Stabilizing

It has been a little shy of two weeks since beginning my mood stabilizer. To add this and wean off of Buspirone has been nothing short of the rollercoaster I imagined and then some. Between feelings of anger for things out of my control, to becoming used to feeling a drive to get up through depressive episodes, it has been an interesting process to say the least.

If you remember from my last post, Stabilize, you may remember me discussing the side effects including dizziness and lethargy. I am very happy to report that those side effects did in fact make their way out of my life. I am currently taking fifty milligrams of Topiramate daily along with my Lexapro and Welbutrin and although I have said this in the past, I feel as though this must be how it feels to be “normal”. However normality is very similar to beauty: it is in the eye of the beholder. No matter who you are or what your mental state is, you will always have good and bad days. The difference in my opinion is when your days control your life to the point that you can’t actually live in the way you are supposed to.

I have noticed that small remarks or comments that used to ruin my entire day do not seem to dictate my mood anymore. I continue to deal with frustration, but it does not stop me from finishing tasks. Every day it becomes easier to wake up and get dressed. Every day it becomes easier to prioritize. Every day is not perfect by any means, but it is one step closer to a better version of myself. There are also several things I have learned about controlling my surroundings to maintain a stable mood.

I am in no way monetized, so this is not a plug but just simply the streaming service I use. I decided to try something different and searched for relaxing music on Pandora. As it turns out, there is a wide variety of genres from nature sounds, to spa music, to classical music, and many more all within their own station. I am usually the most stressed when I am work, so I turned it on and it made a huge difference in my day! I felt level-headed and remained calm in situations that would have normally sent me spiraling. After trying this, I highly recommend it to anyone trying to remain calm or combat anxiety, depression, or anger. Even if you are younger, you may be able to find relaxing EDM online by groups like ODEZA or Lindsey Stirling.

This is a fairly short post, but this is all tied together as I am: a work in progress. I honestly thought that the dizziness was going to get the best of me while stabilizing, but in the end it seems to have proven to be well worth the struggle. As the weeks go on I will continue to write about this experience as well as others, engage with you over various topics to reach out to the mental health community and gather your opinions on things, and work on some poetry between both blogs as well. Thank you so much for your time and please take time to take care of yourself today!

Depression Survival Tools and Tricks, Part II

I am glad to share with you today, 5 more helps for enduring severe depression.  These are things I learned during my deepest and darkest depression–the hardest thing I’ve had to endure so far in my life.

I have learned that small changes, practiced consistently can reap large dividends.  This has been my experience.  Though simple, I hope you will find these helpful.

Have a routine.  My mind felt so mixed up when I was in the worst of my depression.  Extreme emotional pain, and darkness made it difficult for me to function, but I had children to care for and somehow I also had to make sure that I cared for myself.

I soon learned that having a routine for my daily activities had a calming effect on me.  Prior to learning this, I felt almost constantly frantic on top of the depression, because I felt like I had so much to do and I couldn’t make heads or tails of it all.  So I did, roughly, the same sequence of events each day.  I would try to focus only on what I was doing, to prevent my thoughts from going wild, and me getting overwhelmed with all of my daily tasks. A key part of this routine was time spent doing activities that calmed my mind.  This is an essential component.  I encourage you to try it.  I still find calmness in keeping a daily routine.

Know your needs.  Having severe depression forced me to get to know myself in a way I never had before.  I quickly learned what activities and circumstances increased my pain and what alleviated it.  I had to really be sensitive to my own thoughts and feelings in order to learn this.  This was a challenge at first but I can say now that it is one of my greatest strengths.

In the beginning, I realized that I had a bad habit of ignoring my own thoughts and feelings as they pertained to my needs.  If I was tired, I would keep going.  If I didn’t like a situation, I would forget my feelings, if it meant it would make someone else more comfortable.  But this kind of self-neglect is not consistent with the kind of self-care and love needed to heal through depression.  So I learned to really listen to my own inner voice and act on what I felt.

Here’s what I learned, as I got to know my self and my needs:  I am an introvert.  I need a lot of quiet time to unwind.  I love to read.  I need time to reflect and ponder on ideas I’m learning about.  I get tired out by social situations and need to recharge afterward by being alone.  I need a more open schedule, with lots of down time to stay well.  These are all things I had no clue about, until I had to live through this period of severe depression.

So, take time to get to know you.  Listen to your inner voice and act on it.  Although I am still working on this, I have come a long way and it was been a key force in helping me get through my depression.  Give yourself what you need.

Be open about your struggle.  I acknowledge that it is usually a process of time before one feels like they can get to this point of sharing.  It took me years before I openly began to talk about this with others, but I can’t say enough how much this has helped me.

If you consider how many thousands of people suffer with mental illness in the world, it is very likely that there are those in your acquaintance who are intimately familiar with the struggle.  When I began to share, I learned how many of my friends had suffered at one time or another with mental illness.  I learned that I was not alone.

I have been so grateful to have friends approach me to talk about their struggles because they knew I was safe to talk to.  They knew that I had struggled and would understand.  This has meant the world to me.

Now I am openly sharing the darkest and scariest moments of my history for all the world to see and even posted it on facebook for all to read.  I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t scare me, because it does.  But I want to be a voice of hope and an active part in ending the stigma associated with mental illness, so I push past my fear and let the chips fall where they may.

You may not be here, yet.  And that is ok.  But maybe consider sharing with a trusted friend what you are going through.  Sharing can help us and others realize that we are not alone.

Find happiness and joy in moments.  I naively used to think that I should feel happy and ready to take on the world all the time.  This is a false idea.  Life is only complete with ups and downs–you can’t have one without the other.  I learned a better way to approach life when I was wading through deep depression and that is this: Happiness and joy are found in moments.  To me this means that I can stop expecting to feel good all the time and I can stop trying to make that happen.

Instead, I can create and enjoy moments that make me happy.  For me, this is time with my children–where we are talking or reading a book or enjoying a family event.  This is also moments I have alone, or time in the beauties of nature.  This is time with my husband when we don’t have to stress about anything.  When my depression was really bad, this took a lot of effort and focus.  I had to really try and relax and find a moment that I could enjoy.  It wasn’t even really that enjoyable at the time.  However, it helped me to recognize my need to find those moments and enjoy them.  I need to create these moments in my life.  I need to actively do this, because otherwise life starts to get really mundane and dull and this can swiftly start things spiraling back down into depression.

So, instead of wishing for the end of depression and return of happiness, find or create a moment that will help you feel that.  Make it a habit of your life to do this and you will start to find greater happiness in life.

Accept the present reality.  This is a hard one.  We all want to get better!  I remember wanting this so badly!  No one wants to live with mental illness.  It is not a desirable situation.  I really was hoping for a quick fix, or even a quicker fix would have been nice.  But that was not to be for me.  What happened was a very long, desperate struggle.

On top of my depression symptoms I was discouraged, I was struggling with feeling hopeless.  I was unhappy about my situation and feeling sorry for myself.  I couldn’t control my depression, but I could certainly control feeling sorry for myself and how I was wishing my circumstances away.  I finally got to a point where I started to ask myself, “What if I feel this way for the rest of my life?”  I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life making myself miserable on top of being depressed.  So I made a decision that I was going to try my best to be happy, in spite of the hand that I had been dealt.

I didn’t feel happy in the traditional sense, but I had peace.  I accepted that this is where I was and maybe where I would be for a really long time.  I had to make the best of it.  Depression was still intense and still very difficult, but I had peace.  I found joy in moments and little by little things got better.

What about you? What have you learned from having mental illness?  What advice would you give to someone else who is struggling?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Escaping the Stigma

Even to those of us who don’t live with a mental illness, it’s no secret that the history of mental health is extremely complex and somewhat tragic. While it’s true that we’ve made great strides in that area and the general public no longer has a pearl clutching response to talking about it, the stigma surrounding mental illness is persistent and can still be very harmful to our society and those that do struggle with these issues.

To understand the modern stigmas that plague our society regarding mental health, it’s important to consider the history of dealing with mental health. For instance, depression, which most people experience at some point in their lives is one illness with a significant history of stigma surrounding it. This illness, commonly referred to throughout history as “melancholia”, has been recognized and recounted as far back as ancient Mesopotamia, but for most of that time was considered a result of demonic possession and was commonly “treated” with execution. The same can be said of those who suffered with bipolar disorder, which was generally referred to as “mania” and lumped in with depression as a sign of demonic possession.

Even after people began exploring and trying to understand mental illness, there was a long road of misdiagnosis and “treatment” options that ranged from silly to downright abhorrent. As late as the 1950s, women were often misdiagnosed with “hysteria” for a variety of symptoms including faintness, nervousness, extreme sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of food or sexual appetite, and (you might want to sit down for this one) “Tendency to cause trouble”. Yes, you read that correctly. Women were “treated” and even at times INSTITUTIONALIZED for a plethora of things that one might experience during a particularly infuriating menstrual cycle. It’s baffling.

What passed for treatment (and I use that term VERY loosely) throughout history was similarly mind-boggling. We’ve already established that straight-up murder was a common solution to mental illness, but the crazy train doesn’t stop there. Other common practices meant to address mental illness throughout history included trephination (a quaint term referring to a process in which someone would REMOVE A CHUNK OF YOUR SKULL), bloodletting and purging, isolation and asylums, insulin coma therapy, metrazol therapy, and lobotomies. If you’re unfamiliar with any of those practices, I encourage you to look them up if you want to feel all of the heeby jeebies at once.

Thankfully, we’ve finally progressed to a point in our society where we have a more solid understanding of mental illness and it’s many forms and causes, and people are no longer being murdered for having too many ghosts in their blood, but that’s a whole lot of ridiculous to get over and our society is still suffering as a result. It’s not surprising based on the early and continuous reactions to mental illnesses that it developed a sort of taboo. I’d definitely be less inclined to talk about my mental state if it meant risking someone jabbing around in my brain and/or throwing me into a bible fire to scare away the demons. But, the idea that mental health shouldn’t be discussed is damaging to our understanding of mental illness and the people who suffer from it.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are approximately 40,000 deaths by suicide each year, just in America. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 4 people worldwide will be affected by mental or neurological disorders as some point in their lives and that around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, making mental illness one of the leading causes of ill-health and disability across the globe. With such staggering statistics and so many people dealing with mental illness, it’s almost unbelievable that there could still be a stigma attached to mental illness, or that people would be reluctant to talk about it. However, even with more resources and readily available treatment than any other point in history, nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional.

Many of us still feel embarrassed to admit that we are struggling. We still deal with the social stigma and personally imposed stigmas, because we’ve been ingrained throughout history with the notion that mental illness is wrong, or taboo, or evil and it’s still hurting us. As far as we’ve come in understanding and treating mental illness, we clearly still have hurdles that we must overcome.

We won’t be able to change the climate of the mental health conversation overnight, but if we commit to being open and honest with each other and advocate for those who don’t yet know how to advocate for themselves, we can change the world and save lives.

**If you’re struggling with mental illness and need help, please seek out local resources and see a health professional. They can help diagnose and establish a treatment plan for you.

If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 

Shhh… That is Stigma

With all the illnesses in the world to pick from I had to get mental illness. I had to get the only kind of illness that condemns you and destroys you for having it. If mental illness does not kill you on its own the stigma related to its name will eventually destroy you.

I am hurt and deeply saddened today for many reasons but one of them is because my own mother has been slowly killing me for twenty-five years because of stigma. My entire life my mother only loved me if I was good and perfect. There was no unconditional love and if she had it she did not know how to show it.

When I was diagnosed with mental illness twenty five years ago that was the day my mother’s daughter died. I was dead in her eyes. She never saw me the same again. I saw that look of disgust and pity in here eyes each time she looked at me. I felt the pain I caused her every time I spoke to her. She could never hide it and I could not forget it even though I tried desperately to. I always tried to make my mom happy and love me. Everyone wants their own mother to love them but mine did not have it in her to even try anymore.

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Her views of mental illness have always been archaic. She was old school. Mental illness was something to laugh at and be ashamed of and fear. This is what her oldest daughter had become.

My mother’s way of dealing with my mental illness was to not deal with it at all. Maybe if she pretended like it was not real and I was not real, we would both go away. Just don’t think about it and it will all go away.

The problem with that was that I was very real and I did not go away and neither did my mental illness. While she was pretending my mental illness was not real my mental illness became more severe and real nearly killing me many times. My mother continued to stay away and pretend. It hurt her too much. My mental illness hurt me too much too, but I could not leave the “too much” as I was the “too much.”

My mother is a very smart woman, but she chose not to educate herself about my bipolar disorder . Don’t talk about it. She said things like, “Nobody talk about Suzie’s mental illness. Shhhh… Don’t say anything. Don’t bring it up. Shhh…”

Let me tell you what shhhhh… does.

Shhh… belittles.

Shhhh…. shames.

Shhh… humiliates.

Shhh… detroys.

Shhh… makes you feel like you don’t matter.

Shhh… makes you feel like NO ON CARES.

Shhh… makes you feel like you aren’t worthy of anyone’s words, care or concern.

Shhhh… slowly kills.

The other day my mother complained to me about how awful it was that none of her children came to her Ovarian cancer meetings. I visited my mother in the hospital many times and sent her beautiful flowers and many cards. I painfully reminded her that for 25 years she never once came to my mental illness family meetings. She never once visited me in the hospital even when I was near death. She never once bought me flowers. I am her daughter but she couldn’t find it in her heart to care enough to even visit me in the hospital. She barely acknowledged the illness that is and has been killing me for years.

I thought after 25 years she was better, but I was recently reminded how I was sadly mistaken. Yesterday over the telephone my mother was making fun of my “crazy” (great) Aunt Lilly. Great Aunt Lilly was never spoken about and my mother only told me about her five years ago. That was how shaming it was to have an Aunt Lilly in our family. She was the relative you held your index finger up to the center of your lips and said shhhh… That was how Aunt Lilly was referred to. Her family, my family, put her in a psychiatric hospital (Insane Asylum) and threw away the key. My poor beautiful Aunt Lilly never got back out. She never got to go home and died in the Insane Asylum.

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I am the “crazy” Aunt Lilly in our family today. They didn’t lock me up in the Psychiatric Hospital, but maybe only because they couldn’t today. Mental illness stigma has decreased and treatment of people with mental illness is better—at least that much better.

My family still calls my beautiful Aunt Lilly “crazy” Aunt Lilly and laugh about it. It breaks my heart. Don’t they understand? Don’t they care?

Why can”t my mother and the rest of my family understand that when they laugh about “crazy” Aunt Lilly they are laughing at me?

Why don’t people understand that when they make fun of people with mental illness they are making fun every person with mental illness?

Will I be known as “crazy” Aunt Sue? In my family, I think so. I am trying to help them understand and I keep trying, but my family has a very hard surface to break.

Will stigma only end after the older generation dies. Maybe.

I believe the younger generation will be much better about treating people with mental illness wisely and compassionately. We need to end mental illness stigma now, so we do not have to wait another generation for it to improve.

We need to end mental illness stigma now, so we do not have anymore “crazy” Aunt Lilly conversations in this lifetime.

Start normalizing the dialogues about mental illness.

Let mental illness become part of a “normal” every day conversation. Mental illness is  much more “normal” than you realize.

~written by Susan Walz


Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | myloudbipolarwhispers.com | All Rights Reserved

Contributor Writer’s for The Bipolar Writer Blog

I have been genuinely overwhelmed by the mental health community this month in the right way. The outpour of people willing to share a piece of their own writing that talks about mental illness on their own blog is one thing, but to allow someone like me into their lives and share pieces of their wisdom is another thing.

Mental Health Awareness month is about raising awareness about mental illness and what it means to live this life. It is never easy to share our mental health experiences. It took a lot to get to the point where I could share my most inner thoughts about my illness.

That takes me to contributor writers. It is not the first time I have offered this for The Bipolar Writer blog. So far, the people that have been a part of my blog beyond being guest writers have been a fantastic experience. What is a contributor writer? This is how it is described on WordPress.

Contributor – has no publishing or uploading capability, but can write and edit their own posts until they are published.

What this means is I add you as a blogger that has limited access to my blog. You write the posts, and you choose pictures from the library connected to my blog. I publish the pieces. As long as you keep the blog posts about mental illness topics, it is a natural process. The blog posts are your own connection to your blog. The comments go to you, not to me.

If you want to be a part of my blog, please email me at jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Space is limited as I only take on a certain amount of contributor writers. A moved out some contributors that no longer contribute which has made more room.

James

P.S. If you can please contribute to blog. All earned money goes to publishing my memoir. I will update the latest on my memoir later this week.

Photo Credit:unsplash-logorawpixel

Stigma – A Skewed Perception

Many people have a skewed perception of what mental illness is. This skewed perception comes from people making generalized and uneducated statements about mental illness. Negative terms are used to describe or make fun of people with mental illness. People use mental illness related terms to describe someone or something in a negative and belittling way. For example, “She is so bipolar.” This demeans mental illness and the people who live with it. This is stigma.

Stigma is a mark of disgrace and shame associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Stigma causes people who live with a mental illness to be biased, shamed and  discriminated against for an illness they never wanted to have. Mental illness has nothing to do with a person’s character, or determination, yet people are blamed for getting the illness and not being able to make it go away.

Getting a  mental illness diagnosis is forever life changing. Living with a mental illness is daunting and debilitating. Learning to cope with the symptoms of mental illness become a life-long struggle. Facing the stigma related to mental illness is degrading and instills shame and fear hindering many people’s wellness and treatment.

Imagine finding out you have a chronic illness. Besides just having to live with the struggles and pain of having a severe illness you also have to face the daily stigma associated with the name of your illness. You are scrutinized, belittled, discriminated and shamed for the type of illness you have. My ex-husband and his wife called me names repeatedly telling me I was a horrible mother, a loser and I was crazy (and worse things) just because of the name of my illness.

They tried to take my children away from me for over thirteen years until my children turned eighteen. I went to court repeatedly to fight my ex-husband for custody because of the name of my illness. I had to spend money I didn’t have on court fees just because of the name of my illness. I had to prove I was a better mother than most just because of the name of my illness. As hard as they tried they never won. They lost every time, but I had to live with their cruelty, nastiness and the trauma of going to court to defend myself and the illness I have only because of the name of my illness.

The name of my primary mental illness is bipolar 1 disorder and I also live with generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD. I must live with the stigma related to the fact that I am a numerous suicide attempt survivor. As debilitating as my mental illnesses are and have been, stigma became another destructive illness I had to face and live with every day and continue to live with today.

I was fired from a special education teaching position and am no longer able to teach in the area I live because of the name of my illness. I won a wrongful termination suit and the school attorney admitted that school districts do not want teachers who have severe mental illness in their schools because parents do not want teachers teaching their children who have a mental illness. The money I won was only a band-aide because the humiliation, shame, pain and the damage was already done.

Cut stigma out of our lives.

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Stigma needs to stop yesterday. We can help end stigma by educating others. One way to educate others is by telling our stories. There is a ripple effect that occurs after one person shares their story. One person shares and then another person says #Icantoo. They share too and it continues until everyone is sharing their stories about  mental illness and soon conversations about mental illness become the norm and accepted as a good dialog and conversation.  Soon mental illness will not need to be feared or shamed.

The ripple effect will turn into waves of glory.

I think it is imperative that we aren’t afraid to share our stories. If we have fear and shame of ourselves and our own stories than we become part of the stigma. When we are uncomfortable with our own illness and story, how can we expect others to be comfortable with us. Each time we share our story it becomes easier to tell. Each time we read a story it helps us know we are not alone.

I started my campaign to find ways to get people to share their stories. I even said they did not have to disclose their names because just sharing your story is very freeing. It is a great release to share what you may be afraid to disclose.

We will never end the stigma if we do not stop being part of the stigma. I understand the fear of not disclosing stems from stigma. This has become a vicious cycle that we need to break. Just start out by sharing a little at a time and I promise you it will get easier and will be a very integral part of your recovery.

For those of you that have already shared your stories on my blog, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I greatly appreciate all of you.

I appreciate all of you who are still reading.

We celebrate all of you.

Please join my campaign.

Be a part of the solution to end stigma.

Share your beautiful story and help change lives.

“There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story”

Your story is an account of past events in your life.

Your Glory is something that secures praise,

 worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving,

a distinguished quality or asset,

great beauty and splendor,

magnificence and a height of prosperity or achievement.

“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou

No matter what your story is,

you should be praised and honored for sharing your story,

for surviving the life you live,

and for the amazing person you are.

You need to be celebrated and I want to celebrate you.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

and in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month

I want to celebrate you by sharing your story on my blog.

During the month of May my goal is to share one story per day.

I will share more stories after May as often as I get them.

Please let me know if you are interested.

Here is a link for the directions and suggestions on writing your story.

When we share our stories it’s an opportunity to educate about mental illness, reduce stigma, reduce fear and reduce shame.  It teaches people what it is like to live with a mental illness.

When we share our stories, we show our support of others who may be going through similar struggles. It allows others to see that they are not alone.  We can share advice, suggestions and examples of what helped us the most to achieve recovery. Sharing our stories is very therapeutic for ourselves.

Sharing our stories will help more people feel comfortable about mental illness. It will fire up the conversations about mental health, which will ultimately help end stigma.

By sharing our stories we can be an inspiration to others to never give up. We can be an example of courage, strength, survival, perseverance and resiliency. By sharing our own stories we can help end stigma and save lives.

Let’s celebrate each other.

Please reblog this to get the word out

so we can all share and read more glorious stories.

stigma free

Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | myloudbipolarwhispers.com | All Rights Reserved

Guest Posts on The Bipolar Writer Blog

Guest Blog Posts for Mental Health Awareness Month

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I know its the 11th of March and I should have done this sooner, but I wanted to open up some guest spots on my blog for the rest of the month. What does it mean to guest blog on The Bipolar Writer blog? Well, it’s simple, and here are the required things that I want from my guest bloggers.

  • Original content on any topic of mental health, mental illness, or mental health awareness.
    • You can talk about the stigma of mental illness.
    • Anything related to mental illness will be accepted. It can be a poem, a short story, or simply an article about an mental health topic.
  • Edited and proofread content
  • A link to your blog
  • At least a featured image for the post (but the more pictures you chose makes for a more exciting blog post.
  • (Optional) Name connected to post

It is that simple. I want to stress the importance of proofreading the piece that you submit. I will at times proofread an article given to me as a guest blog, but I am often busy.

If you would like to guest blog merely send all the required information above to my email address @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

I look forward to seeing what my fellow bloggers offer regarding exciting pieces for mental health awareness month.

Let’s fight the stigma surrounding mental illness together!

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: https://www.pituitaryworldnews.org/may-is-mental-health-awareness-month/

Will the Mental Illness Stigma Ever end?

A Conversation About the Mental Illness Stigma

I wanted to open this blog post with this, the stigma surrounding mental illness is real. I see it every day. It is all over the daily news. “This person did this horrible act because he/she was mentally ill.” While this is true in some of the cases, mental illness is not an answer to a question. It is an uncontrollable imbalance in our minds. Those of us who live each day, often hiding behind our disease, it can be hard to have peace because we fear what people would say.

When people say, “Why don’t you get over it. Everyone deals with anxiety and depression every day.” It hurts more than you know.

To some this dialogue is true. Millions in this world suffer from temporary depression or anxiety. The problem, millions more deal with depression and anxiety every day. When people say “get over it” it stems from a dialogue that becomes every day speak. It trivializes the entire mental health community when people say in a glorification manor, “Oh, I am feeling Bipolar today.”

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I don’t know about you, but I have never told people I am feeling Bipolar when I am in the worst parts of my illness. When someone says, “I am Bipolar” but uses it in a general sense, it continues to trivialize. It takes away from the people who struggle with the extreme nature of Bipolar Disorder. It changes the narrative in a wrong way. Then when someone is Bipolar and fighting, they become fearful of saying they are Bipolar. The fear and backlash from people who have normalized the disease.

Not in a million years would I chose to be Bipolar. It sucks. I live every day of my life with a truth no one should live this life. I am one lousy depression cycle away from going down the darkest of paths— suicide. No matter how well I am doing at this moment, until the day I leave this world, suicide will always be a possibility in my life. I live with crippling severe anxiety and insomnia that makes life not worth living— and yet I try and find ways to continue to fight. I tell myself daily “Always Keep Fighting.”

Ending the Stigma Through Education

That is why I am writing my memoir. Sharing my experience is one part of the equation. The other half— is to inspire more people to share their own story. I connect with so many people on a daily basis that tell me they are happy to have at least one person who understands. That it is “so much easier to hide behind the stigma than to face people saying get over it.” I have shared my fellow mental health bloggers many times because it helps show the real side of the many facets of mental illness.

Interview Features – The Series

Trust me. If I could “get over it” in an instant, then I would.

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I envision a world where the mental illness community is this open place where we talk about real life. Mental illness and the stigma can only end with dialogue, empathy in the community, and understanding. We as a community are the most significant voices. I understand, so many of us have a hard time sharing our real lives with those closest to us. It’s easier to be here and talking, but I have found that the most significant thing I give people that love me, is education.

I recently completed a Diversity class for my degree, and in that class, my project focused on mental health stigma related to college minorities. My idea was particular to the project— mental health literacy. In a real-world scenario, I would start with classes for middle school students that focus on identifying mental illness and at the same time explore the connections with Bullying and Mental Health.

I think most roads start with real mental health literacy. As a society mental illness is ever increasing issue that most of the time is swept under the rug. Part of the problem is that many of us in the struggle don’t want to be on the outside of society. So we hide behind the stigma, which only makes things more difficult not only in our own lives but also for those just beginning their journey. So I wanted to share this part of me.

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I write under a pseudonym because it is easier for me to share my story. Even as good and open as I am, I never thought I could write under my real name. I am part of the problem. So I thought why not tell the truth.

My name is David. I am Bipolar. I write under my pen name because it’s easier, but I will no longer hide behind it. I am David. I am James Edgar Skye. I am The Bipolar Writer.

If at this moment all you can do is write under a pseudonym than I understand. If you can do more, that is good. I am no longer going to hide behind J.E. Skye because that name is a part of me. It is me, but my real name is just as important.

I believe the stigma can end. The mental illness community has a real shot at making real noise.

Always Keep Fighting.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoRamy Kabalan

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unsplash-logoRoman Mager

unsplash-logoGuillaume de Germain

What’s Next for The Bipolar Writer?

I keep thinking of ways to explore and expand my blog. I am writing an interview feature this week, but I wonder what is next? My memoir is getting so close to completion, and that is great. I have been thinking a lot about some new collaboration or adding something new. I thought about a mental health podcast. I am not great at public speaking by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like to try something or collaborate with someone.

So, I wanted to ask my fellow bloggers what they think is next for The Bipolar Writer?

On a separate note, I am interested if there are any subjects that my followers would like me to write about for Mental Health Awareness Month? I am working on a piece on another blog this week, but I want to touch on relevant topics— leave your comments and let me know!

You can also email me: JamesEdgarSkye22@gmail.com

I will be writing a new blog post that goes live at 1:30 pm Pacific Time about what I learned in my recent depression cycle.

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Writing Mental Health Interview Features on ​my Blog

The Bipolar Writer Needs a Logo

James

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoAlejandro Escamilla

unsplash-logoMagnus Lindvall

No More Blame, Bias or Shame

I have bipolar disorder. A mental illness one in the same.

The kind of illness that some still whisper its name.

Diagnosed with mental illness you are blamed, biased and shamed.

Given treatments and medications that sometimes make you too tame.

Drugs that change parts of your personality, spirit and game.

It’s time people with mental illness are given praise and acclaim

for their strength and resilience to overcome what they have overcame.

People with mental illness deserve to have their dignity and respect reclaimed.

Mental illness stigma needs to be stopped and renamed.

End the discrimination, bias and shame

for having an illness we never caused or wanted to claim.

I will continue to fight mental illness stigma. This I will always proclaim.

Speaking proudly and loudly. I am not ashamed. My illness is only a name.

I am not bipolar. I have bipolar.

I am not my illness. My illness is only a part of me

and has formed many good traits of me for you to see.

It is my passion and aim

to address and rename

mental illness in a positive beautiful frame

with an educated compassionate domain.

It’s time to burn out the negative hurtful flame

with a positive light associated with its name.

Make a choice

and be a voice

to decrease and stop stigma.

lt would be so very awesome of ya.

~Written by Susan Walz