Being Invalidated by a Bad Apple

Abuse is present in all kinds of relationships: from personal to professional, from sexual to medical, where ever there are humans, abuse exists. Unfortunately, no one is safe from experiencing it in any of its forms, especially in regards to mental health. In my own mental health journey, I have been fortunate with my connections, but I know so many out there have not. I know no two instances are alike, and abuse can take many forms in this world. My most recent experience with it has prompted me to bring this story to light. It is raw, and possibly chaotic in nature, but it is where I am at right now.

I am a young woman, a wife, and a mother, who just so happens to be diagnosed with Bipolar II. This diagnosis has been following me around for over eleven years, and it is not something I take lightly. I want to feel okay and happy. I want to feel normal, and if medication and therapy are required for this to happen, then so be it. I am worth the extra effort. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but I have never felt as if my team against me…until a few weeks ago. 

Back in August, my husband and I agreed we would start trying for baby #2, but I knew this meant I needed to get things prepped for my mental health ahead of time. When I was pregnant with my son, I struggled – because there was no safe medication for me to take at the time. Last year, my then psychiatrist told me if I was going to get pregnant again, there were options this time around. He knew me and knew intimately about what happened to me when I was pregnant. No one wanted to go through that again. 

Unfortunately, due to family circumstances on his end, he left, and I was given to someone new. He seemed nice and agreed to go off my previous doctor’s notes on my condition for starters and adding his own as we got to know each other. I saw no problem with this sentiment and was willing to give him the chance despite my hesitation because I was thrown to someone new so suddenly.  

As time progressed, I tried to trust him, but something always felt off and awkward with him. Sometimes a comment he made drew question marks in my head, but I brushed it off because we weren’t sitting face to face because of COVID. We only talked on the phone. Sometimes it was a ten-minute call, sometimes it was three minutes, but I felt we were on the same page.  

Before my husband and I talked about getting pregnant, I knew I wanted a game plan in place. I wanted time to get used to new meds and adjust as needed. My psychiatrist was an instrumental part in this plan, so setting up an appointment to discuss my options non-negotiable. Per instructions by my previous doctor and my own research, I already had an idea of what I needed, but I had to bring it up with my prescriber to get it. Simple and straightforward, right? WRONG! 

When the words of “trying to get pregnant” and “what are your suggestions” left my lips, the atmosphere of the conversation changed. Keep in mind, I have been diagnosed by four different psychiatrists, over the course of about sixteen years, that I have Bipolar II. I have been on the appropriate medication for that diagnosis for eleven years, and when I am consistent with taking the medication, I am stable.  

This man had the gall to let “Bipolar II is just a theory” and “many women find the symptoms go away during and after pregnancy” leave his pathetic lips. Despite me bringing up the recommended medication and explaining what happened the last time I was pregnant, he ignored me. Now, I refused to leave this session empty-handed, so he gave me two medications for “as needed” irritability and depression, low dosages with the possibility of increases. I am Bipolar, not irritable. 

I assumed this was better than nothing and began tapering my medication as designed and filled the prescriptions. After several days, I found I had to start taking more than the ‘low dosages’ to have any sort of effect, and I hit a major side-effect wall. I could either feel like I was drunk all day or be depressed. Since I work full-time and must be mentally sharp, I stopped taking the meds. I gave them less than 2 weeks, but they were not working in any capacity as he said they would.  

My therapist was appalled at his words but brushed them off when I spoke to her about it. She looked up my file and found he had not written anything he said to me, in my file (why would he?). Though she did not convince me directly, I put in a request to transfer psychiatrists the next day. Never have I ever been invalidated by a medical professional to my face like that, and even though I am struggling now because of him, I won’t let him win. 

Need Help? Go On and Ask for It

Mental illness sucks.

That’s the summation of my thoughts, usually after a depressive spiral. It’s what I think when a good friend loses a job because of a schizophrenic episode. It’s my answer when another friend hits the low part of his bipolar cycle. It’s the phrase I mutter in response to people’s suicidal thoughts, lack of desire to do anything, or expressions of overall sadness.

Not only do we all experience the side effects of our mental issues, we also get no support whatsoever from our own minds. When enveloped in the venom of negative thoughts that mental illness supplies, we hear things like:

You’re a terrible person …with specific reasons.

No one likes you …complete with names.

Whatever you try fails …including examples.

No one can help you. No one wants to help you.

All of these Wormtongue-spoken messages are not true. In fact, the last one is the most not-true. There are plenty of people who can help. Heck; there are strange people who voluntarily went to school and paid a lot of money in order to listen to others’ mental health problems all day.

Weirdos.

I speak of counselors or therapists. I speak of psychologists. To some extent, I speak of psychiatrists as well. They have all chosen a career, voluntarily, to listen to crazy people like you and me.

Uh-oh: negative-thought brain is talking again:

They don’t really want to help you. They’re just doing it for their job …with examples of friends or relatives who’ve complained about a bad experience.

It’s impossible to find one who’ll be good …with reasons why your issues are a special case.

You can’t afford a counselor …with a list of your expenses.

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Guess what, brain! They really do want to help you. Granted, there must be therapists who are terrible. There must be some who are in it for the money. If you ask around and/or read online reviews, however, you’re likely to weed out the bad ones. After all, these weirdos did choose their job. In my experience, they did so because they wanted to help people.

Plus, the costs might be manageable. Depending on where you live, some of those strange people who can and want to help are cheap or free. Some are covered by job insurance plans, others by government programs, and still others by ecclesiastical assistance.

Don’t be afraid to ask around, get a good listening ear, and get going on your life!

You are important. You are worth any cost.

I promise.

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Photo Credit: Pexels
Matheus Ferrero
Dan Meyers

To Stay on Meds, or Not to Stay on Meds

That is the question.

The age-old question that every mental illness suffer will face in this life, will I be on these medications forever?

I am not a medical professional and all medication changes need to be through your doctor.

I wish I could say that medication is not forever, but there is no cure for mental illness, and there is a good chance that you and I will always be on some form of medication unless they find a cure. Yes, some people in the mental illness community have found success getting off medication, but they all turn to alternatives like marijuana (which makes sense if that works for you.) But, medication has its place in mental health. It is just the truth of it, almost twelve years in this mental illness life for me, and the only medication I have successfully gotten off on is anti-depressants. Medication can be the best and worst thing. I have been through just about every anti-depressant in the market, and yet they always stop working, eventually.

That is not to say that I am not making plans to begin to make changes and possibly get off some of the major medications in my life. It starts with talking with my doctor. Right now, I would love to find a way to get off Seroquel. It is the one medication that I see as the cause of a lot of nighttime anxiety. I am torn between the need, I can’t seem to sleep without the medication, and the need to not have the side effects be a major part of my life.

The Struggle to Stay on Medication

When they say the struggle is real, they might have been talking about the mental illness struggle to stay on medication.

What I struggle with is do the side effects outweigh the effectiveness of the medication. I often turn to my Seroquel because it is my main struggle medication. The positives are that it is effective as an antipsychotic medication, and it is the only thing that has been effective as a sleep aid.

The downsides of Seroquel are plenty. I take a max dosage, so in the mornings it can take up to hours to fully wake up. It takes two to three hours to get to sleep. It causes me nighttime anxiety, and while not always, it is more often than not. It affects me throughout my day because of the high dosage. The worse part is there is no alternative according to my psychiatrist, and it makes me feel worse more than making me feel better.

This life that we were given will never be easy. There is a good chance that you will struggle with one of your medications, and there might now always be an answer to the question: “to stay on medication, or not stay on medications.” That is something each one of us must answer for ourselves. Stay active in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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A New Bipolar Writer Blog Milestone

12,000 Followers on The Bipolar Writer Blog

I always celebrate the significant milestones of the Bipolar Writer blog. I know I am not around as much, but I wanted to say The Bipolar Writer blog has reached the 12,000 followers milestone!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone following this blog and keeping it going. To my contributors, thank you for being there even when I can not by creating valuable mental health content. Let us celebrate our mental health advocacy, mental illness, and mental health recovery wellness.

Always Keep Fighting

James, and the Contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog

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Writing Topics for June

It has been a struggle to keep up writing new content for The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog. With my hectic schedule with my graduate courses, my freelance work, and my writing projects there is just not enough time to do everything that I want to get done. I want to change this narrative.

So, this blog post is asking what type of new content would you like to see on this blog. It can me anything mental related and I will make sure that I write good post. So leave your ideas in the comments.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Official Launch of the James Edgar Skye Patreon Account

It was always the goal for me to write full-time. It has always been a dream of mine to be financially stable enough to write full-time. I have been a struggling writer for a long time, and my experiences with my mental illness have been shared here so many times here on my blog. I do struggle holding down a full-time job and my work with freelance has been up and down. With the change of medication, and the fact that I am feeling much better it is time to officially launch my Patreon account.

Become a Patron!

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a way for artists like me to connect to my readers in a real way, and at the same time, it offers tiers for special offers that keep you in the loop of what I am working on a the moment.

This is the official look at what a Patreon account looks like: Patreon is a crowdfunding membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service, with ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or “patrons”.

Become a Patron!

What does it Mean for J.E.?

If I can get my Patreon account going, it means a lot of things. The first is working on my current writing projects full-time and have enough money to hire a top-tier copy editor, so that when I self-publish The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir it is the best possible product. It will give me the time to create a book about the members of the mental illness community beyond just my memoir. I want to start a podcast that will show the many phases of mental ilness and people’s experience.

Once I meet my goals, I will be able to offer merchandise and, of course, copies of my books. I can do so many great things for the mental illness community. There are so many great things I can accomplish. The lowest tier is $2 and $5. I know I have asked a lot of the mental illness community of late and this is just something I have good feeling inside my heart

If you can help that would be amazing. I am genuinely in awe of people in the mental illness community. If you have questions about how to sign up and join a tier please reach out. It can be a confusing process.

Update: I got my first three patrons. I am really excited.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Become a Patron!

Patreon & Changes

The best thing in this mental health life is that you can always turn the page on your mental illness.

I recently dealt with an impressive mixed episode throughout two very rough days, but the sun always comes up, and I take comfort in that reality.

Something New… Patreon

That brings me to something I have been working on all week and I want to officially launch it on The Bipolar Writer blog–my official Patreon account.

http://www.patreon.com/jamesedgarskye

Here is what Patreon is according to their Website:


For creators
, Patreon is a way to get paid for creating the things you’re already creating (webcomics, videos, songs, whatevs). Fans pay a few bucks per month OR per post you release, and then you get paid every month, or every time you release something new. Learn more about becoming a creator on Patreon.

For patrons, Patreon is a way to join your favorite creator’s community and pay them for making the stuff you love. Instead of literally throwing money at your screen (trust us, that doesn’t work), you can now pay a few bucks per month or per post that a creator makes.  For example, if you pay $2 per video, and the creator releases 3 videos in February, then your card gets charged a total of $6 that month.  This means the creator gets paid regularly (every time she releases something new), and you become a bonafide, real-life patron of the arts.  That’s right–Imagine you, in a long frilly white wig, painted on a 10-foot canvas on the wall of a Victorian mansion.  And imagine your favorite creators making a living doing what they do best… because of you.

http://www.patreon.com/jamesedgarskye

What Patreon Means to The Bipolar Writer?

My goal in my Patreon account is for me to connect with my followers to a point where they become a part of the experience. I have created tiers on my Patreon account that give a patron a level of access to my writing that has never before been seen.

I want to be able to write full-time, and this idea, using patrons that have access to my work monthly work through a subscription service can help me achieve some significant goals. The first goal is to pay for a legit editor for The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. I am going to self-publish, but I want this book to reach every person possible. That means releasing the best work possible.

A second goal for creating a Patreon account is to start new projects. I am planning on starting a mental health podcast with fellow advocate because she has very unique perspectives on her mental health. I want to be able to share the stories of others much like my interview series.

That leads me to the next goal, writing a book on different members of the community much like Humans of New York with a focus on the many faces of mental illness. There are so many more things I want to do to spread the word and end the stigma, and I think Patreon will allow me to reach these goals.

The most basic tier is $2. If half of the fantastic people here on The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog sign up, I can begin to reach new levels in my writing.

http://www.patreon.com/jamesedgarskye

Changes to The Bipolar Writer Blog

There have been some changes to the blog already in place. The business level allows me to add new tools to get our message out to a better audience.

I will admit, I am not the best at making everything work, so I am looking for someone with experience that can take the plug-ins that come with the business level and make everything better. There will be an upcoming store soon which the goal here is to help others sell their work through this blog (I am still working on this.) There will be changes in the coming weeks and I will keep you updated. Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

A Final Push – My GoFundme Campaign

I wanted to say first, thank you all to those who have already donated towards upgrading The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog to the business level. There have been some fantastic large donations and also amaing small donations that have brought us closer, but we are still not quite there–as of today we have made over 300 dollars, which is really amazing! I think this final push will help us finally achieve our goal.

Always Keep Fighting!

What is the Goal?

The next level. Upgrading The Bipolar Writer blog to the business level for the next year and a half. This will give the blog more options on getting the collaborative work out there into the world. I also want a place where authors can showcase and sell their work on here (I am working on how this will be possible.) At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to spread the stories and experiences of those in the mental illness blogging community with the world and end the stigma.

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

This blog has always been self-funded by my own money, but the community has also helped me with funding from time to time. Every penny that I raise is going towards this blog and spreading the many stories that feature on this blog. It takes just small donations (significant donations are also welcome) and with the 11,100 plus followers of this blog donating 2-3 dollars we can finally reach the goal! The final goal will be $425. 

You can also help my spreading the word by clicking the reblog button or sharing this blog post on twitter or facebook.

My GoFundme

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

There are other ways to donate

PayPal

This is another excellent way to donate, and to do so just press Pay with PayPal and you can choose to give a minimum of $2.00 (you can decide how much based on the number of donations, so 3 times would be 2 x 3 and you would donate six dollars.) 

Venmo – 831-287-4369

I don’t mind sharing my number (I have before several times in the past.)

That is it. I am hoping to raise enough money by this weekend. 

James Edgar Skye

Thank you! Another Milestone!

11,000 plus followers! What an amazing milestone!

It takes an amazing community to reach this level.

Another milestone down and what an amazing one it is, I want to say Thank you all. Conributors and followers of The Bipolar Writer blog make this all possible!

This blog has done a lot and reached so many people. I always celebrate these things because the mental health community is the best that I have had the pleasure to be a part of. We all fight the stigma together. Keep writing, and I will do the same. Stay strong!

Always Keep Fighting

James

My GoFundme Campaign

I am still raising money so that my blog can reach more people through the WordPress Business level. This blog is partially funded with my own money, but it takes a lot to take The Bipolar Writer to the next level. It means the content on this blog can reach more people and help end the stigma of mental illness. If you can please donate! It means the world to the contributors, followers and of course The Bipolar Writer.

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog&rcid=r01-155054779534-08c129e8ee14436f&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

What are Your Worst Mental Illness Symptoms

I feel better. My depression lessened over the weekend, and I have a good feeling about where the rest of February will go when it comes to the depressive episode being entirely over.

I have not felt this good since the first week of January. While thinking about what to write this week on my blog I came up with a question that I want to pose to the followers and contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog. Just a couple of questions.

Identify what you struggle with…

What are your worst symptoms?

How do you dea?

Feel free to leave your comments down below! Let us use this as a stepping stone to something great. Maybe it will inspire you to write a blog post!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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