Being Gentle with Myself

In this post I’m not going to get into any depth of what’s going on in America. This is how the events of this past week have effected my mental health. Please don’t leave any hateful comments. Keep this space safe and beautiful!

These past few days have been weighing very heavy on my heart. I was already feeling depressed but now it’s been a lot more difficult to handle.

I normally cook almost every day of the week even if it’s something frozen. I eat take out probably once a week; this past week I’ve eaten out 4 times. The energy it takes to make even the simplest of meals feels too daunting. My dishes are piled high, my dryer is full of clean towels and my dishwasher is full of clean dishes I haven’t put away in days.

And let me tell you, my wallet is hurting from all that take out!

I sometimes let messiness take over but usually I am able to sort it out rather quickly. This time not so much. Depression has taken ahold of me and plopped me down on my couch. There’s little I want to do besides lay around.

During work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I got very little done. I considered calling off but there were things I needed to get done. It took me all day to do them because I had no inspiration. The wheels of my mind were occupied by things greater than my work.

On weekends I like to split my time between rest and chores. I want to clean my house, I truly do, but I can’t find the energy.

I’m trying to be gentle with myself. I’m trying to take one hour at a time and not yell at myself for being lazy. That during these difficult days, it’s ok to not be productive. I’m trying to tell myself that and actually believe it.

What have I been doing to cope? Ordering take out, listening to Tomorrow x Together and playing Animal Crossing. I’m considering cracking open my Harry Potter books too. They’ve always been a comforting place for me.

How are you coping? Are you struggling more with your mental health than before? If so, what positive coping mechanisms are you using?

Please everybody be safe out there.

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

Too Many Excuses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My First Time.

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

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

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

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

Keep fighting the good fight!

Clarity.

This is a two part post: The next part is scheduled to be posted tomorrow.

I want to start off by saying that I voluntarily see my psych doc weekly because I need a lot of accountability regarding my medication. It is a personal choice and in no way does it reflect my dedication to my mental health. I also have a therapist that I see biweekly. I am in no way manic and this is not a manic episode and it is not religious mania. I have been on a spiritual exploration for a few years now.

I always said that I was an atheist, and then I realized what an atheist is and I am not that. Then I said I was agnostic. I told people that I am too selfish to sit and learn about a particular faith to claim one. People really respected that and I meant it, but I wasn’t agnostic. I believed in a God, I just didn’t know which one. I prayed to a God. My God. It didn’t matter. I knew that I had no true control in my life. I wasn’t an accident. The world is bigger than me.

Then I started finding myself longing to be like a lot of people who emulate Jesus. I wanted something to be passionate about and to continue learning about. I wanted a higher power that I could name and a way to get to know Him. I turned to the Bible. Turns out it is literally thousands of pages. Where would I start? Would I understand it? Will it capture my attention or overwhelm me and I quit?

I tried a few bible studies and I completed maybe 3 of them. I tried and quit several. I really wanted a starting point, a place to get a foundation for the rest of my learning. I joined a small group so I could dive into the Bible and its meaning with an intimate group. It was amazing, and then I felt called out about being the only single person in the room. I didn’t go back. Then I started googling “what the Bible had to say about….” and reading from there.

I was having a really tough time with my sister. We were going back and forth about everything it seemed. Who is cleaning more, who is chipping in more, you name it. It was causing a huge rift. we smoothed it over but I still feel this tension in the air. Like she is waiting for the shoe to drop. It is familiar because that is how I felt when I had to move back in with them. It is strange to be on the other side and needing to forgive. This is the first time it occurred to me to turn to the Bible first. So I googled, “the Bible and forgiveness” and “biblical stories about forgiveness”. It returned wonderful scripture. I then wrote some of it down. Once I reviewed what I had found, I picked out some of my favorites. I noticed a lot of them were from the book of Matthew. I found myself emerged in this story that finally told me the ins and outs of how Jesus came to be. It has all kinda tumbled from there. I think I pick up my bible at least every other day now. I still am not completely independent. I still reach for the internet for a starting point, but I still read from there. I just feel better. I feel like I am in love with learning and also seeking comfort and guidance. It really calms me. I started to wonder if maybe that calm can be obtained through meditation and manifestation. I believe in manifestation. Maybe it is the positivity that it exudes or the feeling of influence it provides. Either way it feels like I accomplished something.

So I started looking into meditation and homeopathic ways of treatments or guidance.

(continued in next post)

Community Mental Health Discussion Discord Channel

Come Join an Amazing Group of Mental Health Warriors

James Edgar Skye (The Bipolar Writer) is collaborating with Grounds for Clarity on a Discord Channel called Community Mental Health Discussions. It will be a place where you can come anonymously if needed to 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. Beyond that it is a place where you can share your thoughts in a controlled atmopshere.  

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 to me in a direct message 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

All inclusive in a respectful way is what we strive to achieve at this Discord channel.

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.

Always Keep Fighting

Photo by Rad Pozniakov on Unsplash

A Weekend That Changed My Life – Part One

A Testimonial of a Life-Changing Weekend

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Make an investment today.

When change happens to me its only when someone challenges me. This person usually challenges me to look beyond my feelings of insecurities and take a look inside to the core that is causing my pain. To challege me to seek what I am looking for in this life.

Then Grounds for Clarity and its Thought Founder Kim Johnson found me and interviewed me about my suicide attempts. As she began to know my story, and as I shared my life beyond my writing. Kim made me challenge: would you invest in yourself to better understand the feeling of the weight of what at my core was causing me to be unhappy? My answer was yes. 

I made a financial investment in myself and joined the Master Your Mind Retreat with Kim Johnson. A Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach.

Day One of Two

Heading into day one of a two-day and eight-hour digital retreat split evenly, I was anxious. I knew there were things in my life weighing me down. The feelings that I wanted to express were ones I have never really put out into the world. I knew Kim would challenge me. I needed the challenge.

What do you want?

That question would bring an avalanche of triggers and emotions. Was I ready? The first things that came to mind were the following: I want happiness in all aspects of my life, figure out why I keep people at a distance in my life, and most of all, why do I shy away from relationships and human intimacy? These are struggles that have always eluded me.

The Gremlin

After we talked about what we wanted out of the retreat, Kim spoke about an essential part of the weekend that we needed to face. Our inner voice–The Gremlin. what it was was keeping us from the success and satisfaction in our lives. My inner voice has always been loud because I keep people at a distance so that it makes it easy to rationalize why I am, for the most part, going through life on my own. I spend my day alone. I work online, alone. Grad school is online, and I do it alone. My mental health advocacy online, alone. I even do my shopping online, alone. Isolation for me was not only during COVID-19.

The most significant glaring part of my inner voice was the separation of James, the writer, and David the human being. Kim and my fellow retreat members helped me realize that I was using James as a wall to keep people out of David’s life. (I separated my writing life as James from David because it made me a better writer.) I was in awe at the end of the day, one that I was beginning to feel less invisible. It was only day one, and I was already blown away at the challenges Kim was asking me to make.

The most emotional core feeling was that I was not enough. Not enough to be happy. I was not enough to be with someone that loved me. That we only get one chance at true love and that I had been there, and did that once. It was holding me back. Every relationship since my life I compare to this unicorn idea. I felt that I was not worth anyone’s time at a level that allows people into my life. I needed to be alone.

Day Two

What I was learning is that there are no right or wrong answers. Kim is not there to fix me because I have to make the changes. I was broken but that means that those core feelings could be changed.

She is the catalyst that makes you think and challenges the regrets, the guilt, the denial, and what the inner voice is telling you. On day two, I knew I wanted to focus on one thing. What happened in the past made it okay for me to go through life alone and be unhappy as David. That was the challenge, finally letting David into the fold. 

What is great about Kim’s retreat is that she is part of it, not just as a Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach but as a participant. She has all the training at her disposal and it allows her to be a part of the healing process. That was what day two was for me, a chance to begin to heal. I decided to take the challenge: what my running away from happiness was costing me? I opened up in this retreat for the first time about a relationship early on that has defined the reason I feel that being alone is preferable to letting someone into my life.

I cried because I have held this in for so long. I had to face that I was okay with being alone. It hurt to admit that I wanted someone in my life. Friendships beyond the few that make it into the inner circle. The pain of opening up to others outside the retreat that I am not okay with being alone. I read once in a book that “pain demands to be felt,” At that moment, the pain was demanding that I let it into my life because that is where you can decide to make a change. If you never feel, how can you heal?

The retreat members helped me understand the feelings I had shoved deep into a box marked “never open.” The homework before was answering questions that led to my Energy Leadership Report. I learned with my results that I don’t deal with stress well. I learned that I am better than I treat myself most days. I can help others, but my own self-care is left to the wayside. I learned that I am worthy of making changes that are important to me. I became a better human being than when I started the retreat.

The Purpose Statement

I will make a commitment to let go of the things I think I need to control using my writing, to accomplish traveling more, and, in doing so, achieve to begin letting people into David’s life.

Final Thoughts on the Retreat

If you want to stop the feeling of being a burden, alone, quit living with regret, feeling weak in your life, or what is keeping you from being truly happy. Kim’s Master Your Mind Retreat is the place you need to be. It was for me. I don’t often promote something unless it’s important to me because that is how The Bipolar Writer Blog was founded.

When I say that when you invest in yourself with Kim, it is for life because that is how she runs her business. This testimonial is my heart and soul pouring out to those like me that are struggling with something that is keeping you from being happy. You have the right to feel better than you are at this moment and time. I invite you to reach out to Kim to spark this necessary conversation and to begin the inner work.

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!

Featured Picture: Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

A Ball of Stress for James

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

I have been on overload lately. I get it, life happens and you either lean into it or let it control you. I tend to do something in the middle.

I have this love/hate relationship with stress. It is helpful to be a part of the hustle of life, and stress means that you are on the right path. At the same time, I let the stress take me over, and at times I let it go unchecked until I am a ball of stress without the proper way to deal.

I am always a work-in-progress, and I have been helped along my journey to continue to grow in this mental Illness world. I have things in this life that I am committed to, like getting my degree, my work as a freelance ghostwriter, and the big one–my writing. What drives me comes from my past. In my lost years and even past my last suicide, I had years to lose—no focus on the future or where I wanted my life to go at the end of the day.

My past has made an innate need to always be moving, still be focusing on the next “writing high,” or looking for ways to be productive. Being over productive is a real thing. There is no right or wrong with productivity, but when it comes to stress and overload, your productivity can be there, but not as effective. The worst part is that stress can effect self-care.

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

That is where I want the rest of this post to go. In my recent experiences with overloading my day, I have used it as an excuse not to work on my self-care. I use the method of binge-watching my favorite shows to relax. Again, there is nothing wrong with this after a long day, but in this mental illness life, when you start to let go of self-care, you end up a ball of stress with nowhere to go.

That is what I felt during these past two weeks. All work and no play, and we all know what that did for Jack. Stress is one of the signs that you need to slow down. One of the things I did recently is to step back and figure out what is essential and re-insert self-care in whatever form that works for me. You can do the same. If we let stress control us, we can end with health problems like I get with my stomach. We are only here for a finite amount of time, and we can’t always be a part of the rat race.

I wish I had all the answers, but recently, I learned from a close friend that we can’t have all the answers. We make decisions in our lives. I can choose to overload or slow down. It is something we should all take a moment and look at because life is too short.

With that said, enjoy your day and stay strong in the fight.

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 Faye Cornish on Unsplash

When the Bipolar Writer Believes in Something Special

Kim Johnson Thought Founder of Grounds for Clarity

This Kim Johnson, the Thought Founder of Grounds for Clarity. If you read my blog, you know I promote ideas that mean a great deal to me. If I believe in something that could help me and you, I am willing share it with a fellow sufferer like me.

Even as good as my life may seem at times we all feel the weight of the world. I have felt burnt out lately. In this case, I want to help Kim, a Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach, fill her upcoming seminar this Saturday and Sunday. I am participant because I believe in what Kim is doing.

“Right now if you are struggling with the whole world weighing on your shoulders? That you can never do things right. Or you feel like a failure?” -Kim.

I know I feel everything that Kim explains in the following video, please take a moment to watch this short video, and perhaps you will reach out to Kim as I did. Watch this seven-minute video.

About This Weekends Seminar

There are very few times when someone comes into your life and guides you to change. Kim has a spirit that wants to help those who right now are struggling. This week, Kim has helped me open up about my recent struggles with feeling burnt out in this life, and this upcoming Master Your Mind: Immersive, Anonymous Digital Retreat is the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to Kim @ groundsforclarity@gmail.com. Please join Kim and me (myself as a part of the group) in this seminar. She is ready to work with you, and there are still slots open.

Always Keep Fighting

James

My Demon Said To Me

Broken and alone
Chilled to the bone
Confused, spinning
From the chorus in my home
‘You’re not enough
You’re not enough
You can’t do it on your own’

I concede
I give in
Okay, I’ll listen
I must admit
I’ve come to love
The way the cold blade glistens

But when I close my eyes to go
Among those who
Took fate by the throat
Something whispers
Soft and slow

I tilt my head
To lean in to the muse
And my demon says
No one can hurt you

As long as I’m here…no one can hurt you.

New Doctor, New Me.

Haven’t written in a while. Blame the mental illness. I stopped doing a bit of everything for awhile. I finally moved and have been back in Arizona for a couple months. I could already feel better just being back around my support system. Isn’t it weird that you don’t even realize how familiar environments can make or break you?

I started seeing my new doctor the day after I arrived. She really took the time to listen. She asked me a ton of questions and even asked that I take the time to write some things down that we didn’t get a chance to discuss. I was put on an additional medication, respiradone, that was to help in addition to my lamictal and Seroquel. It made me incredibly sick and I have been told that I had what is called Melatonin syndrome. FUN. NOT.

I have since been switched to a new med and only time will tell if it helps. I know that it can be difficult to know if you are improving or not because we do not see how we are, we only feel. I know that I have had problems my whole life with what was mostly referred to as “my attitude and tone”. I now know that it should have been known as my moods (hello mood disorder). I was constantly told that I need to focus on my tone with people and customers at work. This greatly impacted my professional life. It would always begin with being commended for my work ethic, skills, and problem solving skills. A few weeks in and I was kind of discarded because of my attitude. This completely sucked. I would leave work and come back the next morning telling myself that I am just going to do my job and keep my head down. Didn’t happen.

The job I have now has been AMAZING. Since getting back on all my medication (I just up and stopped taking them, bad girl) I have seen a drastic change. I received a raise and was even commended on my professional tone by multiple members of management. MEDICATION WORKS YA’LL. I know that my outlook and perseverance has a hand in my treatment, but I am telling you that I think I am in a good place.

I was recommended for a job by a friend for a project manager position. This a HUGE deal. I have never had anyone offer to help me in getting a leg up in my career. This is the position I acquired over 100k in school loans for. IT’S HERE! As much as I like my current job, I am at a place where there is no growth potential which is incredibly disappointing.

This is not to say that my life has suddenly improved 100% and I have no issues. I am struggling financially and frankly am drowning in debt right now. I can say that had this all come about a few months ago, I am not sure I would be writing this. I was in a really bad place and not managing my mental health in a healthy way at all. I have found myself on a good treatment plan that is allowing me to really manage the stress. Apparently that is a huge trigger for my mania. Isn’t that fun?

I know we have all been at low lows and dark places we can’t imagine pulling ourselves from. Just remember that you recognize your own lows and you are responsible for seeking the help. You can get it. You can manage this.

 

p.s. I promise to contribute more. Money woes=no internet.