How My Experiences Changed the Life of Someone Else and Me in the Process

I have wanted to share this experience since November of 2019, but the timing has never been right. Things happen in this life, and the truly amazing things tend to go by the wayside.

This is a story about how my book actually helped someone. I will reference this person as them or they to preserve their identity. This human saw one of my posts about how excited I was about the release with the original publisher of my book, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. They had been a follower but at a distance for about a year. They never commented on my blog post, but they liked the blog posts not only from myself but also from my many contributors. 

From what they told me, for years, they were struggling in silence with their illness. They had decided long ago that they would not share their stories with anyone that were in their lives. Even writing anonymously on a blog like I do here as James Edgar Skye. They wanted to share, but they were scared to do so because of one thing, the stigma. What would other people think?

Now I corresponded with this person through email. Even then, they decided to email me through an anonymous email with a fictitious name, which is not uncommon in the mental illness community. They decided to share their story with me. The first time in years, they reached out to some, me, and it was an enormous responsibility. Still, being someone that a person can reach out to is something I now live for because I love being a mental health advocate.

Photo by Adrià Tormo on Unsplash

I could not believe their story, and what truly got to me was that they read my book, and it was life-changing. Here I was, James Edgar Skye, so open about my mental illness, my suicide attempts, and even my experiences with self-harm.

I wrote my memoir to show people that they can share their stories, and it helped someone. They decided afterward to seek help, something that I was ecstatic about because they were so afraid before. It was a trying experience for them, but in the end, it has been a fantastic experience. They reached out yesterday and gave me an update. After some therapy they reached out to their parents and told them about their mental illness diagnosis. They were understanding, and though they did not fully understand, she gave them my book. It helped them.

The best thing in my life is this blog and what it has done for people.

If I never sell another one of my books, it would suck there is so much that I want my writing to be, and helping people come to grips with their mental illness is the greatest gift I can give. But, if I never sold another book, well, then I helped one person. That is something I will always cherish. With that said, I would love to help more people. I will continue to work towards that goal by getting my book out there into the world. Now that I have self-published my book, I have more control.

I wanted to share this story because it really made my day. There is more to this story, but I am sure you get the idea. Anyway, as always, stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can always purchase my book here, on my author page.

Or visit me on my author website: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me

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Now I See

Yesterday, I received my very first pair of glasses. I didn’t realize how blind I was. I now see everything so differently. So crisp. So clear. It’s insane. I had no idea that I wasn’t seeing things clearly. And it reminded me of myself when I realized something was wrong with my brain.

I have struggled with crippling depressions ever since I can remember. And these depressions are a lot longer than a week or a day. They last from 6 months to 3 years. My most recent depression lasted 3 years and included 6 months of not eating, which resulted in my body nearly shutting down. It included many, many nights of self-harm. And when I finally came out of it, I dove straight into my very first manic episode.

My manic episode lasted for a little over a year. And it took 9 months to figure out that something was wrong with me. During the first 9 months, I was extremely reckless, hyper-sexual, and felt indestructible, all-knowing, and ecstatic. I didn’t need sleep because I was fueled up on manic energy. I was creating art, music, books, and I wasn’t going to stop just to sleep. In order to stay awake when I did get tired, I turned to drugs, which is COMPLETELY out of character for me. The mania caused me to lose my appetite, so I lost a lot of weight again, and the drug use just made it worse. I overdosed 6 months into my mania (didn’t tell anybody, though). During the next 3 months, I was desperate for money and I was still hyper-sexual, so I began taking money for sex. This is also COMPLETELY out of character for me. It was after I got roofied that I realized something had to be terribly wrong with me.

I went to my PCP, who said it sounded like I had bipolar disorder. However, they weren’t equipped to handle mental illnesses, and asked me repeatedly to go to a psychiatrist. I put it off because I was feeling great (still manic). I also didn’t want to admit I had a mental illness. It didn’t take long before I tripped and fell face-first into another depression. This one was intense, and lasted 3 months. By the end of the 3 months, I was experiencing depression and mania at the same time.

I became extremely reckless with men again, and I was hallucinating a terrifying black demon. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I couldn’t even go into my bedroom; I was so afraid. The only way to get the demon to go away was to cut myself. So I started etching little red ditches in my thighs every time it happened. I begged for help. I went to the hospital and begged to be admitted to the psych ward. They even saw my thighs. They wouldn’t take me because they said I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. I never felt more invisible and helpless in my life.

A week later, I called my boss and told them what was happening to me. She has bipolar disorder, too, so she immediately called 911 and asked them to do a wellness check on me. Instead of coming to my house, they called me and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet. I wanted to say good-bye to my daughter (who I sent to my mom’s because I knew I wasn’t safe). So I told them I was fine. Thankfully, my cousin decided to call them again, so then they actually came to my door. It was just in time, because I was just trying to cut a path in my arm that was deep enough to bleed out. They saw my arm and said if I didn’t come with them, they would 302 me (give me no choice). I said PLEASE take me, I’ve only been trying to go for a month. So, I finally got the help I needed, and it was 2.5 years ago. I’ll write about my stay in the psych ward another time.

My whole point is that sometimes you don’t realize how blind you are to your situation, actions, behaviors, etc until something is put in front of your eyes to make you see it. For me, being raped opened my eyes. And then my brand new glasses made my vision clear, for real. 😉 The important thing is to make sure that once you see your issues, you get the right help for them. And then do the research so that you can be self-aware and catch episodes before they have a chance to spin out of control, which we all know happens very quickly.

How Publishing my Memoir Changed Everything

For those that don’t know, in November, my non-fiction book The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir was officially published and is now on Amazon (I will link at the end of the post.) To finally call myself a published author, was the most fantastic thing that I have achieved on this mental illness journey.

I have been lucky since my last suicide attempt. I got my bachelor’s degree, and I am working on my master’s. I started this fantastic blog. The biggest goal of my life was becoming an author. Now that I am published, I feel like things are truly falling into place in my life, and it feels incredible.

Now I feel like the other projects I am working on can finally move forward. The most pressing being my fantasy fiction novel and my novella, which will be the next two projects that I will be working on as both are in the stage of editing. I have so many ideas to take into 2020. I owe a lot of it to the people on this blog, both as contributors and followers.

Things are good for The Bipolar Writer, and we can only go up from here. I am a published author!!

Always Keep Fighting

James

P.S. If you have time, please purchase my book. You can find it on Amazon by looking up my pen name James Edgar Skye. The name of the book is The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. It is available in print and Kindle edition. Thank you for your support. I will also link my Amazon page below.

https://www.amazon.com/author/jamesedgarskye

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Leading by Example

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It was pointed out to me recently that this blog runs best when I am active as a writer and participant. Lead by example, and there is some truth to that statement.

I will admit that over the last few months with my novel writing, my graduate work, my freelance work, and getting my memoir published took up all my time. I thought that this blog was functioning well enough that I could take a step back, and it worked for a while. Still, over November 2019, we had the lowest number of articles published on this blog, nine. Even in this blog’s infancy, the first full month of this blog saw twenty-three articles written by me.

This blog, when it was in its highest peak, turned out eighty articles in a single month and saw an average of sixty articles a month. I would write a few blog posts a week myself, and of course, my fantastic ensemble of contributor writers added so much depth in the area of mental health advocacy and sharing mental illness stories.

My point is things have to change, and it starts with me. I want to end the decade for the Bipolar Writer Collaborative Blog to end on a high note and begin the new year and the new decade on the right note. I will be making an effort to write at least two blog posts a week. There are so many topics that need to be talked about again.

For my current contributors I would challenge each and every one of you to share an update or a new blog post that talks about the new challenges or even old challenges surrounding your mental illness/mental health. Let’s continue to do what we all set out to do on this blog, end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

For my current contributors, I would challenge each and every one of you to share an update or a new blog post that talks about the unique challenges or even old challenges surrounding your mental illness/mental health. Let’s continue to do what we all set out to do on this blog, end the stigma surrounding mental illness. This blog is not just my legacy, but also yours.

Image by Elias Sch. from Pixabay

The other part of this blog post is an open invitation to new contributors that want to add their voice to this blog. If you want to be a part of this fantastic and safe place for mental illness/mental health advocacy, then please contact me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com. I am open to allowing an increase of new vices and ideas. One thing I have learned on this journey is that everyone has a story.

This month I will be updating my followers on some new and exciting projects for 2020 that includes a new book idea and a podcast. With that said, always remember to stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

P.S. If you have time, please purchase my book. You can find it on Amazon by looking up my pen name James Edgar Skye. The name of the book is The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. It is available in print and Kindle edition. Thank you for your support. I will also link my Amazon page below.

https://www.amazon.com/author/jamesedgarskye

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What is Next for The Bipolar Writer

Photo by Sean Kowal on Unsplash

I got the final concept of the cover of The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, and it looks fantastic.

For those that don’t know, I have been working over the last two years to become a published author. I am about to achieve my dream! Which feels amazing!

I have always wanted to do more outside of my writing. This year I have written a 210K fantasy fiction novel that is in the second round of editing. I also wrote a 35K novella that I am self-publishing to give as a tier on my Patreon. My dream would be to write full-time and maybe teach once I finish my master’s program if I decide not to go for my Ph.D., which is a possibility.

I don’t want my time as a mental health advocate to stop at just my memoir or even this blog. I have been looking at expanding my advocacy with a podcast. I still have to deal with my issues with my panic disorder and social anxiety, but it is possible.

The other idea that I have comes from this blog. I, for a while, was writing the stories of others and sharing them on this blog. I was thinking of a new book idea and sharing the stories of those who can’t write their thoughts and experiences. I have experience writing my memoir, and I loved sharing the stories of others. I have inquired with a few of my past interviewees, and they think the idea is a good idea.

I wanted to know your thoughts on this idea? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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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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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. While it’s great there’s a month dedicated to this, it should be 365-day year awareness.

I understand suicide can be a touchy subject especially for those who have struggled with it themselves or have lost a loved one to it.

I wanted to share my personal story with suicide because that was something I struggled with for a long time.

I was 14 years old when I started getting suicidal thoughts. I was in high school and was completely miserable. I was living in an abusive household suffering abuse from my mom on a daily basis. It was physical, verbal, & psychological abuse. Living in such a toxic environment and experiencing that abuse on a regular basis caused me to go into a severe depression.

I would spend hours locked in my room crying myself to sleep. I would always question God asking him “why me?”

“Why was this happening to me?”

“Why did I have to get a mom who treated me so terribly?”

It wasn’t much longer when I started to get suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

My mom told me so many lies on a regular basis that it was hard for me to not believe them. She convinced me I was a burden to others & that I shouldn’t be on this earth. She told me things that no child or person should ever here. She told me she wished I were never born and that she wished she had me aborted when she had the chance. These are things I wish I could say never happened, but those were all lies she told me.

My thoughts started to become more negative and darker as the days went on. I started to lose feelings of happiness and forgot what happiness felt like. I started to feel numb & empty on the inside not feeling any emotions but sadness. I started to cope with self-harm when I was 14 years old. I believed it was the only way for me to feel something besides emptiness & sadness so I turned to self-harm.

That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to creep in and became more frequent. I started to believe the lies my mom and my depression told me. I believed I was a burden to others and that the world would be a better place without me in it. I wanted out of the world so bad that I came up with a plan when I was 15 years old to end my life. I had been prescribed pain medication from a dentist visit when I had to get a root canal and researched that medication and found that if I took all of the pills in the bottle I could never wake up again. That was my plan.

It was like playing tug o war in my mind though, there was that part of me that believed I was a burden and that I should just leave the world now, but there was another part of me that wanted to keep fighting. It told me to keep pushing through that those negative thoughts were lies and I could beat them.

I confided in my high school’s guidance counselor and he helped me push through the suicidal thoughts. I didn’t seek out treatment for my depression at the time even though I should have. Throughout high school I still struggled with depression and being active in sports helped me manage it.

After high school and when I went away to University the suicidal thoughts started to creep in again. I thought it was just homesickness since I was going to school on the other side of the country, but it was much deeper than that for me.

It was the summer of 2014 when I was home from University that I sought out treatment for my depression. I struggled with an alcohol addiction and one day when I had way too much to drink I couldn’t control the suicidal thoughts. I knew that if I didn’t seek out help that night, I would have harmed myself and may not be alive today. I had my best friend’s boyfriend drive me to the mental hospital and drop me off. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this and I told him yes I knew if I didn’t get help I was only going to get worse.

I spent three days in the crisis unit of the mental hospital. I was put on Zoloft and anxiety medication that helped ease my anxiety while I was there. I wish I could say going on Zoloft helped with my depression, but it actually made things worse for me. At the time I was diagnosed with depression and didn’t know I had bipolar disorder. When I was on Zoloft I felt like a zombie I was so out of it and numb, I hated it. I didn’t realize that for those who have bipolar disorder, anti-depressants could cause you to go into mania, which it did for me.

When I was back at University that semester I was a wreck. I was in and out of depressive episodes along with being in manic episodes. My alcohol problem was out of control and my behavior was reckless. I was failing all of my classes and was drinking on a daily basis. I started to struggle with self-harm again and the suicidal thoughts again. I knew that if I didn’t leave University and get myself out of that environment things were only going to get worse for me. That’s when I withdrew from University and moved back home to Florida.

I wish I could say everything got better for me when I got back home to Florida, but my depression grew worse. The psychiatrist I was seeing was no help at all to me and didn’t listen to my problems. He didn’t care to give me a proper psych evaluation and just wrote me a script for the next anti-depressant out there. I continued to struggle with self-harm and battled the suicidal thoughts daily.

I was empty & numb living in an endless cycle of my depression.

It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when I finally found a psychiatrist who gave me a proper psych evaluation and diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. Getting on the proper medication and changing my lifestyle to healthier habits, put an end to the suicidal thoughts. It was like the fog had finally been lifted and I could see clearly again. I started to see a therapist for a few months as well that helped me work through some of the issues from my past.

I’m happy to say that I am stable now and have not harmed myself in over three years now. I still find myself going into depressive episodes every now and then and will catch the suicidal thoughts creeping into my mind. I’ve become a lot stronger than I was three years ago and can fight off the thoughts much better than before.

I know living with a mental illness will be a life long battle for me. I’ve spent over ten years now fighting the demons and while it can be exhausting, I know I will survive the fight.

For those of you that have experienced something similar or going through a tough time please never hesitate to seek out help. There are so many resources available out there today and remember you are not a burden to others. Your life matters and you are never alone in this fight.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Realizing my Dream – The Bipolar Writer Memoir

It feels strange to be so close to publishing my memoir which is the culmination of almost two years of work.

From the idea to now having the right publisher, to going through the editing process has been an amazing experience one that, as a writer, I really needed.

I needed to write this memoir. It was always there, the idea, and my other writing projects since have been successful because I finally got to the point where I have a publisher. Now, project ideas and completing projects (my 200k word fantasy fiction novel is at its first draft, and I am close to self-publishing my novella) have made a stressful year at least one where I am completing my goals.

I have not really taken a step back and realized that life is not so bad, that despite my mental illnesses I have done great things that will continue to help me not just continue this road to recovery but make me feel good–something missing in my life of late.

I am close to realizing my dream of being a published author, and I should take stock in that feeling and help it drive the next few weeks of my life. No matter how things get bad, things can always get better. I am living proof of that, and today I will say that life is not all bad. There is light in my life in all the darkness.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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A Thank You to Those Who Became Patrons

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It has been a long process trying to get people to become Patreons, I don’t have significant things yet to add to my tiers and while I am offering some great things it has not produced as I would have liked so far. Still, I have six people that have become Patrons of my work, and that means the world to me!

One of the things that come with every tier is a special shoutout here on my blog. So a special Thank you to the following people for joining me on my writing journey:

  1. Connie
  2. Hayley
  3. Katrina
  4. Kevin
  5. Neal
  6. David

Always Keep Fighting

James

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That Time I Almost Went to Disneyland

Growing up, my family never went on any vacations. One year when I was eight, we traveled to Tennessee for a family reunion. I didn’t know anyone on that side of the family and never made friends quickly anyway. I don’t remember any other time we traveled somewhere that didn’t involve moving. We lived in about six or eight different states before I turned six-years-old. We were always moving to a new place. My father worked for interstates as an electrician and we traveled to where he would work. We settled in Oklahoma and stayed for several years.

I thought my childhood was normal. As I got older, I repressed most of my trauma. Any memories I did have, I didn’t think were that bad. I thought everyone lived through things like that. I looked at photos a lot as a child. I’d see pictures of myself as a baby or toddler and never remembered anything from that time. Most people don’t remember being a baby. I saw pictures from before I was born. These were interesting because it was life prehistory. A time before life. More often than not, my family had to tell me who was in the photos.

One photo from the summer of 1986, the year I was born, showed two little girls standing in between their two parents. The mother was pregnant. The photo looked faded and old in the standard four by six size. They were my two older sisters and parents at Disneyland. There were other photos of the girls on various rides like the teacups. The rumor is they no longer have the teacups ride. At the time, the family lived in Southern California and would for another two years. In those first two years of my life, the family never went back to Disneyland.

I went through grade school hearing other kids talk about their time at Disneyland. I would joke and say I’d never been, but I had the food. They’d look at me in confusion. I would explain my mother was pregnant with me when the family went. They would nod and look awkward until the subject changed. I grew older and older sharing this same story. People would become enraged shouting how they didn’t understand how I had never been to the happiest place on Earth. Before now I don’t think I could have comprehended what happy meant.

I have ridden rollercoasters where they take your photo. My picture would show me grimacing. I didn’t think the rides were as exciting as everyone else. The rides which pushed the limits are the only ones I find exciting. The only rides I actually smiled in the photo. I can think of two. No more. As a kid, I don’t think I would have appreciated Disneyland for what it had to offer. I’m not sure if I will now. It’s rare to find someone in their 30s who hasn’t been to Disneyland. The closest I’ve found is someone was 25 or 26 when they first went.

I’m not saying my family stopped going on vacations after I was born because of me, but I am saying my childhood was not great and enjoying things can be difficult. I’m not sure when I’ll finally get to visit this magical place. Part of me wants to and another part cares less and less each year. I think I will go one day and it’s possible I’ll go alone. Just so I can say I did it. But I think the point of a place like that is to enjoy it with people you love. That’s the part I’m still working on.

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