Unicorns.

In all my time of seeing mental health professionals, I cannot recall any of them simply saying, ” I can help you”. I have had many treatment plans, some successful and some not, but never someone who just came out and said that.

Dawn did. She is my new therapist. And she is a unicorn.

She listened and then explained what she thought was the root of things, a plan to approach it, and why. WHY! I LOVE WHY. Too often people just expect us to sit and follow instructions. We know our bodies and we know our lives. You can’t see us for an hour every so often and tell me that you know what is best for me. Granted, I am a huge proponent for modern medicine and listening to your provider, but sometimes they get it wrong.

I think Dawn is on to something. She has to be, because she is a freakin unicorn. I feel relief honestly. I was worried I was going to go into this and be the one running the show.  I already run the show too often, that’s why I need Dawn. I see a therapist because my mental health doc requires it….I might actually WANT to see her now.

The Zoloft they added to my cocktail has really helped.

I finished my masters degree program last night.

I just wanted to pop on and share my fantastic week with you beautiful people (and it’s only Tuesday!) I will have a lot more free time now that school is over. Hope to write more VERY soon 🙂

The Re-release of “The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir”

I have been working on getting back to this point. I am announcing that once again, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is finally available to buy once again on Amazon!

Working on getting my memoir republished all has been a humbling experience. So many hurdles came with republishing my memoir, but I learned a lot throughout the tribulations of these experiences. It is the same with being Bipolar–it is a learning experience. That is the essence of my book!

I will link to my author page below. If you purchased the first version of this book, you would notice that there is a different cover now. I wanted a fresh start with the cover design. I have put my book on Amazon in print and digital, if you want to purchase my book, please do from my author website page because there is a digital version of the old book still on Amazon. There are some old copies in print too, but those will not be under my name. I hope that the end of the week, the other digital copy from my publisher, finally takes off their edition. It takes time. Please purchase my with the cover above with the raven. I will be setting up some special offers for the re-release on Amazon!

Please purchase my memoir from my author website here!

Always Keep Fighting

James

Bringing Color Back.

If you have followed along, you would know that I have had some pretty big gaps in medication management. Whether it be from my own failure to comply, medications that didn’t work, or just a hard time finding a doctor that stuck; it has sucked. I had been seeing a doctor since I got back from Texas and she was working to find the missing link in my medications. I was feeling so much better after resuming my meds that I was taking before the big blackout where I stopped everything. I still had this edge. This darkness peaking through the cracks that was slowly consuming all the progress I had made. I was cranky and then depressed and then fine. It was just a hint to let me know that something wasn’t right.

Then my doctor quit. She left the practice without a forwarding address. So on to the next.

WOWOWOWOWOW. This guy. He has just painted the color back into my world. He found the combination that worked and just in time. I was making some progress in getting back out into the world when every fiber in my body just wanted to stay home where it is safe, no judgement, no chance of troubles. Then BAM! Stay home because all my fears came true, it isn’t safe out there. So here I am, working from home. I am so blessed to have that still. To not have that taken away from me and further rock my little raft. I think about my people here all the time. I hope that you are all doing well. I would love to have a hang and maybe chat with some people if interested. I need that social connection just as I am sure others do. It is just as crucial as my medication.

Stay strong, keep on keepin on friends.

Asian Culture and The Stigma of Mental Illness

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I am a Hapa–I am Asian mixed with something else.

I am a mixed breed if you will. I am Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, German, and Irish (as far as I know, according to my mom.) One thing I learned before my diagnosis and after is that there was a significant stigma within Asian culture when it comes to mental illness.

My parents were shocked, having never faced something like a mental illness head-on like when my diagnosis became first schizoaffective disorder and then Bipolar One at twenty-two. Even my grandfather, who is full Filipino, never really understood what was going on with me. He tried to understand, but the truth is that in his culture, mental illness is not something you discuss. Even more so, my grandfather, on the other side, I will not say which, never got diagnosed, but given my history and how he was, mental illness was something you deal with in any way. I firmly believe that he might have been Bipolar. Same with others in my family. You pick yourself up and keep going–mental illness be damned.

The unfortunate side effect of what I like to call cultural differences is that it feeds the stigma. I have met so many people from all walks of life, and the stigma is real everywhere. However, in Asian culture, it is generally not talked about because mental illness is not something that is openly talked about in the culture. Many of my fellow followers from Asian countries have reached out asking about how I deal with this, and it was recently it came up again.

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What is comes down to, in my opinion, is that Asian cultures value the family very heavily as a unit. Asian culture emphasizes where each member belongs in the family. It can be a shame to put your family through something like having to deal with a mental illness. Instead, mental illness is swept under the rug by never talking about it, especually in our older generations.

Many Asian cultures are highly religious, and they tend to believe that things like mental illness can be taken away by a simple prayer. Please do not take my words as a slight. I believe in God, but in my experience, prayers are good, but they do not help with the actual issues that come with dealing daily with a mental illness. There is a more deep-seated stigma of shame associated with Asian culture. With that said, I think there is a real change happening in the younger generations, and with anything, it takes time. Above all, we, as individuals within our Asian culture, need to be proactive and educate ourselves.

I had personally dealt with this growing up when my mental illness came up during my teenage years. There was a level of shame, and I knew that even talking about the idea of mental illness was not something that happened. So I never talked about my issues. Ever. Not to my mom, dad, or grandparents. I let it feed into my life. I never sought help until I was downright suicidal and tried to take my life. Even then, it was three years and two more suicides before I was able to admit I had a mental illness. When it stared me in the face, I denied that something was wrong. I don’t want that to happen. Mental health advocates talk about the stigma for a reason because it is real. If you think there is something wrong, never feel like you can’t seek help.

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I want to end this with hope because I am here with a plethora of experience in dealing with this area. It is okay if your parents do not understand that your anxiety and depression are real. Talk to them. My parents eventually understood my illness by educating themselves, and it came with me living this life every day. The ups and downs are a part of the package, and maybe they will understand someday. But you have to work on you.

That is so important in this mental illness life. Self-love first is so important. Never feel alone because I will always be here. Email from the website or go to my home page, where you will find my number and text me. I will even figure out other methods for people to contact me and discuss this topic or any that you want to talk about because I am always here.

With that said, stay strong in these strange times of social isolation and always know there are so many others like yourself.

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!

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Children’s book for mental illness

To turn my back around from COVID – 19driving me up the wall, I decided to pour my time and energy into a project that I have been wanting to start for a long time. Which is to write a children’s book on introducing mental illness with a gentle approach and write a book to parents – from a perspective of a child who struggles with a mental illness.

As a child, I struggled with OCD. I had intrusive sensations of having aluminum foil in my mouth for the longest time, where my parents thought I was making excuses from not wanting to study. I had a hard time focusing as different obsessions would come to my head over the years.

It was masked as my lack of discipline, lack of motivation or at times even attention deficit.

As an adult getting appropriate treatment, studying these disorders in-depth and working alongside young children, I started to feel the sincere need to advocate for the younger ones that can’t eloquently describe what they are feeling, or going through.

If there is a “no child left behind” for school, I want to make sure no child is left behind to get adequate mental (and physical) health care.

When I first got into the field, I never thought of working with young children.

While I always loved working with children in an informal setting, I just couldn’t see myself working with the little ones, as I would get impatient and frustrated. But in the past year – the more I engage in working with the little ones, I feel more drawn to advocate on behalf of their needs if they need the support.

I don’t want to rule out any population/setting out of my career, but the general flow seems to be going in a direction that I never expected before.

While I have some ideas on how to approach this, I am looking for ideas and suggestions from my audience.

Any suggestions? Ideas?

A Chapter About the Stigma and Isolation From my Memoir

In these unprecedented times of social isolation, I wanted to share my thoughts from my memoir. Yesterday, I offered suggestions about what you can do while the world is heading into a “shelter in place” type of society, and isolation will be a friend of ours. Today I wanted to share a chapter that can be helpful. You can always find my memoir on Amazon here. This chapter talks about the stigma surrounding mental illness but it also discisses more towards the end isolation.

Chapter Nine: The Stigma. What is it?

I MUST PREFACE THAT MY EXPERIENCE is not professional, I am not a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. What I write here is what I personally have learned and experienced when it comes to the stigma of mental illness. I ask that you take what you read here into further research. There are so many great resources out there on the internet.

The stigma surrounding mental illness is a real thing, but it is important to first look at what is a stigma? I consider a stigma something in your mind that you believe puts you at a disadvantage—like having a mental illness. It becomes a stereotype, not only in the lives of the sufferer but also in the minds of those who do not understand or have lived a day with a mental illness. The mental health stigma can lead you to worse mental health down the road. I am not immune. For a time, I hid behind the mental illness stigma, and went as far as convincing myself there was nothing wrong with me. I was scared of what it would mean to admit to myself that I had a mental illness.

Growing up, mental illness was not something that was talked about outside of a classroom setting. When kids that I grew up with talked about mental illness, it was always in a negative light. I remember as a middle school student, there was a mass shooting on the news that happened at a high school. The conversations among my peers were that only people with mental illness do such terrible things. It sat with me for a while, I knew very little about mental illness, and it was effortless to take what adults on the news said about mental health as fact. This only perpetuated the stereotype in my own mind as an adult with a mental illness. 

The problem when the stigma continues, is it can have some unintended consequences that have a lasting effect on a person’s mental health. One of the most significant issues that is talked about in the mental illness community is how the stigma has made sufferers reluctant to seek help. In my own experience, I was in my twenties before I sought help. It was only after years of struggle, a suicide attempt, and a diagnosis of Bipolar-1 that I got help. I hated it, and for years the denial that there was something wrong, kept me from genuinely finding peace in this mental illness life. 

When it comes to an understanding, there is the harmful effect of believing that, because you have a mental illness, that means your chances to succeed life is not plausible. I have fallen victim to this for many years on this journey. I lost so many years that I will never get back because I believed the lie—that succeeding was out of the question. 

When I finally got back on track, I have proved this theory wrong. I went back to school and finished one degree, then began to work on a second. I started writing full-time to including a screenplay/novel. My blog The Bipolar Writer, has become a safe place where other writers with mental illness can call home. I have found my place within mental illness, and it was only possible when I started to fight the stigma. One thing that I have found that has perpetuated the mental illness stigma is the lack of knowledge and resources available to families. 

For my own family, it was very hard at the beginning of my mental illness journey. When I attempted suicide, it threw my family for a loop. The understanding that my family and friends have now come from trials, errors, and a lot of suffering. I honestly believe if I would have given in and admitted early that my mental illness was real, it could have saved myself some lost years. On the other hand, my struggles, including those lost years made me who I am today. 

There are other areas that the mental illness stigma can hurt sufferers. One area I see issues with, is bullying. When there is lack of understanding, it can lead to bullying of those that are open about talking about mental health. Work life can be affected, where your options can be limited because of the stigma. There is a lot of self-doubts and personal shame that comes along with a mental illness, and it affects how you do socially in work, school, and in your social life. 

I have talked about the dangerous parts of the stigma surrounding mental illness, but there is another side—finding ways to cope when the stigma is there in your life. The biggest thing you can do is seek help. It sounds simple, but the truth is it can be hard to admit something is wrong. I can tell you, getting treatment and believing in that treatment is the best way to tackle the stigma. In my experience, personal therapy and writing helped me overcome the stigma. 

On my blog, I often get inquiries from teens and young adults about if he/she should talk to an adult about seeking help. I tell them every time that the answer is yes. Mental illness is a growing issue as we continue to put our entire lives on social media it can have adverse effects on how people view mental illness.  The main thing that I see is that those talking about mental health are only doing it to seek attention, and that is dangerous.

There are other important things can help you fight the stigma. First, believe in yourself. Your illness does not define who you are in this world. Yes, it is a part of you, but that is something you can overcome. What some experts will tell you to say is instead of “I am Bipolar” you can say “I have Bipolar Disorder.” This is good, but I like saying that “I am The Bipolar Writer.” I am not ashamed at all, but I believe you find what works for you. 

One area where stigma comes to play in my own life, is isolation. It is essential for someone dealing with a mental illness to resist isolation. When it comes to social anxiety for me, this is a significant issue. It can become an easy thing to just hide away from the world, I have done it a lot in this journey. That only further hurts you, and it can make the stigma in your mind grow. A way to keep from isolating is to join mental illness support groups online or group therapy. Find a coffee shop and say hello to one person. I have met some amazing people simply by saying hello. 

The last thing I want to share to honestly cope with the stigma, is to speak out. Become an advocate. Write about your experiences, if you are ready. Get the knowledge out there for those who are just beginning their mental illness journey. When you share your experience, as every mental illness story is unique, it means that we are coming closer to getting others to understand what we live through each day.

I once let the stigma of mental illness run my life. I became a lifeless and hopeless wreck that was allowing life to pass me by. I could not see what was up or down. I lost so many people in my life because living was so hard. Eventually, I gave up, three times I was almost not a part of this world. 

Life is a funny thing. I went through the worst and best parts of my mental illness. I am lucky to be alive and to have the ability to wake each morning. I have no idea how many more days, weeks, months, or even years I have left. I plan on making the most of the time. Always keep fighting the stigma. 

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!

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2020 Big Ideas

First and foremost I would love to share my new author site outside this blog. www.jamesedgarskye.me

I am a writer who needs multiple projects that are ideas, in first drafts, editing, and ready to publish. I am also seeking an agent for those out there looking for a writer. For right now, I understand the self-publishing process, so that is good in my book. I will continue to go down this route. I have a fantastic cover artist (if you are looking, please email me!) and people I trust besides myself to edit my work. I prefer to keep busy.

Here is an idea of where I am at right now just in works in progress.

  • The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir – (Non-Fiction) Republishing in March 2020
  • Angel on the Ward – (Fiction Novella) In formatting and working on the cover art. Getting ready to publish in April 2020.
  • The Rise of the Nephilim – (Fantasy Fiction Novel) In editing looking for an agent
  • Hyeon and the Precious Notebook (Short Story) Looking for literary magazine publication.
  • The Dark Passenger (Short Story) Currently in the final editing phases.
  • Vacation From Heaven (Non-fiction) this is my major ghostwriting project of 2020.

What can I say, I like to keep busy, even as a graduate student.

My Next Big Ideas

A Book Sharing the stories of the Mental Health Community

That brings me to other projects that I want to launch in 2020. The first being A collective book on the stories of the mental illness community. I have been throwing around this idea for a while, and I think it is something that will be long-term. I hope to travel and meet people to write their stories. The money will go to helping others with medication, seeking mental health services, and perhaps other projects. Not a dime will go to me. A lot of this project will hinge if I can convince my followers to become Patreons. I will use my books as incentives for those who want to be a part of my writing process.

A Mental Health Podcast

I have two people that will become contributors once I get all my ducks in a row for this project. Both have experience in mental health. One of these two mental health advocates has experienced differently from mine. One is a bit younger with varying mental illnesses, including PTSD, that she deals with daily. The other, he is the man whom I am ghostwriting his book, is much older but also has some fantastic experiences that significantly differ from my own, including getting off benzodiazepines, which is a tremendous story. It will have guests, and I have big plans for this project in 2020.

Growing The Bipolar Writer Brand

Building my brand is going to be a fun project, and again, it comes down to if I can launch my Patreon account with enthusiasm. I am thinking t-shirts, coffee mugs, and maybe even one-day hoodies that show inspirational things alongside my brand The Bipolar Writer.

I wanted to share all of this because this is the year where I take everything to the next level. My followers are so important not just to me, but to the contributor writers that call this place home. I want to show the world what a community such as ours is capable of doing amazing things. That the support and understanding that I have experienced is the best. We need to change the stigma of mental health together!

Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Please if you can, Become a Patron!

Exploding With Emotion.

I am not an outwardly emotional person. Behind closed doors, I spill it all. If you asked my mom or friends, they would never describe me as boy crazy. I had plenty of crushes but I just am very mindful of how I present myself. I think this is why, when I get into the room with my mental health provider, I am a puddle. I explode with what I can only describe as relief. I feel like I spend my days trying to control my feelings for fear that I am going to push someone too far. When I finally let the emotions flow, so do the tears. I am passionate, hopeful, empathetic. I am all of these things to the extreme. I try to help people who didn’t ask for my help. I cling to people who just want to walk away. I bet everything on a maybe.

That burst of tears that I feel when I go to my appointments, the one where I just feel relieved and heard? I feel that here. I feel that with every post that is written and I can relate to. I feel that with every comment shared on my own writing. I feel heard, I feel understood. I imagine this is how people who run feel (ugh running amirite?). I have heard people describe it as cathartic and how they love leaving everything and just being in the quiet with themselves.

I leave it all on the page. I am sure that I can’t be the only one who “journals”. My journals are just lists, scribbles that don’t mean much, a to do list, a grocery list, a goal, a dream I had last night. I don’t intentionally journal. I don’t even write full sentences or dates. I just release my thoughts onto a page in whatever format or stage they might be in. Sometimes, all I have done is budget. It feels good to see it on paper. One day, when I am gone and my kids clean out my things, they will realize how insane I really am. I have stacks of notebooks with scribbles in them. The same way a child might color random pages in a coloring book with half of them never completed.

Thank you for being the only real “Journal” I have ever had. Thank you for consistently making me feel understood and sane, even when I know that I am not at times. Thank you for encouraging me to come back and carry on.

Lessons In the Writing Game

I have been quiet about the recent experiences in publishing my memoir, The Bipolar Writer. First, I know this life, and what comes with it, is hard to deal with people. You never honestly know if you are being taken advantage of or if things are just the way that they are because life does not always go your way.

Things happen I get that, and I harbor no ill will for the current predicament that I find myself now. I want to say if you bought my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, thank your patronage. Right now, my book is no longer available due to the closing of my publisher. For a few weeks that my book was available to purchase, it felt good to be an author. I got a taste of the author’s life. Know I am working on republishing my memoir, and perhaps there is an opportunity to better a product that made my mom proud. At least she got to see me published. Ultimately though, my book is in limbo.

What is next, I have some ideas and this time I will get it right.

What hurts the most is that I was right there, a published author who went through the process the way it is supposed to be.

I let the health of my mom and the fact that mentally I had moved on to other projects believing that now that my work is out there, it meant that things would change. I chose an indie publisher because it was what worked for my book. It was a way for my dream to become a reality. Then everything in my life came crashing down at the same time. I lost my mom, my publisher, and the outlet for my book all in December. It sucked, and it almost destroyed me if I am honest.

I learned a lot about the publishing side of writing. I get it why authors get so frustrated when they get to their dreams only to find roadblocks. Not all is lost. There are options for me, but there is a part of me that believes what I am trying to attempt, share my experiences, and end the stigma of mental health is all for not. I feel a bit defeated, having been through edits, book designs, formatting, and everything, only to see my book with my ideas go by the wayside.

If you have any sage wisdom, please share. I could use it right now. With that, I thank you for spending a small amount of time with me. I hope to have some positive things in the coming weeks.

Always Keep Fighting

James Edgar Skye

Become a Patron!

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Patrick Fore

Living With Mental Illness is Like Swimming With A Great White Shark Lurking Nearby

Recently, I have been waking up every morning and thinking, “Another day. Ho hum. Just another day,” while feelings of melancholy fill my heart and ache my soul. Although writing this reminds me that it is not just another day. It is more than another day and I am blessed to be in this day, blessed to be alive. I need to remind myself that every day is a precious gift and I need to find a way to celebrate it and find a way to celebrate me and love myself.

However, the truth is often times mental illness wins and is stubborn, shuts me out and obviously has a mind of its own. The reality of depression hits hard as I try to fight to keep my sanity before it wins and destroys once again as it has done so savagely in the past, before it overtakes what I have battled to win.

My PTSD triggered some depression and memories of regrets and mistakes I have made after mental illness struck. Besides the painful symptoms of mental illness I often must fight through the painful reminders of the destruction that mental illness caused in my life, the mistakes I made while I fought to survive a disease that was killing me from the inside out. I must fight how the stigma of mental illness reared its ugly head through the years in many subtle and blatant gruesome ways.

Countless times my brain was in so much distress that I was not living but was surviving, doing anything just to make it through another day. I made many mistakes along the way. and behaved in ways that I would “normally” not do. I felt like if I did not do this or that I could not go on. It was the only solution and it was better than the alternative of not making it.

Presently, I am battling through the destruction that living with mental illness for over two decades has caused. I am looking at how my life turned out because I had the misfortune of getting mental illness. I grieve for what life would have been for me and who I could have become.

I grieve for friends I would have had. Instead I do not have any friends. Not one. Again let me repeat, not one.

Part of the problem with that is that I am afraid to make friends and have friends because I really do not know how to after all these years living a mental illness life. I also fear getting hurt. Living a mental illness life caused me to be hurt so often and so deeply I cannot touch that pain again. It frightens me so intensely that I stay away from it.

Today I do not feel like I am likeable. Who could like someone who has lived through what I have and has done the things I did for survival or not. I am not a good person because of the pain I have lived through. No one wants to deal with what the truth is. No one wants to hear it. It is too much. It is too much for me. I have to battle through it and no one else needs to or deserves to listen to what I have endured for too long. The pain that a mental illness life caused is beyond what most people could even remotely comprehend, so they don’t. They don’t want to know that kind of pain.

I can pretend for a while, but after a while the memories resurface and I have to fight through them. I try not to live in the past but that is where I am today. I will stop visiting my past soon and will keep soul searching. I will get beyond my melancholy so I can enjoy the beauty of living again. I will work through it because I have no other choice.

I will work hard to be present today. I will live for today. I will appreciate that I survived and overcame more than I like to remember.

Today melancholy causes me to want to and need to be alone. I will bask in my solitude. As I fight through the darkness melancholy is causing, I will search for the flicker of light. I will let the sun shine in on my gray mind and heart.

Melancholy is an old friend I have known since I was a child. It’s familiarity sometimes brings a peaceful contentment, but the reality of sightings of the great white shark lurk nearby.

© 2020 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved

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