The Best of Me

“You gave me the best of me, so you’ll give you the best of you,” are the lyrics to “Magic Shop” by Korean pop group BTS. I have been listening to this song over and over because I keep thinking about these words.

Sure, it’s not the most eloquent phrasing but I think that they are on to something here.

For ages we have all been told to give everything our best whether it’s academics, athletics, music, art, relationships, etc. That if we give anything our best effort we have a higher likelihood of succeeding.

During the many times I have sat and contemplated these lyrics, I understand it as we so often give the best of ourselves to others but have a harder time giving the best for ourselves.

I try to give my best to my family, boyfriend, pets and friends but when it comes to giving my best for me, that’s a different story. I know that eating well, exercising and having human interaction is good for me but I don’t always put in the effort. If I had a paradigm shift, I would try harder to do the things that are good for me so I could be at my very best.

If I gave my best for myself, what would my life look like? This is a question I have been focusing on, digging deep into it to find a possible answer.

I still don’t have an answer but during these weird times of social distancing and staying home basically all the damn time, I have time to really think about it. I also have the time to focus on giving myself the very best of me.

What do you think of these lyrics? Do you have a similar interpretation or not? Do you think you give yourself the best of you?

Please everyone be smart and safe!

“You Can Talk to Us”: Social Anxiety at Work

Social anxiety presents itself in a variety of forms for different people and can be perceived by others in a lot of negative ways. Last week I got called out by a coworker for rarely speaking to the employees on the first floor.

My desk is in the basement along with 3 other workspaces that occupy two part-time employees and one is there twice a week. Most days I am downstairs by myself.

The fridge and microwave are on the first floor so when I arrive in the morning I put my lunch away and come back up a few hours later to get it. In those few moments I am upstairs I try not to make eye contact or speak with anyone else.

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What I look like walking down the hallway at work.

Last week I was walking back to the basement after heating up my lunch when my coworker said, “you know you can talk to us.”

I was dumbfounded. I felt exposed as if she pulled back the curtain to see socially anxious little me hugging my favorite teddy bear.

My anxiety has always told me that nobody wants to talk to me or cares what I have to say. It has made me believe that it is best for me to keep to myself so I don’t bother others.

My response was, “Oh, I can? I thought you were all really busy most of the time.”

She said they aren’t then we proceeded to casually chat for a few minutes.

Over the years, I have shut myself off socially at work.

At my last job I kept to myself except for talking to my supervisor. Most of my other coworkers weren’t friendly so I didn’t speak to them unless necessary.

Nobody has called me out on my social anxiety (except my therapist) so it has become a normal way of living for me. It has definitely given me some perspective on how others view me at work. Something to certainly think about.

Do you have social anxiety? If so, how do you cope with it at work/school?

Also what is your current coping method when you’re struggling with your mental illness?

As you can see from the featured image, my current coping mechanism is BTS. Whether it’s watching their incredible dancing in their music videos or reading along with the translated lyrics, BTS makes me happy in all ways. It also helps that they are all super cute. (If you’re a fellow Army, I love Jin, V and RM most.)

What warms my heart is their lyrics in “Love Yourself” that say, “even the scars that were formed from my mistakes are my very own constellations.” These words are powerful for me because of my history with self-harm.

Something Fun – My Love for K-Pop

I have written about this and posted music on this blog. I have also shared my love for Korean pop music, something of a guilty pleasure. I listen to K-pop more during the day than any other music. Today I wanted to dedicate this post of my favorite Korean singer, Taeyeon. Music is the great equalizer and in this mental. illness life, music gets me through the day.

TAEYEON 태연 ‘I (feat. Verbal Jint)’ MV
TAEYEON テヨン 「VOICE」 MV
TAEYEON テヨン ‘Stay’ MV
TAEYEON 태연 ’11:11′ MV
TAEYEON 태연 ‘불티 (Spark)’ MV
TAEYEON 태연 ‘내게 들려주고 싶은 말 (Dear Me)’ MV
TAEYEON 태연 ‘사계 (Four Seasons)’ MV
TAEYEON 태연 ‘Fine’ MV

Taeyeon considered one of the greatest Korean singers, and her voice has always been angelic. Perhaps that is why I love her music so much! I will be posting these again in the future!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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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.

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A Letter to The Bipolar Writer

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoAustin Mabe

unsplash-logoSteve Halama

unsplash-logoRae Tian

unsplash-logoCampbell Boulanger

unsplash-logoWang Xi