An Update: My Mother’s Stroke

Writing Helps The Bipolar Writer Cope

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

My Mom’s GoFundMe page is here.

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

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

My GoFundMe Campaign

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

You can find my GoFundMe page for my mom here.

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

Always Keep Fighting

James

The Bipolar Writers Next Big Idea!

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

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

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

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

Always Keep Fighting

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

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

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A Decade That Changed Everything Part Two

This will end up a series that I will write in December 2019, as the decade comes to a close. I hope to share some wisdom now that my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is published and out in the world. Each will have some theme that I think is relevant to the idea of the last ten years. I imagine walking side by side that person I was at the start of the decade, he was a different James than the one now. He now has so much to share. This is part two.

Music is Life

If there is one important piece of wisdom that I can share with you is that in this mental illness life, music is everything! I can guarantee that there is a song for every situation that you may face, you might need to go outside your music genre you love to find it, but it really is out there, and it can mean the difference between feeling like the world is falling on your head and the feeling that life is not so bad.

My second piece of advice is that don’t get bogged down in one area of music because there are so many amazing pieces of music out there for you to find. Limiting your genre only limits you, and life is too short to not have good music in your life. I listen to music when I am writing, sitting in a coffee shop working on homework, or lying in bed, getting ready for sleep. All you need in this life is iTunes and a good set of headphones.

Here is a great example of a song from Avril Lavigne

Keep Holding On

I have this obsession with Korean culture especially the food and music, here is a song that always makes me smile from Girls Generation.

All My Love is For You

Sometimes songs are about hope, like this song from Crystalyne

Secret

Another song that offers hope that I love comes from Sara Bareilles.

Brave

I would not be doing what music I listen to without some Taylor Swift. I mean her music is perfect for writing.

Ours

One Last song just because its music, how about some Rachel Platten?

This is a small sample size of the list on my iTunes. These are all on my main playlist and there are a lot of indie rock. Okay one last one before the end of this blog post, this from Meg and Dia.

Depression and even anxiety suck, and music, for me, is a way to get through the hard parts. I can’t live a day without listening to music, and I can say with certainty that it has changed my life. I have always loved music, but over the last decade, it has been a staple in my life. Music is Life!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

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

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

How Publishing my Memoir Changed Everything

For those that don’t know, in November, my non-fiction book The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir was officially published and is now on Amazon (I will link at the end of the post.) To finally call myself a published author, was the most fantastic thing that I have achieved on this mental illness journey.

I have been lucky since my last suicide attempt. I got my bachelor’s degree, and I am working on my master’s. I started this fantastic blog. The biggest goal of my life was becoming an author. Now that I am published, I feel like things are truly falling into place in my life, and it feels incredible.

Now I feel like the other projects I am working on can finally move forward. The most pressing being my fantasy fiction novel and my novella, which will be the next two projects that I will be working on as both are in the stage of editing. I have so many ideas to take into 2020. I owe a lot of it to the people on this blog, both as contributors and followers.

Things are good for The Bipolar Writer, and we can only go up from here. I am a published author!!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

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

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

A Guest Blog Post – NooseGirl

This is a guest blog from a writer that calls herself NooseGirl. She asked me to share this blog post with my fellow bloggers. What is said in these guests posts are the position of the author and not James Edgar Skye or this blog. I allow each author to write in the way they feel comfortable when sharing as guests or contributors. You can find Noosegirl @ http://breathingwithanoose.com

A “Tool” of Fear

In 2014, my psychosis graciously went into remission and granted a brief 6 month period of sanity. During that time, I was able to return to my former approach to living life and enjoy all my old interests and activities. It was during this period of stabilized sanity that my favorite band announced a pop-up tour. 

I am a devoted, typical Tool fan. Tool is an “art rock” group that realized most of their success in the late ’90s to mid-2000s. Ideal Tool fans tend to be extremely passionate, almost to the point of obsession over the band’s members, music, and lyrics. Collectively, Tool fans can exhibit such enthusiasm and fierce devotion that is reminiscent of a cult-like following.

Somewhat obscure, Tool doesn’t interview, release new music, or go out on tour frequently. Many speculate that aging has weakened the once powerful lead singer’s voice, and health-related issues are also suspected to decrease their visibility. 

When Tool announces that they are going on tour, it’s a big deal! Tickets sell out instantly, leaving scalpers as the only option from which to purchase a ticket. Fans are left to pay a steep price that reflects the rarity and coveted nature of the event. 

So when I learned Tool would be performing an hour and a half away from me in Hershey, PA, I jumped at the opportunity to treat myself and splurged $400 on a ticket. I was ecstatic and excitedly began counting down the days to the concert. It was about one month away.

By the time the date rolled around for the concert, my life had dramatically changed. Tragically, my sanity had once again become impaired, and all of the old delusions were back. This time, because it wasn’t a new experience, what I once considered as suspicion was now firmly replaced with neurotic conviction.

I assumed my brief respite from government interference was because I secret assignment had been aborted or redirected. But clearly, I was wrong because “Weirdness” (my pet name for all of the undercover agents that followed me) was back. Now I realize that the period of their absence was simply a restorative break. My case had now been returned back to active status. 

Weirdness’s return bolstered my confidence and understanding of how controlling and manipulating the government was in my life. I was surer than ever that Weirdness permeated every aspect and detail of my life. I no longer held faith that anyone or anything that I randomly encountered was real. 

Everything was masterminded. All had been engineered. I now viewed my life as a giant movie set filled with people that were actually actors. Each actor chose to play carefully designed roles refined and sharpened to manipulate and influence me.

Arriving at the Tool concert, I was full-blown psychotic. The environment delivered an overwhelming assemblage of “weird people” or actors and secret agents. They assembled and circulated all around me, each one purposefully placed to manage and deliver coded instructions.

The profusion of secret messages in the crowd was staggering. There were messages on their t-shirts, in their hairstyles, and incorporated into their jewelry. I even managed to detect the delivery of information in food toted around by the crowd. The continuous stream of data, directives, and commentary, was an absolute and endless assault on my overloaded and exhausted mind.

By the time the concert started, I was a complete mess replete with confusion, exasperation, and resent. Here I was at a long-awaited show of my favorite band, and I was miserable. It was impossible to enjoy the experience. There were just too many messages, too many secret agents. I was powerless to stop any of it. Reluctantly, I entered the arena and took my seat.

As the concert began, I tried to join in and get into the music. I attempted to stand and sing along, but my mind teamed with racing thoughts of government control and interference. I began over-analyzing the music deciding that there was something “off” about it. Ultimately, I convinced myself that it really wasn’t Tool that was performing. . . just imposters.

To confirm my suspicions, I decided to rush the stage and get a better glimpse of the band. I made it almost 6 rows away from the scene, but the security guards stopped me and sent me back to my seat. Their denial of access confirmed my suspicions. And, more shockingly, I had figured out an elaborate sham. That wasn’t Tool on stage. It was a group of government agents performing their music. They had used a fake Tool band as a lure to confine me in a crowded arena environment. It was a trap. And I knew I needed to get out before they captured me.

So in an unnerved and exasperated dash to the door . . I LEFT  . . . 

  • I left my favorite band and a rare performance
  • I left after only 3 songs
  • I left my $400 seat.
  • I left feeling defeated by frustration, confusion, and fear
  • I left overflowing with all-encompassing anger
  • But most importantly, I went with the satisfaction of knowing that this secret-society-government-sex cult had planned to abduct me and I had outsmarted them . . . this time anyway

Leading by Example

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It was pointed out to me recently that this blog runs best when I am active as a writer and participant. Lead by example, and there is some truth to that statement.

I will admit that over the last few months with my novel writing, my graduate work, my freelance work, and getting my memoir published took up all my time. I thought that this blog was functioning well enough that I could take a step back, and it worked for a while. Still, over November 2019, we had the lowest number of articles published on this blog, nine. Even in this blog’s infancy, the first full month of this blog saw twenty-three articles written by me.

This blog, when it was in its highest peak, turned out eighty articles in a single month and saw an average of sixty articles a month. I would write a few blog posts a week myself, and of course, my fantastic ensemble of contributor writers added so much depth in the area of mental health advocacy and sharing mental illness stories.

My point is things have to change, and it starts with me. I want to end the decade for the Bipolar Writer Collaborative Blog to end on a high note and begin the new year and the new decade on the right note. I will be making an effort to write at least two blog posts a week. There are so many topics that need to be talked about again.

For my current contributors I would challenge each and every one of you to share an update or a new blog post that talks about the new challenges or even old challenges surrounding your mental illness/mental health. Let’s continue to do what we all set out to do on this blog, end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

For my current contributors, I would challenge each and every one of you to share an update or a new blog post that talks about the unique challenges or even old challenges surrounding your mental illness/mental health. Let’s continue to do what we all set out to do on this blog, end the stigma surrounding mental illness. This blog is not just my legacy, but also yours.

Image by Elias Sch. from Pixabay

The other part of this blog post is an open invitation to new contributors that want to add their voice to this blog. If you want to be a part of this fantastic and safe place for mental illness/mental health advocacy, then please contact me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com. I am open to allowing an increase of new vices and ideas. One thing I have learned on this journey is that everyone has a story.

This month I will be updating my followers on some new and exciting projects for 2020 that includes a new book idea and a podcast. With that said, always remember to stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

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

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

A Guest Blog Post – NooseGirl

This is a guest blog from a writer that calls herself NooseGirl. She asked me to share this blog post with my fellow bloggers. This is a guest blog from a writer that calls herself NooseGirl. She asked me to share this blog post with my fellow bloggers. What is said in these guests posts are the position of the author and not James Edgar Skye or this blog. I allow each guest author to write in the way they feel comfortable when sharing as guests or contributors. You can find NooseGirl here: http://breathingwithanoose.com

A Week in the Mental Health Ward

By my third year of living alongside acute, pervasive psychosis, I had sufficiently conditioned myself enough to mask my internal worries. Able to convincingly conceal my constant fear of government abduction, I searched for and successfully secured a new job. I accepted the Director of Sales & Marketing position for a new hotel opening up in downtown Baltimore. 

Daily, I plastered insincere charm and confidence over my dread and discomfort and performed as expected. It was a typical corporate office environment and I was able to numbly execute the duties of staff meetings, sales lunches, and budget reviews. Unbeknownst to my employer and coworkers, I was also enduring some of the most intense and distressing episodes of inescapable, intense psychosis.

While I believed my delusions were 100% real, I never revealed them to casual friends, coworkers, or acquaintances. I limited my frank and honest concerns about secret agents and sex cults to my boyfriend, a select few family members, and some of the doctors I encountered during hospitalizations. Unless you were included in that limited group of people, you would never know I was suffering through immense emotional angst.

Believing that my boyfriend was a secret agent and assigned as my guardian, partner, and influencer created a very stressful environment. I equated the arrangement to the act of sleeping with my enemy. I believed he had the influence and power to reveal the truth, stop the constant surveillance, and curtail the coded messaging. 

I would often lash out, demanding that he redirect “the assignment,” and order “his people” back off. Invariably, he would deny all accusations of association with a secret society, shadow government, or covert mission. His insistence of innocence only served to infuriate me.

Unable to secure an admission of his involvement would often escalate the intensity of my anger. Often, I would unleash my frustrations, confusion, and animosity at him. I would rail at him for the inhumane government plot to breed and brainwash children like myself. I would throw and break things. I would rail at the indignity of perpetual manipulation even after I had clearly uncovered the truth. I raged that everyone involved in “my case” held tight to their secret identities. I erupted with resentment that “Weirdness” would not directly communicate with me, instead electing the obscure and cryptic method of secret messaging.  My ranting was vicious, unrelenting, and could border on violent.

Sometimes, in my fury, I would try to run away. My boyfriend would have to block and restrain me, determined to protect me from roaming downtown Baltimore in a reckless, unstable rage. The fiery battle for truth could extend into hours. This memory is from one of these explosive and erratic days.

I can not remember why or how we came to find ourselves in this particular heated and emotional argument. But, after a couple of hours of intense screaming, scratching, and attempts to flee the apartment, somehow, my boyfriend had located a psychiatrist in the neighborhood that was immediately available to meet with us.

Exhausted from the vicious arguing, I agreed that it might be a good idea to halt the fighting and pursue a calmer state. I was hopeful that the doctor could provide some type of mood-stabilizing or anti-anxiety medicine. So I calmed down and agreed to go. But although I seemingly transformed my demeanor, inside I was still seething with resentment and enmity.

In the doctor’s office, my anger resurfaced upon detecting coded messages throughout the doctor’s interaction with me. I promptly flew into a frenzy. I did not hold back my unshakable conviction that the doctor was also “part of it.” 

I began to berate her. I began to scream. I perched on the edge of her desk, slamming my hand down and inching closer and closer to her. I tried to shame her, screaming at the top of my lungs . . .”How do you people live with yourself?!?!? . .. . how do you expect me to save the world when you are making it impossible for me to work and concentrate!?!?! . . . do you people just sit in a room and think of ways you can further fuck up my life and mind!?!?! . . .you are an evil fucking bitch . . you and all of your people!!!”

The doctor maintained a steady gaze and was very calm and stoic throughout my tirade. She only reached her hand towards her phone, never breaking eye contact, and slowly picked up the receiver. “NooseGirl, I am calling in some other people to help us. You are making me very uncomfortable right now. Try to calm down.”

Within minutes, 3 very large uniformed armed guards walked into the room. They stood by the door as she explained to me and my boyfriend that she thought admittance into the hospital would be a good idea. She explained that the calm, controlled environment of the “behavioral health unit” along with a carefully prescribed treatment of medications could offer supportive surroundings designed to improve emotional stability and a return to comfortable normalcy. I continued to protest, but ultimately, between she, my boyfriend and the calm, friendly disposition of the guards, my tirade ceased. As I agreed to hospitalization and signed the papers to self admit, everyone, relaxed and exhaled a collective sigh of relief.

This drama rolled out on a Thursday or Friday, During the hospitalization, if I took any time off at all, it would have only been one sick day. My weekend in the behavioral health unit was spent watching tv, making crafts, reading books, attending group therapy and taking closely monitored medication. While the experience did not cure my psychosis, it did allow me to de-stress and calm down. The therapeutic visit provided an unplanned “staycation.”

I was released on Sunday night and back to work on Monday morning. I was all smiles, professionalism, (and as the sales & marketing leader) unrelenting team cheerleader. My job included internal PR so I was constantly engaging with and offering inspiration to employees with the intent of raising their self-confidence, their sense of ownership, and empowering them to perform with pride for our new business. I was Miss GoTeam all the way.

And just like the prior 3 years of living and working in psychosis, no one knew the hidden truth. No one suspected the depth and pain of my internal struggles. No one had an inkling that I passed the weekend away in a hospital mental ward. And no one would have ever fathomed that I believed the entire business was a government front and that most of the employees were secret agents. 

No one knew anything . . .  they just knew I was smart, funny, inspiring NooseGirl.

Celebrating Another Milestone on The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Blog

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Even with the slowdown in blog posts on The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog, we have reached another fantastic milestone, and it is all because of the amazing followers on this blog!

13,000 total followers!

I am amazed at the things this blog has done over the years. I think 2020 will be the best ever!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

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

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

10 Things The Bipolar Learned This Decade PT. 1

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This will be a series that will run during the month of December 2019 as we head into the New Year. This is part one.

What a decade it has been for me. At the beginning of the decade I was severely depressed and suicidal. 2010 was the year of my last suicide and the year I decided that my life was going to change. Here are somethings that I learned about myself and the wisdom that came from my experiences.

  1. I am a stronger person than I ever gave myself credit. At the beginning of this decade, I almost died in my last suicide attempt, My doctors basically said it was a coin flip that I would live. Yet, here I am alive, active, and always working on my mental health.
  2. This mental illness life is messy, and that is okay. I have been through many depression cycles over the last ten years. Some have lasted for months and some for days or weeks. It can be messy, but I always come out stronger in the end.
  3. It’s okay to not be okay. This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way, but the truth is everyone learns it in this mental illness life.
  4. Antidepressants are not for me. In 2018 I got off antidepressants after changing them at least twice a year since 2007. I really believe that I am better off without them as my depression cycles are slowly becoming less controlling as I fight it on my own.
  5. Take a mental health day at least once a week. I learned this lesson also the hard way. It is possible to overwhelm yourself in this life, that is the truth of it. I am famous for overworking myself because I feel the years I lost, I have to make up for by working too much. Life is too short. Enjoy it. Travel. Plan things. Do things. It is easy to get into the habit of isolating yourself from society. I know I have done it and still do when my anxiety is high.
  6. Life is too short! Don’t get bogged down in the ways your mental illness is keeping you from living. You will drive yourself crazy with anxiety with this line of thinking.
  7. Change does not happen overnight. It took me years to get to a point where I could go back to school. I had to relearn to be human again with a mental illness. I wanted things to change so bad fast that I set myself back a few times before I got myself together. Take the good with the bad with your mental illness.
  8. There is always hope on the other side. It sounds cliche, I know, but there is so much wisdom in the idea that there is hope on the other side. I am living proof. I wanted to die, and now I am a published author, and I am a graduate student. Life will come back to you even when it feels hopeless.
  9. Anxiety can take over your life. If you let it, anxiety can take you to as dark of places as depression. You make the choices in life.
  10. Never be afraid to tell your story…even if it is eventually down the road. It took me years to be ready to write my experiences on this blog and in my memoir. If you can, share your experience. You might save a life.

I hope this helps shed some light over my last decade. Besides these lists I will be writing daily about things that I have learned and maybe expand on the ideas in this list. As always, stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

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

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir – Book Release on Amazon

The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir by James Edgar Skye

The day has finally come, the publishing of my memoir. It is called The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, and it is now available on Amazon both in print and in Kindle Edition.

This journey to share my experiences as a diagnosed Bipolar writer started here in 2017, with the creation of this blog. It was the fantastic people I met, who were willing to accept my story and share their own, that prompted me to write my memoir. I worked tirelessly for a year, coming up with ideas, the direction the memoir would go, its overall design, and, eventually, the completion of a first draft.

After its completion, I didn’t know if it would ever be seen by others. I considered self-publishing, and I was well on my way down that route when I found Eliezer Tristan Publishing. Together they helped me become a published writer. This memoir meant a lot to me, and to finally see its completion, it a life-long dream realized.

You will find within its pages my story not written in linear form but rather in chapters of different thoughts, ideas, and parts of my life. You can go to any chapter and read it, and it will be enlightening. You can read it straight through and still learn about my experience with a mental illness.

You will find the link to my Amazon author page throughout this post where you can purchase my book. It would be an honor. If you can, please share this blog post on your own blog, not just for me, but so that together, we can share one experience in mental health in hopes of helping others and ending the stigma. Thank you, everyone, who has been waiting patiently for the release of this book. Much love,

James Edgar Skye

Always Keep Fighting

The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir by J,E, Skye

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