Works in Progress and the Future for James

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

2020. If you could sum it up with one word what would it be for you?

For James, it would be simple as WOW.

Here in this safe place, my collaborative blog, I have always been honest as I can with what I write, and for the most part, I have been open to everything about my life I share with you, the reader. There is a caveat, there was for a while me not so open to the world. Perhaps even most of my life, and that has been a different James thanks to life coaching. Now that will be for a later post, but it is relevant to what I will share with you now. 

An Updated Works-Progress Literary Works

Works to be Published – Angel on the Ward

I have one work that is ready for the world to see. I have mentioned a few times that I am working towards self-publishing my first fictional piece, a novella about a year in the making, Angel on the Ward. There have been some delays. I am looking at a tentative date in early December if my cover is done by my cover artist. 

In Final Edits – The Rise of the Nephilim

My major novel, The Rise of the Nephilim, has been on the back burner as I have been swamped finishing my master’s degree (I have one more semester). I have decided to take a semester off to get this novel over the top and ready to be sent out to publishers. For those who do not know, this is fantasy fiction, Dark Romanticism, gothic, medieval and futuristic six-book series that I have been writing for over a year and developing for over nine years. I finished the first draft sometime around this time last year, clocking in at over 213K in words, so I have got my work cut out for me in editing. 

Works in Progress

 I currently work in the writing process and move towards a first draft, a book for my business, The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services. This book is for a local man, and I started it in January. We have gone through the interview process, gathering everything, and now I am writing the book’s significant chapters.

The Beginning Stages Projects

One of the upcoming projects and I am working on funding is The Legacy of Sang’s Cafe in Salinas. It is a local book that I am proud to be writing. As a writer, there are not always chances to write about the place where you grew up. The author is raising funds and so if you can donate to The GoFundMe here.  I am the ghostwriter on the project.

The other project I am also excited to be working on is more of a secret project. I can say I am in the interview stage, and it will be a fiction novel. That is all I can say right now.

Upcoming Projects

The Many Faces and Voices of Mental Illness

I have written about this project here.

I wanted to add to this list because I am working on an idea, and right now, they are ideas. One is a nonprofit to educate the rift that I have seen within the mental illness community and the professionals who prescribe us medication and therapy. Through experience, education is something that I have done throughout the blog, but see a need that can be filled. It will take some research from now until the end of the year. I am also beginning to get the first few episodes of my podcast off the ground.

For everything social media for James Edgar Skye visit my Linq Site here. 

For ASIST Suicide Prevention Training Program | LivingWorks please visit here: https://www.livingworks.net/asist

Buy my book on Amazon through my website.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Introducing The Bipolar Writer Blog Subscription Service

Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash

The Bipolar Writer blog is a collaborative effort to share the best parts of my story and others’ stories in the mental illness community. My authors, over time, have made this blog what it is today. I want to introduce you to The Bipolar Writer Subscriptions. 

As I build The Bipolar Writer brand with t-shirts, coffee mugs, and hopefully other fantastic merchandise with my logo, I want to share with you that it is expensive to be a struggling writer, but it goes beyond that simple fact. I am growing my brand that includes my writing and marketing all my own. I have Patreon, which is growing slowly, and I have to use everything at my disposal to build my audience. Especially beyond the blog.

I have been investing in myself lately. I got a new microphone and setup to do exclusive videos, and I am looking at ways to create merchandise that you, my reader, can take advantage of, including my memoir. (Side note, my Patreon account already has merchandise available at different tiers). What comes with the new subscriptions. Well, it will be adjusted over time, but here is what I have so far. 

  • For the higher tiers, a free copy of my Memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir and a copy of my upcoming fiction book Angel on the Ward. (You must be a level $25 subscriber for three months to offset the costs.)
  • Merchandise for levels $25 and above.
  • Exxclusive video blogs for levels $10 and up.
  • Personalized letter for the basic $5 tier.
  • You can also personalize your subscription to whatever you would like to subscribe to at a certain amount unique to you. The sky is the limit! 
  • I will be adding things as this takes off.

Tiers

The tiers below are really simple, and you can adjust them up and down when you click to subscribe. It will take to a place where you can make your monthly subscription. Please let me know if you want to end the subscription at any time.

That’s it, and I have no expectations that this will work, but I would rather want to know this is out there in the world! Thank you for all that subscribe to my new subscription service.

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

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2020 Big Ideas

First and foremost I would love to share my new author site outside this blog. www.jamesedgarskye.me

I am a writer who needs multiple projects that are ideas, in first drafts, editing, and ready to publish. I am also seeking an agent for those out there looking for a writer. For right now, I understand the self-publishing process, so that is good in my book. I will continue to go down this route. I have a fantastic cover artist (if you are looking, please email me!) and people I trust besides myself to edit my work. I prefer to keep busy.

Here is an idea of where I am at right now just in works in progress.

  • The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir – (Non-Fiction) Republishing in March 2020
  • Angel on the Ward – (Fiction Novella) In formatting and working on the cover art. Getting ready to publish in April 2020.
  • The Rise of the Nephilim – (Fantasy Fiction Novel) In editing looking for an agent
  • Hyeon and the Precious Notebook (Short Story) Looking for literary magazine publication.
  • The Dark Passenger (Short Story) Currently in the final editing phases.
  • Vacation From Heaven (Non-fiction) this is my major ghostwriting project of 2020.

What can I say, I like to keep busy, even as a graduate student.

My Next Big Ideas

A Book Sharing the stories of the Mental Health Community

That brings me to other projects that I want to launch in 2020. The first being A collective book on the stories of the mental illness community. I have been throwing around this idea for a while, and I think it is something that will be long-term. I hope to travel and meet people to write their stories. The money will go to helping others with medication, seeking mental health services, and perhaps other projects. Not a dime will go to me. A lot of this project will hinge if I can convince my followers to become Patreons. I will use my books as incentives for those who want to be a part of my writing process.

A Mental Health Podcast

I have two people that will become contributors once I get all my ducks in a row for this project. Both have experience in mental health. One of these two mental health advocates has experienced differently from mine. One is a bit younger with varying mental illnesses, including PTSD, that she deals with daily. The other, he is the man whom I am ghostwriting his book, is much older but also has some fantastic experiences that significantly differ from my own, including getting off benzodiazepines, which is a tremendous story. It will have guests, and I have big plans for this project in 2020.

Growing The Bipolar Writer Brand

Building my brand is going to be a fun project, and again, it comes down to if I can launch my Patreon account with enthusiasm. I am thinking t-shirts, coffee mugs, and maybe even one-day hoodies that show inspirational things alongside my brand The Bipolar Writer.

I wanted to share all of this because this is the year where I take everything to the next level. My followers are so important not just to me, but to the contributor writers that call this place home. I want to show the world what a community such as ours is capable of doing amazing things. That the support and understanding that I have experienced is the best. We need to change the stigma of mental health together!

Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Please if you can, Become a Patron!

A Decade Mental Health Reflection

10 years is a really freaking long time. Looking back I think this may have been the most transformative decade of my life because so many monumental things happened.

I graduated from high school and college. I got my first part time job at Wendy’s (a fast food restaurant in America) and first full time job (that I reluctantly quit). I fell in love twice, lost my virginity, had my heart broken many times and bought a house with my boyfriend of nearly 3 years.

**I’m going to be writing about self harm and suicide. If this may be triggering for you, I suggest waiting for my next post. Talking about self harm is triggering for me still but I want to talk about it openly and honestly.**

Self-Harm

During this decade I learned about depression and anxiety, finally labeling how I had felt for most of my life. I cut myself for the first time in 2011 in my college dorm room because I felt an overwhelming sense of depression and loneliness. This action impacted my life quite a lot. I used it to cope with my mental illness when I was at my lowest points for many years.

You can still see some of those early scars on my arms in the right light. I usually notice them in the summer when the sun shines the brightest. It takes me back to all of the pain I felt in those moments, when I thought this was the only way I could survive each day.

Therapy

Back in 2014 I was in my last year of university, I had returned to the main campus after spending a year in a big city and abroad in England. I struggled so much to readjust to life on campus but I couldn’t. I couldn’t focus, I had no energy and no drive to attend classes or do my assignments.

This brought me to seeing my first therapist, Jennifer. She was the total opposite of me personality wise, she was straight-laced, practical and put together while I walked into her office a total wreck. She was a counselor at my university that I saw every other week. She helped me take those first steps to sorting through my mental illness which lead me to the therapist I have been seeing since September 2016.

I love my current therapist. She has been with me through my very darkest times struggling with intense suicidal thoughts and daily self harm. I saw her twice a week for months until I got a grip on myself. Once I finally made it to once a week I was so proud of myself. I now see her more or less on an as needed basis which I never thought would be possible.

Suicide

After a bad breakup from my first love, my life was in shambles. Before this I had occasionally had suicidal thoughts but they were not even close to the level of intensity these were. “Kill yourself” was on repeat in my mind constantly. I couldn’t have a moment of silence without hearing that phrase.

I never attempted suicide, I think because I had such a strong team of professionals supporting me. My therapist, doctor and psychiatrist were helping me, I didn’t want to let them down by dying. And we were all working to find a medicine that would help me.

Since being on medicine I haven’t had intense suicidal thoughts. I have them occasionally  if I’m at a low point but other than that I am ok.

I’m sorry this post is so long but I wanted to write up a brief bit of my mental health journey from this past decade. In 2010 I wouldn’t have expected for all of this to happen. Life surprises us, it surprises me on a regular basis.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

The Voyage and Worthiness

I am worthy

even when I don’t feel like it.

There’s so much of my past self that I don’t

resonate with at all anymore, but I love her just the same.

She was growing.

She was doing her best.

She fought hard to get me here.

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

Angel love and rainbows.

Love, Francesca.

Distracting Depression

When our brains get so focused on one negative thing, it can be really hard to stop letting those thoughts spiral you into a pit of despair.

For me, my brain has a few cassette tapes that it plays on repeat for me when I’m really feeling depressed or anxious. Some of my mental illness’s favorite are “Nobody Loves You: An Unromantic Song for the Lonely,” “Megan’s a Failure (She Can’t Do Anything Right)” and “Let’s Lay in Bed Forever, Nobody would Miss Me.”

I have had some really negative thoughts spinning in my mind for the past few months but I found out that they were not true. Which is somehow always surprising to me when my anxious thoughts are false. Anybody else feel the same?

Lately I have been dealing with the repercussions of my action regarding that situation and I’m feeling totally awful about it. I let my anxious thoughts cloud my reality. I have been letting my fear of change get to me too.

Sometimes I have to disconnect my mind and focus on something else. I have to distract my depression and anxiety to make it be quiet.

What I often do as a distraction is to do something that I can be completely immersed in. Whether it’s studying Japanese (日本語を勉強する), watching one of my favorite movies (“Mulan” always helps), exercising or petting my cats; it makes a difference most of the time.

The reason I began studying Japanese was to distract myself from suicidal thoughts in 2018. It’s similar to why I became obsessed with makeup in 2016 to distract myself from even more severe suicidal thoughts.

I knew Japanese would take full brain power and determination to learn. I had to learn two alphabets plus be able to at least recognize basic kanji (they’re the more complex looking symbols). Studying the alphabets was the easy part too! On top of that all of the grammar and vocabulary makes it quite challenging.

Being able to practice on Duolingo, do lessons on YouTube and watch subtitled anime to hear how Japanese is spoken naturally makes me happy.

I have always enjoyed learning languages even though I’m not fluent in anything but English. I took Spanish and French in high school then German in college. I found German to be quite difficult since it was my first non-romantic language that I studied and I didn’t feel like I had enough time to devote to really understanding it.

How do you distract your mind from depression/mania/anxious thoughts/OCD tendencies? Please leave me a comment!

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Time

Time is one of the most important concepts that must be considered when talking about mental health. All of us feel that time is one resource that is not used wisely, the fact is contrasted by all we must do with the time we are afforded. For those with mental health issues, it may at times seem like time moves faster not just because of the need to heal but, also time spent contemplating moments missed and the pain of the past. No man has the power to control time, but one must continue living life despite it all, regardless of the hand that fate has dealt them.

A Poem about Time:

by : Francesca Seopa

Time comes, Time goes.

Time reaps, Time sows.

Time lingers, Time outlasts.

Time destroys, Time heals

Time takes, Time gives

Fate curses, Fate blesses

Fate so fickle, Fate so shrewd.

With a smile warm and lewd.

A guide through the dark dense woods.

The thing about time is that it is neither enemy nor friend, it’s not for anything or anyone. Time roots for no particular outcome. Like water flowing out of an overturned glass, Time moves simply because the laws of nature dictate it be so. The same goes for Fate. Even though you might feel that your fate is miserable and locked in that state, honestly speaking, Fate is shaped by a person’s thoughts and time. Empires have risen and fallen, kings crowned and dethroned. People are born and they die, sometime ghastly quick deaths, most of the time a slow agonizing death after a life of highs and lows. The point here is that one must not hold onto the feeling of time slipping away, not to overvalue or overthink what fate has accorded them. If anything, time must be spent living whatever life one wants and as for fate, whatever you do what will happen will happen. Life has ups and downs and no one can control what happens to them. People have the power of choice, they have the power to empower themselves despite what Life throws at them. The power of their choices will dictate their Fate. This is why it is so important for people to work towards healing, empowering themselves and understanding that they are worthy despite what they went through.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

– William Shakespeare

Thank you for being with me.

So, I close my eyes to old ends and open my heart to new beginnings.

– Nick Frederickson

I look forward to seeing you here. Let us rebuild a healthy state of Mind.

Warmly, Francesca.

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Belittling Myself

*This post is a combination of processing and asking for input from my fellow bloggers and readers.*

Today my boss came up to me asking if we could have a chat. My heart sank a little bit thinking I was in trouble but I wasn’t. She brought up how I project my work to others, how I often times don’t give myself any credit.

This came up because yesterday we had to introduce ourselves during a meeting and I identified myself as my supervisor’s right-hand woman instead of my title. I often don’t say my title, which is the Development and Program Marketing Specialist, I usually say I do communications or that I help my supervisor.

I’m not good at talking about myself or making myself sound important. I think it’s a combination of years of low self-esteem, the idea that nobody cares what I have to say and not thinking I am important. So when somebody asks what I do, I brush it off saying, “I do our Facebook” then drop it.

In reality I do a lot more than schedule Facebook posts.

My boss said she wants me to be confident in my position, work and skills. She told me I am more than my supervisor’s right-hand woman, that I am my own independent, functioning person.

I was not expecting that conversation at all.

In all honesty, I don’t feel important at work. I think that anybody could do my job so, to me, what I write, create and do isn’t special. I felt that at my last job too, I compared my writing to my fellow reporters too often.

I come for 40 hours a week and do what I’m told. I recently had to do two marketing campaigns, one for a day camp and the other for volunteer training. I gave no ideas for anything, I asked my superiors what they wanted and I did just that.

Damn, this is turning into an entire in depth self evaluation that I was not expecting to have today.

The moment our conversation ended I thought, “I need to see my therapist.”

What about you guys? Do you have trouble talking about yourself or do you have confidence in doing that? How does your self-esteem effect your work?

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Reasons To Live

It is completely acceptable to stay alive for tiny reasons. Because you want to hear your favorite song one more time. Because your pet will miss you if you leave. The moon is just too pretty to never see. The beautiful sunsets are just too precious to never see again. Because you haven’t seen the next season of a really good TV show. Because you want to see the Christmas lights this year. If you are alive, you are doing enough.

So we push, to tear down the walls. Of the box that life has left us in to keep us away. And now we push to stay together. Know that nobody is going to save us from ourselves. The bad memories will knock us down. The good memories will lift us up. If you are surviving, just know that I am proud of you.

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

Love, Francesca.

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Mopping Up Mental Health

I went to the clinic on Friday.  Quite cheerful I was when I arrived there and ready to get things DID. I shuffled past the HIV and AIDS Section.  The Reproductive Health Section with many blushing teenagers and finally turned the corner at the clinic to head to the mental health “corner”.  I paused briefly to think that the signage is intended to be functional, it screamingly communicates and impacts on the people waiting so much more.  What would you say if a friend passes you by in the HIV queue?  Hi, I’m here for a fun check? Blushes and shuffles feet? Anyways, almost fittingly,  the mental health section is in the most inconvenient area that is too small to seat the large number of people who require a service on mental health Friday’s. Yes.  On Fridays, when the psychiatrist graces the mentally ill with his or her presence and the nurse (no mental health specialisation) who are at their most tired, open the clinic to the mad, crazy and otherwise, on condition that you are prepared to queue from 4 in the morning outside.

As I lodged myself into the long queue, with an approximate waiting time of two hours for two people (not exaggerating), we all waited anxiously, knowing that although you were at a health centre, and could have braved massive odds to get there, there was no guarantee that you would actually receive the service you required regardless of  how serious your ailment is or what you’d come for.  In my hard-won um, experience, I have learnt that the South African Health System is more adept at turning people away than it is at servicing people who need it the most.  As an example, I had a close friend with mental illness tell me that when they were suicidal and reported to a hospital, they were told to come back when they had more serious symptoms.  I’m sorry did I miss something here?  A symptom of suicide?  Well.

I had come for a meds refill.  Not that hard.  I had a script, a detailed psychiatric history and referral letter from my resident psychiatrist.  So you could say I was capacitated to come and that the paper could speak for me because you know, someone with mental health anything is NOT able to do that.  Like we may have years of experience of living and coping with our disorders, but cannot describe our symptoms unless a psychiatrist decodes the language we apparently speak. center  Symptom of suicide indeed.

I no longer know what it will take to draw attention to the needs of the mentally ill in our families and communities in Africa because I have it unfortunately on great authority that we are fully and fundamentally being failed. We should not be turned away,  or have it suggested that we actively go home and allow our mental health to deteriorate. Because we matter.  Our families matter.  Our communities matter. And research/statistics in our country and the world says that mental health issues are undetected, and ravaging communities.  So perhaps, mental health services need to be primed to helping people not making them sicker?  In the meantime, whilst I mull this over, I am going to take that cleaner’s bucket which became so intimately acquainted with the tender flesh on my knees during the time I should not have waited, and I’m going to mop clean at the local clinic.  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.

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