Join James Edgar Skye on Patreon

I launched my Patreon account back in April of 2019, but I was not ready to start a site that allows people into my writing, I am now prepared to put myself out there again. It was a great idea, but not many people can or have the money to be a part of my writing process. A few people have joined me, and I am looking for more patrons of my writing, Today is officially a “re-launch” in hopes that I can begin to take mental health advocacy and to take my writing to the next level.

Become a Patron!

I hope that people will understand what it takes to be a struggling writer and graduate student. Perhaps you will want to become a part of my writing process. I will be more open to sharing my experiences with writing, looking for an agent, and publisher for my major work, The Rise of the Nephilim. I will also be sharing on certain tiers a copy of my book The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. Other porjects will also be included in certain tiers. Below will be the breakdown of each tier level and what they bring. I hope you will join me on my writing journey no matter the tier that you choose. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

James

Support The Bipolar Writer (Tier One)

In this $2 tier, you help the continued success of The Bipolar Writer blog and the brand. You’re also supporting a struggling Graduate student and writer living with mental illness every day. This tier costs less than a cup of coffee. I have been struggling with mental illness since 2007, and it has affected my ability to hold down a job. Writing is an escaping feeling while also being therapeutic, and now you can be a part of the process of a published author!

  • You get a “First Look” at weekly blog posts for the Bipolar Writer Blog before it goes live! 
  • This tier will help keep my blog writing and help me end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
  • If I get enough at this tier, it will allow me to hire an “editor and manager of my blog.”

The Bipolar Writer Basic Tier

In this $5 tier, you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with Bipolar One. I have been struggling with mental illness since 2007.

  • You get everything in the “Support for The Bipolar Writer” tier.
  • Plus, a special mention in my monthly newsletter when you sign up and access the newsletter to start every new month!
  • A special “Thank you” message when you sign up for this tier.

The Bipolar Writer Mid Tier

In this $10 tier, you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with Bipolar One since 2007.

  • In this mid-level tier, you get everything from the first two tiers. 
  • An exclusive look at a chapter from “The Bipolar Writer: A  Memoir. 
  • Access to a chapter or any short story that is published!
  • The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir published in March 2020. I will, for this $10 tier and above, I will send you two exclusive chapters!
  • As part of this tier, you can also have a one-hour Zoom session with me asking me questions about writing or mental illness/mental health. 

Become a Patron!

Bipolar Writer 2nd Mid Tier

In this $15 tier, you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! This tier comes with everything in the above tiers. You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student, and writer, who is living with Bipolar One since 2007.

  • The $15 tier, is a special tier that also comes with a personal invitation to my exclusive Patreon community on Discord (which is coming soon!)
  • Also, it will come with other great benefits coming soon that will include a sticker with my logo and other great things coming soon!

The Bipolar Writer Top Tier

In this $25 tier, you help support James Edgar Skye and his writing endeavors as a Bipolar Writer Maniac! You’re also helping a struggling Graduate student and writer, who is living with Bipolar One since 2007.

  •  In this top tier, you get everything from the previous tiers.
  • An exclusive look at my upcoming fantasy fiction novel to include character sketches or a look at the first chapter of the novel “The Rise of the Nephilim” or a peek at “Angel on the Ward.”
  • A Signed Copy of The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir (Note: In this tier, you have to be a Patron for three months before I send out the copy. This is to help offset the costs of printing and shipping.)
  • After being in this tier for three month you get an exclusive The Bipolar Writer mug with my logo. (Be sure to have your address on file so that these items get shipped to you.)

The Bipolar Writer Exclusive

  • This is a limited Edition Tier for my Bipolar Writer Maniacs! In this elite $40 tier, you get all the benefits of the previous tiers plus
  • A signed copy of my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, and all future publications.
  • Including the publications of any of my short stories.
  • A signed copy of my novella Angel on the Ward. (Coming soon)
  • My Novel Rise of the Nephilim.
  • After being in this tier for three month you get an exclusive The Bipolar Writer mug with my logo and sticker (be sure to have your address on file so that these items get shipped to you.)

Become a Patron!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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 by Hannah Busing on Unsplashy

A James Edgar Skye Projects Update

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

My summer has been nothing short of working to better myself finically, personally, and professionally. James has been super busy working on different projects, and I have some fantastic news. I am starting a business!

That is right. James is using 2020 to really begin to secure his future in writing, teaching, and well other ventures that will better my mental and personal health. So what is coming?

Investing in James

I am so excited to begin my four-month journey to self-discovery in August, as I work with my amazing life coach that will transform who I am by the end. It starts with working with the right life coach who I trust will get me to where I want to be finically, personally, and professionally. I am excited because it is an opportunity to do be a better me. I have achieved so many things in my mental health, it is time to invest in myself! If you want to know more about my life coach, please reach out.

Writing Projects 2020 and Beyond

  • My fiction novella  Angel on the Ward will get its publication this summer or the fall at the latest.
  • My major fantasy fiction novel, The Rise of the Nephilim will be in editing and querying. I am looking for an agent and publisher because of the scope of the project. It will end up being a six-book series. 
  • I know I was supposed to begin interviews for the two-year project The Many faces and Voices of Mental Illness was supposed to begin in July (those that are already on the list will be getting an email soon). The interviews will begin in August. There will always be an invitation to all who want their stories shared in the book if you don’t feel you have a voice. Please contact me through the blog or my author website below. 
  • I have begun to write my major ghostwriting project that will be completed in 2020.

My Ghostwriting Business

Other major news in my life is a lifelong dream. Taking my ghostwriting business to the next level, I will be working on creating an LLC and taking my profession, writing memoirs, and other writing projects to the next level. I will also be creating online courses on the website Udemy. I am looking for all different revenue types in the coming months because I have skills that are useful and can take them to the next level by teaching.

Finishing My Master’s Degree

I am nearing the finish line of something I started in late 2018, finishing my Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and English. I am looking at a completion early 2021!

James

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 by Octavian Dan on Unsplash

The Upward Climb

For those of you who remember me, I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alan Wolfgang. I am diagnosed with Severe Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. I have been suffering from my diseases for around 20 years, since I was a young child. I have been treated with a wide variety of medications, all to no avail. In 2019, I underwent Electroconvulsive Therapy, or ECT. While the cost of the treatment went beyond just financial, it has effectively cured my depression. While I am certainly no expert in the field of mental health, I definetly have amassed quite a bit of experience. Throughout my years, I’ve learned many things about mental health, those who suffer from mental illness, and most importantly, myself. Whether you’re new to the mental health world, or you’ve been here for decades, whether you’re a patient, medical professional, or just someone who wants to further their understanding, whatever you suffer from, you know that this (whatever this may be to you) is not easy. Life with a mental illness, or caring for someone with a mental illness is all consuming. If I may, there are a few things that I’ve learned in my journey that I would like to share with you. Some, you may already know, others, you may not agree with, and that’s fine. Because my number one rule, is that one person will never know everything about anything. Sure there are experts in their respective fields, but even they learn new things all the time. What you do with the knowledge given to you, that is the important part.

The most important thing to do for anyone trying to do anything, is to never give up. I wish I could say that hard work is always rewarded, and that perseverance pays off, but unfortunately the world is not such a romantic place. Nevertheless, if you are fighting against mental illness, or supporting someone who is, giving up cannot be an option. You may be asking, “If my hard work never really makes a difference, what’s the point in never giving up?” While I wish the answer was simple, it’s not. Giving up seems like the best option, a lot of the time. Believe me, I know…with 3 suicide attempts under my belt, and a fourth that was thwarted by my underlying desire to live, and an attentive therapist, I know that giving up is incredibly tempting. More than any drug or material good, it is the oasis in the desert of your suffering. See, the thing is, that even though giving up will end your pain, it doesn’t disappear, it gets passed on to those you leave behind. I learned this the hard way, waking up on a ventilator in the hospital, with both my parents still in tears, holding my hand. Dying is never quick and painless, because that pain will last a lifetime for someone who loves you. You may now be thinking, “Well that’s fine, because nobody loves me”. While you’re not wrong, maybe nobody loves you, but you’re looking at it in too small a timeframe. You’re looking at your past and your present, but you’re forgetting about your future. I know that it’s pretty easy to lose sight of any future when you’re in the depths of depression, but that’s where never giving up comes in. The longer you live, the more likely it is that you will find love, that you will find happiness. I mean, the statistics alone are probably mind-boggling, though I wouldn’t know, I’m awful at math. Though who knows? I may not always be awful at math. The obvious secret about the future, is that it is unknown, completely unknown. You can have plans, dreams, and aspirations, but who knows what will actually happen? You don’t, until it happens. In the darkest period of my depression, I developed a suicide plan with a 100% chance of success, and I was saving it for a “rainy day”. I never would have thought, never even would have dreamed I’d be were I am today. To the past me, the present me was an impossible fairy tale. Yet, here I am, against all odds, living, breathing, and loving life. I mean it’s not perfect, but it never will be, I am just content with what I have. I know, a very confusing notion.

This leads me to my next tip. You will never be or do anything perfect. We are all humans, I hope so anyways (Shout out to all my alien bros hiding amongst the population). The thing about being human, is that we are intrinsically flawed, we make mistakes, and a lot of the time, no matter how hard we try, we will never reach our own ideal perfection. I don’t care what religion you follow, what the color of your skin is, how much money you have, where/when you were born, or who you love, nobody is perfect. Not one person. Ever. So do what you enjoy, dance like no one is watching, binge that one show in a single sitting for the seventh time this month. Do what you love, love what you do, and don’t give a sh*t about what anybody else thinks. Yeah, words hurt, but so does not doing something you enjoy because somebody else doesn’t like it. So what? Are they the ones who spend most of their money on figurines and miniature statues? Nope, so why should they have any say over whether or not you do. Now of course, there are two exceptions to this. The first being, moderation is key. Overindulgence is never a good thing, and will more often than not harm more than it helps. Second, just because you enjoy it, it does not mean you can run around in your KKK getup, shooting people in the face, and beating pregnant women with a baseball bat. Don’t be a dick. Do what you love, so long as it doesn’t HARM other people. So long as you do that, who cares what other people think about your hobbies. You like watching other people play video games instead of playing them yourself, go get it fam. You like sculpting anime characters out of ice, make sure you bundle up. You like going to conventions dressed as a humanoid fox, a little weird for me, but who cares what I think. You like growing and brewing your own tea, when can we meet up? Whatever you enjoy, just enjoy it! Without worrying about anybody else’s opinions. Because opinions are like buttholes, everybody’s got one, and nobody wants to hear about yours.

Another key step in working towards mental or physical wellbeing, is accepting yourself for who you are. You didn’t ask to be plagued by suicidal thoughts every second of every day. You didn’t ask to be born in the wrong gender’s body. You didn’t ask to be afraid of making your own appointments over the phone. You didn’t ask to be deathly afraid of boats and open water (That one’s me). But here’s what you can ask for, help. It is never an easy desicion, to ask another person to help you with all your problems. However, there are these wonderful people out there, that listen to your problems, give advice, and trade that for money. They’re called, “Therapists”. I know, you think that going to a therapist means that you are admitting defeat, that you can’t handle your own crap, so now you have to have someone else do it for you. While I thought like that in the past, I’ve come to realize that there are several things wrong about that way of thinking. The first being, that going to see a therapist, is not a show of defeat, it’s simply reinforcements for the war that’s raging on inside you. You couldn’t win on your own, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost, you just have to bring in more fighting power. Second, the therapist, no matter how good they are, won’t solve all your problems for you. I mean it is kinda common sense, but you’d be suprised. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. A very common saying, and very applicable here. Seeing a therapist once, isn’t going to solve your issues. Hell, seeing a therapist 100 times may not even do the trick. However, if you work with your therapist, progress can be made. Albeit small progress, it’s progress nonetheless; and any progress is good progress. It means you are moving forwards, you are refusing to let the anchor tied to your ankle that is mental illness, drag you down any further. You refuse to simply tread water and stay afloat. You are making an active effort to save yourself. However, the part of finding a good therapist is slightly more tricky. The few things I have found that work for me, may not work for you, and that’s alright, there is no “one size fits all” therapist, or way of treating mental illness. It’s important that you find a therapist that thinks that way too. If your therapist thinks they can treat you just by reading from the DSM, and “listening intently”, you need a new therapist. Personally, mine challenges me, she doesn’t always agree with me, and is very honest about what she thinks regarding my actions and such. I have a very easy time rationalizing bad decisions, so she regularly calls me out over my BS. Again, might not work for you, but if you want therapy that works, you’ll have to work hard to find a good therapist. Secondly, make sure you can afford to see them regularly, and if need be, in emergencies. This is a often overlooked, yet crucial part to having successful therapy. You need to be able to see your therapist as much as you feel you need to. When I’m having a rough time, I’ll see mine weekly, when I’m doing better, I see them about once a month. And they are very flexible on scheduling. After all is said and done (after insurance) I only pay about 20 bucks per visit. It took me 7 years to find another good therapist after my old one stopped practicing, but again, never give up, and you’ll find the one who works with you and for you.

My last tip, because this is getting a little lengthy…almost feel like I should put a tl/dr…is take each day for what it is. What I mean by that, is try to frame your mind by thinking, “tomorrow is a new day”. Sure you may have stayed in bed all day, watched some tv shows, and got one meal in, but didn’t do your laundry, take a shower, or even open your bills. But that’s okay. You did what you could, maybe even what you had to, to make sure you could make it to tomorrow. And tomorrow is a new day, full of new opportunities. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re only human. Sometimes it takes all you have just to make sure you ate something. Just don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get things done, but also don’t procrastinate too much either. Start small, and start slow. If you didn’t shower today, tell yourself you’re going to shower tomorrow. If you still don’t get it done tomorrow, make sure to get it done when you feel you can, especially before you start to stink (I’m guilty of that…) Make sure you try to make a plan to get something done, and if it takes you a bit longer than you wanted it to, so be it. At least you got it done. The singular thing that keeps me going these days, is that when I wake up tomorrow, it’s essentially a clean slate. Sure I still have my past, my emotional baggage, but every new day can be whatever I want it to, so long as I set my mind to it. Managing your mental health is incredibly difficult, and very complex, and there are a lot of things that work for others, but not for you. You’ll find there are just as many contradicting things too. So the important part, is carving out your own path, finding what works for you, and trying your damndest to make it to tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to explore various treatments, medications, and methods to treat your illness. You may often surprise yourself.

Signs of Hope

Signs of hope are everywhere. Hope is always present. Sometimes we have to search for it but it is always there.

It has been about two and a half months since the last time I wrote.

Since the last time I wrote, the world changed…

and asked me to stay home.

I isolated for years before it was cool. I practiced the “safer at home” way of life before it was a thing, before it was the respectful thing to do, before we were told to do it to protect ourselves from the Corona virus.  I was a pro.

I have been staying home for over two months now and am ready (most of the time) to be with people (most people). I need (most) people but at the same time I am also nervous to go out into the world. I fear meeting, to me ignorant and selfish people, who refuse to wear a facemask. I think wearing a face mask adds a layer of protection for all of us and I believe face masks represent a symbol of love, care and respect for other people in the world. I worked very hard to be alive and staying healthy. It is my time to shine and live a good life. I am ready for it and will do anything and everything to make that happen. I do not want to get sick with the Corona virus.

Last week I was finally allowed to see my beautiful nine month old granddaughter Leora again.  She is my greatest joy and love and has my heart.

Before the Corona virus happened I began doing my art again and preparing handmade items to sell at a local craft show, for the first time in my life. I was busy creating art and was enjoying it tremendously. Of course because of Covid 19, my craft show got cancelled, so I opened up an Etsy shop and began the long process of putting my art on Etsy.

One day, I got an email from Etsy asking people to make masks.  Well, I can sew so this was a no brainer. I began googling tutorials on how to best make masks and as they say, the rest is history.

I’ve been sewing masks for people in my family, for local people and for people on Etsy now since the end of March. I have sold 134 masks on Etsy and made approximately $2000. I have also sold over 70 masks for family, friends and other people locally. Some of those were sold for a lower fee than my Etsy orders and many I make for free.

This has been my part-time job since the end of March and I have been making the limit that SSDI allows. I can only keep my Etsy store open for a few days before I have to remove my mask listings because I get too many orders for the month. It has been a blessing for me financially that is for sure. It has also been a fantastic distraction as I stay inside following the safer at home guidelines.

My mental health has been okay. It has been fantastic many days, but other days I must work hard to stay mentally and physically healthy. It is difficult for me to know what is normal. Maybe this is how it is for most people during this difficult time. Overall, I am doing well.

I am always so very thankful that God has given me another chance at life–to live my life to the fullest. He has given me the opportunity to make my children proud of me which is my greatest goal.

After people do not need my masks anymore, I pray I can sell other items on Etsy. So, when my mask making slows down I plan to make and list many more items.

One of my goals is to have a large listing of items for mental health recovery with inspirational cards, magnets and buttons and much more. I have a few items like that and have more to add when I get time. Currently, I have most listings as downloadable prints and cards for $2.00 or $3.00 each. Please check it out if you would like.

The name of my Etsy shop is… Signs of Hope and More. If you are on the Etsy page (Etsy.com) just type SignsofHopeandMore with no spaces and it will bring you to my store or here is the direct link…

http://www.etsy.com/shop/SignsofHopeandMore

I used Adobe Illustrator to make my logo and banner. I took a class over ten years ago and taught myself how to do it again and am still learning–trying to get better.

If you visit my shop you will notice the masks are not currently there as I had to remove them temporarily until I catch up. I have bout 20 masks to make locally and then I will finally be caught up again and will list my masks again.

You can find a few mental health recovery downloadable prints. As I mentioned I will try to add more very soon and will let you know when I do. Here are a couple samples.

recovery pink cardrecovery circle purple

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Here are samples of some of my masks. If you need a mask let me know and I will try to work something out for you.

 

I am also finally ready to self publish my completed memoir. For those of you that have been following me, you might know that I attempted to publish my memoir the old fashioned way. After one traditional publishing company was interested in my manuscript and asked me to send my entire manuscript to them I was over the moon excited about it. They declined publishing my memoir but gave me ideas of how to improve it, so I diligently rewrote my memoir and resubmitted my memoir back to them and also to a few other publishers. I decided I would give it one more try the traditional route.

They declined my memoir but am happy I gave it very best shot. I worked hard on it and now I am totally ready to self publish.

If anyone can help me self publish my book and has advice for the best route to take I would be very appreciative. I can’t spend a fortune as I do not have one. lol.

In your opinions, who is the best self publisher out there? I am open to any help I can get.

The title of my book is: SHAME ATE MY SOUL. It is titled that because you know what? Shame did eat my soul but I got it back and I am still fighting to live a happy, productive and love-filled life and stay mentally and physically healthy.

Recovery is possible. I am living proof. You too can be the living proof. Let’s all keep fighting and be THE LIVING PROOF.

Today I have my first appointment with my psychiatrist over the phone. I am a little nervous for it for some reason. It is in about an hour.

If you have read my many words, you are amazing and I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Stay safe, be well and be kind.

By the way I hope you visit my Etsy shop and like it and…

if you need some hope…

you will find it at…

Signs of Hope and More.

Seriously though I always hope your days are filled with hope, love and peace.

Much love always,

Sue

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope 

Learn to Love Yourself in the Alone Time

I have spent the last several months going to work and going home. Not much socializing. Sometimes once a month I would go out if invited to something. I was trying to save money. And I was trying to work on myself. I went to counseling and did other activities to pull myself out of depression. I don’t have insurance so that was the best I could do. I remember feeling alone often. I looked for ways to stay busy and distract myself from how I felt. I wished I could afford to go out and spend time with even one person.

As I was getting to a better place with my finances, the pandemic happened. Everything shut down. I lost a lot of work. Other than concerns for my income, my daily routine didn’t change much. I couldn’t read a book at a coffee shop, but I could live without that. I had grown more comfortable with myself and didn’t mind the alone time. I still feel alone but it doesn’t bother me as much. I’ve grown to a place where I enjoy cooking again. I read more. I write fiction more. My creative ideas are never ending.

During the pandemic, there were videos of celebrities feeling upset during social distancing. This reminded me of how I felt. I realized there wasn’t anything wrong with me or how I felt. We were all reacting in a normal way to isolation. I hope people are discovering new things about themselves. If you’re bored during isolation, you need new hobbies. If you’re alone and uncomfortable, you need to love yourself and enjoy your own company. We all should set time aside to be alone. It’s important to our wellbeing. Find your happiness in the alone time.

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.

The Re-release of “The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir”

I have been working on getting back to this point. I am announcing that once again, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is finally available to buy once again on Amazon!

Working on getting my memoir republished all has been a humbling experience. So many hurdles came with republishing my memoir, but I learned a lot throughout the tribulations of these experiences. It is the same with being Bipolar–it is a learning experience. That is the essence of my book!

I will link to my author page below. If you purchased the first version of this book, you would notice that there is a different cover now. I wanted a fresh start with the cover design. I have put my book on Amazon in print and digital, if you want to purchase my book, please do from my author website page because there is a digital version of the old book still on Amazon. There are some old copies in print too, but those will not be under my name. I hope that the end of the week, the other digital copy from my publisher, finally takes off their edition. It takes time. Please purchase my with the cover above with the raven. I will be setting up some special offers for the re-release on Amazon!

Please purchase my memoir from my author website here!

Always Keep Fighting

James

So Many…

There are so many men and women out there during this pandemic, waiting, longing and eager to send their friends, partners and parents flowers.

So they waited a long time to show these flowers how pretty and wonderful these people are. But they have to wait a little longer…

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Sending you angel love and blessings.

Love, Francesca.

Asian Culture and The Stigma of Mental Illness

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

I am a Hapa–I am Asian mixed with something else.

I am a mixed breed if you will. I am Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, German, and Irish (as far as I know, according to my mom.) One thing I learned before my diagnosis and after is that there was a significant stigma within Asian culture when it comes to mental illness.

My parents were shocked, having never faced something like a mental illness head-on like when my diagnosis became first schizoaffective disorder and then Bipolar One at twenty-two. Even my grandfather, who is full Filipino, never really understood what was going on with me. He tried to understand, but the truth is that in his culture, mental illness is not something you discuss. Even more so, my grandfather, on the other side, I will not say which, never got diagnosed, but given my history and how he was, mental illness was something you deal with in any way. I firmly believe that he might have been Bipolar. Same with others in my family. You pick yourself up and keep going–mental illness be damned.

The unfortunate side effect of what I like to call cultural differences is that it feeds the stigma. I have met so many people from all walks of life, and the stigma is real everywhere. However, in Asian culture, it is generally not talked about because mental illness is not something that is openly talked about in the culture. Many of my fellow followers from Asian countries have reached out asking about how I deal with this, and it was recently it came up again.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

What is comes down to, in my opinion, is that Asian cultures value the family very heavily as a unit. Asian culture emphasizes where each member belongs in the family. It can be a shame to put your family through something like having to deal with a mental illness. Instead, mental illness is swept under the rug by never talking about it, especually in our older generations.

Many Asian cultures are highly religious, and they tend to believe that things like mental illness can be taken away by a simple prayer. Please do not take my words as a slight. I believe in God, but in my experience, prayers are good, but they do not help with the actual issues that come with dealing daily with a mental illness. There is a more deep-seated stigma of shame associated with Asian culture. With that said, I think there is a real change happening in the younger generations, and with anything, it takes time. Above all, we, as individuals within our Asian culture, need to be proactive and educate ourselves.

I had personally dealt with this growing up when my mental illness came up during my teenage years. There was a level of shame, and I knew that even talking about the idea of mental illness was not something that happened. So I never talked about my issues. Ever. Not to my mom, dad, or grandparents. I let it feed into my life. I never sought help until I was downright suicidal and tried to take my life. Even then, it was three years and two more suicides before I was able to admit I had a mental illness. When it stared me in the face, I denied that something was wrong. I don’t want that to happen. Mental health advocates talk about the stigma for a reason because it is real. If you think there is something wrong, never feel like you can’t seek help.

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

I want to end this with hope because I am here with a plethora of experience in dealing with this area. It is okay if your parents do not understand that your anxiety and depression are real. Talk to them. My parents eventually understood my illness by educating themselves, and it came with me living this life every day. The ups and downs are a part of the package, and maybe they will understand someday. But you have to work on you.

That is so important in this mental illness life. Self-love first is so important. Never feel alone because I will always be here. Email from the website or go to my home page, where you will find my number and text me. I will even figure out other methods for people to contact me and discuss this topic or any that you want to talk about because I am always here.

With that said, stay strong in these strange times of social isolation and always know there are so many others like yourself.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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.

Chapter Sixteen – The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir

To allow people into my book. I am releasing a few chapters here on my blog, as well as my author website, where you can also find blog posts here. This chapter chronicles the “lost years” just after my diagnosis of Bipolar One. You can purchase my book on Amazon here.

Chapter Sixteen: The Lost Year of The Bipolar Writer

THE FIRST THREE YEARS of my diagnosis are what I consider the lost years of my life. There were so many things that went wrong in these years. If I am honest, these years set me back in my mental health recovery. I sometimes hate that my mind wonders to how different I could have been without these lost years. If I had accepted that I was Bipolar and believed that things could change. I don’t know where I would be, but that is a false equivalency, because these years made me better.

I realize what I went through during those lost years, is why things are better now. It took me years to realize this truth. I struggled, went through hell, but somehow, I made it through. It was about a week after my last suicide attempt, when I had just gone through several seizures that I realized my life had to change. When I was laying in that hospital bed, I realized I wasted three years of life. I didn’t really exist in the real world, only the world that I created.

My lost years. I will never get them back. No matter how much I look at the past. I am in a better place in the last three years then the first three in my diagnosis.

In these “lost years,” as I am fond of referencing them as, I was so lost. I couldn’t tell you what day of the week or month it was most days. It was even worse when trying to figure out the year. Time just passed me by, and so did everyone in my life. Isolation became my best friend and at times, I talked very little.

It was endless depression with very little peace. It was the darkest time in my life. My thoughts were often on the fringes of suicidal idealizations. I thought about all the ways I could die through suicide. I was a man without a purpose, or a will to live.

I remember less about the individual days during this time in my life. I spent most of it lying in bed, or on the couch watching movies. It was where I spent almost every second of my time. There were times where, I would play my video games, but the common thing was I was usually in bed.

At one point, I set up a makeshift desk that sat on my bed where I could place a television. I connected my Xbox 360, which always seemed to be on. I could play video games, and then switch to watching an endless supply of movies. I had a ginormous collection of movies on my external hard drive. I surrounded my bed with blankets, to give my living area an aura of complete darkness when I needed it. I rarely slept at night, preferring to rest after an extended 45-50 hour gaming and movie sessions. They always ended in the day for some reason.

I would take my Seroquel then, and sleep for 14 hours. The days meshed into a constant haze of sleep and endless depression. My thoughts were always dark. I didn’t care about life. I had a single light in my bed space. It was my own little self-made prison, but I reveled in the isolation. I would go days and weeks without leaving my dark space and days without showering. I loved my dark place, because it was mine and isolation along, with depression were my friends. What I failed to understand was that it was only making life worse.

I remember I had these goals. It seems stupid now, but back then, these goals were my everything. Any game that I would play, I had to get at least 75% of the Xbox achievements or more of game. For a long time, my score on Xbox live was at 89%. These things mattered in my life when nothing else did. I always remember this, because it was essential to be a real gamer to people. I remember how for a moment, when I could complete every achievement on a game, I felt a glimmer of feeling good about myself. These moments were fleeting.

I was a role-playing gamer. Being a gamer was all that mattered in my world in those first three years. I didn’t care if I ate that day. Or if I drank enough water. When I did eat, it was all the wrong things. I didn’t take care of myself those early years. If I am honest, I never thought I would make it to my twenty-fifth birthday. In some ways, I almost didn’t.

I only left my house when it was trips to the hospital or to see my psychiatrist every month. I remember going to the hospital one time for a severe panic attack. The nurses pumped me full of Ativan because my heart rate (which is always high I found out) wouldn’t go down. I remember this memory because of the nurses. They thought it was remarkable I was still awake given that they had given me so much Ativan. My life was a mess.

I lost so much in those early years. Life passed me by. I didn’t care about anything or anyone outside myself. It showed in the times that my parents had to drag me to the hospital at 2 am, and I didn’t care one bit about how this effected their days. I never once dawned on me that my parents were living in hell too. When these events happened, they still had to go out and work the next day. My family was always waiting for the next drama I would bring.

Most of the people in my life gave up on me. In those early years, I was on my own. Living but not living. No one came to visit with me or to hang out. I was in complete isolation from the world. I wasn’t interested in politics or what was the ‘in fad’ or who was famous. I lived as if there was no tomorrow. It was the only way I could keep my thoughts from spiraling out of control.

It didn’t always work. When I couldn’t distract myself enough, it would mean that it was going to be a bad night. My thoughts consumed me, and the only way to ease the emotional pain was to self-harm. Cutting on my arms became of a way for me to release all the emotional turmoil that tormented me daily.

The blood running down my arms was my release for the few hours that the physical pain would be the only thing on my mind. As time went on, I cut deeper. I stole razor blades and used them until they became dull against my skin. I could live with the physical pain any day. The emotional distress was hell every second of my existence so why not find a release?

Nights were always the hardest. I would cry silent tears, because I couldn’t figure out which way was up in my life. I felt lost and alone. I was alone. Those three years between my first suicide attempt in 2007, and my last were the worst ever. I didn’t live, not like I should have been living.

It became too much as the years pass me by. I never got better, only worse. Cutting became useless. The emotional pain that I put myself through was killing me. I wanted out of this life. What was the point of existing when you don’t live?

It came down to one day in June 2010, where I thought my life would end. But my story, it was just beginning. I didn’t know it at the time. That is how I lived my first three years of my diagnosis.

Always Keep Fighting

James Edgar Skye