2019

2019 has been a year of growth and challenges.

But I can never blame myself for wanting to live.

Everything is teaching me something.
As long as I’m open and willing to learn.

Everyone comes into this world being enough. I am enough. 💫

Here is to 2020.

Thank you for being with me.
Angel Love and Blessings.

Love, Francesca.

Do you ever have a normal day?

Has anyone  ever seen the film I Robot starring Will Smith? It’s based on a story by Isaac Asimov.  Smith plays his  typical action man role with misbehaving robots added.  The ultimate premise of the tale is how does one keep humanity safe – not from sci-fi’s ubiquitous invading aliens, no not even killer robots which someone has to program  – but from itself?   There is a line in the film where a scientist says to Will Smith’s character,  Do you ever have a normal day?  He replies: I did once.

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That is how it feels to be a mental health sufferer.  If you have a normal day you remember it. I shall remember November 18th for that reason because I got three quarters of the way through it before thinking.  Why don’t I feel ill, exhausted, depressed, agitated, fed up, sick?  Perm any one from five thousand, you know how it is.

I’m hoping I can keep this up, this whatever passes for the new normality. Not because I have to save humanity from awry robots, but just so as I can be and do the things I normally want to be and do without it being quite so much effort.

I am writing again which is good news, going out more, protesting about iniquitous politicians and am generally much busier than I was, in a good way of course.  Still it’s necessary to watch the business thing (or ‘busy-ness’ thing) because that can lead back down to the vortex.  But so can sitting about doing nothing I guess.  The trick is  as always  to find a balance.   Sometimes I work 24/7 to save myself from staring down the black hole.

When I get very busy I can feel my brain speeding up telling me now this needs doing, now this, now this, now this!! I start to panic at the overwhelming amount of stuff that I need to get done – and without Will Smith or robotic assistance, there is sadly only me to do it.  This is not helped by the internet and constant online-ness of everything but I do not think that has been the cause.  I have always tried to outrun father time, but he just shakes his head sadly behind my shoulder.

The fragility of being a mere human being.   I’ve been told that this kind of  thinking is a result of lack of confidence – that people who lack confidence in themselves feel that nothing they achieve could ever be enough so they drive on and on and wear themselves to a raveling.  Well I’m no psych person but it sounds logical to me and certainly reflects my life tendencies. The fear inside, the need for an unattainable perfection.  Setting small daily goals helps because it’s valuable to concentrate on what has been achieved rather that thinking of the distance still to run.

But this is how I see it.  I’ve been given my brain and if it works or if it doesn’t work it’s mine to cope with.  But also it’s mine to use to the best of my ability.  I read somewhere that the average human being (that’s pretty much most of us except for Stephen Hawking RIP and a few others) uses only around 30%  of his/her potential brain power.  Imagine that!  Only one-third. We’ve still got two-thirds to go guys – and there’s a planet to save.

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.

James’ Patreon Account

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Patreon is crowdfunding like GoFundme but much different. You become a Patron on me–James Edgar Skye, the writer. It is a monthly subscription based crowdfunding, and it allows you, the Patron, to be a part of my writing process. Depending on your tier you will get a sneak peek at a chapter in my memoir (which is in the editing phase of publishing) or a sneak peek at a chapter in my upcoming fictional novel The Rise of the Nephilim which I am working on, and I am nine chapters into the project. Other things that I offer are special shout-outs and first looks on upcoming blog posts before they hit The Bipolar Writer blog.

Becoming a Patron will allow me to do some great things like self-publish my novella Angel on the Ward and so that I can offer it on specific tiers. It will let me start to create merchandise for my brand The Bipolar Writer, which would be things like t-shirts and coffee cups. Here is my logo if you have not seen it yet.

A Look at J.E. Skye’s Tiers

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The Bipolar Writer Tier – $2

In this $2 tier, you help the continued success of The Bipolar Writer blog and the brand. You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with a mental illness on a daily basis and still finds a way to live. I have been struggling with mental illness since 2007.

You get a personalized letter or email welcoming you as a Patreon, and a “First Look” at weekly blog posts for the Bipolar Writer blog before it goes live! This tier will help keep my blog writing and help me end the stigma surrounding mental illness. This will also be a great tier to allow me to hire an “editor and manager of my blog.”

“The Bipolar Writer Maniacs” Basic Tier – $5

In this $5 tier you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with a mental illness on a daily basis and still finds a way to live. I have been struggling with a mental illness since 2007.


You get everything in the “Support for The Bipolar Writer” tier plus a personalized blog post on any “mental health” subject that you want for your blog, and my monthly newsletter to start every new month!

“Bipolar Writer-Maniacs” Mid Tier – $10

In this $10 tier, you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with Bipolar One daily and still finds a way to live. I have been struggling with mental illness since 2007.

In this mid-level tier, you get everything from the first two tiers plus an exclusive look at a chapter from “The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir before publication.

“Bipolar Writer-Maniacs” 2nd Mid Tier – $15

In this $15 tier, you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with Bipolar One daily and still finds a way to live. I have been struggling with mental illness since 2007.

It also comes with a personal invitation to my exclusive Patreon community.

“The Bipolar Writer-Maniacs” Top Tier $20

In this $20 tier, you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with Bipolar One daily and still finds a way to live. I have been struggling with mental illness since 2007.

In this top tier, you get everything from the previous three tiers plus an exclusive look at my upcoming fantasy fiction novel to include character sketches or a look at the first chapter of the novel “The Rise of the Nephilim” or a peek at “Angel on the Ward.”

“Bipolar Writer-Maniacs” Exclusive Tier – $40

In the limited Edition Tier, it is the ultimate experience for any Bipolar Writer Maniacs! In this elite tier, you get all the benefits of the previous tiers plus a signed copy of my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. (With a release date in Early Summer 2019).

That is it. I really hope you will join me, James on my writing journey. I will be evolving these tiers over time, and even if you just join the $2 tier, it will be a significant help. I am going to be doing a lot of mental health advocacy work through my Patreon account. Click on one of the Patron buttons on this post and join me!

Always Keep Fighting

James Edgar Skye

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My Healing Journey

At the beginning of the year my number one goal was for me to work on healing myself from the inside out. I had put my own inner healing on hold for a long time. I had pushed down the most painful memories of my childhood in hopes I would never have to think about them again. Over these last eight months more and more old wounds have been resurfacing. Old wounds that I forgot were even there were resurfacing. This was finally my time to work on healing myself.

 

I grew up in an abusive household facing abuse from my mother on a daily basis. I suffered from this abuse from a very young age up until my early adulthood. I suffered from physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. The most damaging towards me was the psychological abuse.

 

Growing up I always knew there was something “off” about my mom because of the way she treated me. I was the oldest child and I guess my mom figured she could take out all her aggression on me. My brother was extremely lucky because my mom treated him completely opposite of how she treated me.

 

A month ago I read a book about healing from Narcissistic abuse. It opened up my eyes to what narcissistic abuse is all about and it confirmed for me that it was the abuse I suffered from growing up. It confirmed my theory that my mom was a narcissist and the symptoms & actions described fit my mom perfectly.

 

My entire life I could never fully be myself. My mom was the one who called all of the shots during my childhood. It didn’t matter what I wanted to do, if she didn’t like it then I couldn’t do it. It was like my mom was trying to live out her life through me. I wanted to play piano and my mom hated that, she threw away my piano books because she didn’t want me to play it. I wanted to do gymnastics, but she told me no & convinced me that I was never good enough to do it in the first place. She hated me having friends and never let me hang out with my friends. This occurred throughout my entire childhood.

 

She terrorized me, manipulated me, and controlled me my entire life. This book opened up my eyes to how abusive a narcissist can be and how evil they can be.

My mom caused me immense pain growing up. She told me things no child or person should ever have to hear especially from your own mother. I was screamed at so many times. She told me lies like that she didn’t want me born, she wished she aborted me when she had the chance, no one in my family likes me, I’m a burden, I have no friends, I’m fat, I’m not pretty, and I’m not good enough. She RARELY told me she loved me & meant it.

 

Now that I’ve reached adulthood and have started my own healing, I feel like I’m starting to find myself all over again. My mom never let me express who I was so I was always fitting into the mold she wanted. I finally feel like I’m starting to find my own identity and who I truly am as a person.

 

At first I felt like I was going through an identity crisis because I didn’t know who I was as a person at first. It’s forced me to dig deep inwards to get in touch with my true authentic self. I’m still learning who I truly am on a daily basis. I’m starting to finally feel free again since I no longer have to conform to what she had led me to believe my entire life.

Fighting The Stigma

Hey all…I know that it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me…at least it feels that way. I probably even said that as the intro to the last post I wrote here. At least I think I did, memory is still pretty awful these days. Anyways, let’s talk about Stigma. Ah yes, everyone here knows of the lovely stigma, at least they should. Not saying that I hope you’ve experienced stigma, just that you know of it. Though, it is pretty difficult to get through life with mental illness without experiencing stigma. For those of you who don’t know what stigma is, consider yourselves lucky for one, but maybe you’ll understand if I use these words instead : Intolerance, Discrimination, Hatred, Prejudice, Bigotry, etc. Stigma is essentially all of these things, and it is not unique to the mental health world either. Stigma has been experienced by everyone on this planet, except for maybe rich white guys. Then again, I just stigmatized the rich white guys, by saying they’ve never experienced stigma…so I mean…Stigma can easily be described as treating someone a certain way because of something that is beyond their control. Examples include racism, sexism, addiction, mental illness, eating disorders, height, hair color, etc. SO, if I were to treat you differently because of something that you could not control, then I would be stigmatizing you. For example, if I said, “Just get outside and bask in the sunlight for once, then you won’t be so depressed!” That would not only be highly insensitive and heavily misinformed, but would also be adding to the stigma currently surrounding depression. Now I’m not discounting the positive effects of being outdoors, and getting some sunlight, but it is in no shape or form, a cure for depression, or for any mental illness for that matter.

I forget who it was, but there was someone who was spreading misinformation about mental health on Twitter, and many of the more social advocates immediately jumped on it. The person in question said something along the lines of, and I’m in no ways quoting exactly here: “Mental illness is a choice, you just have to decide to be mentally healthy and it will happen.” Needless to say, this person was INCREDIBLY wrong about mental illness, and she was almost immediately called out on it. The thing that makes this instance so much worse, is that for the next several days, she was trying to defend her position from all the immensely educated mental health advocates on Twitter. Sure there were some all too obvious “low blow” satire like, “Oh my gosh! I had no idea! Thanks blank, My mental illness is now cured!” However, a rather large part of me completely supports turning this person into the “village idiot” for a little while, and letting them soak in how wrong they truly were. Yet, the other part of me thinks that she should have just been treated as uneducated, and promptly, politely corrected (even though it wouldn’t have made any difference). Speaking of Twitter, how did you like the alternate words for Stigma that I listed in the beginning? Well, it wasn’t yours truly that made the rather obvious connection.  It was a user on Twitter that goes by the handle of MyMedicatedTO, I would use the @ symbol but it creates some weird link that doesn’t lead to Twitter…so I trust you all to find this guy/girl/non-binary person yourselves if you’re interested enough.

The sad thing is, is that this MyMedicatedTO is completely right! Stigma can easily be interchanged with any of these awful terms, and quite honestly should be. MyMedicatedTO also made a remark about how the word stigma feels too soft for the actions it usually perpetrates. I actually agree here, because the word stigma, has somehow gotten attached to Mental Health, for better or worse. Now, this is MY opinion, being attached to Mental Health, often allows some people to easily dismiss something. So as stigma is attached to Mental Health, when these people hear about the Stigma that mental illness sufferers experience, they quickly dismiss it as more “Mental Health hullabaloo” and don’t address it. However, since these other terms like Intolerance, Discrimination, Hatred, Prejudice, and Bigotry are kinda hot topics our current society, I feel that people would be more receptive of what we have to say. Now I am in no way saying that we should stop saying Stigma, because well, it more or less is synonymous with mental health. I am saying however, if we want to add a little extra “weight” to what we are saying as mental health advocates, we could use another term for basically the same thing. Because honestly, stigma is almost always no different than discrimination because of mental illness. Hell, that’s why I write under a pseudonym. Although, I am tossing around the idea of using my real name. I mean, I’m writing this article on my work computer, in front of my coworkers, and have not received a single question about it. Anywho, we all have to do our part on fighting the stigma, not just in the mental health world, but everywhere there is one. If there are people that still judge others based on things that were not a choice (unfortunately there are) we still have our work cut out for us. At least to me, I can’t just be a mental health advocate, I have to be an equality advocate. All people are equal to one another, and should be treated as such…but hey, what do I know, I’m just some faceless blogger.

Hugs + Kisses,
Alan

Babbles:Communication Challenges

photo of red and silver grocery cart

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I was at my favorite paycheck donation center aka Target the other day and I was in the self-checkout line behind a mother and two children.  One child was an infant and the other was 2 or 3 years old.

The child was sitting in the cart, the seat part, and he was talking to his mother, who was scanning items for checkout.  As she scanned the items, she handed them to her son.  But something was wrong, and he was trying to tell her something, but was not able to get it out.  With her infant child strapped to her, she kept scanning her items and the young boy kept trying with all his might to vocalize what he was trying to say, getting all the more frustrated when he was not able to say what he wanted.  He finally kicked his feet and threw up his hands and said very clearly, “Mommy you are not hearing me!”

I nearly cried.  My eyes filled up with tears and I stared.  I had to snap myself out of the eye lock that I made with the child.  I was not staring because of the melt down that was now in process, but because, I could relate.  How often in life are we in a place where we are trying to communicate how we feel, or what we think to someone and either they are not listening, or we are not able to clearly explain what it is that we are thinking and feeling?

 

I have been working with various doctors, for a number of different medical conditions, for numerous years.  I have answered questions verbally about my symptoms, I have filled out written questionnaires, and I have drawn shapes on drawn figures of the human body to indicate where I had pain.  All in attempt to convey to the doctor how I was feeling.  And in each and every circumstance, there was still slight miscommunications between myself and the doctor, and cases where I wanted to yell “You are not hearing me!” as well, because well, they were not hearing me.

 

Recently, I sat down with one of my doctors and we had a very direct conversation.  It was a hard conversation to have.  I put on my big girl panties, and I pulled myself up by my bootstraps metaphorically, and I shot from the hip (again metaphorically).  I identified what we had done up to this point over the last 3-5 years, and what worked and what had not worked.  I explained what I found to be frustrating and what I found to be successful.  (I felt like I was doing a job performance review).  We discussed the challenges that we as partners faced and what the future held for us.  We set a six-month goal and monthly goals leading up to the six-month goal.

When I left the office I nearly puked.  I got in the car and my legs went weak.  I had not been that assertive and confident in YEARS!  That’s the way I had handled myself “back in the day”, in the days prior to the diagnosis, prior to the hysterectomy, prior to my world being up ended.  And when I got good and mad, good and pissed off, good and ready to re-establish control, SHE came back.

I fear that I may have offended my doctor with my behavior, but gosh darn it, I may be in the best place I have been in a year, or more.  And you know what, I did it.  I advocated for myself.  Instead of sitting there in a cart, belted in, kicking my feet and throwing my hands in the air yelling that someone was not hearing me, I sat with my horrible posture, in a 1950’s inspired dress, holding back the tears that really wanted to come, and acted like a business person with an agenda that included the success of my health.

 

I see her again in a month, and knowing me I will apologize, but I hope I won’t.  I took charge and as result, I am living a simpler, overall improved life.  I had a meeting today and it was observed that I am better.  Although it was not said, I know that I am getting the sparkle back in my eye.  I am still struggling with fatigue, but I am battling that like my life depends on it.  I am being strategic with what I do during the day and allowing for the more challenging items to be completed when I am more awake, and the easier items to take place when I am not as with it.

 

Communicating is hard, as is life.  It is easy to throw a tantrum, and we are all entitled to have one every now and again.  But oh the way it feels to have a victory when you communicate, and your voice is heard… not so sure much compares to that kind of a success.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

I’m Okay. Why Do I Still Seek Therapy?

I can go into public places without fearing something will happen to my children or me. This is tremendous progress. Yesterday I went into a clothing store alone.

I thought about leaving when the checkout line was long, but I was determined to stay and see the process through. Lines make me feel trapped, though it’s gotten better, the feeling is still there. Instead of leaving, I circled the store and waited for the line to go down. I had a goal and goddammit I was going to stick with it. I didn’t turn away from the end result, which was to buy what I had in my hand: four shirts and one pair of shorts.

My head didn’t rush, my heart didn’t beat out of my chest, my vision stayed normal, the panic stayed away. A year ago, I never would have been able to do this. And there were times I didn’t think I would ever be able to. Strings attached to me everywhere, by personal choice. This day, however, I was fine.

In fact, I’d had a lot of fine days. It had been going so well that I considered stopping my therapy sessions altogether. Isn’t that what we do though? Once we feel good, we back off of what’s been supporting us. I think it’s human nature to do so, sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.

When I left my therapist and told I’d let her know in a month if I needed to come back, I thought I’d walk away for good. Then thirty days slid by painfully slow. I missed my chance to vent and let my words fly without shame.

Sometimes big news came from small conversations. A day I had nothing to discuss would lead to a significant discovery. The chance for this would be gone if I didn’t continue.

I went back after thirty days, and I told her I missed coming here, so we agreed to every 3-4 weeks depending on my schedule. I’ve held this now for a few months and here’s what I’ve learned.

  • I have new goals to push toward.
  • I can truly recognize how far I’ve come and the life I’ve taken back.
  • There’s a comfort to having a familiar, someone I know will listen.
  • It has given me a chance to explore areas I didn’t realize needed attention.

street-art-2044085_640.jpgTherapy is one of the things that I have done to regain my life. I am stronger now, I’m not sure I’ll ever be “healed,” but I can do almost everything I used to before anxiety crippled my life.

Sometimes I hear people smugly suggest that therapy isn’t working if you have to keep going. Well, who are they to tout about something they don’t understand. I’m not doing myself any harm by continuing, in fact, it pushes me to take control and prepare myself for harder days that are unquestionably in my future. Life can’t be full of rainbows and sunshine all the time.

Therapy has been one of the many factors I use to battle/overcome/work with anxiety. It took several tries to find a therapist I trust, so if you find one that’s not fitting you, don’t be scared to try again. For me, it has worked to have continual checkups. I have no plan on stopping, even if I decide to decrease to once every other month, a therapist on hand provides me with the outlet I need.

 

Melisa Peterson Lewis is a lifestyle blogger at Fingers to Sky where she writes about her personal wellbeing, gardening, and her writing process as she tackles her first sci-fi novel. Check her out on Instagram or Facebook.

Images from Pixabay.

Always keep fighting!

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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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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