Imposter Syndrome

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Imposter syndrome. I am not a medically trained expert, and I always come at blog posts from experience. Throughout my life, I know there have been so many doubts about my skill in writing, growing my business, my mental health advocacy work, and at times everything that I do daily. I feel like “what is the point” of every thread that is the life that I have created as they intertwine with one another. More than once I have felt like a “fraud” in this mental health advocacy work that I do, and it leaks into my writing. You can throw into that the doubts that The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services, my business, will become an actual reality in 2021. Then I breathe and realize that the imposter syndrome is not real, and when I live in the now, the imposter syndrome a manifestation of my ego.

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The ego can be so tricky at times, and when you feel like life is going right, it is right there with the doubts. There is no right or wrong here, and that is comforting. Yes, the imposter syndrome is a real thing, but it is what you make it, and for me, it had held me back in 2020, when the whole world went wrong with a pandemic. If I use it as an excuse, it just furthers the ego’s control. The release of identities over months in 2020 has angered the ego. As I continue to live in the now and decide to work on the inner I, the external stuff goes away, which can anger my ego.

Buy Me A Coffee

What can you do? Plenty! First detachment from identities, in my life it was writer, businessman, depressed guy, anxious guy, stressed-out dude, and mental health advocate, to name a few. That does not mean that these are not a part of your life, but The Bipolar Writer and James Edgar Skye are part of me, but it can’t define me. When it does, that puts pressure to succeed, and success is not defined by identities. As my life coach always tells me to approach situations, there are no problems, with just the facts. It helps. Identities come with so much weight, let them go, and you will see a change.

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You can put a metaphorical mirror up in situations and see what is causing you to feel fraudulent that you find in other people. It usually means that they are doing something your ego recognizes, and this is a way to break the silence when it comes to how you feel within the imposter syndrome. It also allows us to look at the positives in our life and focus less on the negative, though not comfortable, I know, it really does change the perspective. The imposter syndrome truly is your perspective on your life.

Live this life willing to fail because everyone fails at something, and it never means that it is the end. Learn from the failures and know that it can mean the difference when you approach it with just the facts in a healthy way. I had failures and let them control me and keep me from doing what I love, and where did that get me? Nowhere. When things feel like an imposter feels, I stop and focus on the feelings. I let go of the feeling that failure is a bad thing or a good thing. Many famous people have failed, and yet you know their names without me saying it.

I am sure you can research imposter syndrome further and find what works. What I learned in life coaching is creating my own physics. That is a whole other story, and I would not want to steal from my life coach, but it makes sense. You are your own person, just as much as I am my own person. Find what makes you happy. It is writing and mental health advocacy for me. Then just do it without pressure or even fake it until you make it because people can feel when your not totally in, and above all, do not do what I did, and half-ass what you want.

When I wanted to create a podcast, I used every excuse I could to NOT do it. I bought all the gear, and I knew what I wanted, but I felt like an imposter. Who is James to take his mental health advocacy to the airwaves? I would tell myself I hate my voice, which is not my favorite feature, as an excuse. It is my voice, and that will not stop me. Always be positive because living in a negative world never gets you anywhere.

With that said, stay strong in the fight. Live life and always know the ego wants you to fail.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

Visit my author website at http://www.jamesedgarskye.me

Purchase my Memoir and Novella here: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks

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No Conflicts and Aspirations

Genuine curiosity could beat my depression.
It could beat my procrastination and depression.
How do i tap into it?
The elements of freedom below help.
Paying attention whilst not criticizing falling into the lava stream.. acknowledging it and letting go; allowing myself to let go.
This is how I will study, this is how i will become somebody.
Every moment is an opportunity to train.

‘No conflict’ is a feeling. It is supported by calm bandwidth.
Calm bandwidth includes nonjudgemental awareness of thoughts and feelings.
This is done by understanding my mind and being non-reactive.

No conflict is a feeling.
The feeling of urgency is a conflict with the present moment.
Depression is a hinderance;
recognise the hinderances.
In life, much more is part of my meditation.
Every moment is an opportunity to sculpt the mind.

Since returning to this, I feel I can use this writing as the key to a happier, more content mind.  I’ve been on the verge of it for some time.  Going the extra mile has not been so easily seen.  Breaking through the fog is happening. Going the extra mile.

Here’s another excerpt from my imaginary book entitled No Conflict, this chapter is called ‘Jobs and Career Kerfuffle’:

Jobs and career kerfuffle

Just like I held on to education hanging off a cliff, I also have attempted many jobs. I think I counted fourteen. But after Uni, the first job I had was that of a ‘customer service engineer’, which could have been great fun as you get to plan your jobs to a certain extent. However, as you can imagine, even at this later time, it was too difficult and opened my eyes to something that was a delusion but I am going to treat it as an obsession because there was some debate, and it does not really matter now what it was. Fresh perspectives here. It was something prominent at that time which was in no way new but predominantly surfaced. It deescalated after I left the job, and then I had another well paid job, as a ‘technical author’ for a building firm, which could’ve been amazing too, I could’ve saved, but my condition and paranoia were on an intrusive level for that one too. Right now, I have chosen to study for a masters in neuroscience, so there’s some justice as the rewards are going to be fruitful. Rewind a minute.

I first recall being overly distressed by a particular idea around age thirteen. It was different from derealisation from my OCD and opposite to the organic spontaneity any philosophers or scientists would feel. What on earth am I on about? I already mentioned it but because it is interesting, without further ado, here is what initially I thought it was;

As a question:

‘How is there something but not nothing at all?’

Outside of the feeling (of mental illness), it is an interesting question. I have looked into the science, religion and philosophy, but still, it remained. What do I mean by this? Surely it’s just an interesting question, right? No, what it always felt like was a disturbing conflict. No amount of anything helped it. If I think about it now away from the feeling, the science takes you into quantum physics and the philosophy is existential cognitive reasoning like Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’ which I have his book of meditations about. However, none of this searching helped my ‘problem’. What it was, is the delusional assumption that 

‘Everything should be nothing’. 

Due to the disturbing feelings it caused, my torment was eventually recognized, and I was prescribed antipsychotics. Even though that word sounds all scary, it was accurate. Words can’t describe how it would make me feel, and that is what mental illness is. However, right now and toward the future, I am going to treat it as an obsession, because that’s all it is now. Like I say no amount of philosophy, science or religion helps solve my disturbing conflict. No amount of my ERP made it lessen but you know what, it does now, I have called it an ‘existential phenomenon’ before, I frequently call it a disturbing conflict which is accurate. I deal with it now by delegitimising it like any other obsession. So as I have been building neuronal connections it is not so overpowering, but the feeling does still arise from time to time. I used to avoid certain situations, people, and ‘sit on the fence’ because of it, yes compadres, this is why, and I notably remember it stopping me in those jobs like that I speak of once I finished University six years ago. I remember as the field engineer, I was attempting to learn on the job, which should’ve been fun, but I was so preoccupied in a somewhat disturbing way, by this, (not so much the other obsessions anymore as I learnt to manage them), and I simply could not retain information or pay attention in a way that would have seen me succeed. Kudos for the positivity, Walks still. So, may we continue to delegitamize this existential phenomenon.

Many jobs I have had, one after the other. Many times I have quit not for want or lack of confidence more so debilitation and confusion. Kudos for the dedication. So you see, the disturbing conflict, as well as my OCD, is my illness. I’ve never fished for a diagnosis even though I welcomed one. I only welcomed one because it was a huge relief to find out there may be a way out. What now? Like I say I can immerse myself into neuroscience. I do have work to do of a mental health kind, though. This is part of it. Rewind.

I figured, relatively recently, there must be reasons why I still cannot pay attention as anyone does to not just studies and work, but past times too. Therefore, I acknowledge that ‘mental review’ as a compulsion is still prevalent; I overlooked this in a sense, that ‘little’ compulsions can still be as problematic as ‘big’ themes and such. I appear to have done enough work now with the disturbing conflict, that I can sink into focus and feel a lot more immersion. I have the opportunity to study now, so things are going to work out, alongside sharing this journey. But let me explain something; OCD cannot turn into psychosis, so to let you know, please don’t panic about that. I am aware that schizophrenia OCD is a common obsession so please do not think in any way that it is possible to ‘go mad’ from your condition. It doesn’t happen. Can I now treat it as an obsession? Was there some debate as to whether it could have been still? Absolutely, and I am looking at my condition in its entirety from a fresh perspective here. ‘Everything should be nothing’. Boy oh boy, I am somewhat free of it now, but I remember how isolating and disturbing it was, it seriously disrupted my life.  

As I already touched upon I must delegitimize it, notably realise that reality can be the axiom. An axiom is an innate fact in mathematics I believe, I won’t bother looking that up (but it’s a cool bit of vocab). I remember when I first started telling the nurses about it, most said ‘don’t think like that’ but I couldn’t express enough how I had no choice. However, a good psychiatrist and my most recent therapist totally understood how it was for me. I must realise now how good freedom from it is, keep writing and meditating, and remember. It is bliss compared to what it was. Free of the conflict means that I can focus all my ERP efforts on my condition and continue to do what I want to do.  

When the first psychiatrist that listened to me properly understood it, she said ‘how can I deny that I am something.’ That is what it does. It is disturbing. It was a relief when someone finally understood how it was for me. Anyway, back to the present. It is gone now mostly. Although, what I want to do now is I want to feel it, I want to keep healing, as soon as I start to fight the feeling, start to argue with it in any way, the disturbing feeling comes back. Feeling it like this again makes me wonder how I managed so much. I want to feel it though, bring it on. I no longer fight by way of argument causing torment, more so I fight by way of allowing and not responding, but seeking it out and applying calm bandwidth to do this.

As I hit the gym today, obsessions popped up and made me want to retreat, it’s not to do with lack of concentration, it’s a genuine feeling of compulsion. The feelings involved at the moment are guilt, doubt and depression. They always were. These types of feelings are so overwhelming but I managed to separate myself from them (there’s a word for this, which I won’t bother looking up I forget. (There’s a lack of vocab for ya), and choose not to respond to them essentially choosing not to ruminate. Realising their illegitimacy, took some work but I got there. I love working out. You see I have to create head space for the doubt stream, but delegitamize it also. Now that I have done a lot of meditation I will speak of later, I am ready to proceed with the athleticism, which is something I want, alongside study. I held onto education from the edge of my cliff, and attempted over fourteen jobs. Walks, man, have compassion for this, for yourself. I am unique, but special. The mental health work I mentioned I need to do now, is in part visiting art galleries and being a hermit in a tree. More on this later.

 ”All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost. The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadow shall spring. Renewed shall the blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be King.” – J.R.R. Tolkein

Even if the rumination is ‘real’ in theme, self-sabotage is not acceptable.

Handle With Love

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

I find that quote absolutely true for every good and bad situation, event and person in my life. When I think of my first good memories, I remember my Grandpa Meyers. I do not remember many of his words and even if I do, I remember how those words made me feel. I remember some of the fun, kind and caring things he did for me and my gang of friends at the time, but most importantly I remember how he made me feel. My Grandpa Meyers always made me feel like I was special and loved deeply by him.

Feeling special + Feeling loved = HAPPINESS

Of course, my children provide most of my positive memories since the second I first found out I was pregnant. It is mostly loving them unconditionally forever from the instant I conceived and being loved back by them that gives me the most joy and purpose in my life.

On the flip side, my most vivid negative memories are associated with feelings of shame, anger and sadness. For example, when I was punished for wetting the bed nearly every day until I was twelve years old, I remember the negative shameful words because of how those words made me feel. I cannot remember the physical pain caused by the spankings, but I still unfortunately feel deep rooted shame and anger towards my father for causing it to happen. I was punished and shamed for a behavior I had no control over. I continue to recover and heal from the painful emotional wounds I have now learned affected every aspect of my life.

The most traumatic memories are remembered most vividly and are impossible to forget. We cannot forget them, but we can learn to live with them in a healthy and safe manner. This of course takes time and work. Mindfulness has greatly helped me and continues to.

Other people in your life may have experienced or witnessed the same event but may not remember it the same way or at all, because it was not traumatic to them. You on the other hand remember every detail of the event.

When looking back at your life, what are the memories you remember the most and how did they make you feel?

My negative memories are filled with feelings of anger, shame, and fear.

My positive memories are filled with the emotions of joy, pride and love–loving others and/or feeling loved.

In everything we do with others, I think we should always remember the quote by Maya Angelou,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel.”

To make a positive difference in the lives of others always listen, love deeply and make them feel like you care about them. Make them feel special. Let them know they matter and have a great purpose in this lifetime.

I think I always tried to treat people the way I wished I would have been treated. Growing up I had little to no self-esteem. Honestly, deep down I was ashamed of myself. My parents instilled that in me from a young age. I wished I felt good about myself, so I wanted to help others feel good about themselves. I guess I treated people how I wanted to be treated and feel. I never wanted others to feel the way I did.

Helping others helped me feel better about myself. It was and is a win win situation.

In the process of helping and loving others, eventually I learned to help and love myself.

Self actualization and loving myself are lifelong lessons I continue to take and experience. I am currently being home schooled every day by the faculty of myself, my family and everyone around me. I also learn from books, blogs, social media, television and movies–I learn a lot from documentaries. These all continue to be a big part of my curriculum for my lifelong lessons on love and the meaning of life.

——————————

Thank you for reading. I have been so busy, I have not had time to write for a while but I always miss it and need it. Writing has always been very therapeutic for me. Plus, I miss all the amazing people in this fabulous blogging community that actually helped save my life. I hope you are all doing well and staying safe during this difficult time of Covid-19 and the United States election. I was thinking of taking a long nap until the election was over. Just kidding, but I am looking forward to when the election is finally over. Please VOTE. I know I will.

Much love always,
Sue

© Copyright 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope 

Photo Credit: Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash,com

Too Many Excuses.

I love writing. I write lists as a comfort, and my thoughts as an outlet. Sometimes, I get hung up on others opinions of my writing. Opinions I shouldn’t worry about. I write for me. Most of it doesn’t make sense but it feels right.When I freeze while trying to consider opinions I haven’t heard yet, I am hurting myself more than anyone. With no paper to spill my feelings into, I find myself fixating on them more than ever.

So I am just gonna go for it. I am sorry if this is a little scattered.

Remember the first time you watched a movie from your childhood, but as an adult? Maybe there was a joke that went over your prepubescent head, or maybe it confirmed a theory you had. Either way, I find myself doing this often. I used to really push away from religion and even claimed to be atheist (ZERO opinion if you are or aren’t religious). I talked about things I didn’t have any knowledge on and put down anything that sounded like a religious comment. Now I turn to the Bible as a comfort. The words in that book mean more now.

The word mindfulness means more now. I understand how I can be mindful, and how that benefits my growth as a person. My BP diagnosis was my first step towards mindfulness. I finally recognized something wasn’t right and sought help for my mood and subsequent actions. With that came the realization that I had formed these habits that were hurting those around me. I didn’t want to just mask symptoms, I wanted to find the cause.

I have had a lot of great things happen lately, and I had a lot of shitty things happen too. As I revealed recently, I was hospitalized for thoughts of self harm. All is better now, I just had to get some meds tweaked and take some time to process my feelings in a safe place. I get back to work and disclose to a close coworker what my hospitalization was for. My boss comes back from vacation and suddenly, after almost a year, fires me for “low productivity”. I had just signed a lease on a two bedroom apartment for my self and my mom who I care for. I just bought a new car earlier this year. A lot of people close to me pointed out the timing of being let go, right after I was hospitalized. I just don’t want to be one of those people who blame others. I honestly was shocked when they let me go. I had never received any indication that my work was not meeting expectations. I have filed for unemployment, but I haven’t received anything as of yet. It has only been a week.

Isn’t it weird the things that can trigger depression. My job loss didn’t. I was upset and down as to be expected but it wasn’t depression. Having to ask and receive help from my sister who is so judgmental of any actions that aren’t 100% responsible, and my grandmother who I have been trying to set boundaries with, especially financially.

I got a verbal offer for a job today. Since completing my degree, I haven’t been job searching. Let me tell you, I am being offered hire positions then I have ever held. Positions that I most certainly feel I am unqualified for. I accepted but am waiting for the official offer letter.

I feel like things are looking up and all in all, this year wasn’t bad. It might be one of my best yet.

Is It Anxiety? Tips and Tricks to Recognize Signs of Anxiety, and To Deal With Them

I have a fairly normal outlook on the world:
-someone’s late coming home …so he must be dead or kidnapped.
-that person didn’t smile at me …she hates me.
-the warning light came on in the car …it will blow up before the next stoplight.
-I feel somewhat sick …yes, Google, it must be cancer.

What? That’s normal, right?

It’s not?

Photo by Pablo Varela on Unsplash

This way of thinking has hounded me for most of my life. Not until it exhibited as severe depression from how other people treated me did I know …these thoughts may not be that normal. I also didn’t realize my worries had a name: anxiety. That realization didn’t come to me overnight. It didn’t come from a counselor, although uncovering and treating it did come because of counseling sessions. My learning about anxiety –my anxiety- came after talking with a neighbor.

“I felt like I should save up money for a trip,” I told the neighbor, back in June, “But then it got cancelled because of Coronavirus. So… I guess this means I’m going to get sick and will be hospitalized.” *Sigh*

Without skipping a beat, she responded, “No, that’s called anxiety.”

Initially, I felt shocked and surprised. I then felt denial, since anxiety was not a condition I’d ever considered. Anxiety was for other relatives of mine who had experienced panic attacks or hadn’t been able to sleep with the lights off. Anxiety couldn’t affect me…

Then, the puzzle pieces fit together -answers to my racing and irrational thoughts. I brought these concerns to my video counseling session; my counselor was not as surprised as I had been. I’m just glad she’s as smart and observant as she is.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

With her help, I learned that many of my panicky thinking is anxiety. I started making a list whenever I worried about a situation. I shared the list with my more-rational husband or a good friend. I learned which voice spoke: me or anxiety. Over time, I could see the differences.

After that, I learned to answer the worries:
-someone’s late coming home …so I’m anxious.
-that person didn’t smile at me …she’s having a bad day.
-the warning light came on in the car …and that light could be anything from needing an oil change to needing more coolant.
-I feel somewhat sick …it’s probably a cold.

Once I could recognize anxieties and stop the rising panic, I was able to formulate solutions. At the very least, I got better at delaying irrational actions and stress. Which, of course, does not mean the anxiety evaporated.

Sometimes, at times of high stress, my tips and tricks do not work. In times like that, I contact my counselor. Sometimes, she suggests anti-anxiety medications. Why? Because anxiety is like other mental illnesses in that I can’t always fight it on my own.

Armed with tricks, encouragement, professional advice, and help when I need it, I’ve found anxiety to be less formidable than before. I’ve found a freedom I didn’t know before. And it’s wonderful.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

Time management

I decided to do this topic since I am facing a new severe health issue aside from bipolar, something that also starts as an invisible disability. Still, I am so active these days, although not manic.

I remember when I finally gained control over my bipolar years ago. One of the first things I did is- read books on time management. I had so much to do, and so much that I wanted to do so, I was guessing my best odds were at organising better.

I went through some of the books, and all the basic principles did not apply to me at all! That was the time I decided to write about it the first time I get the chance. I am going to stick, for the time being, with the primary obstacle.

First of my problems was, how on earth can I plan every hour of the day when I can’t predict how am I going to feel at all! What if my energy levels are too low to be active at that point. More or less I know I am doing lousy in the mornings, by now I know how I can manage through the day, but if I had a strict schedule, I would end up with the feeling of guilt and lack of accomplishment.

Still, there was one advice I could follow: get the planner! I did get the planner, and I would write down tasks for the day, ones that are a must and ones that are optional, no specific timing other than meetings and similar. It is working well for me. When I have energy, I do what it takes and sometimes even more than that, I pick up tasks from the day that follows.

One thing I have learned from one book was “the vacation principle”. It means giving ourselves more time than we need for the task or starting it as early as possible so we can make it before the official deadline. It provides a feeling of accomplishment. Also, don’t plan too ambitious. That would be my experience. It feels fantastic when we plan a decent workload but not too much, and then we get to do even more than expected!

It is always better to put things into some order, but we need to honour our needs and add self-care on the list as well. Maybe even use the planner to monitor mood swings or whatever we need to watch. Now that my skin is so oily due to meds, I am even planning my weekly Rhassoul clay facial mask, sometimes even longer walks.

I know the times when getting out of bed might become a significant task could be around the corner, but I will quote my doctor: “Do whatever your mind and body permit you to do and don’t even think you won’t be able to do things!”

How did you approach planning time and living with bipolar, I would love to hear your comments!

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My Journey to Stability, Pt. 3

by Shara Adams

A circle of blurred faces surrounded me, all talking at once. The level of chaos outpaced my own mind and I struggled to keep track of what was going on. Drugged and intoxicated beyond capable cognition, the world began to slip away once again. In the mess of voices, the realization of my fragile state caught the action of the paramedics and I was whisked down the stairs from the apartment to the ambulance. Because of the design of our place, a stretcher was worthless. They half carried, and half walked me down the precarious stairway. Once I was inside the bus, one of the paramedics joined me and began a pleasant conversation with me.

Blonde hair and blue eyes watched me intently. It may have been my lost mind, but at that moment, he had the most beautiful eyes that I had ever seen. Smiling, I was lost in his hypnotizing gaze. His voice was soft and inviting. I felt like I could listen to it forever, and I did listen to it the whole way to the emergency room. He conversed with me to keep me awake and cognitive of what was around me, and it worked perfectly. It also kept my mind off the fact my husband had not come with me. I did not notice this fact in the middle of everything going on; he was completely absent from my side.

Once inside the ER, I was forced to drink charcoal from a small cup, and it did not take long for it to make a reappearance. It was absolutely disgusting, and my toxic stomach contents were having none of it. Frustrated nurses yelled at me for throwing it up and then gave me another cup – but I never touched it to my lips. Without something to focus on, I was slipping away from the bright lights of the room. Metal walls of the elevator were my final memory before losing consciousness. I have no recollection of being in the ICU or being ‘asleep’. No dreams or thoughts; it was as if I went to bed and woke up the next morning but waking up this time was a much different experience.

Stirring in the hospital bed, my eyes opened several days after my arrival. I felt lost and confused at my surroundings, but my eyes fell on a familiar face and relief washed over me. I am sure she felt the swell of relief as well. My mom had driven about 740 miles in eight hours to be by my side. We later calculated that she had averaged about 95 mph the entirety of the drive, never being pulled over. There was always a driver going faster than she was, and they were the ones to get caught. Her foot never left the gas pedal, and I will never make fun of her panic.

Once awake and somewhat aware of where I was, I noticed the lack of a certain person from the room: my husband. This was something my mom attempted to fix, but it was only mildly successful. He came to visit me once during my entire stay, but never said a word and refused to look at me. He sat on my bed and I rubbed his back, but nothing I did to interact with the stone-faced body made any difference. His blatant resentment was more than I could overcome. I began to wonder if I went too far to prove my point, but it also seemed to be working.

The chaos from the apartment had compartmentalized in my mind, blurry and distant memories, just like that night.

by Shara Adams

For more stories by Shara Adams, visit http://pennedinwhite.com.

My First Time.

I have never been hospitalized before. I think that I am pretty good at hiding things, but I couldn’t hide this from myself. I knew there was something wrong. I wasn’t sleeping more than a couple hours, I was becoming emotionally abusive, and I was falling back into overspending. Mania. This isn’t the first time I have been manic this year, but I hope it is the last. I moved into a new apartment earlier this week and I already can’t make rent. I am exhausting. I am tired from being me.

I took myself down to the hospital which I think we can agree is a feat on its own. Not having insurance was both a blessing a curse. The plus side is that I could choose whatever hospital I wanted and the downside is that I am uninsured. I can’t help but laugh that this insanely expensive vacation I just took and I didn’t even get to go to the pool. I am constantly, actively working to better myself. I take my medication, go to all my doctors appointments, religiously see my therapist, use the breathing exercises. I am not immune to it. It wasn’t at all what I had expected. Clean, hospital like in some ways, slightly degrading, and cold. BUT I am blessed to have gone to a place that provided me a private room and bathroom. Granted, everything was bolted to the floor and the bathroom had no door. Overall it was a really nice place filled with people actively trying to get better.

I was sad and anxious that I was taking all these days unpaid, but I had to. I had to go and get help. It was an out of body experience watching me set fire to all the relationships that took years to rebuild. One conversation has sent it all tumbling down. Here I am, trying to intervene and slow the damage. I was discharged yesterday afternoon and it seems that my grandparents are going to be the hardest to recover. I suppose it is divine timing because we just moved away after living next door to them. I am fortunate to still have my mom in my corner because it would be hell living together for the next year if I am going to be the source of her pain and anger.

I am doing better today. Better than yesterday, better than a week ago. I just have to keep pushing forward. My anxiety is manageable right now and I hope that it stays that way. I hope that this made inpatient stays a little less scary for those who haven’t experienced it.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Chapter Seventy-Five: Is Recovery in This Mental Illness Life Possible?

In my continued efforts to be transparent in what you will find in The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, I will be posting specific chapters in the coming weeks that I find helpful and will inspire you to purchase my book. If you would like to read my entire book, it is free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited and available on Amazon. You can find it on my author site for James Edgar Skye by clicking this link.  You can also become a Patreon of my writing, future podcasts, and help with my business by clicking Become a Patron! You can get cool swag like books at certain tiers that include my upcoming novella Angel on the Ward, a mug with my logo, a sticker with my logo, and soon I will be adding things like shirts and other amazing things. So, please join me on Patreon and become a part of my writing!

Chapter Seventy-Five: Is Recovery in This Mental Illness Life Possible?

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

ONE OF THE CRITICAL COMPONENTS of mental health recovery, in my mind is finding the things that work to make you happy. Over the years I have used different things to get me through the worst months of the year (my SAD months.) Depression during the winter months differs from person to person, because one person’s mental illness is not exactly alike to another person’s struggle.

What I have found useful in my life, is role-playing video games as they get me through some of the worst depression in my life. It is a way to escape reality for a few hours and focus on something different. It gives me an opportunity to reach goals, and feel good about myself when depression is taking over. It always makes me smile when I tell people that role-playing video games is one of the reasons I am here today, it is because some people find that idea ludicrous. I would not be here today for many reasons, and video games just happen to be one reason that I am here writing this memoir.

Writing is my greatest weapon, to deal with the ups and downs of my mental illness. The writing projects that I am currently working on, (which includes writing this memoir) and writing my blog are so helpful. At the same time, they are extremely therapeutic, and when my mind goes to the darkest of places, writing is my way to deal.

I had many lofty goals at the start of every year, and I get through them as much as possible, but there are still things that I would like to try out in this life—like photography. I have talked to other artists and photographers about how therapeutic taking pictures is for their mental health. When I use video games or reading books to escape my mental illness for a few hours, it is the same type of therapy for those using photography as an outlet. It’s something that is both active and positive, which is something we all need when in recovery from the many issues that come along with having a mental illness.

People ask me all the time on my blog, how best to deal with mental illness using different forms of media like books, video games, watching a film, photography, and even writing. Other bloggers have shared what helps them get through their worst symptoms and that includes things like meditation or yoga. 

What it comes down to, is tasks that can help a sufferer cope with trauma—and what they use as a coping mechanism, like get into horror movies and books, because they connect with that genre. I can relate to this in so many ways. I got into reading Edgar Allan Poe, because of the connection to the “dark romanticism” feel of his work, and his influence is in every aspect of my writing. I can pick up my collection of Poe’s work, open to a story or poem and completely immerse myself into that world. 

What I want people to get out of this chapter is this, there are so many ways out there to cope with mental illness, and it is essential for you to find what will help with your mental health. Before starting The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog, I was lost. I had my writing, but it was not enough. When I was writing just for me, there was no real human connection in my life. Writing a blog helped me to be more open, not only in my writing, but socially. I will probably never be the type that goes out into major social situations and make a bunch of friends that way, but it doesn’t mean that I have to go about it alone. 

Then I started a blog, and everything changed. I have used the blog to improve my mental health through shared experiences in mental illness, and now I am more open to sharing my experiences. I wrote this memoir because of the fantastic mental illness blogging community. Connecting with other writers and bloggers with mental illnesses has helped my mental health recovery. Find what helps you get through the tough times, and it will make these times less harsh. Never dwell on the negative and always move forward.

I believe that mental illness will be in my life until my last day. That means that there will be a level of suffering in my life. I can let this consume me and control me, which has been the case for a significant part of my life. But I also believe that there is a chance that we can recover enough to manage the symptoms related to our mental illness, to a point where we can be functioning members of society. I have come a long way with my depression and anxiety, to the point where I can still operate on days when either decides to takes over my day. 

I consider this my recovery stage in my life, because the old me used to collapse at the first signs of depression. I have lost years of my life at a time because depression dictated my life. It is the worst feeling in the world to realize that for years I barely left my house. I let depression take over. Now I have a Bachelor of Art degree and I am working on a graduate degree in English and Creative Writing. I graduated top of my class. I started a fantastic blog. I write every day, even when it is just for myself. My life has changed so much in a positive way. That is what recovery is for someone dealing with a mental illness. It is not perfect, but it is always moving forward.

Over the years, I developed ways of finding happiness, even when the worst parts of my mental illness feel as if it will consume me. When I struggle, I can look towards the good in my life. Mental illness, for the most part, is something that is manageable, and I believe this is true for all sufferers. Find what makes your recovery possible in your own life. You might surprise 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!

Photo by Dimitri Houtteman on Unsplash

Signs of Hope and More

I am an Etsy shop owner.

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When I first opened my Etsy shop my goal was to make a line of gifts, cards, magnets, stickers and wall art for MENTAL HEALTH RECOVERY AND WELLNESS.

I thought… there is not much out there that I am aware of–not many cards or gifts specifically for people with mental health and who are in mental health recovery.

I thought… I know what has helped me the MANY times I was battling severe mental health SEASONS of my life for over two decades. I know what would have helped me.

I thought… some people want to help and are thinking of you, but they just don’t know what to say. So, the say nothing and that hurts.

I thought… a card or magnet could say what others couldn’t or didn’t know how.

I thought… I need to help others show their love and HELP others heal and feel better with a card or a magnet.

So, in the beginning my main goal was to create new art and adapt my old art with quotes, sayings and heartfelt words etc.

But then… the Corona Virus hit.

Etsy asked people to make masks on Etsy. I could sew, so this was a no brainer.

I had to put my goal for my Etsy shop in my back pocket for later and in April began making masks nonstop and selling them both locally and on Etsy. I made enough money so I didn’t have to work at a part-time job to supplement my SSDI.

Mask making became my job. In fact, masks were in such high demand I had to close my shop a few times to slow down business so I could catch up and so I would not go over my allowed SSDI income amount. It was unbelievable.

I loved being my own boss and don’t want to ever get a part-time job again. So, I am working diligently to create, make and sell new products.

I LOVE being my own boss.

I can go to work whenever I want. (Oh wait, I am always there.) I can stay up late to work as I tend to be a night owl and always have been, If I stay up too late I can sleep in. This is awesome because sleep has always been an issue for me and this helps greatly.

The best part is I am available to be there for my adult children whenever they need and I am available to visit and help take care of my beautiful grandbaby whenever they need me.

I would like you to meet my gorgeous baby girl, my granddaughter, my heart, my miracle, my life… Leora Bravely who will be one year old on August 3rd.

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I am beyond blessed to be alive to participate in her life and love her up. I almost missed this. Proof how life will get better. Just hold on and keep fighting. Suicide is not an option. Oops. Sorry, I do digress. Back to the topic.

The mask business has slowed down, so now I am trying to create, make and sell other products.

I am attempting to learn SEO and how to get to the top of search engine searches on Etsy and Google searches. It is a slow and difficult task so far.

If anyone knows about this and other ways to sell and market online please share. I will be most grateful and appreciative.

Please visit my Etsy shop here:

Signs of Hope and More

This is my shop banner:

Signs of Hope Banner 2

I apologize ahead of time if the following information is confusing.

I am learning how to add items for sale as I go.

These are some of my products I sell on my shop. I have many many more fabric choices:

MASKS — $12.95

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Face Mask

Face mask with filter pocket, adjustable ear loops, wire nose piece, double layer of cotton, Reusable-washable-Handmade-expandable-pleats-stylish.

$12.95

MASKS AND MATCHING SCRUNCHIES — $15.95 for the matching set

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Face Mask with Matching Scrunchie

Face mask with filter pocket, adjustable ear loops, wire nose piece, double layer of cotton, Reusable-washable-Handmade-expandable-pleats-stylish with a MATCHING SCRUNCHIE.

$15.95

SCRUNCHIES — $3.00 — varies with type and size

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Hair Scrunchies

If you like a scrunchie I have shown, please describe the fabric. I have many more fabric options on my Etsy Shop to choose from. Please go there to check out the fabric and return here to make an order. Or order directly from my Etsy shop. Happy shopping.

$3.00

POCKET ZIPPER SCRUNCHIES–$4.00 (holds & hides keys, money, lip or chapstick etc.)

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Pocket Zipper Scrunchie

If you like a scrunchie I have shown, please describe the fabric. I have many more fabric options on my Etsy Shop to choose from. Please go there to check out the fabric and return here to make an order. Or order directly from my Etsy shop. Happy shopping.

$4.75

PLASTIC BAG HOLDER DISPENSERS — $12.00  (a decorative where to hide and organize your plastic shopping bags)

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Plastic Bag Holder Dispenser

Please describe the fabric you would like when making your purchase or order directly from my Etsy shop. Happy shopping.

$12.00

Please visit my Etsy shop here:

Signs of Hope and More

GIFT CARDS, STICKERS, MAGNETS, WALL ART: Currently $3.00 for downloadable digital prints

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Digital Downloadable Art Print

If you like an image I have shown, please describe your choice when making a purchase. I have many more on my Etsy Shop to choose from. Please go there to check them ALL OUT and return here to make an order. I will send a copy for $5.00 plus shipping. I am sorry but it is not possible for you to download from my blog. You can download on my Etsy shop for ONLY $3.00 a copy. Happy shopping. I CAN PERSONALIZE THE QUOTE OF YOUR CHOICE FOR $6.00 plus price of shipping.

$3.00

MY COLOR PENCIL DRAWING WITH QUOTE — CAN PERSONALIZE QUOTE

Martin Luther King Jr.

MY ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR PAINTING WITH OR WITHOUT QUOTE can customize quote

butterfly inspiration

CUSTOMIZED DRAWINGS — GIVE ME A PHOTO and I create something like this…

boy scan ETSY

I will continue to add more products:

  1. Next adding head bands– matching headbands for babies and Mommys.
  2. gift cards – for mental health
  3. stickers and magnets – for mental health
  4. wall art and quotes – for mental health
  5. I WILL ALSO BE SELLING CUSTOMIZED PENCIL DRAWINGS/SKETCHES OF CHILDREN, FAMILIES, PETS etc.

I hope you will visit soon. Please visit and then check back as I keep adding more items.

This is from my mental health line of products and can be used as a gift card, magnet, sticker or small wall art. I am working on creating more of this type of product.

Sorry the image is fuzzy but is not when ordering.

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Please let me know if you think it is a good idea. What would you like to see??? Please share. (the image is fuzzy–sorry)

Please visit my Etsy shop here:     Signs of Hope and More

I apologize if this is confusing as I am learning as I go.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Top Featured Image photo credit: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash