Updated Version of my Poem: 12:15 am

12:15 am

by James Edgar Skye

It’s 12:15 am, I am in a dark room
my mind racing and
the panic is 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 crush 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.

What is the worse that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoCristofer Jeschke

A Chapter on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy From my Memoir

Last Saturday, I held a “mental health discussion” on Zoom. I consider it a success as there were many questions and great dialogue within a small group. I will be writing about this experience later this week, and on Saturday, I will be hosting another Zoom get together. One of the topics that came up was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and I wanted to share one of the chapters in my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir about learning Mood Induction therapy, which has served me well as a part of my CBT training. Mood Induction is a small part of the process, but for me, it is one of my favorites. I am in no way a professionally licensed therapist, and this chapter from experience only. 

I promised one the participants that I would share this as a stepping stone for them to research CBT.

Chapter Thirty-Two: My CBT Journey – Mood Induction

SINCE SUMMER 2017, I have been working on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My therapist introduced it to me after a bad stretch of anxiety and social anxiety from January to March. My goal was to work on ways to fight anxiety without Ativan. I have learned a few techniques over the course of the summer and I want to share what has worked. One of the goals that I set out to achieve is to give advice about things that have helped me along my journey. 

CBT is the practice of developing personal managing strategies that help solve problems. The point is helping to change negative thought patterns in positive ways. The outcome is working on what is wrong with your thoughts. I have used CBT only for anxiety. I have known people who have used it for other mental illness issues, like depression.

Mood induction has been helpful for me as I work toward my goal of conquering my ongoing battle with social anxiety. Different experts go about using mood induction techniques with music in different ways. I am by no means an expert, but rather I will share what my own therapist gave me in the form of steps. Music has always been a great coping tool that I have used over the years, so it was exciting to work on this technique.

The first step is simple, the initial response step. First, find some music to listen to that will evoke emotion while you listen. It might be helpful to rate your mood before you listen to the song. Focus on the song and what it brings out in your thoughts and emotions. Then write down the emotional responses that you first felt (like happy, sad, or frustrated.)

The second step in the mood induction process is the intensity of emotional response. This step is your determination of how strongly you felt the emotions in the first step. Using a scale of 1-10, you rate how much emotion came when listening to the chosen song.

The third step, reaction to emotional response, is perhaps the most important of the steps. This step breaks down into important steps:

  1. Describe your thoughts: This is simple. What thoughts came to your mind while listening to the song?
  2. Describe your sensations or feelings. Did your heart rate increase while listening to the song? Here you talk about any feelings and sensations.
  3. Describe your behaviors while listening to the song. Did you fidget, pace, or sigh?

This step is important to the process because it is here that you analyze your thoughts and behaviors, which is helpful in real life. You take a moment in time, listening to a song, and you range your emotional response. From there, you can focus on what these thoughts mean to you. It also helps find the meaning behind such emotional responses. In my experience, it helps to choose a song that brings out a strong emotional response.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to help log my breakdown. Here is what a complete breakdown was like for me:

  • Song Choice: Nineteen Stars, Meg and Dia.
  • Emotional Response: Relieved, happy, good.
  • Rate Response: 8
  • Thoughts: Meaningful, it reminds me of the journey that I have been on. Where I was ten years ago to now. I want to be a part of this world now. What this song meant to me in 2007.
  • Sensations/Feelings: Heart rate increased.
  • Behaviors: Fidgeting and moving my legs up and down while sitting at my computer.

The responses and emotions are different for each person and the results will of course vary. I have used this on hundreds of songs. I used an excel worksheet to break down each section.

I have found it useful going back to the songs that you have already broken down and do the process again. It helps to see if your thoughts and emotions change when listened to the second time or a third time.

This is one part of CBT. There are so many books and schools of thought that I have found over the years. It has helped me sort through my anxiety. It’s a long process and I am not where I want to be with my social anxiety. It’s important that I keep moving forward and working towards using CBT every day. 

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Houseplants and Mental Health

I have a black thumb. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means I kill plants. You’d think, by now, that I’d see the ferns and cacti leaning away from me at the store -but, no. I see a cute pot or arrangement and think, I can grow a plant! Into my cart the poor once-green thing goes, soon to meet its demise like so many before it.

paula-brustur-tmIcTEiZNzk-unsplash

Isn’t it cute?

My house is full of plants. This is odd, considering my admitting to how often I kill them. People come to my house, look around, and say, “Wow; you must have a green thumb!”

Hiding my black thumbs behind my back I answer, “Why, thank you;” because, as I said, I am not good at raising plants.

At this point, you may be wondering two things:

  1. Why do you have plants if you are bad at caring for them?
  2. Why the heck are we talking about plants? Isn’t this a mental health blog?

The answer is that living with mental illness is an awful lot like maintaining houseplants. Houseplants need a good start so their roots can drain while their soil retains water without drowning them. They need sunlight and regular watering. They even need calming sounds. When I skip or skimp on these things, they suffer.

lauren-ferstl-oVMS0RzWeFs-unsplash

Likewise, counseling or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or great genes) helps us deal with challenges and triggers in life. Sunlight gives us Vitamin D and cheers us up. We need water so we don’t die. Calmer songs and sounds help with agitation, depression, panic attacks, and stress. When I skip or skimp on these things, I suffer.

I often tell people I struggle with depression. I tell them I have social anxieties, or generalized ones. I admit to deep, dark thoughts and difficult days.

People -even online people- are surprised. All they see are green, growing plants. They don’t see the dead branches I’ve pulled off, the dead leaves I’ve pruned, or even the millipedes I vacuumed out of the roots*. They can’t feel my sadness, isolation, and occasional thoughts of uselessness and despair.

But, knowing I have mental issues hasn’t stopped me from fighting any more than knowing I have a black thumb has stopped me from buying plants.

Why?

Because there is no perfect plant -besides the plastic ones at IKEA. Every plant has parts that die off. Every one of them has needed soil conditioners or peat moss, or re-potting.

One of my favorite houseplants is this tree, pictured below. I bought it as a tiny, grocery store discount. I’ve watered it, kept it in the sun, and graduated it to larger pots as it outgrew them. At some points, I thought it wouldn’t make it. I even thought to leave it behind when we moved houses.

20200207_104204

Then, I learned better potting techniques. I watered regularly, but not too much. It’s currently taller than I am, and still growing.

Furthermore, do you notice anything about its coloring? The part away from the sun is darker. There are some dead leaves nearer the middle.

Hmmmm.

Some days I want to give up. I see the discolorations in my character and assume others do as well. I think there is something wrong that needs removal or replacement.

Instead, notice how cool the contrast looks. Notice how darkness gives depth to light.

Maybe the ‘problem’ is that I need more sunshine, a better watering routine, or a calmer environment. Maybe the ‘problem’ is needing more space or nutrients. Or, maybe the ‘problem’ is there isn’t one, because everyone has problems.

And so, I will keep trying. I will keep fighting. And the growth that emerges will be the most beautiful and healthy of all.

~~~~~

*True story with a lemon tree we bought

Photo Credits:
Paula Brustur
Lauren Ferstl
And, Chelsea Owens

Morgan’s Interview Feature

Starting this month I will be reposting each of my interviews of the “Interview Feature” series. This was something I started in 2017, and while I have not the time at the moment to write new ones, I am planning on writing a book with many interviews in the future if I can get my Patreon account. With that said, here is the first one I ever wrote.

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

Morgan’s Interview Feature

Since the inception of my blog The Bipolar Writer it has been my goal to write the stories of others like myself. I have written my own story in my memoir (also entitled The Bipolar Writer) and sharing my experiences on my blog. Every human experience in having to live with a mental illness is unique to that human being and the suffering from it is also unique. It is why I believe it is imperative that I share other’s stories, so here is the story of one brave mental illness sufferer—Morgan who lives in Australia.

The daily struggle of waking up every day to a mental illness can be a struggle and for Morgan, it is no different. Morgan has always felt that her daily mental illness struggle is a hard one, and had this to say, “My mental illness has always been very affected by what’s going on around me, some days it much worse than others.”

We all have that story of when we went from the unknown to the known with our diagnosis. Surrounded by the people Morgan loved on her twenty-first birthday, it became clear to her that in that moment she could barely acknowledge the event and a feeling of numbness. Only broken by the speech of her godparents and seeing the face of a filmmaking mentor, seemed to register to Morgan that day. “I was very lucky that afterward a very close friend, who suffered from anxiety herself, stayed behind and I decided to tell her how I felt,” she recalls.

Sometimes it takes just one person to listen before you realize you need help.

It was here that Morgan, after talking with her friend who recommended that she seek help, that she made the decision we all face. Two weeks later she was diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety and moderate to severe depression.

We all have a history, a time before our diagnosis where we had little to no understanding of what was going on in our lives, and Morgan remembers many times since she was a child that anxiety was a constant and silent companion. Morgan describes her early experiences as just a part of her personality growing up, a common thought during the early stages of anxiety. Like most things with a mental illness, her anxiety grew over time.

AnxietyasPartofPersonality

Morgan remembers that her anxiety was always there with her since she was a child, and at times she felt more anxious than other times, but the feeling never left her. Morgan recalls her memories with anxiety in an interesting way, but not uncommon, “I have no memory of not having anxiety, which is not surprising seeing as many people on my mother’s side of the family suffer from it.”

Anxiety is often the silent partner for the sufferer, and you hardly know it’s there until it makes it presence known. Identifying other family members when looking back your history of the causes of anxiety in their own life is common, and it no surprise that Morgan can link anxiety through her experiences with her family.

Death is an important part of our lives, and the inevitable part of life is that you will lose someone close to you, for someone with a mental illness this can be devastating. It was this way in Morgan’s life, and it was important enough that she brought it up in her interview with me, “My anxiety definitely became much worse after the death of my father and the suicide of someone I had grown up with within two months of each other when I was nineteen.”

The feelings associated with death in the mind of someone who is devastated with anxiety, depression, and grief can make a person with mental illness turn to the only thing they truly know when it comes to emotions—deeper feelings into the depths of depression—of feeling lost and alone.

“I experienced my first panic attack after their deaths, and I would go on to experience both moderate and severe ones in the years that followed,” Morgan explains.

For Morgan, depression was a much different beast, but still important. Looking back, Morgan can trace her first feelings of prolonged depressive moods to age ten or eleven, when her family issues started to affect her life. Her father was in early stages of vascular dementia which caused Morgan’s father to get easily frustrated with his family. At the age Morgan was at, having to go through puberty while dealing with depression, made it hard for Morgan’s childhood to be a normal one.

Depression would become a factor along with physical pain that affected her in school work over the course of her young and teenage life.

There are so many triggers in one’s life that can start a depressive episode, and Morgan recalls several in her life. One constant problem in Morgan’s life is that her physical problems have always triggered depression episodes. “During puberty, I began to experience severe stomach pain and nausea on and off, within a year lightheadedness and fatigue became frequent symptoms,” Morgan remembers growing up.

It was the beginning of what would become a trend in Morgan’s life with her physical problems causing depression that, in turn, affected her schooling. With her depression came plummeting school work and effectiveness in school over the years as a teen. It culminated for Morgan in her final year where once again her unknown mental illness issues made things impossible, “Even though I had amazing teachers, my prestigious school could only compromise so much, and halfway through my final year, I was told I wasn’t able to graduate.”

DepressionandPain

How can anyone, let alone someone who is dealing with the dark places depression can take you to, deal with this kind of heartbreak? Morgan remembers what it felt like, “I can remember thinking about ways to die most days.”

This feeling of wanting to die when faced with such emotional pain is common among those within the mental health community. It is easy to empathize with Morgan because at one point many of us have had to deal with this feeling. Some, like myself, have given into suicidal idealizations. For Morgan, even with her growing mental illness problems, she had to choose and she chose to work on her physical health.

People can also be major triggers of depression in the life of someone with a mental illness, and often they leave the deepest of emotional scars on our lives. When Morgan’s parents first sent her to group therapy as a young impressionable teen, it was far from the normal. Morgan describes the group therapy that parents put her into as an alternative and “hippy” where other kids that had been through the program would come back to help. The problem? Most of the kids were still dealing with their own problems and still in need of help. It is here that Morgan first met an older boy who changed her—and not for the better.

Morgan recalls this relationship as unstable and one she couldn’t live without at the time.

“I developed a very strong crush on one of the older boys who were there to help, and he quickly realized how he could use my emotional feelings to manipulate me.”

Over the next four years of her teenage life, she stayed in touch with this boy, and she recalls that during this period of her life, her depression mood swings went from occasional to a constant menace. Morgan remembers the negative thoughts that this boy brought to her life, “One of my strongest memories of him now is the text messages telling me how much pain I was causing others by being in their lives, and how I was worthless.” For Morgan, this was a daily occurrence and a recognizable one for many dealing with a mental illness.

Dark Shadows Sweater Evening Hoodie People Night

This boy confirmed every fear and anxious thought that Morgan ever had about herself, but the connection had always been there for Morgan, and cutting off this person from her life was filled with difficulties. As humans with a mental illness, we often attach ourselves to situations where it only serves to further our negative thoughts. We feel as if we are not good enough for the world, so these relationships, no matter how destructive, can lead to deeper attachments.

Eventually, on her sixteenth birthday, Morgan finally cut off all contact and ended a relationship filled with emotional cuts that stayed with her for many years.

Not all people that come into the lives of someone with a mental illness are negative influences. In her journey, Morgan has found two people at school that became saviors in her life and they are still a positive influence. In her late teen years, Morgan found the strength to fight her ups and downs with depression with filmmaking and found solace in her friend Alice who became her rock after her father’s death. When Morgan finally sought help it became clear that her past was affecting her future, and since has grown with her experiences.

“I’d known since I was twelve that I had some form of depression, after all, most of my symptoms matched the ones I’d heard of in group therapy, but getting my official diagnosis of anxiety was life-changing.”

These days Morgan gets through her daily struggles with the help of important medications like anti-depressants and breathing exercises that she learned in cognitive behavioral therapy to help cope with anxiety. Morgan also credits a strong support system of family and quality friends who not only know what is wrong with her but offer help in her those times of great need, supporting her along her journey.

When Morgan has a panic attack, she has learned to tell herself, “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”

In Morgan’s life, she has found solace in the things that make her life worth living. Close personal friends that are always there for her. Morgan’s boyfriend of eighteen months has seen the worst of her diagnosis and is still is a constant patient and supportive influence every day. Throughout her life, she has been lucky to have her parents that always encouraged her creativity and dreams. It was Morgan’s mother who fostered her creativity, “My mother passed on her love of art and cafes, and we still share wonderful deep emotional conversations together, which are the main ways I process life.”

Of course, Morgan has her cat, Alistair (a Dragon Age reference perhaps) who is always a wonderful distraction from the rest of the world.

In every journey of a human being going through a mental illness you can find real wisdom in the struggle, and Morgan wants her story to be one of many that will help with the goals she sets out to tell her story here on The Bipolar Writer blog, “One of my biggest goals is to reduce the stigma around taking medication. I chose not to take medication for a long time, and it’s one of my biggest regrets I have in life.”

Morgan also believes that the stigma that comes with having a mental illness keeps teens and young adults from seeking help. Morgan recalls when she first started to realize that she was dealing with depression, she saw daily shirts that said, “Cheer Up Emo Kid” which were quite popular in Australia. These types of stereotypes in Morgan’s mind further the stigma that just smiling should be enough to cure you. No one human being chooses to have a mental illness and it can be scary to even think about getting help, but Morgan believes she can change this by telling her story.

“If I could choose this life, I thought, why the hell would you think I would choose this? It is very important to realize your mental illness is not your fault, but you can do something about it.”

In this mental illness life, there is always someone to talk to, a professional or a friend that you can trust. If Morgan could change one other thing about the stigma that comes with a mental illness it would be this, “It’s important to know that there is help out there, even if you aren’t well enough to seek it out in this moment.”

Many of human beings that will be featured on The Bipolar Writer blog cite their creating content on their blogs as one of the biggest thing that makes life worth living. Morgan calls her blog a place of solace that helps keep her steady,

“My blog keeps me from going insane by giving me a little goal to achieve every day, whether it’s replying to comments, writing a new blog post, or promoting on social media.”

Creativity

Morgan is a filmmaker and writer who was diagnosed with endometriosis at seventeen and depression and generalized anxiety at twenty-one. She uses her creativity as an essential part of her healing process.

You can find Morgan’s blog at:

www.fistfulofglittersite.wordpress.com

Written by J.E. Skye

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

Interviewee: Morgan

How do you find “the one?”

I made the hardest move I’ve ever made this past week. Quitting on my therapist.

I hate leaving people and I do not like the feeling of letting people down. But I just couldn’t help but to feel that we were not the greatest fit.

I appreciate my therapist and his effort for sure, but even as time passed on – I just did not feel like I had the best fit with him as a therapist and client.

As a psych researcher myself, I read countless articles on how medication and psychotherapy conducted together brings out the bets results and I understand that. However, how do I help myself if I feel that I just need some time to figure things out myself without having a therapist?

After being in therapy since August 2016, I almost feel that I never gave myself a time to reflect on my own mental health journey. It was rather having a therapist doing all the hard thinking FOR me.

But I do know I should eventually get back to therapy as I am still trying to find my “tools” for my mental illness.

Dear bloggers, what are some of your tips on finding “the one” in therapy world? How did you know when you found your therapist that was a right fit for you?

Patreon & Changes

The best thing in this mental health life is that you can always turn the page on your mental illness.

I recently dealt with an impressive mixed episode throughout two very rough days, but the sun always comes up, and I take comfort in that reality.

Something New… Patreon

That brings me to something I have been working on all week and I want to officially launch it on The Bipolar Writer blog–my official Patreon account.

http://www.patreon.com/jamesedgarskye

Here is what Patreon is according to their Website:


For creators
, Patreon is a way to get paid for creating the things you’re already creating (webcomics, videos, songs, whatevs). Fans pay a few bucks per month OR per post you release, and then you get paid every month, or every time you release something new. Learn more about becoming a creator on Patreon.

For patrons, Patreon is a way to join your favorite creator’s community and pay them for making the stuff you love. Instead of literally throwing money at your screen (trust us, that doesn’t work), you can now pay a few bucks per month or per post that a creator makes.  For example, if you pay $2 per video, and the creator releases 3 videos in February, then your card gets charged a total of $6 that month.  This means the creator gets paid regularly (every time she releases something new), and you become a bonafide, real-life patron of the arts.  That’s right–Imagine you, in a long frilly white wig, painted on a 10-foot canvas on the wall of a Victorian mansion.  And imagine your favorite creators making a living doing what they do best… because of you.

http://www.patreon.com/jamesedgarskye

What Patreon Means to The Bipolar Writer?

My goal in my Patreon account is for me to connect with my followers to a point where they become a part of the experience. I have created tiers on my Patreon account that give a patron a level of access to my writing that has never before been seen.

I want to be able to write full-time, and this idea, using patrons that have access to my work monthly work through a subscription service can help me achieve some significant goals. The first goal is to pay for a legit editor for The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. I am going to self-publish, but I want this book to reach every person possible. That means releasing the best work possible.

A second goal for creating a Patreon account is to start new projects. I am planning on starting a mental health podcast with fellow advocate because she has very unique perspectives on her mental health. I want to be able to share the stories of others much like my interview series.

That leads me to the next goal, writing a book on different members of the community much like Humans of New York with a focus on the many faces of mental illness. There are so many more things I want to do to spread the word and end the stigma, and I think Patreon will allow me to reach these goals.

The most basic tier is $2. If half of the fantastic people here on The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog sign up, I can begin to reach new levels in my writing.

http://www.patreon.com/jamesedgarskye

Changes to The Bipolar Writer Blog

There have been some changes to the blog already in place. The business level allows me to add new tools to get our message out to a better audience.

I will admit, I am not the best at making everything work, so I am looking for someone with experience that can take the plug-ins that come with the business level and make everything better. There will be an upcoming store soon which the goal here is to help others sell their work through this blog (I am still working on this.) There will be changes in the coming weeks and I will keep you updated. Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

A Final Push – My GoFundme Campaign

I wanted to say first, thank you all to those who have already donated towards upgrading The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog to the business level. There have been some fantastic large donations and also amaing small donations that have brought us closer, but we are still not quite there–as of today we have made over 300 dollars, which is really amazing! I think this final push will help us finally achieve our goal.

Always Keep Fighting!

What is the Goal?

The next level. Upgrading The Bipolar Writer blog to the business level for the next year and a half. This will give the blog more options on getting the collaborative work out there into the world. I also want a place where authors can showcase and sell their work on here (I am working on how this will be possible.) At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to spread the stories and experiences of those in the mental illness blogging community with the world and end the stigma.

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

This blog has always been self-funded by my own money, but the community has also helped me with funding from time to time. Every penny that I raise is going towards this blog and spreading the many stories that feature on this blog. It takes just small donations (significant donations are also welcome) and with the 11,100 plus followers of this blog donating 2-3 dollars we can finally reach the goal! The final goal will be $425. 

You can also help my spreading the word by clicking the reblog button or sharing this blog post on twitter or facebook.

My GoFundme

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

There are other ways to donate

PayPal

This is another excellent way to donate, and to do so just press Pay with PayPal and you can choose to give a minimum of $2.00 (you can decide how much based on the number of donations, so 3 times would be 2 x 3 and you would donate six dollars.) 

Venmo – 831-287-4369

I don’t mind sharing my number (I have before several times in the past.)

That is it. I am hoping to raise enough money by this weekend. 

James Edgar Skye

What are Your Worst Mental Illness Symptoms

I feel better. My depression lessened over the weekend, and I have a good feeling about where the rest of February will go when it comes to the depressive episode being entirely over.

I have not felt this good since the first week of January. While thinking about what to write this week on my blog I came up with a question that I want to pose to the followers and contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog. Just a couple of questions.

Identify what you struggle with…

What are your worst symptoms?

How do you dea?

Feel free to leave your comments down below! Let us use this as a stepping stone to something great. Maybe it will inspire you to write a blog post!

Always Keep Fighting

James

unsplash-logoMarc-Olivier Jodoin

unsplash-logorawpixel

A Repost – Upgrading The Bipolar Writer Blog – I Need Your Help

Upgrading, and Why it is Important

There was some confusion about how to donate money to the cause, and I wanted to take this opportunity to redo my previous post. I will explain what upgrading means for this blog. These are the ways to donate.

My GoFundMe Page

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog&rcid=r01-154734596066-ffeec50b38af4a27&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

Now, I had to use my real name for this (I write under my pseudonym James Edgar Skye) so don’t be surprised by the name–David TC. Also, this allows me to show how much has been donated (I will give the running total at the end of the post.

Donate Through PayPal

This is another excellent way to donate, and to do so just press Pay with PayPal and you can choose to give a minimum of $3.00 (you can decide how much based on the number so 3 times would be 3 x 3 and you would donate nine dollars.)

Venmo – 831-287-4369

I don’t mind sharing my number (I have before several times in the past.

Right now we are at $110 total donations which is pretty amazing. Every penny will be going to the upgrade. I thank everyone who has already been a part of this goal. The goal is $325, what it would cost to upgrade for two years. When I reach this goal, I will be taking this page down.

What I am planning on doing is upgrading this blog to the business class. I can do a lot more with sharing the stories of others through this platform. What I want to do is take this blog to the next level. I want to be able to allow others to sell their work on my blog. (It will also help me sell my own work so there is that part of why I would like to upgrade.)

When this blog hit 10,000 (now plus) followers, I was thinking of ways to make it better. My goal is to spread the word about mental illness. Upgrading to a business blog would allow better SEO tools among the many positives of this upgrade. I would love to do it myself, it is my blog after all, but most of my money is going to my memoir. This would benefit any mental health blogger that wants to be a part of this fantastic community my collaborators, and I have created. I want this blog to be so much more and reach so many more amazing people.

Let’s do this together! If you can’t donate please share this blog post on social media. It could make a major difference!

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James

unsplash-logoIan Schneider

Getting Back to my CBT Roots

Fixing My Social Anxiety

jessica-oliveira-562085-unsplash.jpgI have thought a lot recently about my habits, what works, and why I decide (consciously or unconsciously) to stop doing the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy things that make my social anxiety just a bit better at the moment. When things are right, I tend to move away from things until it gets to the point where I am isolating myself and barely leaving my house. The funny thing is that everything in my life tends to go that way, I continue to go against what is the right thing to do to a point where I am spiraling. Then, and it seems only then do I finally pick myself up off the floor and try to recalibrate my life.

One of the best things I can do day in and day out is mindfulness breathing. It is easy and a straightforward thing to do. It is great to use when you need to refocus your daily routine when anxiety seems to take over control. Concentrating is an amazing and useful tool and one I have found works– and yet I don’t always use it until my anxiety reaches new levels of anxiousness.

glenn-carstens-peters-190592-unsplash.jpg

Recently, I started a list of things I wanted to add to my daily routine. Things that have gotten away from me as isolation begun to become a part of my life.

  1. Begin to integrate my workout routine– again.
  2. Meditate in the morning and in the afternoon.
  3. Eat healthier.
  4. Make plans to go out and have a cup of tea or coffee at my favorite coffee shop.
  5. Focus on sleeping better through the night.
  6. Restart my bi-weekly therapy appointments.

simon-rae-732820-unsplash.jpgWhile these are great things and I am always a work in progress, there is so much more to do. I recently did the unthinkable. I drove past this bubble that I created in the city that I live in. Until recently I don’t more than 10-15 miles from my house, but I drove on a trip almost 25 miles one way. I got stuck in traffic. It was touch-and-go for a bit, but I survived with some help from my Ativan and my work with CBT (mindfulness breathing). I did have some pre-anxiety feelings, but I approached it with CBT, and I survived.

I realize that isolation, while helpful to get back to my roots, is not the solution. Being out in the world and not being this awkwardly social person while I am in society doesn’t have to be my future. I can continue to focus on what helps me get through my social anxiety outside my front door. The journey to conquering social anxiety has to start somewhere.

I want to end with this, to my readers, how did you go about ending isolation associated with anxiety?

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoIhor Malytskyi

Jéssica Oliveira

Glenn Carstens-Peters