S1 EP 16 The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Jessica

Photo by Kate Oseen 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.

Find the latest interview episode of The Bipolar Writer Podcast.

Hi, my name is Jess, I’m a Latina in my mid 30’s I’m a mom & wife, and I am diagnosed with GAD & Panic disorder. It’s an honor to be on here to speak my truths about my mental health & advocate for this movement with James. I want to continue to break the stigmas about mental illness among our communities of people of color. I have my own blog called She’s Hiatus. It’s my muse of self-expression through my writing from poetry, my life experiences & fictional pieces. I’m also introducing a movement called “she’s hiatus,” which serves as a reminder that it’s essential to stop & smell the roses. Life is full of hustle & bustle. We need to allow ourselves to go hiatus to work on ourselves, do things that we enjoy, be present with ourselves & loved ones by keeping those moments simple, private & just BE.

Learning how to find balance in life and especially managing our virtual life nowadays is vital for our mental health & overall wellbeing since it can be so time-consuming. I also feature a remarkable collection of stories from amazing & brave women called “Her story.” This collective brings a voice to women of color that share their personal life experiences with me & the world. This ongoing project holds great sentimental value with me & it’s an honor to be part of it.

Please follow my blog & IG: www.sheshiatus.com  IG: @sheshiatus 

Check out my piece called “Violent waves,” which perfectly describes a panic attack in my perspective in the link below.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with A.K. Wilson The Bipolar Writer Podcast

About A.K. My name is A.K. Wilson, or otherwise known as Angel. I am a mother, blogger, mental health, and domestic violence survivor advocate. I am a multi-genre author and writer.  I was born in New York, Raised in NJ, made a home in Kentucky. I live life to the fullest and cherish every moment. My links 🙂 http://www.twistedenchantedworld.com Contact James If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye Also support a life coach that has influenced me along my journey of self-reflection: https://www.groundsforclarity.com 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 A.K. Wilson
  2. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Hunter
  3. Interview with Amy The Bipolar Writer Podcast
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Norm
  5. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen

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.

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 Will Francis on Unsplash

When panic attacks, this is how I regain control

My anxiety has this charming habit where it can completely derail my life when it’s in the mood, but, today I wanted to share some pretty neat ways that I calm the Anxiety Monster when it throws a tantrum.

They definitely don’t completely rid me of my panic, but, they do help me regain control over my mind, and that really speeds up the process of recovering from crippling anxiety to being able to get on with my life – because that doesn’t wait for us when our mental illnesses are having a go at us.

These are pretty effective for run-of-the-mill stress, and if you’re a pro-Worrier like me, then these are (I hope) really helpful.

If you decide to try any of these, even when you’re just feeling a little stressed, I would love to know if it helped!

The Can-and-Can’t Controllables

When faced with an immediate and triggering situation, I make lists with two columns: “Things I Cannot Control” and “Things I Can Control”

The root of all stress (a certain trigger for my anxiety) is our perception of control over a the outcome of a situation. We often don’t realize how significant our abject horror is at the fact that we can’t control everything, and how much it can exacerbate our already-prone-to-panic minds.

Today, my panic attacks were triggered by the sudden news that I have to find a new apartment in 2 weeks, so my list looked kind of this:

Things I Cannot Control

  • The price of property
  • The fact that I have to move

Things I Can Control

  • Where I will live
  • How much information I have about my options

I know it seems slightly silly, but when you have a full list of things you CAN control, highlighted with colorful lines and exclamation points reminding you to only focus on those, you also have a list of stuff on the “can’t control” list that you now recognize have no business being worried about, because – well, you can’t control them.

List of stuff you’re allowed to worry about

This is a habitual reminder. Before you label this as way-too-obvious, it’s very powerful for someone with heavy control issues like me. I am a firm believer that we can engrain stuff into our brains and make them part of our lifestyles, and this list is an attempt at just that. It lists the things in the world, my life, and my character that I am responsible for, and is stuck up next to mirror, so that every morning I read the following:

“Stuff I’m Responsible for/Can Control

  • My choices and actions
  • My attitudes and priorities
  • With whom, where, and on what I spend my time, money, labour, and resources

If the thing you’re worrying about is not on THIS list, STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT!”

I love lists – maybe a bit too much. My psychology textbook says people with over controlling, A Type tendencies (like me) are more prone to illness, and even Coronary Heart Disease (yikes).

But, even though I’m trying to lighten up on the whole totally-mortified-at-the-chaotic-consequences-of-losing-total-control thing, I also think my list-making is a way of making affirmations and it’s necessary step to regaining control over my mind when anxiety pushes it off the rails.

Maybe lists and being obsessed with what I can control can be detrimental if overdone, but, in the case of using these controllable vs. uncontrollable lists as a GPS for my brain when Generalized Anxiety throws it into the wild, I think it’s a helpful habit.

If you don’t make lists, are there any other ways that help you regain control over your mind when panic strikes? If so, I’d love to hear them!

– Steph

I’m not “too sensitive.” I’m mentally ill.

It hurts when people erase us – our struggles, our scars, our victories, our invisible battles, a part of our lives that shapes us and our paths in ways others will never comprehend.

It hurts when people erase our mental illnesses.

gabriel-762937-unsplashIt’s like being told that everything must be your fault, a result of your flaws and weaknesses and choices; that it’s inconceivable that there is an invisible destiny carved into our bones by genetics and external factors of trauma or tragedy, leaving us learning every day the forever-evolving face of our mental illness and how best to get through the new day.

How many of us have at some point been told that we can be a little “too sensitive,” “too emotional,” or “too involved” ? How many of us have felt that we’re being told that our pain, our exhaustion, our hopelessness, our control over our minds slipping through our finger tips, are our fault? Our choice, even?

For me, I’ve heard it countless times.

“You need to toughen up.” “You’re too soft for this world.” “You can’t be so sensitive and expect to be treated right.” “You shouldn’t let things affect you this much.”

And in my head, with internal hot tears of anger and hurt at the erasure of my pain, of the war I have battled without complaint or surrender for as long as I can remember, all I can think when I hear that is, “thank you! So! Much! I am cured, of my depression, of my anxiety, and finally, presented with the easy to make and simple choice of “tough” or “sensitive,” I can continue my life with contentment and joy, never again to be pestered by the whisperings of my own mind! Bless you, kind sir!”

miguel-bruna-503098-unsplashI’m a little angry about it, I guess. And I should be. Because, when I’m at rock bottom, at my wits end, my life falling apart, my mind urging me to figuratively hit “quit without saving” on my existence, when I’m crying in the shower and in the elevator and in the moments no one is watching, when my hands are shaking as I desperately count the pills from my doctor and the consequences of absence from work, from relationships, from the world, are knocking on my door demanding that I attend to responsibilities even though I can barely attend to myself –

You telling me I need to “toughen up” and not be “so sensitive,” is erasing my mental illness, and you’re erasing the victories I win every single day with them, and you’re erasing the fact that mental illness is ugly, real, and that I am so so much tougher than you could ever imagine, because I face their hideous faces every morning.

It’s not that we’re “too” anything. It’s called mental illness.

Mine are called Depression and Anxiety. Whatever yours are called, kudos to you for fighting quietly or loudly or neatly or messily. However you win your battles, even on the days you lose, you’re not too sensitive or emotional or self involved or at fault. None of it is your fault. Call it what it is, and don’t let people who don’t understand convince you to agree with the shady voice in your head that tries to convince you it’s all on you, because it’s not, and I hope this is your daily reminder of that.

–  Steph

Anxiety doesn’t want your advice about stress management, and neither do I.

Please stop responding to my anxiety with, “stress isn’t good for you, you know.” 

I know. 

I do know, because I can’t tell you how much money has been spent on profesional help and medication, or even the physical illnesses that never seem to end, as the distress my body experiences is a result of my anxiety. 

“You’re really stressed out, you really need to learn how to calm down.” 

I would be rich enough to afford therapy more often if I had a cent for every time I’ve heard that in my life. I’m nervous, jumpy, and always clouded with an agitated sense of urgency; I worry a lot, and make small things seem big. Before exams, I’m panicking, and when something goes wrong, I freak out. I have split ends, I bite my nails, I’m not good at relaxing, and I have a generalized anxiety disorder. 

For those of us who struggle with anxiety, it’s a mixture of intense frustration and hurt when someone throws used, dusty, fridge-magnet wisdom about stress at us when we express our anxiety, because it’s insulting to tell us our disorder is the same as feeling under pressure. 

Don’t get me wrong, stress is quite literally a killer (disclaimer, don’t read that if you’re anxious about health…) It’s a mental health concern that is a modern pandemic, and it’s a valid and serious problem for many people. But it is not the same as anxiety, and it hurts us deeply when you treat them as interchangeable terms for a biological response to demands.

To all those out there who haven’t suffered from anxiety: When I try to talk about how anxiety is causing me distress and hindering me in something, understand that it was challenging for me to begin talking about my anxiety to begin with. To be met with invalidation and ignorance in the form of, “wow, man, you’re quite the stress-ball! You should try-makes me cry when I go home and begin my nighttime routine of sedatives and countless other steps in my precarious mental health regimen that allows me to make it through another day. 

So, when someone says, “I’m feeling anxious about-“ or, “Yeah, I know it’s fine, I’m just having anxiety over -“ here are some options to substitute anything along the lines of “don’t stress,”: 

“Would you like to talk about why you’re feeling anxious, or are you not sure?” 

“What are you anxious about? Here are all the reasons why those worries are irrational to help you realize that too.” 

“List all your ‘what if-‘ scenarios and lets debunk them as you go.” 

I’m tired of defending my mental illness, and I’m tired of trying to convince people to legitimize my suffering. I shouldn’t have to prove that my “stressed out personality” is more serious than that and that I need space, support and respect when I’m not ok.

It’s the small things that make people feel like they can open up about their mental health challenges, and not unintentionally invalidating anxiety is a great way to let the people you care about know that you see them, you hear them, and that they don’t have to struggle alone. 

And for my fellow anxiety-sufferers: I know it’s not our job to educate the world, but when it comes to the people directly in our space, we need to care enough about ourselves to speak up when presented with situations like having your anxiety invalidated by people who think that saying, “just calm down, it’s not that big of a deal” is good advice. Next time, say it – say, “Thanks, but, although it’s something I don’t like talking about, I have an anxiety disorder, and it’s a little more challenging to work around it than that.”

I promise that people aren’t as unsupportive of your mental health as you think. They just don’t know, and they often don’t understand. Being open about our challenges – to whatever degree we feel comfortable, but at least a little bit – is part of breaking apart that crafty stigma that makes our issues even more difficult, and it’s part of raising awareness for how the world needs to get on board with us even when we aren’t on board with ourselves. A society that normalizes talking about, validating and helping with mental illness is one we need.

I know it’s scary to think about admitting to mental health struggles (at least for me, anyway, it’s the stuff of nightmares), but on the occasions I actually found the courage to voice why I missed the meeting, lecture, event or phone call (because I was having panic attacks and I can’t always afford medication), it was met with support, empathy, and a response that actually massively eased the weight of my anxiety.

So next time, take the leap!

Anxiety While Driving

This morning I had my first panic attack in my car in almost six months. If you have been following the recent string of blog posts, you know that I am struggling with cycling mania and depression, and now social anxiety all at once. Today I got into my car today with the hope of getting some errands done. I knew getting into my car that my anxiety was high, and it didn’t help that I didn’t sleep last night because I have been really manic.

I thought it would be the perfect time to repost a blog I write a while back about driving anxiety. I will also post the poem I wrote later in the day. I will also write a post about what I did after my anxiety to include using my safety plan.

Here are some connected blog posts:

When Mania, Depression, & Creativity Collide

My Recent Mania – This Bipolar Life

Driving Anxiety: What It Is Like for The Bipolar Writer

Car anxiety or driving anxiety?

I know it sounds weird. Trust me it’s weird to say it let alone deal with it every time I get into my car. I am an excellent driver. No brag, and I love driving.

Well at least until about three years ago I loved driving. Now it’s a constant reminder that I am anxious behind the wheel. I live in fear of the worst case scenario, what could happen if I have a panic attack on the road. It’s one of the reasons I don’t leave my house much, and when I do I always take extra Ativan with me.

My anxiety & social anxiety is always an issue. When I leave my house I am 9/10 already dealing with anxiety. The worst is when the anxiety is intensified. I feel outside my body and very panicky.

I used to be able to drive anywhere and one of my places of solace was behind the wheel. I could be at total peace with the road in front of me driving for hours on end.ian-espinosa-233901-unsplash

But that changed, I am guessing about three years ago. I don’t know why I love driving. Traveling in my car was something I could do without question. Just being behind the wheel made me feel alive. I would drive for hours just because I could.

Give me some good music, the open road and I could drive for days.

Looking back I think it started after my last suicide attempt in 2010. I have chronicled the fact that after this suicide attempt I had really bad seizures and I was told I could no longer drive a car for at least a year.

It was close to three years before I even sat behind the wheel again. When I started driving again it was over time that I started leaving my house again. Then my social anxiety makes the decision to worsen after my psychiatrist decided to lower my Ativan dosage.

Then last year I signed up to drive for Uber. I got a car and everything, and then a few weeks in I had a panic attack with a customer in the car with me. It wasn’t a super bad one but it scared me. I never thought I could have a panic attack while driving.

Since then it has happened a few times to a point where I would have to pull my car over just to get back into control. Other times I would be down the road my house only to turn around again and have to go back.

I fear driving now because it is always possible that my anxiety could trigger a panic attack especially now when my anxiety being at high levels.

This time of the year is so tough to work through because I have so much going on. At the same time, my anxiety and depression are playing tug-of-war with my soul.

It’s just another thing I am noticing as I continue to write about my life. Driving used to be a place of solace in my life, but now it’s just another place I don’t feel safe with my anxiety.

What sucks about my driving anxiety is that I have so many plans for 2018. I am going to Vegas after I graduate, I am going to my brother’s wedding, and I might even decide to go and walk with my class for graduation. I have so much to do, and not being able to leave my house will be my biggest fear moving forward.

I am curious. Do any of my fellow bloggers deal with driving anxiety? What do you do to combat it?

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

Patrick Tomasso

Ian Espinosa