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Chapter Seventy-Five: Is Recovery in This Mental Illness Life Possible?
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.) Depression during the winter months differs from person to person, because one person’s mental illness is not exactly alike to another person’s struggle.
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 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. It always makes me smile when I tell people that role-playing video games is one of the reasons I am here today, it is because some people find that idea ludicrous. I would not be here today for many reasons, and video games just happen to be one reason that I am here writing this memoir.
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, (which includes writing this memoir) and writing my blog are so helpful. At the same time, they are extremely therapeutic, and when my mind goes to the darkest of places, writing is my way to deal.
I had many lofty goals at the start of every year, and I get through them as much as possible, but there are still things that I would like to try out in this life—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 type of therapy for those using photography as an outlet. It’s something that is both active and positive, which is something we all need when in recovery from the many issues that come along with having a mental illness.
People ask me all the time on my blog, how best to deal with mental illness using different forms of media like books, video games, watching a film, photography, and even writing. Other bloggers have shared what helps them get through their worst symptoms and that includes things like meditation or yoga.
What it comes down to, is tasks that can help a sufferer cope with trauma—and what they use as a coping mechanism, like get into horror movies and books, because they connect with that 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. I can pick up my collection of Poe’s work, open to a story or poem and completely immerse myself into that world.
What I want people to get out of this chapter is this, there are so many ways out there to cope with mental illness, and it is essential for you to find what will help with your mental health. Before starting The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog, I was lost. I had my writing, but it was not enough. When I was writing just for me, there was no real human connection in my life. Writing a blog helped me to be more open, not only in my writing, but socially. I will probably never be the type that goes out into major social situations and make a bunch of friends that way, but it doesn’t mean that I have to go about it alone.
Then I started a blog, and everything changed. I have used the blog to improve my mental health through shared experiences in mental illness, and now I am more open to sharing my experiences. I wrote this memoir because of the fantastic mental illness blogging community. Connecting with other writers and bloggers with mental illnesses 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 on the negative and always move forward.
I believe that mental illness will be in my life until my last day. That means that there will be a level of suffering in my life. I can let this consume me and control me, which has been the case for a significant part of my life. But I also believe that there is a chance that we can recover enough to manage the symptoms related to our mental illness, to a point where we can be functioning members of society. I have come a long way with my depression and anxiety, to the point where I can still operate on days when either decides to takes over my day.
I consider this my recovery stage in my life, because the old me used to collapse at the first signs of depression. I have lost years of my life at a time because depression dictated my life. It is the worst feeling in the world to realize that for years I barely left my house. I let depression take over. Now I have a Bachelor of Art degree and I am working on a graduate degree in English and Creative Writing. I graduated top of my class. I started a fantastic blog. I write every day, even when it is just for myself. My life has changed so much in a positive way. That is what recovery is for someone dealing with a mental illness. It is not perfect, but it is always moving forward.
Over the years, I developed ways of finding happiness, even when the worst parts of my mental illness feel as if it will consume me. When I struggle, I can look towards the good in my life. Mental illness, for the most part, is something that is manageable, and I believe this is true for all sufferers. Find what makes your recovery possible in your own life. You might surprise yourself.
Always Keep Fighting
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