The Bipolar Writer Podcast Episode Three 

Living A Year Without My Mother – Grieving, Suicide, Life Coaching and Taking Responsibility

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In this episode, I explore the last year of my life, from the start of my mother’s death on December 15, 2019, to the first anniversary today. I talk about how I was not living life to many months to opening up in Life coaching, living through a suicide plan, suicidal thoughts, depression, and find my way in this life. I talk about as much as possible with what I experienced this year. It is an honor to share this episode when I celebrate my mom’s extraordinary life that she had, and although she is no longer here, she will always be in my heart.

You can find The Bipolar Writer Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

Living A Year Without My Mother – Grieving, Suicide, Life Coaching and Taking Responsibility

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worse that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

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

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

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A Different Day With Grief

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On Monday, August, 10th would have been my mom’s birthday. Another “anniversary” that I was dreading all weekend. These have always been hard. I fall apart on the 15th of the month, the day that she passed. Every month since January, I fall apart. August and September were even more of dread because of my mom’s birthday, eight months since her passing, and my parent’s anniversary. Geez, who can deal with all that one after another?

I had something different at my disposal this time, and it had an unexpected effect on what happened on Monday. I am by no means getting paid to promote this, but Shelby Forsythia’s Permission to Grieve became my guiding light. I am still new to giving myself permission to grief for the loss of my mom, but I was invested. I listen to her words in the book and the stories on her podcast Coming Back. I had begun over the weekend to give my grief room. To understand that it is okay to be in pain and never let go of your grief, it is a part of you. I am also learning to live in the present and stop the constant need to overthink every situation. It was the perfect storm of beginning my grieving process and the day that I dreaded. 

I decided to let it go. The idea that I had to have a bad day. I felt the feels. When I needed to cry, I did, and it was empowering. I ran three miles on the treadmill while listening to Forsythia, and it just flowed. I didn’t set a goal like “I need to run three miles to be happy today.” I instead ran three miles because every moment I was in the present moment of the treadmill and the podcast. I had no worries about the thoughts that often attack me when I am doing something. My day was full of things that made me happy. Getting dinner from my brother from another mother. Being around the people that make me happy. Spending time with a kindred spirit. I didn’t do all these things because I had to, I did them because it was what I wanted to do. I took the ego out, and I just flowed through my day.

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Letting go of all the thoughts that made me feel bad was freeing. I was smiled, even in pain. I allowed myself to let go of the ego, the identity of the grieving son, and I just allowed myself to be. I adopted the idea from the song “if it’s mean to be it will be.” I am not enlightened; instead, I found that I could exist within my grief. I was grieving but finding myself within what could be a healthy way of grieving. That is not to say that the pain was not there, but I took it into my day, and I made it my own. I gave myself permission to grieve, and I saw for the first time what that meant.

That is not to say that the anniversaries will always be something I get through. One of the great things about what I am learning through authors like Forsythia and Tolle is that I can let go of the identity that comes with the grieving son. Instead, focus on being in the now. I can begin to heal and still feel the feels. I healed a small piece of the grand puzzle that is grieving. I know I will always miss my mother, and she is always on my mind, but I could feel more of her love for her family and friends by allowing the space to grieve. It was in so many ways a different 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.

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So, Where Did The Bipolar Writer Go?

I know it has been a while. I have been on a small journey of self-discovery over the last few weeks. I have been up and down, even sideways at times. I felt depression and anxiety in full force. I was feeling lost in who is James and was, or how does The Bipolar Writer become more than just a place that I go when life is tough. I was not feeling the feels as my life coach would say. So, where did The Bipolar Writer go?

He was here all along, but he lived in two different worlds, the past and the future. The person that I have been since the death of my mom in December was someone different. I put everything into what I need to grow my business. To continue writing both for my business and above all the projects in fiction will allow people to know The Bipolar Writer. I lost my passion for writing and instead went to make a million plans all in the hopes of keeping me going and keeping me busy. I was still writing, and it was still good, but I was not me. That was key. It became my downfall in July. I felt so alone in the world, and I allowed myself to let old habits back into my life. I was not living in the present. 

I never thought I would lose my mother the way that it happened—the suddenness and having to continue to finish graduate school and keep myself from allowing the feelings in. I was hiding my pain, and it was growing into the monster thing that was hidden away in my mind. It wanted to be let go. I have been reading Permission to Grieve by Shelby Forsythia and also listening to her podcast. Both of these resources, alongside my self-discovery with my life coach (I will write more on this in another post), I began to realize I life-rejection and self-abandonment were my constant. (This book from Forsythia is really amazing, and I won’t spoil it here.) I was far from living in the present.

I was living by a narrative that was not my own, and I abandoned everything that made who I was inside. I had not once in my grief–the loss of my mom, the lost years of my life that I am always making me try to make up, and the loss of two relationships that altered how I treat people. I closed myself off to the world. I fell into my writing and school to try to grasp onto anything that felt good. I was not feeling good, and I was not myself. I have not been myself. I stopped living in the present and began to live in the future and the past. It is a destructive way of living.

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I had not once since my early 20 gave myself permission to grieve, as Forsythia would say. I lost parts of myself along the way, and I never thought to take a look back and pick those pieces back up. When I lost the one constant in my life that was always there to pick me up, my mom made me go way inside. I was so lost and let things like COVID-19 to not really live.

I was marking the months. Every 15th was a bad day. I had to let myself be depressed on that day–every month. I was still living, that is something that you do. You keep going and make all the plans because that is what society tells you to do. I was not really living. I need to grieve, but that means letting the person who I was before my loss—all of the loss over the last fifteen years. I have made decisions in my life moving forward.

I am connecting with a life coach who is teaching me to live in the present. It will be a four-month journey. I am using my love for reading to immerse myself in books on grief and living in the present. Reading is one of my loves, and I am taking away screen time (when I am not working on school, work, or writing) like when I am watching sports or streaming. If you know me, it is not easy. I am not giving up watching sports, but not spending my “downtime” streaming. I was for so long filling all my time with things, no matter what it is, just to do it. I was on my phone so much, and I was not living my life. I want to go back to my roots–books and stories. I love stories.

I want to be in the present, and I am working on self-care at the moment. Why am I writing this post? It is because it will help me find my voice again. I am learning to do things at the moment because you can’t know the future. The past will always be there, but I am no longer that person. I am ready for change. That means coming back here to where it all started—this blog. I want to feel the feels. I want to live again, AND I WILL.

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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Message of Hope- After A While- Veronica A. Shoffstall — Go Dog Go Café

Hello Everyone– In these times of uncertainty and fear, I wanted to share a poem with you that I cut out of a newspaper 26 years ago. To give you a …

Message of Hope- After A While- Veronica A. Shoffstall — Go Dog Go Café

Message of Hope- After A While- Veronica A. Shoffstall — Go Dog Go Café

I just had to share this beautiful, encouraging poem originally posted by The World according to Redcat. A message worth keeping through the years.

Grief And Mental Health

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Grief and Opinions

If you have faced a tragedy and someone tells you in anyway, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be. That it happened for a reason and that it will make you a better person. Or that taking responsibility for it will fix it. You have every right to remove those people out of your life.

Grief: what is it?

Grief is brutally painful. Grief does not only occur when someone dies. Yes, death is another form of grief. It also occurs when relationships fall apart. When dreams die, you grieve. When illnesses wreck you, you grieve. So, I am going to repeat words I have uttered countless times to these people in my life. Words so powerful and honest that they tear at the hubris of every person who participates in debasing grieving. Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried. The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars but they carry on living despite it all.

Finally…

There are times when life events leave huge question marks as a sign to stretch our faith. Time will fade sorrows. These struggles will diminish. You’ll be you again, I promise. You will be happy again, you will be yourself more than ever. You will understand your heart better when you heal. You will be whole.

Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca.

The Long Road to Betterment

As human beings, regardless of our backgrounds, we’ve become conditioned to evaluate our success in life based on the monetary value of our material possessions. The impact of this trending train of thought has become detrimental to our society, and is especially toxic for those of us who already struggle to find our sense of selves, our true value.

This shift in humanity, in my opinion, grew exponentially with the rise of the technological era. While it’s existed within us for several generations, it’s much more prominent in the last few. And while recently there has been a small faction bringing minimalist living to light, currently more than ever we have become obsessed with the idea of owning the best and newest things.

This has been a difficult post to write because of my own current struggles on the topic. Where is the line between valuing possessions over what really matters, and yearning for a sense of security you’ve never known? There’s obviously financial security in the way of assets, and then there’s having a stable life. Who’s to say when we’ve taken it too far, and how do we separate the wants from the true needs?

I was raised as a welfare baby, my mom on social security, section 8, food stamps, and I’ve had government provided health insurance for my entire life. My mom still survives on the programs, and now I’m raising my daughter on food stamps and free health care as well. It’s not a choice, because while my husband works, it’s not enough, and I can’t bring in enough money with my disabilities to make the pain they’d cause worth the while.

I’m sure my mother wasn’t proud to need all that assistance to raise me, and I’m certainly not proud either. We recently began trying to apply for home loans, as we’ve both lived under mostly slum lords for our entire lives and we want better for our daughter. Long and painfully disappointing story short, we got denied this week and it broke me.

This switch has gone off inside of me, making me feel guilt, inferiority, and judgment towards myself. I swore I’d never raise my child on welfare, but this was before I knew of my physical restraints. Despite my lack on control in the matter, there’s a certain self resentment that comes with that, a sense of worthlessness. I thought I’d found the perfect home for us, actually allowed myself to get excited for once, and now someone else’s family will fill the home.

It’s been an incredibly trying week, with tensions always escalating and tensions always rising due to our current crappy living situation, and I haven’t felt this defeated in a really long time. Especially for those of us with mental illness, stability is incredibly imperative to our success, and it’s my firm belief that if I can finally achieve stability, maybe I can finally begin my journey to betterment.

What I thought was one step closer turned out to be two steps back, but I must still press on. I have to believe that there’s more left in life for me than just the current chapter, that the book will have at least a relatively halpy ending. Here’s to everyone else who’s had a disappointing week or felt broken by something outside of your control. Life gave us lemons, so I guess we’re making lemonade, no matter how sweet or sour it tastes.

Grief and Time – It Doesn’t Get Easier, But That’s the Point

What we want to do is put grief in a box. “Package it up, tape the bitch, and put it somewhere where we can see it.” That’s what we say. With this, we get control over our grief. We can watch it and make sure it doesn’t fly out of the box, ripping at the edges, scrambling over to catch us in meetings and during someone else’s happy moments. If we can contain it, we can control it, and we’ve falsely believed – for quite some time now – that we’ll dis-empower it this way over time; that one day, that grief will cease to exist because we’ve made it smaller by cramming it into something with crippling limits.

I’ve discovered, in the wake of my own grief with loss and depression, that grief in a box is like a tumor. Just because we don’t allow it to grow outward and free, doesn’t mean it will disappear through the existence of time and us not paying it any attention. That’s not how it works, but who am I to tell you how it should? Here’s my experience, and you decide for yourself:

When my grandfather died, I isolated. I knew other coping mechanisms existed, but I didn’t care for them. I didn’t want to reach out to my family and grieve with them because we all isolated from each other. We didn’t create spaces in which to come together; we looked for spaces in which to hide from each other so that we could “process in peace.” And I put that sentence into quotes because, in my family, there is no peace in grief. None found none sought. What we do – successfully – is we push aside the human choice to sink into our feelings for the other choice to rack our brain for a way out: a way out of grief, out of sadness, out of crying in front of one another. We look for a loophole, mentally. And when we find one – whether that is keeping busy, averting eye contact, or making ourselves think about literally anything else – we latch onto it and use that runaround as an escape. “We’ll never think about loss again, and we won’t let grief pull us under.” That’s what we think, but rarely ever say. To my mom, that was a sign of strength. Her Herculean feat was to establish her ground as a no-crying badass who never looked at herself in grief as pieces she had to put back together. She was going to live long in the belief that nothing could break her. To my dad, that was an end result he chased but never attained. Contrary to my mom, he was and still is an emotional opportunity, to actually sit with his feelings and ACTUALLY process them in peace. But that doesn’t work when you’ve been fed the “life’s shit toughens you” mantra for decades. After a while, you start to think that being a no-crying badass in the face of grief is supposed to be a proud staple of who you are. And then there was Me in the middle, the neon-colored sheep of the family. I believe grief is different.

Even though I still run to hide in spaces where I can process in peace, I am aware of my running. Losing someone or living with depression are some of life’s hardest phases through which to maintain this awareness. I was recently inspired to read a writer’s beautiful and accurate description of grief. He likened it to waves in the ocean. I think this is a far better description than the box because the ocean is expansive and sometimes when you look far, infinite. That’s how I imagine grief to be. It’s not this small thing we can hold and stuff into a tiny space when it begins to hurt. It’s the opposite of that. So when we’re faced with the beginning stages of grief – in those first hours and days – it feels like the waves are coming in non-stop. One right after the other. Never-ending. And they come crashing down hard! I mean, “face in the sand, tumbling on rocks” hard. Everything we have gets thrown off track, and everything we control is now no longer up to us. It’s scary! There is no space or time between those waves where we can stand up or stick our heads out long enough to catch a full breath. Everything feels rushed in the slowest way imaginable.

This is how I felt when my grandfather died when my favorite singer died when I went through a hard breakup. A loss doesn’t have to mean the end of life. It’s the end of something. Sometimes, it’s the end of some part of yourself. And in those first few days, I was underwater. You literally have to throw your hands up in the air and allow the flood to blow everything to pieces. And you watch yourself get thrown into the tumult with it all, and I’ve noticed that the more you scramble to stay on top, the more grief kicks you down – like it wants you to get to a point where standing up is no longer even an option for you. I liken this to your own metaphorical death; because when you lose someone, you have to die a little with them, too. Something of yourself has to pass on so that you can understand how grief works so that you can teach your scared and running Herculean family that this death is also OK.

I don’t believe that time heals all wounds. I think that’s bullshit. I think that’s what we’ve been led to believe so that we’ll stop talking about our grief with people who pretend their wounds are just little scars. I also don’t believe time heals all grief. We’ve adopted the mentality that time is an action. And maybe for some things, it is. But for this? Time is just space. Space between those waves where we can finally stand up and take a full breath in without feeling like our lungs are collapsing. Time is space – no matter how brief – where we can get out of bed, or have a normal conversation, or smile just because. And this space exists between crests of waves that are always going to be there because grief doesn’t end. It doesn’t get easier or better. We just get stronger. And we gain more space in which to see the waves approaching, and we can prepare. We can anticipate that it’s going to hurt when we remember their smile or hear their voice in that one song or remember how much they loved to fish. And the only time in which Time will ever give us healing is when we begin to welcome those waves, not as torture, but as perspective.

If I’ve ever learned anything at all by being who I am in a family who is the polar opposite, is that grief and loss and depression are topics of conversation that should exist, freely and wholly. When we share our stories and give words to our thoughts and feelings, we learn. I am not anyone who has stumbled into this knowledge and advice because I’m smart or wise. I am here because I’ve found that carrying the burden of remaining silent is too heavy, and not for me.

I hope you give your waves a voice, unapologetically and without reserve.