Changes to The Bipolar Writer Blog & Adding Contributors

2020 is quickly coming to an end!

When things get busy in my life, one thing that does not work is that the blog takes a hit. The need to write in when my days are full is something that I miss most. I think we can all agree that 2020 was not the best year, and we all have gone without making the best efforts in our own individual blogs. I have seen people leave blogging for different platforms, and I am working on transitioning to my Podcast platform more, but one thing that stays true for me, The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog.

I plan in the next few weeks to make some changes. Those writers who have not written in a while will be let go, making room for new writers to continue the traditions that have always been about sharing others’ stories on this blog. That is the core that I would like to get back to in the coming weeks before we launch into 2021. I may make some cosmetic changes, but the issue with the contact page has been fixed! 

I am once again opening up some spots to grow The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Blog family. I know many people over the summer reached out, and the issue with the contact page left many people thinking I was not checking, but it is one of those things. I have reached out to some that have expressed over the last few months all the way back to July that there is always room for more writer contributors for the blog.

Photo by Andraz Lazic on Unsplash

I am planning so much to take my mental health advocacy to the next level in 2021. The Podcast and interviews list are always open, and if you would like to be featured on the Podcast through an interview on Zoom, please reach out to the email I will post below or use the new and improved contact page. I am still trying to improve through repetition as I am not the best speaker, but the blog’s spirit is in everything I do with advocacy.

Other things coming are the beginnings of some major writing projects, and today, though I have not really talked about it much, will be the launch of a new book! It is a fictional novella about the psychiatric ward where a young James experiences some of his journey’s beginnings, but the story is 100% fiction. As a writer, things in my life will leak into the story, but it’s my first official launch of a fictional story. You should see a blog post about it yesterday. I wanted to publish it today because it marks the first anniversary of my mom’s passing. It means a lot to publish two books in one year, and you can find my books on my author’s website here. 

I am also going to start a new novel that I am working on with a kindred spirit. Then there are two major two-year project, The Many Faces and Stories of Mental Illness, where all the book proceeds will go to a nonprofit in my future. There will also be a documentary about the project. If you want to be a part of it, I would recommend that you reach out below or on the contact page. Interviews will most likely be 2-3 times to really share your mental illness and story. Reach out for more information! I can be a workaholic at times, and so go to my website for the full list of projects and find information on The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services

Life is always moving, but remember to stay in the now. You can email me directly @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worse that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

Visit my author website at http://www.jamesedgarskye.me

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

World Kindness Day

World Kindness day is November 13 and World Kindness Week begins the Monday of the week with November 13. After the events of the last few years, and the many years crammed into 2020, kindness is needed now more than ever. There are a couple of Buddhist sayings that always come to mind when speaking of kindness. The first is, ‘Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.’ And the second is, ‘Be kind to all creatures. This is the true religion.’ Kindness is the quality of being friendly and considerate. There are many who believe kindness is a weakness and these are the people who would do harm to others.

When someone is kind to you, it can lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. What happens to you if you’re kind to others? Some benefits for a person who is kind to others include elevation of dopamine levels in the brain, which make us feel good. It can also include the feeling of emotional warmth leading to a healthier heart, reduction of inflammation slowing the aging process, reduction of emotional distance helping couples feel bonded, and contagiousness that often sets off a pay-it-forward ripple effect. There’s one important message I have for everyone regarding kindness. Always be kind to others and always be kind to yourself. That last part is harder than people think. Be kind.

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

World Mental Health Day

In 1992, the World Federation of Mental Health established World Mental Health Day. In almost 30 years, knowledge about mental health a grown a great deal. The biggest goal for this day is awareness. Even today, there are many people who don’t understand the vast mental health issues people struggle with every day. Even the most recognizable disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) still lack awareness in the general public. Worst of all, people with no medical or behavioral health training claim to know about these disorders and spread false information.

I use this blog and others to share my own experiences. I share my first-hand account of struggling with PTSD and how I learned I had PTSD with two goals in mind. First, I want to bring awareness to people who know nothing about mental health issues. Second, I want others who experience the same things to realize they’re not alone. Many people suffer from poor mental health and don’t realize it. And many have no means to seek help. They may not have insurance. They may not have the means or ability to access medication. They may be afraid to take medication or think they don’t need any.

Help spread awareness about mental health by sharing your story. Only share what you’re comfortable sharing. I have found it helpful to talk about my experiences. It was one step I had to take among many to begin the path to healing. I’m still healing and still have a long way to go. Never give up. Never surrender.

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I have dealt with my own mental health issues for many years. I have a long way to go in my recovery, but writing has always been helpful and therapeutic. Not only do I write for this blog, but I also write on my personal blog as well as fiction and poetry. I have also written for The Mighty. A site that covers many different kinds of mental and chronic health issues. I deal with childhood trauma and many other traumatic events. This has caused anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.

I spent years trying to make sense of these things. Early on, I wasn’t aware of all my symptoms. I wasn’t aware of how I allowed these painful memories to impact my daily life. As I overcame one obstacle, another would take its place. A never-ending battle. I press on doing as much as I can and trying to stay positive. After two years of writing for these sites and on my own, I decided to compile many of these blog posts into one collection. I share my thoughts in my collection Mushaburui: A Mental Health Journey. It’s on sale in paperback and Amazon Kindle.

My hope with that book is to help others realize they are not alone. I hope others read my experiences and they get the desire to keep fighting. Calling myself a mental health warrior helps build confidence in myself. I want to help build confidence in others. I want others to know they still have a fighting chance.

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

7 Ways I Changed from Hunting the Good Stuff

I spent some time in the Arizona Army National Guard. They had started a program called Master Resiliency Training (MRT). Arizona had one of the highest suicide rates among soldiers. They sanctioned this program to help soldiers “overcome adversity.” The Psychology Department of the University of Philadelphia created the program. After a few years I had forgotten a lot of the training. One thing stuck with me though I never practiced it. It was called “Hunt the Good Stuff.” A simple exercise of writing down three good things that happened to you that day before bed. And writing why those things were important to you.

I remember a Major telling everyone about when he first heard about this exercise. He thought it was stupid. His instructor told him to try it. What did he have to lose? The training went for three days. He noticed by the second night of “Hunting the Good Stuff” he was sleeping better. This Major also had two young daughters whom he didn’t know how to connect with. One night at dinner, he asked his family to tell each other three good things that happened to them that day. His family started doing this every night. His daughters start talking about their good things before anyone else. He was able to learn about and connect with his children with this exercise.

Over the last couple years, my life has had many ups and downs. After so many things chipping away at my resolve, I grew more depressed and negative. I got so negative that someone close to me told me they didn’t want to be around me anymore. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt I had hit rock bottom. My job offered six free counseling sessions and I took them. I started a “Hunt the Good Stuff” journal. I still have a long way to go but I’m 1000% better than I was. That was five months ago. This one exercise has done more for me than I ever imagined. I wish I had started doing it sooner.

1. When I Look for Good Things, I Find Them

When I first started this exercise, it felt daunting. I wasn’t sure if I could find three things to write in this journal every day. I had to think for a few minutes. The more often I did this, the easier it got. I used to get angry and sad because my mind autopiloted into negative thoughts. When I sat down and thought about the good things, I always found good things. Perspective and attitude do play a role in one’s mindset. Reflecting on something good, no matter how small, every day has helped to change my way of thinking.

2. Others Noticed a Change in Me

It took several weeks before someone said anything. My sister mentioned noticing a huge change in me. A better change. My coworkers noticed too. One of them wanted to take photos for a work Instagram. I joined in and enjoyed being in the photos. I overheard someone say they had never seen me smile so much. Coworkers were happy to see me when I went to work. They were excited to work with me that day. Positive thinking has led me to enjoy the people I work with even if I don’t enjoy the job itself. 

3. I Gained More Self-Confidence

I talked with a coworker about some of the things I had been doing since I felt my life had fallen apart. I mentioned my counseling and “Hunting the Good Stuff.” I thought she would say that she noticed I was happier. But what she said surprised me. She noticed that I was more confident in myself. I never would have guessed that would be a result from positive thinking. It makes sense. Being positive had made me act sillier and have fun without the concern of what others might think. I can’t remember the last time I was like that.

4. My Attitude Changed; I’m More Positive

As expected, positive thinking has led me to see the world in a positive way. I don’t always assume the worst from people. I rationalize things differently. When someone says they forgot about plans we made because they didn’t put it in their calendar, I understand. I’ve done that too. Before I would assume, I wasn’t important to them and that’s why they forgot. Sometimes people get busy and it has nothing to do with me. I don’t make plans as often now, but I don’t get upset if things don’t go to plan.

5. I Changed How I Talk to Myself

One of the things I started along with “Hunting the Good Stuff” was a positive affirmation. The person I was close to who didn’t want me in their life anymore gave this to me. I repeat the phrases, “I like myself. I love myself. I deserve good things.” I once repeated these words over and over for about 20 minutes. This helped but writing three good things every day helped too. My internal monologue has changed. I don’t call myself stupid when I make a mistake. I don’t say negative things to myself as often. It’s still there now and then, but less frequent.

6. I Sleep Better

It doesn’t work every night. Some nights I’m still restless or only sleep a few hours. But overall my sleep has improved. I have dreams more often. Fewer nightmares. I sleep longer and deeper. I don’t always feel energized, but I don’t feel drained upon waking up anymore. I give myself a couple hours in the morning before work. I allow myself time to ease into the day. This has added to my daily productivity and attitude when going to work. Most of the time, I can go to sleep at the time I want to start sleeping.

7. I Enjoy Things Again

I used to have a general crabby disposition. Even when I used to enjoy something, I didn’t show much enthusiasm. I find myself feeling good after doing things. I go to movies alone and reflect on having a good time with myself. If I go to a party, I socialize for a bit and enjoy some food. I walk in with no expectations and walk out having had a great time. I get more reading and writing done because I enjoy doing it more. 

I’m surprised how much this one activity helped change my perspective on life. I still have hard days where I have to force myself to find good things. The last few weeks I’ve moved from at least three good things every day to four good things every day. More and more days are having five to seven good things. As of writing this, I’ve been practicing this exercise for over 150 days. That’s five months. I may never get back the people I lost when I was negative and depressed. But I will do everything I can to not make the same mistakes twice.

The good stuff is always out there. You just have to look for it. Happy hunting!

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

In life, the best thing to do is?

I am a mental patient and had a tough teenage. When I was first diagnosed with a mental disorder, I was only 13 and had no clue of mental disorders. I didn’t know if the treatments were available. All I could think of was that my family would abandon me or send me to a lunatic asylum, I would never get cured and would be left to rot in the asylum for life, all my dreams would be shattered, my life would be reduced to mere ashes sooner than I ever imagined, and all other negative thoughts. I contemplated suicide several times and attempted twice or so, for I found no point leading a life like this with a mental disorder which crippled me to an extent that it pulled me back from actualizing my dreams and aspirations. Being a teenager, you dream a lot. I had a lot of dreams too and eagerly wished to fulfill them. Watching them break like glass in front of my very eyes was extremely painful and heart-breaking.

I used to be the topper of my class but soon enough, my academic performance degraded. People in my neighbourhood began to spread dirty rumours about me (don’t ask me what), enough to give me a bad name. They began supposing that I have become insane and can never recover. My life is finished — I thought so.

I felt guilty, lonely and worthless. I began blaming myself for my condition and felt much worse. Recovery was another dream that I wished to fulfill. Hope was all I could hold on to.

I sought professional help and managed to come to a better position, mentally at least. It took me years, though. At that very low phase of my life, I decided that I won’t ever let anyone suffer or feel lonely and worthless like I did. I decided to make someone smile every day, extend a helping hand to the distressed, and make them feel less lonely. I wanted to spread mental health awareness to educate people and provide them help. I thought of several ways to do so and ultimately chose to blog as the option. Thus I began my blog in January, 2019. And I aspire to join an NGO and work for the cause of mental health awareness in the near future. Fighting stigma is my goal.

Bottom line: The best thing to do with your life is to use it purposefully. Help the distressed because they need it. Make someone smile and you be the reason for it. Fight for a cause. Don’t entertain injustice, discrimination, prejudice, and stigma. Raise your voice against it. Life is just once, make the most of it.