talk about our experiences, it helps those who will never know what it is like to live a day with a mental illness. We must educate those people with our amazing mental illness journey. No journey is simple and straightforward. Living each day with a mental illness and just surviving is a strength. Let us share that strength to teach.

At the same time, we must continue to educate ourselves by reading the stories of others in the mental illness community. When we are divided by our own differences, it makes it easier for people to say “just get over it.” The mental illness community is stronger as a whole.

Words matter. We can show how words can hurt us and make us want to disappear. We can also use words to our advantage when we share a common cause with those in this world that suffer from physical conditions. That can only strengthen our position because they know as well as anyone what suffering brings. Suffering is suffering, no matter physical or mental.

Let us Encourage Seeking Help!

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Above all, we must encourage those that are suffering alone without help to seek help. There is nothing more important than seeking help, and it is the most stigmatized part of mental illness.

I can recount many times that people have frowned upon the thought of me seeing a therapist. They ask how someone could be open to telling a perfect stranger your most profound darkest thoughts? It helps to have someone to talk to that is trained to understand. It was not always so, but I am proud that I am willing to seek help from a therapist and a psychiatrist. There are those that find solace in group therapy. I have found some peace with my social anxiety with cognitive behavioral therapy. Productive things like meditation, drinking tea, and working out the body and mind were all things learned through seeking help.

Writing is a great way to share your experience. I never thought I would get to a point where I would be writing about my experiences here on my blog for the world to see. I have found strength as a mental health advocate, and I don’t see myself doing anything else. Seeking help is a sign that you are coming to terms that something is wrong in your life. There is nothing wrong with seeking help, and we must tell those that are resistant the truth– it could mean the difference between life and death.

Together we can end the stigma, end suicide, and educate the world. No longer do we have to hide our illness because we are scared of the stigma. Let us fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

Isaiah Rustad

Mikael Cho

Ana Tavares

Mikael Cho