My Heart is Heavy

My heart feels so heavy in my chest. It weighs so much I feel like it will drop to my feet by the start of next week.

I’m not sure if second hand trauma is a real term or not but I think it’s what I’m experiencing.

**I am going to be talking about suicide so if this topic is triggering for you please do not read. Take care of yourself first! **

Last week my neighbor killed himself. His girlfriend found him in the shed in the middle of the night. She screamed so loudly she woke up my boyfriend, me and many of our neighbors.

The next day was very difficult for me. I did not know him, we never spoke, but experiencing the aftermath of his actions was very intense. My boyfriend and I stayed up until all of the first responders left.

I started to feel better about what had happened until last night. Last night our neighbor was outside sobbing in her backyard. This weekend is the viewing and the celebration of life so I think she is really struggling with those events coming up.

Hearing her pain made it hard for me to sleep and has made today difficult to get through. All day I’ve had trouble focusing at work because of what I heard last night.

I’m a very sensitive person so hearing everything going on weighs heavy on my heart. I can’t get in to speak to my therapist for a while so writing a blog post is the next best thing.

This weekend I need to focus on my mental health and get myself to a better place in my mind. I want to relax, clean up my house and eat good food. I think exercising would also be good in a situation like this.

I’m sorry to put my second hand trauma on your shoulders.

Have you ever experienced somebody else’s traumatic experience? How did you cope with that?

If not, what are you doing lately to take care of your mental health?

Spend a WHOLE day on the Couch with ME

What happens when you beat to the tune of a different drum?

What happens when all that you think and all that you do was changed in one moment in time?

What happens when its not just that moment, but all the moments that led up to this moment that you only just now put together?

What happens when all you want is sense of normalcy?

What happens when all you want is a sense of belonging?

What happens when your head spits out info faster than you can ever put into words?

What happens when today is the day that someone is listening to you?

What happens when today is the day that is the start of something new?

What happens when today is not just a moment, but a moment that defines all the rest?

What if today is the day you decide you are normally you?

What if today you get just piece of that into words?

I’ll tell you, but you have to first spend the day spending time with me…….

Reflections on Childhood Memories

It’s time.  For me.  To speak.  Sometimes I feel very much like I’ve been eaten by a whale for not following God’s path in my life every time that I feel the gentle urge that I should.    Ponderings have led me to question everything I thought to be true (or at least always tried to).  Mostly I am writing in that point of crisis, where you question everything that anyone has ever taught or said to you to be true.  All of my past keeps coming back to me in my dreams or while I am trying to focus on the hear and now and … boop…past BAD memory. Its not the good ones coming back… its the bad … the ones I don’t like to think about. I am on this journey, a journey that I always believed was straight and narrow.  My heart desires perfection, peace, justice.  Those are my deepest desires.  However I want joy, happiness, contentment.  Yes, I am the girl that dreams big and her little dear head really, really tries to see how she could make our world like this.  The world from my perspective…my life’s journey has taught me of a world that is scary, dangerous, and full of people with selfish intentions that will sacrifice your happiness for their desires.  You see, these people have hurt me.  These are the people that are still in my head to this day. 

So join me today…into my head we go… one of my memories …one of my flashbacks…and in the end my mind will force me to make some new moral perspective…some reason, some purpose as to why so many years later I am still thinking about this memory (cause its not pleasant…yet one very harmless one in perspective of my life….I think that may be why my mind chose this memory).

I see this little girl, roughly eleven years old.  Catholic School girl in her full uniform.  Pleated, plaid skirt…mostly green and navy blue with hints of yellow and red lines as well.  This girl didn’t fit in; she didn’t like the ridiculous gossip and truth or dare and constant bullying of the girl not around at the moment.  Every day at recess she walked up to the front of the school where no one else played and jumped rope.  Sometimes she had company and others would jump.  But mostly she just jumped and practiced all kinds of fun solo moves.  There was a brilliant day, a new girl came and she started hanging out with me.  It was nice having a friend, she seemed a little more carefree and not so into all the other girl queen bee and followers behavior.  Soon she was my best friend, and the only one I had at school (other than the neighborhood boys and girls).  However, this friendship morphed into her plucking my eyebrows and saying that they are too wide and my face is ugly and I should wear my hair like this.  She thought she had this life all figured out and if I did it just her way I would be all right.  I didn’t like that, and I kept her in my life anyways.  One day she tormented me by telling me that she was only my friend because our teacher, Mrs. Churgo, had told her to start hanging out with me since I didn’t have any friends.  Often she would remind  and shame me of this being the beginning of our friendship and that she was indeed much better than I.  I, naively, thought that a friend was better than none. However, this meant that I’d have to sit there and endure hearing how I had thin hair, ugly hair, it doesn’t look good with my face. Ughh…she had to work so hard to make me look good until she found this one way to put my hair and she told me it was the only way that I could wear my hair that looks somewhat good. She told me my eyebrows were just ugly and I needed to pluck them. Okay I thought and I tried so hard to take care of them. Insecurity was built by that friendship. Insecurity that today I am still trying to get rid of or at least make peace with.

Thanks for joining me on the journey into my mind. I had to spend time there anyways, and its nice not feel so alone when I do it.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

My First Time.

I have never been hospitalized before. I think that I am pretty good at hiding things, but I couldn’t hide this from myself. I knew there was something wrong. I wasn’t sleeping more than a couple hours, I was becoming emotionally abusive, and I was falling back into overspending. Mania. This isn’t the first time I have been manic this year, but I hope it is the last. I moved into a new apartment earlier this week and I already can’t make rent. I am exhausting. I am tired from being me.

I took myself down to the hospital which I think we can agree is a feat on its own. Not having insurance was both a blessing a curse. The plus side is that I could choose whatever hospital I wanted and the downside is that I am uninsured. I can’t help but laugh that this insanely expensive vacation I just took and I didn’t even get to go to the pool. I am constantly, actively working to better myself. I take my medication, go to all my doctors appointments, religiously see my therapist, use the breathing exercises. I am not immune to it. It wasn’t at all what I had expected. Clean, hospital like in some ways, slightly degrading, and cold. BUT I am blessed to have gone to a place that provided me a private room and bathroom. Granted, everything was bolted to the floor and the bathroom had no door. Overall it was a really nice place filled with people actively trying to get better.

I was sad and anxious that I was taking all these days unpaid, but I had to. I had to go and get help. It was an out of body experience watching me set fire to all the relationships that took years to rebuild. One conversation has sent it all tumbling down. Here I am, trying to intervene and slow the damage. I was discharged yesterday afternoon and it seems that my grandparents are going to be the hardest to recover. I suppose it is divine timing because we just moved away after living next door to them. I am fortunate to still have my mom in my corner because it would be hell living together for the next year if I am going to be the source of her pain and anger.

I am doing better today. Better than yesterday, better than a week ago. I just have to keep pushing forward. My anxiety is manageable right now and I hope that it stays that way. I hope that this made inpatient stays a little less scary for those who haven’t experienced it.

Keep fighting the good fight!

My Journey to Stability, Pt. 2

“…you’re the spawn of the Devil!” 

After watching the pictures fly across the room, my husband turned back to his screen, acting unfazed by my actions or words.  His response, or lack thereof, only confirmed my decision; I had to reveal him to the world as the true demon he was to me. Red flags waved the last four years, but I brushed them away, creating excuses for his behavior and words. He was a narcissistic bastard taking advantage of my ignorance. For all those years, I blamed myself for everything he did said, convincing myself it was my fault for the way he treated me. I needed to learn my place in his sick world. Being young and naive, I did not realize how I was being manipulated by someone who was supposed to love me.  

I wanted to scream, but the sound never left my throat. Instead, I staggered over to my chair, sitting down with an obscene lack of grace and nearly toppling over. My desk was a mess, but what I was looking for was within easy reach. The Jameson thudded against the wood as I snatched up a white bottle. Effexor was the anti-depressant I was prescribed after a questionnaire was given to me for the Bipolar diagnostic process in 2007, of which it was determined I had Major Depression, not Bipolar Disorder. Several attempts to find a medication were made to help me feel somewhat normal. None of them worked, but I stuck with Effexor despite the roller coaster. 

By Shara Adams

I did not feel suicidal, but the world needed to open its eyes and see him for who he was. The world needed to see me, to save me from the hell I was living. Rising to my feet, I opened the white bottle and poured out a handful pills. I reached for the Jameson without counting the capsules and set my reserve; I knew what I had to do to save myself and destroy him. My shoulders rolled back with determination, but my thoughts remained a jumbled mess from the alcohol and my inundated emotions. The world was spinning, and I did not know what to think or feel. All I knew was I had to escape the pathetic excuse of a man. 

“Is this what you wanted?” 

Turning to face me, I smirked with satisfaction. I had his full undivided attention, for once. The impact I planned on having with my actions, played over and over in my head. I did not know what was going to happen, and my mind did not consider the consequences which were possible. Blinded by the potential freedom, I could not back away from my decision. As I held the pills in my hand with a drink in the other, I threw them all to the back of my throat and followed them with the last of the Jameson.

Relief washed over me as I sat back down, ignoring him. I felt I had done the right thing, but after several minutes, the world started to disappear and I began to question myself – like always. I tried to blame it on the entire bottle of liquor, which I had consumed in a matter of a few hours. About ten minutes later, a knock on our apartment door brought the light back, but I could not move. Before I reached the count of three, five to six people swarmed into our small space and surrounded me both physically and verbally. I was confused as to who they were, why they were here, and what they were asking, but I responded to their probing questions as best I could. The realization hit me like a brick after several questions: they were paramedics.

My husband had called 911. For once in his life, he may have done the right thing.

By Shara Adams

More stories can be found at pennedinwhite.com

Mania.

Please know that the following is me writing something when this discovery hit me. I plan to write about my thoughts on my manic journal on another post tomorrow.

No clever titles today.

I am manic.

I might start to ramble. I am trying not to, but you know how that can be. I started blogging because I wanted to be a voice in this community. Not only do I want to normalize mental health, but I want to be a friend. I want to be a friend to the people who are suffering from mental illness and I want to be resource for their loved ones who want to ask the hard questions.

This is something I need to share if I can focus enough. Mania manifests differently in everyone who suffers from it. Some of us aren’t at the point where we can pick it out, and others know their tells. I have been having trouble sleeping and using my herbal medications has become pretty consistent. I try not to use it on the regular so I am sitting here racking my brain trying to understand why I could possibly be experiencing this.

I was contemplating doing something: boom. My thought went to purchasing something. WHY. I JUST went over my finances a couple days ago because we had been eating out a lot. I realized how short I was on my savings goals for the big move coming up. I made a mental note to remember how disappointing that was if I started trying to spend unnecessarily. Do you know how much money I have spent on shopping recently? I am no addict but I am spending outside of my means. like 300 in savings here, 100 there. Granted it isn’t the rent or car note this time, but it may as well have been. I still have to buy furniture, pay the rest of the deposit, rent, the moving company, and the utility deposits. I start to get irritable typically, but my medications have been adjusted since my last episode.

So yeah, I am a reckless manic. I just realized that I have been manic. I just didn’t think of all the symptoms together and that sucks. Can’t see my therapist for another two weeks because she is booked, I don’t have the money to see my doctor. I have to build up the courage to tell my mom. She can hold me accountable and the guilt alone might set me straight lol.

MY mania isn’t violent, physical self harm, or intentional. Read that again.

MY MANIA.

but everyone’s looks different.

My mania is managed 99% of the time.

Confusion.

In my eyes, meditation is just a time to clear the mind, reflect, and manifest positive things. I do not feel comfortable in summoning spirits. I simply want another way to grow as a person while still maintaining my Christian faith. I have some form of stemming where I consistently rub my hands. It is starting to wear on my skin and it was suggested I look into a worry stone. During that time, I saw and read about healing Crystals. They say that you program them with affirmations to hold during meditation, or to place your intentions into. Again, I feel strongly about my religious beliefs at this time, but what can some positive thinking or speaking do? I have just been struggling with this. I really am interested in trying something holistic. I was inspired when my psych doc suggested lavender capsules to help ease my anxiety. It is like day and night. Amazing. I have never been into vitamins and what not. WOW. I guess I am hoping to find more ways to cope with my anxieties. I am doing therapy, taking medications, and writing. I am worried that it goes against the Bible.

This has always been a determent of mine from the Bible. I felt as though I was going to have to alter my whole life to conform. It hasn’t been like that at all. I honestly haven’t changed anything much physically. Emotionally on the other hand…I just don’t want to sacrifice an opportunity to learn about an alternative belief system. That is how I came to the Bible….I had to open my mind to learning.

I would love thoughts on this. Can both “spiritual beliefs” co-exist?

I am an open book. I don’t feel as though we can’t debate the existence of high powers. In my eyes, in a discussion and debate, I am able to provide education on my beliefs. It is a time to discuss, learn, and grow. If you do not feel as though you can do this, kindly bow out of the discussion, as will I. So much love and positive thoughts and intentions to every single one of you.

Clarity.

This is a two part post: The next part is scheduled to be posted tomorrow.

I want to start off by saying that I voluntarily see my psych doc weekly because I need a lot of accountability regarding my medication. It is a personal choice and in no way does it reflect my dedication to my mental health. I also have a therapist that I see biweekly. I am in no way manic and this is not a manic episode and it is not religious mania. I have been on a spiritual exploration for a few years now.

I always said that I was an atheist, and then I realized what an atheist is and I am not that. Then I said I was agnostic. I told people that I am too selfish to sit and learn about a particular faith to claim one. People really respected that and I meant it, but I wasn’t agnostic. I believed in a God, I just didn’t know which one. I prayed to a God. My God. It didn’t matter. I knew that I had no true control in my life. I wasn’t an accident. The world is bigger than me.

Then I started finding myself longing to be like a lot of people who emulate Jesus. I wanted something to be passionate about and to continue learning about. I wanted a higher power that I could name and a way to get to know Him. I turned to the Bible. Turns out it is literally thousands of pages. Where would I start? Would I understand it? Will it capture my attention or overwhelm me and I quit?

I tried a few bible studies and I completed maybe 3 of them. I tried and quit several. I really wanted a starting point, a place to get a foundation for the rest of my learning. I joined a small group so I could dive into the Bible and its meaning with an intimate group. It was amazing, and then I felt called out about being the only single person in the room. I didn’t go back. Then I started googling “what the Bible had to say about….” and reading from there.

I was having a really tough time with my sister. We were going back and forth about everything it seemed. Who is cleaning more, who is chipping in more, you name it. It was causing a huge rift. we smoothed it over but I still feel this tension in the air. Like she is waiting for the shoe to drop. It is familiar because that is how I felt when I had to move back in with them. It is strange to be on the other side and needing to forgive. This is the first time it occurred to me to turn to the Bible first. So I googled, “the Bible and forgiveness” and “biblical stories about forgiveness”. It returned wonderful scripture. I then wrote some of it down. Once I reviewed what I had found, I picked out some of my favorites. I noticed a lot of them were from the book of Matthew. I found myself emerged in this story that finally told me the ins and outs of how Jesus came to be. It has all kinda tumbled from there. I think I pick up my bible at least every other day now. I still am not completely independent. I still reach for the internet for a starting point, but I still read from there. I just feel better. I feel like I am in love with learning and also seeking comfort and guidance. It really calms me. I started to wonder if maybe that calm can be obtained through meditation and manifestation. I believe in manifestation. Maybe it is the positivity that it exudes or the feeling of influence it provides. Either way it feels like I accomplished something.

So I started looking into meditation and homeopathic ways of treatments or guidance.

(continued in next post)

Community Mental Health Discussion Discord Channel

Come Join an Amazing Group of Mental Health Warriors

James Edgar Skye (The Bipolar Writer) is collaborating with Grounds for Clarity on a Discord Channel called Community Mental Health Discussions. It will be a place where you can come anonymously if needed to discuss the many topics that come with mental illness and mental health. Our goal is to have open-ended discussions that are open 24/7. Myself and Grounds for Clarity will be moderators. Beyond that it is a place where you can share your thoughts in a controlled atmopshere.  

Want to join? Go to www.discord.com

  • Sign up for a discord account.
  • Then add me as a friend – JamesEdgarSkye#4190
  • Send me a message that you are from WordPress, introduce yourself to me in a direct message if I don’t know you, and I will add you to the group!
  • If you have any questions or need help simply reach out
  • Or email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Here is the introduction to our discord:

Welcome to the first of its kind Discord community in which our goal is to provide a safe, anonymous, immersive, and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion. 

We will provide a safe, anonymous, immersive and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion by sharing our personal stories. Here, we value transparency, your story, your authenticity…. in a place where we accept everyone’s point of view.

And what that means is, we may not always agree with one another and we believe within our community safely challenging one another’s perspectives is the key to collaborative discussion. 

We strongly desire for everyone to speak from the lens with which they view life including but not limited to: 

  • Politics
  • Religion/ Deity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Ethnicity
  • Racial make-up
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Physical/ Mental/ Social/ Emotional/ Environmental/ Spiritual factors
  • Lifestyle
  • Age (Group is reserved for 18 years and up)
  • Mother tongue
  • Professional/ Role in society
  • Taste of music
  • Sense of humour
  • Criminal record
  • Sports affiliation
  • Military background

All inclusive in a respectful way is what we strive to achieve at this Discord channel.

Discord Moderators can be personally messaged if you wish to voice a concern. However, we strongly encourage open discussion during “stuck” times in conversation in order to foster mutual respect. 
The right to delete comments, ban individuals and block chat members is reserved to Discord Moderators as follows:

James Edgar Skye
Grounds For Clarity 

If you have any questions please contact me or leave comments below. This separate from our weekly Saturday discussions that we will be hosting on Zoom.

Always Keep Fighting

Photo by Rad Pozniakov on Unsplash

Thirty.

30. Thirty. The big 3-0. I want to mark this time. (peep that pic of me celebrating graduation in late May)

If you would have asked 20 year old me what the next 10 years held…she would have thought that it sounded scary and wonderful, but it could never be her. She blamed everyone for her problems. She was endlessly in love with Joseph Anthony but She was months away from the hardest break up she had faced. She was wonderfully oblivious that her life was about to change courses in a big way. She didn’t really have a lot of close friends outside of Joe. Hannah was dating David and you all didn’t really get along with David. She had a less than ideal relationship with her family and believed that it was beyond repair. There were a lot of questions about where my life would lead me. She was also very secure with herself. She of course thought she could improve in her exercise and diet, but she had confidence and it was obvious. She had no idea that these fleeting, endorphin filled time was mostly a product of her bipolar.

 

This didn’t seem like a big deal until I thought of how fast it went by. How quickly 30 years of my life happened. What have I accomplished?

 

I am well established in my career. I have been in the health care field for 10 years.

I got my master’s degree.

I moved to Texas and back.

I have a pet kitty that makes my days better (You count your kids right?)

I received my diagnosis of Bipolar disorder and started treating it.

I repaired many relationships that I had broken.

I have moved countless times, and it has allowed me experience more than one small bubble in Arizona.

I bought the newest car I have ever owned this year.

I made the big decision to start fertility treatments and become a single mother by choice.

I have realized that it isn’t a relationship I fear, it is that I wouldn’t be accepted or understood. I am asexual.

I have made peace with the fact that I will most likely have my mom living with me for the rest of her life. I am truly okay with it.

 

30-year-old me is on a camping trip in the future. This is 29 years and 359 day old me. Present me is sitting in my room. She is in Mesa and live in a crappy one-bedroom mobile home with mom. That is right, you now care for your mom. Mostly financially because she can’t work but is still independent.  She sleeps in a recliner because you haven’t been able to afford the lift bed she needs. We just got approved for the apartment we are moving to. You prefer to rent an apartment over owning a home and having all the responsibilities or renting a home and having to landscape. This apartment is a dream. You have always looked at the high-end apartments as something you dream of living in. You dreamt of living in a beautiful apartment that looks like a model home. You love the idea of living in a really nice place and decorating it so that you are proud of it.

You love living with your mom. You rarely argue, and she holds you accountable on your self -improvement.

You packed up your shit, quit your job, and drove to Texas where you lived with your dad and Nicole for a year. Much needed. Super impulsive.

Things are rocky with your sister right now. She is following your footsteps and headed down an emotionally destructive path. That is a scary thought seeing as how you went without a diagnosis for your bipolar until you were 25. You have had a couple of relationships that fizzled out. It has been 7 years since your last one. It only feels like an embarrassment to say that when you imagine other people’s reactions. You are oddly okay with this. You have spent the last 7 years working on yourself, nurturing your mental health and mending relationships. You reconnected with Joseph. He turned into a real bar fly when you two hung out together. I do mean hook up if you are wondering. Turns out he had an ex-girlfriend living in the same house. You still love him, and you still think he is selfish and inconsiderate. He has gotten weirder and less mature if that is possible. He loves to wear leggings and outlandish attention drawing outfits and attend raves. He did meet a girl last year. They are expecting a boy next month. You don’t know that Joe has grown up, you think he just found someone to act like a kid with. She has a son in high school….don’t know if that was a teen pregnancy or she is that much older than us.

Hannah is still your true friend. She has changed A TON. She stands up for herself, has really matured career wise and is making more than you! She still feels like she doesn’t know what she is doing with her life. She is living it. She needs to look around. She is still letting pretty boys walk all over her. You constantly build her up and she is so critical of herself and her appearance. She got a boob job that she hates…and botox! As long as it is safe and makes her happy, I will never judge her.

You made the decision that you would start fertility treatments and become a single mother by choice. It is a long and expensive process, but you want it badly. Your mom and grandmother both had issues and could not have any kids after 30. Your aunt Cherril has cervical cancer. She isn’t doing well either. She has decided to not have any kind of treatments and doesn’t even want to take pain medication.

You write. You write in notebooks, on the back of paper plates, you have a blog, you bounce around on your ideas and just end up writing them all in a jumbled mess.

You lost your confidence and have gained at least 100 lbs. But your confidence was gone long before the weight came. After Sean, you were down. You were approaching the BPD diagnosis, but this sent you on a journey that you can credit your life to.

You started gaining weight and staying home. You went to the doctor for weight loss and then disclosed how you were really feeling, and she referred you to a specialist. Between the sadness and the weight gain, you felt ashamed. You stopped going out and packed on more weight. You are hyper aware of those around you. Careful never to agitate or inconvenience anyone. You have actually become pretty boring. You rarely show emotion and are too concerned about other’s opinions to be the silly person you were.

 

You hope that your next 10 years bring more joy, revelations about yourself, dreams come to fruition. You hope to overcome your biggest obstacle. Yourself.

In the next 10 years, you will have a baby. You will do two rounds of IUI before you get pregnant. You will become more confident in your work. You will increase dramatically in your salary as you are beginning to really establish yourself. You will become more involved in politics and religion…after all the wise Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong in all the places where decisions are being made.”. You will continue learning and educating yourself through reading and may even entertain the idea of a doctorate. You will most likely lose your grandparents. That is going to be the kick in the stomach of the decade. I hope you are somewhat graceful in your grief. I doubt this though. You will most likely have some issues in managing medications and potentially start being reckless at this time. I hope you come back here and remind yourself of how far you have come and how many people go through this.

My first 30 years have been challenging to say the least. I was dealt a tough hand and it didn’t help that I was manic for most of it. I have made strides in my mental health that have definitely rippled into the rest of my life. I am happy. Genuinely happy. I have you fine people to thank for some of that.