A Look Back: Bullying and Mental health

This is perhaps the most critical topic I have covered on The Bipolar Writer blog. It is the most talked about, and today as I write some new posts for the remainder of the week. I wanted to repost this blog post because there has been so much feedback posted on this post. I think other than my posts on suicide, bullying, and mental health is vital to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

This is a look back at the top blog posts for The Bipolar Writer Blog which will end March 12, 2021.

Bullying and Mental Health

It is always the goal of this blog to be informative. At the same time, I want to share my experiences on the topic in question. I wanted to write today about the realities of bullying and effects it can have on mental health when we are younger.

It was different when I was a kid. The technology that our kids (whether they be your child, a niece, or a nephew) have at their disposal changed the game when it came to bullying

Any expert will tell you that bullying at a young age can cause serious emotional distress. and even develop into mental disabilities.

I can remember some level of bullying when I was a child. In my own experiences, I am not sure if it affected my mental illness as much. In middle school, the bullying I received could have been one reason for later issues. It could be why in high school I became a loner introvert. When depression became a constant companion in my teenage year’s bullying didn’t help.

In my own experiences. Other things in my childhood have more bearing in what were causes in my mental illness, but I won’t discuss that here.

In my middle school years my bullying was for being geeky (I played video games and D & D) had some bearing.

It’s different in today’s world. I can remember in my early twenties with MySpace and Facebook online bullying was taking shape. I am going to age myself a bit. I can also remember when chat rooms were big when I was a teenager. It often was a place for online bullying for those that were different.

Bullying can cause so much damage at a young age. It could interfere with social development. I became more myself when I was alone. I reveled in it. But it made it harder for me to be social in high school. It’s one of the causes of my social anxiety now.

It can hurt your self-esteem the more bullying takes place in your life. I know the bullying I received in middle school for being a teacher’s pet or a geek it often made me depressed. I can even remember times when I was anxious to go school during my high school years.

I remember once talking on MySpace about my cutting and self-harm. I got such negative remarks from people because it’s such a taboo subject. The ridicule I received was that of an outsider in the normal world. When I took such lengths at such a young age (my teenage and first years of adulthood) it people used it against me. So I became more secretive and hid in shame.

n the last ten years, I have seen bullying turn to mental health issues for others on a global scale. I have seen people bullied online for going through depression or self-harm. People tend to not realize that those of us who talk about these issues might be reaching out. Talking about self-harm or suicide might be the last ditch hope to have someone listen.

The biggest thing I want to talk about here is for parents. It’s important to talk about bullying with your kids. It is paramount if your kids are starting to show signs of mental illness. If you are looking for things like prolonged depression or constant anxiety it will show up. You can watch. Ask questions.

Don’t be afraid to check your teen’s social media. It is the biggest place that I have seen the most bullying in today’s world. I can’t imagine going through bullying during the day at school. Then you go online and you subjected to bullying there too. So many teens spend so much time in the digital world it’s become the breeding ground of online bullying.

We see the stories all the time, and I mean those of us in the mental health community. Kids so young taking their lives because bullying is such a major part of their daily routine. It becomes too much and we lose human beings who only want to be kids.

Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

This saddens me that so many young kids and teens are losing hope and turning to suicide. Bullying is a big part of this problem. I am not a parent but I have nieces at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Sometimes the most silent of us is being hurt the most. Words can cut deep. It’s important for parents to be active in their child’s life. Down the road, it could lead to an undiagnosed mental illness.

I was twenty-two when I was first diagnosed and no one realized I was in a bad place for so many years.

This part of the post is for those that are suffering from bullying and see no way out.

Get help. It’s important.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen The Bipolar Writer Podcast

About the Episode Take a journey as I interview Katheleen and her journey with her mental illness.  About James If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye Also support a life coach that has influenced me along my journey of self-reflection: https://www.groundsforclarity.com The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/support
  1. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen
  2. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Caroline
  3. Interview with Kathleen (Living Works)
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Crystal
  5. Interview with Kasey Claborn, Ph.D.

Writing my memoir has made me realize a lot of things. If I would have talked to my parents about how deep my depression was at fourteen I might have gotten the help I needed. I struggled so much because I left things unsaid. It was until I was in my early twenties before it got so out of control that I chose to commit suicide.

With technology overwhelming us with so much negative every day and with so much bullying online, its become a major issue. The human beings that we are losing are getting younger and younger.

On both sides, parents, and kids, the most important thing is to communicate with one another. It was a different world I grew up in. The stigma was tougher for those of suffering and it was easier to not talk about a mental illness. But this thinking in my mind now is wrong. You must talk about bullying and how it can lead to a mental illness down the road in your own life.

That’s the biggest mistake you can make in this life.

I am speaking to parents, children, teens, young adults, and even adults. We say such hurtful thing to one another on social media as adults. What are we teaching our children?

Learn from the mistakes I made.

I write these blog posts because the topics mean a lot to me. I want to be a voice. But those of us in mental illness community that have experience, have to be a more active voice for the younger generation.

I am adding a new thing to my blog. I will ask my fellow bloggers to share their own experiences with bullying and mental illness. Not just in my comments on this blog. In your own blog space.

I challenge you to, if you can, share your own experiences and add to what kids, teens, and young adults can do to combat bullying in a technological world.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

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

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

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

Photo by Jerry Zhang on Unsplash

A Look Back: The Mask We Wear in Mental Illness

This is an in-depth look at a chapter in my memoir. I wrote a short post about this subject and I extended the post to really explore the subject.

This is a look back at the top blog posts for The Bipolar Writer Blog which will end March 12, 2021.

An in Depth Look at my Masks in my Mental Illness Life

Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

The masks we wear in our mental illness hide the real people that we are inside. I have spent most of my life hiding behind the many different masks that I wore to protect myself from feeling my emotional pain in front of the world.

One of the most common themes in my life is the mask that I have had to wear throughout my diagnosis and even the masks before my diagnosis. The mask, or even masks, were the result of trying to hiding the demons that I was fighting internally both spiritually and within my own mind.

When I put on a mask it was to make it seem, if only for a moment, as if I was as normal as any person standing next to me. My mask was always a happy facade that people had to buy because I never let anyone inside see the real me.

The mask has changed over time, but it really just changed because of the situation that I found myself in. I think one of the issues that make men and women within the mental health community wear their masks is that there is such a harsh stigma about the people with mental illnesses.

Photo by Seif Ak on Unsplash

So much judgment goes with having a mental illness that it is just easier to hide who we really are to the outside world. I can remember people telling me, “well why can’t you just get better. The rest of the world has to get up and do things, why can’t you?” Often, when I would post on social media how I really felt, it would garner negative reactions which made me turn even more inward to hide behind my mask.

One of the worst things is when people say is, “why can’t you just be normal?”

Since my early teen years, I saw this stigma on mental illness on a daily basis. People around me made fun of “those people” with mental illnesses and it scared me. I did nothing about it in my own life of course, and I even went along with the teasing to try and fit in with the crowd. I just didn’t understand my own private suffering and failed to see that perpetuating the stereotype of mental illness was my own way of hiding.

As a teen, people who thought about suicide or self-harm were looked at as outsiders and I was one of them. At the time I didn’t believe that people could get depressed. I was that young, even though I was dealing with depression on the daily basis, I just didn’t understand. One of the first masks that I wore was that of a normal teenage kid.

This version of myself did what normal kids do, I had friends who were normal and I was as active as an introvert could be in school. I joined a group of teenagers called the Sheriff Explorers (an offshoot organization of the Boy Scouts that involved law enforcement) and I was active in the activities weekly because my parents wanted me to do something productive. I had to be normal on the outside but I was always a mess inside. My mask was very good at hiding the real me.

I was even good at becoming a part of the group, and I even became part of the leadership of this group moving through the ranks quickly and making the rank of captain of the organization by the time I was eighteen.

At times it came naturally to be this version and wear this mask, but for the most part, it was a front because there were so many days I felt not normal, so much on the outside.

So I pretended to be a part of the group. I made it seem as if everything was perfect in the outside world and it made me feel good that when people looked up to me they didn’t see the mask, but it was there. They saw what I wanted them to see.

When I aged out of explorers and lost the leadership position it was hard to let go of this mask. I think at some level I loved the power I had when people looked up to me. The way people talked about this great person I was even though inside I was screaming with emotional pain. I could be someone else for a time, something I often felt when I put on my mask. It hurt and it is no surprise when I lost this mask and I had to deal with my emotional pain my depression spiraled into my first suicide attempt.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen The Bipolar Writer Podcast

About the Episode Take a journey as I interview Katheleen and her journey with her mental illness.  About James If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye Also support a life coach that has influenced me along my journey of self-reflection: https://www.groundsforclarity.com The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/support
  1. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen
  2. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Caroline
  3. Interview with Kathleen (Living Works)
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Crystal
  5. Interview with Kasey Claborn, Ph.D.

As an adult, I continued to wear masks. The hard worker mask was always my favorite mask. This version of me was always early to work and always worked hard. The praise I got from my bosses and co-workers only helped the mask become more defined. I could hide who I really was for eight hours a day, only to be consumed by darkness every night. I didn’t mind wearing this mask because it gave me the ability to leave my house and do things. I could go for long drives to clear my mind or go to the beach and watch the waves or the people living their lives. I often isolated myself as an adult, but I did things with people at least once a week like going to the movies to “feel something.”

When my life changed after my diagnosis my mask became a reason to lie to people. When I attempted to commit suicide for the first time I had to create a new mask. This version of myself told people “I am okay. It was a mistake.” I told that to my doctors, nurses, family members, and basically anyone who would listen. The mask helped me reconcile the fact that I was in so much emotional turmoil that I couldn’t let people in, and it became my shield against dealing with the pain.

In my mind, I was getting really good at hiding who I truly was to others and it showed in the fact that all three times that I tried to commit suicide in the first three years of my diagnosis it was a surprise to my family. It was less a surprise that I was capable of doing such unspeakable things, my family came to expect it from me, but the timing was always weird. It would be after spending time with my family as I lulled them into thinking that things were okay. I would go to my doctors’ appointments (which were always accompanied by my mother during this time) and talk about wanting to improve and get better. It was always a lie and yet another mask I would wear. I got really good at hiding my emotional turmoil in my mind.

I have talked about the years I lost with my depression cycles especially early on in my diagnosis. I even lost a year and a half between the last time I worked and my first suicide attempt. I think the only time I ever took off my mask was those moments where I could be alone. I found that role-playing games became a great place of solace for me because I could be someone else for a change. I could be the hero in the story where in my world I was the guy who was always depressed and liked to fail at committing suicide. The mask would come off in those hours and though my emotional pain was strong I could deal with my life for a time. It’s possible that this was just a different version of myself again because I never dealt with my issues until after my last suicide attempt, and even then it was years before I could write about my life.

I never imagined I would be a place in my life where I would be able to talk about my mental illness or the masks that I wore. One of my favorite masks, only because it was really tragic, was the boyfriend mask I wore in my relationships. The last relationship that I had been in the middle of one of the worst depression cycles in my life. I tried to be the good boyfriend. I bought her things and spent time with her. We had a good relationship, but when I was diagnosed the mask became heavy. Pieces of the real me starting to seep through the mask. My girlfriend saw some of the real me and I panicked. I ended the relationship with my girlfriend and closed myself off from letting people become a part of my life.

It is so hard for me now to even seek companionship now because I am afraid of showing all that I am. Even as I write my memoir, my relationships have always been the hardest to write about at this moment. I haven’t had a relationship in ten years because I am afraid— afraid of letting people into my life. I’d rather be alone where I am most comfortable. To the world, it’s another mask I wear.

I never wanted the world to see my weakness when it came to who I am when I get depressed or even manic. I can only speak for myself when I say that my masks were there to protect myself from the world seeing my emotional pain and that has been my best friend for most of my life. At my weakest moments, I hid from the world because it was a familiar feeling.

It was about three years after my last suicide attempt that things started to change in my life. It started small. When I came to the realization that suicide was never the answer to the issues I became more open to my psychiatrist. When I was finally able to get a therapist, I found that I could be open in a controlled environment. It was never easy, and even now almost three years into my time with my therapist I still keep things hidden from her. I have been willing to be more open and take off the many masks of my life. Just recently I talked to her about a friend who asked me to help her do something unspeakable and it was tough to talk about, but I found a way.

I have learned to be better and more open to the world about who I am with my family, my therapist, at times by many psychiatrists. The blog that I write, and of course with my memoir, has been my way of shedding my masks over the years. It took me years after my last suicide attempt to get to a place where I could open up.

I only started to get better when I removed the mask and let people in. In my mind, I still wear pieces of my many masks. In a way, it shattered when I finally opened up about my life. I can say the more that I write here and be open to my readers the more the pieces of the mask disappear. The more I can be effective the better I feel.

I know how wearing a mask in your mental illness can be a means to hide from the real world. The reason I decided to write about the masks that I wore in my life is so that those of us in the mental illness community can start to take their masks off and share their experiences with the world. I think the more open that we are with the world the better the stigma on mental illness can start to change. It gets tiring to hear mental illness only talked about when there is a tragic mass shooting and the people involved being “mentally ill.” It matters to me that this is how parts of the world see people with mental illnesses.

What I have learned in my experiences is that there are so many people hiding in silence behind the mask simply because it is better to not have people “fix them.”

For those who know people with a mental illness be understanding that it takes time to remove the masks that we wear. My people, those with a mental illness, are good people. I have met so many people willing to remove the mask but fear what that means in their lives. People tell me, “if only more people understood that I can’t just get better instantly” and I understand that feeling to want to hide behind a mask.

It became easier the more that I write about the masks that I have worn in my mental illness. It is liberating to no longer always have the mask on. There are still times where I feel the need to wear the mask but it is much thinner than it used to be. Someday it will be gone. Maybe when I have finished sharing my life in this memoir with the world.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

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

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

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

Interviews for The Bipolar Writer Podcast

The Bipolar Writer Podcast is new, with just a few episodes under my belt, but I am always looking for new people within the mental illness community to share their stories. It can be anonymous, with a pseudonym that you use or your real name. You can promote your work if it is blogs, mental illness/mental health podcasts and topics, your books, and really anything you want, but the central part will be your mental illness story.

Buy Me A Coffee

I will record the Zoom interviews and use Anchor.fm to put the podcast on different platforms like Spotify and iTunes. The only thing that will go live will be the audio file, and while I save my interviews, it will be on my cloud. The podcast is all about exploring the stories of depression, self-harm, anxiety, suicide, mental health issues today, mental illness stories, and everything in between. I would love for you to be one of the people that began on the ground floor of The Bipolar Writer Podcast. Thank you for your time, and you can use the contact page or email me directly @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com. You can also leave a comment below.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen The Bipolar Writer Podcast

About the Episode Take a journey as I interview Katheleen and her journey with her mental illness.  About James If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye Also support a life coach that has influenced me along my journey of self-reflection: https://www.groundsforclarity.com The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/support
  1. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen
  2. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Caroline
  3. Interview with Kathleen (Living Works)
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Crystal
  5. Interview with Kasey Claborn, Ph.D.
  6. The Bipolar Writer Podcast: What's Going On? Why I've Been Missing
  7. The Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment
  8. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Alaina
  9. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Colleen
  10. Bullying and Mental Health

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

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

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

The Bipolar Writer Podcast

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir

The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir

It has been a while since I did some marketing for The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. This is my memoir about my experiences over the first ten years of my diagnosis of Bipolar One in 2007. Now almost a year since my mom’s death, there has been a lot going on in my life. Marketing has not been on my mind. I desperately needed to make changes in my life, and if not for life coaching, a recent event could have taken me from my work. (I will explain in more detail in a blog post later this week. You can also watch the video below.)

Interview with Ground for Clarity LLC Founder Kim Johnson

If you are looking for a good book for those colder nights getting darker earlier and earlier, my memoir is for you. It really explains a significant part of my life. I will write another memoir within the next year or two with a very different tone. There will also be a blog post about my current works-in-progress, my company’s plans–The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services, the release date for Angel on the Ward, and other essential things. I will be writing more blogs to end 2020.

For everything social media for James Edgar Skye visit my Linq Site here.

For ASIST Suicide Prevention Training Program | LivingWorks please visit here: https://www.livingworks.net/asist

Buy my book on Amazon through my website.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Contributor Writers for The Bipolar Writer Blog

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.

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

My Memoir

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron! You can get this amazing cup!

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Why I Think Life Coaching is for Everyone

If you are looking for your own journey into life coaching that invokes change in your life, if you are stuck under a mental illness diagnosis and want relief from someone who has experience in the core of what causes suicide, please reach out to Kim Johnson, @ Groundsforclarity@protonmail.com. Her company Grounds for Clarity LLC is all you need, and she asks for you to have one conversation.

A Game Changer

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

My four months of life coaching have been very personal, and I am still working through things that will help me continue the growth I had over my time. I don’t want to share the details just yet, as it is still a fresh one for me, and I have things that need to be talked with people before moving forward with my life. With that said, I thought I would use my time this week to explain why Life Coaching is what you need right now if you are struggling with your mental illness. If you have no outlet. If you need someone who will be a game-changer by allowing you to work on yourself the right way.

I have learned so much in the short time that Kim Johnson has been my life coach, just six weeks, but here is something that I never expected. When I decided to invest in myself, allow life coaching into my life, it became the reason that I am now living a different lifestyle. I won’t lie. It is not perfection that I am shooting for; it is awareness and living in the now. What Kim does is allow me, the client, to work through what needs to be done, not by giving me the answers, but rather the tools needed to succeed. She has been amazing every week that we meet to create modules that will help focus on what is bothering me. She uses the teachings of different spiritual teachers Eckhart Tolle and others, to guide you to what is already inside you. I have leaned into the feelings, and I have trusted the process from day one, and it is a game-changer.

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

Believe me when I say I could (and actually might) write a novel about my journey. In the four months life coaching has been a game-changer more than therapy, and I was in that for five years. With that said, I am not saying that therapy can’t be right because it helped me; instead, this is another deeper source of getting to the core of your mental illness issues and making real changes. Letting go of the negativity and allowing yourself some peace and happiness. I don’t have to tell you how mental Illness can leave you with such a painful existence. Hell, I have lived it for years. You can change your life if you are willing!

I have never endorsed anything on my blog I have not directly been a part of or have some experience with what I am endorsing. When I say that if your suicidal or going through tough times in this mental illness life, then reach out to Kim Johnson; she will change your life. If you need to contact her, here are some ways.

Website:  www.groundsforclarity.com

Email: groundsforclarity@gmail.com

Please know that help is okay, and it will be a game-changer working with Kim. I know it has been that way for me. Thank you as always for taking time out of your day to read this post. If you have any comments, leave them below.

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

The Dark Passenger

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The Dark Passenger. The name I gave my depression a long time ago. It has popped up in stories, poems, and even in one of my novels. Why the dark passenger? Well, there is a story for just about everything in my life. I am a writer, after all.

First, I like the thematical element. My depression has always felt like it comes into my life, always at the wrong times. It is a part of me, but as I learned over time, it can go for periods of my life. The idea that depression is this thing in my mind means I can fight it and eventually leave me.

The dark passenger then became a motif in my work. It is said that your life as a human being often comes into your writing, and over the last year, there is some sobering truth to that idea. The dark passenger reminds me of the raven coming to the man in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, and sometimes I imagine that my dark passenger is a white raven. One that can talk, putting evil thoughts into my mind and put me in the worst parts of my personality. It reflects in some of the darker themes in some of my work. 

The thing is, this dark passenger is not all bad. It taught me that its okay to not be okay. That this thing called depression is something that we can fight. The dark passenger wants me to fight when depression becomes my only true friend.

The white raven is one of the rarest birds out there in the world. I am not comparing it as my depression is unique, but rather the dark passenger helps me identify when my depression is taking over my life. Like a bird, it eventually flies away. I have been on the other side of depression, and so I know it will not always be this way.

Depression is not a forever thing. I once was so depressed for over four years straight with no real end. Then it ended. It took hard work and surviving a suicide to finally meet my depression, my dark passenger, as part of me that lives inside and outside of James. We can separate, but we will always be in one another’s life. That is not so bad only at the moment when you are at your darkest. So know your dark passenger or whatever you call it is not forever. I like to say always keep fighting because it’s true.

Here is a video I wanted to end my post with, if your suffering from depression, know that you are not alone.

Nineteen Stars by Meg and Dia

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash

Community Mental Health Discussions on Discord

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

Want to join? Go to www.discord.com

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

Here is the introduction to our discord:

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Edgar Skye
Grounds For Clarity 

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

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

Depression, the New Reality

Photo by Alan Tang on Unsplash

Depression is something that many are experiencing for the first time for more than just a fleeting moment. People are staying in bed more, and social isolation to keep the coronavirus is a new reality.

Depression is sneaky. You might think those extra hours of sleep is a good thing. Resting is perfect for the system, and a good six to eight hours is good. There is oversleeping, and that is a symptom of depression. I have been monitoring social media, and those that live alone and have to work at home in our new reality are having trouble adjusting. Depression can take over in the best of times, but in this new world, depression is, even more, something to look after. Mental health is essential.

I have talked about social isolation and anxiety, but equally important is depression at these times. I was a victim of this recently. On Tuesday, I overslept for three hours. I habitually wake up at around eight every morning and get to sleep around one in the morning. Since getting my CPAP machine, I have found balance in sleep. I worked a couple of days in bed because of the cold, but it had an effect I was not expecting.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

With the shelter in place in California, I have lost business with my freelance work because people have more time to work on their stuff. The one major project, the ghostwriting of a book, was put on hold last week and this week as I work on finding the best solution to continue with the interview part of the book. Coupled with finals for graduate school, I was getting overwhelmed, and depression got into my system without me really knowing.

There are things you can do that can curb depression if you are feeling the full force of it right now. The bed should be for sleeping and for that activity only. I am no stranger to watching Netflix in the comfort of my bed, but not leaving your bed can be detrimental. Perhaps watching television on a couch or reading a book. When you associate a bed with all the activities of life, it can give you a sense that everything is okay. Taking a shower is so essential when depressed, and so is going outside for the sun for fifteen minutes can uplift your mood. If you’re in winter and the sun is not out, lightboxes are a fantastic thing to use. I swear by them, and you can find them on Amazon.

One of the more popular things that I am seeing and liking about this time in our lives is that people are connecting with others online since we can’t meet in large groups. Its a fantastic idea and one I am going to be using in the coming weeks as there is no end in sight. I can feel like you are drowning, but if you stay vigilant depression can be reduced effectively.

It took me oversleeping in for me to realize depression had again taken over. It has been a running theme over the last few weeks, and I have been able to limit it for a day or two. I have close to thirteen years of experience, and I can figure out triggers of depression with the best of them. Not all are so lucky. I am always available by email or by phone. Know you are not alone in this fight. For those new to depression, never feel that you don’t have someone. There is an entire community here on WordPress.

One last thing. If you have to go out into the world, make a plan, and limit yourself to exposure. Get items delivered if at all possible and make sure that you sat thank you to those who have to work in this crisis. If you see a nurse, paramedic, grocery store worker, delivery drivers, or anyone who still has to brave the world because they are essential, so be kind. These people are the real heroes of this pandemic. Always stay safe.

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Chapter Sixteen – The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir

To allow people into my book. I am releasing a few chapters here on my blog, as well as my author website, where you can also find blog posts here. This chapter chronicles the “lost years” just after my diagnosis of Bipolar One. You can purchase my book on Amazon here.

Chapter Sixteen: The Lost Year of The Bipolar Writer

THE FIRST THREE YEARS of my diagnosis are what I consider the lost years of my life. There were so many things that went wrong in these years. If I am honest, these years set me back in my mental health recovery. I sometimes hate that my mind wonders to how different I could have been without these lost years. If I had accepted that I was Bipolar and believed that things could change. I don’t know where I would be, but that is a false equivalency, because these years made me better.

I realize what I went through during those lost years, is why things are better now. It took me years to realize this truth. I struggled, went through hell, but somehow, I made it through. It was about a week after my last suicide attempt, when I had just gone through several seizures that I realized my life had to change. When I was laying in that hospital bed, I realized I wasted three years of life. I didn’t really exist in the real world, only the world that I created.

My lost years. I will never get them back. No matter how much I look at the past. I am in a better place in the last three years then the first three in my diagnosis.

In these “lost years,” as I am fond of referencing them as, I was so lost. I couldn’t tell you what day of the week or month it was most days. It was even worse when trying to figure out the year. Time just passed me by, and so did everyone in my life. Isolation became my best friend and at times, I talked very little.

It was endless depression with very little peace. It was the darkest time in my life. My thoughts were often on the fringes of suicidal idealizations. I thought about all the ways I could die through suicide. I was a man without a purpose, or a will to live.

I remember less about the individual days during this time in my life. I spent most of it lying in bed, or on the couch watching movies. It was where I spent almost every second of my time. There were times where, I would play my video games, but the common thing was I was usually in bed.

At one point, I set up a makeshift desk that sat on my bed where I could place a television. I connected my Xbox 360, which always seemed to be on. I could play video games, and then switch to watching an endless supply of movies. I had a ginormous collection of movies on my external hard drive. I surrounded my bed with blankets, to give my living area an aura of complete darkness when I needed it. I rarely slept at night, preferring to rest after an extended 45-50 hour gaming and movie sessions. They always ended in the day for some reason.

I would take my Seroquel then, and sleep for 14 hours. The days meshed into a constant haze of sleep and endless depression. My thoughts were always dark. I didn’t care about life. I had a single light in my bed space. It was my own little self-made prison, but I reveled in the isolation. I would go days and weeks without leaving my dark space and days without showering. I loved my dark place, because it was mine and isolation along, with depression were my friends. What I failed to understand was that it was only making life worse.

I remember I had these goals. It seems stupid now, but back then, these goals were my everything. Any game that I would play, I had to get at least 75% of the Xbox achievements or more of game. For a long time, my score on Xbox live was at 89%. These things mattered in my life when nothing else did. I always remember this, because it was essential to be a real gamer to people. I remember how for a moment, when I could complete every achievement on a game, I felt a glimmer of feeling good about myself. These moments were fleeting.

I was a role-playing gamer. Being a gamer was all that mattered in my world in those first three years. I didn’t care if I ate that day. Or if I drank enough water. When I did eat, it was all the wrong things. I didn’t take care of myself those early years. If I am honest, I never thought I would make it to my twenty-fifth birthday. In some ways, I almost didn’t.

I only left my house when it was trips to the hospital or to see my psychiatrist every month. I remember going to the hospital one time for a severe panic attack. The nurses pumped me full of Ativan because my heart rate (which is always high I found out) wouldn’t go down. I remember this memory because of the nurses. They thought it was remarkable I was still awake given that they had given me so much Ativan. My life was a mess.

I lost so much in those early years. Life passed me by. I didn’t care about anything or anyone outside myself. It showed in the times that my parents had to drag me to the hospital at 2 am, and I didn’t care one bit about how this effected their days. I never once dawned on me that my parents were living in hell too. When these events happened, they still had to go out and work the next day. My family was always waiting for the next drama I would bring.

Most of the people in my life gave up on me. In those early years, I was on my own. Living but not living. No one came to visit with me or to hang out. I was in complete isolation from the world. I wasn’t interested in politics or what was the ‘in fad’ or who was famous. I lived as if there was no tomorrow. It was the only way I could keep my thoughts from spiraling out of control.

It didn’t always work. When I couldn’t distract myself enough, it would mean that it was going to be a bad night. My thoughts consumed me, and the only way to ease the emotional pain was to self-harm. Cutting on my arms became of a way for me to release all the emotional turmoil that tormented me daily.

The blood running down my arms was my release for the few hours that the physical pain would be the only thing on my mind. As time went on, I cut deeper. I stole razor blades and used them until they became dull against my skin. I could live with the physical pain any day. The emotional distress was hell every second of my existence so why not find a release?

Nights were always the hardest. I would cry silent tears, because I couldn’t figure out which way was up in my life. I felt lost and alone. I was alone. Those three years between my first suicide attempt in 2007, and my last were the worst ever. I didn’t live, not like I should have been living.

It became too much as the years pass me by. I never got better, only worse. Cutting became useless. The emotional pain that I put myself through was killing me. I wanted out of this life. What was the point of existing when you don’t live?

It came down to one day in June 2010, where I thought my life would end. But my story, it was just beginning. I didn’t know it at the time. That is how I lived my first three years of my diagnosis.

Always Keep Fighting

James Edgar Skye