Community Mental Health Discussions on Discord

James Edgar Skye (The Bipolar Writer) is collaborating with Grounds for Clarity on a new Discord Channel called Community Mental Health Discussions. It will be a place where you can come anonymously if needed discuss the many topics that come with mental illness and mental health. Our goal is to have open-ended discussions that are open 24/7. Myself and Grounds for Clarity will be moderators.

Want to join? Go to www.discord.com

  • Sign up for a discord account.
  • Then add me as a friend – JamesEdgarSkye#4190
  • Send me a message that you are from WordPress, introduce yourself if I don’t know you, and I will add you to the group!
  • If you have any questions or need help simply reach out.
  • Or email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Here is the introduction to our discord:

Welcome to the first of its kind Discord community in which our goal is to provide a safe, anonymous, immersive, and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion. 

We will provide a safe, anonymous, immersive and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion by sharing our personal stories. Here, we value transparency, your story, your authenticity…. in a place where we accept everyone’s point of view.

And what that means is, we may not always agree with one another and we believe within our community safely challenging one another’s perspectives is the key to collaborative discussion. 

We strongly desire for everyone to speak from the lens with which they view life including but not limited to: 

  • Politics
  • Religion/ Deity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Ethnicity
  • Racial make-up
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Physical/ Mental/ Social/ Emotional/ Environmental/ Spiritual factors
  • Lifestyle
  • Age (Group is reserved for 18 years and up)
  • Mother tongue
  • Professional/ Role in society
  • Taste of music
  • Sense of humour
  • Criminal record
  • Sports affiliation
  • Military background

Discord Moderators can be personally messaged if you wish to voice a concern. However, we strongly encourage open discussion during “stuck” times in conversation in order to foster mutual respect. 
The right to delete comments, ban individuals and block chat members is reserved to Discord Moderators as follows:

James Edgar Skye
Grounds For Clarity 

If you have any questions please contact me or leave comments below. This separate from our weekly Saturday discussions that we will be hosting on Zoom. (See tomorrows blog post.)

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!

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

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?

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Sometimes, life gives you lemons. At other times, it throws them at you. Really, really hard. Especially if you’re not looking.

In one moment, you might think you’ve got everything under control:

  • Job = secure
  • Bills = paid
  • Clothes = washed
  • Social life = uhhh…work in progress
  • Prescription = filled

And in the next moment…pure chaos. Cheers, life.

Whether as the result of some external event (eg. an untimely incident or unexpected circumstance) or internal influence (eg. a chemical imbalance in the brain or a traumatic memory), chaos hides around every corner waiting for the chance to strike, threatening dysfunction and disorder.

I believe that in small doses, chaos can bring a healthy amount of excitement and unpredictability to our lives. A life without chaos is a life without challenge; there is a yin to every yang, as they say. But to someone suffering from a mental illness, chaos poses a substantial threat. If we’re already struggling to keep our heads above water in day to day life, chaos can easily overwhelm us.

Depression is a constant battle, and when we’re treading water it’s easy to spend too much time staring into the abyss below and wondering what would happen if we stopped paddling. We get so caught up in the chaos and fear that we lose sight of the bigger picture and start behaving irrationally. Life throws us lemons, so we pick those suckers up and squirt the juices into our eyeballs. Not exactly the best move.

Sometimes, we need to be better than our emotions. Every now and then, it’s important to look up from the abyss and make sure you’re still headed toward dry land.

Let me tell you about a time life threw me a nice, big, juicy lemon.

A few years ago, I was exploring my home state in Australia, driving through the ranges of north Queensland. On this day I’d driven to the peak of the Eungella ranges and spent the morning trekking through the rain forest, conquering the mountainous trails and generally being in awe of the breathtaking views of the valley below. My companion on this journey was a maroon-red ’02 Toyota Corolla hatchback, that I had affectionately named Colin. We had been through much together in our three-year long relationship, and yet nothing had prepared us for the tribulations we were about to face.

After hiking my last hike for the day, I returned to my four-wheeled friend to find that he was almost completely out of fuel. Shit. I wish I could say this wasn’t a common occurrence, but I haven’t met any genies lately.

I was about 70 kilometres from the nearest gas station, and even further from the nearest town. But I had complete faith in Colin, and he had faith in me. I’m sure that if I coasted my way back down the mountain, I’d conserve enough fuel to make it back to the bowser.

So, down the range I went, gliding gracefully along the winding road in my little red go-go machine. I felt every bump, crack and dip beneath the rubber as we rode the waves of asphalt to the foot of the mountain. Every tweak of the steering wheel, every touch of the accelerator and every pump of the brakes was made with intent. It felt good. I was in complete control.

Or so I thought.

In the distance, a sign was fast approaching. “Eungella Dam, turn left in 500m”.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, dear reader. I freakin’ love dams. Some might call it “an unhealthy obsession”, but I would call it “don’t judge me, asshole.”

I grew up a stone’s throw away from a dam, and they’ve always fascinated me. They’re a true testament to the ingenuity of mankind; monolithic structures with the capability of harnessing one of nature’s most unstoppable forces – lots and lots of water. Eungella was so far away from home, and I didn’t know if I’d ever get the opportunity to see this dam again. How could I pass up the chance at one last incredible view?

I pulled my steering wheel to the left, and barrelled toward my new destination. Surely, this would only be a slight detour.

I started bashing through the bush, leaving a large cloud of dust in my wake. The dirt pricked my eyes but I kept them peeled, scanning every bend in the road for a turnoff or parking area. Minutes passed, and as I strayed further and further from the beaten track, I could feel every meter travelled accumulating in the pit of my stomach. Deep down, I knew that I’d made a terrible decision.

“Surely, the lookout is just around the corner. You’ve committed to this, it’s too late to turn back now.” I’d taken a calculated risk, but I was never good at math. The lemon was in my hand, and I was starting to squeeze.

Colin’s petrol gauge was well below empty. I’m convinced that he was completely out of fuel at this point and was running only on the fumes of my sheer stupidity. My red solider, loyal and true, was on his last legs.

I was so focused on seeing this damn dam, that I didn’t notice the next turn was quite a bit sharper than the rest. I brought my foot down on the brake like an anvil, and the car began to slide. Perhaps in an act of protest after being pushed to the brink of exhaustion, Colin threw his back wheels off the road the same way and infant throws his rattle across the room during a tantrum. I went careening into a two-meter deep ditch and came to a humiliating halt.

Great. Now I’m really stuffed. It was going to take some real gusto to get up this slope, most likely wasting the last of my precious petrol in the process.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes, emotions make us dumb. Really dumb.

I was so distracted by the fear of potentially being stranded in the middle of nowhere that I wasn’t thinking straight. Chaos had taken the wheel, and I was being pulled along by a four-cylinder engine of emotion straight into a ditch on the side of the road. I was acting completely irrationally. I’d lost control. I’d chosen to stare into the abyss below when I should be been searching for the safety of the shore.

But no more. It was time to look up.

Let’s turn this ship around.

I put the pedal to the metal, and in a Dukes of Hazzard inspired moment of pure triumph Colin and I aimed for the sky and fired. Without the weight of my emotions holding me down, for a moment, I knew what it was like to fly. I was finally acting level-headed, and the Corolla was back on level ground.

By some miracle, I managed to reach the petrol station. I was on cloud nine, and approached the lady at the register like I’d just won the lottery.

“That’ll be $45.67.”

“Here, just take my whole wallet.”

I think we’ve all been in a situation where we’ve decided to squeeze lemon juice into our eyes.

When this happens, often the biggest challenge is having the self-awareness to take a step back and access your current situation, put aside your predispositions and decide what is truly best for your wellbeing. You’ll use any excuse in the book to avoid the answers that are often right in front of your face. You’ll allow yourself to be distracted, and put your wants before your needs. This is destined to lead you down the path of chaos, and one day you might find yourself stuck in the middle of the bush in rural Australia.

You need to know that it’s never too late to grab the steering wheel and turn yourself around. There are many factors that influence our decisions in this modern world, but ultimately, it’s your responsibility to know what is best for you and make the right choices.

If you only follow your heart’s compass, it’ll lead you astray. But, if you play it smart, you’ll find that the little diversions take on a whole new lustre as you start to appreciate life’s various side paths and gravel roads. You’ll be free to pursue your passions comfortably, whether it be writing, mountain trekking, or visiting dams. Know that when your priorities are in order, you’ll have more mental fuel to go the distance in life and enjoy a richer human experience.

So remember to keep your chin up, and keep swimming.

Official Launch of the James Edgar Skye Patreon Account

It was always the goal for me to write full-time. It has always been a dream of mine to be financially stable enough to write full-time. I have been a struggling writer for a long time, and my experiences with my mental illness have been shared here so many times here on my blog. I do struggle holding down a full-time job and my work with freelance has been up and down. With the change of medication, and the fact that I am feeling much better it is time to officially launch my Patreon account.

Become a Patron!

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a way for artists like me to connect to my readers in a real way, and at the same time, it offers tiers for special offers that keep you in the loop of what I am working on a the moment.

This is the official look at what a Patreon account looks like: Patreon is a crowdfunding membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service, with ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or “patrons”.

Become a Patron!

What does it Mean for J.E.?

If I can get my Patreon account going, it means a lot of things. The first is working on my current writing projects full-time and have enough money to hire a top-tier copy editor, so that when I self-publish The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir it is the best possible product. It will give me the time to create a book about the members of the mental illness community beyond just my memoir. I want to start a podcast that will show the many phases of mental ilness and people’s experience.

Once I meet my goals, I will be able to offer merchandise and, of course, copies of my books. I can do so many great things for the mental illness community. There are so many great things I can accomplish. The lowest tier is $2 and $5. I know I have asked a lot of the mental illness community of late and this is just something I have good feeling inside my heart

If you can help that would be amazing. I am genuinely in awe of people in the mental illness community. If you have questions about how to sign up and join a tier please reach out. It can be a confusing process.

Update: I got my first three patrons. I am really excited.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Become a Patron!

Can I leave them behind?

Can I really leave my mental disorders behind?

That is a question that I get asked a lot.

Is it truly possible for me to completely “heal” from my mental disorders?

I know one can relapse and have another episode of depression depends on life circumstances. But what about disorders like OCD – those which shows more physical presence in our lives?

Will I ever be “OCD free?”

I wish I did not have to ask these type of questions to myself.

I would not even wish it for my worst enemy to ask these questions.

It makes me cringe by the thought of the increasing number of population having mental health problems but not seeing drastic changes in the number of people getting help.

For us to leave “this” behind there has to be change.

A change that brings life by bringing these “Taboo topic” to life opening up and sharing our own experiences using various platforms.

I wish all of us can shake off our disorders and be free.

No more thought bubbles that marks us as our disorder, but being able to pin them down and erasing it from our history.

Do you think we can completely leave our mental disorders behind?

Straight Lines

I desperately wanted to find a way to cope with my OCD better. Yes, medication is good and CBT is great. However, I wanted to find a hobby that will allow me to express my OCD in a different way. I stumbled across a local art studio in my city offering a 5-week drawing course. I signed up and decided to try it.

I was expecting this course to be about drawing still matters, drawing cylinders and pyramids.

However, it was different. The instructor told us to draw whatever we want.

I am not an artistic person, so I was stuck. I started doodling random things until the instructor came up to me asked me to express my personality.

Instantly, I grabbed a ruler I saw next to me and started drawing straight lines down my paper.

Lines after lines. I drew dark lines using a ink fountain pen until the side of my hands turned black from the smudges. Every part of that line had to be perfect. However, of course – it was not.

It was not until the instructor walked up to me again to ask what I was expressing.

“My OCD.”

Isn’t it odd that when I started to give my disorder a personality, it started to sooth itself inside of me. I have less urges to get up in the middle of the night to check my doorknob or to line up my hangers perfectly. Instead, I acknowledge its presence by giving it a personality.

In my class, I am the girl that draw straight lines using a ruler. Why? Because that is my OCD.

A being that shivers inside of me when it is not perfect. An ugly being that screams inside of me when I try to walk away.

Have you tried giving your disorder a personality?

Straight Lines

I desperately wanted to find a way to cope with my OCD better. Yes, medication is good and CBT is great. However, I wanted to find a hobby that will allow me to express my OCD in a different way. I stumbled across a local art studio in my city offering a 5-week drawing course. I signed up and decided to try it.

I was expecting this course to be about drawing still matters, drawing cylinders and pyramids.

However, it was different. The instructor told us to draw whatever we want.

I am not an artistic person, so I was stuck. I started doodling random things until the instructor came up to me asked me to express my personality.

Instantly, I grabbed a ruler I saw next to me and started drawing straight lines down my paper.

Lines after lines. I drew dark lines using a ink fountain pen until the side of my hands turned black from the smudges. Every part of that line had to be perfect. However, of course – it was not.

It was not until the instructor walked up to me again to ask what I was expressing.

“My OCD.”

Isn’t it odd that when I started to give my disorder a personality, it started to sooth itself inside of me. I have less urges to get up in the middle of the night to check my doorknob or to line up my hangers perfectly. Instead, I acknowledge its presence by giving it a personality.

In my class, I am the girl that draw straight lines using a ruler. Why? Because that is my OCD.

A being that shivers inside of me when it is not perfect. An ugly being that screams inside of me when I try to walk away.

Have you tried giving your disorder a personality?

Idea Topics for February

As January 2019 ends and February 2019 begins, we will be ending a strong month of January for The Bipolar Writer blog. I always like to start the month off by asking what the mental health topics you would like me to write about on my blog. This blog is all about inclusive and a safe place for people to talk about mental health.

If you have a topic in mind leave a comment below. I am also open to a guest blog post and increasing my contributor writer. If you’re interested, please email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo by Jasmine Waheed on Unsplash

The Bipolar Writer Needs Help… Again

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

This is my GoFundMe under my real name David TC (I wasn’t sure if I could get the funds if I used my Pen Name James Edgar Skye.) Thank you in advance for donating!


So, my goal is $300. The cost to upgrade. If 100 people donate 3 dollars, I can reach my goal quickly (the donation button is below through PayPal.) I am going to try and keep this post going all weekend in hopes that I reach my goal. Please, if you can help it would be amazing, and if you can’t, I understand. I haven’t done one of these in a while, so here it goes!

If you can’t donate please reblog this post or share my GoFundMe link above, it would mean the world to me!

You Can Also Donate Below!

Just Click the Pay with PayPal button!

Always Keep Fighting & Thank You

James

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FOMO of 2018

In the past few days, I’ve been trying to avoid getting on social media. Why? Because of FOMO (aka. Fear of missing out). Posts after posts, everyone was posting how great their 2018 was and how they can’t wait to see what 2019 has for them.

But for me, most of 2018 sucked.

Don’t get me wrong – there were many joyful moments in 2018 (including starting a blog), making new lifelong friendships and finding victory over my mental health.

But, it was by far the most painful year I have experienced in my short 23 years of life.

2018 was a monumental year for my mental health. It took a big turn, which led me to ALMOST being hospitalized, got me to a psychiatrist’s office and started medication. I am grateful for having the resources that I have to be treated and have the support to keep on fighting. But I just can’t get over the fact how drastically things changed from where I was a year before.

While everyone seemed to be reminiscing over their wonderful 2018, I was reminiscing over my painful, heart breaking sad moments of 2018. Every time I looked at someone else’s post on how great their year was, I felt like I was missing out on life. I instantly wanted to blame my “defective brain” for missing out on life.

However, I know that is not true.

I know my FOMO is another layer my mental illness is casting over me, and I am not letting that happen. And that is why, I am confessing my FOMO here so I can move on from the past and look towards the future.

2018, you have been great but you also sucked. You gave me so much joy but you also gave me overflowing amount of pain.

2019, I hope you have more sympathy for me. Please.