The Bipolar Writer Needs Your Help!

As some of you know (and others don’t) I am ready to publish my memoir! Seriously. I have edited and moved chapters around, and I honestly believe that I prepared for this next step. I have a great cover and manuscript. The issue? Do I self-publish or try to find a publisher?

I have done a lot of research, and I found a company to publish the physical copy of my book. I have watched endless videos on self-publishing on Amazon and other online self-publications. What is right? What is wrong?

I want to do this right because this is my first official novel (and though its non-fiction and I consider myself a fiction novelist) this is important to my brand and me. My memoir The Bipolar Writer is so important to me, so I want to do this right and not rush into something I will regret. I will admit that I am apprehensive about where to go. I thought self-publishing was the right path, but I have doubts. I am turning to my family (YOU) for any advice you can give me.

James

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Brittany Elise’s Feature Interview

Are we defined by our mental illness? Brittany Elise from Fort Worth, Texas believes that your illness shouldn’t define you.

“There are resources and support networks for you. Don’t think your diagnosis is the end of the world. It’s the start of getting the help you need, even if you don’t think you need it. Find what works for you. Mental illness is not a-one-size-fits-all.”

The Beginning and her Incredible Journey

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Some battles with a mental illness can go on silently for years, it was that way in Brittany Elise’s life. In 2014 while in high school, Brittany was first diagnosed with depression. It was the silent battles that came to a culmination that became her diagnosis. In the summer of 2012, Brittany began to have thoughts of wanting to self-harm. In the winter of that year, she opened up to her parents.

“I would spend an hour or more at the time in the shower. Sitting there with the water running. Thinking about how much I wished the pain would go away,” she explains.

It was always hard for Brittany and her family, and it was common for negative thoughts to go through her mind. She would think “things would get better if.” What if her parents didn’t have pay for things for her. What if they only had to buy food for themselves? It can be an overwhelming to feel a burden in the lives of others.

“I don’t remember what made me decide to tell my family, but I remember my mom’s reaction,” she recalls. Her dad killed himself by slitting his wrists right before her birthday.”

Brittany’s mother held her until she stopped crying. It was in this moment that her mother convinced her to go see the intervention counselor at her high school. The counselor was effective for Brittany, but the following year the counselor was gone. Brittany felt good, but it was only temporary.

“Gradually it started to come back. I would be angry all the time and lash out at the world. I was making myself sick so I wouldn’t have to go to school. I would stay home every day. It got to a point where I was close to not graduating,” she explains about her past.

It got so bad for Brittany that her parent’s frustration grew, and they made her see the family doctor. It here that Brittany got first got her diagnosis of depression and at it was the first time being on medication.

The medication helped at times for Brittany but it was still hard. The depression was still in full force by the time Brittany graduated high school. Stress was a major factor in her senior year and it would be the little things that got to her. Her doctor limited her medication to six months, and for a while after high school she normal.

“I finished the six months right before starting my first semester of college. I was on top of the world. I had a boyfriend who I thought loved me. My family was in a slightly better place and I was starting a new chapter in my life.”

As most things do in life, Brittany’s world began to crumble. It didn’t help that a few weeks coming off her medication Brittany’s grandfather got sick. In hospice care, her grandfather was close to coming home. But after a few days of visiting they never saw him awake. After a week Brittany’s grandfather passed.

“His funeral was the day before my first class and the next day, my relationship ended,” she recalls. “After my grandpa’s death, I started to get panic attacks. I’ve been to funerals before, but my grandpa’s hit me hard. The panic attacks were constant, but I hid them like my depression, and since they came at night, it was easy.”

Brittany transferred to a four-year college and things started to look up in her life. The thing is with life, things like panic attacks never come at the right time. The worse panic attack in her life came for Brittany when she went to a concert with her church group.

“I’ve never been claustrophobic, but I had my first major panic attack there,” she recalls. “This was the first panic attack that made my dad see that I did have something wrong.”

What we often learn in a mental illness journey is that some people will doubt your illness. They believe it made up or not real. This comes from never experiencing the feelings associated with a mental illness. It was the same in Brittany’s life. She explains how her father, up until she had her major panic attack, he didn’t believe that she had a mental illness. When they picked Brittany up from the concert they could see it in her eyes.

When Brittany got back to school she was able to see an on-campus counselor. When she got back on medicine she could see changes. But, in the first semester of her junior year in college, her depression and anxiety got worse. It became impossible to get out bed to go to class.

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“After talking to my professors and my new counselor, I made the decision to take time for myself, and withdraw from classes. Moving back home helped some, but I haven’t been able to find a counselor to see.”

That is where we find Brittany in her journey with depression. It can be a hard place to be in when you have no outlet when you have no counselor to see. Dealing with her mental illness daily can be difficult for Brittany because of her anger. Her targets are often her boyfriend and family members.

“I’m moody all the time. I can go from “the best day ever,” Brittany explains. “To “I hate life and what’s my purpose” in a few seconds.

How Brittany Deals With her Mental Illness

In Brittany’s life, it can be difficult to be herself in a single day with her depression. It helps to have people in her life that understand the bad days. Brittany’s boyfriend suffers from depression and PTSD, so he understands.

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“If I’m having a panic attack, he held me until I quit crying. We adopted a dog, who we are training to be his service dog,” she explains. “He calms me instantly. He knows when our mental illnesses are affecting us before we do.”

Brittany explains that her dog is one of the best decisions she ever made in her life. It also helps Brittany get through a day by reading and writing. It helps her to spend as much time in nature as she can. It is her happy place. It can be a struggle like any mental illness for Brittany. But at the same time, she wouldn’t be who she is without her mental illness. Brittany has found her place within her diagnosis. A great feeling.

“It makes me a stronger person,” she explains. “Even if I am weak some days. I’ve learned how to live with it, and make it more of a back burner than having it affect me severely.”

How do we get back to the real person that we are inside? It takes the little things in your life that make it worth living. The Bipolar Writer often struggles with this. It is in the little things that Brittany finds her strength. With her boyfriend, friends, and family she has her biggest support system.

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“Even when they don’t completely understand my illness.”

Brittany has big dreams that she won’t let depression conquer. Instead, it will be Brittany doing the conquering. It is in her dreams that she also draws strength to move on. Brittany would like to finish her creative writing degree and become a fiction book editor. If possible she wants to write her own novel somewhere in the future.

“My pets. The dog my boyfriend and I adopted and the dog I grew up with is the biggest cuddle bugs. They are always doing something to make me laugh,” Brittany explains about the little things. “Especially when the big one farts all the time.”

Of course, there is Brittany’s tattoo.

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It is a constant reminder to fight and to keep the faith that she will make it through her depression.

Depression can be crippling in our lives. It has been in my own life. I can find strength in Brittany’s story because it is one that I know well. I hope in reading Brittany’s story, that you feel the same. A connection with another member of the mental illness community. It was a great pleasure to share the journey of Brittany Elise. I have a feeling one day we will see the amazing person that she will become in-spite of depression.

If you would like to read more from Brittany visit her blog.

www.brittanyeliseweb.wordpress.com

Interviewee: Brittany Elise

Author: James Edgar Skye

Photo Credits: Most of the photos are from Brittany’s personal collection

Other Credits:

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The History Behind My Screenplay

I wrote this piece in October of last year and I wanted to re-share this post as I work towards getting an agent so that I sell my first screenplay. It’s been on the back burner the last couple of months as I had hoped to place in a screenwriting competition. It didn’t work out but I am determined to sell my screenplay and to finish writing the novel version. As with all things in life patients is the key.

Looking Back on How Memory of Shane Came Into Existence

I thought it was time to talk about my biggest project out there right now, my screenplay entitled Memory of Shane and its subsequent novel that I am writing. This story is really about two years in the making and since I am writing the novel version the idea continues to be ongoing.

The project started as a short story that I wrote for an advanced writing class about two years ago. I never imagined that I would write this story beyond this class because it was a good piece, and there were so many places I wanted to go with it, but the ten-page limit really made me believe that I was done. But, when the opportunity came to choose a story for my second screenwriting class (where our goal was to write the first draft of act one of a full-length screenplay) I jumped at the chance to explore my story again.

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Writing the first act was so amazing. I really got to know the story down to its bones, and I knew the developing it into a screenplay would give me the opportunity to refine my dialogue skill to a new level. In my advanced screenplay class, we finished act two and looked toward the future for act three. I knew by the end of my advanced screenwriting class where I would go in the final act, it would be a few more months until I finished my complete first draft, and of course, there was a long editing period.

But where did this story come from? I will admit the story is a work of fiction, but as any writer will tell you, it is impossible for your real life not to make its way onto the page. The basis of Memory of Shane is a love story between Adriana, the young nineteen-year-old not looking for love and Shane the young writer hoping for his big break. What drove me to even start to write a love story was rooted in what happened in my own personal relationship with my girlfriend at the time in 2007.

I will written several blogs about diagnosis the inception of The Bipolar Writer blog. After leaving the psychiatric ward for the first time there was true chaos in my life.

I was on new medication that I didn’t believe in. I had some idea where my life was heading, and so I was worried about the emotional toll that being in a relationship with me would be for my girlfriend. I loved her, and she was willing to stick it out with me, but I did the unthinkable and ended my relationship in a very Bipolar way. She came to my house and I broke up with her. I was a jerk, there is no getting around that now. Looking back, I know my girlfriend would’ve stuck by with me through the extreme ups and downs, but it just wasn’t fair to her because, as I would find out, 2008 and 2009 were the worst years of my life.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, when writing Memory of Shane I had the opportunity to explore if and how two people could coexist when one of the people in the relationship is bipolar. On some level, I wanted to imagine if a person like me could be in a healthy relationship. I worked so many scenarios in my mind that it gave me the ability to write a story that, at some level, could have been my own life. Our past choices are long gone now, but it’s great as a writer to explore your past through your writing.

It is almost impossible for my own life not to sneak into my writing, and in my screenplay my character Shane does reflect my own experiences with Bipolar One. We both fell in love at the start of our diagnosis although Shane tried to hold on to Adriana. Both Shane and I can trace our symptoms to our teen years. I even wrote a scene where Shane spends days laying down in his bed in complete darkness, I did so many times during my long cycles of depression.

Beyond the diagnosis, both Shane and I tried to take our lives three times, thought Shane was unfortunately successful became a statistic. There was a part of me that, when I wrote Shane’s death in the story, that once and for all that any thoughts of suicide in my own life died with this character. I would no longer walk down that dark path that leads to suicide. It became true​ when I made the decision to end my character Shane’s life, I would lock that part of me away that piece of me forever, and then I decided to start a blog and write memoir. Life is funny like that sometimes, and I have talked extensively about suicide on this blog.

After finishing my full-length screenplay of Memory of Shane it came down to if I would write the novel version. I put so much into this project, could I really do it again? It took months before I could revisit the idea again and eventually I gave in. It will be interesting for me to explore this story once again.

So, there is a little history on my project Memory of Shane.

J.E. Skye


Photo Credit:
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Day One

With my struggles recently I wanted to post this blog post that I wrote just after I completed my ten-year anniversary since my first suicide and diagnosis in November of last year. At the time I was only a few months into The Bipolar Writer blog. Looking at this post makes me realize I have come so far in year one. I will always keep fighting.

Day One – A Start of a New Journey 11/17

Its day one of a new journey, and its time to look towards the future.

The time has passed. I hit my ten-year mark and the only looking back I will be doing is when writing my memoir. It was a wonder to finally get to this point. My past is in the rearview mirror, and I am here for the present. My future isn’t written yet and so I am making it a point to live in the moment.

Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even my mania is still a part of me, but I what I have learned in the past few months is that writing about what is bothering me, is the most therapeutic thing in the world. Even with my future unwritten, I want to talk about what I am looking forward to as we move towards the end of 2017 and beyond.

I am really looking forward to completing a major project, my memoir. I talk about it all the time and I am working around the clock to finish the first draft by the end of the year. It may happen, and it may take longer, but I am hopeful while at the same time not worrying about the part of this that is out of my control. Things happen and while there is always a need to finish, it is best to stay within who I am as a writer.

I am also looking forward to completing the novel version of my screenplay Memory of Shane. It was such a process to write the screenplay and it was grandiose of me to think I could write the novel version right after its completion. I was too close the project because it has been a major part of the last year and a half, but after few weeks I became burnt out rewriting a story that I know all too well. So I am hoping my April of next year I can be ready to pick the project back up, maybe sooner if the timing is right.

Speaking of my screenplay, I am excited to be entering full-length screenplay for the BEA Festival of Media Arts student screenwriting competition. It would be amazing to win this competition, but it will help to just get my screenplay out there in the world. There are a couple of end of the year screenplay competitions that I will be entering to end my year. I am really excited about the opportunity that my school is partnered with BEA.

Then there is my blog. What an unexpected journey it has been to grow my brand as The Bipolar Writer. It is great to connect with real people in the mental health community. I getting ready to expand my blog by interviewing others like me. I think it will help me hone my feature writing skills that have come with minoring in journalism.

My thinking is twofold for this blog, interviewing other bloggers to help showcase their own experience and their blog, and also having guest writers on my blog. Its a scary thing for me, but I have already had people ask me to help them tell their story and to showcase their blog. I am most excited about this project because there is so much we can learn through the experiences of others. I am thinking once my blog hits 2,000 followers would be the best time to make this idea reality.

I am also happy to be nearing the end of my educational journey. It has never been easy but somehow I get through every semester given that depression, anxiety, and insomnia take their turns making my life difficult. Through it all, I have become stronger, and I have honed my writing skills through education. It is one of the reasons my writing has improved over the last few years.

I am excited about​ what is coming and where my writing will take me in the coming months and into the new year.

What are you looking forward to as we approach the new year? Let me know in the comments below!

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Octavian Rosca

Freelance Work

I don’t often talk about the writing side but when I do it’s a big thing.

Going to school is not cheap. Neither is everything else that comes with the writing life. As I move closer to completing the first draft of The Bipolar Writer Memoir, I am thinking about the possibility of self-publishing. I have done my research and I know the costs of such a venture.

That leads me to look for freelancing work wherever I can in this world. I have already started to pick up local work. I am on Upwork. I put ad‘s on craigslist with some good and bad experiences. I thought something today. I have a blog. Why not reach out to those that need help here on my blog—for a price. That is what freelance work is, moving from project to project.

So what am I offering?

I can help with creating a blog from the start. My blog is my own it took me while to make everything right the way I like it. The content is all mine. I have experience in growing my brand without much help. It’s been a learning procsss for me, but hey I have skills. If you want to pay me to help you create a new blog site, I am here.

I can help write original content for you blog under any peramiters. I have already done a couple of these types of jobs and I create my own content on blog daily. I can research like there is no tomorrow for those of you that need that for your content I’m your guy. If you need someone to edit and proofread your blog posts before you go live, I can help.

Then there is the proofreading editing part of my freelance skills. I am an English major nearing the end of my Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. I minored in journalism, screenwriting, and political science. I have experience in proofreading and editing. The classes I have left are math classes and science classes. I have finished every writing class under my degree. I can help with ghostwriting or copy editing.

I do offer tutoring, but that is probably best for local work. One of my skills is researching. I am damn good at it. So if you need that, I can help.

I am not the kind of guy who charges is a lot. I am competitive with each project. I am online with PayPal so that is always a good thing.

I have a lot of things coming up this summer that I am going to need money for mosty trips. My graduation. My brothers wedding in Oregon. My annual pilgramage to Las Vegas. I would love to finally see Italy and South Korea. I have a good friend of mine in Germany. There is of course the whole student loans thing. It would be nice to pay off my interest before I start my Master’s program at the end of this summer.

I have things in play. My screenplay for one. But I need to be able to save every penny. If that means helping out people then I will do what ever it takes. I am not sure if this is even the right place to put a post such as this, but hey its my blog.

The costs of self-publishing my memoir will be high no matter how I look at it. I don’t need extra work in my life but I have to be open to all opporinites that come my way.

So if you need any type of freelance writing work, I am your blogger— or writer —James Edgar Skye.

So if your interested in any of my freelance skills email me. Let’s talk.

Contact me @ jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

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Big News on my Screenplay Memory of Shane

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I am really excited that I have officially entered my screenplay entitled Memory of Shane in the…

Broadcast Education Association’s Festival for Media Arts student scriptwriting competition.

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Wow, that was long.

I am entering the SW2 – Feature Writing 90-120 pages

I am so excited about the exposure my screenplay will have with this competition. I was able to secure the necessary SNHU faculty member sponsorship and it is a huge step for me.

Wish me luck as I continue my writing journey.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:unsplash-logorawpixel.com

Photo Credit: http://beaweb.org

What J.E. is Thankful For This Year

Happy Thanksgiving my fellow bloggers.

I thought long and hard about writing my thoughts on the things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. It has been a crazy week for me, it always is during Thanksgiving week, but with the passing of my ten-year diagnosis and suicide anniversary, it was extra special kind of crazy. Still, I am thankful for many things and here is just a few.

1. I am alive, and that means the world to me.

2. Thankful for all the positivity that my fellow bloggers have brought to my blog.

3. I am thankful for finding my place in this crazy world and how I am working towards carving my own little niche in life.

4. I am thankful for those people who are in my life today and have always been there as family and friends that I would trust with my life.

5. I am thankful for the strength to write my story down and be honest within the space I am allowed on my blog.

6. I am thankful role-playing video games and music because, without both, my depression would consume me most days.

7. I am thankful for every blogger who has shared a piece of their lives with me on my blog, you mean the world to me.

8. I am thankful that I have the ability to write and change the stigma of mental illness as much as one writer can.

9. I am thankful for starting a new journey, a new ten years where I will conquer everything I can in life.

10. I am thankful that in 2010 someone, God most likely, intervened in my suicide and kept me on this earth. I truly believe I can connect with people through my writing.

11. And lastly, I am thankful for every blogger who spends a moment of their day on my blog. I couldn’t write without you.

What are some of the things that you are thankful for? Please share in the comments below.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours. Share smiles with the ones you love. Be happy that we are alive.

And always keep fighting.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: Pro Church Media

Why I Added a Button to my Blog

I wanted to say the outpour of support with my followers that have donated to my blog, thank you for supporting me. Asking for help has never been something I could just do, but as I continue to grow my brand “The Bipolar Writer” I wanted people to know why decided to ask for help in purchasing my laptop.

I bought my current Mac Book Pro in 2012. It was a refurbished machine. I was to embark the life of a student and as a struggling writer just beginning the journey of writing, and it was all I could afford. This computer has been amazing for me over the long years and it been my constant companion.

I have written countless papers for my degree. I have written several screenplays including Memory of Shane. There were times when my computer was my place to write and journal my thoughts. Every poem and short story over the last five years has been right on this computer that I am writing this blog post on.

It was a great computer but like all good electronics, they eventually have issues. I have always taken care of the laptop because all the magic of what I do as a student, blogger writer, part-time journalist, and screenwriter has been on this one machine.

My laptop started to have issues about a year ago, mostly with application freezing on me. I usually have at least three writing applications open at one time along with my web browser and iTunes open when I write. But lately, I have been dealing with major delays in my writing because of restarts because of issues. Its been slowing my productivity but I get by.

I write this not because I want sympathy from my followers and to be honest I’d rather not write something like this, but some of my followers have donated some good-sized donations and it means that they want to make sure The Bipolar Writer continues. I don’t ask anyone to donate unless they can, but I wanted to share a little bit of the “why.”

I hope I don’t lose followers because of this post, and I want to you know I wrestled in my mind for the last week to even make a post like this because no matter what The Bipolar Writer will continue and I will use the equipment I have right now. I really hate writing this…

Again thank you for all those that have helped me by donating it will not be forgotten and those who can donate you mean the world to me.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Kari Shea

Angel on the Ward – Part One

I am very excited to share this short story entitled Angel on the Ward. I broke it into pieces because it is a very long story.

This is part one.

The story is set in November of 2007 during my first suicide attempt and diagnosis. The story covers the entire week of Thanksgiving, almost six days, in which I spent my first time in the psych ward. The parts of the story will be released over the course of the next week in honor of my ten-year diagnosis/suicide anniversary, I made it!

This short story is still a raw piece and it will eventually make its way into my memoir once I finish editing. Its written in a short story format with some dialogue. It is far from perfect written and I post it here on my blog to gauge if this story is any good. I wrote this piece ages ago for a short story class and it just evolved over the years. I spent the last week adding to it and I am hoping the end piece will be good enough for my memoir.

Part One is very long so be sure you have time to read the entire part. Enjoy.

The opening of my door wakes me from a light sleep. The morning nurse pokes her head in, and I can only see the silhouette of her body in the darkness.

“When you’re ready James there is breakfast out in the common area,” she says, “You should try and get up, it’s a cold outside so dress warmly. The sun is about to start peeking through your window,” My silence was deafening. After a moment, she exits closing the door quietly behind her.

I sit up for a moment with every intention of laying back down. The pillow envelops my head and beings to throb hard as the thought of laying down starts to take over my body.

The memories of the previous night became hard to suppress as I work to focus on my surroundings. The quietness of the room makes it all easy for the thoughts to consume me every moment.

My room is small and simple. Four off-white walls, two longer than the other in a rectangle that surrounds me swallowing me whole. Two doors come into focus. One is a huge door with a small glass window that a person can look through and spy on me through the hallway. It was this door the nurse used to make me and put the endless loop of thoughts back into my head.

The other door is a typical plain brown door with a handle. It opens to the small bathroom with a toilet, sink, and mirror. It seemed odd that there was no shower in my bathroom, and the window was also missing. My guess, for people like me in a place like this, windows could be a hazard.

Occupying most of the room is two beds. A nightstand is positioned on the left side of each bed. The contents of everything I had on from the previous night in my hospital visit now was next to me in a paper bag on my nightstand. A small brown cupboard was next to the door that led into the bathroom. I assumed these cupboards were used by the guests to put their long-term items. I had no intention of staying past this day. The plainness of this room was prison like and it was making me feel worse about the situation I now found myself in. The memories of the night before, the ones I fought to repress before my arrival at this place, came flooding back.

I am moving in a slow wheelchair. This memory was hazy at best. The drugs that I took were still somewhat in my system thought the black charcoal substance that was shoved down my throat took care of most of it. I could barely remember the emergency room, and the details put together starts to become a puzzle I am seeking to solve.

A male nurse and a security guard was the first thing I remembered pushing me down one corridor after another, opening and closing doors that were locked by keycard. I found it a bit amazing that it took two people to handle one young man that at best was heavily drugged. I remember thinking, why are there so many doors?

With no idea about the end of this journey, I remember going in and out. The drugs kept my hazy. When they had been explaining it to me in the emergency room I was failing to pay attention. For all I knew, I had dreamed the whole experience. It was wishful thinking at its finest.

Reaching our destination, it was just after going through another locked door. I could tell the arrival portion of this trip through endless doors because the security guard was now leaving the nurse and myself. It sunk in—this would become my new place of temporary residency. The nurse started to push me down a new but small corridor reaching the nurse’s station.

A large female nurse approached the other nurse and starting whispering to my nurse. This recollection made me laugh and smile a bit because I honestly have no idea if the nurse was large or if I just remembered it like that. I could remember the big open room in front of the nursing station with overly large windows. My eyes were only greeted with darkness beyond the big windows.

An eternity passed (or just seconds) and I was on the move again, this time down another corridor. This corridor was different, it had an open door waiting for me at the end. In only a hospital gown two nurses helped me into the closest bed to the door. I had no roommate that I could see. They put my belongings on the bedside stand then moved towards the door closing it behind them. They left me there lost in the endless darkness of my mind.

The darkness puts into perspective my situation, and what had led me here. It all started with darkness. I cry for what feels like an eternity. The days leading to this event were harsh and unbearing. I wanted to cry for weeks. I just let it all go. Eventually, sleep overtook me.

Coming back to reality, my thoughts continued to brew in my head consuming all the energy in my body and after a while, moving seemed like a good option. I could feel the throbbing of my head the result from the night before, and slowly I made my way to the bathroom.

The face looking back at me in the mirror was barely recognizable. Did those sunken bloodshot deep black eyes the blackest of circles really belong to me? The face staring back at me seemed lost, and unrecognizable. It could have been a trick. My body could be in the possession of my depression and just my body and just my mind remained. Convincing myself that this was really me, I decided such thoughts such as these were pointless.

Finally, out excuses for not making my way to eat breakfast, I made my way back to the nightstand to see if there were any clothes worth wearing in the paper bag, a hospital gown was not going to do. My clothes from the night before were the usual for me—a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and my hoodie. For some reason, no shoes could be found in the bag. I made my way over to the cupboard but again no shoes. I thought this was an odd thing but thought it best to let it go. I thought to myself, “Well that was weird.”

Leaving the room shoeless, I made my way down the hall to the open room that I had been in the night before. I could feel the daylight caressing my skin as I made my way to the room with the big glass windows that had changed with the new day. It hit me quickly that I had missed many things with my arrival on the ward. A glass door was positioned in the middle of the glass windows and its opening was to a small courtyard. I could see a few tables and cement benches to sit on. It became obvious that this area was just an illusion of serenity with the flowers and trees near the cement benches.

A cement wall could be seen the opposite of the glass door. It gave a true feeling of the reality that this place was a prison, and that courtyard was just an illusion. It was more of a prison than the actual ward. It seemed a real mind fuck to me. Why have an open area when clearly this was an illusion? Is this how the mentally ill are treated—with psychological warfare?

As I continued through the open room there was a small television with pink couches surrounding. Everything was so pink in this place. We pass the same nurse’s station from the night before, but a different nurse occupied the station. Further away there were more pink couches that lining the glass windows with other couches leading to another area with large tables. I could see other patients sitting eating their breakfast. It was a strange array of people. Some patients sat quietly, while others not so much. Wanting to be alone, I found an open table with no one sitting and placing myself with my back to the other patients. A nurse brought tray that contained my breakfast.

“Here you go dear,” says a new nurse as she sets my breakfast tray in front of me.

I made the decision to greet everything with silence. It was just easier. I spent the next several minutes poking at my breakfast with no real interest in eating. As I sat there in silence, the opening of the locked door from the night before caught my attention. A young girl about my age came in. A different nurse was gently pushing this fragile young woman. She looked very fragile and I noticed her wrists were heavily bandaged. She tried to take away the pain the only way she knew how, and I could relate. The result was the same I thought, trapped in a place with walls and windows, but no escape. Pondering this, I realized that this could be my future.

Her nurse was pushing the young woman gently in the wheelchair over to my table and for a fleeting moment, our eyes met—before her eyes moved back down toward the floor. She was so beautiful. The hospital gown she was in only made her beauty intensify in my eyes. The same nurse puts a breakfast tray in front of the young woman but she less interested in eating them I was at that moment. My eyes were locked on this girl and it was impossible to turn away from her, there was something about her that made want to know this young woman. Was it the connection that we share being here for the same reasons?

With just a whisper I tell her my name, “Hi, I am James. For a moment, she looks me over and in her eyes, decides something.

Then, with some relief, her quiet answer was a single answer, “Angela.” Not wanting to press her for more we ate in complete silence for the rest of breakfast.

That first day on the ward was a day of many lessons rolled into a day I will never forget. I spent the morning sitting reflecting on what had brought me here. Even though I had lived through it, the whole thing was one big blur.

A single theme was persistent in the weeks leading up to my suicide attempt. I knew as much to be true. The will to not be a part of this world was weighing heavy on my mind before getting to this place. It took me no time to realize that this was Thanksgiving week.

In fact, when I thought about it deeper, I realized it was the day before the big day. That made the night before a Tuesday. As I put things in chronological order in my head, it easier to function. Still, it was hard to piece it together with everything because all of it seemed so whirlwind like the event took up months instead of days and weeks. The pain was still raw and as I worked on recalling the memories, it was better to get it all in order now before having to visit the doctor.

The emotion pain. How long had it been there? This pain was unlike hurting your ankle, what I felt for so many months was worse. This pain was emotional and it cut deep. Depression became my best friend and worst enemy. Often, it whispered to me that the pain would only get worse, I had no real options. It told me I was alone in this world, and that death was always going to be my fate.

It kept me up for days at a time, and every racing through stripped away pieces of my sanity. My depression distorts my reality, and time seemed to slow. The lines of what was real and not real were blurry just a few days ago. The constant losing battle of dark thoughts.

But when the time came to finally face the fact that I would to suicide, a moment of clarity came over me, there was an option. A final option. It was time—it had to end. How to do it? My medication was the easiest accessible means. With no access to firearms and a high chance of someone noticing a missing knife, it was the only real option. It was just there for the taking. It was not long that thoughts became reality. Sleeping pills would work on two fronts, it would bring me to sleep and bring me death. Spreading the pills on my bed I counted them, wondering how many it would take to end it all. Putting my medication in my hand, it made that moment so real…

“James, it is visiting time now. You mother and father are here to see you.” I found myself laying on a pink couch. So, lost in thought that I barely remember moving from the tables to the couch. At some point, I had put on my favorite white My Chemical Romance hoodie to what I was wearing.

Moving from the pink couch, I walked slowly to the roundtables where breakfast has been served just an hour or so prior. I could see my mother and father coming through a different door, the one to the outside world.
My father had his usual stern look about him. They wore expressions of a mixture of afraid and sad, my situation was one that neither one of my parents was prepared to deal with. My mother looked sad and frustration was evident on her face. The look my mom gave me told a story, she was hurt and she didn’t have any clue how to fix this situation that I was in. That look would be forever etched in my memory.

It was hard to be around my parents. What can you really say to your parents when they are as lost in the same unknown world that you are in? This was all new to them. I had never said so loudly that I wanted to end my life. In their minds, I was always the kid they saw on the outside, the illusion that became my shield. The reality was sinking in, this was who I really was. Even the hospital visits over the last couple months were minor things compared to what I just put them through, but this was a totally different animal.

What seemed like an eternity, I decided to ask what was on my mind since I had woken up. “What happened last night?”

My dad, very apprehensively replied, “You mean, you really don’t remember?”

“Not really. I remember that I wanted to die. Obviously, that didn’t take. I remember taking pills but not sure which ones or how many. I really don’t remember getting to the hospital. The last thing I remember was going through a bunch of doors and here I am.”

I studied the look between my parents. This was getting me nowhere. The feeling of wanting to die had not left me. I still didn’t want to be alive, but at the same time, the need to shed this prison was my only priority.

What I thought was an obvious question slipped out of my mouth, “Am I going to get out of here? I mean it’s not like I succeeded in killing myself. Why did they place me in here?”

“James. They had to pump your stomach and shove a black charcoal substance down your throat. You tried to overdose. You’re lucky to be alive!” My mom told me practically yelling. I could tell that my mom was happy with the outcome, me being alive and all, but she was still apprehensive.

I had just tried to take my life less than twenty-four hours ago, and it seemed to me that she wanted me to reassure her.  But it would be a lie. It took all that I had not to let my parents know the truth of how I was feeling. It occurred to me that no one should know. Lying was my best asset in this place. It was the only way to get out alive. So I did what I always did, I acted as if I was sorry a pretend act to be sure.

“You’re not getting out today James,” my mom continued, “You’re on a seventy-two-hour hold because of what you did.”

“But, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Are they really going to leave me here? Are you?” The realization that this was a moot point and it was starting to sink in. The answer my father gave me was expected.

“You put yourself here James. No one told you to take those pills. If you are stuck here it is your fault,” he said to me. I couldn’t meet his eyes, and I just wanted to be done with the conversation. It was getting me nowhere. My instinct was to just give up. Why even try?

We sat there for a while making small talk, but my racing thoughts began to overtake me. Could they just leave me in here during the holidays? Yes, I did something that was wrong. But I am alive, and no harm no foul, right? In my mind, I thought, this was only affecting me, because I am the one stuck here. It was not like they ended up here, they got to leave when visiting hours were over. I was alone in this place with no escape. For the first time in my life, I lost my freedom and it felt like hell.

Visiting hours finally came to an end. I was emotionally draining to visit with my parents. They let me know that there would be another visiting hour later that evening and that my mom would come back. They left me there again alone with my thoughts.

I had not seen Angela since breakfast. I felt a weird twinge in my stomach. What was my obsession with seeing this girl? The girl I hardly knew? She was starting to consume my thoughts. I tried my best to justify it as a connection that was purely a “brothers in arms” type of connection. We were both in combat for our lives. That was too simple, it was much deeper than that, but I had not realized it just yet.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: paul morris

Testimonials for “The Bipolar Writer”

Hello, my Followers.

It has been an amazing journey so far with my blog and the connections that I have made here every day. As part of the theme for my WordPress blog allows me to add testimonials from people that follow my blog. It is a great way for me to feature you, my followers on my blog, and for me to show the blog world the connections I have made on this website.

I wanted to reach out see if anyone is willing to write a testimonial on what works on my blog or in my writing. Testimonials can be just a short thing about what you like about my writing. I am opening it up to anyone. If you would like to be a part of my page, write a short testimonial, with the name you would like featured on the testimonial page, and a picture that you would like me to use, and your blog site address and send it to my email jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com.

I will start featuring testimonials every week based on who gets the emails to me first. Anyone can apply.

Have a great day my fellow bloggers.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Igor Miske