My 2018 Goals

Where do I begin?

I thought about all the New Year’s resolutions I have made over my lifetime and I realized I always chose the generic ones so that I didn’t feel so bad when my resolutions went by the wayside on January 2nd. But this year, it is about change for James Edgar Skye, and I decided in favor of goals instead of resolutions.

I know that I need to continue to expand my blog. I am already working on ideas for the New Year. I have started to write feature articles and that will expand in 2018. Some new topics to discuss are already on a very large list for 2018, and I am thinking of adding guest writers to add a different perspective on The Bipolar Writer.

My memoir is my biggest goal of the year. I am nearing the all-important first draft of my memoir. There is still a long way to go, but I am really focused on getting this major goal accomplished in 2018.

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I am already starting, but another major goal of mine is to learn Korean. I chose to go with Rosetta Stone, they have a great subscription service that is priced right.

I am going to read more books. I used to average two-three books a week. With my heavy course load and writing goals I think I can sneak in at least once a week. I have a huge Audible library so I can listen to books while I write and study. I used to do it all the time, I am not sure why I stopped.

I have mental health goals this year as well. I want to really focus on getting my anxiety back to manageable levels. I finally have a legit dosage of Ativan and that will help, but I need to be less reliant on the medication.

I want to figure out once and for all my triggers of my social anxiety so that I can leave the house more in 2018.

I don’t want to be limited this year. So much of 2017 was full of things that kept me from really living. I live twenty minutes from the beach, and yet I never actually go. I have to figure out a way to go to the beach more in 2018. It means getting my social anxiety under control.

I am going to work on my self-discipline in 2018. It is a major weakness. It means having a schedule that works. Waking at the same time every day and going to sleep at a decent hour. Meditating and working on CBT’s mindfulness breathing. My self-discipline this year has been chaotic at best, and I know there are so many changes that I can make.

I think the biggest goal in 2018 is not overwhelming myself to a point where I end up in the hospital, again. I need to learn that I have limits and when it comes to that each day, I can walk away from any project that I am working on.

I also want to appreciate the small victories in life.

I am sure my goals will change as 2018 signs of progress begin to make themselves clear but these are the most important to me at the moment.

I would like to know some of your goals in 2018 from my fellow mental health and really any blogger that reads this blog post. I am hoping for a great New Year as always, but I have a great feeling about this year.

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I am not sure if I will write another post in 2017, so I wanted to wish all my fellow bloggers a very Happy New Year. May 2018 be the best year ever.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

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unsplash-logoRyan Wong

unsplash-logoMike Enerio

My Weekly Wrap-Up 12/18 – 12/24

Well, we have finally arrived the day before the big day, Christmas Eve. For me, it has been a weird up and down rollercoaster. I finished my finals and I am ready for some much-needed rest from school. Rest for me means writing because I find nothing more therapeutic. I am closing in on a real first draft of my memoir The Bipolar Writer, and I hope for it to be completed in my time off becomes a reality.

I always like these weekly wrap-ups because of its an opportunity to look back on what I wrote and what we talked about on this blog. So let’s get started.

A Little White Pill

I opened my week with a poem. A Little White Pill was another poem I wrote about dealing with panic attacks. A common theme over the month of December. It is similar to my poem 12:15 am but it dives deeper into the issue. It was written during a particularly tough panic attack I went through.

What Drives Me

This blog post I talk about the things that drive me daily to continue to achieve my goals. I have so many big things coming in 2018 and the biggest finishing my Bachelor’s degree and completing my memoir. There are other equally important goals like starting my Master’s program and maybe winning the BEA student screenwriting competition. I reached my 2000th follower just before writing this blog post and it felt like another amazing goal for me to reach. It is important for someone like me, who deals with being Bipolar and anxiety daily, to always be moving forward.

Morgan’s Interview Feature

I was excited to write my first interview feature article for The Bipolar Writer on a very special friend of my mine, Morgan. It meant a lot that Morgan was willing to share very personal experiences with me and to allow me to share them with my followers. Every journey with a mental illness is different, and its important to me to share the stories of others. Take a journey from the origins of Morgan’s mental illness to how she turned her issues into the creative process. Morgan’s Interview Feature is a must read.

Learning From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

I wanted to celebrate my eight months of working with CBT to get my anxiety under control with one of the techniques I have learned during my time. It has been an up and down process but I have learned a lot about how effective CBT can be. In this post, I talk about “Nonjudgemental Focused Emotional Awareness.” The point of this exercise is to see how you do at not judging the thoughts that come through your head while you are focusing on your breathing. In my own experience, it has been helpful to break down my thoughts into a spreadsheet that breaks down each session. It’s great for really breaking down turning negative thoughts that often come racing through my head.

My Bipolar Experience with the ER

In this post, I talk about the first three years of my diagnosis and how the many emergency room visits within the American Healthcare system can be counterproductive for someone with a mental illness. Everyone experiences the emergency room differently but I eventually realized that it is not always the most effective place to go. In the blog post, I share my experiences as an example of what could happen.

Tony’s Interview Feature

Tony’s Interview Feature was the second installment of what is shaping up to be one of the biggest series on the Bipolar Writer. Tony’s story is another look at how a mental illness can affect the course of someone’s life. It is amazing how people are willing to share their story with me, it really means the world. Like all of our stories, Tony’s journey is a unique one, and another story that about turning the worst part of our mental illness into a creative outlet.

Then, There are Nights

In this blog post, I talk about what I am not describing as one of the worst panic attacks since starting this journey. It lasted for hours and almost landed me in the hospital. The post was a short one but I talk a lot about looking at the triggers and look toward the future at getting my anxiety back under control.

My Fourth Honest Post

I love writing these posts because they are all about reflection and looking towards my future. This reflection was one of my favorites because it was after the worse panic attacks of my life. It is amazing how something like a panic attack can really put things into perspective. I really looked towards the future of this post. reflection is good for the soul.

Giving up Coffee

In this post, I talk about a different medical issue in my life dealing with my stomach problems and my issues with ulcers. I had to talk to my stomach doctor again and it seems that I will have to give up coffee, which if you follow my blog, will be a difficult task over the next few months.

That is my week, and to be honest, its been a good one even with the craziness that is my life.

I wanted to end this post by wishing all my fellow bloggers and followers a very Merry Christmas. It has been an honor to have so many great people read about my journey. The best thing I did was start this blog.

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J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logorawpixel.com

unsplash-logoIgor Ovsyannykov

What Drives Me

I have a lot of things driving me at the moment. It’s the “why” when I first ask myself why should I get out of bed.

I have the sheer willpower to finish what I started. For this. It means finishing school. That means finally getting my degree. I want to feel the sense that I didn’t waste the time I have to spend on my degree. There were some bumpy roads, a couple of lost semesters along the way, but I am so close so it drives me.

The fact that in 2018 I will be starting my Master’s degree is a very big driving factor in my life.

The chance of getting my written work out there in the world drives me. I just entered a prestigious student screenwriting competition which could change the course of my writing, and finally, see Memory of Shane to completion to the point that it gets sold. I have had some interest but this competition is the key.

I am also excited, after taking a break in writing the novel version of Memory of Shane, to finally get this piece back on track.

I have this amazing blog that just reached its 2000th follower in just under four months over the weekend. I have grown as a writer so much on this blog, and I have learned so much from the mental illness community. We are so strong together helping one another.

I feel a part of the mental Illness community on WordPress, that’s I have a place to share my own experiences, so that they are willing to share theirs with me. I never imagined I get to go this place on my blog so quickly.

I have shared so much on my blog, and plan to do even more. That means posting at least two interview features week. I am writing two articles this week which has been an amazing experience and I am excited to share my writing with other people’s stories. When people trust me to share their story, it means the world to me and it drives me.

I am excited to be nearing the first draft of my memoir. I have worked so hard to get to the point where I have a good idea of where I am going with the project. The end game is the point of writing. It drives me every day to write or edit a chapter a day.

I have driven by my the need to continue to fight this great fight with anxiety and depression.

I am driven by the future and what it means for me over the course of 2018.

I am driven by the positive direction that I  am going on with my life.

I am driven by the failing health of my mother.

Life is unpredictable and we need things in our lives to keep moving forward and not looking back. If I have learned anything from this blog, it’s that what drives me the most is writing and sharing this experience with my fellow bloggers, and maybe those that just stumble upon my blog.

So I ask my fellow bloggers, what is driving you at the moment?

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoPatrick Tomasso

Weekly Wrap-up 12/4 – 12/10

My original plan was to spend my day editing and forgo my weekly wrap-up, but when I woke this morning I felt good and the need to write was there for me. What I love about writing my weekly wrap-up is it gives me a chance to close out my week and talk recap of the issues that were discussed.

So, here is the review of my week.

Cutting and Self-harm, My Story

The first blog post of the week was a reblogged piece I wrote in September but a more extensive and edited piece. Self-harm was a big part of my life as a teenager and young adult, and I felt it was important to share my own experience with the topic. These types of subjects are hard to understand if you have never had to deal with self-harm, so my aim was to tell my own story so that people can relate or at some level understand why someone would choose to self-harm.

Car Anxiety

In this blog piece, I explore a part of my social anxiety that has become a major part of my daily routine, my driving anxiety (which I really love to call “car anxiety.”) What was good about a piece like this one is that car anxiety encompasses both driving and being a passenger in a moving vehicle. It was great to get feedback on a piece like this and I made the decision to add this subject to my memoir. I am not sure if it will make the final cut but it was fun to write.

Going Through the Motions of Life

Going through the motions of life. With a mental illness as a part of your life, it is not uncommon to have this feeling. We have all, for the sake of sanity, made the decision to go through the motions of a daily schedule without actually being there mentally. This blog piece talks about how you can still be productive despite going through the motions of life.

Finding Happiness With a Mental Illness

Can you find happiness with a mental illness? I am still on the fence that I could share my life with someone who has never spent a day in my shoes. The chaos of life is bad enough but to share my mental illness with someone is an idea that I may never be comfortable with, still, in this blog post I explore my thoughts on the subject of finding happiness with a mental illness.

My Mother Saved My Life

Without my mother, there would be no James Edgar Skye or The Bipolar Writer. In this blog post, I talk about the one person who has always been there in my ten years of ups and downs that have come with my diagnosis. This piece is small because in my memoir I devoted two different chapters about how my mother saved me from myself. This was a good piece to write as we near the end of 2017. I wouldn’t have the courage to write my blog if my mother would have given up on me.

My Experience with the American Healthcare System

What can I say, my experience with the American Healthcare System hasn’t always been great. Over the course of my diagnosis I have racked up way too much medical expense debt and over the years my family has had issues being able to afford my medications. I talk about how having a “pre-existing condition” worked against me, and how finally having the ability to have insurance is no guarantee that I will be able to keep it. I really liked the response from other bloggers from other countries around the world because it shows just how messed up the American system is compared to the world.

Why the Mental Illness Community Should Share Their Story

In the coming weeks, I will feature the stories of other fellow bloggers on my blog The Bipolar Writer. Sharing my own story has changed my life and it has helped me analyze the many aspects of my illness. In this blog post, I make a simple case why sharing your story is helpful to the mental illness community.

Other Blog Posts

I talk about entering my screenplay into a competition here.

I also reblogged a couple of older posts…

A Look How Suicide Effects Families

Winter Speaks Memories

So that is my week in review. Thank you taking the time to read about my journey every week. The positive comments I get each week (and even the few negative ones) make writing this blog worth every second.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

Big News on my Screenplay Memory of Shane

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I am really excited that I have officially entered my screenplay entitled Memory of Shane in the…

Broadcast Education Association’s Festival for Media Arts student scriptwriting competition.

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Wow, that was long.

I am entering the SW2 – Feature Writing 90-120 pages

I am so excited about the exposure my screenplay will have with this competition. I was able to secure the necessary SNHU faculty member sponsorship and it is a huge step for me.

Wish me luck as I continue my writing journey.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:unsplash-logorawpixel.com

Photo Credit: http://beaweb.org

Excerpt From Act Three – Memory of Shane

This is a scene from act three of my screenplay Memory of ShaneI wrote this scene after I completed the first draft and its a special scene to me. This scene shows Shane just hours before his suicide attempt at the end of the screenplay. It has no dialogue, yet it to me represents some of what I felt before making the decision to take my own life. If the scene looks familiar it is because it is a mixture of depression and anxiety that comes with such a decision. Here is another blog with a different scene.

INT. ADRIANA AND SHANE’S APARTMENT – AFTERNOON SAME DAY

MONTAGE:

– Shane is rapidly pacing the living room of his apartment. His laptop is open on a coffee table and a cup of coffee sits next to it, the steam still coming from the cup.

– After a beat, he sits down on the floor in front of the laptop leaning against the couch. He begins tapping on the keyboard of the laptop what seems to be a letter for Adriana.

– He gets up again unable to hold his focus on his work and begins to pace his living room once more.

– After a moment, his breathing starts to quicken as he takes deep shallow breaths. He moves to the kitchen and takes a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and takes a long drink. A look of panic washes over his face as this does little to help his breathing.

– He pulls his phone out of his pocket setting it on the counter next to the water. He starts to rapidly open and close his hands over and over.

– He picks up the phone from the counter and begins to make a call to Adriana but he quickly pushes the end button.

– His breathing quickens faster and he starts to feel faint. He grabs his water and then makes his way to the couch as his legs buckle under him.

– He pulls a pill bottle out of his pocket and puts several small round white pills on the table. He takes one and puts it in his mouth and gulps more of the water in the bottle.

– He continues to sit as he opens and closes his hands. It is a long time before he decides to take another of the white pills.

– After a while Shane sits calmer than before, his panic attack seems to have has subsided. He moves from the couch back down to the floor in front of the laptop and starts to type again.

END OF MONTAGE

Photo Credit: Alexander Lam

And It Begins…​

I really hate this time of year. 

I am depressed. again. It never seems to fail.

The familiar feelings are taking control of me, I could feel it all weekend and especially last night. My depression consumes every waking moment of my day and night. I woke up this morning with a feeling of dread. I had trouble completing the simplest of tasks today like making my bed or making myself a coffee. I am writing in bed today because it is too hard to leave my bed behind.

I woke up today and felt empty inside. Over the weekend, my focus was out of place and things that I love, like playing a video game, just felt pointless. These things have helped my depression but when you feel unable to move from your bed because it feels safe, it starts to eat away at everything I have worked on to fight my depression during the winter months. My energy was zapped so that just taking a step was emotionally painful. 

My week started great. I wrote chapters in memoir and spent time editing my novel. I spent a few hours yesterday writing at my favorite coffee shop, and the session was good, but then I came home spending the rest of the day and night in bed. I never left. I didn’t eat dinner.

I can trace it to the change in my increased depression to the major fluctuation in weather. Last Monday it reached 100 degrees here in California. The next three days it was 90 degrees, and then low eighties. Then the temperature dropped drastically over the weekend to where the high for the day was the low sixties. It was cloudy all weekend and I got no sun, and it made a major difference.

I can feel the darkness my depression brings, the sadness washing over me, and my soul being drained. I can feel the serious shift in my mood and as it becomes clearer that the depression will stay, at least for now.

I have written about the season component of my Bipolar one diagnosis.  It never fails that my depression starts to begin to take over as I near the month of November. Do I worry about it so much that I make it possible for the depression to take over? Given my history and the most important milestone in my life is coming up, how can I not worry.

I am nearing a major event in my life. The ten year anniversary of my first suicide and my diagnosis in three weeks. I knew going into late October that I would feel the effects of where my mind goes to in November with my depression. I just thought I would be stronger and be in a better position fighting the depression.

I thought the one person, my so-called best friend would be there for me, as she has in the past. Without her I really am alone. 

It is always hardest at night when I am alone. I have always reveled in the fact that I am a loner introvert. Relationships in my life just haven’t worked. So I am alone. I have been for a long time. But, some nights I realize how alone I really.

So many things crowd my mind as the year starts coming to a close. Doubt starts to consume me as I continue to struggle with selling my screenplay. Could it be that all my work this last year won’t mean anything? My writing feels good but when doubt sets in on one project it can snowball and my thoughts turn to if writing is even worth it.

My fears start to become real in my mind. I fear that, as good as things are on my blog, that I will not be able to connect with enough people so that my literary work can get out there in the world. I have tried the last two months very unsuccessfully to get a literary agent to look at my work. It is a process that I am new at, and I have no connection to the industry. I still have options, but being a new screenwriter is working against me.

I am depressed. It’s getting worse. I have no choice but to work on it. I think for today I will give in. Take another day to refocus. Today isn’t my day. I may take a small vacation from blogging, just a few days, nothing major.

For today depression you have won the battle, but we are going to war in the next few months. 

Always Keep Fighting

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Paul Gilmore

Excerpt From “Memory of Shane” Act 2

In an effort to share my writing and get feedback I wanted to share some scenes from my screenplay entitled Memory of Shane.” The following is from two scenes at the start of Act 2 because it shows two specific things in the screenplay. First, the back and forth between the present when Adriana arrives in California to find Shane in a coma, and the past when Shane is first diagnosed. I wrote my screenplay on Final Draft so I kept the format. If you want to know more about the history of this piece you can find it on my blog

EXT. HOSPITAL – CALIFORNIA – AFTERNOON

Adriana stands outside the entrance of a small hospital as PEOPLE walk past her. She has a large coffee in her hand. For a moment, she hesitates just outside the door and then proceeds inside.

SUBTITLE FADES IN: PRESENT

INT. HOSPITAL – SAME DAY

Adriana walks up to a counter and sets her coffee cup down. A young RECEPTIONIST sits behind a desk, her eyes locked on her cell phone, a moment passes before she looks up.

RECEPTIONIST

Hi. How can I help you today?

ADRIANA

I’m here to see Shane Camp.

RECEPTIONIST

One moment, please.

The receptionist with her finger finds Shane’s name.

RECEPTIONIST (CONT’D)

Shane is in room 211. The intensive care unit. You will need this.

The receptionist hands Adriana a guess pass sticker. She puts the sticker on her shirt.

RECEPTIONIST (CONT’D)

Visiting hours are until seven today.

Adriana turns and walks down a long hallway to an elevator at the end and presses the button to go up.

INT. HOSPITAL ELEVATOR – SAME DAY

Adriana firmly presses the number two on the elevator panel and the elevator hums to life moving up.

INT. HOSPITAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT – SAME DAY

On the intensive care unit, Adriana casually glances at the numbers on the room doors until she finds room 211 and goes in.

INT. SHANE’S HOSPITAL ROOM – SAME DAY

Adriana stands motionless in the entrance of Shane’s hospital room with her hand on the door. Her eyes survey’s the room as Shane lays lifeless in a hospital bed with tubes and wires coming from his body. She stops after seeing this. Fighting back tears she starts to retreat backward running into a nurse who keeps the door from hitting Adriana.

NURSE

I’m sorry dear, are you okay?

ADRIANA

I’m… I’m fine. How is he?

NURSE

Are you family?

ADRIANA

Not exactly.

NURSE

I can’t give you that information but you can go in if you like.

Adriana grabs the door with a shaky hand and enters the room sitting in a chair next to Shane. She puts her a cup of coffee on a small table next to Shane’s bed. She then puts her hand in Shane’s.

ADRIANA

I never thought in a million years I’d be in a hospital with you again Shane.

INT. HOSPITAL PSYCHIATRIC WARD – SEATTLE – DAY

Shane sits at a round table with chairs encircled around him. His quick glances around the room keep him from making eye contact with the other PATIENTS and VISITORS around him in various stages of activity. His face is a pale white. His eyes lock on an OLDER MAN at the next table quietly in conversation with himself. He is in a T-shirt, hospital pants, and hospital socks. A nurse comes into view breaking his nervous glancing.

SUBTITLE FADES IN: SEVEN YEARS EARLIER

NURSE

Shane, you have a visitor this morning. Are you up for it?

SHANE

Sure. I guess. Who is it?

NURSE

It’s your girlfriend.

Shane rubs his right hand over his heavily bandaged left wrist.

SHANE

Send her in.

The nurse makes her way to a locked door that opens to a small lobby. The nurse faintly calls a name, after a moment Adriana comes into view carrying two coffee cups. Shane looks down at his feet as she makes her way to the table and sits down.

ADRIANA

Hi Shane. I wasn’t sure if they would let me but I brought you some coffee.

Adriana slides the cup across the table.

SHANE

Thanks. The coffee in here sucks, with everything else.

Shane takes the coffee cup taking a long a drink. Adriana’s eyes move from Shane’s face to his bandaged wrists and then quickly back.

SHANE (CONT’D)

Shouldn’t you be in New York?

ADRIANA

I came as soon as Mark could get me on the phone. What happened?

Shane again looks down at his feet.

SHANE

I let the darkness take over. My thoughts consumed me. I couldn’t stop them. It became too much.

ADRIANA

I didn’t know you were getting worse. I shouldn’t have left…

SHANE

This isn’t your fault Adri. I should’ve never gotten involved with you. I let my emotions get the better of me–

Adriana reaches out and grabs Shane by the hand.

ADRIANA

–Shane. I’m not going anywhere.

Shane slowly pulls his hand out of Adriana’s.

SHANE

If you were smart, you’d walk away. I’m damaged goods Adri. I can’t be helped.

After a moment of silence, Shane rises quickly to his feet pushing the chair back and walks away. Adriana has a look of exasperation, with defeat she begins to weep.

ADRIANA

Shane…

Photo Credit: Trent Erwin

My Weekly Wrap up 10/23 – 10-29

This week was shorter since I made the decision to only write four blog posts this week. Unlike other weeks since this blogs inception, my posts have been getting longer and more into what will go into my memoir “The Bipolar Writer.”

To all my followers that have given me amazing feedback on my blog I thank-you, it has really given me the confidence in who I am as a writer. I think in the coming weeks I will consider asking people to share their own stories with me. I had a great idea for a book, a compilation of others like me with mental illnesses and their stories. I wouldn’t mind feedback on this and if you think it could be a reality. This project would be separate from my memoir, but if anyone is interested I will link my personal email at the end of this post.

What did we discuss this week?

` To me, the biggest post was my thoughts on a very important subject in my own life—suicide. It was perhaps one of the hardest posts to write, I have written one other post about suicide but from the position of how suicide affects families, so I took my time when writing this suicide piece. I shared my own experiences and then shared my thoughts on the subject. The piece that I wrote this week is going into my memoir, and I will further expand on it. I don’t normally free write a blog like I did (I usually outline it first) but it seemed worked out and I have gotten good feedback. If you haven’t read the piece, please do it really is a personal piece.

My Second Honest post was just me expressing my thoughts about things that were bothering me in the past few weeks, and especially about my friend who to this minute has not even contacted me to tell me she is alright. I have to ask her brother. All the feedback that I got is pushing me to just let it go for now, and it is what I decided to do. Hopefully one day I can repair the damage. I also touched somewhat on my depression cycles and breaking down when I last saw my therapist. It’s a good piece because it shows that even though things are going great in my life, my depression—mygreatestt companion—will always be there, but at least I know I can fight it.

One of the more interesting posts this week came in How the Change of Season Affects my Depression because this post was all about timing as we move from fall to winter months. My diagnosis of Bipolar One has always had a seasonal component because my depression is at its worse time of year, but I also talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I can trace some of the worst times to the period of November to at times to April and March. I tried to commit suicide for the first time Thanksgiving weekend 2007 and New Years 2008. One thing that developed this week was that for the first time since identifying that I am once again in a depression cycle that I stayed in bed yesterday way past when I woke up. I had been trying to make it habit to get out of bed right away like today. I will have to monitor this because it gets easier the more I stay in bed, and before long it will be every day.

If you haven’t read my blog post Sleep Hygiene – Top Ten Tips you really should.

What to expect in the coming weeks?

I have a huge list of topics to write about this week so it is possible that some subjects are going to be left for blog posts beyond this week. I am starting a new semester (I am almost done with my BA in creative writing with a specialization in fiction) so I may write 4-5 posts this week. I want to start posting some scenes from my screenplay Memory of Shane to get feedback. I think this week will be a great mixture of scenes and subjects like my experiences with medicine or more CBT information. I know I will be working on my social anxiety with my therapist so I can share my thoughts before and after. I will write as much as possible, as I also plan on writing at least five first draft chapters in my memoir this week.

J.E. Skye

jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com

Photo Credit: ​Thought Catalog

The History Behind Memory of Shane

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.

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 write many blogs about the weeks and months that lead to my diagnosis. 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 me 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 with 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, but in this work, 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 becoming 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 were dead. 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.

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: Glenn Carstens-Peters