The Creative Connection – Part One

Recently I was asked to discuss the connection between Bipolar disorder and creativity. The blogger wanted me to link some famous people and choose the writers that influence me that had some level of mental illness. Creativity and famous people will most likely turn into a series where we see creative people in history and the present dealing with a mental illness,

How Mental Illness & Bipolar Disorder Connects to Creativity

If you research the subject, there is a real link between mental illness and creativity. In my research, on the issue, the links are as creative as the people themselves. The truth is many who have a mental illness like Bipolar Disorder, have been known to have a creative side. Even those artists that go undiagnosed have at some level issues with mental illness. I have always thought that my creativity, as it is, comes from my struggles with Bipolar One.

Today I thought it would be great to list some of the more famous writers and artists that have a history of the Bipolar disorder and mental illnesses in general.

Edgar Allan Poe

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It seems fitting to talk about the greatest inspiration in my writing first. If you have ever read one of Poe’s poetry, short stories, or really anything he wrote you can see that he was a real genius.

Though Poe never saw a diagnosis with a mental illness, he was a heavy drinker, and he had issues suicidal thoughts. Poe often discussed death in his work, and my favorite from Poe’s poem will always be “The Raven” where he talks about death. Poe certainly knew the dark depths of depression and that darkness haunted him. My favorite short story (detective work) will always be “The Purloined Letter.” The truth when I studied the man himself I see many similarities in my own life as a writer. It is why I honor Poe in my work by using his name in my pen name.

Ernest Hemingway

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Another influential writer in my own life Hemingway had a long history of mental illness. Hemingway, known at the time as the most celebrated American Writer, but had his demons he was fighting over the course of his life. Hemingway was known to be very manic at times in his life, and depressed. Those closest to the writer say that he was manic-depressant (Bipolar) his whole life.

His creative genius was apparent in everything he wrote. My favorite novel from Hemingway will always be “A Farewell to Arms,” and Hemingway wrote about influences in his own life experiences as an ambulance driver in World War I.

If you know nothing about Hemingway, then it might surprise you that he committed suicide on July 2, 1961. Hemingway had a long history of suicide attempts and hospital visits in his adult life. It goes to show that even the most creative of us a susceptible to the darkness and suicidal thoughts.

Sylvia Plath

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Sylvia Plath is another influential writer that I turn to so that I can get inspiration from her amazing poetry. Like the other writers on this list, Plath had a history of being clinically depressed and had been hospitalized many times in her life.

The poet also made several suicide attempts over the course of her life and succeeded in 1963. If you have not read any of her work, “Ariel” is a fantastic piece of poetry that shows the darkness that Plath felt during her life and why she turned to suicide. Plath was a creative genius, but like so many on this list, her mental illness eventually consumed her.

Ezra Pound

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Unlike the others on this list, I know the artist Ezra Pound’s work but little about his mental illness history. Pound’s diagnosis in his life Narcissistic Personality Disorder which influenced his creative work and political views over the course of his life. Some believe that Pound also had schizophrenia, but many debates about the validity of this have happened for many years in both directions.

Ezra Pound is another example of creative genius, and mental illness can collide over the course of a life and have positive and negative connotations.

Leo Tolstoy

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Leo Tolstoy is a compelling creative artist that explored his depression in his original creative works. If you have a chance, please read Tolstoy’s work– A Confession for a look at his own experiences.OWhat is impressive is that like most of us, Tolstoy spends a lot of time contemplating and examining his depression. I know for me writing my memoir and part of the focus being my depression I examine the many facets of who I am as a writer and someone who is dealing with a mental illness.

J.K. Rowling

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Okay so maybe this is the wrong time to put Rowling on the list as many of the others on this list are dead, but Rowling will always be my favorite modern writer. I grew up with the Harry Potter series and he works will still be influential in my life– Rowling also has a history of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Rowling makes this list because she has been open and vocal about her struggles with mental illness in her life, at the same time she has been influential in the fighting of her depression. Not just a creative genius, Rowling is also a fantastic human being and advocate.

The End Thoughts

This post has been great, and I have more to tell in the future about other influential creative artists who advocate (not those who use their mental illness for their means to gain fame), and I will be putting out more of these in the future. I want to show creative people using their craft for good and to help end the stigma. I hope you like the series and you see that you can succeed even with a mental illness. At the same time, there is the other side where we as a society have lost creative geniuses because of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Stay strong.

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James Edgar Skye

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!

Photo Credit:

Mel Poole

Poe image from Poetry Foundation

Hemingway Image: Google

Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Leo Tolstoy images from http://airshipdaily.com/blog/022620145-writers-mental-illness

Rowling picture from Google.

2020 Big Ideas

First and foremost I would love to share my new author site outside this blog. www.jamesedgarskye.me

I am a writer who needs multiple projects that are ideas, in first drafts, editing, and ready to publish. I am also seeking an agent for those out there looking for a writer. For right now, I understand the self-publishing process, so that is good in my book. I will continue to go down this route. I have a fantastic cover artist (if you are looking, please email me!) and people I trust besides myself to edit my work. I prefer to keep busy.

Here is an idea of where I am at right now just in works in progress.

  • The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir – (Non-Fiction) Republishing in March 2020
  • Angel on the Ward – (Fiction Novella) In formatting and working on the cover art. Getting ready to publish in April 2020.
  • The Rise of the Nephilim – (Fantasy Fiction Novel) In editing looking for an agent
  • Hyeon and the Precious Notebook (Short Story) Looking for literary magazine publication.
  • The Dark Passenger (Short Story) Currently in the final editing phases.
  • Vacation From Heaven (Non-fiction) this is my major ghostwriting project of 2020.

What can I say, I like to keep busy, even as a graduate student.

My Next Big Ideas

A Book Sharing the stories of the Mental Health Community

That brings me to other projects that I want to launch in 2020. The first being A collective book on the stories of the mental illness community. I have been throwing around this idea for a while, and I think it is something that will be long-term. I hope to travel and meet people to write their stories. The money will go to helping others with medication, seeking mental health services, and perhaps other projects. Not a dime will go to me. A lot of this project will hinge if I can convince my followers to become Patreons. I will use my books as incentives for those who want to be a part of my writing process.

A Mental Health Podcast

I have two people that will become contributors once I get all my ducks in a row for this project. Both have experience in mental health. One of these two mental health advocates has experienced differently from mine. One is a bit younger with varying mental illnesses, including PTSD, that she deals with daily. The other, he is the man whom I am ghostwriting his book, is much older but also has some fantastic experiences that significantly differ from my own, including getting off benzodiazepines, which is a tremendous story. It will have guests, and I have big plans for this project in 2020.

Growing The Bipolar Writer Brand

Building my brand is going to be a fun project, and again, it comes down to if I can launch my Patreon account with enthusiasm. I am thinking t-shirts, coffee mugs, and maybe even one-day hoodies that show inspirational things alongside my brand The Bipolar Writer.

I wanted to share all of this because this is the year where I take everything to the next level. My followers are so important not just to me, but to the contributor writers that call this place home. I want to show the world what a community such as ours is capable of doing amazing things. That the support and understanding that I have experienced is the best. We need to change the stigma of mental health together!

Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Please if you can, Become a Patron!

If You Ever Need help

The idea of sharing my number is not the first time I have done this, but I wanted to double down on my recent renewal of being more of a committed mental health advocate.

If you ever need someone who will help you through a tough time in your life, I hope to be that person, because it is important to me to be accessible to the readers of this blog.

My inspiration of late comes from the outpour of support from the followers of this blog. I am going through one of the worst experiences of my life. I can say with certainty that I am not suicidal even though my thoughts have been depressive at times. It is a significant thing to lose a mother. My mom would want me to dive deeper into my mental health advocacy, as she always told me, and so that is why I am doing this post. So here again, I am posting my number, you can find it on my blog as well on the main page.

James’ Number – 831-287-4369

If you need someone to give you some advice on how to get through how you feel, I will be there and answer as quickly as possible. The other route of course is my email.

James’ Email: jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

I will also list my social media platforms so that if you are not comfortable with these ways of connecting to The Bipolar Writer, you can always contact me.

Twiter: https://twitter.com/JamesEdgarSkye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesEdgarSkye/

What I want is total transparency with being there for the people following this blog and the mental illness community. So I hope that those who feel like reaching out because they are suicidal or anything mental health-related do.

Lastly there is always the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Always Keep Fighting

James

Regaining The Bipolar Writer Blog’s Former Glory

Somewhere last year, I lost my way. I was writing every day, and this blog, a safe place for others like myself to express themselves, took a backseat. It was not fair.

In 2018, the blog flourished. Part of it was writing all the time, almost every day. It gave the other writers on this blog a template to continue to share their stories. When I got busy in 2019 with publishing, writing, and school, I let things go. How could I hold my writers accountable to write a couple of pieces a month if I was not willing to do the same? In the prime of this blog, we had somewhere around eighty articles, amazingly written articles a month come through this blog. I was scheduling three blog posts on an average day.

I always envisioned this blog as a collaborative effort with people writing down their experiences and sharing it with the world. It was that way for a while. In 2019, things got complicated, and just when I was beginning to find my way back to this blog, my life fell apart.

Is This Blog Still Worth it?

Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

I have my doubts. In March, this blog comes up for its yearly renewal. In a way, I want to stick it out and continue to advocate, but for this blog to work, I need all my writers that are a part of this thing we have created.

I can’t do it on my own. So I am reaching out because I hope that some of my fellow writers will come back. This weekend I will be going through and seeing who has been writing and who has not. I hope that some people will reach out and want to become a part of this fantastic thing. If I get enough people on board, I will keep the blog going for another year and reassess this time next year. If you would like to write for The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog, please reach out at jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com, or my contact me through the website.

I hope this is not the end. I feel this blog could help so many people.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Become a Patron!

My First Bad Day Since My Mother’s Death

Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash

Every day has been hard since I lost my mother to a stroke in December. I have found ways to stay busy with school, my work as a freelancer, and of course, my writing projects.

I knew on the horizon, there would be a truly horrible day. That happened yesterday. The origins of this lousy day started the day before. I was asked about an upcoming event that was a favorite of my mother, and if I was going. An aunt always has a hula dancing demonstration and crab feast to help the school she runs. It is a fantastic event, and one I never would have gone to had my mom convinced me last year to go (my family had been going for the previous few years.)

I knew at some point there would be a trigger that would lead to a bad day.

I was asked if I would be attending this event, one that my mother purchased the tickets weeks before her death. It became a trigger for me. More than any of the things that have happened over the last month and a half. I have been dealing by staying busy with graduate school, ghostwriting a novel for a local writer, and above else my writing. This was how I have been able to deal. I still think of my mom the moment I wake and the loss it has been not having someone who is there for me no matter where I am at in my life.

I had one of the worst panic attacks of the year that night. I felt lost. Alone. Afraid of the future. Not being able to move on. Realizing that at some point, I have to figure out what my life looks like without my mom. I always thought my mom had more time. That she would be able to see me publish more than one book. I am grateful she got to see my memoir published. The trigger was there just waiting for me to have a bad day.

The next day was horrible. The depression set in, and it was rough. I wanted to stay in bed all day. For a while, that was all that consisted of my day. I let the depression control me. It consumed every thought and every limb of my body. I felt as if my pain could not reach this level. I had a bad day. It was inevitable.

Eventually, I got out of bed and was somewhat productive. I got up. I took a shower and tried to eat. I will admit it was all junk food, but it helped get me moving. I met with my client, did my three hours of interview time, and it helped me to at least find a silver lining when depression was all I had going that day.

I went to bed that night, hopeful that things would get back to normal. The sunset was beautiful, and then the sun rose, albeit on a cold California day, but I woke. I got up and took a shower. I made my bed. Made plans for the day and executed them. I got back to my routine and also found some time to get back to writing here on my blog.

I am ready to keep moving forward, and maybe yesterday was just one of the steps of the long grieving process that I will endure in 2020. Looking back, perhaps I needed a day like this because I have been trying my best to be strong, mostly for my dad. He lost the love of his life, and I lost my mother. I thought I had to hold it in, and it got the better of me. I have to realize that crying is a part of the process. That this life is fleeting. Things will not always stay the same, and that is life.

I am glad I could share this experience, and I do plan on writing more here when things begin to calm down in my life. For now, I wanted to end this post with this, I am renewing The Bipolar Writer blog for another year. When I have some time, I will be going through my contributor list and working on getting new writers in and moving this blog into a better position. I have been neglecting this for a while due to time, but that is just an excuse. I look forward to seeing what we do in 2020!

Always Keep Fighting

James

The Bipolar Writer Has Been Gone, and I am Sorry

It has been a while friends, and I am sorry.

I was mad at the world. No one in particular, or at some level, I was angry at God. My faith, my foundation, and my life shaken to the core the day my mom passed away on December 15, 2019. The anger I had inside of me made it impossible to write a single blog post.

I wanted to say thank you to all that reached out while I am grieving for my mom. It means the world to me. I am still in the process of working out what my life looks like without my mom. It is a certain thing in this life to lose your parents, but my mom still had more life to live. To see me continue to grow as a writer, and I felt this last over a month now that there is a piece of me missing, it will always be that way. I feel lost some days, but I have to stay strong because it is what my mom would have wanted.

I wanted to write here on my blog about everything I was feeling, but everything came out angry and sad. I am still sad, but I am no longer mad at the world. I didn’t want my followers to see me like this, alone, angry, afraid, and above all, depressed. I have always been open about how life affects my mental illness daily, but I needed some time. I wanted to reach out because I was lost. I am far from out of the woods as the grieving process is a long one.

One good thing about this process is that I was still able to write. I stayed busy. I am helping my dad clean out his shop. I am increasing the number of jobs I am working on in my freelance. I even began ghostwriting this amazing book.

I am querying my major novel, and I finished this excellent short story. I will be publishing a short novella, and writing has become my coping mechanism. I am in the beginning stages of a book about others in the mental health community, an idea that my mom came up with, and one I will be running within the coming months. I am looking to start a podcast. Staying busy right now helps because I have less time to dwell on the negative. That is not to say my nights and some days that I feel I can’t leave the warmth of my bed, but I am not getting down on myself–my mom would not have wanted that for me.

Life is fleeting, and I intend not to waste away in depression and anxiety. I will honor my mother’s memory by living life as the best as I can each day. I will write more here and begin to heal.

Always tell your family you love them, I didn’t get a chance to tell my mom before her stroke took over her brain. I got a goodbye, and I always told my mom how much she meant to me. I wanted to end this post with a story. On December 6th, 2019, I was reading a chapter in my memoir that I wrote about my mom. I texted her right after and told her that she was the one reason that I am alive today and doing what I love. I had no idea that hours later, my mom would have a stroke and never regain consciousness. But something told me that day I had to read that chapter and tell my mom how much I loved her and was lucky she always believed in me. I tell this story to everyone who asks me about that day because the last thing I told her was to “please just breathe mom.” I couldn’t tell her I loved her at that moment because she was being taken away by paramedics.

Always Keep Fighting

James

2019

2019 has been a year of growth and challenges.

But I can never blame myself for wanting to live.

Everything is teaching me something.
As long as I’m open and willing to learn.

Everyone comes into this world being enough. I am enough. 💫

Here is to 2020.

Thank you for being with me.
Angel Love and Blessings.

Love, Francesca.

The Passing of The Bipolar Writer’s Mother

On December 15, 2019, at 9:45am, I lost my mother. This place, this blog, has always been the place where I go when I need support. I always wanted to help others, and my mother was a significant part of the reason I am going to keep this blog. Still, I will be writing about that in the future. Just know that while her brain damage was extensive, she was feeling any pain when she passed, and she had her family around her for support.

What I need most is support from the mental illness community. When my grandfather passed, it destroyed me, and I was close to my grandfather and even closer to my mom, she is the only reason. The Bipolar Writer and my pen name James Edgar Skye exists, why I am who I’ve become, it was my mom.

GoFundMe for my Mom’s Funeral Expenses

What I am asking is for support emotionally if you can. I will, of course, be linking my GoFundMe page here, but right now, I am a mess. Depression has already sunk in, and I have no idea what my life looks like without my mother in it because her stroke and passing were so sudden and unexpected. My family is already feeling the financial burdens that will be happening throughout the foreseeable future. Well, wishes are incredible, and if you can help, thank you from my entire family and from the bottom of my heart. I hate asking, but right now, it’s an impossible situation. My GoFundMe page is under my real name, so don’t get distracted if it’s not under James Edgar Skye. I had friends and family making their contributions, and some strangers. Please keep me grounded as a struggle to figure out things. With much love,

James

Always Keep Fighting

GoFundMe for my Mom’s Funeral Expenses

An Update: My Mother’s Stroke

Writing Helps The Bipolar Writer Cope

I know that this life is forever and that we don’t get a say in when the people that we love go, but that does not mean that your ever prepared when life throws you a curveball.

My Mom’s GoFundMe page is here.

I am sitting here at the hospital at 12:16 am on December 11th, 2019, alone in the waiting room. I was with my mom for a few hours, and then I go out when it is all too much to deal with, but I am always here. I am going to lose my mom in the coming days. The brain bleeding caused too much damage from the stroke. I do not know what my life looks like without her. She was always there, and I would not be James Edgar Skye, a published writer, and mental health advocate if she decided to let me go all those years.

My mom is the most amazing person in my life, but in others as well. So many people have come to see her since Friday. There is so much love for her, and she touched so many more lives than just my own. My life will never be the same, but she would not want me to go back to that old me. There will be hard days ahead, there is no doubt, but I have decided to take it one day at a time. One step at a time. One moment at a time. When the time comes, I will deal with it in the right way. My mother would have wanted that for me.

My GoFundMe Campaign

I have no right to ask anyone for anything, but there are so many expenses that are coming, and while we have some life insurance, it does not pay for the many bills that will be piling up over the next few months and even in the coming days. Crowdfunding was a way that I thought could help, and some people have responded. I understand in the mental illness community, like myself, is struggling to make it day today. If you can, however, it would mean the world to me if you can donate. Even if its just one dollar, it will help my family.

You can find my GoFundMe page for my mom here.

This will be the last post from me for a while. I thank you ahead of time for well wishes and prayers as my family works through this loss. I may write when it all done and the family makes the decisions.

Always Keep Fighting

James

The Bipolar Writers Next Big Idea!

I have been thinking a lot since finishing my memoir. Telling my story has changed everything for me. When I found our my memoir was officially published, it was as if a weight lifted from my mind and shoulders. My story is out there, and even it only helps one person, it will be worth it in the end.

I had this idea when I started this blog of sharing the stories of others, and I did that to an extent here. I want to do so much more than what I did in these interviews. I want to write a book where I interview members of the mental illness community and then write their stories into one book. I don’t plan on making money on this project. Instead, I want to use the money that would be made to continue to share the experiences of others beyond this blog.

It is a significant idea, and I am working on the logistics of such a project. For now, I am reaching out to the community to see if anyone would be interested. I will compile a list of interested people and see where that takes me. If you’re interested, please email me from my contact page with your email and first/ last name or a pseudonym you would like to use.

I look forward to hearing from the mental illness community on this idea.

Always Keep Fighting

P.S. If you have time, please purchase my book. You can find it on Amazon by looking up my pen name James Edgar Skye. The name of the book is The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. It is available in print and Kindle edition. Thank you for your support. I will also link my Amazon page below.

https://www.amazon.com/author/jamesedgarskye

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