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.

 

A Weekend That Changed My Life – Part One

When change happens to me its only when someone challenges me. This person challenges me to look beyond my feelings of insecurities and take a look inside the core cause of my pain. To see what I am looking for in this life.

A Testimonial of a Life-Changing Weekend

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Make an investment today.

When change happens to me its only when someone challenges me. This person usually challenges me to look beyond my feelings of insecurities and take a look inside to the core that is causing my pain. To challege me to seek what I am looking for in this life.

Then Grounds for Clarity and its Thought Founder Kim Johnson found me and interviewed me about my suicide attempts. As she began to know my story, and as I shared my life beyond my writing. Kim made me challenge: would you invest in yourself to better understand the feeling of the weight of what at my core was causing me to be unhappy? My answer was yes. 

I made a financial investment in myself and joined the Master Your Mind Retreat with Kim Johnson. A Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach.

Day One of Two

Heading into day one of a two-day and eight-hour digital retreat split evenly, I was anxious. I knew there were things in my life weighing me down. The feelings that I wanted to express were ones I have never really put out into the world. I knew Kim would challenge me. I needed the challenge.

What do you want?

That question would bring an avalanche of triggers and emotions. Was I ready? The first things that came to mind were the following: I want happiness in all aspects of my life, figure out why I keep people at a distance in my life, and most of all, why do I shy away from relationships and human intimacy? These are struggles that have always eluded me.

The Gremlin

After we talked about what we wanted out of the retreat, Kim spoke about an essential part of the weekend that we needed to face. Our inner voice–The Gremlin. what it was was keeping us from the success and satisfaction in our lives. My inner voice has always been loud because I keep people at a distance so that it makes it easy to rationalize why I am, for the most part, going through life on my own. I spend my day alone. I work online, alone. Grad school is online, and I do it alone. My mental health advocacy online, alone. I even do my shopping online, alone. Isolation for me was not only during COVID-19.

The most significant glaring part of my inner voice was the separation of James, the writer, and David the human being. Kim and my fellow retreat members helped me realize that I was using James as a wall to keep people out of David’s life. (I separated my writing life as James from David because it made me a better writer.) I was in awe at the end of the day, one that I was beginning to feel less invisible. It was only day one, and I was already blown away at the challenges Kim was asking me to make.

The most emotional core feeling was that I was not enough. Not enough to be happy. I was not enough to be with someone that loved me. That we only get one chance at true love and that I had been there, and did that once. It was holding me back. Every relationship since my life I compare to this unicorn idea. I felt that I was not worth anyone’s time at a level that allows people into my life. I needed to be alone.

Day Two

What I was learning is that there are no right or wrong answers. Kim is not there to fix me because I have to make the changes. I was broken but that means that those core feelings could be changed.

She is the catalyst that makes you think and challenges the regrets, the guilt, the denial, and what the inner voice is telling you. On day two, I knew I wanted to focus on one thing. What happened in the past made it okay for me to go through life alone and be unhappy as David. That was the challenge, finally letting David into the fold. 

What is great about Kim’s retreat is that she is part of it, not just as a Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach but as a participant. She has all the training at her disposal and it allows her to be a part of the healing process. That was what day two was for me, a chance to begin to heal. I decided to take the challenge: what my running away from happiness was costing me? I opened up in this retreat for the first time about a relationship early on that has defined the reason I feel that being alone is preferable to letting someone into my life.

I cried because I have held this in for so long. I had to face that I was okay with being alone. It hurt to admit that I wanted someone in my life. Friendships beyond the few that make it into the inner circle. The pain of opening up to others outside the retreat that I am not okay with being alone. I read once in a book that “pain demands to be felt,” At that moment, the pain was demanding that I let it into my life because that is where you can decide to make a change. If you never feel, how can you heal?

The retreat members helped me understand the feelings I had shoved deep into a box marked “never open.” The homework before was answering questions that led to my Energy Leadership Report. I learned with my results that I don’t deal with stress well. I learned that I am better than I treat myself most days. I can help others, but my own self-care is left to the wayside. I learned that I am worthy of making changes that are important to me. I became a better human being than when I started the retreat.

The Purpose Statement

I will make a commitment to let go of the things I think I need to control using my writing, to accomplish traveling more, and, in doing so, achieve to begin letting people into David’s life.

Final Thoughts on the Retreat

If you want to stop the feeling of being a burden, alone, quit living with regret, feeling weak in your life, or what is keeping you from being truly happy. Kim’s Master Your Mind Retreat is the place you need to be. It was for me. I don’t often promote something unless it’s important to me because that is how The Bipolar Writer Blog was founded.

When I say that when you invest in yourself with Kim, it is for life because that is how she runs her business. This testimonial is my heart and soul pouring out to those like me that are struggling with something that is keeping you from being happy. You have the right to feel better than you are at this moment and time. I invite you to reach out to Kim to spark this necessary conversation and to begin the inner work.

Always Keep Fighting

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!

Featured Picture: Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

When the Bipolar Writer Believes in Something Special

This Kim Johnson, the Thought Founder of Grounds for Clarity. If you read my blog, you know I promote ideas that mean a great deal to me, and if I believe in something that could help me, I am willing to help a fellow sufferer. In this case, I want to help Kim, a Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach, fill her upcoming seminar this Saturday and Sunday.

Kim Johnson Thought Founder of Grounds for Clarity

This Kim Johnson, the Thought Founder of Grounds for Clarity. If you read my blog, you know I promote ideas that mean a great deal to me. If I believe in something that could help me and you, I am willing share it with a fellow sufferer like me.

Even as good as my life may seem at times we all feel the weight of the world. I have felt burnt out lately. In this case, I want to help Kim, a Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach, fill her upcoming seminar this Saturday and Sunday. I am participant because I believe in what Kim is doing.

“Right now if you are struggling with the whole world weighing on your shoulders? That you can never do things right. Or you feel like a failure?” -Kim.

I know I feel everything that Kim explains in the following video, please take a moment to watch this short video, and perhaps you will reach out to Kim as I did. Watch this seven-minute video.

About This Weekends Seminar

There are very few times when someone comes into your life and guides you to change. Kim has a spirit that wants to help those who right now are struggling. This week, Kim has helped me open up about my recent struggles with feeling burnt out in this life, and this upcoming Master Your Mind: Immersive, Anonymous Digital Retreat is the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to Kim @ groundsforclarity@gmail.com. Please join Kim and me (myself as a part of the group) in this seminar. She is ready to work with you, and there are still slots open.

Always Keep Fighting

James