I want to welcome all audiences from around the world to The Bipolar Writer Podcast season one, episode thirteen. Today I get to share an international story from Ontario, Canada, and Brittany’s story of dealing with Bipolar One and Generalized Anxiety. Please listen to Brittany’s story of her diagnosis came about, her history, and above all, her unique story. Her journey is her own, and it is always an honor to share the community’s stories. Thank you, Brittany, for being a guest.
I always want the community with mental health/mental illness community and those on the front lines trying to change the way mental health and mental illness are treated here in America. Today, I am honored to introduce you to The Bipolar Writer Podcast Kasey Clabron Ph.D., a research scientist and clinical psychologist. This is her episode.
About Casey Claborn
Kasey Claborn, Ph.D., is a research scientist and licensed clinical psychologist. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Dell Medical School. Dr. Claborn received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University and completed her internship at the University of Florida Health Sciences Center. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, where she crossed-trained in HIV and addictive behaviors at the Alcohol Research Center on HIV. Prior to joining Dell Medical School, Claborn served as an assistant professor in psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University. Dr. Claborn conducts research in the field of addictions and develops programs designed to improve access and delivery of substance use treatments. Dr. Claborn is licensed to practice psychology in Texas and Rhode Island. She is a member of PsyPact, which allows her to practice telehealth across state lines.
Where to Find James
If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye
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I wanted to preface this poem with a “trigger warning,” this is a poem I wrote about suicide and depression recently, at this time I am NOT depressed or suicidal. But, this poem could trigger those feelings, so please read only if you are in a safe place. This free-verse poem was written during a poetry class in my last semester of my bachelor’s degree. It was my raw feelings when I was suicidal turned into a poem, please enjoy. I will link the other poem I posted recently.
It has been a long while. I am lost in my darkest contemplations. Sinking, unable to breathe. “I’m Depressed,” there I admit it. Teetering, on the edges of the blackest of thoughts— suicide. The darkness serves as my safe and unsafe place. “I am always here for you,” says the darkness— it is far away in the distance, but I hear its cry. Fearful of this darkness I let the thoughts of the end consume, afraid of what could happen. What might happen? What will happen? This winding road is leading me to the point of no return. The darkness laughs, and it moves closer in the distance.
My thoughts seek the out the painful memories, and the thoughts missile into my consciousness. Afraid. So Afraid of losing myself. My life is a mess, a black hole of endless despair. At night I lay my head down— wanting to cry, and so I cry myself to sleep. “Yes, my friend, give in. You belong here with those who lose themselves.
Wishing. Waiting. Wanting. This will be my last day, nevermore. Awake. Alone. Again. Another day lost in the darkness, it consumes my inner soul.
God hates me for what I have become, I hate myself so much that God— he has given up on me. Let’s face it, my hope evaporated long ago, it is a wonder that no one in my life wants anything to do with this lost soul. “I am here for you—always,” the darkness tells me. Can I fight this— is there something I can do? Probably not. My life is this mess. The Chaos. I created a monster inside me.
The darkness begins to consume, first my mind— and then my body. The darkness is just outside my door, it tells me this is the right thing. “Death is just mean to an end— the end of the infinite agony,” he tells me. “Give in, your life is not worth living. Give in, it will be painless.” Thoughts devour any shred of hope. The darkness wants to win. It just might.
I find myself on edge again— a familiar place, but this time it is different. I lay out the pills tidily in front of me. Counting. Thinking. “Yes,” exclaims the darkness, “this is who you are now.” How many sleeping pills does it take to sleep forever? This becomes routine— a nightly ritual that never changes. I tell myself every night, this is the night. “You must do this now,” the darkness hovers just beside me, “this is your destiny.” A flood of my past consumes my present. There is no future.
What does life mean anymore? I continue to perish in sinking into darkness. Forever. Darkness, my best friend— and worst enemy. Depression my frequent companion, never leaving me. My darkest depression. Will I give in?
I am doing something unorthodox today here on The Bipolar Writer. I hope that I have created a place where my fellow mental health sufferers can have a “safe place” to discuss their own issues. I often get emails from many who are seeking help or guidance or just want to talk about things. I want everyone who comes to this blog to know that if you are suicidal there is always someone here, I am always here to talk.
The unorthodox part is that today I am going to give my number to my followers if you are suicidal and you don’t want to reach out to help-lines (I have learned recently that they are not always great.) So, if you need to chat you can text me anytime. I will get back to you as soon as humanly possible. As a mental health advocate and someone who has been through the worst parts of mental illness alone, I want you to know I am a lifeline.
You are not alone. Suicide is not the answer. Again, I am always here to talk anytime.
It has been a while since I did some marketing forThe Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. This is mymemoir about my experiences over the first ten years of my diagnosis of Bipolar One in 2007. Now almost a year since my mom’s death, there has been a lot going on in my life. Marketing has not been on my mind. I desperately needed to make changes in my life, and if not for life coaching, a recent event could have taken me from my work. (I will explain in more detail in a blog post later this week. You can also watch the video below.)
If you are looking for a good book for those colder nights getting darker earlier and earlier, my memoir is for you. It really explains a significant part of my life. I will write another memoir within the next year or two with a very different tone. There will also be a blog post about my current works-in-progress, my company’s plans–The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services, the release date for Angel on the Ward, and other essential things. I will be writing more blogs to end 2020.
My Dark Passenger. I remember when I first named my depression, the dark passenger. It was sometime after my first psychiatric ward visit. It felt right, and to be honest, to have a name for it, that identity was a way to separate from the depression, but it was not really a separation in truth. I gave it a name, a place in my life, and it has always been my downfall. Sure, I have won battles since it became a part of me, but I have yet to win the war. It is always there, but does it have to be?
I have talked recently about detachment, and it is something that I am learning in life coaching. Recently, I was talking with someone, and they said something that stuck with me since. Creating a space for myself and detach the dark passenger. It was a challenge from this person, and I wondered if I could because as much as I have shed my life’s identities, this is a major one. I have no doubt the ability to detach is within me. I created the dark passenger, and letting go is something that I am getting better at over the last two months.
The dark passenger is an old friend. I have known this something for so long, and I know if I give it space, it may never leave me, and detach we can be separate. Less depressive episodes would be a significant step in a direction. It is not like I have not done it before, because I have gone long stretches, much like my depression cycles of the past, without depression. It has been more challenging this year, as things have been tough at times. I know I bring it up, but losing my mom was a significant event in my life, and while I have had tremendous strides in allowing space for my grieving process. There are milestones in the first year of a loss that I have to face. I would like to face these events detached from my dark passenger.
I want to challenge the very idea that depression is just something that is a part of me, which, since my diagnosis, all the professionals in my life its been the party line. That is just ludicrous because, while I can get depressed, I have seen first hand that it does not have to control me. I can allow it to me, and the next step is to detach and perhaps, for now, handcuff the dark passenger to me, so that when it wants to be a part of my life, I can tell it, NO. Try it. Tell you depression, no. I bet it will change everything.
I wanted to open this blog post with a disclaimer, I am not an expert in life coaching or any realm of psychology and therapy. I will always come from someone who shares his experience with mental illness and what comes along with what I am learning through life coaching and reading. So, what is detachment? Well, let us turn to Eckhart Tolle for a great quote.
When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them. – Eckhart Tolle
Over the past almost two weeks now, I have experienced complete attachment from events causing massive negative and depressive issues in my life. When I decided to detach from the event, seeing my life as Eckhart said, my life was surreal from a different vantage point. I was trapped inside these events so bad that self-doubts, self-loathing, negative thoughts, and dare I say some thoughts of giving up on life.
I will be vague about the event in the sense that I will share an event that was troubling me a lot because of the negative feelings I was associating with this person. It was my feelings that were driving a wedge between myself and this person. What did detaching myself from the situation do for me? It gave me a chance to shift my perspective. See the event from a different vantage point. I went into the event with an open mind. I noticed what was triggering me and bothering me was my ego trying to take hold of the situation. I chose positive intentions over negative ones. I detached entirely from the event and went in with just the facts. I came out with a better understanding that there is a different way of approaching an event with negative connotations or anytime that I feel the ego awakening (again, please read Eckhart Tolle to fully understand.)
Something my life coach told me–take consistent action. It makes so much sense now when I apply it to my life. Since my mom’s loss in December, I have felt like the punching bag of everyone that comes into my life, but in truth, I was playing the victim identity card. I allowed depression to be an excuse for my lack of energy or feeling like general crap. Depression is an emotion, but it can be a part of what is going on without controlling you. For the first time in forever, it seems my depression hit a ONE. I am not sure of the time or if this ever actually happened before.
What shifted? Everything. My approach. My attitude. Checking my ego at the door. Allowing detachment to give me a higher vantage point that I needed to look at the event. It is something that can and will be replicated in my life. I am tired of being the person that hides from the problems and events because I am here to tell you, they will continue to keep coming up in this life. So I leave you with hope. Change the narrative. Detach from the event. You will feel better for it. As always, stay strong in the fight.
Since day one of the inception of The Bipolar Writer blog I had a plan of how things were going to go on my blog. When I hit 2,000 followers the plan was to start a series of interviews of other members of the mental illness community. It was amazing to finally start my interview series where I feature the stories of others. It’s been successful so far.
I am close to another milestone for my blog and I am looking towards the future of my blog as I near 15,000 followers, I am looking to add more contributors to blog because the stories of others is important to me. These contributors roles are as follows according to WordPress:
Contributor – has no publishing or uploading capability, but can write and edit their own posts until they are published.
I am only looking for contributor writers at this moment. What I do is add you to my blog as a contributor. All I need is to add your email. You can write about any subject about mental illness. You pick the categories and the post must have a featured picture. I will have the final say on if it gets published. If you become a regular contributor, I will change your status to the rank of author:
Author – can write, upload photos to, edit, and publish their own posts.
If you are interested please email me at JamesEdgarSkye22@gmail.com
I am really excited to expand to allow more contributor writers on my blog. I think it will help to get different stories and blog posts on different topics within the mental health community. It’s an opportunity to continue the growth of The Bipolar Writer brand, and really talk about the issues as we fight to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Blogging will always have a special place in my heart, as it was here, within the confines of this blog, that I found my place with my writing. I found a group of people with like-minded ideas about sharing the stories of mental illness. The encouragement I got allowed me to write my memoir. I wonder, though, will I always be able to write here or will a time come that I will move on.
I think that is why I am pushing so hard lately to get a great list of authors on the website to always have words written here. I don’t mind paying the yearly fee to keep this blog going if it is still a safe place for mental illness/mental health advocacy writers to call it home. If I can swell the number to fifty members to end 2020, it might be the perfect storm where this blog goes on without me.
Where is this coming from? I have been dealing with stress more in 2020 than at any other time in my life. I know everyone is dealing with anxiety, depression, and stress. The list is probably longer than that if I am honest. For me, it is many things at once. Starting my business. Finishing my Master’s degree. Publishing my novella. Writing projects and writing this blog. Going through Life Coaching while still trying to find the confidence in my writing. Then, of course, losing my mom. Almost a year has gone by. How do I deal with that in December? My hope is to not be a mess.
I love what I have created here, and for the foreseeable, I will continue to write as much as humanly possible so that things will be in the right place in my life. The need to share my story continues here, and the magnetic pull is still here. Writing blog posts is my center, and it helps me continue throughout my day, so a baseline would be an accurate account of why I still write here. When that day comes when I am ready to move on, then I will. There is too much as stake to give up this space for good because the mental illness stories we share help fight mental health stigma. Perhaps someone reading this post will find their place among the writers here. Stay strong in the fight.
I know we are just rounding into Fall from the summer, and winter is still on the horizon. Whenever I talk about SAD for some reason, I always think like a geek that “Winter is coming.” Watching Game of Thornes always reminded me that the seasonal affective disorder part of my diagnosis is real in the winter months. These are the months that I struggle most, and in an ordinary world, I could handle it. We live in a COVID-19 “new normal,” and I worry about those who will be struggling more than usual.
For myself, it will be some rough months. I have my mom’s one-year griefversary of her passing. I will use what I learned, including detached emotions, to deal with, but I will have days. This time around, I have a plan. People who care and I can reach out to when things become muddled. I am going to allow the depression that comes to have its space in my life. Why let it control me? I have for many years, and that has gotten me nowhere good. The seasonal affective disorder is real, and I usually suffer from October to about May. It has been better the last, and I have better tools to deal with it this year.
So much is happening in our world. We have to remember that our mental health is more important than what is going on in the news or social media. One of the things I am considering is a total social media shut down until the end of the year for me, that means outside of this blog, I will delete my social media accounts from my phone, the only way that I access social media. I have a friend that is considering giving up her phone by 2021, and that even sounds like a good idea if I wasn’t launching my business.
I have so much to do, including putting the finishing touches on my book and publishing it in October. All I am waiting for is my graphic artist to come through. I am nearing the end of a two-year trek to finish my Master’s in February, and I am considering Literature Ph.D. programs as the next logical step in my profession as a writer. My business and grieving my mom means the next three months will be exciting, engaging, and heartbreaking. SAD will not get me down.
I have not done this in a while, so I pose the question to those reading this post right now. In this new normal world we live in, are you taking precautions like me to ensure your seasonal affective disorder is not worse this fall and winter months because of COVID-19 or any other factors?
Please leave you responses below, I would love to hear your take on COVID-19 and seasonal affective disorder.
Writing is my life, and I am always looking for the next project no matter what other projects are on my current plate, but I think that as a writer, we get one chance to write about an influential book about your hometown’s history. That is what my next ghostwriting project will be, writing about my hometown and a family restaurant that goes back to the ’40s. If you lived in Salinas, Ca, you knew The Rodeo Cafe and Sang’s Cafe. I am looking for anyone willing to donate through GoFundMe to help with the book’s costs. There will be hours of research and, of course, the writing. If you can, please donate, but of not share on social media.
You can use the following link, and those who donate over $20 amount will get a free copy of the book. I usually don’t go the route of GoFundMe, but this is an essential milestone in my ghostwriting career. I will be co-writing the book with the owner’s daughter/granddaughter. The book chronicles the unique history, including the original place, The Rodeo Cafe, where John Steinbeck ate and wrote. The place has an impressive history, including the sons taking it over after the Loma Prieta Earthquake. The second part of the book will be the interviews of those patrons of the establishments over the years and what it meant to Salinas’ citizens.