The Bipolar Writer Podcast S1, Ep. 17

My latest interview is with a dear friend. I call her Aby, and she is a member and moderator of the Infinity Warriors of Mental Health discord channel. I have known Aby for almost a year. It is an honor like always to share others’ stories, even those that I know personally.

Photo by Jukka Aalho on Unsplash

Just a reminder that The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Blog will be done as of March 12, 2021. I will leave it until my birthday on April 10 for the free version for WordPress and then be gone forever. I hope you come with me to @ Buy Me a Coffee. Support or become a member through the button below.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Aby

My latest interview is with a dear friend. I call her Aby, and she is a member and moderator of the Infinity Warriors of Mental Health discord channel. I have known Aby for almost a year. It is an honor like always to share others’ stories, even those that I know personally.

Desiree Loeven – pen name Aby Kittiwake. She is a mother of 3 and married for over 18 years, writes poetry and fosters animals in her spare time.  She belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and her faith means everything to her.  She is diagnosed with ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder, and C-PTSD.

You can also find the episode here.

How can you become an interviewee? Just email me @ thebipolarwriterpodcast@gmail.com.

I will record the Zoom interviews and use Anchor.fm to put the podcast on different platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcast or anywhere you listen. The only thing that will go live will be the audio file, and while I save my interviews, it will be on my cloud. The podcast is all about exploring the stories of depression, self-harm, anxiety, suicide, mental health issues today, mental illness stories, and everything in between. I would love for you to be one of the people who began on the Bipolar Writer Podcast’s ground floor. Thank you for your time, and you can use the contact page.


It is my hope for The Bipolar Writer Podcast to become fully listener-supported. You can become a supporter of the podcast here You can also support the podcast by clicking the button below, where you can buy me a coffee.

So how can you support The Bipolar Writer Podcast and James Edgar Skye? Well, there are several ways.

  • There is becoming a listener supporter through the anchor.fm where I do my podcast episodes. That link is here. It is simple to support Apple Pay or a credit card for once month, and you can end your support whenever it feel right to you. There are options for $0.99, $4.99, and $9.99, and all options will go 100% to the podcast. No need to create an account. 
  • Last is Buy Me A Coffee, a great platform in my mind and where I want to grow most of my lister support for the Podcast, blog, and in some ways, my writing. You can be a monthly subscriber or a one-time supporter. There are options for extras that include one on one mental health advocacy Zoom call, where you can ask mental health questions about blogging, tiers with my books, and other unique extras. The options for payments are credit card or PayPal. Soon, my support website Buy Me a Coffee will be t-shirts, mugs, and stickers available as soon as I get all that together with more support. You can click the button below.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Alaina The Bipolar Writer Podcast

Episode Description Alaina became an advocate for mental health in 2017 following a psychotic episode. During this episode, she experienced delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. Initially, she was diagnosed with brief psychotic disorder, which mental health professionals believed was stress-induced, as Alaina was a full-time Ph.D. student. Later in the same year, Alaina's diagnosis changed to bipolar I disorder. While she did not complete her Ph.D. program, she is currently in school for ultrasound, and she will begin a master's program in health administration in the fall of 2021. If you would like to know more about Alaina, you can follow her blog at http://www.thebipolarbuzz.com and subscribe to her YouTube channel, Alaina Raquel. -Alaina If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/support
  1. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Alaina
  2. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Colleen
  3. Bullying and Mental Health
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Krystal
  5. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Gavin

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

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

Purchase my Memoir and Novella here: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks

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

Photo by Jeremy Enns on Unsplash

Celebrate the Little Things

An achievement that I never imagined.

‘Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

When I began this blog, I never imagined the little things, the achievements that I can be proud of when it comes to The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog. So, I will celebrate a little thing that has made me proud since I decided to start this blog. We, the collective that makes this blog, is over 300K views! It is a fantastic achievement not for me but for the people that have had the opportunity to view this blog and see the stories. That is what makes me happy, the stories of others to have a safe place for others. Thank you. 

Buy Me A Coffee

Thank you for visiting The Bipolar Writer Blog. 300,000 views and counting!

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Alaina The Bipolar Writer Podcast

Episode Description Alaina became an advocate for mental health in 2017 following a psychotic episode. During this episode, she experienced delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. Initially, she was diagnosed with brief psychotic disorder, which mental health professionals believed was stress-induced, as Alaina was a full-time Ph.D. student. Later in the same year, Alaina's diagnosis changed to bipolar I disorder. While she did not complete her Ph.D. program, she is currently in school for ultrasound, and she will begin a master's program in health administration in the fall of 2021. If you would like to know more about Alaina, you can follow her blog at http://www.thebipolarbuzz.com and subscribe to her YouTube channel, Alaina Raquel. -Alaina If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/support
  1. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Alaina
  2. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Colleen
  3. Bullying and Mental Health
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Krystal
  5. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Gavin

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

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

Purchase my Memoir and Novella here: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks

The Bipolar Writer Podcast

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

Photo by Dave Lastovskiy on Unsplash

A Look At COVID-19 – A Nurses Perspective

Before we get into the technical scheme of things, let’s start off with saying this virus knows absolutely NO borders and NO age limit. During its crisis, China was finding that severe viral cases and deaths were occurring in adults aged 60 years and older and those with underlying medical condition. Italian doctors have now concluded that most of who have died from COVID-19 had two or more underlying health conditions.

This type of post is not my usual thing, but I asked a nurse friend of mine to write a post about COVID-19 or coronavirus to give a perspective from the front line. Her name is Katrina San Juan RN, MSN, CSRN, PCCN, CCRN. Katrina is an expert in her field, and I trust her work. Please read it carefully so that you can get an idea of what we are up against! I truth the author of this post, but at the same time it is important to continue to educate yourself.

“Grab a Corona, Lets Talk about COVID-19”

Hello, Background

            Corona virus strains (and yes, there are numerous strains of them other than our now famous Wuhan Strain) are a group of viruses which, prior to 2003, was thought to normally cause similar symptoms to the flu, ranging from a cough, sore throat, fever and runny nose.  Four specific strains have become notorious for the cause of the common cold in humans.  

Corona viruses were first isolated and studied over 50 years ago, with one of the first reports in 1949, but it was not given its Latin royal name until the virus was observed under an electron microscope where its morphology resembled a “crown-like” appearance.  They infect numerous species, responsible for a sweeping avian bronchitis and were the cause of an endemic gastrointestinal infection to swine’s, causing a largescale death of baby pigs in the 1970s-1980s.  

            In November of 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, commonly known as SARS, fueled the emergence of an epidemic virus in China, causing an estimated infection of 8100 between November to July of 2003.  It killed an estimated 800 people, having spread globally to Europe, North and South America and Asia.  

This write up would also hardly be accurate without mentioning Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, likely originating from an animal source (they were thinking via camel) totaling 2519 infections and 866 deaths; two of which were confirmed cases in the United States.

Fast forward 17 years later from the severity of SARS -a brand new respiratory infection has emerged, as the entire world now faces the pandemic results of the Corona Virus Wuhan Strain, AKA COVID-19.  It is a new strain of corona virus which was not previously observed in humans, its origins thought to come from wild animal consumption of bats and possibly pangolins (armadillo-like mammals).  It was first reported in November of 2019 as doctors in Wuhan discovered a pneumonia-causing viral infection which was not responding to treatment.  

Not Feeling Well?

            It has now been about 4 months since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, and now that China has finally entered a phase of decreased new cases, life is finally beginning to return to semi-normal life for its people.  Needless to say, Chinese scientists have accrued vital new information. Though it may take quite a while to fully comprehend the entirety of COVID-19.  

            Let’s start with the basics: symptoms.  Data published from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that 80% of people experienced mild symptoms (about 1 in 5 people), which appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days and range from (or combination of) fever, fatigue, sore throat, dry cough, body aches, runny nose, and in small cases, diarrhea.  In severe symptoms, patients exhibited dyspnea, or difficulty breathing, chest pain, altered mental status and cynanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin due to diminished oxygenation).  Thus, these patients require careful monitoring in an Intensive Care Unit, many of which will be intubated, their life supported by an artificial ventilation tube.  These are known as severe cases, resulting in about 14% of COVID-19 occurrences and about 5% being critical cases.  

Who Is Most Effected?

Chinese researchers have now found that both men and women carried an equal chance of contracting the virus, but the impact on men were much higher.  Men had an estimated 64% chance of facing fatality to the virus, versus 36% of women, thus concluding that men were effected much worse.  The same research found that 90% of pediatric patients were asymptomatic, with one case of a 14-year old boy dying and 6% were severe/critical cases. It is unknown why children were not as ill as adults.  

However, as I mentioned earlier and repeat again, the virus has no regards to borders or age limit.  As more and more cases in the United States are coming into light, the Centers for Disease Control has reported that about 20% of 508 patients that were admitted for COVID-19 symptoms and requiring hospitalization were within the age of 20 to 45 years.  From a count of about 121 patients transferred into the intensive care unit, 12% were also within that age group.  

              This graph shows severe cases and ICU admissions from US cases reported between February 12 to March 16, illustrating that no age group is immune from the virus.

Source: CDC.gov.

This Does Not Sound Desirous…What Can I Do Against the Virus?

            Case trials are underway to help develop a vaccine, but this could take months, possibly even years.  Therefore, the best fight against COVID-19 is preventing exposure to the virus.  Most up to date studies as of March 23rd show that the virus can linger in the air for up to 3 hours, remain on copper surfaces for 4 hours, cardboard up to 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for 72 hours.  Be mindful of cleansing metallic surfaces carefully as Chinese studies have found COVID-19 can remain viable on these surfaces for up to 9 days.  So be vigilant about toughing handrails and door handles.  Cleanse these regularly in your household with a disinfectant.  Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html for an extensive list and guidelines for disinfection.  

            Most important points to consider…WASH YOUR HANDS.  And often.  With good’ ol” soap and water for at least 20 seconds, exercising friction between the soles of your fingers and thumbs.  If soap and water are not currently available, utilize a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% of alcohol, again rubbing this in carefully between your fingertips until the surface of your hands are dry.  

DO NOT touch your face with unwashed hands, and cover or blow your cough or sneeze.  Keep away from those that are sick or appear sick, and stay home if you are sick. COVID-19 is spreading in all communities.  Studies have also shown that the virus can actually travel up to 15 feet, however it is being encouraged to remain at least 6 feet apart during the current “social distancing” phase with those that are not of your household.  Remain up to date with expert advice, travel bans and restrictions and your state’s/country’s current activity restrictions.  One of the best ways of prevention is practicing prevention outside of the household.  These precautions are to protect us ALL.    

            If you are sick, wear a facemask or if you are taking care of those that are sick.  If you are not sick, please consider those who truly do require these, such as your health care providers.  There is a worldwide shortage on facemasks, please consider use of these rationally. 

Once Someone Is Infected with COVID-19, Can They Get It Again? 

            Unfortunately, it is too soon to know whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 will become immune to reinfection.  Scientists are aware from experience that reinfection is a concern in regards to the common coronaviruses seen during the winter seasons, causing illness time and time again despite a person having been exposed to the same viral strain since childhood.  And despite the body’s production of immunity the antibodies eventually decline allowing vulnerability once again.  

            Patients infected with SARS were studied and found to have developed antibodies and these were still detected in blood samples despite having been infected way back in 2002-2003.  However, the SARS epidemic was resolved within 8 months so further studies of reinfection are thankfully limited.  As far as MERS, there were 2500 cases within an 8 year time span, so the case of reinfection also remains unknown.  Although immunity was found for up to two years after initial infection.  

Spring Is Around the Corner…Will COVID-19 Go Back To Its Corner?

            It’s another question that has yet to have a definite answer.  All scientists can gather is the same information they have collected from previous virus strains.  Take the influenza strains for example.  Its peak is in the winter, induced by the decrease in humidity levels not actual temperature.  There are suggestions that perhaps COVID-19 may have temperature or humidity sensitivities, limiting its spread in warmer and much more humid climates.  Take for example Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.  There are certainly cases of COVID-19 but the spread has not gone out of control, but also keep in mind they were very much proactive in successfully containing the virus.  But many tropical countries may not have as adequate access to testing kits so the reporting is inaccurate.  But keep in mind, during the winter people tend to stay indoors, causing potential spread to be less detrimental.  There is a current study being completed by physicists at the University of Utah who have received a grant to study the outershell of the virus and its responses to heat and humidity.  

We hope for answers soon.  Just as we hope for a resolution to this pandemic to end very soon.

Courtney’s Interview Feature

This a feature I wrote on Courtney. You can find all feature interviews here.

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Courtney’s Interview Feature: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a unique mental illness diagnosis. It comes with uncontrollable mood swings that can happen every minute of every other day. The unpredictability of Borderline Personality Disorder can make any day the worst ever.

“They range from anger to sadness to even happiness,” Courtney explains. “But the feelings I have are mostly negative.”

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Courtney from Waterford, Michigan, is living every way with the realities of BPD. Two and half years ago Courtney found solace. It would come in the form of a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. But like many of us in the mental illness community, the journey to the right diagnosis was a rough one for Courtney.

“Before my diagnosis with BPD, I had different diagnosis’s ranging from depression alone to Bipolar. My life was a complete disaster. There was no such thing as a “normal” day.”

In her early years, Courtney would deal with constant mood swings. The mood swings made family life impossible at times. Verbal arguments were common, and it leads to instability in her family life. It was not uncommon for Courtney to try to commit suicide. On more than one occasion she had to live through the reality of suicide attempts that seemed to come out of nowhere.

“My moods would flip as easy as it was to toss a coin,” Courtney recalls. “There was no telling how my day would start, or how they would end. It was scary.”

Courtney will admit she doesn’t have the best memory. She often has a tough time reliving the past, or even remember it. “I wouldn’t wish what I endured those years before my diagnosis on anyone.”

It’s not all negative in Courtney’s life. Courtney surrounds herself with people that support who she is. This support system includes her husband, mother, and Courtney’s therapist. The positive part in her BPD comes from the right medications and a good psychiatrist.

“The medication prescribed to me that I take every day,” Courtney explains. “I believe it plays a big positive part in my BPD.”

There are daily struggles that Courtney must face. The emotional instability that comes with Courtney and her BPD can make life hard. It can be hard to maintain a relationship, even with the ones that Courtney loves. Anxiety and depression often make themselves companions next to her BPD. On any given day she will feel lazy and depressed.

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It is not uncommon for Courtney to want to do her entire to-do-list for the year in one day. It can be exhausting, but she always finds a way. Support is her most prominent ally.

“My mental illness affects my life every day. Little things that shouldn’t bother me, bother the hell out of me,” she explains about how BPD affects her life. “I get irritable over the little things, and sometimes I have no control over my anger.”

Courtney by nature isn’t a violent person, but at times she is on the edge of exploding at any moment. Three things contribute to this feeling. One part Anxiety. One part Depression. One part Borderline Personality Disorder. It can be a disastrous combination.

“It affects my relationship with my husband, my kids, family, and even friends.”

We all have a goal when writing our blog, something we want to share with the mental illness community. For Courtney, her message is one of education.

“I want people to become educated and aware of mental illnesses,” she explains. “There is a stigma that surrounds people like us, and it needs to die. That’s why the title of my blog is “kill the stigma.” I want people to open up about their struggles, to not be afraid of backlash, or to receive support. I want people to be able to talk about mental illness as easy as they talk about a cold.”

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For Courtney, writing a blog has done wonders for her life. It is her way to cope and at the same time receive affirmation. It’s not about the comments or the followers from Courtney’s perspective. It’s about people viewing and reading what she is presenting to the blogging world.

What Courtney is doing with her blog is educating and finding a way to make a difference. She writes to teach on topics like depression, anxiety, and Borderline Personality Disorder.

“I have already done that on a small scale. It also helps me to know I am not alone. I have had several people close to me and distant have reached out. What they are saying is how they have dealt with their own illnesses and wish they had a voice like me.”

My favorite question that I ask in these interview features is what in their life makes life worth living? Courtney’s answer is why I love to ask this question.

Courtney finds peace in the little things in life that make living worth it. She mentions her husband, mother, children, and her belief in God. “I remember how much they love me, and how much I love them. It helps to feel wanted and needed, and I’ve never felt either of those things as much as I do currently.”

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There is also the personal things in her life that Courtney wants to work on. She recognizes that she is not the best person in the world. Courtney works each day to strive to be a better person despite BPD.

Courtney recognizes one crucial thing that makes life worth living. It is this knowledge that those of us in the mental illness community should live by.

“If I were to kill myself today, I wouldn’t be able to be a better person. I would go to hell, according to my beliefs. I don’t want either of those things, so the hope that I have now makes life worth living.”

The alternative to the negative thinking that Courtney displays is positive. Its roots are in her past experiences with suicide.

Within the confines of her journey, Courtney has often had suicidal idealizations. For a good part of her life and journey, this was a regular thing. Courtney believed that it was normal to think about all the ways that you wanted to die.

“As a teenager, I didn’t know any different,” she remembers. ” I have had suicidal thoughts ever since I can remember. I would think about cutting my slitting my wrists, about driving my car into a poll at 100 mph, or swallowing pills. I even thought about putting a gun to my head and pulling the trigger.”

In the present time, Courtney struggles with these thoughts less and less. It helps to have the right system in place. For Courtney, she relies on the right medication, therapy, support, and coping skills. It is within this system that helps her combat these thoughts.

It doesn’t mean that Courtney hasn’t gone down the road of trying to take her life. “I have attempted suicide three times, and the first time I flatlined. It took Narcan to revive me. I thought it would never make me want to commit suicide again.”

This thought was great for Courtney, but was temporary and only for a time. She would go on to attempt to take her life two more times. It was through these trials and getting the right support that keeps her steady. Its enough for Courtney to stay off the suicide path.

“It takes time. There is no instant cure and that’s what I wanted. I was expecting it for so long, I wasn’t patient enough.”

Courtney wants to share through this feature article many vital pieces of wisdom. The first is that mental illness can happen to anyone. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and it can affect anyone.

“I am glad that I’m winning,” Courtney explains. “I am so glad I am winning.  I finally feel like I have my mental illness under control after more than a decade. And you know what? It was so worth the wait and effort.

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Courtney is at a level that we all hope to get to, a place where you are good with your diagnosis. Her words of wisdom speak truthfully. In my own experiences, all I have been through got me to a right place with my own diagnosis. It is the most fantastic feeling in the world, but the battles are what made us stronger. It has made Courtney stronger.

If you would like to know more about Courtney and her journey you can find her writings on her blog.

When I was looking through her blog, this post stood out the most. You can find so many great pieces on Courtney’s journey with Borderline Personality Disorder on her blog.

Interviewee: Courtney

Author: James Edgar Skye

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Photo Credits:

unsplash-logoMike Wilson

unsplash-logoMorgan Basham

unsplash-logoXavier Sotomayor

unsplash-logoTânia Soares

unsplash-logoEdwin Andrade

unsplash-logoAustin Schmid

Learning From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This month marks close to eight months of learning to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help combat my anxiety, my therapist and made the decision to take some time off so that I could work on my health. Still, every day I apply everything that I have learned and are still applying them today. So I wanted to share one of the things that I have learned.

One thing I have learned is called “Nonjudgemental Focused Emotional Awareness” associated with mindfulness breathing.

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.

The practice asks for two-ten minute sessions of mindfulness breathing. It is never easy staying in the moment when doing focus breathing, so this activity asks you to focus on when your thoughts wondered in the session and how you judged these thoughts.

At the beginning of my CBT journey, my thoughts during mindfulness breathing were mostly focused on my current stress at the time with my most recent bouts of anxiety and depression.

The first step is to log these thoughts in a way that you can look at them after the session. I used a spreadsheet.

The next step is to analyze the physical sensations and emotions related to these thoughts. It was not uncommon during these sessions to feel overly anxious, have fatigue and all the physical sensations that come with anxiety and panic attacks. (See my Poem Little White Pill.)

This step gives real insight into how physical sensations and emotions play an important part in judging your experience when doing mindfulness.

The third steps ask you to analyze your behaviors at the time. Trouble keeping your eyes closed, fidgeting, can’t keep still, or any behaviors associated with that session. These are often distractions based on a mind that is wandering around in thoughts for so long.

Tthe last step and the hardest for me is to rate on a scale of 0-10 on how effective you were about not judging the experience. The higher the score on the scale means that you were more judgmental. In my own experience, I often scored 7-9 because I was at the beginning of my CBT journey, and I really had trouble letting the thoughts that came to me during mindfulness breathing to control me and I always judged myself harshly.

This exercise in being non-judgmental on the thoughts that run through your head can make major differences in your anxiety, it really made a difference for me. Over time, I was able to use this practice to let go of my negative thoughts, and even when they entered my mind during mindfulness breathing and meditation I learned to bring myself back to my breath and let these thoughts go.

The only time it has not been overly effective is when it comes to my social anxiety, but I am learning to be better at letting the negative thoughts associated with social anxiety.

I hope this post is helpful. I know that every CBT book out there is a little different so the practices may vary. I am going to my therapist for my CBT training but there are good books out there in the world.

Lastly, what are your experiences with CBT?

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoJonatan Pie

10 Things You Should Know About The Bipolar Writer

Sorry for being not so available this week. I’ve had finals. Once I am done with this week, I will be writing three new feature articles in my ongoing series Interview Features – The Series

I love these lists because it gives insight to you my fellow bloggers about pieces of my life. You know about many of my issues and how I deal, and you even know my history. But what about me personally?

Well, here are 10 things you should know about The Bipolar Writer.

  1. I love books – I guess that might not surprise you, but that love started as a young child. I was read to my whole life, and by age three, I could understand on my own reading chapter books. I read at a college level by the fourth grade. I have some favorite series like Harry Potter series, Game of Thrones, and yes even the Twilight series.
  2. Music is life – I have this sincere appreciation for all things music. I don’t have a specific genre that I listen to because my theory is if it sounds good then I will listen to it.
  3. I love to read poetry – I am not great at writing it. I am taking a poetry class my last semester, and I hope to write poetry book in the future.
  4. Edgar Alan Poe is my favorite author – A close second is Earnest Hemingway.
  5. I have a sincere appreciation for the people in my life that stuck with me through the bad and the good. There is a good chance if you saw me at my worst and still wanted to a part of my life you are family to me.
  6. I am not a great people person in real life – It is part social anxiety and part introvert that keeps me from being openly communicative in public. I tend to walk with my head down trying to not make eye contact.
  7. For the first three years of my diagnosis, I didn’t believe that I was Bipolar.
  8. I love sports but especially baseball. I love that from April to October I get a chance to watch my favorite team the Dodgers play.
  9. I am an outstanding role-playing video gamer. It’s in my blood. I played my first game, Alex, the Kid on the original Sega, when I was three. Been playing games ever since. I excel at strategic role-playing games.
  10. I love to write because I can get lost in worlds that create. My characters are always an extension of who I am as a writer.

So there you go. Another ten things list. Check out my other list of ten things in my life.

10 Things the Bipolar Writer is Afraid Of

Ten Things I Wish People Knew About My Social Anxiety Life

My Article for PSYCOM

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoAaron Burden

Courtney’s Interview Feature

This a feature I wrote on Courtney. You can find all feature interviews here.

Courtney’s Interview Feature: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a unique mental illness diagnosis. It comes with uncontrollable mood swings that can happen every minute of every other day. The unpredictability of Borderline Personality Disorder can make any day the worst ever.

“They range from anger to sadness to even happiness,” Courtney explains. “But the feelings I have are mostly negative.”

morgan-basham-364865.jpg

Courtney from Waterford, Michigan, is living every way with the realities of BPD. Two and half years ago Courtney found solace. It would come in the form of a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. But like many of us in the mental illness community, the journey to the right diagnosis was a rough one for Courtney.

“Before my diagnosis with BPD, I had different diagnosis’s ranging from depression alone to Bipolar. My life was a complete disaster. There was no such thing as a “normal” day.”

In her early years, Courtney would deal with constant mood swings. The mood swings made family life impossible at times. Verbal arguments were common, and it leads to instability in her family life. It was not uncommon for Courtney to try to commit suicide. On more than one occasion she had to live through the reality of suicide attempts that seemed to come out of nowhere.

“My moods would flip as easy as it was to toss a coin,” Courtney recalls. “There was no telling how my day would start, or how they would end. It was scary.”

Courtney will admit she doesn’t have the best memory. She often has a tough time reliving the past, or even remember it. “I wouldn’t wish what I endured those years before my diagnosis on anyone.”

It’s not all negative in Courtney’s life. Courtney surrounds herself with people that support who she is. This support system includes her husband, mother, and Courtney’s therapist. The positive part in her BPD comes from the right medications and a good psychiatrist.

“The medication prescribed to me that I take every day,” Courtney explains. “I believe it plays a big positive part in my BPD.”

There are daily struggles that Courtney must face. The emotional instability that comes with Courtney and her BPD can make life hard. It can be hard to maintain a relationship, even with the ones that Courtney loves. Anxiety and depression often make themselves companions next to her BPD. On any given day she will feel lazy and depressed.

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It is not uncommon for Courtney to want to do her entire to-do-list for the year in one day. It can be exhausting, but she always finds a way. Support is her most prominent ally.

“My mental illness affects my life every day. Little things that shouldn’t bother me, bother the hell out of me,” she explains about how BPD affects her life. “I get irritable over the little things, and sometimes I have no control over my anger.”

Courtney by nature isn’t a violent person, but at times she is on the edge of exploding at any moment. Three things contribute to this feeling. One part Anxiety. One part Depression. One part Borderline Personality Disorder. It can be a disastrous combination.

“It affects my relationship with my husband, my kids, family, and even friends.”

We all have a goal when writing our blog, something we want to share with the mental illness community. For Courtney, her message is one of education.

“I want people to become educated and aware of mental illnesses,” she explains. “There is a stigma that surrounds people like us, and it needs to die. That’s why the title of my blog is “kill the stigma.” I want people to open up about their struggles, to not be afraid of backlash, or to receive support. I want people to be able to talk about mental illness as easy as they talk about a cold.”

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For Courtney, writing a blog has done wonders for her life. It is her way to cope and at the same time receive affirmation. It’s not about the comments or the followers from Courtney’s perspective. It’s about people viewing and reading what she is presenting to the blogging world.

What Courtney is doing with her blog is educating and finding a way to make a difference. She writes to teach on topics like depression, anxiety, and Borderline Personality Disorder.

“I have already done that on a small scale. It also helps me to know I am not alone. I have had several people close to me and distant have reached out. What they are saying is how they have dealt with their own illnesses and wish they had a voice like me.”

My favorite question that I ask in these interview features is what in their life makes life worth living? Courtney’s answer is why I love to ask this question.

Courtney finds peace in the little things in life that make living worth it. She mentions her husband, mother, children, and her belief in God. “I remember how much they love me, and how much I love them. It helps to feel wanted and needed, and I’ve never felt either of those things as much as I do currently.”

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There is also the personal things in her life that Courtney wants to work on. She recognizes that she is not the best person in the world. Courtney works each day to strive to be a better person despite BPD.

Courtney recognizes one crucial thing that makes life worth living. It is this knowledge that those of us in the mental illness community should live by.

“If I were to kill myself today, I wouldn’t be able to be a better person. I would go to hell, according to my beliefs. I don’t want either of those things, so the hope that I have now makes life worth living.”

The alternative to the negative thinking that Courtney displays is positive. Its roots are in her past experiences with suicide.

Within the confines of her journey, Courtney has often had suicidal idealizations. For a good part of her life and journey, this was a regular thing. Courtney believed that it was normal to think about all the ways that you wanted to die.

“As a teenager, I didn’t know any different,” she remembers. ” I have had suicidal thoughts ever since I can remember. I would think about cutting my slitting my wrists, about driving my car into a poll at 100 mph, or swallowing pills. I even thought about putting a gun to my head and pulling the trigger.”

In the present time, Courtney struggles with these thoughts less and less. It helps to have the right system in place. For Courtney, she relies on the right medication, therapy, support, and coping skills. It is within this system that helps her combat these thoughts.

It doesn’t mean that Courtney hasn’t gone down the road of trying to take her life. “I have attempted suicide three times, and the first time I flatlined. It took Narcan to revive me. I thought it would never make me want to commit suicide again.”

This thought was great for Courtney, but was temporary and only for a time. She would go on to attempt to take her life two more times. It was through these trials and getting the right support that keeps her steady. Its enough for Courtney to stay off the suicide path.

“It takes time. There is no instant cure and that’s what I wanted. I was expecting it for so long, I wasn’t patient enough.”

Courtney wants to share through this feature article many vital pieces of wisdom. The first is that mental illness can happen to anyone. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and it can affect anyone.

“I am glad that I’m winning,” Courtney explains. “I am so glad I am winning.  I finally feel like I have my mental illness under control after more than a decade. And you know what? It was so worth the wait and effort.

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Courtney is at a level that we all hope to get to, a place where you are good with your diagnosis. Her words of wisdom speak truthfully. In my own experiences, all I have been through got me to a right place with my own diagnosis. It is the most fantastic feeling in the world, but the battles are what made us stronger. It has made Courtney stronger.

If you would like to know more about Courtney and her journey you can find her writings on her blog.

https://bpdatworstandbest.wordpress.com/

When I was looking through her blog, this post stood out the most. You can find so many great pieces on Courtney’s journey with Borderline Personality Disorder on her blog.

https://bpdatworstandbest.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/bpd-in-a-relationship-pt-1/

Interviewee: Courtney

Author: James Edgar Skye

Photo Credits:

unsplash-logoMike Wilson

unsplash-logoMorgan Basham

unsplash-logoXavier Sotomayor

unsplash-logoTânia Soares

unsplash-logoEdwin Andrade

unsplash-logoAustin Schmid

What I Learned in Six Months of Blogging

So I was asked a lot lately how I got here. Over 50,000 views about 3900 followers and I always go back to this post that was originally posted January 5th of this year. So I wanted to update a little bit and reshare some of the things that have made by blog semi-successful.

What I have Learned Blogging

Its been over six months since The Bipolar Writer went live. I have learned so much and I wanted to impart some of my wisdom. I am by no means an expert in blogging, but I have done a lot six months. I have reached the end of the year goal of 2,000 followers towards the end of December, and its been climbing ever since. I am at a little over 3900 followers at the beginning of March. My blog is one that is a shared experience, how to guide, and things I think are relative to my blog’s theme of writing to end the stigma surrounding mental health and to end the idea that suicide is an answer.

It has also been a great place to share the stories of others. You can find my collection of interview features in the following page.

Interview Features – The Series

I have been asked a few times by email what has worked for my blog, and I usually just reply to the email. I thought it would be good to write about it in a blog post.

So I thought why not share my experience in blogging over the past few months. Maybe there is something that you will learn that will be helpful on your own blog.

1. I have learned first and foremost to be myself. I write each blog post about my experiences by letting the reader into my life. I write about my experiences surrounding my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. I am sharing my triumphs and losses. Always be honest and people will keep coming back to your blog.

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2. Getting an actual domain name is very helpful. I have gotten many followers because I have a domain name. If you are serious about blogging then you can find the $99 price tag for a domain name and the premium themes that come with it. It was the best thing I did.

3. Use free photo sites like unsplash.com to add color to your post. In my opinion, adding photos will help your post feel more like a home to the reader. Also, it’s important to note to always give credit for the photos you use. The website I talked about gives you all you need to do just that in your blog post.

4. You can add Grammarly to your web browser so that you edit your post on WordPress. It’s a great free tool to have because even when you think you have edited at your best, you can still miss things. You can go with their premium service but it’s not necessary.

5. In my experience, the Hemingway App is a great tool for writing blog posts. It’s not the greatest of proofreading tools but it tells you when you are using passive voice which is important to writing good quality posts. It also allows you to post straight from the app to WordPress. I paid the $19.99 price tag because it’s a useful tool. I never used the actual free version (if there is one I don’t remember.)

6. As a writer, I like to have as many tools at my disposal when writing. One app that has been amazing for me when I want to free write a blog post is Ulysses. For me when I just need to write its the best place. It also connects to your iCloud so what you have on this app is functional on your computer, your phone, and iPad. It’s my best functional app. I can write a post on my phone and it will automatically be on my computer. It’s great for taking notes when you are out and have an idea.

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7. Try your best to answer all comments. Its the connection to your readers that will get them to come back to your blog. The stronger the connection the more they will feel at home on your blog.

8. This also goes the other way. You should take time to read the blogs of others. I admit I don’t do this as much I would like, but the better connections you make, the more people will come back to your blog. I admit lately I got sidetracked by how much I have going on in my life but it means the world to connect with other bloggers and make a real connection.

9. Make your blog post and blog reader friendly. My first two attempts at writing a blog my posts felt too much like WebMD. It was too technical and not really my goal. Share your experience your way. That is all that matters.

10. Set aside time to go to the Reader in WordPress and find blogs that you find interesting. Follow them. Leave a comment. Become a part of the what ever community you are blogging about. When you become a part of something your blog has purpose.

11. One thing that has helped my blog personally is to add contributor writers that way the content here on The Bipolar Writer stays fresh. It might be something to look at or you can have guest writers/

This is all I could come up with in my own experiences. Always be yourself and your fellow bloggers will come to love your blog. It takes time and dedication, but I know you can do it!

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J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logorawpixel.com

unsplash-logoBen Kolde

unsplash-logoAndrew Neel

unsplash-logoCourtney Hedger

Music That Changes My Mood – Part Ten

I had a really good day. I finished all my school work except for a small couple of things and I feel good regardless of being sick. I finished two quizzes which I aced both, one for Literature and one for Statistics. So I thought why not add another blog post to the series “Music That Changes my Mood.” 

Earlier I wrote a piece on Mental Health Stigmas. You can find all the other music posts in the series here.

Music That Changes my Mood – Christian Gospel Part Two

No stories to occupy the music, just good Christian Gospel music.

DC Talk – Colored People

Natalie Grant – Clean

Big Daddy Weave – The Lion And The Lamb

Newsboys – He Reigns

Danny Gokey – Tell Your Heart to Beat Again

Lauren Daigle – Trust In You

TobyMac – Love Broke Thru

Jason Gray – Sparrows

Well, that’s it for this addition of Music That Changes my Mood. I hope you enjoyed the music.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoJason Betz