The First Medication Change of 2020

There is always this point that I need to make: medication changes should always go through your psychiatrist or medical professional. They are the ones that got you on these medications, and they are the professionals. I can’t stress that enough. Change is good but in the right way.

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I had plans for 2020. I am sure there is not one person that was not affected in the mental illness community that was not affected by COVID-19. One of my major plans was to lower Seroquel to a more manageable level that I feel less like a zombie in the morning, then the novel coronavirus hit, and I was using Zoom to meet my psychiatrist.

One of the fears is that not seeing me in person means that the trust that I spent over a year building that was crushed by the coronavirus. It is not that the trust was not there, but instead, you never know as a medical professional how isolating like I was advised to do would affect me in different ways. I understood this, but I was also frustrated. There is no doubt I had to learn patience (this came in life coaching.)

The idea of waiting is new to me, but not all is bad. After months of back and forth and resisting the urge to make changes on my own, I decided to broach the subject again, and the result was more to my liking. It was an incremental change from 400mg to 300mg, but it has made a difference. I still sleep, but I am waking up at a better time while still being rested. It is important to note that having my CPAP machine helps me get to sleep quicker, and that is important to note as to why the case I made was valid over time.

There is always this point that I need to make: medication changes should always go through your psychiatrist or medical professional. They are the ones that got you on these medications, and they are the professionals. I can’t stress that enough. Change is good but in the right way. The next step is the continual work on my social anxiety and panic attacks, which have been better if I am honest. That has been in the changes that have happened to my approach to stay in the moments of now. The tools I learned in life coaching have helped me create space with my own physics. Thank you as always for reading.

Thank you always for reading.

For everything social media for James Edgar Skye visit my Linq site here. 

My Life Coach can be reached at groundsforclarity@gmail.com. If you feel suicidal, Kim specializes in helping those who are like me; I recently had my own brush with suicide again in October, and Kim was a pivotal part of why I am still here with her life coaching alongside her ASIST training.

For ASIST Suicide Prevention Training Program | LivingWorks please visit here: https://www.livingworks.net/asist

Buy my book on Amazon through my website.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Returning to Life After Quarantine: An Anxiety Story

Before COVID-19 I already had a tough time getting out of my house. I had been trying to be more social and do things with other humans that weren’t family or my boyfriend. But then COVID changed everything.

I was so excited that I got to stay home for 95% percent of my week. I have been working from home since late March so the anxiety of interacting with my coworkers has been tossed out the window. I haven’t had to put together a real outfit or do a full face of makeup in months.

Now that things are sort of going back to normal, I’m terrified. I have had multiple anxiety attacks thinking about returning to the office. Over the past week I’ve had trouble eating which is a big signal to me that I’m really, really anxious. I usually don’t lose my appetite or have trouble eating if I’m feeling ok or am slightly anxious.

Depression is setting in with anxiety at the reigns. For me, depression makes me exhausted and I have no energy or motivation to do anything besides lay in bed or zone out on the couch watching people decorate ice cream cakes on TikTok. I have been struggling to find joy in the things that usually make me happy.

I sit back and wonder why it feels like I’m the only one dreading for life to go back to the way it once was. I feel like all of the progress I had made earlier this year (ok it wasn’t that much progress but progress is progress especially in mental health) has disappeared. I may have taken two steps forward but now I’m gone back two miles.

I have no specific reason to be anxious other than that I hate change. My brain can’t handle big changes, it takes me a while to re-center and get back on course.

I knew all of this was temporary going in to it but now that that time is nearly here, I’m scared.

I was supposed to begin next week going into the office full-time but I asked if I could stay home for longer which my boss agreed to. I feel a sense of relief but also guilt for not doing what I was told initially.

They are letting me transition back which I think will help me cope better than I would have with diving head first into it. But on the other hand, sometimes I need to be pushed into the deep end. More often than not if I dip my toes in, it can make things worse.

The weight of my anxiety and the return to “business as usual” feels so heavy on my shoulders. Some days I just want to let it collapse on top of me so I can rest.

During this time I want to really prepare myself so that I can get through the transition to my former life. I want to have an anxiety first aid kit that will include things that make me happy or can calm me down in a panic. I’m not sure what this will all entail but I’ll figure something out.

Please leave what you have in your mental health first aid kit in the comments! I would love to know!

How have you been dealing with returning back to normal life post-quarantine? Has your mental health improved or gotten worse? For those who have returned, what has been the most helpful?

Please stay safe everyone! Please wear a mask for the safety of yourself and others.

Some reminders for mental health in this precarious and difficult time

Hello! It’s me, Steph, and it’s been a while.

I’m back though, and I hope these reminders make you go, “wow, I needed to hear that” (or at least some of them!).

I’ve learned a lot about mental health in the last few months, but particularly about self-compassion. I started therapy post-mental breakdown before the pandemic, and what I thought would be weekly sessions focused on helping me control anxiety turned out to be a journey of discovering my capacity to be nice to myself, and of the incredible power of switching from a place of shame, guilt and expectation, to a place of love, understanding and acceptance. 

Normally I’d post these reminders on my Instagram story, but I don’t want to have to cut them down, because I believe in these things very strongly. 

I’m not a psychologist or a professional in any way. But I am a human, and I’m struggling with things most of you are also struggling with. So I wanted to remind you of some points that I know I personally needed to bring back into focus. So, in no particular order:

1. It’s ok to have no idea how to feel or be right now. 

None of us know. Not my friends, not the government, and not even Oprah knows. Nobody is getting it “right.” There is no ‘right’ way to respond to a global pandemic emotionally or mentally! 

It’s ok to not how how to name or explain your thoughts or feelings, and if you can, it’s ok if they don’t seem to ‘make sense.’ If you feel something, regardless of why, it’s real, and you’re allowed to be emotional or apathetic or even happy you get to catch up on reading or spend time with your family or whatever! Just know that there is no rubric, and whatever you’re doing, you’re doing ok. 

2. It’s ok to have rubbish mental health right now. 

Ok, obviously. 

But really – it’s ok to be depressed or triggered or anxious or exhausted or just not ok, even if you’re not sure what you feel at all. Positivity and gratitude are really helpful, especially at a time like this. But sometimes they aren’t enough, which is ok. 

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It’s not a personal failure if you can’t force yourself to ‘look on the bright side’ or ‘be thankful for how lucky you are all things considered.’ You’re not ungrateful if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or just feeling terrible all the time. 

Take care of yourself if you’re struggling. Don’t put pressure on yourself to ‘focus on the good’ and ‘be strong.’ Don’t try to shame yourself into mental health – if anything, that makes it all worse. Offer yourself validation, understanding, and space to do what you need to. 

Don’t put arbitrary expectations on yourself to be happy and content and grateful and healthy just because you’re, you know, not dying or without a home or in any other extreme situation. 

3. Stop using the word should 

Should is a bad word. It brings feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy. Again – there is no correct or best way to be during this period! 

Stop yourself when you hear yourself saying “I should do this” or “I should be doing less of this” or “I shouldn’t be doing/eating/feeling/thinking this.” Switch to alternative words and phrases that still help you reflect on your lifestyle in a constructive way, like, “is this the most helpful thing for me to be doing/eating/feeling/thinking? What else could I be doing/etc with this time that would fulfill my needs more? Do I feel I have the capacity for that?”

If the answer is no, that’s ok! Pick something else to do, and allow yourself NOT to do things, too. 

4. Routines help 

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They do not have to be big or well planned or productive or perfect. It can literally be three things you do to start your day and one thing to wind down for bed. It could be scheduling blocks of your day carefully and colour-coding everything. Do whatever makes you feel good. Nobody knows you better than you, and nobody knows your needs better than you – have faith in that! Lean into yourself!

5. That being said, don’t beat yourself up if you change your mind on where you’re spending your time 

It’s ok to realize that you’re not satisfied with how you’ve been spending your time over the last few days/weeks/months. Do not beat yourself up, or say “ugh I SHOULD have been learning a language/working harder/reading more/exercising often/eating less-“ or whatever! 

Rather, say things like, “Ok, I tried that for a weeks weeks to see if it was what I needed, and in retrospect, it was not. What would I like to try tomorrow/in the next few days?” And see how that makes you feel.

There is no urgency to ‘get it right’ – it being living, in the most general sense of the word, in this situation. Working from home, maybe living with people we usually don’t, not seeing loved ones, limited contact with others, the crippling weight of the pandemic – it’s a lot. There is no correct way for you to design your lifestyle to ‘suit’ this moment in history. 

Doing your best everyday is enough! Stay in touch with your needs, and give yourself permission and space to change your mind and try new things – and DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP for feeling unsatisfied with whatever it is you were doing before. 

6. There is no! Right! way! to! Be! During a global pandemic! 

I know I’ve said this already, but it’s a big deal. You literally do not need to worry about whether or not you’re using this time well/putting enough effort into being mentally healthy/capable of productivity/etc. 

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If productivity makes you feel good, do that! If shaming yourself into an activity (work/exercise/diet/etc) makes you feel worse, don’t do that! And forgive yourself for shaming/being hard on yourself too. 

We’re all trying to be the best version of ourselves and hold ourselves accountable. It’s easy to slip into a place of shaming/guilting ourselves to do The Things. But you owe yourself more than that; take the time to try shake those patterns of talking to yourself. 

7. PRACTICE COMPASSION

With yourself above all, but also with others. My favorite Instagram account is @lisaoliveratherapy who has great resources for self-compassion and tending to our needs. She even has things like self-compassion journal prompts, which you can google if you’d like, too.

You don’t have to follow a bunch of self help accounts or journal if you don’t want to. You can just spend a few minutes asking yourself, “how can I offer myself compassion right now?” 

Be kind to yourself. The way we speak to ourselves matters. You owe yourself acceptance and compassion, because you deserve love and safety. You just have to give those things to yourself, too – now more than ever.

-Steph

Mental Health Coping Strategies

One of the worst parts of my social anxiety is the catastrophic thinking that goes through my mind. Self-talk can be effective in changing the negative thoughts. I always spend so much time worrying about the possible outcomes of any social interactions.

*This is a repost of an old article and I have updated it to reflect a COVID-19 world we now find ourselves in today.

My Tips on Coping with Mental Illness

At some point we find strategies to cope with the many issues that come along having a mental illness. I know being Bipolar for the last thirteen years I have found things that help with my depression. I am still working on better coping strategies with my social anxiety but I am always a work in progress. Now more than ever this is important to the world that we are living in with the coronavirus.

I want to talk today about some of those coping strategies that I have found effective. I will also talk about some strategies that the experts recommend.

1. Use self-talk – This is one isn’t my recommendation but it makes sense as a coping srategy. I am my own worse enemy and sometimes it can be effective to use self-talk when your depression takes over. You can also use it to convince yourself to get out of bed that day. Talking to yourself can mean the difference between letting depression take you over. It is also very effective against anxiety. Talking to yourself to get up, take a shower, brush your teeth, and eat breakfast is more important as we self isolate. Talking yourself into still finding a routine is paramount in these times.

One of the worst parts of my social anxiety is the catastrophic thinking that goes through my mind. Self-talk can be effective in changing the negative thoughts. I always spend so much time worrying about the possible outcomes of any social interactions. It starts to control me and that it drives me to stress. Which always leads to panic attacks. Talking myself into positive thoughts is one strategy that can work. I have recently talked about the dangers of anxiety in a COVID-19 world, in one of my recent blogs that you can find here.

2. Think Positive thoughts. – I can attest to how thinking postively as a mental health coping strategy. Thinking positive thoughts is so simple and it is an effective way to cope with mental health. Positive thoughts can change your day. It can change a single minute, and it can mean the world.

3. Get More Sleep – Sleep is the most important part of mental health. I can trace all my issues with my Bipolar Disorder to my lack of getting real sleep. My sleep has gotten so bad, that I can’t sleep without the aid of Seroquel. I would love to get eight hours of real sleep a night but my reality is more like four hours.

Sleep hygiene is so important. I wrote a blog post a few months back that will be very helpful with this area. Sleep Hygiene – Top Ten Sleep Tips

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4. Listening to Postive Music. – I love this one because it is so effective. It is why I dedicated a whole series on my blog to music that changes my mood. . Find some music that can help you get through the worst of things. I have a playlist dedicated to this coping strategy.

5. Postive Social Contact – This is something I am bad at in my mental health. It makes sense. The more we interact with other humans in a positive setting it can mean real change. One of the worst things I do with my social anxiety is isolating myself in my own little world. I will spend weeks not leaving my house. Meeting people has changed, but you can still be social online. Sites like Zoom have made it safer and secure to set up meetings between friends and loved ones. 

It’s hard to describe the feeling that comes with when I finally leave my house for a few hours. It means the world to get out and interact with the world. This is one coping strategy that I will have to work on in my own mental health.

6. Writing and Sharing your story. – I can’t imagine a world without me writing in it. It took me so long to get to a place where my writing is a part of me and now I will fight for it forever. It is what makes me get through each day. Its my greatest coping strategy.

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Finding ways to cope within the confines of your mental health is one important strategy. It won’t always be easy. I went through so much trial and error. But I have laid out a few good ways to cope.

I offer this challenge to my mental health bloggers. Write a post about your own mental health coping strategies.

Always Keep Fighting.

James Edgar Skye

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

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An Anxiety Adventure in a COVID-19 World

Every five minutes or so over the PA, they remind us that social distancing is encouraged and to only grab the items that you wish to buy. The process is slow as you wait for people to leave an aisle so that you can go down and pick your items.

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A COVID-19 world, where shelter in place orders and social isolation is the new normal, there is still one sure thing. You have to eat food, and therefore you have to go shopping. Yesterday, after about four weeks of isolating and not leaving my house, I went on an adventure! If only it were so simple.

Anxiety in the Worst of Times

I have probably talked ad nauseam about my anxiety of just staying indoors. The fear of the unknown. Of what tomorrow brings and if being an introvert is enough to get me through this social isolation. I was never a social butterfly, but I did leave my house. Writing in coffee shops have a certain ambiance that is so helpful when writing. The fantastic coffee helps as well. An introvert usually can be in a social situation without participation, but now we live in a world where social distancing and isolation are encouraged. Rightfully so, but I miss being in the world.

A trip to the store should be one that is relaxing—getting food so that you can live. Not so much when my anxiety is out of control at this point in my life. I had to go out, and it was a solo trip because they advise it as the best way to limit the people. It was a sight I was not ready for at all. The entrance to the grocery store was fixated to restrict the people. There were lines set up by shopping carts and yellow tape that police carry herding people into the store. A security guard stands at the front making sure people have masks on. There were lines in which you have to follow to make the flow in the store better and efficient. It was out of an Orwell novel, but it is our new reality.

Every five minutes or so over the PA, they remind us that social distancing is encouraged and to only grab the items that you wish to buy. The process is slow as you wait for people to leave an aisle so that you can go down and pick your items. When you hear someone cough or sneeze (which I did because of my allergies), you get looked at like a social pariah.

I was overly anxious before even stepping in the door, and it was worse when I got in. I had to move fast, which is impossible now. It did not help that breathing in a mask is uncomfortable, but with glasses, you have to contend with the constant fogging when you breathe too hard. I almost passed out from the anxiety twice. Somehow I prevailed and got my supplies for the next four weeks. It was perhaps the worst experience so far since COVID-19 took over the world.

After putting away my groceries, I took the rest of the day off to recover. My anxiety was still through the roof until I finally laid my head down for the night. I feel better today, having put the experience behind me, but I know it is a matter of time when I will once again have to shop for food. Perhaps I can try the online shopping and pick up option and see if that helps. Who knows. I will put it far from my mind because it is a problem for another day. Stay strong in the fight.

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!

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A Weekend to Forget: A Lesson That Anxiety Can be Dangerous

I am not blaming everything on the virus. In truth, I am to blame for allowing fear, which I have talked about in the past, from taking over my life. Last week it culminated for the first time since 2019 that I had terrible stomach issues. The weekend I had to tone things down and change my diet (which included once again giving up coffee), and I had to de-stress my life.

I had no illusions or lofty expectations for my birthday last Friday. Some Chinese food and relaxing were on the agenda. My week was going okay. I was beginning my next semester as a graduate student, and I was ahead of schedule, which gave me a rare day off–and on my birthday no less! It seems anxiety and stress had a different idea.

Back in January 2017, I was in the midst of the worst two months of anxiety in my life. My levels of anxiety were so high every day that it was impossible to function, and most days, I failed. My doctor has tried unsuccessfully to take me off Ativan, and getting back on only made things worse. For the three weeks I was off benzodiazepines in December, I was on a rollercoaster of anxious thoughts, anxiety, isolation, and panic attacks.

The culmination was a week and a half in the hospital with bleeding ulcers (where I was literally bleeding in my stomach so much I was puking pints of blood), and I had to go through several blood transfusions and an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy three times. The first time I had a panic attack just before and passed out from the blood when they had to pull it prematurely. I spent two days in the ICU because of the loss of blood. It was the worst painful experience of my life. When I finally got the two endoscopies, first to fix the issues and then to see if it worked, my stomach was never the same for two years. I gave up meat entirely.

Afterward, when I went home, I realized that my anxiety can be a dangerous thing if left unchecked. I began to makes changes with adding meditation, and though I had issues over the next two years with what I could eat, and what made me hurl was an adventure. I got better at dealing with anxious thoughts, and panic attacks were not a weekly occurrence for the most part.

It was never perfect, but last summer, I was able to slowly reintroduce meat into my diet. It was good, and life was good. I wrote a 210,000-word novel and a 30K novella in just four months. No issues with my stomach. I took my daily dose of the neutralizing stomach acid medicine, and with the change from Ativan to Clonazepam last year, I was able to find some relative balance. Then COVID-19 happened.

I am not blaming everything on the virus. In truth, I am to blame for allowing fear, which I have talked about in the past, from taking over my life. Last week it culminated for the first time since 2019 that I had terrible stomach issues. The weekend I had to tone things down and change my diet (which included once again giving up coffee), and I had to de-stress my life. I walked away from social media and writing all weekend. I stayed in bed (which didn’t help my depression, but you can’t win every battle).

Monday, I felt a bit normal, and today I was able to eat. I am working not stressing out. Playing video games and writing helps. Also, not following every single article on COVID-19 really helped me. I am hopeful the upward trend continues. Less stress and more focusing on the positives. I am healthy and social distancing like I am supposed to, and I can only control what is in my orbit. Life indeed is too short to spend it obsessing if I will or won’t get sick. I am not going to go out and lick things, but social media takes a back seat. I will continue to do my part.

Last weekend was a life lesson in the dangers of anxiety and anxious thoughts.

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!

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Are we Too Connected to COVID-19? Is it Causing Anxiety?

Stressing yourself out will only end badly. There was some positive to yesterday’s excursion into the social media world. I saw some fantastic food that people are cooking. For me, I will be focused on school and writing for the rest of the week, staying away from the temptation to continue to stress myself out. Stay safe out there in this crazy world of isolation.

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There is so much information out there about COVID-19, and there is essentially national and local information that we need in this ever-changing world we are now living in. Is it possible, though, that we can be too caught up in the death tolls here in the United States and around the world that it is causing a global issue of anxiety? I have to say the answer is a resounding yes, and here is why.

I always come from a position of experience. I found myself lost yesterday on my iPad, looking up statistics, information, symptoms, and personal stories of the “novel” coronavirus. Yes, for some reason, all the articles seem to call it a novel virus. I will admit that it is probably to get me to read the article. Good Job there if I am honest. Or instead, for more honesty, I logged onto Facebook after promising myself that I wouldn’t and saw story after story about COVID-19.

I was inundated. I found with each article, whether accurate information or not, that my anxiety was growing with every second. I know better than to allow these stories to take over my life, and there are plenty of other things that I could spend my time on. I am editing my novella today to attempt to get it ready to publish. With my recent stomach issues, interestingly directly enough connected to the increase in stress in my life, I was in bed and could not help myself.

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My point is this, we are masters of our own world. I made the decision to keep reading. If you have to do what I did and absorb all the information that you can, perhaps do not do it on social media. Look for the positives as well. There are plenty of people that have recovered, bout that is less sexy than the worldwide growing death toll.

I know that with every new day, we learn new things about the coronavirus. I understand that the people in charge have not been doing all that they can to combat the virus. There is uncertainty in the world. I also know that pushing yourself too much into anxiety can be very hard on your body. In 2017, I ended up with bleeding ulcers directly connected to the mounting stress in my life. I had several panic attacks a day, and it took its toll quickly on my body, hospitalizing me for a week.

Stressing yourself out will only end badly. There was some positive to yesterday’s excursion into the social media world. I saw some fantastic food that people are cooking. For me, I will be focused on school and writing for the rest of the week, staying away from the temptation to continue to stress myself out. Stay safe out there in this crazy world of isolation.

If you need something to read, my memoir, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, is now available for purchase, or it is free if you have Amazon Kindle Unlimited; it is free. If you can, please purchase my book to learn about my experiences since my diagnosis. You can find the link below on my author’s page.

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!

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A Mental Health Side Effect

My goal was to get off antipsychotics, which I am still, after about thirteen years, is still on a high level. The issue that I have is how these medications affect me overall. Does it take years off my life? What are the honest, long-term effects on my body?

The Best Laid Plans

I am calling everything that happens because of COVID-19 a side effect because, in truth, it is precisely that way. A side effect of a changing world.

In March, I had an appointment with my doctor in person two days after California, and the county in which I reside put a “shelter in place” order. This rendered my appointment in-person to one over the phone indefinitely. This caused a dilemma for me because I was working towards a specific goal in 2020. For my psychiatrist to lower the milligrams of antipsychotics and antianxiety medication. A lofty goal! Or so I thought.

My goal was to get off antipsychotics, which I am still, after about thirteen years, is still on a high level. The issue that I have is how these medications affect me overall. Does it take years off my life? What are the honest, long-term effects on my body?

At the moment, my psychiatrist is not changing any of the levels of my medication until we can meet in person regularly so she can regulate the process. Never do medication changes without your doctors knowing because it can be very dangerous! This news was disheartening because I am leaning towards getting off Seroquel and the clonazepam all together by early 2021. A friend I know got off benzodiazepines through a process with other medications over weeks, and he is much better off without benzos in his life. I see his progress, and that is where I want to go with my mental health. I am in a holding pattern, and I know I have to trust the process. For now, I will stick with my medication taking it as my doctor recommends. 

I will leave you with this Sara Bareilles song

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!

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You are not Alone

I have written recently and in the past to say that “it is okay to not be okay.” I am living this idea, and it has been my mantra as I work towards getting my anxiety and depression to a reasonable level this week. It rained heavily here this weekend into today, so going beyond my back porch is impossible. Getting caught in the rain would surely not help. The last thing I want is to be sick.

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I wanted to open today’s blog post with an apology. I had this grandiose idea of hosting a Zoom mental health party, but my anxiety and depression took a significant hit this weekend. I was lucky not to end up in the hospital, but with everything going on and hospitals overwhelmed, it would serve no purpose. I will reach out to my psychiatrist and let her know where things are in my life.

I have written recently and in the past to say that “it is okay to not be okay.” I am living this idea, and it has been my mantra as I work towards getting my anxiety and depression to a reasonable level this week. It rained heavily here this weekend into today, so going beyond my back porch is impossible. Getting caught in the rain would surely not help. The last thing I want is to be sick.

What sucks about this whole COVID-19 situation is you can’t get away from it no matter what you do. It is essential to stay on top of things. Educating yourself in a crisis is paramount in getting the right information. The coronavirus is an ever-changing dailt thing. At the same time, it can reak havoc on our mental health. You are not alone, it is a novel idea and one I believe in, but many of us are actually living isolation alone.

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Many people over the last week have been reaching out in hopes of connecting with anyone. I feel your pain and never be afraid to reach out to me when your mental health is hitting all-time lows. I am a seasoned vet when it comes to this life, and no matter what, I find ways of getting through my day. Writing has been my go-to over the last month. It is my way of reaching out to the world for a human connection.

You are not aloneThere are so many of us right now struggling to get through. It can be easy to want to end it all. I know in better times that what we are living in, I have felt the dark abyss of depression. The worst type of darkness that can lead to suicide. What prompted me to write this post came from a story I read where someone with mental illness felt the pressure of COVID-19 and took his life. Fear right now is higher than ever, and so many people are at risk. You are not alone. Please fight!

I want to leave you with a song that has always helped me through troubled times.

Meg & Dia Nineteen Stars

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!

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An Unfortunate Series of Things

March was supposed to be great, but as we all know, life changed. We had social distance ourselves more and more. Now it is getting even more restrictive to leave your house as things are not going so well out there in the world. My anxiety, already on its edge, has shot up over the last week.

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They say do not panic. Try telling that to someone who lives daily with anxiety and panic disorder.

My biggest issue over the past weeks has been depression. There is no getting around the fact that when things get severe depression usually hits me.

I suffer, among other things, with seasonal affective disorder. April is generally a transitional month before my life picks back up. We are living in unusual times, and that means learning new things. Right now, anxiety is deciding that it’s going to fight for its own place in my life.

2019 was great for me as a human being from about May to November. I wrote the novel that I have been working on for years, and generally, my life was great. I had no real complaints. I was beginning to find my place and leaving my house more and more. Then the unimaginable hit me, I lost my mom, and with that loss, I lost myself. Depression was my friend for most of January and February, but I was getting out in the world.

March was supposed to be great, but as we all know, life changed. We had social distance ourselves more and more. Now it is getting even more restrictive to leave your house as things are not going so well out there in the world. My anxiety, already on its edge, has shot up over the last week. I have been dealing with intense panic attacks and anxiety that seems to have no end. I have been here before, oh so many times.

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I can admit the fear comes from the possibility of catching the coronavirus. It compounds my anxiety when I have to inevitably leave the comfort of my home. Sure, you can go weeks at a time without leaving, but eventually, you will need something essential and have to go out. You can wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, and be as careful as you can, and it is no for sure thing you will not catch COVID-19.

Then there is the fear of if you can get things delivered. My medication was due this week, and my pharmacy is asking that we do only deliveries. There is real anxiety that, through no fault of their own other than the fact that they essential. That someone down the line had to deal with them that are infected with the virus. Even though I had no direct connection to the delivery driver, he or she has to be interacting with people. There is no guarantee they could not carry the virus. Perhaps if there is more testing it would be different, and maybe it would elevate some of my anxiety.

Fear can be a dangerous thing for our mental health, and if there was a good chance that the government actually cared, it would be different. I have never been much for giving into the types of fears. Things such as the coronavirus, it feels different. Like it is an inevitable thing that you can catch because, from some of what people that are working on the front lines, 1 in 3 people are carriers.

I wondered today, am I being irrational? I would like to hear from you.

As always, one last thing. If you have to go out into the world, make a plan, and limit yourself to exposure. Get items delivered if at all possible and make sure that you sat thank you to those who have to work in this crisis. If you see a nurse, paramedic, grocery store worker, delivery drivers, or anyone who still has to brave the world because they are essential, be kind. These people are the real heroes of this pandemic. Always stay safe.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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