Sorry Not Sorry.


I’m sorry. It is something I have found myself repeating often. I am sorry when someone has a bad day, when I mess up, when someone else messes up, when the weather isn’t what someone wants, when a television show is upsetting. I am sorry for things completely out of my control. What is so awful is that I mean it every time. I feel sorry from the depth of my soul. I realize that this stems from growing up in a house where guilt was the motivator for everything. I had a mother who could and does hold grudges that will most likely last until long after the world has imploded.

Someone recently said they were sorry that they don’t post as often as they should. I felt that. I feel badly when I let commitments fall to the side while I am picking up the pieces of my life. I feel worse when I am busy just being happy. I want to say something that has been on my mind the past few days.

I am not going to be sorry anymore. Would you get mad at me if I told you that I am making positive life changes that kept me from following through on my posts? Probably not because you are all beautiful people who cheer me on regardless of my manic rollercoaster tendencies. So you shouldn’t be sorry either. Honestly, I worry when people stop posting, but then I think that maybe they are on a long awaited vacation recovering from a spell and I feel better.

I hope that you aren’t sorry too. I hope that you are living your life guilt free and knowing that you have a cheerleader here. I hope you use all your best days to do what makes you happy. I personally really find writing cathartic and find myself wanting to do so on my best days. I want to share my best days with those that comforted me on my worst.

Anyone who knows me in real life will tell you that I am a professional student. I love school. I have been going to school since I was 5 and I really haven’t stopped aside from a few years of breaks here and there to utilize the skills I acquired. People seem to think that I am really smart, but the truth is education is something nobody can take from me. Nobody can claim it as their own and nobody can say that I didn’t work for it. The proof is in the paper my friends! Writing is that for me.

So don’t apologize for your happiness, don’t let anyone take away that victory lap, and don’t feel bad for just doing what you want. If mental illness has taught me anything, it is that I must savor these good days. I have to use them for the things that make me happy, that push me towards more good days.

It is a good thing that we have built a little community here. If you need to take some time to live outside of it, we will be here to fill in.

A Letter to Myself on my Birthday

Note: I have wanted write this blog post since day one of starting The Bipolar Writer blog. It seemed to fit that on a day like today— my birthday— that I would share this letter. It means the world to me to be in a place where this is possible, to talk about where I have been. This letter is written to James Edgar Skye, my pen name.


A Letter to The Bipolar Writer

What a journey it has been to get here, James.

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I can remember a time where you honestly believed that you would never make it. You always thought that the darkness that still sometimes engulfs your life would eventually take you— and there were a few close calls along the way. Somehow you find the will to fight, even on those days where you thought it would be your last.

Look at you now. Just a few months away from getting your Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing with a specialization in fiction. You found your writing side in the past few years in minoring in screenwriting, political science, and journalism. It has been a journey of peaks and valleys, the good and bad parts of being Bipolar seemed always find its way in your studies— and yet you are going to graduate summa cum laude. I remember the doubts you had over the last four years, and each time you proved yourself wrong by always excelling at everything school threw at you.

Even though you never got your Hogwarts letter, you still maintained your love for reading. Now you have turned that love into a writing career.


I can barely remember your first birthday after your diagnosis became Bipolar One. You were a different person then, and you have come so far from the days where you barely noticed time passing you by in this life. The first three years of your diagnosis was filled with so much negative. Depression became your most familiar companion. Anxiety seemed to fill your days, and so you hid from the world— and you barely left your house those three years.

I always wondered why you gave into the darkness three different times in your life and turned to suicide as a way to escape. It was the worst parts of your life, and luckily you survived. Now, look at you, sharing your experiences with suicide and self-harm to advocate that there is a better way. Suicide is never the answer— that is what you tell people now. You had to live through a lot, but it was all worth it to help others. I believe that you are helping people.

Who knew you could find the strength to tell your story. You really have come a long way, and now you have a real chance at helping others. Writing and creating The Bipolar Writer blog was the best decision that you made outside of going back to school. Now you have finished the first draft of your memoir, and now you are looking toward the future instead of the past.

On this journey, you have found ways to cope. Listening to music and your favorite K-pop group have gotten you through so much. Writing finally became your way of life, and you have indeed found your place in this world. It has helped you grow as a better person in life. It defines the best qualities of who you are— never let that go. You found watching baseball— the Los Angeles Dodgers— as your way to cope during the summer months. You get through the worst parts of your depression and anxiety, and you are always open to finding new ways of dealing.


Sure, you are still a work in progress. At times social anxiety gets the best of you. At times you lose yourself in panic attacks. Depression likes to sneak up and take over for a time. It’s not a forever thing. But this Bipolar life is always evolving, and you still find a way of adapting.

There is so much to look forward to James. Selling your screenplay. Publishing your memoir. Working on your Masters later this year. For the first time in this life, you are making plans for the future, and the goals that you have worked so hard on are within your grasp. There has been so much pain over the last ten years, but there was so much good. You found a way to live with being Bipolar— without it defining who you are inside and out. You just have to give yourself a break and work on not being your harshest critic.

There will be days where being Bipolar is all you can deal with, but you go to sleep each night knowing tomorrow is another day. Anxiety and depression are a part of who you are— but they don’t define you. The most significant thing I want to tell you is that you are a fighter. It was always there a part of you. It took you so long to get here, but the journey was worth it.

There was a time when you didn’t want to live. That time has passed. You know it is God’s plan that you are alive.

You used to wake up and hate that you were still alive. Now you wake up with the knowledge that the day before was a fight— and you fought well. Always keep fighting, it is the best part of you, James.

Here is to many more birthdays to come and finding happiness in this Bipolar and social anxiety life. I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up.


Always Keep Fighting


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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

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Wedding dress shopping

Hello and welcome to my blog. It has been a while since I wrote something here. That’s just because I wanted to write my next blog about my stressful wedding dress shopping. Now I won’t talk about all kinds of dresses and girly stuff. I want to tell you more about my experience and just what I learned in the process.

Now let’s go into this!

First shop

Not really knowing what to expect from this. I went to a shop close by. A 30 minutes drive. This was after long research online, since I do not have a budget for like an expensive dress.

This first shop, first look, looked good and good quality for the price. This shop was a wedding dress outlet.

My mom and I went inside and we were greeted nicely and so far everything went alright. Then I could pick the dresses I liked. Then we went into dress fitting. And now the nightmare starts. I am plus size and I found out that with dress shopping you have to add 2 sizes to your normal size, at least. And so a lot of dresses were either too big or too small. And well that was really stressful.

other shops

In the end, I ended up going to two other shops. And the second one was also a nightmare, nothing really fitted. And this was really hard for my self-confidence. That even tho I am not a size small there wasn’t much out there for me.

Now the last shop, it was an eye-opener. I had a couple of panic attacks about my dress and the fact that nothing fitted me. It was turning in a big horror experience. The last shop, I found my dress. Which turned the situation upside down.

What I have learned

That no matter what size I have I am beautiful. That disappointment is part of life and it shouldn’t control me the way that it did. Now there is something really beautiful about planning a wedding and many beautiful moments. But damn, what stress is it also. I think sometimes it is too much all that stress. But those moments I am trying to image the finish line, which I am working towards.

This is it about my dress shop experience. Now if you have any questions about me, the wedding plans or the way I cope with the stress. Feel free to ask. I also love to hear about your experience and tips and tricks.

I hope to see you next time, by a new blog.


The One Thing That Keeps Me Going

More and more people tell me to do what makes me happy. Writing makes me happy. Whether I’m writing a poem, a short story, a novel, or blog journal post; writing makes me happy. Lately it doesn’t feel like anything else makes me happy. Nothing really. Sometimes coworkers make work fun but it’s not something that makes me happy. I mean truly happy like this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. Something I feel within my soul reminding me why I’m alive and why I was born. Writing is the only thing that has given me that feeling.

I look back on things I’ve done and things I thought I enjoyed. I feel everything led me to this point. Everything made me who I am; who I’m supposed to be. This realization comes with one fear. I believe I’m supposed to be alone on this journey. Every experience, every encounter, every person I’ve met; it feels like it all is telling me to let go of everything and pursue this adventure alone. I don’t want to be alone. I’ve always felt alone. Why would the Universe tell me my journey is a lonely one?

I’ve heard people say writing is a lonely craft. That’s not true for everyone. Most writers have an editor. Sometimes it’s a close friend. Sometimes it’s a professional who becomes a friend. Some writers have a core group of people they trust to read the early drafts of their work. I’ve tried and failed to find this. People express interest but not much else. When I approach them with my work, I think they’re surprised like they didn’t expect me to follow through. So, I write five different drafts until I feel satisfied and either self-publish or submit to online magazines. I get many rejection letters.

Everyone says that is the life of the writer. Even the great writers had many rejections. Add those rejections to the personal rejections in life. I mean finding the courage to talk to your crush and getting rejected. I mean trying to make new friends and then they disappear and ignore all your attempts at communication. I mean the rejection one feels everyday added to rejections that say your writing isn’t good enough. All those hours you spent improving your story didn’t improve it enough. Rejection on top of rejection on top of more rejections. Not including rejections from childhood that stay with you.

Many writers struggle but most have a support system to help them keep going. Family and friends who tell them not to give up and keep at it. Never give up; never surrender. I don’t have that support. I share my writing and most people ignore it. I share a cat video, and everyone loves it. How do I keep going? The only answer I can think of is writing makes me happy. Nothing else in the world brings me that kind of joy so the rejections don’t break my resolve. I know I’m depressed when I’m not writing.

Writing gets my emotions out. Writing releases my thoughts so they don’t bottle up. It’s therapeutic. But it’s not enough. I’m seeking help but I still need a support system. I need friends and family. I gave up on my family years ago. I keep trying to find new friends, but I don’t think they want to put them time in on me. Maybe I’m too much for them. Maybe they think I’m a basket case. Maybe they don’t care about my writing or if I’m alive or dead. I’d have given up by now if not for writing. Sadly, writing has yet to help me pay the bills. I guess I’ll keep writing until it does.

The extraordinarily ordinary moments in-between mental illness exist – I promise

But it does get better. 

Some parts of our lives are really hard, really dark, and when we look back it’s kind of like reflecting on what a long winter felt like when you’d go months without being able to remember what it felt like to feel your toes and fingers because it was so cold, and the sunsets were never there and the sun didn’t make you feel warm and everything was dry and icy-

But it does get better. 

And you won’t see it coming: you won’t notice it happening, the thawing – you won’t notice every day how you’re starting to hum to yourself again or how laughter is coming more easily than it did before or how you’ve started noticing sunsets and feeling sunshine again. 

You’ll just be sitting on your couch at 11 am on a Wednesday listening to traffic and lawn mowers and the neighbours music drinking coffee that’s too expensive but almost worth it with a book you didn’t realized how grateful you were to be reading until right this moment and –

it will be better.

casey-horner-394182-unsplashAnd you’ll suddenly realize that for the longest time you’ve forgotten what it felt like to not be ok, and that you’re excited to do… anything, really. The prospect of doing your dishes or getting started on that assignment or phoning up your parents to say hi or catching up with people you saw only yesterday is actually not a horrible idea, in fact you’re content and grateful for all of it. 

Suddenly your life will dawn on you at a completely ordinary moment, and it will bring with it the realization that you’re not exhausted by the thought of being alive, and that – that is so far from ordinary for so many of us. 

I’m not sure what it feels like to really say it’s normal for me to want to be alive, or to not be completely crippled by the daunting task of quite literally being conscious and getting out of bed and making myself a bowl of cereal, let alone all the other often exhausting activities required to be functional. Feeling kind of like being alive is a cool thing to do, all the time, is not normal for me. 

But it does get better. 

There will always be winters for me – a day, a week, sometimes many more – where I’m tired and my soul is uninterested in the world and it’s both exhausting to be a functional human AND convince myself I actually want to do that at the same time. Those seasons are always lurking, and I can never know when they’re coming or how long they’ll last when they do. 

But that’s ok, because I know that there will be many more ‘ordinary’ Wednesday mornings in my apartment when life will feel like it’s a good color on me and I can’t wait to wear it out into the world. 

Mental illness isn’t a teenager in a 5 bedroom house in ‘Riverdale’ who’s parents fight sometimes and failed a class and it rains all the time. Mental illness is war inside of us, and it’s disingenuous to romanticize it, because it’s ugly, painful, even horrific, impossible to understand from the outside, and even when it’s not happening, there’s always the feeling that it could happen again at any moment. 

joanna-kosinska-140783-unsplashBut it’s good to know from my lived experience, and that of many others, that there will also be peace sometimes, and it will be worth itit is worth it. In an understatement of the century, being depressed sucks, a lot.

But the Ordinary Days where your mind is feeling good about itself are pretty fucking amazing. 

I used to feel sad and angry that I was brought to tears with gratefulness for days that seemed so commonplace for everyone around me, because I felt like I deserved to feel like that all the time and it wasn’t ok that I responded to Normal Moments so dramatically. 

But, that doesn’t help me. Its pretty rough comparing yourself to mentally healthy people,  so, just don’t do that, it doesn’t serve you, and can bring you nothing but more unnecessary anger and pain. Making peace with our lot in life is an ongoing process for me, and I would be lying if I said the whole “accepting what you can’t change will bring you happiness” thing doesn’t REALLY piss me off, because accepting a generalized anxiety disorder and bunch of other really horrible stuff that got shipped in with my dysfunctional brain is actually not going to bring me happiness, but thank you Tumblr, it’s a nice sentiment. 

I don’t have answers for how to work around that, because it’s something we battle all the time. But, I just wanted to let you know that, despite all of that, your Ordinary Days exist – now, or in the future – and they will be just as real as the wintery difficulties you’re living through now or have in the past. 

Peace exists, and just because you haven’t had your Oh-My-Gosh-I’m-Happy-To-Be-Alive-What-Is-This-Feeling! moment on a Wednesday morning yet, doesn’t mean it’s not coming. 

You’re still kicking, so don’t stop now – because someday you won’t have to kick anything to enjoy your day, I promise. 

– Steph (Hunting Happiness)

Mental Illness, Escapism, and Addiction

I have been on medication for my bipolar disorder – and depression before it – for a great number of years. The most recent cocktail of drugs has been the same since late 2015, when I nearly ended my own life, and it’s been keeping me pretty steady, as these things go. I’m not perfect, but the extremes of mood, the violent anger, and the crushing depressions are lessened, if not gone entirely.

I also drink. Not a lot – not every day – but when I drink, I usually drink too much. It’s contraindicated with my medications, but that doesn’t really mean much to me. I drink anyway. I drink, very specifically, to get drunk. I drink beer, I drink wine, I drink rum and scotch, and I drink quite deliberately, pacing myself over minutes and hours until I fall into a stupor in bed and sleep it off through the night.

I think, deep down, I’m somewhat of a hedonist. I don’t know if this comes from the depression or some other innate personality trait, but I am, for lack of a better phrase, a pleasure-seeker. I very much enjoy physical pleasure, and the sensation of drunkenness falls into this category for me. It’s a form of escapism that requires very little concentration or effort, and when it hits, I can just lie back and let it wash over me.

With medications keeping me level, why do I need escapism, you might ask. Why do I need a vehicle for altering my state of mind, when the whole point of the ‘official’ drugs is to keep my mind from entering that altered state in the first place?

I think a part of it is that I have conditioned myself over decades to avoid misery. I have been so miserable for so long that I instinctively gravitate to anything that feels good, happy or pleasurable. I have very little self-control in this regard; I don’t set rules for myself, like ‘you can have a drink after you do the dishes’; I just drink, and fuck the dishes.

Another part is, almost certainly, a dangerous level of chemical dependency. As I mentioned above, I don’t drink every day – but I do go through phases where I might drink daily for several weeks straight. I usually drink until I’m out of alcohol. It rapidly becomes habit. The same is true of other vices; I recently acquired a small amount of pot from a friend, and against my original intention of maybe once a weekend, I’ve been smoking three or four times a week.

This all leads me to question my behaviors, and the more fundamental motivations behind them. Do I smoke and drink because I’m miserable, because I’m addicted, or because I really kind of just … like it? Like all behavior affected by mental illness, it’s a difficult question to answer, because the very nature of mental illness is changed behaviors … but there comes a point where illness ends and addiction takes over.

I’m not an alcoholic; I know people who are, and I don’t ‘need’ booze to function. I’m not a drug addict; I don’t blow hundreds on weed, and I don’t smoke before, during and after work (for example). But I am dangerously close to this level of functional need, and I recognize it when the thing I look forward to at the end of the day is getting high and watching Family Guy reruns.

That’s usually when I stop – when I see the signs of tipping into the abyss, and take steps to right myself. So far I’ve always been able to come back from the brink, but I worry about one day …

Yet I continue anyway. I refuse to stop permanently. I refuse to relinquish the physical pleasures of drink and drugs. I don’t ‘need’ them, but I want them. Like, a lot.

And sometimes, I wonder if it’s really so bad. I’m aware of the long-term physical and mental changes and harm caused by alcohol and drug use, but I still can’t help believing that the immediate reward is worth it. Intellectually I know that liver damage, lung cancer and mental deterioration are some of the absolute worst ways to die, but emotionally … I kind of just don’t care. I’ve had people tell me that my health is all I have; I’ve heard the arguments before. But when your mental health fails you, you couldn’t care less about your physical health. And whilst the two are most definitely related, it’s difficult to have the second without the first.

That’s when I wonder if the escapism of physical pleasure isn’t worth it after all. The mental toll each day takes, whilst variable, is still a harsh one, and the ability to use a substance – of one kind or another – to forget it is dreadfully tempting. And I recognize this as a controversial perspective – why, you ask, don’t I deal with my problems instead of avoiding them – but I truly believe life is for living, and should be enjoyed daily, if at all possible.

What do you do, when your brain refuses to let you do just that? What do you do, when your own mind is a battleground of misery and despair? What happens when you wake up and simply can’t get out of bed? What is there to look forward to?

And in those trying times, is self-medication justifiable? Is it even self-medication at all – or just an excuse to escape from reality?

And is such escapism really so wrong?

Christmas blues and 15 fun ideas.

Hello and welcome back!! My last blog here was stress detox. And if you miss me here in the meantime. I have 3 blogs each week on my personal blog.  In this blog is about the Christmas blues. And 20 fun ways to get excited for Christmas. Because during Christmas everyone deserves to be happy.


Christmas Dip!

Christmas is a super exciting time and super busy.  On the other side, it is a season that totally shakes the normal daily rhythm. And it is also a super stressful time, at least in my opinion. For me personally, I’m glad when its over. This season my stress and anxiety levels are higher than normal. So I know that this crazy time also can trigger a more/intense mental health breakdown and just heightens any mental illness.
So what I like to do is to distract my mind from feeling down. During the Christmas season, there are also many people who feel down and lonely. I love during charity work during this time of a year.

15 Christmas tips

Now the more fun part. 20 things to do during the Christmas season, to add some more fun. Some of those things I have done myself.

  • Bake some cookies: Personally I have been baking special gingerbread cookies in christmas inspired chapes (christmas tree, star and more). And I baked more than 50 cookies, more about why that later. *wink*
  • spend time outside: Outside of the fact that even a small stroll is good for any mental illness. During this season if you are lucky there might be snow, so make some snowmen, snow angels, sliding down a hill.
  • Donate the toys you don’t need/want. There might be someone in need who doesn’t have the luxury to buy/get a present and it is a good excuse to clean the house and give to others.
  • volunteer: the cookies I baked was for a charity project. I had some of the cookies decorated by some young kids I know and gave the cookies to those who needed a little positive beam.
  • Listen to some Christmas songs and dance the night away,
  • Hold a Christmas treasure hunt (for family and friends): Instead of having the presents by a tree or stocking. You could hide it all over the place in the house and maybe have some clues in where to find the presents.
  • See a Christmas play.
  • Play a board game: You can do this at home. But Christmas is about giving, why not do it with some elderly people. You can do this in an elderly home or just with someone in your own street.
  • Thank you: Say thank you more often to those around you. Thank those that are close to you, your friends, family, loved ones.
  • Watch an old (home) video: tressure the moments of the past with those close to you.
  • Hot cholate milk bar: This is just something fun for friends and family.
  • Donate food: Here in the netherlands, we have something called foodbank for those in need. During the Christmas time, it is a good time to donate something extra to those who need it and might not have enough to celebrate Christmas. Here at home, we gave something extra for the food bank, so that they could also celebrate Christmas a little or at least feel the Christmas spirit.
  • Hold a Christmas cookie competition: Just something fun to trow. Ask everyone to make some cookies and have everyone vote on their favorite. And the one with the most point wins the one after second place.
  • Build a Christmas tree from plastic cups: I saw this idea on the internet to do with kids. And I must say it sounds like a fun idea.
  • Hold a wrapping gift party: Just have a good moment with friends/family while packing the Christmas presents. You might even learn some new wrapping stricks.

I think this blog is done XD. I don’t know any more ideas with creative things to do. So what do you think of my tips/ideas? Are you doing something similar?? Personally, I think Christmas is all about charity and giving. So that is what I personally love to do (all year round).

I want to wish you a happy and healthy Christmas and probably talk to you next year. So also a happy new year.


Hide and Seek and the Pursuit of Happiness

Besides mental wellness, what else are we pursuing on our recovery journey?

I believe one of the main and obvious answers is…


Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. ~Henry David Thoreau

Hide-and-seek is an old and popular children’s game in which one player closes his or her eyes for a brief period of time while the other players hide. The seeker then opens his eyes and tries to find the hiders. There are more rules but you get the idea.

Hide and Seek would not work or be any fun if the following were true:

  1. You hid, but there were no seekers.
  2. No one hid, so the seeker had no one or nothing to find.
  3. You did not know what or who you were seeking.
  4. You did not know where to look, so you would look endlessly and find nothing.

The pursuit of happiness or “Happiness Pursuit” is similar to the game of Hide and Seek in the following ways:

  1. Happiness must be missing, hidden or lost for you to find it.
  2. You must want to seek it first before you will find it or achieve it.
  3.  You must understand what happiness is before you can realize you found it.
  4. You must know where to look and how to obtain it before you can find happiness.

The difference between Hide and Seek and the pursuit of happiness is that happiness is not hidden. Happiness has always been right under your nose, as happiness lies within YOU lying dormant, waiting patiently for you to find it. Happiness didn’t purposely hide like the hiders in the game Hide and Seek, but still happiness is hidden from many people. So, even though it was never truly hidden we are often seeking happiness or searching for more happiness.

Until you stop thinking that happiness is somewhere else,

it will never be where you are.

If you look at happiness and success as a destination, you may never reach it. Try not to look at happiness and success as a destination. Instead try to make where you are presently as enjoyable as possible. Love the moment you are in right now and let where you are planted and resting right now determine your success. Of course we always want to improve ourselves, but don’t let the improvement become the deciding factor towards your happiness. Instead let the journey and the process of growth and evolving become the beauty and joy of your life.

Sure, there are many times we have to convince ourselves that better times are ahead just to make it through the day. But the key to being happy and mentally well is to find happiness and peace with the life you have and to achieve the goals that are important to YOU. Do not achieve goals for others for that will never make you truly happy.

You must learn to be happy and content with what you have before you can be truly happy within. You must learn to live and appreciate the beauty of the moment you are in. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. ~Henry David Thoreau

Because people are preoccupied with the belief that happiness will be their future, they miss out on their present happiness. They miss out on enjoying where they are right now and do not try to find happiness in their today.

Happiness is NEVER about things or appearances. Who cares how you look to others. Don’t try to impress others. You ONLY need to impress yourself about who you are. Be you. Do you. You are the one living your life and you are not living it for anyone else but you (and God). You need to do what makes you happy and what you think you need. Your life is no one else’s but your own. Make it yours. Be you.

Many people think things like, “We just redid our five bedroom house, but I just need one more thing. Just one more thing. It will always be one more thing if you are living for things. I don’t feel happy. I must be missing one thing.  I don’t have a warmer oven. If I get a warmer oven then I will have everything and I will be happy.” What the heck is a warmer oven?

It seems the more you have the more you want.

Some people think, “If I get this, then I will be happy.” For example,”I am homeless. If I just had house, I would be happy. Now I have a house to live in, but now I want a better one, a bigger one. I need to own my house. Now we own our home and I need a better, bigger and brighter house. It will never end until you know what you are looking for, until you know what will make you happy, and until you know who you are.”

If you are not happy with yourself, NO-THING can make you happy.

People always think they would be happy, if only… Other people have things and they seem happy. I think that is all I need. If you don’t have things you think when you get things you will be happy. When you get things, you think you just need more things. The more you get, the more you think you need. It is never-ending.

You cannot be happy until you are happy with yourself. Happiness comes from within. Obviously, the solution to most problems lies within yourself. You must know what will make you happy first, and before that you must know what happiness is. What is true happiness? What is happiness for you? What will make you happy?

The answer to happiness is Jesus.

If you have not experienced the joy Jesus brings then you haven’t met Him or don’t know Him yet, not fully, not completely. Surrender yourself completely into the loving arms of Jesus and you will know happiness. Jesus will lead you there.

You do not need to play Hide and Seek or the pursuit of happiness game. Jesus is what you are pursuing and Jesus is not hiding. You do not need to seek Jesus for He has already found you. Open your arms to Jesus, surrender completely to Him and let Jesus into your heart forever.

When you find Jesus, you will know it and you will know you FOUND HAPPINESS.

Hide and Seek…

and you shall be found.

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Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | | All Rights Reserved

Ideas for Mental Health Recovery


One of the critical components of mental health recovery in my mind is finding the things that work to make you happy.  Over the years I have used different things to get me through the worst months of the year (my SAD months.) It differs from person to person because one person’s illness is not exactly alike, so find what works for your specific mental health recovery.

What I have found useful in my life is role-playing video games as they get me through some of the worst depression in my life. It is a way to escape the reality for a few hours and focus on something different. It gives me an opportunity to reach goals and feel good about myself when depression is taking over.


Writing is my greatest weapon to deal with the ups and downs of my mental illness. The writing projects that I am currently working on and this blog are so helpful.

There are other things that I am working towards as we head into the final three months of 2018. I had many lofty goals this year, but there are still somethings that I would like to try out– like photography. I have talked to other artists and photographers about how therapeutic taking pictures is for their mental health. When I use video games or reading books to escape my mental illness for a few hours, it is the same for them with photography. It was one of my goals to start the year, but I got further away from it because of the cost.


What started this blog post was one of the fellow bloggers asking me how people deal using different forms of media like books, video games, watching film, photography, and even writing. This blogger mentioned that people coping with trauma often get into horror movies and books because they connect with the genre. I can relate to this in so many ways. I got into reading Edgar Allan Poe because of the connection to the “dark romanticism” feel of his work, and his influence is in every aspect of my writing.

What I want people to get out of this post is this, there are so many ways out there to cope with mental illness, and these things are essential to finding what will help with your overall mental health.

Before starting The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog, I was lost. I had my writing but it was not enough.

Then I started this blog and everything changed. I have used this blog to improve myself through shared experiences in mental illness, and now I am more open to sharing my experiences. I wrote my memoir because of the amazing mental illness community here on WordPress. It has been what has helped my mental health recovery. Find what helps you get through the tough times, and it will make these times less harsh. Never dwell of the negative and always move forward.

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)


Photo Credit:

Julius Drost

Arturo Rey

charley pangus

James & Carol Lee

Find the Courage to Forgive Yourself

I wrote this post a year ago when I set out on my journey to find my purpose or my reason to write and my path to happiness, before I quit for the fourth time, and started again a month ago. I wanted to share because its a concept I believe we all forget sometimes, but is so very important in order to find the answers we seek. 

The greatest act of courage is to be & own all that you are. Without apology. Without excuses & without any masks to cover the truth of who you truly are. – Unknown

You hear it all the time, whether it be in self-help books, spiritual seminars or inspirational stories — the power of forgiveness, and how it can set you free. For so long, when I heard these words, my mind immediately went to those who had hurt me in some way or another, and how forgiving them would heal me. Not until recently, after diving into all the spiritual and inspirational books I could get my hands, did I realize I was missing something so obvious if it were a snake it would have bit me.

The concept of forgiveness should not only extend to those around you, but also within you. Mind. Blown. This was an eye-opening concept when I truly thought about it, and the same reason I started with the idea of forgiving yourself as my first official post on my journey to happiness.

There are so many things I want to share that I struggled for a few days trying to determine what the subject of my next post would be. My head was swimming with ideas, but the concept of self-forgiveness kept nagging at me. I finally understood why. To begin any journey, whatever it may be, you must forgive the past to move forward. The fact is though, those words can be so over-stated that they become background noise. You see it and hear it in memes, affirmations and posts all around social media, but what does it really mean? Forgive your past to move on to the future. Ok. Done — If only it were that easy.

To truly forgive yourself, it is necessary to dig deep and probably face some truths you’ve been trying to avoid. You will need to let go of the guilt kept so close to your heart that sometimes you forget it’s even there. You know, that guilt that tricks you into believing you don’t deserve to be happy. For me, this was a very scary concept to face.

My past was something I never dealt with on that level. I mean, I looked back on it, and I acknowledged it, and even blamed a lot of people for it, but never really faced it internally. I never allowed myself to own it so I could let it go. Among many reasons, my heavy guilt mostly came from what I felt I put my children through. Two divorces were hard enough, but I moved my daughter 10 times by the time she was ten, and my son 8 times and he turns twelve this year.

I’m not proud of these stats, and even though I did, and still do believe, those moves were necessary for our future, that guilt halted any belief in the possibility of happiness without me even realizing it.  Subconsciously, I had convinced myself that someone who could do what I did, whether it be for a good reason or not, should not be allowed happiness or an opportunity to succeed. Because these thoughts were subconscious and based on the belief that other people’s judgment of me is what mattered, I would consistently convince myself that it was those people who determined my truth, and only if they would understand and except me for my decisions, then all would be ok. I lived like that every day.

It wasn’t until I decided it was time to get real about finding my purpose/path in this amazing life, did I realize that the I had to give myself a break. It was time for me to stop the smoke and mirrors and face my past and my decisions, own them, and then forgive myself for being human. Then, Let It Go.

So where do I start and how do I let go of something I’ve held onto every day of my life? It wasn’t easy, and I won’t lie, it’s an ongoing process that I work on consistently. For me, I began the forgiveness process when I recognized the guilt and pinpointed what it was I was truly feeling and why. I did this by practicing meditation and self-reflection. Once I determined that there was guilt and where it came from, I journaled it, I put it on paper so I could see it, I even cried as read it back to myself, as that guilt can run deep to your core, and then I tore that shit up, and I let it go.

After physically and mentally letting it go, I made a commitment that I would be more gentle with myself, I would allow myself to feel, and as hard as it may be for me because it is so engrained, let the judgment of others run off me like rain.

I had to learn to love myself, for all of who I was, and who I now am. Although some days are harder than others, I practice this commitment Every Day, and it has made a tremendous difference in my life. I am lighter, happier, and this piece of the puzzle has helped me gain the confidence to write this blog. It takes remarkable courage to face your past and your guilt, and it takes even more strength to let it go, but it is an extremely important and necessary step to find your true happy.

No matter what your inner thoughts believe, no matter what past you may have lived, no matter what you may think others will think because of who you once were, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Repeat that to yourself, repeat it as many times as it takes for you to believe it, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.  Holding on to the guilt of your past will drain you and your spirit, blocking the ability to have real joy in your life, so give yourself a break, be gentle, learn to love your whole self and let go. You will find that the door will swing open to incredible possibilities.

Much love,