I was Gone This Week… And I’m Sorry

I started this week on overload. I knew I had a lot to finish and I thought my week started out the right way. I just failed to realize the hours it would take me to complete my school assignments for the week. I made a tough decision to forgo writing. With every second of being awake this week, I knew I had to let a few things slide.

I just didn’t have time to write blog posts, and I had to forgo any proofreading on my memoir this week.

The decision was a tough one. It would have been nice to write blog posts this week because I worked on my social anxiety this week. I was outside my “safe place” of my house for almost five to six hours each day. I have not left my home very much in the last two weeks due to my social anxiety. It was kismet in a way. I am more productive sitting at a coffee shop than in my space at home. Don’t get me wrong, I am productive at my house but when I am out, I feel the anxiety every hour rising. It pushes me to be more productive.

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The upside was good this week. I worked on some of my avoidance behaviors. I started a conversation with someone for about five minutes, and I talked more in-depth with the baristas who know me by name, and I can’t remember most of their names. I never do that! I met with some clients, and I have at least one big freelance job coming up. Instead of spending every second at my favorite coffee shop with my headphones on, I limited it to one hour.

I still dealt with avoidance. I kept waters with me, and I always made sure I had enough Ativan. I am a work in progress.

I was annoyed with my depression this week. My old companion always seems to come an see me when I need him to be far away. It was a struggle to maintain my new sleep/wake schedule. I was waking up at five am, but a few days this week it took me up to an hour or more to get out of bed. What I like about waking up so early is that productivity is higher in the morning. There were times this week where I just wanted to quit this semester and let all my hard work go by the wayside.

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It was my depression talking, but I really feared the reality that a part of me was really willing let everything I have worked so hard for in the last four years disappear. I know how I am when big things are changing in my life. My natural default is to give up. I have given up more times in my life than actually complete a real primary goal.

I found a way to fight. It is now Saturday, and I am finally almost caught up for the week. I have a real shot at taking a much needed day off tomorrow. I had a few moments to share week which I wanted to do the entire time. Life is funny. Last year when things got tough I took a semester off. This year I am fighting for what I want. I guess I am in a better place. Anxiety and depression will always be apart of me. But even with the challenges, I keep fighting.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoNick Moore

unsplash-logoDominik Kiss

My Weekly Wrap-Up 12/18 – 12/24

Well, we have finally arrived the day before the big day, Christmas Eve. For me, it has been a weird up and down rollercoaster. I finished my finals and I am ready for some much-needed rest from school. Rest for me means writing because I find nothing more therapeutic. I am closing in on a real first draft of my memoir The Bipolar Writer, and I hope for it to be completed in my time off becomes a reality.

I always like these weekly wrap-ups because of its an opportunity to look back on what I wrote and what we talked about on this blog. So let’s get started.

A Little White Pill

I opened my week with a poem. A Little White Pill was another poem I wrote about dealing with panic attacks. A common theme over the month of December. It is similar to my poem 12:15 am but it dives deeper into the issue. It was written during a particularly tough panic attack I went through.

What Drives Me

This blog post I talk about the things that drive me daily to continue to achieve my goals. I have so many big things coming in 2018 and the biggest finishing my Bachelor’s degree and completing my memoir. There are other equally important goals like starting my Master’s program and maybe winning the BEA student screenwriting competition. I reached my 2000th follower just before writing this blog post and it felt like another amazing goal for me to reach. It is important for someone like me, who deals with being Bipolar and anxiety daily, to always be moving forward.

Morgan’s Interview Feature

I was excited to write my first interview feature article for The Bipolar Writer on a very special friend of my mine, Morgan. It meant a lot that Morgan was willing to share very personal experiences with me and to allow me to share them with my followers. Every journey with a mental illness is different, and its important to me to share the stories of others. Take a journey from the origins of Morgan’s mental illness to how she turned her issues into the creative process. Morgan’s Interview Feature is a must read.

Learning From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

I wanted to celebrate my eight months of working with CBT to get my anxiety under control with one of the techniques I have learned during my time. It has been an up and down process but I have learned a lot about how effective CBT can be. In this post, I talk about “Nonjudgemental Focused Emotional Awareness.” The point of this exercise is to see how you do at not judging the thoughts that come through your head while you are focusing on your breathing. In my own experience, it has been helpful to break down my thoughts into a spreadsheet that breaks down each session. It’s great for really breaking down turning negative thoughts that often come racing through my head.

My Bipolar Experience with the ER

In this post, I talk about the first three years of my diagnosis and how the many emergency room visits within the American Healthcare system can be counterproductive for someone with a mental illness. Everyone experiences the emergency room differently but I eventually realized that it is not always the most effective place to go. In the blog post, I share my experiences as an example of what could happen.

Tony’s Interview Feature

Tony’s Interview Feature was the second installment of what is shaping up to be one of the biggest series on the Bipolar Writer. Tony’s story is another look at how a mental illness can affect the course of someone’s life. It is amazing how people are willing to share their story with me, it really means the world. Like all of our stories, Tony’s journey is a unique one, and another story that about turning the worst part of our mental illness into a creative outlet.

Then, There are Nights

In this blog post, I talk about what I am not describing as one of the worst panic attacks since starting this journey. It lasted for hours and almost landed me in the hospital. The post was a short one but I talk a lot about looking at the triggers and look toward the future at getting my anxiety back under control.

My Fourth Honest Post

I love writing these posts because they are all about reflection and looking towards my future. This reflection was one of my favorites because it was after the worse panic attacks of my life. It is amazing how something like a panic attack can really put things into perspective. I really looked towards the future of this post. reflection is good for the soul.

Giving up Coffee

In this post, I talk about a different medical issue in my life dealing with my stomach problems and my issues with ulcers. I had to talk to my stomach doctor again and it seems that I will have to give up coffee, which if you follow my blog, will be a difficult task over the next few months.

That is my week, and to be honest, its been a good one even with the craziness that is my life.

I wanted to end this post by wishing all my fellow bloggers and followers a very Merry Christmas. It has been an honor to have so many great people read about my journey. The best thing I did was start this blog.

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J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logorawpixel.com

unsplash-logoIgor Ovsyannykov

Giving up Coffee

Early Merry Christmas my fellow blogger followers. This might be my last post this week as I am closing out my finals, and taking a much needed time off from life.

I talked to my stomach doctor today. I don’t often write about my physical issues here on my blog because I chose to focus on my mental health issues and my writing.

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At the beginning of the year, I was hospitalized with extremely bad bleeding ulcers. I lost pints of blood before they finally fixed me. I had to give up coffee while my ulcers healed. I went on the proper medicine and for some reason, I had to give up meat afterward. (I haven’t eaten meat since February.) For a while, during the summer my stomach felt better and for the most part, everything seemed better. But I am having issues once again with my stomach, the positive no bleeding in my stomach.

I think part of the reason my ulcers come up is that my stress is always worse during this time of year. I had, for a time, gave up coffee which helped my stomach heal. When I got the okay to drink coffee again it was amazing. Three months without coffee was hell.

It sounds like I will have to give up coffee again. With my stress and anxiety levels so high, the panic attacks, and of course the pressure I put on myself, my stomach over the last few weeks have felt like at it did in February. It is never good to have other health problems but that is life. Eventually I will get my health back under control, here is hoping to a great 2018.

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Once I get my stress and anxiety back under control (with a much-needed vacation) hopefully in a few months I can drink coffee again. It’s going to be a long process before my stomach feels better.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoThought Catalog

unsplash-logofireskystudios.com

unsplash-logofireskystudios.com

For the Love of Coffee – Part Two

It is safe to say that I am a coffee addict, and I wanted to write my 50th blog post on a subject I love. I have written about my love for coffee before here on my blog.

I wanted this to be a lighter post since I have had some serious blog posts lately and the ones that I currently writing are the most serious ones so far on my journey in writing this blog. In this blog, I want to share my love for coffee, and how the holiday season is where my favorite limited edition coffee is released every year at Starbucks.

ed Okay, I admit it out loud that I am Starbucks addict, not just a coffee addict. I consider those things separate but fun addictions. I don’t drink Starbucks every day (just almost every day) and yes I know it’s the most overpriced coffee out there, but I can resist a good gingerbread latte while I am writing during the winter months. I can trace some of my best work to sitting at my favorite Starbucks sipping coffee and writing. 

When a gingerbread latte is too strong with cinnamon, I can easily change it up and drink my second favorite choice chestnut praline latte.

In the past, November’s have always been tough on me. There hasn’t always been a place for me in society during the winter months. But a coffee shop, even a high priced place like Starbucks I can blend into the scenery. I can sit around real people talking about how excited they are for the holiday season. This time of year can be hard for anyone, but the energy from the people in a coffee shop is so helpful to someone who is like me. I can feel for a time that I am a part of the outside world during a time where I feel most alone. Coffee for so long was, and is, how I made it through the world.

I am willing to pay a little bit extra for a good cup of coffee because at this time of year I spend more time in bed lost in depression, and it’s better to get out in the world when you feel down.

I find myself here right now at Starbucks surrounded by people who have no idea what I am dealing with, but that is okay. I have my headphones on listening to music and my hands are busy writing. But, for this moment I am a part of something, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment. I am at peace in this moment and I can’t help but smile. I never smile much anymore. It is the little things.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Takahiro Sakamoto

Its the Little Things in Life

I have to learn to love the little things in life, like going for a walk on the beach. I never do that anymore.

This will be my last blog post this week as I am spending the rest of my weekend editing my screenplay again before I submit it for a few competitions. I am also going to find some time to watch football and read a good book. With that said here are just a few of the little things in life that I love in this crazy life I live.

My blog posts have been overly serious this week as I dive deeper into working on my memoir, The Bipolar Writer. I really love what I have shared so far here in my blog because it is a passion of mind to explore the many parts of the last ten years since my diagnosis. But sometimes my writing takes a lot out of me and I just want to write about things that make every day worth living.

One of the things I love in life, especially during the winter months when seasonal affective disorder (SAD) starts to take hold, is zip-up hoodies. I can remember wearing them as a teenager, with a beanie and the hood up before it became a “thing.”

As an adult, I still love to wear my hoodies this way because it became a part of me. If you ever see a guy with a hoodie and beard wearing a beanie in a corner table of a coffee shop with his headphones lost in his writing, it will probably me. Just so you know.

Music has helped me get through tough times in my life. Like today, I spent the day writing and listening to a wide range of music like the Hamilton soundtrack and one of my favorite artists Paramore. My playlists on iTunes music are endless, and it really depends on my mood or what I am writing. I don’t discriminate. I listen to almost every genre of music at some point in my life. I’ve listened to everything from hardcore rock to indie to classical. I even love Korean pop music (which has been an ongoing obsession for the last six years) or any pop music for that matter. I can’t classify myself as liking one type of music genre because if the lyrics get me in my feels, I am hooked.

It’s funny that one thing that has always been a constant in my life is my love for books. I only own about a million of them (okay nowhere near that but my collection is formidable.) One of the best things about being an English major is that I have taken about every literature class available and it has expanded what I read over the last few years.

I have my favorites of course like Rowling, Hemingway, and my all time favorite Edgar Allan Poe (the “E” J.E. Skye is in honor of one of the greatest writers I have ever read.) I have been reading since I was about three or four. My obsession with reading books came from easy access to books my whole life. I grew up (well middle school and high school) on The Harry Potter series, but I read so many amazing different authors in my life.

Within my book collection (which lately has included audiobooks) you will find every genre imaginable. My latest books that I am conquering are re-reading the Game of Thrones series and catching up on reading Stephen King. I am fan murder mysteries and I used to be able to say that I was a huge fan of James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels (though lately I have been turned off by his style, I am not sure it is even him writing anymore.) One of my favorite memories in life was going to the library and picking out books and just getting lost in the worlds that authors created. I could be anyone when reading a book. I could be the hero. Some of my deepest and darkest depressions that I got lost in the ugliness might have been worse without books.

I think my love for books is why I love to write. I am better when I am writing and it is my favorite way to communicate with people. This is why it is easier for me to discuss and explore my diagnosis on my blog rather than talking to my therapist.

One of my greatest loves, of course, is coffee. I am an addict and a better writer when I have coffee in my system. I am one of those people who you probably won’t want to talk to before having my coffee. When I had to give it up for a time this year I was insufferable to be around. I complained openly about having to give up coffee (because of my ulcers.) One of the happiest days this year was when my stomach doctor told me that I could drink coffee again.

The reason I wrote this particular blog post is that as I continue to share my life with the blog world, and I don’t want people to think that all I do all day is get lost in my writing and talk about what is wrong with me. I kinda lost sight recently on the good things in life. Like when I smile after listening to lyrics to a song that spoke to my heart. Or that moment when my favorite holiday drink comes out and that first taste of my gingerbread latte hit my system. I forgot how great it feels to have a hardcover book in my hands and getting lost in the pages. I forgot the feeling of going for a walk. I got caught up in the last few weeks trying to meet a deadline that I lost perspective on why I am writing.

I am a passionate person and sometimes I forget that the little things in life make life worth living. So tonight, after a long editing session, I will open one of my favorite books in the middle of the story and get lost again.

What are some of the things you love? It doesn’t have to do anything with your mental illness or diagnosis.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Senor Sosa

For the Love of Coffee

In my life, coffee and writing go hand in hand, so does coffee and reading.

There is nothing better than when that first sip of coffee hits your taste buds. The world changes. Everything comes into focus on all levels. I listen better. I feel as if nothing is out of reach. I feel as if I could write a million chapters in my novel. Yes, it’s just a temporary sugar high, but why not? Coffee is life.

This post is different than the ones I have written so far since creating this blog. I wanted it to be lighter, and about one of my favorite subjects.

As I sit here at Starbucks right now, I am thinking about the justifications of paying six dollars for a cup of coffee. When did coffee get so expensive? What I order of makes a big difference in why I pay so much.

Of course, I go all out when it comes to my caramel macchiato. I must get the almond milk. Extra charge! And there aren’t enough shots in it so, extra shot. Extra charge! Let’s make it extra hot (hey, they don’t charge extra for that!). It is no wonder that my therapist recommended no coffee after 12pm.

I think I can remember my first cup of coffee. I was maybe fourteen. The coffee was less than a 1.50, and at 7-11 if I remember it right. You always remember when that first taste of coffee changes your world.

Over the years, I have consumed more cups of coffee that I care to admit from a coffee pot. Lots of sugar and creamer. It always amazed me that you have powdered creamer and regular creamer that isn’t milk. Never been a fan of the first. Sugar always stays the same.

Now life is so complicated. Now they ask me do I want a latte or macchiato. Almond milk or soy milk. Hot. Cold. Frappuccino? There is always the classic cheaper option at Starbucks, the house blend black, no sugar or creamer. It costs less and it’s a great option for the struggling writer.

Then Starbucks goes and throws a curveball at me. They offer me a selection of fall and holiday drinks. My favorites are the chestnut praline latte and the gingerbread latte BTW.

The way that I justify spending six dollars on a cup of coffee is if my production that day is greater than the price. My production has been great lately so I can relish in this thought the output outweighs the price of consumption.

I don’t spend six dollars on a cup of coffee every day, but I do drink coffee daily. I usually have options in my refrigerator like cans of a double shot of Starbucks espresso, or the new sweetened black coffee that Starbucks offers in a glass bottle at my local grocery store. (I’m starting to sense a theme.)

I don’t know if my love for coffee is good or bad. But in my life, coffee is life. If this post seemed all over the place that was by design, it is a very Bipolar-esk written piece.

I’d like to know your thoughts about coffee, and if, for you, coffee is life.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao