I am doing something unorthodox today here on The Bipolar Writer. I hope that I have created a place where my fellow mental health sufferers can have a “safe place” to discuss their own issues. I often get emails from many who are seeking help or guidance or just want to talk about things. I want everyone who comes to this blog to know that if you are suicidal there is always someone here, I am always here to talk.
The unorthodox part is that today I am going to give my number to my followers if you are suicidal and you don’t want to reach out to help-lines (I have learned recently that they are not always great.) So, if you need to chat you can text me anytime. I will get back to you as soon as humanly possible. As a mental health advocate and someone who has been through the worst parts of mental illness alone, I want you to know I am a lifeline.
You are not alone. Suicide is not the answer. Again, I am always here to talk anytime.
I had plans for 2020. I am sure there is not one person that was not affected in the mental illness community that was not affected by COVID-19. One of my major plans was to lower Seroquel to a more manageable level that I feel less like a zombie in the morning, then the novel coronavirus hit, and I was using Zoom to meet my psychiatrist.
One of the fears is that not seeing me in person means that the trust that I spent over a year building that was crushed by the coronavirus. It is not that the trust was not there, but instead, you never know as a medical professional how isolating like I was advised to do would affect me in different ways. I understood this, but I was also frustrated. There is no doubt I had to learn patience (this came in life coaching.)
The idea of waiting is new to me, but not all is bad. After months of back and forth and resisting the urge to make changes on my own, I decided to broach the subject again, and the result was more to my liking. It was an incremental change from 400mg to 300mg, but it has made a difference. I still sleep, but I am waking up at a better time while still being rested. It is important to note that having my CPAP machine helps me get to sleep quicker, and that is important to note as to why the case I made was valid over time.
There is always this point that I need to make: medication changes should always go through your psychiatrist or medical professional. They are the ones that got you on these medications, and they are the professionals. I can’t stress that enough. Change is good but in the right way. The next step is the continual work on my social anxiety and panic attacks, which have been better if I am honest. That has been in the changes that have happened to my approach to stay in the moments of now. The tools I learned in life coaching have helped me create space with my own physics. Thank you as always for reading.
My Life Coach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel suicidal, Kim specializes in helping those who are like me; I recently had my own brush with suicide again in October, and Kim was a pivotal part of why I am still here with her life coaching alongside her ASIST training.
Abuse is present in all kinds of relationships: from personal to professional, from sexual to medical, where ever there are humans, abuse exists. Unfortunately, no one is safe from experiencing it in any of its forms, especially in regards to mental health. In my own mental health journey, I have been fortunate with my connections, but I know so many out there have not. I know no two instances are alike, and abuse can take many forms in this world. My most recent experience with it has prompted me to bring this story to light. It is raw, and possibly chaotic in nature, but it is where I am at right now.
I am a young woman, a wife, and a mother, who just so happens to be diagnosed with Bipolar II. This diagnosis has been following me around for over eleven years, and it is not something I take lightly. I want to feel okay and happy. I want to feel normal, and if medication and therapy are required for this to happen, then so be it. I am worth the extra effort. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but I have never felt as if my team against me…until a few weeks ago.
Back in August, my husband and I agreed we would start trying for baby #2, but I knew this meant I needed to get things prepped for my mental health ahead of time. When I was pregnant with my son, I struggled – because there was no safe medication for me to take at the time. Last year, my then psychiatrist told me if I was going to get pregnant again, there were options this time around. He knew me and knew intimately about what happened to me when I was pregnant. No one wanted to go through that again.
Unfortunately, due to family circumstances on his end, he left, and I was given to someone new. He seemed nice and agreed to go off my previous doctor’s notes on my condition for starters and adding his own as we got to know each other. I saw no problem with this sentiment and was willing to give him the chance despite my hesitation because I was thrown to someone new so suddenly.
As time progressed, I tried to trust him, but something always felt off and awkward with him. Sometimes a comment he made drew question marks in my head, but I brushed it off because we weren’t sitting face to face because of COVID. We only talked on the phone. Sometimes it was a ten-minute call, sometimes it was three minutes, but I felt we were on the same page.
Before my husband and I talked about getting pregnant, I knew I wanted a game plan in place. I wanted time to get used to new meds and adjust as needed. My psychiatrist was an instrumental part in this plan, so setting up an appointment to discuss my options non-negotiable. Per instructions by my previous doctor and my own research, I already had an idea of what I needed, but I had to bring it up with my prescriber to get it. Simple and straightforward, right? WRONG!
When the words of “trying to get pregnant” and “what are your suggestions” left my lips, the atmosphere of the conversation changed. Keep in mind, I have been diagnosed by four different psychiatrists, over the course of about sixteen years, that I have Bipolar II. I have been on the appropriate medication for that diagnosis for eleven years, and when I am consistent with taking the medication, I am stable.
This man had the gall to let “Bipolar II is just a theory” and “many women find the symptoms go away during and after pregnancy” leave his pathetic lips. Despite me bringing up the recommended medication and explaining what happened the last time I was pregnant, he ignored me. Now, I refused to leave this session empty-handed, so he gave me two medications for “as needed” irritability and depression, low dosages with the possibility of increases. I am Bipolar, not irritable.
I assumed this was better than nothing and began tapering my medication as designed and filled the prescriptions. After several days, I found I had to start taking more than the ‘low dosages’ to have any sort of effect, and I hit a major side-effect wall. I could either feel like I was drunk all day or be depressed. Since I work full-time and must be mentally sharp, I stopped taking the meds. I gave them less than 2 weeks, but they were not working in any capacity as he said they would.
My therapist was appalled at his words but brushed them off when I spoke to her about it. She looked up my file and found he had not written anything he said to me, in my file (why would he?). Though she did not convince me directly, I put in a request to transfer psychiatrists the next day. Never have I ever been invalidated by a medical professional to my face like that, and even though I am struggling now because of him, I won’t let him win.
Since day one of the inception of The Bipolar Writer blog I had a plan of how things were going to go on my blog. When I hit 2,000 followers the plan was to start a series of interviews of other members of the mental illness community. It was amazing to finally start my interview series where I feature the stories of others. It’s been successful so far.
I am close to another milestone for my blog and I am looking towards the future of my blog as I near 15,000 followers, I am looking to add more contributors to blog because the stories of others is important to me. These contributors roles are as follows according to WordPress:
Contributor – has no publishing or uploading capability, but can write and edit their own posts until they are published.
I am only looking for contributor writers at this moment. What I do is add you to my blog as a contributor. All I need is to add your email. You can write about any subject about mental illness. You pick the categories and the post must have a featured picture. I will have the final say on if it gets published. If you become a regular contributor, I will change your status to the rank of author:
Author – can write, upload photos to, edit, and publish their own posts.
If you are interested please email me at JamesEdgarSkye22@gmail.com
I am really excited to expand to allow more contributor writers on my blog. I think it will help to get different stories and blog posts on different topics within the mental health community. It’s an opportunity to continue the growth of The Bipolar Writer brand, and really talk about the issues as we fight to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
The discord channel, The Infinity Warriors of Mental Health, now has its own website! I want a special thanks to Aby and Em to taking the step for the discord website to become a reality. Those who don’t know I am the owner of The Infinity Warriors of Mental Health Discord channel, and it grows every day. Please consider joining us and frienfing the blog so we can share our journey together.
For those in the mental illness community that wants to have a safe place to share your daily struggles, you can join anonymously and use it as a resource as the members of the group are just like you. Our members are living and working through their issues with mental illness. We foster a place or serenity and peace and a place to belong. It is just a basic WordPress blog right now, but as we go on and the group grows, we will become a force in the world with a valid domain name.
Welcome to the first of its kind Discord community in which our goal is to provide a safe, anonymous, immersive, and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion.
We will provide a safe, anonymous, immersive and experiential learning experience into mental health discussion by sharing our personal stories. Here, we value transparency, your story, your authenticity…. in a place where we accept everyone’s point of view.
And what that means is, we may not always agree with one another and we believe within our community safely challenging one another’s perspectives is the key to collaborative discussion.
We strongly desire for everyone to speak from the lens with which they view life including but not limited to:
All inclusive in a respectful way is what we strive to achieve at this Discord channel.
Discord Moderators can be personally messaged if you wish to voice a concern. However, we strongly encourage open discussion during “stuck” times in conversation in order to foster mutual respect. The right to delete comments, ban individuals and block chat members is reserved to Discord Moderators as follows: JamesEdgarSkye#4190 or SilverLinings#0367 or Aby#9662
The 4th of July has never been the same, I get that it is this fantastic holiday that we, as Americans, celebrate our Independence Day, and I will always honor the day like all of us, just with a sad heart.
On July 3, 2014, we lost my grandfather forever.
Every year I have honored one of the greatest presence in my life, my grandfather. I once wrote a poem about him called The Bravest Man I Knew. I wanted to spend some time this year talking about the man that was always there for me when I needed him since I was a little boy.
My grandfather was born March 18, 1932, in Ewa Beach, Hawaii (pronounced Eva Beach because the “w” is a “v” in the Hawaiian language). My grandfather and grandmother were married in November (I forget the year). My grandfather served in the United States Army for twenty years. He was an amazing man who loved to buy cars, computers, and was very intelligent (where I get my own smarts).
A fact about my grandfather, he was in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed.
I wish he was here today as I near the end of publishing my first novel. I started going to school for my bachelor’s degree around the time that he got sick with cancer. The doctors gave him six months, and he fought for a year and a half. My grandfather had an amazing spirit, and he was always willing to help his only daughter, my mother, and his grandchildren, he even got to know five out of his six great grandchildren before he passed.
I still remember, he went fast. He was okay in June and then starting on July 2nd be started to lose consciousness and before we knew it he had passed on July 3rd.
It sucked. I was depressed for close to a year after taking care of my grandfather for that year and half. I have never gotten over the suddenness of how cancer can take a person. But he was this amazing man who lived his life, saw the world during his time in the military and drank coffee everyday (which is one of the reasons I am a coffee addict!) My grandfather was, is and always will be loved by those who knew him because he was an amazing man.
Just from these photos, you can see the people that loved him and that five years ago came together to honor this great man. I love my grandfather to this day because he taught me so many great things that I have today. If only he would have seen me continue my recovery with Bipolar 1 and panic disorder, but I believe he is still here in spirit and watching over us with my grandmother.
The last photo was taken weeks before my grandfather passed with his sister visiting. What you don’t see in this photo is all the sweets on his desk not just for him, but his great grandchildren. We all miss you grandpa!
I know that right now, everything is different than the start of the year. Things change when there is a global pandemic that is continually changing our lives. COVID-19 is the new reality where most jobs are at home in front of the computer or on the phone.
I am all for social distancing, sheltering in place, and working from home because COVID-19 does not play around. I am and have been since 2007, in the adult system of care in my local county in California. All psychiatrists and therapists for the county are now working at home. I am okay with the process, but no much how it is going.
I had plans in March when California went to “shelter in place” to reduce my Seroquel. I know I have talked recently before about this issue, but my doctor’s recent refusal to change any medications when they are unable to meet in person baffles me. In my last appointment on Thursday of last week, I got into an argument about the reasoning. I need to make this change. (Note: Never make a medication change without your doctor’s permission or knowledge; it can be dangerous.) I understood her point of view, but I felt that my side was not taken into account.
I felt that my voice was useless, and this is common when you are part of the “system of mental health.” I get it. I am a veteran in this world. If this is going to be the new normal, then they need to get with the times. I can meet with anyone visually, so why can’t the county adjust. If this goes until let us say summer, I will be dealing with this issue of wanting to lower my dose. I guess I will have to see where things go from here. I would like to hear your stories. Anyone else having these issues? Stay strong in the fight.
I am calling everything that happens because of COVID-19 a side effect because, in truth, it is precisely that way. A side effect of a changing world.
In March, I had an appointment with my doctor in person two days after California, and the county in which I reside put a “shelter in place” order. This rendered my appointment in-person to one over the phone indefinitely. This caused a dilemma for me because I was working towards a specific goal in 2020. For my psychiatrist to lower the milligrams of antipsychotics and antianxiety medication. A lofty goal! Or so I thought.
My goal was to get off antipsychotics, which I am still, after about thirteen years, is still on a high level. The issue that I have is how these medications affect me overall. Does it take years off my life? What are the honest, long-term effects on my body?
At the moment, my psychiatrist is not changing any of the levels of my medication until we can meet in person regularly so she can regulate the process. Never do medication changes without your doctors knowing because it can be very dangerous! This news was disheartening because I am leaning towards getting off Seroquel and the clonazepam all together by early 2021. A friend I know got off benzodiazepines through a process with other medications over weeks, and he is much better off without benzos in his life. I see his progress, and that is where I want to go with my mental health. I am in a holding pattern, and I know I have to trust the process. For now, I will stick with my medication taking it as my doctor recommends.
An interesting posed question to me this week got me thinking, and it is one that I want to discuss today. We are all adjusting to the coronavirus in different ways. In California yesterday, the Governor issued a “Stay-at-Home” order for all non-essential people, and individual counties since the beginning of the week have been issuing “Shelter-in-Place” orders, including my own on Tuesday. Will there be an issue with getting my medication? Like those of us that take medication for our mental health, it is an important one to think about as our society is changing what seems like daily.
I would recommend that you stay up on the news and make sure that your sources for the coronavirus information are a legit outlet. The other thing I would recommend is that if you can work from home, it would be advantageous. With California roughly the population size of a country like Italy, and we see what is going on there, it is vital to keep things in perspective. Only go out when you need to, and stay home is an excellent way to prevent this virus from spreading. (I am no expert, but I see college students going on Spring Break, and it really irks me because even if they don’t get it, they can spread it to someone like our elderly population. Just my thought.)
When it comes to medication, so far talking to my own pharmacy that has its personal delivery service, it is essential to stay on top of your medicine. Now, again, I am just a regular person, but if you can talk to your doctors about 60-day supplies if possible. I know personally, my clonazepam, since I am on a high dose, I can only have a 15-day supply (it is a controlled substance as are all benzos.) Still, it is important to talk to your doctors about the possibility of getting more medications if the essential things like pharmacies begin to close down.
Also, you might consider alternative medications with your doctor.
An Interesting Side Effect of Our Current Times
I had an interesting experience that I wanted to share within this post.
Yesterday I spent a portion of my day on the phone with my doctors–psychiatrist and my primary care doctor to make sure that all my medications had refills. What an exciting time that we are living in today with everything conducted from home. I work mostly from home with work and school, so the transition was smooth, but this week I got to experience what a Starbucks looks like completely empty. (What is interesting is that I have gone all week without coffee.) With the closing of all bars, restaurants are limited to deliveries and take out, along with coffee shops only for pick up, I decided it was time to transition back to tea.
With everything, I believe that eventually, we will find a place where things work out, and this life can get back to normal. I have no idea when that is, but the hope I have right now is everything. I will be talking about isolation and its dangers in another post. As always, stay strong in the fight. If you ever need someone to talk to, please reach out to me or a mental health professional. These are tough times, but we can get through them.