12:15 AM

I was thinking about writing more poetry because its not an A-typical thing that I would do as it is the weaker area of my writing, but I have my moments. If you want to read more about my life, please consider purchasing my memoir here. It will not disappoint if you want to learn more about my life living as The Bipolar Writer with Bipolar One. In the book I explore even deeper topics than the ones written here on my blog. Here is a poem, which is also a chapter in my book.

12:15 am

It’s 12:15 am, I am in a dark room

my mind racing and

the panic rising out of nowhere.

Shallow and slow, 

I can’t catch my breath.

It happens, every night, this night— the next.

Restlessness. A feeling of unease.

“I can’t do this” I think. 

A tingling feeling engulfs my hands, 

numbness consumes my body.

I pace, take a drink of water—

then begin to pace again.

I must stay inside, “no— I can’t.”

I must go outside, “no— you can’t.”

“Fight this feeling! Please!” A different part says.

“You will never win this fight,” the anxiety answers.

My mind races faster this time, I’m running out of breath.

Helplessness, I am no longer in control of my body.

I overthink. “I am going to die!” 

“Please stop! You must fight,” my heart and brain say.

Then again, I over think! And again. 

My mind overthinks, “Is this my life?”

I feel as if I am under water trying to catch my breath,

to be the person I was before I started to drown.

Sleep, it would be divine. I reach

for this tiny white pill. It is in my hand.

My salvation.

God, I want to sleep

so much to do tomorrow.

The weight of my school obligations crushing me. 

Finally, in control— again.

Anxiety, why do you control me so?

It’s over for now, but

tomorrow is another day.

Another 12:15 am.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

My Memoir

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Handing Anxiety and Panic Attacks- Not Just During A Crisis

Anxiety. If you have ever have increased anxiety at the best of times, it can worsen as we continue to live in a world of social isolation. Anxiety, for me, has always been a subject that I can write about from so many different angles. I have on this blog and also in my memoir.

My official diagnosis when it comes to anxiety is social anxiety and panic disorder. Right now, I am dealing with anxiety in several ways. I take a benzo, clonazepam, and I do other things that help me cope with my anxiety like breathing techniques, meditation, and writing. My ultimate de-stressor. I have not had a large number of panic attacks per week when things are good, but lately, I have dealt with them more.

It is less to do with the coronavirus and more about the stress of delays in my books and having to stop a significant book signing as a local bookstore. Add that to the weight of not knowing if agents are looking for authors. I need one because I am close to the end of editing my fantasy fiction novel. The uncertainty in life has made my anxiety more pronounced.

The Reality of Fear

If I could sum up all the fears associated with my own anxiety, those that are rational and irrational, it would be likened to drowning. Now I have never drowned, but when I was six, and at my hotel at Disneyland trip, I nearly drowned. I was saved by my sister.

Anxiety can cripple you, increase your heart rate, make it hard to breathe and make your thoughts irrational. I have thought during one of the worst panic attacks of my life that I was going to die–a very absurd idea. From what I know, you can’t die from a panic attack or anxiety. But the fear associated with it is genuine. Fear is an interesting thing because when you are in a panic attack, the fears in our lives are exponentially increased.

The fear is real at the moment, but eventually, when you can refocus, the fears become something you can change. It comes down to recognizing triggers in my experience. An example, late at night after I take my Seroquel, it can feel as if my body is shutting down, that is its job. But the fear sets in at times because anxiety and panic attacks do not let you know when it is coming. It is always at the most inopportune time, it is not? At times I hyperventilate, making the fear of not breathing seem extremely real when the reality is I am causing the increase with my irrational thinking. 

What Can You Do? Well I have a few Ideas

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Handing anxiety is not a one size fits all method. It comes down to what works for you. I have some ideas that will work. A thought journal after an increase in anxiety or panic attack, or even during if that is possible, can help you pinpoint your fears and triggers and come up with strategies to combat.

Tracking your mood several times a day in a notebook with the time, the level of anxiety with a simple scare of 1-10, and maybe a thought or two can also be effective in knowing when your anxiety is at its peak. Mine peaks around three in the afternoon and at times late at night right before bed. We are in a technological age and so CBT books or working with your therapist on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a great option. I find music is the great equalizer alongside writing.

Unpresidented Times

We are now living in unprecedented times when whole countries and states are in lockdown. The fears we now live in are a reality that we have to face when it comes to anxious feelings. With so many of us now sequestered at home, there are bound to be anxious fears about what is going on in the world.

I wish I had all the answers, but I am only the sum of my experiences with panic attacks and anxiety. One thing you can do above all else when looking for how-to solutions to handle anxiety. You can educate yourself. We have information at our fingertips and researching the technical stuff is important, but read the blogs of others. There might be something I have not talked about that could help you. Above all, anxiety is natural, and though it may feel like forever to many, it can be something that can be controlled. I have whole other posts about benzodiazepines that I will be writing in the future. These medications, if taken long term, can cause severe effects with anxiety and panic attacks. That is a post for another day with said, stay safe out there, The Bipolar Writer is thinking of you.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

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A Decade That Changed Everything Part One

This will end up a series that I will write in December 2019, as the decade comes to a close. I hope to share some wisdom now that my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is published and out in the world. Each will have some theme that I think is relevant to the idea of the last ten years. I imagine walking side by side that person I was at the start of the decade, he was a different James than the one now. He now has so much to share.

A Few Things I’ve Learned

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A decade is a long time, and so many things can change in this life. It matters not if the change is good or bad, because change means that something is happening, and you can decide to take it or leave it. You can make the decision to change because its time, or you can get lost in what the change means.

Take me. In the first decade of the new millennium, I was younger than I was now, just a teen trying to find his place. While I was active for the start of it, there was a lingering feeling that something was wrong. I was suicidal at times, and in 2007 I tried to take my life. I spent the next two years denying that there was something wrong with me, that I was not Bipolar, and that my life was worthless. I barely lived, and then on that fateful day I tried to last take my life in 2010, in the middle of the first year of the new decade, I had a choice. Continue down this path, or finally face the truth–there was something wrong with me.

In the hospital, first for the suicide and then for the seizures I had after, it allowed me to think about this mental illness life and finally decide to start the healing process.

It was never easy, and it did not happen overnight. It actually took an additional three years before my life started on this path that I am now: author, graduate student, freelance writer extraordinaire, and mental health advocate. Having the same therapist for the last five years really helped, and the revolving door of psychiatrists made things hard at times. I lost my grandfather, whom I was close to cancer, and there were so many varying depression cycles in length and intensity over the past ten years. But I am still here and fighting.

I founded this blog in 2017, and I can say with certainty that we, the collaborative writers and mental health bloggers that call this place home, have made an impact. I started with an idea, and it became a blog and then a memoir. I have written this year a 213,000-word fantasy fiction novel, one novel in a series of six, I am currently editing this piece. I have written poetry and short novella this year, and things are always looking up.

Image by Jim Semonik from Pixabay

Hope. That is what I am always saying in these blog posts. I was ready to die in 2010, and yet I was one of the lucky ones.

If you’re suicidal or close to that darkness, please know that it is not forever. Suicide is never the answer because we will always leave behind someone that will have to live with that decision. If I learned anything this decade, that is it, that it may feel right at this moment, but there are always consequences to our actions. So live because there is always hope. Learn from my mistakes, and if you need to, please reach out. I am always there for my people in the mental illness community.

Lastly, if you want to know more about my experiences, please take a moment to read my book, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. In it, I share some of the things that have helped me over the years. I want this book to help others like me in this life, especially those at the beginning of this journey. I also want to help those at any stage of this mental illness life because I lived it, and I have so much to share. You can find my book on Amazon by looking up James Edgar Skye. I will link it below, as well. Yes, I am plugging my book, but I truly believe in the power of shared experience.

https://www.amazon.com/author/jamesedgarskye

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Losing My Safe Space

Since 1997 when my parents built my family home, my room has been my special place. I am safe here among all that is familiar. My four walls stained with blue sticky tack from years of hanging posters up and my cozy bed that I share with my cats.

Whenever I am feeling anxious or depressed I have always had the freedom to come to my room. Once I lay down in my bed, I feel safe. I feel comfortable in every way.

As I’ve written in a post earlier this summer, I am moving out on my mom’s house. My boyfriend and I are creating a home together starting with signing all the papers next week.

Am I depressed and anxious because of the change? Hell yes.
Am I already longing for the comfort of my home? You bet.
Do I already miss my cats? More than I am willing to admit!

This is a big change for me. Big changes and me usually means a roller coaster of anxiety then deep valleys of depression. The cycle eventually stops once I get used to the change but it’s getting through it that is the hard part.

What has always helped me through those big changes was the sanctuary of my room. If I had a bad day at school I would rush up to my room to play with my Barbies, dive into a good book or write a little story.

I laid in my bed during countless nights when I was so anxious I couldn’t sleep and the days when I couldn’t find the energy to stay awake due to my depression. My four walls have seen it all.

My room has been my safety blanket for so long that I fear losing it. I’m trying my best to cherish every moment I have left in here. But the more I think about it, the sadder I get.

How do you handle big changes? Is your room your safe space? If not, where is?

 

Also sorry for not posting super often recently. I am sure I will have a lot to write about in these upcoming months as I attempt to adjust to my new life.

Using Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs as Coping Mechanism

I was asked to write about the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs– concerning addiction and experiences in my own life.

I can say I have had issues with alcoholism when it comes to using it as a coping mechanism for my depression, and so I will start here for this blog post. I have not touched a drink for close to four years, but before that, I was an alcoholic. The bad part about my drinking was it had nothing to with social drinking, I preferred to drink alone in my writing area. I used the excuse of a good writing day as an excuse to drink to get blackout drunk, but it was just something to get past the depression, and it never worked.

The problem was that I was using alcohol as a crutch and it was hurting my recovery. I went to Vegas in 2014 and went on a real bender while on vacation. I was drinking from the moment I woke to the moment blacked out two or three the next morning. It only got worse. It got so bad that my best stories during this time in my life were so drunk that I don’t remember one of the Vegas nights at all, and yet I was doing a lot while drinking. Eventually, I quit drinking, got help, and I have been sober ever since.

There is some that claim that they do nothing to help with anxiety, and they’re probably right, but at the moment it helped a lot to have a cigarette when my anxiety was spiraling. I quit in 2014 for health reasons, but I did have a recent have a small relapse with have a single cigarette during a recent depression (with the new California Tobacco tax it is just too much to smoke.) But as with alcoholism, it was just a crutch.

When it comes to drugs I don’t have a whole lot experience but that many of our people in the mental illness community have turned to drugs as a way to cope. I high school, I used marijuana as a way to deal with depression and anxiety, and I was lucky enough not to have gotten into hard drugs.

Addiction and Mental Health

Mental health and addiction indeed come with the territory, and if you are struggling as I do with subjects like suicide is to find a way to quit and seek help. It is bad enough dealing with mental illness without addiction, but it won’t be easy. To quit alcohol and tobacco is was tough, and it was a struggle for years to get off these things.

We continue to fight because that is what we do. No matter what mental health recovery is the most important thing in this life. So find a way to wake each day and fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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The Many Faces of Anxiety and Panic Attacks

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When I ask people that what they think about what chronic anxiety is, they respond that it is just a person who is anxious all the time and they have trouble with dealing with their anxiety all the time.

That is part of anxiety, but what they fail to understand is that there are many faces of a person who deals with anxiety daily. One of the most common I see is the I’m okay on the outside face. This face is the one where we tell those that know we suffer that “I am okay, don’t worry about me” because they feel like a burden on the ones that they love. I wear this face it because I don’t want people to worry about me, I feel like I am not worth it.

Anxiety is all in the mind, but it has real physical features. Some that I have experienced is hyperventilating, the cramping of my hands, shortness of breath, and unable to keep still. The worse part is your mind is telling you things like your going to die because of this, and there is nothing you can do–I call this one my panic attack face. It is funny because people have seen this face and they don’t understand what is happening.

I don’t blame someone who has never had a panic attack when they say, “You just need to calm down.”

Thanks! That is the cure all! They mean well but I have had panic attacks last for hours at a time (and I have had anxiety non-stop for days and even weeks at a time.) It means not having a moment of peace and it the face I wear when lost in my anxiety is the I’m not doing well face. The problem is that is it not much different than my I’m okay face and it can be deceiving because people think that there is nothing at all going on and in the inside of my mind I am falling through space with no end.

I hate my anxiety more than depression. I could watch movies and lay in bed all day. Anxiety can cripple you and drain you of your energy. When I am out in the world, I have my I am doing my best with my social anxiety face. I consider this my brave face because it is so hard for me to function for long stretches of time with my anxiety. I try my best to be a better person when I am around people who always bring up the worst thoughts in my mind because you fear so much with anxiety.

The worst part are the thoughts of having panic attacks in public, which is the worst fear that I face daily.

One time long ago I had a bad panic attack in public it was the worst in my life. I honestly thought that it was it, that I was going to die. My mind raced with the idea that I was going to have a panic attack. I couldn’t breathe, and my hands went numb. I couldn’t close a fist if wanted to, and the image of the ambulance and firetruck all around it still haunts me, and I fear that happening again.

Those of us struggling with chronic anxiety, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety are ordinary people. We have trouble living healthy lives, and for so many of us, we do live normal lives even with our crippling anxiety. So if a friend, family member, or significant other tries to talk about their anxiety you should listen. It might be just what gets them through their anxiety that day. Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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A Thank You to Those Who Became Patrons

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It has been a long process trying to get people to become Patreons, I don’t have significant things yet to add to my tiers and while I am offering some great things it has not produced as I would have liked so far. Still, I have six people that have become Patrons of my work, and that means the world to me!

One of the things that come with every tier is a special shoutout here on my blog. So a special Thank you to the following people for joining me on my writing journey:

  1. Connie
  2. Hayley
  3. Katrina
  4. Kevin
  5. Neal
  6. David

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Reflecting Before It Gets Ugly

I’m starting to see some negative characteristics in myself. Recently feelings of jealousy have been becoming more and more prominent in my mind.

My jealously is fueled by fear.

The fear of being forgotten. The fear that I won’t be loved anymore. That I will eventually fade from his mind and heart because he will be focused on spending time with friends that he cares about more than me.

I fear that the more time he spends with his friends, the less he will love me.

My anxiety is telling me all of these things despite reality. I know he loves me, I see it everyday!

I know that the tighter I hold on, he will feel suffocated. He will want to push me away instead which is the exact opposite of what I want.

The last thing I want to be is a toxic person to one of the people I love most.

I don’t know how to get rid of these jealous feelings, I’ve never felt this way before.

I want him to be happy in all aspects of life. And I’m not just writing that because I’m about to share this with a bunch of people; I truly mean it.

Have you experienced jealously in a long term relationship or in a friendship? How do/did you cope with it? How were you able to overcome your feelings of jealously?

Collaborator Changes & New Contributors

A Note of Changes for Collaborators

I wanted to preface this blog post with this, I know the collaborators are busy people with many things that are commanding their time.

However, I have been relaxed and allowing some contributors to go months without a post. The original agreement was at least one required post every two weeks (two post a month) so that the content of this blog will stay fresh.

Starting April 5th, 2019, if you have not posted at least one blog post this year, I will be taking you off the roster.

In May, I will be implementing the two a month policy of posts and will be making changes by end of the month if you have not posted at least one blog post that month. There will be exceptions and if you contact me and explain you situation I will you to write at least one every three weeks. The reason is because there are others looking to join the ranks.

Other Changes of Contributors

The other change effective April 1st, 2019 is that I will be asking all contributors to schedule your posts at least 24 hours from when they are willing to publish. What has been happening is that people will post all on a Monday and then nothing all week.

If you post automatically (like all on the author level) I ask you to please schedule, if you don’t I might make the change and repost another for another time. Lastly, please edit and proofread your work the best you can, I just don’t have the time to do so because of my busy schedule.

New Contributors

I am looking for fresh eyes on new mental health topics for The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog. Please inquire @jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Always Keep Fighting

James

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A Final Goodbye to 2018

My Last Thoughts of 2018

2018 was a fantastic year The Bipolar Writer blog. I can’t believe it was only the first full year.

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I meant to do this post prior to the New Year, but I digress. I want to say thank you, first to the many followers of this blog, and second to the collaborative writers that make this blog amazing. This year would not have happened without all you amazing people. We are all kindred spirits fighting the great battle–ending the mental health stigma.

Here is to 2019! The best year ever!

Always Keep Fighting, and Love Yourself First!

James

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