The Passing of The Bipolar Writer’s Mother

On December 15, 2019, at 9:45am, I lost my mother. This place, this blog, has always been the place where I go when I need support. I always wanted to help others, and my mother was a significant part of the reason I am going to keep this blog. Still, I will be writing about that in the future. Just know that while her brain damage was extensive, she was feeling any pain when she passed, and she had her family around her for support.

What I need most is support from the mental illness community. When my grandfather passed, it destroyed me, and I was close to my grandfather and even closer to my mom, she is the only reason. The Bipolar Writer and my pen name James Edgar Skye exists, why I am who I’ve become, it was my mom.

GoFundMe for my Mom’s Funeral Expenses

What I am asking is for support emotionally if you can. I will, of course, be linking my GoFundMe page here, but right now, I am a mess. Depression has already sunk in, and I have no idea what my life looks like without my mother in it because her stroke and passing were so sudden and unexpected. My family is already feeling the financial burdens that will be happening throughout the foreseeable future. Well, wishes are incredible, and if you can help, thank you from my entire family and from the bottom of my heart. I hate asking, but right now, it’s an impossible situation. My GoFundMe page is under my real name, so don’t get distracted if it’s not under James Edgar Skye. I had friends and family making their contributions, and some strangers. Please keep me grounded as a struggle to figure out things. With much love,

James

Always Keep Fighting

GoFundMe for my Mom’s Funeral Expenses

A Milestone for my Memoir

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I have shared that I found a publisher for my book, and that I now have an editor that working towards getting my manuscript ready to publish.

As of today, I have gone through all the changes of the first edit and made some changes of my own. I believe this is the best the memoir has been since the beginning. I sent back the updates, and I look forward to moving closer to publication. For those that have followed my blog for some time, you know that my memoir has been over two years in the making, and to finally have a publisher has been the best feeling in the world.

When it goes to publication, I will offering the book on a tier of my Patreon account. It will be great to finally share my entire story, at least so far.

Update of Other Writing Projects

I also wanted to use this blog post to update my writing projects are at various levels of completion.

The Rise of the Nephilim

The Rise of the Nephilim is the first book of a series that I am starting in the fantasy fiction genre. I am really excited to be way ahead of schedule with a 60K word count in May. I was supposed to start it this week, but at the turn of a new month I was already ready to start writing, and it caught like wildfire. I plan on finishing the first draft by August, which would be way ahead of schedule. There is still so much to write! I am excited about it, and after I edit the prologue, I will be offering it on a tier of my Patreon account.

Angel on the Ward

It has been about a month since I finished the first draft of my novella entitled Angel on the Ward. This was the first piece I wrote in the third-person omniscient but with a single POV. I already have a copy editor ready to look at this piece, and what I need now is the money. It always seems to work itself out, but right now, this project is in the editing phase. The hope is to use this short novella to help boost my Patreon account so that I can continue to grow a following.

Memory of Shane

Perhaps the most frustrating this is that I have a fantastic screenplay (totally my opinion) and I can’t find an agent. No agency takes unsolicited material, so I am stuck trying to go a different rout–look for a producer that will be interested in my screenplay and to enter screenplay competitions. If you know anyone in the business (Hollywood), please let me know, I want to get my screenplay out there in the world. I will be completing the first draft of the novel this year.

That is my update. I plan on writing a lot of blog posts the rest of the week so that I can make sure that things pick up on this blog.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Anxious About the Future

Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. – Edgar Allan Poe

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This weekend will be the last free weekend for me as I head into Monday and the start of my master’s program. I am beyond ecstatic about the next two years of my life, and at the same time overly anxious.

I am ready to take on this new challenge. I was anxious about starting my bachelor’s degree, and by the time I completed that I was in the right place in my life mentally and I succeeded. It was great that despite the struggles of having a mental illness I found a way to graduate the top of my class. I know once I get into that rhythm again things will work itself out– still, there will always be doubts in my mind.

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I did have some goals this summer, and while I have not conquered it all as I’d hoped, there was a lot a positive to come out of my summer. I have to move on. My goals for the remainder of the year are to refocus on publishing my memoir, getting back into the groove of school, starting a new fiction writing project, keep growing The Bipolar Writer blog and expand my freelance business. I will continue to get better at writing within my master’s program. I will be stronger, and I will share on my blog my journey.

I am embarking on an amazing jouney.

I have to be positive because there will be days where my anxiety, depression, mania, and insomnia will be fighting a war in my mind. I have to pick the battles that I know are winnable.

So here is to better days ahead.

Always Keep Fighting.

James

Photo Credit:

Nicole Honeywill

Trent Erwin

Peter Fogden

A One Year Blog Annivesary

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. – Edgar Allan Poe

A Letter to The Bipolar Writer – A Year Later

You made it James. The One year anniversary of The Bipolar Writer blog.

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One year ago today you started this blog with an idea. You wanted to share the good, the bad, and the amazing part of living a life within having a mental illness.

You had your doubts, this was the third time in four years that you wanted to blog about your experiences. You yearned to finally share The Bipolar Writer and James Edgar Skye with the world, but with the past failure at blogging, it was easy to say “if this fails, I am done writing.”

It was different for you this time, you had taken a class on creating an cultivating a productive blog. You made the decision to do things right. The first thing was to buy a domain name. It meant having access to better themes that could really make your blog a professional one. It was as if the stars had aligned and you finally had your shot a making something great.

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It was a risky venture starting this blog in September. In the distance, you knew that there was a chance that being Bipolar could stop this blog in its tracks. With October and November looming you made the decision to move forward. It was the right choice.

There were struggles. In this mental illness life, it is never easy. You had no idea that things would take off the way that it did. It was so easy to just be yourself and begin to share the experiences as both James and The Bipolar Writer.

Amazingly in November, the blog was blooming, and out of it came an idea– The Bipolar Writer Memoir. It was your ten year anniversary that month, and the stars really aligned. Like the idea of blogging, you had tried so many times in the past to write your memoir. Yet with every comment, every like, and every conversation, it became clearer that this is where the rest of my year would go. I wrote like a madman, but it the feedback that made it all possible.

In December you took another significant step, you decided it was time to start writing the stories of others. What has become a series, Interview Features – The Series, you showed the world that mental illness has so many faces. It helped you that people were willing to share their own journey with you, hoping that you would shed some light on their stories. It became the best series. It gave me another idea– contributor writers for The Bipolar Writer blog. December was a fantastic month, and even with a week of depression to end the year, you were ready to take The Bipolar Writer blog into 2018.

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2018 was gonna be the year that things finally started to gather yourself and there were so many goals to start the year My 2018 Goals. It was tough at times because your depression and anxiety spiraled out of control for days at a time. Unlike the winter months in the past, you found solace in your writing, and this blog became the connection to sharing your experience with the mental illness community. It was all going well. The blog was shining, and the memoir was coming along– then you hit the worst stretch of this blog which coincided with a severe depression cycle that started early March.

It had to happen. Nothing in this mental illness life is easy. I needed to struggle in 2018. It was a rare occurrence to have long depression cycles. This one started in March and finally let up in May. I could see that my energy was just not into writing new and original content. I was lucky though, I had some of the most fantastic contributor writers that helped this blog continue to move forward. I would have been lost without their willingness to pick up the slack.

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It was summer. You graduated. You worked your ass off to reach 100,000 views, and you did it. You amazed yourself. The ups and downs. Through it all, you always found a way to continue to make The Bipolar Writer blog the best ever.

You shared so much with your followers, and you were amazed by the outpour through victories, reaching goals, and the even more fantastic how your fellow mental illness bloggers picked you up when you were down.

This journey has been the best thing to happen to The Bipolar Writer, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. You made it to one year. Here is to many more years of sharing my experience with Bipolar One.

I promise to make it the best ever.

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

Markus Spiske

Samuel Zeller

Carl Raw

Ksenia Makagonova

Defining the Next Step

Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. – Edgar Allan Poe

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What’s Next?

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I am always thinking about what is next for me. I am close to the end of my first year since starting The Bipolar Writer blog (I will be writing an anniversary piece that will be featured on the one year anniversary.) So what is next?

My memoir is in limbo as I am still in search for the right artist that can capture what I want in a cover. The cover is the most important part next to the story when you self-publish. It needs to be right.

I think my next project in the meantime will be starting a new screenplay. I have some ideas of where that would go. I have been working on the beginnings of the story of one of my favorite video games. Getting back to creative writing would be great. It has been a while as I am working on my memoir– a non-fiction piece of work. I also recently began to redo chapters in the novel version of my first screenplay (I kinda did that one backward.) Writing is just something that I need to get back to normal.

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Writing is what I do best, and it really is where I feel my best. I have less than a month before starting my Master’s programs, and I could really get the first act of my next creative work, while at the same time I can work towards finding my artist, finally publishing my memoir, and of course, creating new content here on The Bipolar Writer blog.

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James Edgar Skye

Please use this link to donate

Photo Credit:

Andrew Neel

Max Nelson

Elijah O’Donell

The History Behind My Screenplay

I wrote this piece in October of last year and I wanted to re-share this post as I work towards getting an agent so that I sell my first screenplay. It’s been on the back burner the last couple of months as I had hoped to place in a screenwriting competition. It didn’t work out but I am determined to sell my screenplay and to finish writing the novel version. As with all things in life patients is the key.

Looking Back on How Memory of Shane Came Into Existence

I thought it was time to talk about my biggest project out there right now, my screenplay entitled Memory of Shane and its subsequent novel that I am writing. This story is really about two years in the making and since I am writing the novel version the idea continues to be ongoing.

The project started as a short story that I wrote for an advanced writing class about two years ago. I never imagined that I would write this story beyond this class because it was a good piece, and there were so many places I wanted to go with it, but the ten-page limit really made me believe that I was done. But, when the opportunity came to choose a story for my second screenwriting class (where our goal was to write the first draft of act one of a full-length screenplay) I jumped at the chance to explore my story again.

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Writing the first act was so amazing. I really got to know the story down to its bones, and I knew the developing it into a screenplay would give me the opportunity to refine my dialogue skill to a new level. In my advanced screenplay class, we finished act two and looked toward the future for act three. I knew by the end of my advanced screenwriting class where I would go in the final act, it would be a few more months until I finished my complete first draft, and of course, there was a long editing period.

But where did this story come from? I will admit the story is a work of fiction, but as any writer will tell you, it is impossible for your real life not to make its way onto the page. The basis of Memory of Shane is a love story between Adriana, the young nineteen-year-old not looking for love and Shane the young writer hoping for his big break. What drove me to even start to write a love story was rooted in what happened in my own personal relationship with my girlfriend at the time in 2007.

I will written several blogs about diagnosis the inception of The Bipolar Writer blog. After leaving the psychiatric ward for the first time there was true chaos in my life.

I was on new medication that I didn’t believe in. I had some idea where my life was heading, and so I was worried about the emotional toll that being in a relationship with me would be for my girlfriend. I loved her, and she was willing to stick it out with me, but I did the unthinkable and ended my relationship in a very Bipolar way. She came to my house and I broke up with her. I was a jerk, there is no getting around that now. Looking back, I know my girlfriend would’ve stuck by with me through the extreme ups and downs, but it just wasn’t fair to her because, as I would find out, 2008 and 2009 were the worst years of my life.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, when writing Memory of Shane I had the opportunity to explore if and how two people could coexist when one of the people in the relationship is bipolar. On some level, I wanted to imagine if a person like me could be in a healthy relationship. I worked so many scenarios in my mind that it gave me the ability to write a story that, at some level, could have been my own life. Our past choices are long gone now, but it’s great as a writer to explore your past through your writing.

It is almost impossible for my own life not to sneak into my writing, and in my screenplay my character Shane does reflect my own experiences with Bipolar One. We both fell in love at the start of our diagnosis although Shane tried to hold on to Adriana. Both Shane and I can trace our symptoms to our teen years. I even wrote a scene where Shane spends days laying down in his bed in complete darkness, I did so many times during my long cycles of depression.

Beyond the diagnosis, both Shane and I tried to take our lives three times, thought Shane was unfortunately successful became a statistic. There was a part of me that, when I wrote Shane’s death in the story, that once and for all that any thoughts of suicide in my own life died with this character. I would no longer walk down that dark path that leads to suicide. It became true​ when I made the decision to end my character Shane’s life, I would lock that part of me away that piece of me forever, and then I decided to start a blog and write memoir. Life is funny like that sometimes, and I have talked extensively about suicide on this blog.

After finishing my full-length screenplay of Memory of Shane it came down to if I would write the novel version. I put so much into this project, could I really do it again? It took months before I could revisit the idea again and eventually I gave in. It will be interesting for me to explore this story once again.

So, there is a little history on my project Memory of Shane.

J.E. Skye


Photo Credit:
unsplash-logoJustin Luebke

unsplash-logoJason Yu

The Start of Something New

My move is official, and I am into my new house. It is a chance for me to reset the clock on my life. It was time for something good and change. I think it will be helpful for my anxiety. One significant life-changing thing this week– the move. Then at the end of this week, I will be completing the primary goal since starting my recovery journey that I have been working on over the past four years.

I will be the first to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in my family.

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As I start this new stage of my life, a chance for something new, I wanted to reflect on how things have gone since 2010. I remember it still as if it was yesterday. I was laying in a hospital bed, the second time in two weeks. The first hospital visit was a suicide attempt where I came close to dying. I spend three days in a coma because of an overdose. If I am honest, I didn’t believe that I would wake up. I am happy to be living my life right at this moment.

It was in the second hospital visits after several seizures that I reflected on the path my life had taken from 2006-2010. It had been a life of chaos. I wanted stability. It was the first time in my life that I admitted that my life was falling apart– and I finally said “I am Bipolar” for the first time since my diagnosis in 2007.

It was there that my life started to change. I realized at that moment that for some reason, despite trying so hard, that there was something bigger going on in my life. Against the odds, according to my doctors, I survived– barely.

It has never been easy. Every day I struggle to find the balance between my life and my mental illness life. The lines are blurry between the two worlds. Since that moment I have been happy. I have been sad. I have been through depression cycles both long and short. I developed social anxiety, lived through the worst insomnia, and found a place in this world where I belong– like becoming a mental health advocate.

Just in the four years that I decided to go back to school and get my degree in creative writing so much has happened in my life. The good always outweighs the bad. I went through bleeding ulcers last year– I survived. There were so many times that giving up seemed like the perfect option– but I persevered.

I have written my memoir which has been my most significant achievement. I wrote a screenplay that featured a character that was Bipolar, and the novel version is close to completion. My favorite thing in the last four years is creating The Bipolar Writer blog and coming up with my psydonym– James Edgar Skye.

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My blog has become a place of solace and where I can be myself. Sharing my journey with you has been the highest part of my day.

My upcoming achievement is a testament that even with a mental illness you can overcome and do great things.  We can fight. I can fight. Always keep fighting because we can’t let mental illness win.

I offer this last thing before ending this blog post. Together we can fight the stigma surrounding mental illness. I challenge you to write your story. Collaborate with other mental health writers and advocates. Life is too short to let mental illness win. Above all work on your mental health first.

James

P.S. Its time to open a bottle of Jameson to celebrate this coming weekend.

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoAlex St

unsplash-logoVasily Koloda

Writing — It Changed my Depression Oulook

Writing over the last two year has been the best and greatest thing I have done for my mental health. What you will find within the confines of this blog post is my thoughts about depression and how things changed when I became The Bipolar Writer.

Writing Changed the Way Depression Effects Me

I started 2016 by hitting a rough patch in my life. I was on the end of my last real depression cycle that lasted almost two years. I had zero to little motivation outside of school to write. It was here that I decided to make a change, but my life was in turmoil. That summer changed my life. The difference became when I decided to refocus my writing into screenplay writing.

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In 2016, my fiction writing and the need to write every day was fading with each passing day. My last project was a short thirty-page short story about my experience in the psych ward which I wrote in 2015. It never made it past the first draft, and I have yet to finish editing the piece. I posted a few parts of this written work last year here on my blog. You can find it here.

I knew I had to fall back into love with writing. My first screenplay class was a beginners class. The purpose of the course (eight weeks long) was to write a short 10-15 page screenplay. As writer this was a challenge as the project was to have all three acts in such a short span. This class changed my outlook on writing. My final project was about a poker player (a rounder so to speak) that was in Las Vegas for his twenty-first birthday. It was terrific to be able to create a piece that was complete from start to finish. I told a story, a fictional one. I fell in love with screenplay writing, and I once again have the “need to write.”

My next semester I took the next level (intermediate) screenwriting class for my minor. It was in this class that my screenplay, Memory of Shane, was born. In the first class during the late summer, I wrote act one in the class. The next semester we worked on act two in the advanced course. By the end of this semester, I had all the tools to complete my first feature screenplay. By the end of 2016, the first draft was complete.

The thing was I barely made it through 2016. I was dealing with a severe uptake in my anxiety and depression for the first two months of 2017. It was hospitalization in February that I lost my way again. I tried to start new projects with little progress.

It would take months to get back on track. Somehow through it all, I finished the proofreading and editing phase my screenplay in March 2017. In April I was able to get my first ever copyright on completed work. I thought it was a sign that things would get better. I was wrong.

I lost myself again. At least for a few months. The summer of 2017 brought new opportunities to write, and I started to work on the novel version of Memory of Shane. But I love for writing was leaving me again. I would go days and then weeks without writing.

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Something real was missing in my life as if I needed to do something to get back to who I was as a writer.

It is funny how life can change so quickly. In September of 2017, I started one of my required classes for my degree. It was a class in creating a writers platform— a blog. The Bipolar Writer blog was born out of this class. To my surprise, I found myself for the first time as a writer— a real writer. The Bipolar Writer. The rest, as they say, is history.

In October I began to write my memoir, and I learned to use my blog as a stepping stone for what would become my memoir– The Bipolar Writer. For the first time in years I was writing everyday. Since the beginning of The Bipolar Writer blog, I have spent at least an hour writing a day. Since January I have written as many hours a day as I could, not because I had to write.

I wanted to write. I found it so therapeutic.

I became The Bipolar Writer. I guess at some level it was always in me to write. I went back to school to work on my skills. I learned so much, and for the first time, I was applying these skills.

What came out the last six months was that I found that depression, while still a part of my life, was manageable. I haven’t had a depression cycle longer than a few days. That has never happened in my ten plus years of dealing with depression— my familiar companion. I will always be Bipolar.

Writing changed my life. I have a real future now. I am so close to graduating. I have plans to start my Masters in October. I want to teach writing and screenwriting some day. Its a few months on the horizon but it is real. I completed my memoir and now I am so close to another goal.  Even if it is the first draft that is progress. I could never imagine my blog would take me to new heights.

If I am honest. When I started writing my blog, I had little expectations.

Now I have sixteen contributor writers, and my blog grows every day. The mix of writers keeps the ideas flowing, and it keeps The Bipolar Writer blog working on its primary goal. To end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

What I want people to take from this blog post is never give up. Always keep fighting. Find what makes you happy. Writing has been the best way for me to work on my mental health. Life is too short to let a mental illness be your life. I will always be Bipolar— but it will never define me other than it is a part of my life.

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Stay strong in the fight.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logo85Fifteen

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

unsplash-logoMatt Atherton

unsplash-logoJohn Baker

My Fifth Honest Post

I love writing a series of honest blog posts. These posts are all about writing about what is on my mind a lot. Being that this is the first honest post of 2018, it has an extra special place on my blog.

Here a couple of my past blog posts in this series:

Part Four

Part Three

Part Two

So Let’s Get Started.

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I have been super busy. Writing. Blogging. And then more writing and blogging. Next week I start what will be one of my three remaining terms before getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing with a specialization in Fiction. I will have minored in journalism, screenwriting, and political science. My journey to reach my goal of getting my bachelors degree is so close to its end. Its been a long one, but being able to really taste the end for the first time, it just means the world to me.

My plans after getting my first degree are to take a small break, maybe two-four months before starting on my eighteen months long Master’s program.

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I have been doing better in the area of social anxiety and my overall anxiety. It’s true I am just skating by during the winter months hoping that Spring will come early. I do spend most of my time in my safe place of home, but things are changing. I always feel better about dealing with my anxiety and depression once Spring turns into Summer.

It has been about a week and a half since my last panic attack and I feel better that it’s under control for the moment. I think my new Ativan dosage is helping but I don’t know in the next couple of months that it is truly working. Still, I am hopeful that I will get my anxiety under control.

I am thinking of taking the payment button off my blog at least for now. There have been so many people donating to my blog, and it means the world, but I am falling short of my goal of enough donations to buy a new computer. This will be the last post I will add a button. It looks like I will be looking at buying an iPad Pro instead, so rest assured those you who have been amazingly donating anything you can, it won’t be for nothing.

My memoir The Bipolar Writer is coming along greatly. I didn’t even think how much I have been working towards this singular goal. There is still more on to and chapters to expand on, but what has been written so far has grown as I have used this blog to really gauge what works. I have been editing a few chapters a day after writing. I am hoping to get everything done by the end of January for a first draft.

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I can’t believe we are just six days into the new year. It has already gone so fast. I am laser focused on my writing. I am been looking at publishing my memoir myself (self-publish route) or going with a named publishing house. It’s crazy because I know a lot about the publishing, industry,  but I am having trouble knowing where to go for my memoir. Is it too soon? Should I find out more after I complete the first draft?

I sometimes wish there were two of me right now. It would make life a bit easier for me. That way I could have one James working on school work and the other writing full-time. I already write and do school full-time, but it would feel nice to actually have time for it all.

But I do my best. I wake up each day ready to tackle another problem.

Lastly, I am going to focus on selling my screenplay again since the start of the New Year. I need to find an agent first, and then I can go and get help to sell my screenplay. I will try to go the manager route as well and see what happens. If anyone knows an in for an agency, any agency that is taking new screenwriters, I will be forever grateful.

This week has been great to me and it feels great to really start 2018 off the right way.

How are your first week’s coming along?

Always Keep Fighting

J.E. Skye

Photo Credits:

unsplash-logoAndrew Butler

unsplash-logoDanielle MacInnes

unsplash-logoTamarcus Brown

unsplash-logoAlfons Morales