In this episode, I explore the last year of my life, from the start of my mother’s death on December 15, 2019, to the first anniversary today. I talk about how I was not living life to many months to opening up in Life coaching, living through a suicide plan, suicidal thoughts, depression, and find my way in this life. I talk about as much as possible with what I experienced this year. It is an honor to share this episode when I celebrate my mom’s extraordinary life that she had, and although she is no longer here, she will always be in my heart.
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This is a hard one to write because jealousy is just an emotion that we have, and there is no right or wrong answer if I am honest. It hurts me to see others with their moms out in the world. I was eating ice cream the other day, and I got to see a little human being with their mom. It still hurt. I know this shall pass within my grieving process, it always does as I have read grieving books a lot lately, and even the people I was with were mother and daughter. Losing my mother and it coming on December 15th anniversary, or girefversary (I believe that is right) as Shelby Forsythia explains, the day I lost my own, it can be hard to sit see others close to their mothers.
It never felt envious of the mother and child. Just knowing that I see it and feeling the feels, it is very new. For a long time, I was hiding my feelings away and not dealing with the realities of life after a significant loss. I allowed the pain to get to a point where suicide was a real option back in October, and I am not afraid of that anymore. I know I always say it, but life coaching and the grief books that I have read helped me, but I still struggle to let go of those final pieces and allow my mom to be in my heart and in the grieving space I have created in my life.
The upside is that I am healing my heart and not staying so much in my head. I made a pact to work on the inner I each day. That allows me to stay in the now even when depression or anxiety takes over. Depression did on Sunday, but I was always okay. I will be discussing the first anniversary of my mother’s stroke on December 6th, 2019, in detail on the next podcast episode. That day taught me a lot, and when I stayed in the moments and felt what I was supposed to feel, it changed a lot for me, and while there will be situations between now and the 15th, I feel more prepared to allow myself into each day and find a silver lining no matter how small.
It is time for this raven to spread his wings. I have been struggling to not see my Dad as a human being and something I need to protect because he is my father. I never want to lose him as well, but he is not mine to lose. No one is anyone’s to lose, and I am learning to detach from that idea that it comes to be to protect him because of a promise I made to my mom. He is an adult, and no change in him that comes from me will work, and so it is something that I am learning with my parents. Let go of the binding strings and just be who I am meant to be. I need to allow my father to grieve in his own way.
For the first time in 2020, I can see a bright future without the worry of what is next. Things will be okay, and I can stop being addicted to worries, thoughts, pressures, and problems. We have been addicted to these things at some point, and I am one of the many. I have thought about them for fleeting moments today. I need to live for me, and that is what was holding me back. I am ready for anything that comes my way. It hard to see others with their mothers, but that is okay because it also makes me smile that I had the time with my own mother that the universe allowed.
I love writing. I write lists as a comfort, and my thoughts as an outlet. Sometimes, I get hung up on others opinions of my writing. Opinions I shouldn’t worry about. I write for me. Most of it doesn’t make sense but it feels right.When I freeze while trying to consider opinions I haven’t heard yet, I am hurting myself more than anyone. With no paper to spill my feelings into, I find myself fixating on them more than ever.
So I am just gonna go for it. I am sorry if this is a little scattered.
Remember the first time you watched a movie from your childhood, but as an adult? Maybe there was a joke that went over your prepubescent head, or maybe it confirmed a theory you had. Either way, I find myself doing this often. I used to really push away from religion and even claimed to be atheist (ZERO opinion if you are or aren’t religious). I talked about things I didn’t have any knowledge on and put down anything that sounded like a religious comment. Now I turn to the Bible as a comfort. The words in that book mean more now.
The word mindfulness means more now. I understand how I can be mindful, and how that benefits my growth as a person. My BP diagnosis was my first step towards mindfulness. I finally recognized something wasn’t right and sought help for my mood and subsequent actions. With that came the realization that I had formed these habits that were hurting those around me. I didn’t want to just mask symptoms, I wanted to find the cause.
I have had a lot of great things happen lately, and I had a lot of shitty things happen too. As I revealed recently, I was hospitalized for thoughts of self harm. All is better now, I just had to get some meds tweaked and take some time to process my feelings in a safe place. I get back to work and disclose to a close coworker what my hospitalization was for. My boss comes back from vacation and suddenly, after almost a year, fires me for “low productivity”. I had just signed a lease on a two bedroom apartment for my self and my mom who I care for. I just bought a new car earlier this year. A lot of people close to me pointed out the timing of being let go, right after I was hospitalized. I just don’t want to be one of those people who blame others. I honestly was shocked when they let me go. I had never received any indication that my work was not meeting expectations. I have filed for unemployment, but I haven’t received anything as of yet. It has only been a week.
Isn’t it weird the things that can trigger depression. My job loss didn’t. I was upset and down as to be expected but it wasn’t depression. Having to ask and receive help from my sister who is so judgmental of any actions that aren’t 100% responsible, and my grandmother who I have been trying to set boundaries with, especially financially.
I got a verbal offer for a job today. Since completing my degree, I haven’t been job searching. Let me tell you, I am being offered hire positions then I have ever held. Positions that I most certainly feel I am unqualified for. I accepted but am waiting for the official offer letter.
I feel like things are looking up and all in all, this year wasn’t bad. It might be one of my best yet.
On Monday, August, 10th would have been my mom’s birthday. Another “anniversary” that I was dreading all weekend. These have always been hard. I fall apart on the 15th of the month, the day that she passed. Every month since January, I fall apart. August and September were even more of dread because of my mom’s birthday, eight months since her passing, and my parent’s anniversary. Geez, who can deal with all that one after another?
I had something different at my disposal this time, and it had an unexpected effect on what happened on Monday. I am by no means getting paid to promote this, but Shelby Forsythia’s Permission to Grieve became my guiding light. I am still new to giving myself permission to grief for the loss of my mom, but I was invested. I listen to her words in the book and the stories on her podcast Coming Back. I had begun over the weekend to give my grief room. To understand that it is okay to be in pain and never let go of your grief, it is a part of you. I am also learning to live in the present and stop the constant need to overthink every situation. It was the perfect storm of beginning my grieving process and the day that I dreaded.
I decided to let it go. The idea that I had to have a bad day. I felt the feels. When I needed to cry, I did, and it was empowering. I ran three miles on the treadmill while listening to Forsythia, and it just flowed. I didn’t set a goal like “I need to run three miles to be happy today.” I instead ran three miles because every moment I was in the present moment of the treadmill and the podcast. I had no worries about the thoughts that often attack me when I am doing something. My day was full of things that made me happy. Getting dinner from my brother from another mother. Being around the people that make me happy. Spending time with a kindred spirit. I didn’t do all these things because I had to, I did them because it was what I wanted to do. I took the ego out, and I just flowed through my day.
Letting go of all the thoughts that made me feel bad was freeing. I was smiled, even in pain. I allowed myself to let go of the ego, the identity of the grieving son, and I just allowed myself to be. I adopted the idea from the song “if it’s mean to be it will be.” I am not enlightened; instead, I found that I could exist within my grief. I was grieving but finding myself within what could be a healthy way of grieving. That is not to say that the pain was not there, but I took it into my day, and I made it my own. I gave myself permission to grieve, and I saw for the first time what that meant.
That is not to say that the anniversaries will always be something I get through. One of the great things about what I am learning through authors like Forsythia and Tolle is that I can let go of the identity that comes with the grieving son. Instead, focus on being in the now. I can begin to heal and still feel the feels. I healed a small piece of the grand puzzle that is grieving. I know I will always miss my mother, and she is always on my mind, but I could feel more of her love for her family and friends by allowing the space to grieve. It was in so many ways a different day. Stay strong in the fight.
Take a good look, this is James Edgar Skye before he decided to make a life changing investment into his future and took on a life coach. I wanted to post this picture here because it is important to who I was when starting this journey. We all have to begin somewhere, and this is where I will be a different person by the end of my four month eighteen week long journey.
Last month, I took a chance and decided to seek life coaching with Kim Johnson, founder of Grounds for Clarity. I began last week with my first session. The decision was the right one at the right time in my life. I have been down a spiraling path that was not who I was in 2019, and to be honest, most people are not on the same path in 2020. I have been struggling to find myself within the confines of identities and projects that have made it easier to not deal with the glaring issues in my life. Starting a business from the ground up, even with my experiences, has been tough on me. I have not given myself time to grieve my mom’s loss, and I am dealing with a lot of self-doubts in my professional writing life.
I went into my first week with an open mind and heart. I knew I wanted real change, and to really get the most out of the four-month-long journey that I was about to embark on, I had to be willing to change. Kim does not promise results because change is ultimately up to me. What she does offer is her presence in your journey. That is very empowering.
We live in a world where we want instant results, and I am not different in wanting things to happen fast or to look into the future to see if things will get better. I sometimes live in the past because it is secure there, but does it really get you or me anywhere? The answer is no. It was important this first week to understand that trusting the process, that I can’t figure out all my problems in one week, was vital for me to understand myself. At the best of times, I can be impatient with my life. I wanted above all else this first week to trust the life coaching process because four months can be life-changing.
I knew that my biggest obstacles were that my motivations were intrinsically based, that I struggled with the weight of self-doubt about my professional writing future and that I was not grieving. I was living in two places, almost exclusively in the past and the future. It was becoming my narrative, and I didn’t even know that it was happening. I had to learn that living in the present and letting go of things I can’t control would be challenging. I was ready for the challenge.
My first week was encouraging. I had so many questions, and my life does not happen in a vacuum. The module homework Kim gave me helped me shape my first week. I realized my engagement styles and how I kept staying in my current engagement style, which would look like me continuing to go down a very negative path, which allowed my doubts to control me. My path will be letting fo of the money side of my writing control me. When things are not going my way, my default is to overthink and overanalyze the event in real-time. It is counterproductive in living in the moment, that change is inventible, and letting go is so much easier. I hold on to things because I have this need for control, especially with my past.
I want to end this post with something that stuck with me throughout the last week since beginning this journey. Something that Kim challenged me on. Being mindful throughout my day and being present, allowing me to catch my thoughts. I am not obligated to engage in all the things around me. I learned that I had to understand that if I wanted to be always looking for the next big thing or project that would get me to the next goal, it would continue to affect me negatively. I have become so goal-oriented to the extreme. I know that I need goals in my life, but I can’t always live looking at the future but forget the present me. That is not always easy to do. I need to let go of the past. Conscious awareness is so important. I am my own person inside and out.
If you are looking for your own journey into lifestyle coaching that envokes change in your life, if you are stuck under a mental illness diagnosis and want relief from someone who has experience in the core of what causes suicide, please reach out to Kim Johnson, @ Groundsforclarity@gmail.com. You can find her at www.groundsforclarity.com
I know it has been a while. I have been on a small journey of self-discovery over the last few weeks. I have been up and down, even sideways at times. I felt depression and anxiety in full force. I was feeling lost in who is James and was, or how does The Bipolar Writer become more than just a place that I go when life is tough. I was not feeling the feels as my life coach would say. So, where did The Bipolar Writer go?
He was here all along, but he lived in two different worlds, the past and the future. The person that I have been since the death of my mom in December was someone different. I put everything into what I need to grow my business. To continue writing both for my business and above all the projects in fiction will allow people to know The Bipolar Writer. I lost my passion for writing and instead went to make a million plans all in the hopes of keeping me going and keeping me busy. I was still writing, and it was still good, but I was not me. That was key. It became my downfall in July. I felt so alone in the world, and I allowed myself to let old habits back into my life. I was not living in the present.
I never thought I would lose my mother the way that it happened—the suddenness and having to continue to finish graduate school and keep myself from allowing the feelings in. I was hiding my pain, and it was growing into the monster thing that was hidden away in my mind. It wanted to be let go. I have been reading Permission to Grieve by Shelby Forsythia and also listening to her podcast. Both of these resources, alongside my self-discovery with my life coach (I will write more on this in another post), I began to realize I life-rejection and self-abandonment were my constant. (This book from Forsythia is really amazing, and I won’t spoil it here.) I was far from living in the present.
I was living by a narrative that was not my own, and I abandoned everything that made who I was inside. I had not once in my grief–the loss of my mom, the lost years of my life that I am always making me try to make up, and the loss of two relationships that altered how I treat people. I closed myself off to the world. I fell into my writing and school to try to grasp onto anything that felt good. I was not feeling good, and I was not myself. I have not been myself. I stopped living in the present and began to live in the future and the past. It is a destructive way of living.
I had not once since my early 20 gave myself permission to grieve, as Forsythia would say. I lost parts of myself along the way, and I never thought to take a look back and pick those pieces back up. When I lost the one constant in my life that was always there to pick me up, my mom made me go way inside. I was so lost and let things like COVID-19 to not really live.
I was marking the months. Every 15th was a bad day. I had to let myself be depressed on that day–every month. I was still living, that is something that you do. You keep going and make all the plans because that is what society tells you to do. I was not really living. I need to grieve, but that means letting the person who I was before my loss—all of the loss over the last fifteen years. I have made decisions in my life moving forward.
I am connecting with a life coach who is teaching me to live in the present. It will be a four-month journey. I am using my love for reading to immerse myself in books on grief and living in the present. Reading is one of my loves, and I am taking away screen time (when I am not working on school, work, or writing) like when I am watching sports or streaming. If you know me, it is not easy. I am not giving up watching sports, but not spending my “downtime” streaming. I was for so long filling all my time with things, no matter what it is, just to do it. I was on my phone so much, and I was not living my life. I want to go back to my roots–books and stories. I love stories.
I want to be in the present, and I am working on self-care at the moment. Why am I writing this post? It is because it will help me find my voice again. I am learning to do things at the moment because you can’t know the future. The past will always be there, but I am no longer that person. I am ready for change. That means coming back here to where it all started—this blog. I want to feel the feels. I want to live again, AND I WILL.