Stop. The Most Powerful Word You Can Tell Yourself

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Stop. It was told to me by someone in the context of when things become too much. Overloading on staying productive, working to make things happen in your business, school, work, or any situation, STOP.

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This is such a fast-paced world that we live in, even in a pandemic. It is all about being on that hamster wheel of life. STOP is such a powerful word in your vocabulary because you can say it to yourself. Stop being so worried and let it go. You can tell yourself to stop letting stress take over your life. It is okay to say stop, I have had enough of life today, and I need a break. There is nothing wrong, and yet the emphasis by everyone around us is to not stop. Keep going because it will be okay if you immerse yourself in things that keep you busy or, worse, the distractions in life.

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Don’t worry, I have been one of the worse offenders who did not tell myself to stop when stress is a part of my daily life. For a long time, I had used distractions and even the thing I love most in this world, writing, as a way to not stop. All work and no play makes James a dull boy. For so long, I was stressed to the max, where it began towards the end of summer, and since my mother’s death, it affected my health significantly. I could not stop. It got so bad that suicide became an option in October. It was worth it to hit that lowest of lows because it made me realize that I was working myself with school, starting a business, the many writing projects, and everything else that I could to distract. Just stop, James.

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When I finally took the advice of this kindred spirit, it was a lifesaver. It is not a perfect world as sometimes I forget and get overwhelmed about things like money and my business. Still, I have been telling myself to stop more and more feeling the effects of slowing down to enjoy some of the things that make life great. In this pandemic world where things, at least here in California, are closed down again, and I can’t go downtown to sit outside a coffee shop or visit my favorite bookstore. I can still tell myself to stop when I have hit my limit for the day, and it varies. I can write for hours some days and very little to none others.

Take a moment to stop and just listen to the birds outside while you are sipping on your morning coffee or, in my case, tea. Let yourself breathe and see how it changes your day. I sometimes can sit for hours on end in front of something I am writing, and so I use the technology at my disposal to remind me to get top and walk around—dance for a few minutes every hour or so. Find ways to make lemonade out of the lemons of life. Okay, enough of the metaphors, but it is okay to STOP. Life within creativity will always find a way, and you only have a finite time on this earth. You might as well make the best of it while you are still breathing. Just STOP, the most powerful word in your vocabulary. Listen to what the universe is telling you to live in the now.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worse that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

Visit my author website at http://www.jamesedgarskye.me

Purchase my Memoir and Novella here: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks

The Bipolar Writer Podcast

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A Depression Poem – By J.E. Skye

I wanted to preface this poem with a “trigger warning,” this is a poem I wrote about suicide and depression recently, at this time I am NOT depressed or suicidal. But, this poem could trigger those feelings, so please read only if you are in a safe place. This free-verse poem was written during a poetry class in my last semester of my bachelor’s degree. It was my raw feelings when I was suicidal turned into a poem, please enjoy. I will link the other poem I posted recently.

Updated Version of my Poem: 12:15 am

My Darkest Depression

It has been a long while. I am lost in my darkest contemplations. Sinking, unable to breathe. “I’m Depressed,” there I admit it. Teetering, on the edges of the blackest of thoughts— suicide. The darkness serves as my safe and unsafe place. “I am always here for you,” says the darkness— it is far away in the distance, but I hear its cry. Fearful of this darkness I let the thoughts of the end consume, afraid of what could happen. What might happen? What will happen? This winding road is leading me to the point of no return. The darkness laughs, and it moves closer in the distance.

My thoughts seek the out the painful memories, and the thoughts missile into my consciousness. Afraid. So Afraid of losing myself. My life is a mess, a black hole of endless despair. At night I lay my head down— wanting to cry, and so I cry myself to sleep. “Yes, my friend, give in. You belong here with those who lose themselves.
Wishing. Waiting. Wanting. This will be my last day, nevermore. Awake. Alone. Again. Another day lost in the darkness, it consumes my inner soul.

God hates me for what I have become, I hate myself so much that God— he has given up on me. Let’s face it, my hope evaporated long ago, it is a wonder that no one in my life wants anything to do with this lost soul. “I am here for you—always,” the darkness tells me. Can I fight this— is there something I can do? Probably not. My life is this mess. The Chaos. I created a monster inside me.

The darkness begins to consume, first my mind— and then my body. The darkness is just outside my door, it tells me this is the right thing. “Death is just mean to an end— the end of the infinite agony,” he tells me. “Give in, your life is not worth living. Give in, it will be painless.” Thoughts devour any shred of hope. The darkness wants to win. It just might.

I find myself on edge again— a familiar place, but this time it is different. I lay out the pills tidily in front of me. Counting. Thinking. “Yes,” exclaims the darkness, “this is who you are now.” How many sleeping pills does it take to sleep forever? This becomes routine— a nightly ritual that never changes. I tell myself every night, this is the night. “You must do this now,” the darkness hovers just beside me, “this is your destiny.” A flood of my past consumes my present. There is no future.

What does life mean anymore? I continue to perish in sinking into darkness. Forever. Darkness, my best friend— and worst enemy. Depression my frequent companion, never leaving me. My darkest depression. Will I give in?

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worse that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

Updated Version of my Poem: 12:15 am

12:15 am

by James Edgar Skye

It’s 12:15 am, I am in a dark room
my mind racing and
the panic is rising out of nowhere.
Shallow and slow,
I can’t catch my breath.
It happens, every night, this night— the next.

Restlessness. A feeling of unease.
“I can’t do this,” I think.
A tingling feeling engulfs my hands,
numbness consumes my body.
I pace, take a drink of water—
then begin to pace again.

I must stay inside, “no— I can’t.”
I must go outside, “no— you can’t.”
“Fight this feeling! Please!” A different part says.
“You will never win this fight,” the anxiety answers.

My mind races faster this time, I’m running out of breath.
Helplessness, I am no longer in control of my body.
I overthink. “I am going to die!”
“Please stop! You must fight,” my heart and brain say.
Then again, I over think! And again.
My mind overthinks, “is this my life?”

I feel as if I am under water trying to catch my breath,
to be the person I was before I started to drown.
Sleep, it would be divine. I reach
for this tiny white pill. It is in my hand.
My salvation.

God, I want to sleep
so much to do tomorrow.
The weight of my school obligations crush me.

Finally, in control— again.
Anxiety, why do you control me so?
It’s over for now, but
tomorrow is another day.

Another 12:15 am.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worse that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoCristofer Jeschke

If You Ever Need The Bipolar Writer

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.

831-287-4369

You are not alone. Suicide is not the answer. Again, I am always here to talk anytime.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worse that can happen?

James Edgar Skye 

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

World Mental Health Day

In 1992, the World Federation of Mental Health established World Mental Health Day. In almost 30 years, knowledge about mental health a grown a great deal. The biggest goal for this day is awareness. Even today, there are many people who don’t understand the vast mental health issues people struggle with every day. Even the most recognizable disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) still lack awareness in the general public. Worst of all, people with no medical or behavioral health training claim to know about these disorders and spread false information.

I use this blog and others to share my own experiences. I share my first-hand account of struggling with PTSD and how I learned I had PTSD with two goals in mind. First, I want to bring awareness to people who know nothing about mental health issues. Second, I want others who experience the same things to realize they’re not alone. Many people suffer from poor mental health and don’t realize it. And many have no means to seek help. They may not have insurance. They may not have the means or ability to access medication. They may be afraid to take medication or think they don’t need any.

Help spread awareness about mental health by sharing your story. Only share what you’re comfortable sharing. I have found it helpful to talk about my experiences. It was one step I had to take among many to begin the path to healing. I’m still healing and still have a long way to go. Never give up. Never surrender.

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

My Dark Passenger, Can I Detach? Part One

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My Dark Passenger. I remember when I first named my depression, the dark passenger. It was sometime after my first psychiatric ward visit. It felt right, and to be honest, to have a name for it, that identity was a way to separate from the depression, but it was not really a separation in truth. I gave it a name, a place in my life, and it has always been my downfall. Sure, I have won battles since it became a part of me, but I have yet to win the war. It is always there, but does it have to be?

I have talked recently about detachment, and it is something that I am learning in life coaching. Recently, I was talking with someone, and they said something that stuck with me since. Creating a space for myself and detach the dark passenger. It was a challenge from this person, and I wondered if I could because as much as I have shed my life’s identities, this is a major one. I have no doubt the ability to detach is within me. I created the dark passenger, and letting go is something that I am getting better at over the last two months. 

The dark passenger is an old friend. I have known this something for so long, and I know if I give it space, it may never leave me, and detach we can be separate. Less depressive episodes would be a significant step in a direction. It is not like I have not done it before, because I have gone long stretches, much like my depression cycles of the past, without depression. It has been more challenging this year, as things have been tough at times. I know I bring it up, but losing my mom was a significant event in my life, and while I have had tremendous strides in allowing space for my grieving process. There are milestones in the first year of a loss that I have to face. I would like to face these events detached from my dark passenger.

I want to challenge the very idea that depression is just something that is a part of me, which, since my diagnosis, all the professionals in my life its been the party line. That is just ludicrous because, while I can get depressed, I have seen first hand that it does not have to control me. I can allow it to me, and the next step is to detach and perhaps, for now, handcuff the dark passenger to me, so that when it wants to be a part of my life, I can tell it, NO. Try it. Tell you depression, no. I bet it will change everything.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

My Memoir

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Detachment from Scenarios

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I wanted to open this blog post with a disclaimer, I am not an expert in life coaching or any realm of psychology and therapy. I will always come from someone who shares his experience with mental illness and what comes along with what I am learning through life coaching and reading. So, what is detachment? Well, let us turn to Eckhart Tolle for a great quote.

When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them. – Eckhart Tolle

Over the past almost two weeks now, I have experienced complete attachment from events causing massive negative and depressive issues in my life. When I decided to detach from the event, seeing my life as Eckhart said, my life was surreal from a different vantage point. I was trapped inside these events so bad that self-doubts, self-loathing, negative thoughts, and dare I say some thoughts of giving up on life.

I will be vague about the event in the sense that I will share an event that was troubling me a lot because of the negative feelings I was associating with this person. It was my feelings that were driving a wedge between myself and this person. What did detaching myself from the situation do for me? It gave me a chance to shift my perspective. See the event from a different vantage point. I went into the event with an open mind. I noticed what was triggering me and bothering me was my ego trying to take hold of the situation. I chose positive intentions over negative ones. I detached entirely from the event and went in with just the facts. I came out with a better understanding that there is a different way of approaching an event with negative connotations or anytime that I feel the ego awakening (again, please read Eckhart Tolle to fully understand.)

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Something my life coach told me–take consistent action. It makes so much sense now when I apply it to my life. Since my mom’s loss in December, I have felt like the punching bag of everyone that comes into my life, but in truth, I was playing the victim identity card. I allowed depression to be an excuse for my lack of energy or feeling like general crap. Depression is an emotion, but it can be a part of what is going on without controlling you. For the first time in forever, it seems my depression hit a ONE. I am not sure of the time or if this ever actually happened before.

What shifted? Everything. My approach. My attitude. Checking my ego at the door. Allowing detachment to give me a higher vantage point that I needed to look at the event. It is something that can and will be replicated in my life. I am tired of being the person that hides from the problems and events because I am here to tell you, they will continue to keep coming up in this life. So I leave you with hope. Change the narrative. Detach from the event. You will feel better for it. As always, stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

My Memoir

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Contributor Writers for The Bipolar Writer Blog

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.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

My Memoir

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Could I Move on from Blogging?

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Blogging will always have a special place in my heart, as it was here, within the confines of this blog, that I found my place with my writing. I found a group of people with like-minded ideas about sharing the stories of mental illness. The encouragement I got allowed me to write my memoir. I wonder, though, will I always be able to write here or will a time come that I will move on.

I think that is why I am pushing so hard lately to get a great list of authors on the website to always have words written here. I don’t mind paying the yearly fee to keep this blog going if it is still a safe place for mental illness/mental health advocacy writers to call it home. If I can swell the number to fifty members to end 2020, it might be the perfect storm where this blog goes on without me.

Where is this coming from? I have been dealing with stress more in 2020 than at any other time in my life. I know everyone is dealing with anxiety, depression, and stress. The list is probably longer than that if I am honest. For me, it is many things at once. Starting my business. Finishing my Master’s degree. Publishing my novella. Writing projects and writing this blog. Going through Life Coaching while still trying to find the confidence in my writing. Then, of course, losing my mom. Almost a year has gone by. How do I deal with that in December? My hope is to not be a mess.

I love what I have created here, and for the foreseeable, I will continue to write as much as humanly possible so that things will be in the right place in my life. The need to share my story continues here, and the magnetic pull is still here. Writing blog posts is my center, and it helps me continue throughout my day, so a baseline would be an accurate account of why I still write here. When that day comes when I am ready to move on, then I will. There is too much as stake to give up this space for good because the mental illness stories we share help fight mental health stigma. Perhaps someone reading this post will find their place among the writers here. Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

My Memoir

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Seasonal Affective Disorder in COVID-19 World

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I know we are just rounding into Fall from the summer, and winter is still on the horizon. Whenever I talk about SAD for some reason, I always think like a geek that “Winter is coming.” Watching Game of Thornes always reminded me that the seasonal affective disorder part of my diagnosis is real in the winter months. These are the months that I struggle most, and in an ordinary world, I could handle it. We live in a COVID-19 “new normal,” and I worry about those who will be struggling more than usual.

For myself, it will be some rough months. I have my mom’s one-year griefversary of her passing. I will use what I learned, including detached emotions, to deal with, but I will have days. This time around, I have a plan. People who care and I can reach out to when things become muddled. I am going to allow the depression that comes to have its space in my life. Why let it control me? I have for many years, and that has gotten me nowhere good. The seasonal affective disorder is real, and I usually suffer from October to about May. It has been better the last, and I have better tools to deal with it this year.

So much is happening in our world. We have to remember that our mental health is more important than what is going on in the news or social media. One of the things I am considering is a total social media shut down until the end of the year for me, that means outside of this blog, I will delete my social media accounts from my phone, the only way that I access social media. I have a friend that is considering giving up her phone by 2021, and that even sounds like a good idea if I wasn’t launching my business.

I have so much to do, including putting the finishing touches on my book and publishing it in October. All I am waiting for is my graphic artist to come through. I am nearing the end of a two-year trek to finish my Master’s in February, and I am considering Literature Ph.D. programs as the next logical step in my profession as a writer. My business and grieving my mom means the next three months will be exciting, engaging, and heartbreaking. SAD will not get me down.

I have not done this in a while, so I pose the question to those reading this post right now. In this new normal world we live in, are you taking precautions like me to ensure your seasonal affective disorder is not worse this fall and winter months because of COVID-19 or any other factors?

Please leave you responses below, I would love to hear your take on COVID-19 and seasonal affective disorder.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

My Memoir

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron! You can get this amazing cup!