I would love to add a new segment to The Bipolar Writer Podcast where you, the listener, ask questions about mental health/mental illness to me, and I answer one per episode to open an episode. I think it would be a great way to get the listeners involved in the podcast.
There are two ways to do this: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the podcast at The Bipolar Writer Podcast where you can leave me a message!
What do I want you to ask? Really anything, and I will do my best to answer and research within the mental illness realm. Some ideas are about suicide, mental health in general, living with a mental illness, what a day looks like for James, depression, anxiety, and everything in between.
If you want to be a guest and share your story, you can also use the email above. Right now, there is a list, but I am always looking to interview new people, and I plan on a heavy January schedule. I do interviews on Zoom. I hope that the community reaches out and continues to continue to share your stories. I plan on taking The Bipolar Writer Podcast to new levels. If you want to listen to my podcast, it is available wherever you listen to podcasts. I will also have it below.
Abuse is present in all kinds of relationships: from personal to professional, from sexual to medical, where ever there are humans, abuse exists. Unfortunately, no one is safe from experiencing it in any of its forms, especially in regards to mental health. In my own mental health journey, I have been fortunate with my connections, but I know so many out there have not. I know no two instances are alike, and abuse can take many forms in this world. My most recent experience with it has prompted me to bring this story to light. It is raw, and possibly chaotic in nature, but it is where I am at right now.
I am a young woman, a wife, and a mother, who just so happens to be diagnosed with Bipolar II. This diagnosis has been following me around for over eleven years, and it is not something I take lightly. I want to feel okay and happy. I want to feel normal, and if medication and therapy are required for this to happen, then so be it. I am worth the extra effort. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but I have never felt as if my team against me…until a few weeks ago.
Back in August, my husband and I agreed we would start trying for baby #2, but I knew this meant I needed to get things prepped for my mental health ahead of time. When I was pregnant with my son, I struggled – because there was no safe medication for me to take at the time. Last year, my then psychiatrist told me if I was going to get pregnant again, there were options this time around. He knew me and knew intimately about what happened to me when I was pregnant. No one wanted to go through that again.
Unfortunately, due to family circumstances on his end, he left, and I was given to someone new. He seemed nice and agreed to go off my previous doctor’s notes on my condition for starters and adding his own as we got to know each other. I saw no problem with this sentiment and was willing to give him the chance despite my hesitation because I was thrown to someone new so suddenly.
As time progressed, I tried to trust him, but something always felt off and awkward with him. Sometimes a comment he made drew question marks in my head, but I brushed it off because we weren’t sitting face to face because of COVID. We only talked on the phone. Sometimes it was a ten-minute call, sometimes it was three minutes, but I felt we were on the same page.
Before my husband and I talked about getting pregnant, I knew I wanted a game plan in place. I wanted time to get used to new meds and adjust as needed. My psychiatrist was an instrumental part in this plan, so setting up an appointment to discuss my options non-negotiable. Per instructions by my previous doctor and my own research, I already had an idea of what I needed, but I had to bring it up with my prescriber to get it. Simple and straightforward, right? WRONG!
When the words of “trying to get pregnant” and “what are your suggestions” left my lips, the atmosphere of the conversation changed. Keep in mind, I have been diagnosed by four different psychiatrists, over the course of about sixteen years, that I have Bipolar II. I have been on the appropriate medication for that diagnosis for eleven years, and when I am consistent with taking the medication, I am stable.
This man had the gall to let “Bipolar II is just a theory” and “many women find the symptoms go away during and after pregnancy” leave his pathetic lips. Despite me bringing up the recommended medication and explaining what happened the last time I was pregnant, he ignored me. Now, I refused to leave this session empty-handed, so he gave me two medications for “as needed” irritability and depression, low dosages with the possibility of increases. I am Bipolar, not irritable.
I assumed this was better than nothing and began tapering my medication as designed and filled the prescriptions. After several days, I found I had to start taking more than the ‘low dosages’ to have any sort of effect, and I hit a major side-effect wall. I could either feel like I was drunk all day or be depressed. Since I work full-time and must be mentally sharp, I stopped taking the meds. I gave them less than 2 weeks, but they were not working in any capacity as he said they would.
My therapist was appalled at his words but brushed them off when I spoke to her about it. She looked up my file and found he had not written anything he said to me, in my file (why would he?). Though she did not convince me directly, I put in a request to transfer psychiatrists the next day. Never have I ever been invalidated by a medical professional to my face like that, and even though I am struggling now because of him, I won’t let him win.
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.
I wanted to open this blog post with a disclaimer, I am not an expert in life coaching or any realm of psychology and therapy. I will always come from someone who shares his experience with mental illness and what comes along with what I am learning through life coaching and reading. So, what is detachment? Well, let us turn to Eckhart Tolle for a great quote.
When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them. – Eckhart Tolle
Over the past almost two weeks now, I have experienced complete attachment from events causing massive negative and depressive issues in my life. When I decided to detach from the event, seeing my life as Eckhart said, my life was surreal from a different vantage point. I was trapped inside these events so bad that self-doubts, self-loathing, negative thoughts, and dare I say some thoughts of giving up on life.
I will be vague about the event in the sense that I will share an event that was troubling me a lot because of the negative feelings I was associating with this person. It was my feelings that were driving a wedge between myself and this person. What did detaching myself from the situation do for me? It gave me a chance to shift my perspective. See the event from a different vantage point. I went into the event with an open mind. I noticed what was triggering me and bothering me was my ego trying to take hold of the situation. I chose positive intentions over negative ones. I detached entirely from the event and went in with just the facts. I came out with a better understanding that there is a different way of approaching an event with negative connotations or anytime that I feel the ego awakening (again, please read Eckhart Tolle to fully understand.)
Something my life coach told me–take consistent action. It makes so much sense now when I apply it to my life. Since my mom’s loss in December, I have felt like the punching bag of everyone that comes into my life, but in truth, I was playing the victim identity card. I allowed depression to be an excuse for my lack of energy or feeling like general crap. Depression is an emotion, but it can be a part of what is going on without controlling you. For the first time in forever, it seems my depression hit a ONE. I am not sure of the time or if this ever actually happened before.
What shifted? Everything. My approach. My attitude. Checking my ego at the door. Allowing detachment to give me a higher vantage point that I needed to look at the event. It is something that can and will be replicated in my life. I am tired of being the person that hides from the problems and events because I am here to tell you, they will continue to keep coming up in this life. So I leave you with hope. Change the narrative. Detach from the event. You will feel better for it. As always, stay strong in the fight.
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?
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.
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.
Since day one of the inception of The Bipolar Writer blog I had a plan of how things were going to go on my blog. When I hit 2,000 followers the plan was to start a series of interviews of other members of the mental illness community. It was amazing to finally start my interview series where I feature the stories of others. It’s been successful so far.
I am close to another milestone for my blog and I am looking towards the future of my blog as I near 15,000 followers, I am looking to add more contributors to blog because the stories of others is important to me. These contributors roles are as follows according to WordPress:
Contributor – has no publishing or uploading capability, but can write and edit their own posts until they are published.
I am only looking for contributor writers at this moment. What I do is add you to my blog as a contributor. All I need is to add your email. You can write about any subject about mental illness. You pick the categories and the post must have a featured picture. I will have the final say on if it gets published. If you become a regular contributor, I will change your status to the rank of author:
Author – can write, upload photos to, edit, and publish their own posts.
If you are interested please email me at JamesEdgarSkye22@gmail.com
I am really excited to expand to allow more contributor writers on my blog. I think it will help to get different stories and blog posts on different topics within the mental health community. It’s an opportunity to continue the growth of The Bipolar Writer brand, and really talk about the issues as we fight to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
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!
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.
I’ve been depressing for awhile now -as in, dealing with Depression. I’ve also entertained its close friend, Anxiety; plus a few hangers-on like Disassociation, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Social Phobias. I didn’t even know those existed till they walked off with some of my mental furniture.
Once I’m back to staring at the cracked ceiling of an empty apartment, I wonder why mental illness is such a BIG DEAL. Why does it always have the ability to kick my butt this badly every time?
Because, Mental Illness is a BIG deal.
Yesterday, I witnessed a boy who collapsed into a hysterical fit when his mother said they had to ride in the elevator. A perfectly healthy friend had to reschedule her doctor’s appointment for “a better day.” Another friend told how she could not sleep in the same room as her baby, since the baby’s normal breathing patterns kept her up all night.
Minor issues become major. Small things are big. Mole hills are mountains!
So, now what? Treats? Bed? Movie marathon? I wish. Those things cost money! We need practicality before the rest of our sanity escapes out the window, and takes the rest of the chocolate with it.
Knowing that a mental illness blows things out of proportion is empowering. How? When one of my kids starts melting down, I KNOW to back off and get him a snack. When fear and anxiety cloud my horizon, I KNOW to get outside for a walk. When my friend says she needs to talk, I KNOW to drop everything and listen.
Am I freaking out? Don’t have a mental couch to collapse on? I take a break. I breathe. I run a meditative exercise. Try it; re-focus with what works for you. Then, try the basics: sleep, food, love, happiness.
On the flip side, stop doing the little things that make it worse: staying up, eating crap, avoiding affection, and wallowing in sadness.
Sounds easy, right? It really is. The trick is to not make it difficult. “Just go get in the shower,” I tell myself. “Just get in there and sit -you don’t even have to wash yet.” Or, “Wrap up in a blanket and hang out on the porch. You don’t have to get dressed.”
See? Believe me, I’m in the camp of making a simple thing much more complicated. I also know how BIG I feel once I get past the little, white lies of my mental illness.
It is already nearing the end of July. Even with everything that 2020 has thrown as us this year, the year is moving at a fast pace. I will be writing this week a few blogs that outline my future plans and projects, info on my Patreon account, exclusive content in video blogs for The Bipolar Writer blog from me, and the future.
Today, let’s discuss my memoir because I haven’t really been talking about it much. My goal is always to get my work out there to the masses through this blog. Alongside my author’s website is the best place to market to you why you should purchase my book.
My memoir is about the first ten to eleven years of my diagnosis as Bipolar One. It revolves around the experiences that I had from 2007 to 2017. I wrote it as if I was sitting as a coffee shop with you, the reader, having a conversation. The memoir is very personal, and you get to see who James Edgar Skye and The Bipolar Writer became what he is today. My auhtor website goes into more detail.
There are plenty of ways to purchase my book.
You can purchase my book two ways on my author website through this link: Purchase my Book
The first link is to the paperback copy I sell on Amazon.
The second link is to the eBook, which you can purchase, and also it is available for free on Amazon KindleUlimited for free!
I am Looking for A Few Good Book Reviewers
I am also excited to offer my book for freely sending you a copy through the mail at no cost to you. All I ask is that you read the book and give your honest opinion. I will be offering it to the first ten people that reach out to me. Use the contact button at the top of the page if you are willing to write a review after reading the book, and I will get my book out to you ASAP.