Alcoholism and Mental Health – Episode Eleven The Bipolar Writer Podcast

This is one of those episodes that makes me happy as it is just me, the mic, the ideas in my head, and you, the audience. On January 1st, 2021, I recommitted to my sobriety after losing five years after my mother’s death. Alcoholism has a history in my life, and I discuss how it came into my life, how it is not great to mix alcoholism with mental illness, how I used alcohol as a coping mechanism, and so much more. What I want from these episodes is to learn through my own experiences, and if it reaches one person, then that is okay. I have done what I set out to do. 

Buy Me A Coffee

It is my hope for The Bipolar Writer Podcast to become fully listener-supported. You can become supporter of the podcast here You can also support the podcast by clicking the button below, where you can buy me a coffee. This also goes towards future writing projects. I also have a Patreon that you can find below, and some of the tiers come with some fantastic things like a mug once you’re a supporter for three months. This also goes towards writing projects, so please, if you can, become a supporter of James Edgar Skye and The Bipolar Writer brand. As Patron and Buy me Coffee grows, I will be adding amazing things like free books for the two that I have written, one is my memoir and my novella, both in the mental illness realm.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast: What's Going On? Why I've Been Missing The Bipolar Writer Podcast

Episode description This is a catch-up episode of where James is right now as we head towards the end of June 2021. Catch up with James and learn the new journey he has been on over the year.  If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye 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 If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye 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: What's Going On? Why I've Been Missing
  2. The Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment
  3. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Alaina
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Colleen
  5. 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.

Relation-blips and Self Medication (..A blast from the Past)

I’m going to share some of my imaginary book. This chapter is in the journal section and is entitled ‘Relationblips’

I used to sweat like crazy, partly meds, partly anxiety. Rivers. So, relationships? At all possible? No because my relationship OCD would be so overpowering even before I got there. Therefore, obsessing was ripe and my ‘affair’ would be rumination (part of the same compulsion of mental argument) about the person’s loyalty and my own loyalty, finding ‘answers’ to this, and I would also be arguing with myself as to whether I carried myself and appeared okay, the latter being a compulsion until recent times. Everyone does I know, but let me explain, I’d be obsessed with my partners’ safety – over-protective to a compulsive degree. Sometimes it was clear that I was ‘obsessing’, other times it would be a very private affair. I had it more severe in more recent years, though, with a potential mate. The story was that I was not interested… the truth was that I was genuine but distracted by my condition therefore, too preoccupied.

There have been a few times throughout my life when people have presumed I am high on drugs like cocaine (as I appeared charged up due to anxiety) as well as weed (as I appeared dopey due to fatigue and a delusional feeling). It is a real shame that I was not (for the most part). The internal conflict and anxiety years ago was just chronic. Say if I had an obsession to ‘answer’, the conflict would cause sweat and confusion, and that is the least worse symptoms. Imagine being in a night club, which is stressful already, and then having an obsession feeling like a conflict, becoming totally preoccupied, the only relief getting as wasted as possible. For the most part I started smoking as a stress reliever as soon as I could (not to be cool like my peers). This is accurate because I remember thinking my auntie smoked ‘cos of her problems so perhaps it’ll work for me. I was right, it did help the anxiety. Any immediate relief was welcomed. I’m not saying others don’t use these things as stress relievers too, but I am accurate, for me it was purely that in those moments, I remember thinking these things and nothing else, many a time. 

I used to drink a lot. Drinking gave me some relief, some fun times, but not all the time like others. My relationship with alcohol has been varied I have had the pleasure, but short-lived and bizarre. I, however, feel that upon my initial diagnosis of OCD at twenty-two, I should’ve embraced sobriety and become a hermit in a tree, but let’s not have regrets as this future to come is the only future I am destined to have. Spiritual again… perhaps I should travel to Holy Isle.

This section is about relationships, so let me explain, by the time I sought out a girlfriend, I was rather ill, I wasn’t fully aware of it, but selective mutism was the least of it. I could not pay attention. I simply could not. I didn’t know it was mental illness, but deep down I knew something was up. Because of the diversion of the obsessions I was very much ‘compulsively happy’ instead of being calm, happy and trusting like I am a lot more so now. I applaud my efforts but upon reflection, understandably did not succeed at living a functional life. I did not want to lose my virginity, any more than I neededto find an answer to an obsession, or attempt using alcoholism as a relief from my condition. Not many knew of my struggle, as I was a nice person who was a bit weird sometimes, and of course ‘happily compulsive’, nevertheless amusing when intoxicated. We are talking about young adulthood here. When I’m calm confident assertive and caring, like I am a lot more nowadays, I’m a really great guy. I just couldn’t tap into that sh*t. I just couldn’t there was no way the doubt stream was giving me a break. I did split up ‘because of me’, it was no excuse, and I did not understand what was going on in my grey nut, keeping mental illness ablaze, therefore, could not explain that I did. Of course I ended things with old girlfriends, with subconscious intentions to fight my illness.

Often short-lived through alcoholism and bizarre at times. Nevertheless, I tried what I thought we deserved with someone I found attractive. I was wrong, it wasn’t what we deserved, what I deserved was treatment. What I am getting at is that despite honourable attempts, nothing resembling a relationship or a fling was possible and I wish I had realised what mental health was about and trusted my instincts that something was seriously wrong with me. There is no point in having a partner if I am anxious about the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘should haves’ all the time. There’s no point if mental health is just going to decline and ignoring it does not work. Perhaps I was still on the same desperate belief I had way back in the beginning, perhaps I was hoping I’d ‘snap out of it one day.’

Of course, we never know what may be around the corner and one can fall in love instantly when we least expect it and in another dimension, my experiences would have been fruitful. I regret I wasn’t there, in the moment, doing all the things I could do right now free of my condition. Many opportunities for happiness fell from my grasp. But, right now I’m happy with the way things are going to play out.

My parents were very good-natured and supportive. There is autism and mental illness running through my family, this isn’t a problem as if I wasn’t so ill I could have communicated more effectively with them. Alcoholism and emotional problems were present in some respects but I do not feel they were a cause of my problems any more than cancer may be caused by various combined factors. Causes of a lot of mental illness are inconclusive; huge chemical imbalances, I’m undecided whether they are a cause or result probably a result more so than not in my opinion, therefore, environment and genes are causes as is the fact that everyone interprets experiences differently. I definitely have chemical imbalances such as when I would go selectively mute: the feeling, no one gets that anxious to have to do that.

Many people are emotionally unstable and if I were not so far gone, I would have rectified my relationship with my parents during my teens and had a much less miserable time as a result. I do remember OCD in particular suddenly appearing in the final year of primary school, man I was so clever to hide it. But even then I knew it was irrational but knew nothing of mental illness to be able to explain it. It was brewing, but I’d never had obsessions like that before – I was quick to hide it. Yea I know a mountain to climb for a kid. As OCDers, we often know how irrational our obsessions are which is cursed. Therefore, the only benefit of a more emotionally aware family was the fact that we may have realised I was hiding it and we would have got a diagnosis before I went off to live on my own, only because I would have really liked my mother to experience my good mental health before she passed away. This is no one’s fault. I’m a master of disguise.  

The main problem observable by my family during my adult life is that which is elusive, mischievous, deviant and tedious: the gambling addiction. I admit that it has gone on until the release of ‘mental blocks’ in recent times. It switched and mischievously hid, restricting my ability to actually work on my mental health. As I review this, I am ready to write the final section of my book, which is best to be written after addiction has completely gone and mental health is the only priority. It is, like I imagined, far easier to sit with the core feelings, and appreciate freedom, now I am not ensnared by the addictive urges and storylines which dictated my life to some extent. A year on now since I started writing, the addiction has only just completely gone. I’m not seeking reassurance or exaggerating, it truly has gone now. Therefore I am able to write and meditate with purely pure intentions. I may have been a master of disguise growing up, but now I can be a master full stop.

New joys are sobriety and mental health. All views are subjective, what someone thinks of you is part of their thinking, therefore it doesn’t define you.

The art gallery – how interesting.  The doubt stream tried to take up full bandwidth. I persevered and read about a few things. But I needed to create head space for the doubt stream, I couldn’t turn it off. Blown up ‘guilt’ was there…

My Journey to Stability, Pt. 1

Excitedly, I join this blog’s wonderful team. I have been passionate about mental health for many years, and I hope to be able to share my journey as I continue to navigate through life with a mental illness. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II in 2009 (also in 2004, but I was a minor) and just like many others, my road has not been easy. I am a survivor of domestic abuse, so the hurdles I have jumped remind me of what I am capable of overcoming, no matter what life can dish out. Though I plan to write a memoir of all my experiences, here I would like to simply share my road to stability and beyond. It is not a lighthearted tale at first, but it is an important one. Just as the past is important, so is the future. We are amazing and the world needs to know all our stories.

My Journey to Stability, Pt. 1

With a bottle of Jameson in one hand, wedding pictures in the other, and a kitchen knife at my side, tears ran down my cheeks and frantic thoughts pounded in my skull. I sat, knees to chest on the bed, contemplating my next move. After being together for five years, I was beginning to understand the danger of our year-old marriage. You were an evil entity in my life and even my drunk mind believed the thoughts whispered in its ear. I spent more time intoxicated than sober when I was around you or thinking about you. The things you did to me, or made me do, were not normal for a healthy relationship.

After a Colorado courthouse wedding, we decided it was time to move to the state we shared our vows. I found a job before we moved, and you were taking your remote job with you to our new home. If I drank a lot before we moved, it only increased ten-fold with our arrival in the mountains. You were either emotionally absent or degrading me enough to force me to try and forget your words. It was as if our vows, the year before, meant nothing to you. Perhaps they did not, and never had, but I was determined to keep up my end of the bargain. I loved you, but I questioned my sanity because of it.

Another swig of liquor and my eyes thrummed with intoxication. Our blurry smiles made no sense to me as my gaze passed from distorted faces to the shiny metal of the knife. No, it was not for you. It was never for you because I was always the problem…not you. You made me believe I was destroying our marriage, not your flirting, sexual escapades, or even an unhealthy relationship with bottom shelf vodka. At an impasse, I sat on the bed for close to an hour, trying to sort through shifting thoughts and emotions. In my heart, I knew what I had to do, but my courage hesitated as I left the knife on the bed and stumbled to the living room, where you sat at your computer.

My face was set with a determination and anger I had never felt before. Perhaps it was a spark of hatred, but at the time, such a notion was wishful thinking. With the bottle in one hand, and the photo album in the other, I made myself heard. The words poured from my lips with ease, as if I had been wanting to say them for years and had lacked the courage before. I felt no regret and stood tall with a newfound strength. I watched the pictures float to the floor, smiling with a grim understanding of my next move.

“…you’re the spawn of the Devil!”

Your Shadow By Shara Adams

(More stories can be found at pennedinwhite.com)

All pictures by Shara Adams.

Signs of Hope and More

I am an Etsy shop owner.

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When I first opened my Etsy shop my goal was to make a line of gifts, cards, magnets, stickers and wall art for MENTAL HEALTH RECOVERY AND WELLNESS.

I thought… there is not much out there that I am aware of–not many cards or gifts specifically for people with mental health and who are in mental health recovery.

I thought… I know what has helped me the MANY times I was battling severe mental health SEASONS of my life for over two decades. I know what would have helped me.

I thought… some people want to help and are thinking of you, but they just don’t know what to say. So, the say nothing and that hurts.

I thought… a card or magnet could say what others couldn’t or didn’t know how.

I thought… I need to help others show their love and HELP others heal and feel better with a card or a magnet.

So, in the beginning my main goal was to create new art and adapt my old art with quotes, sayings and heartfelt words etc.

But then… the Corona Virus hit.

Etsy asked people to make masks on Etsy. I could sew, so this was a no brainer.

I had to put my goal for my Etsy shop in my back pocket for later and in April began making masks nonstop and selling them both locally and on Etsy. I made enough money so I didn’t have to work at a part-time job to supplement my SSDI.

Mask making became my job. In fact, masks were in such high demand I had to close my shop a few times to slow down business so I could catch up and so I would not go over my allowed SSDI income amount. It was unbelievable.

I loved being my own boss and don’t want to ever get a part-time job again. So, I am working diligently to create, make and sell new products.

I LOVE being my own boss.

I can go to work whenever I want. (Oh wait, I am always there.) I can stay up late to work as I tend to be a night owl and always have been, If I stay up too late I can sleep in. This is awesome because sleep has always been an issue for me and this helps greatly.

The best part is I am available to be there for my adult children whenever they need and I am available to visit and help take care of my beautiful grandbaby whenever they need me.

I would like you to meet my gorgeous baby girl, my granddaughter, my heart, my miracle, my life… Leora Bravely who will be one year old on August 3rd.

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I am beyond blessed to be alive to participate in her life and love her up. I almost missed this. Proof how life will get better. Just hold on and keep fighting. Suicide is not an option. Oops. Sorry, I do digress. Back to the topic.

The mask business has slowed down, so now I am trying to create, make and sell other products.

I am attempting to learn SEO and how to get to the top of search engine searches on Etsy and Google searches. It is a slow and difficult task so far.

If anyone knows about this and other ways to sell and market online please share. I will be most grateful and appreciative.

Please visit my Etsy shop here:

Signs of Hope and More

This is my shop banner:

Signs of Hope Banner 2

I apologize ahead of time if the following information is confusing.

I am learning how to add items for sale as I go.

These are some of my products I sell on my shop. I have many many more fabric choices:

MASKS — $12.95

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Face Mask

Face mask with filter pocket, adjustable ear loops, wire nose piece, double layer of cotton, Reusable-washable-Handmade-expandable-pleats-stylish.

$12.95

MASKS AND MATCHING SCRUNCHIES — $15.95 for the matching set

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Face Mask with Matching Scrunchie

Face mask with filter pocket, adjustable ear loops, wire nose piece, double layer of cotton, Reusable-washable-Handmade-expandable-pleats-stylish with a MATCHING SCRUNCHIE.

$15.95

SCRUNCHIES — $3.00 — varies with type and size

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2020-07-11 19.35.32

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Hair Scrunchies

If you like a scrunchie I have shown, please describe the fabric. I have many more fabric options on my Etsy Shop to choose from. Please go there to check out the fabric and return here to make an order. Or order directly from my Etsy shop. Happy shopping.

$3.00

POCKET ZIPPER SCRUNCHIES–$4.00 (holds & hides keys, money, lip or chapstick etc.)

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Pocket Zipper Scrunchie

If you like a scrunchie I have shown, please describe the fabric. I have many more fabric options on my Etsy Shop to choose from. Please go there to check out the fabric and return here to make an order. Or order directly from my Etsy shop. Happy shopping.

$4.75

PLASTIC BAG HOLDER DISPENSERS — $12.00  (a decorative where to hide and organize your plastic shopping bags)

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Plastic Bag Holder Dispenser

Please describe the fabric you would like when making your purchase or order directly from my Etsy shop. Happy shopping.

$12.00

Please visit my Etsy shop here:

Signs of Hope and More

GIFT CARDS, STICKERS, MAGNETS, WALL ART: Currently $3.00 for downloadable digital prints

recovery purple brown frameIMG_20200326_163139~4

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Be a Rainbowbroken crayons - 1

Digital Downloadable Art Print

If you like an image I have shown, please describe your choice when making a purchase. I have many more on my Etsy Shop to choose from. Please go there to check them ALL OUT and return here to make an order. I will send a copy for $5.00 plus shipping. I am sorry but it is not possible for you to download from my blog. You can download on my Etsy shop for ONLY $3.00 a copy. Happy shopping. I CAN PERSONALIZE THE QUOTE OF YOUR CHOICE FOR $6.00 plus price of shipping.

$3.00

MY COLOR PENCIL DRAWING WITH QUOTE — CAN PERSONALIZE QUOTE

Martin Luther King Jr.

MY ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR PAINTING WITH OR WITHOUT QUOTE can customize quote

butterfly inspiration

CUSTOMIZED DRAWINGS — GIVE ME A PHOTO and I create something like this…

boy scan ETSY

I will continue to add more products:

  1. Next adding head bands– matching headbands for babies and Mommys.
  2. gift cards – for mental health
  3. stickers and magnets – for mental health
  4. wall art and quotes – for mental health
  5. I WILL ALSO BE SELLING CUSTOMIZED PENCIL DRAWINGS/SKETCHES OF CHILDREN, FAMILIES, PETS etc.

I hope you will visit soon. Please visit and then check back as I keep adding more items.

This is from my mental health line of products and can be used as a gift card, magnet, sticker or small wall art. I am working on creating more of this type of product.

Sorry the image is fuzzy but is not when ordering.

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Please let me know if you think it is a good idea. What would you like to see??? Please share. (the image is fuzzy–sorry)

Please visit my Etsy shop here:     Signs of Hope and More

I apologize if this is confusing as I am learning as I go.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Top Featured Image photo credit: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Find Your Purpose and Joy

There have been many things I have learned throughout two decades of stumbling, and crashing and eventually living and thriving with mental illness. As we know, acceptance is the first step in recovery. Acceptance comes in many forms. There is the acceptance of your diagnosis and the realizations of losses– some of them temporary and some of them permanent and only time will tell that.

As your world constantly changes, you must accept that your identity and the way people see you and view you may change. That was a hard one for me. Some of my views of how people saw me was caused by my own self stigmatizing and assuming people thought less of me when I had no idea if they really did. I think we all need to be increasingly aware of self stigmatization because it can be damaging and worsen symptoms and recovery. It took me years to figure out that I was self stigmatizing.

One thing to remember is that joy is always possible. Don’t think it is only possible after you get better. Look and search far and wide for the small joys that are available to you. There are some and in fact there are many. They are there.

One key to living well with mental illness is learning how to BE EFFECTIVE IN YOUR PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES – no matter what they are.

You must figure out what your purpose is for that moment in time. There is always a purpose. You always matter and you are always here for a reason.  Maybe it is just to survive this moment because future moments will be better. Maybe it is to give a person a smile and make them feel better.  Maybe your spot in line will change and improve another’s person day and situation for the better. There are so many little things we never think of, but each one is important.

For instance, when you stand up dominoes to align so they will will all strategically fall one after the other after the first one is nudged, each one of those dominoes must line up perfectly for the ripple effect to work successfully. Each one of us is necessary and important for our environments to be successful. We all have a purpose and are necessary dominoes in this life and world. If just one of us is missing or out of alignment, it disrupts our family, group of friends or any setting we are in.

Find your purpose and search for joy. I know living with mental illness makes this seem like it is impossible, but I guarantee that if you choose not to look at all you will definitely never find it. We must stay on the positive side of life. I know this now because I wasted many days, months and years seeing the negative side of life. I realize now that it made much of my life worse. I know today looking back that there were so many beautiful moments and bubbles of joy I missed out on.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~Maya Angelou

With recovery there will be occasional setbacks, but the comeback is the important step. After each setback the comebacks become easier. Soon you won’t have so far to travel to come back after the setback. Eventually you will have a beautiful, new and improved destination.  Each day joy and peace will become easier to attain and closer to your everyday existence. It will become part of your of life.

Keep your heart and mind open to the goodness around you. Soon you will find all the goodness and joy that surrounds you. When you find it and hold onto joy you can share it with others. Call someone, visit or send an old fashioned letter, an email or text to brighten someone’s day. When you brighten someone’s day it will help brighten your own day. The ripple effect of sharing joy and love is contagious.

~Written by Susan Walz

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”  ~Maya Angelou

 

Please check out my new memoir SHAME ATE MY SOUL.
I realized how shame was instilled in me at a young age and increased after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Shame was one of my biggest problems. I needed to get rid of it. So, I did and gave it back to the people who gave it to me. Shame was not mine to bear. That was a huge part of my recovery and healing.
My book is available on Amazon as an Ebook and paperback.

book cover: Shame Ate My Soul by Sue Walz

I really hope you will check out my book.

Thank you.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope

Photo Credit: Featured Image Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Don’t Forget MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS

I have been encouraged by the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and pray it will make a positive change in America and around the world. It is time and it is necessary. Please keep in mind as you read the following words I do NOT want to EVER take anything away from the Black Lives Matter movement. I am listening and I am learning and my heart is bleeding with everyone else during these difficult times all over the world.

Seeing so many people protesting is encouraging to me because after far too many years of oppression for people of color, people of all races are finally listening to the fact that racism exists and must stop now. I see the images of protesting on the news and see them as a symbol of unity and love. The rainbow of races in the crowds is beautiful to me and is how the world should look.

Hearing the many struggles black people face daily from being discriminated against due to the color of their skin makes me angry and at the same time reminds me of each time I was treated poorly because of the labels of mental illness I was branded with. Again, please know I am not comparing the two because I know they are different but at the same time have many similarities.

The stigma of mental illness exists and is the biggest interference in the recovery of mental illness. The stigma of mental illness is when someone views you in a negative way because you have a mental health condition, illness, disorder or any other word you want to add to mental health. The words are all the same and by no means ever take away from the negativity and bias mental illness carries with its name.

The stigma of mental illness exists and is the biggest interference in the recovery of mental illness.

In my new memoir, SHAME ATE MY SOUL, I share examples throughout my book of the many times I was discriminated against and treated unfairly due to the stigma of mental illness. So, even though I am not black I can relate to the pain and shame people of color experience. I have been discriminated against not because of the color of my skin but because I was diagnosed with mental illness. I know it is different but in many ways the pain and shame it causes are one and the same.

I can also say I was treated unfairly by the police because of mental illness stigma. I share some examples in my book but the one I am going to share with you today is not in my book.

A few years after my diagnosis I got divorced and had joint custody of my two children with my ex-husband. My son was about five years old at the time and was a mama’s boy (and still is). When he was at his Dad’s house, he would call me on the phone repeatedly crying hysterically. It broke my heart every time. One day I felt so sad for my baby boy and was worried about him that I drove over to my ex-husband’s house just to check on him and give him some love.

I was sitting in my car holding my Keagan on my lap when my ex-husband came out to the car and pulled him from me causing him to hit his head on the car as he pulled him out. I was so heartbroken and worried seeing my Keagan so sad, I called the police to check on him to make sure he was okay.

The police officer was very cordial when he spoke to me outside. Then he went inside my ex-husband’s house to speak to him. When the police officer came back outside it was a different story. His demeanor with me had changed and he handcuffed me, arrested me and put me in the back of the police car.

He told me I was arrested because I should not have come over to to the house when it was not my night and charged me with a disorderly conduct. I called the police on myself. What? I was not disturbing anyone or loud or anything.

I was pregnant with my third baby at the time and cried the entire way to the police station. I told the police officer I had never been arrested before.

“What?” Really?” the police officer was shocked.

“Well, no. Never.” I said through my tears.

“Oh. I thought you had.”

“Why?”

I could tell he genuinely felt bad now like he wished he hadn’t arrested me. I wondered why he thought I had been arrested before, like I was a regular. I don’t look like your stereotypical criminal (not really sure what that is, but I don’t think I look that.)

I got bailed out and did not have to stay in jail overnight or anything. My charge was written down from disorderly conduct to a fine/forfeiture but still cost me $90.00. The worst part is that disorderly conduct was on my permanent record even though it was written down to a fine/forfeiture. I could not afford an attorney to get rid of it. It was and always has been humiliating to have to explain this charge and relive the experience every time I interviewed for a job.

Today, I realize I was arrested from the conversation the police officer had with my ex-husband who told the police officer I had bipolar disorder along with many more stigmatizing comments related to mental illness.

So, the sad truth is I was arrested because I had a mental illness. The police officer from my angry (at the time) ex-husband’s comments gained a new and different perspective of who he thought I was from his initial meeting of me, because of the stigma of mental illness and my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. His demeanor changed after he spoke to my ex-husband. Nothing I said mattered anymore and who I was didn’t matter. I became a mental illness — the stigmatized version of who he thought people who live with mental illness are.

On a side note — I have a heavy foot and tend to drive fast. Later, I was pulled over by this same police officer two other times for speeding and he NEVER gave me a ticket. My thought was because he knew he wrongly arrested me for NOTHING before. He felt bad and never gave me a ticket.

It’s a blessing to educate yourself about mental health versus experiencing it.

There is stigma and mistreatment that exists with people who have mental illness and police officers, just like there is for people who are black or brown. I know it is not the same or as bad.

I imagine how awful I would have been treated if I had a mental illness and I was black. Actually I can’t imagine.

I also self- stigmatized a lot and sometimes still do. Since I have been feeling well, am psychotropic medication free and one psychiatrist even told me I was misdiagnosed and never had bipolar disorder but had PTSD and was addicted to the Benzodiazepine Klonopin mostly instead, I do not self stigmatize as much and the burden of shame has been lifted. It is a great and freeing feeling.

We can never forget that MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS hugely

and we MUST END THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS today.

We all must continue to share our stories and continue to educate and fight kindly and bravely to end the stigma of mental illness.

Even though there are troubled times for everyone around the world,

WE MUST NEVER LET PEOPLE FORGET ABOUT US: THOSE WHO LIVE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS.

Please check out my new memoir SHAME ATE MY SOUL. I realized how shame was instilled in me at a young age and increased after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Shame was one of my biggest problems. I needed to give it back… and get rid of it. So, I did. That was a huge part of my recovery and healing.
My book is available on Amazon
and Barnes and Noble
as an Ebook and paperback.
Book Cover final flower
Photo Credit: Photo of top featured image by Brandi Ibrao on Unsplash
Copyright © 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope

Life is Fragile — Handle With Care

It has almost been two and half years since my overdose. I have also been psychotropic medication free for most of that time. After I had a couple bad moments I thought maybe I needed medication. I began taking it a couple of times but never took it more than a few days. I sometimes think I need medication because that is what everyone tells us.
After a mental illness diagnosis they say you will need to take medication for the rest of your life. I have happily found that to be inaccurate. Today, I do far better without medications. There was a time I needed them but not as long as I took them and not in the way I was given them. Medications always made my symptoms worse but for many years they kept trying to find the right combinations of medications but nothing ever worked very long and instead eventually worsened my symptoms. I know most of you know and have played the Eeny Meeney Miney Moe game of psychotropic medications and sometimes I refer to it unfortunately as the Russian Roulette game of psychotropics.
I do not close the door to psychotropic medications because if something were to happen I would try them again if I needed. However, I will work hard to stay off of them because I never did well on medications. Plus, I feel sometimes we jump to them too quickly before trying other coping and recovery strategies first. Hindsight is 20/20.
My life is so much better today to the point that my recovery does not make any sense at all to medical professionals– or to me either really. I guess I always have to go back to my mantra that if there is no explanation it must be God. What else could it be? Or maybe it could be be the fact that treating mental illness is very difficult and everyone is different and there is so much they don’t know yet. So, we need to be the ones to teach them–by educating them.
I want to always share my story because I want to inspire hope so people know that you can overcome anything and everything. I did and you can to.
Tomorrow will be better. I promise it will be. That does not mean every day will be perfect and it will be this beautiful one time climb to wellness because that is not the journey most people’s lives ever take–those living with or without mental illness.
Life is not a smooth shiny ride and living with mental illness makes the ride even bumpier and in fact creates many potholes and road blocks along the way. But the greatest beauty and glory is the fact that you can get better. You will get better. Just keep fighting. Suicide is never the answer. I promise you it is not. I regrettably attempted more than once and all I can say is that…
I am so beyond happy and blessed to be alive. God saved my life many times. I’m like a cat with nine lives and more. I appreciate my life and know it is the greatest blessing and gift. Handle it with care.

“Shame is a soul eating emotion.” ~Carl Jung

Please check out my new memoir SHAME ATE MY SOUL. I realized how shame was instilled in me at a young age and was one of my biggest problems. I needed to give it back… and get rid of it and so I did. That was a huge part of my recovery and healing.
My book is available on Amazon
and Barnes and Noble Press
as an Ebook and paperback.
Book Cover final flower
Copyright © 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope
Photo Credit: Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

Shame Ate My Soul – My Memoir is Published (finally)

My memoir is finally a book. It is done. It is completed. Finished.

My book is published and is available on Amazon in ebook or in print.

It is beautiful. I used Adobe Illustrator to make my book cover and edited it and formatted my entire book myself (and is also why it is not perfect).

My memoir has been in the making for about three years. I wrote my first (awful I might add) very rough draft during Nanowrimo 2017 and wrote over 66,000 words during the month of November. This was very therapeutic for me to write because I wrote my story raw and let out a lot of pent up anger and emotions as I wrote. Needless to say my first draft was not good for an audience to read, but was good and healing for me to write. I would recommend it to everyone as part of recovery.

The next November during Nanowrimo 2018 I rewrote my memoir with over 52,000 words using some parts of the first draft but removed a lot of the anger and parts I didn’t want to keep. After editing it a couple of times I was determined to try to find a traditional publisher and sent out many query letters. A couple publishers were interested and asked to send them my entire manuscript but then weren’t interested. One publisher gave me suggestions of how to improve it. That was very helpful and I rewrote it again and reduced my word count by about 5000 words and sent it back to them, but they ended up rejecting it again. It is okay because I know I gave it my best effort to find a traditional publisher. Now it was time to self publish.

Self publishing turned out to be wonderful and was free on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes and Noble Press. Woo hoo.

This is my book. My blood sweat and tears… and my HEART.

My book is available on Amazon

$3.69 for ebook

$15.00 for print

I have mixed emotions about my book being published now. I am excited it is finally completed and is a book now, but I am worried.

Worried that people won’t like it. Worried that people will think differently about me after they read it.

I have felt so good for over two and a half years that living a mental illness life like I did for so long seems like a lifetime ago. I started reading my memoir and it was hard for me to read because it brought me back to where I was and the feelings associated with it all. There are a lot of sad and difficult parts in my memoir to read, even for me. I worry that I had too many bad things happen to me and it will be difficult for people to read. But the beauty of my story comes from the triumph of recovery and healing. I persevered, conquered and survived and am now living a beautiful life.

After reading my memoir, I am reminded of all the many things I lived through and survived. It is hard for me to believe it, even though I lived it. What will other people think?

I am excitedly nervous to get the book out for people to read, but am terrified no one will want to purchase it or read it and if people read it they will not like it.

I can’t say I will overcome my fear and post my book on facebook and tell friends and family that it’s ready but I can say I will be strong and BRAVELY announce my book and see what happens.

So here it is. Here is my heart and soul exposed for the world to read. All of me (almost all) exposed. When we expose our true selves past and or present, it leaves us vulnerable. So, here I am vulnerable and bare, but feel it is necessary for me to share my story for many reasons.

I want to educate others about mental illness and to help people understand the pain, shame and stigma people who live with mental illness feel and experience. Most importantly, I want to inspire others and give people hope to know that they can conquer any obstacle and survive.

Recovery and healing are possible I am living proof.

Let’s all be the living proof.

Copyright 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope