10 Things That Help My Mental Health

More often than not, I struggle most days. I’m sure I pass for a normal adult. But sometimes I’m having a panic attack. Or every little noise makes me irritable. Every day has some amount of stress. The days I struggle with the normal stress are extra difficult. There are a few things I use as coping mechanisms to get me through most days. Sometimes I never leave my apartment and focus on a few of these things. I don’t think I could get by without this list. These are the things I need the most and sometimes don’t get enough.

1. Caffeine (Coffee/Tea)

It’s not uncommon for me to have several cups of coffee throughout the day. I’m trying to cut back by drinking tea in the evenings. As long as I get caffeine, I’m satisfied. Caffeine is a pain reliever. This is why I drink so much. If I’m not drinking coffee, I’m pills for pain relief. The pain is muscle aches. Hypertension. Even when I’m relaxed, I don’t feel relaxed. Caffeine doesn’t make the pain go away, but I don’t notice it as much. I also use the cup or mug as a barrier. I feel safer with that barrier between me and the world.

2. Quiet/Silence

Finding a quiet place is difficult sometimes. Noises don’t always bother me. On bad days, nowhere is quiet enough. Not even my home. Libraries are great if seats are open. Sometimes I must have my back to a wall to feel safe. Sometimes the ambience of a coffee shop is soothing. On the worst days, listening to other people talk is so irritating I can’t be in public. I struggle with friends who feel if I’m not talking that means I’m angry. Usually I need to warm myself up to interact with others. That usually takes a couple hours and a couple coffees.

3. Writing

Writing is one of my passions. I couldn’t survive without the written word. I can convey my thoughts and emotions in written form better than verbally. It’s my way to vent. I get all my emotions out. It prevents me from bottling up everything. It has also helped me work through many of my mental health issues. Sometimes comments from others going through similar situations is enough to help me stay positive. Sometimes writing fiction is a great way to escape. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I couldn’t write down my thoughts and feelings.

4. Human Interaction

When I say human interaction, I mean spending time with loved ones. My support system. I haven’t always had a support system. I never knew how much being close to others could affect my life. I get upset if I don’t talk to this small group of people every day. Their interaction, or lack of interaction, with me can determine if I have a good or bad day. Sometimes we may not speak or text. But we share pictures or memes and it reminds me they’re thinking of me. That thought alone is enough to pull me away from the darkness of depression.

5. Reading

Many people read to escape. They want to imagine a life different from their own. This is part of why I enjoy reading. It’s helps my mental health because it clears my head. If I’m reading, I’m not overthinking something or stewing in negativity. I can focus my mind on the story, and this alleviates my anxiety. This is especially useful if I read before going to work. It’s relaxing and helps prepare me for any potential stress. I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying a book with me everywhere. I could go several days without reading but I always have a book with me in case I need it.

6. Walking

Any kind of exercising can help one’s mental health but not everyone is built to spend hours at the gym. I lose interest in anything over a half hour. When I was in better shape, I could do 45 minutes. Walking, however, is something I can do all day every day. I stopped using my car so I could walk more, and I enjoy every minute of it. Recreationally, I can walk for an hour listening to music from my smartphone. I walk to work or to coffee shops or wherever. It’s exercise and I enjoy it.

7. Staying Busy

When I start running out of things to do, I feel depression spinning its ugly head in my direction. Keeping myself busy with work or projects, even games, helps me focus. When I’m focused on a task or project, I’m not having negative thoughts. I’m less concerned about what may or may not happen. Just like prioritizing tasks, I prioritize my thoughts. Worrying won’t get the job done. I stay busy so I don’t have time to worry. But I don’t get so busy that I feel overwhelmed. I keep a balance between projects and fun. Sometimes my projects are fun.

8. Hugs

This is a difficult thing for me. Hugs are important for everyone. It helps one’s mental health overall. My problem? I don’t like other people touching me. I’ve worked on this over several years. Strangers should definitely never touch me. Acquaintances I’ll give a pass now and then, but I don’t go out of my way for hugs. The handful of people closest to me are the ones I accept hugs from without question. It’s taken me a long time to develop this. Even to allow myself to accept it from close friends. Overall, I don’t get many hugs. But when I do, it changes my world.

9. Photography

I’ve always had an interest in taking pictures. I recently acquired a new camera and I love it. I want to take pictures every day. I don’t know if it’s the task itself, or the act of creating something that makes my soul happy. I’m a creative person. I enjoy creating things. That may be all it is. Or maybe there’s something about photography that brings me more joy than other things. Regardless, it will always be a fun hobby and I recommend it to anyone looking for a creative outlet.

10. Sustainable Income

This is something no one thinks about until they don’t have it. I was unemployed for half of 2018. My mental health hit an all-time low during this time. Most people don’t think about how much financial stability affects their outlook on life. It was eye opening for me. It’s easier to find the good in the world when I happy to have food on the table and a roof over my head. No one can appreciate the small things in life until they no longer have the small things. Having enough money to survive with a little extra is enough. I don’t need all the money in the world. I only need enough.

All these things work for me and I recommend them to anyone looking for something that will help. I will caution that what works for me will not always work for someone else. Still, none of these things will hurt anyone if they try them. It costs nothing to try something you might enjoy.

Idle Hands, Busy Work and Fighting Off Depression

As a writer, the most important thing I can do every day is, well, write. After all, they say a writer is someone who wrote today, and by that measure I’m more of an ass-sitter than a writer.

Most days.

It isn’t to say I don’t write; even if it takes months – or in the case of 22 Scars, years – I will eventually get things out. But on a day-to-day basis, I more often sleep and procrastinate. I’ll often lie in bed, daydreaming about where I want my writing to go, or thinking of what to write for the evening’s blog, but in the end nothing gets done.

Depression’s a bitch.

The thing is, the less I do, the more I feel depressed, and the more I feel depressed, the less I do. It’s a cycle I’m sure many of you are familiar with. And that cycle, for me, breaks when my bipolar upswing takes effect, and I write feverishly for perhaps a week or two, before sliding back into a period of low mood that might last for another four months.

I wrote 22 Scars – as in, time spent daily writing words for the story – in about two months. Yet I spent the previous twelve years pretending I was going to write it. A bit of planning here, half a chapter there … but nothing ever really happened.

And herein lies the biggest problem. If I aim to use writing as a method of working through depression – after all, the whole point of 22 Scars was to be an ode to my teenage despair – then I need to actually write, because otherwise I know I’ll just fall into despair.

It takes a great deal of personal and emotional effort to make yourself do anything – never mind something creative, like writing – when you don’t feel like doing anything at all. When you hate yourself, and hate your work, and want to just lie in bed all day. I love sleep, because it’s an escape from the drear of the everyday.

And most days, the energy to break through that wall just isn’t there. I just can’t see past the dark veil that clouds my mind, my judgement, and my desires.

Around this time every year I make plans and commitments to better myself, to keep writing more and more frequently, and to actually make something of myself. And in around a month or so, I’ll give up on those plans, because fuck that shit.

But I can’t say it’s all for nought; two years ago I decided I would finally sit down and make my young adult novel come to life, and lo and behold – I did it. It took a few months of very, very hard work – during which time I nearly imploded with the weight of the depression that the story brought out of me – but I made it happen. I published it in late 2017.

Last year, I made the same commitment for my fantasy work, and got my third novel out there a few months ago.

So what does 2019 hold?

I have plans for a new novel, one that takes on mental illness again, but in a slightly different tone. It focuses on several characters, and their journey through a life of music, misery and angst. I really, really want to make it happen this year – as in, write it in the early months, publish it in the later months.

But it’ll take more than just a commitment to writing the novel. If I want to keep myself well, if I want to vainly prevent the dark slide into the abyss, I’ll need to write here, too.

Because writing, ultimately, is about communicating. And whilst writing a novel is one way of doing so, it’s a lonely, solitary process. And if I can reach out to a community of people who believe in and support what I do on a regular basis, it might just provide me with the motivation I would otherwise be missing.

So here’s to 2019, and here’s to all of you – because without you, I would be nothing.

Sleep Hygiene – Top Ten Sleep Tips

My therapist gave me this great sheet of sleeping tips that will help with my sleep hygiene. Insomnia is always an issue in my life, so I thought today I’d share each one of these tips and if any have helped me. Enjoy.

#10 – Keep your bedroom dark.

#9 – Get lots of natural light in the morning

This one is a good one. I went out and bought myself a lightbox to help in the cloudy coastal weather we often get where I am from, but going for a walk helps as well. I use my light box even in good weather for 30-45 minutes a day. It varies for each doctor recommendation. I never realized how important natural light is to mental health and sleep.

#8 – Don’t work on your computer late at night, or if you do get an application like “flux” to minimize the amount of bright light you’re exposed to.

This is a tough one for me. I always work the best writing late at night on my laptop, tablet, and even my phone (especially in bed). Often a great idea will come to me while I am laying down and I naturally grab my phone and making notes on my thoughts. I thought a great alternative could be making my journal more accessible or maybe a small pad of paper and a pen.

#7 – Don’t nap during the day.

This is an easy one for me to do. I barely can get to sleep at night, so it’s impossible during the day.

#6 – No Caffeine 3 hours or more after wake-up time.

This is the most unfair one in my opinion and the one that I regularly break. To compromise I made a promise to my therapist for no coffee after 12pm. For the most part, I stick to this plan and it has worked well.

#5 – Only use your bed for sleeping or romantic activities

More times than not at night I find myself in bed writing, and out these tips, this has been the hardest to give up in my life. I write so much better at night. I always have my phone at arms reach writing notes for chapters I will be writing the next day or ideas for my next blog post. I once started writing a chapter in a piece I was writing in at the start of my “sleep schedule,” only to find out it was 4am when I stopped.

#4 – Figure out if you’re a night person or a day person.

For this one, they recommend figuring it out and making a sleep schedule. I have learned that I am a night person who can’t sleep during the day. I must do my best at night to get as much sleep as possible.

#3 – Get a relaxation routine before bed.

The list says that this varies from person to person. Meditation? Taking a bath? Listen to easy listening music or a podcast? This is really what works for you, which I still struggle because writing relaxes me and they recommend not to have a bright screen in bed.

#2 – If you can’t sleep after 15 to 30 minutes get out of bed and do something relaxing.

#1 – Don’t drink alcohol in the evening.

            The last one is easy for me. I have been working on these tips to better my sleep hygiene but it’s a work in progress. Let me know if any of these tips help, or if you have others to add!

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Jay Wennington

Ideas to Ease Depression

Since this is the first post of 2018, I wanted to talk about a familiar subject, but in a different context. I have written before about how role-playing video games are one way that I use to ease my depression symptoms. It is at its most important in my own life between the months of November to March when the seasonal component of my depression is at its strongest.

What we know about depression is that it is one of the most common mental health problems that we see today. For me, it has been a major part of my life since I was a teenager. The most common way that doctors treat depression is through medication.

In my experience with anti-depressants, they can be effective at easing my own depression symptoms. The problem is over time they before less effective. Over the past ten years, I have changed to a new anti-depressant once a year.

It gets worse for me when I am in a long depression cycle. In one tough year my psychiatrist changed my anti-depressant medication three different times.

Medications are an important part of the process of easing depression. But you can do things that you can do that are outside the realm of medication that help ease depression. It can be is as effective as medication.

Sleep is a major part of if your depression worsens or gets better. One thing I have learned is not to oversleep or take naps. I never take naps so it is never an issue for me. The expert in my life tells me all the time that naps are counterproductive. It can worsen your depression because staying in bed while depression is consuming you is a bad thing.

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That leads to another important “rule of thumb.” I have written recently how staying in bed for three straight days was helpful, but it made me fall deeper into the depths of my depression. This is a gray area. Staying in bed feels good in the moment but in the long term, it could mean more days of feeling worse. That is why out of all the advice I can give, this is the hardest to do.

I had to make the decision to finally get out of bed at the start of this week. Since then I have been able to ease my depression by getting back to what I love. Writing.

One of the worst parts of my depression life is that when I am depressed I tend to go away from a healthy and balanced diet. Eating right, according to every one of my doctors, is paramount to easing depression symptoms. When I skip meals or even go a day without an appetite I know my depression is getting worse. For me, this is a sign, and eating is so important to living. Eating right as a part of my mental health plan isn’t always synch, when I am depressed I tend to skip meals. When I finally start eating regular meals again, I can tell the difference.

It pays to be kind to yourself.

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I struggle with this the most when I am depressed. When I am lost deep in my depression I tend to feel like the only way out is to push the limits. I try to write all day in hopes that I will feel better in the end. It never works because I am not being kind to myself.

After my latest bout with depression, I decided to read. I opened up my favorite collection of Edgar Allan Poe written works and I read my favorites. The Raven. The Purloined Letter. I got lost for a few hours in my favorite Poe poems. It felt good to do something that I love. The next day when I went back to writing I eased into it. Only wrote on my blog. The next I worked on a chapter. By mid-week, I was back to writing in a normal schedule, but when I reached my limit, I walked away for the day.

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Find ways to be kind to yourself by finding things that you love and do them. If a bubble bath makes you feel great, do it. Listening to some great music over the last couple days was helpful in easing my depression to a manageable level. You can read a book. Allowing yourself moments in your day of downtime can mean all the difference. It pays to be kind to yourself.

The last thing that I wanted to talk about is self-acceptance. I have learned over the past four months of writing this blog that when you believe in yourself, it changes your perspective. It sounds cliche, but don’t let others define who you are in this life. In my own life, I have learned to accept who I am with my illness. No one is perfect and for so long I thought I had to be to have success.

It’s a false thought. I have lived through so much anxiety and depression since starting this blog. Yet, I still find a way to connect with my fellow bloggers. Every day that I accept that I am a decent person despite being Bipolar, means I am more comfortable in my own skin.

I believe that we all have something to offer in this world. If those of us in the mental illness community start respecting ourselves and those like us, it could mean that we can finally start to strip away the stigma that surrounds us. It starts with accepting who you are in this life.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

 

Photo Credits:

unsplash-logoPatrick Tomasso

unsplash-logoHernan Sanchez

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

unsplash-logoAnthony Tran

Day One

With my struggles recently I wanted to post this blog post that I wrote just after I completed my ten-year anniversary since my first suicide and diagnosis in November of last year. At the time I was only a few months into The Bipolar Writer blog. Looking at this post makes me realize I have come so far in year one. I will always keep fighting.

Day One – A Start of a New Journey 11/17

Its day one of a new journey, and its time to look towards the future.

The time has passed. I hit my ten-year mark and the only looking back I will be doing is when writing my memoir. It was a wonder to finally get to this point. My past is in the rearview mirror, and I am here for the present. My future isn’t written yet and so I am making it a point to live in the moment.

Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even my mania is still a part of me, but I what I have learned in the past few months is that writing about what is bothering me, is the most therapeutic thing in the world. Even with my future unwritten, I want to talk about what I am looking forward to as we move towards the end of 2017 and beyond.

I am really looking forward to completing a major project, my memoir. I talk about it all the time and I am working around the clock to finish the first draft by the end of the year. It may happen, and it may take longer, but I am hopeful while at the same time not worrying about the part of this that is out of my control. Things happen and while there is always a need to finish, it is best to stay within who I am as a writer.

I am also looking forward to completing the novel version of my screenplay Memory of Shane. It was such a process to write the screenplay and it was grandiose of me to think I could write the novel version right after its completion. I was too close the project because it has been a major part of the last year and a half, but after few weeks I became burnt out rewriting a story that I know all too well. So I am hoping my April of next year I can be ready to pick the project back up, maybe sooner if the timing is right.

Speaking of my screenplay, I am excited to be entering full-length screenplay for the BEA Festival of Media Arts student screenwriting competition. It would be amazing to win this competition, but it will help to just get my screenplay out there in the world. There are a couple of end of the year screenplay competitions that I will be entering to end my year. I am really excited about the opportunity that my school is partnered with BEA.

Then there is my blog. What an unexpected journey it has been to grow my brand as The Bipolar Writer. It is great to connect with real people in the mental health community. I getting ready to expand my blog by interviewing others like me. I think it will help me hone my feature writing skills that have come with minoring in journalism.

My thinking is twofold for this blog, interviewing other bloggers to help showcase their own experience and their blog, and also having guest writers on my blog. Its a scary thing for me, but I have already had people ask me to help them tell their story and to showcase their blog. I am most excited about this project because there is so much we can learn through the experiences of others. I am thinking once my blog hits 2,000 followers would be the best time to make this idea reality.

I am also happy to be nearing the end of my educational journey. It has never been easy but somehow I get through every semester given that depression, anxiety, and insomnia take their turns making my life difficult. Through it all, I have become stronger, and I have honed my writing skills through education. It is one of the reasons my writing has improved over the last few years.

I am excited about​ what is coming and where my writing will take me in the coming months and into the new year.

What are you looking forward to as we approach the new year? Let me know in the comments below!

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Octavian Rosca

Relapse in Mental Illness – Part Two

In a blog post earlier this week I discussed what are some of the signs that you might be relapsing.My focus in that blog post was more about ways to prevent by noticing the signs. Today a question arose in my comments for that blog post. What can you do when you have relapsed into your mental health?

I will discuss my own methods.

What Can You Do When You Have Relapsed in Your Mental Health?

For the most part, I write my blog’s from the position of my experience. Relapse is inevitable in my life. I often find myself right back in a depression or manic episode at some point in a year. A year is 365 days, and there is no way for me to escape the forces that conspire to make me relapse. So what can you do when you have relapsed?

The first thing that I do when I realize that I am relapsing with my mental health is I take a step back and figure out where I at in that moment. Take my last relapse around Christmas last year. It was a combination of things. The holidays. The fact that my depression gets worse during the winter months. Along with a long year of overworking myself became my relapse into my depression.

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The first day, I noticed that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was laying there and I knew that my depression was winning. It was Christmas Eve and it was the last day of a long semester. I was looking at the prospect of a few weeks off and my depression was salvaging at the mouth. I let it win and I stayed in bed all that day.

Sometimes you have to let something like depression win temporarily. It is your body telling you that you need to slow down. I am not saying stay in bed all day, but give yourself a break. I let the depression take over me for a few days. I watched Netflix and I rested a lot. I tried to sleep and when I did it made me feel a bit normal.

Then after two days, I got out of bed for a few hours. I wrote some blog posts and proofread a couple of chapters in my memoir. I ate a decent meal in the morning, afternoon, and in the evening. Then when I hit my limit, I went back to bed. The next day it was a little easier and I got more done. I gave into depression knowing that I need to stay focused on getting better in the following days.

The biggest thing is not letting depression win. It‘s a war. You’re going to lose some battles. Think big picture.

For me, writing brought me back to life. I made sure to gradually work towards my goals. That’s the other thing. Your goals can be a major way to get you through a relapse. It wasn’t all writing that helped me get through all the depression.

I listened to a lot of music. I read a book. I left my house for a few hours to my favorite coffee shop and hung out with my book to read. Other days I wrote non-stop until my depression, my familiar companion, left me again. When things became good I was always in a flow and that came from staying focused.

There is no right way to get through a relapse in your mental illness. Every mental illness is different. I have written so many pieces about others lives in the mental illness community. I have learned that there are ways that we get through the worst parts of our illness that are special to each one of us.

For me, it’s writing every day which helps me get through anything. That may not work for you. Find a hobby. Look for the one thing that makes you smile. I love to sit in coffee shops and read or write. It feels amazing to find what get’s you through a relapse.

It wasn’t always that way for me. It took years of experience of letting my relapses go for weeks, months, and yes years. I finally could understand how to get out of a relapse and I have used my experience to my advantage.

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It’s a bit different for my relapses into mania. I do still have manic episodes but I learned long ago what helps me with my relapses into mania. I find it easier to deal with because my manic episodes don’t last as long as a depression cycle. My experience limits me to say what works exactly. My relapses are usually excessive spending sprees. I get extreme levels of irritability and euphoria. I become reckless. My eventual relapse is going back into depression. Which I can deal with because I can figure out what is making me angry and I always run out of money.

My point is a simple one. Relapses happen in our lives. Learn what works for you and do some trial and error. It won’t be perfect. What works for me has limited my depression cycles to a few days or a week instead of months. Learn from your past, so that you don’t continue to relapse. Eventually, you can recognize the signs and get to a point that you prevent relapses. Still, relapses happen, so give yourself a break. Life with a mental illness is already too short. Don’t let relapse get you down.

As always. Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoAsdrubal luna

unsplash-logoWarren Wong

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My Thoughts on a New Semester

This is a blog post about my life.

I am looking to work on my mental health this month. I am trying to lessen the amount of stress in my life, and right in the middle of what’s going to be a rough semester.

It’s always hard to start yet another semester on this journey to get my degree. It’s crazy the amount of work I will have over the next eight weeks. I will always have my doubts until I find myself at some point in the semester.

I am going to stress its a given, but I have to find balance this time around. I have a ton of reading and work in each of my classes. it could mean working at the school for eight hours. I am also near the first draft of my memoir and every day I want to edit at least one chapter a day. I would love to write 3-4 new chapters a week. It means fitting in writing when I can including blogging.

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The key this semester will be finding the right balance in my life when it comes to school work, writing my memoir, and blogging. I don’t want to let any of these things go because they are all important things.

If you want something bad enough, you have to find the balance in your life. So this week will be a measuring stick to see if I understand where I am with all three aspects of my life.

The other part of is I wanted to read more and try to read a book a week. So far I got through half long book in the last week. Its Stephen Kings IT, and I figure if I finish it this week then I realize that’s book a week right now might be impossible. A book every two weeks could be more manageable.

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I knew right away on Sunday that I would struggle a bit to jumpstart my statistics class. Once I got back to it, I remembered my past math classes. As an English major, I only have to take one math class for my degree. I have been good at math in the past, but it’s not for me anymore. Its good my teacher does a good job prepping us for each quiz with amazing breakdowns.

My other class this semester will be easy, its a basic literature class. I have taken so many high-level literature classes that a LIT 100 class should be a class I will enjoy. My last literature class was an American literature class which was fun. Being that this a basic literature class I am sure the assignments will be easy to get through.

It felt so great two days ago to say I am so close the end of my bachelor’s degree journey. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. If I can find the right groove that gets me to the end of this semester, well it will be worth it.

That’s where I am at. Back on the grind. School. Blogging. And memoir writing will be my life over the next eight weeks. I am sure it will go fast, it always does.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoElement5 Digital

unsplash-logoJazmin Quaynor

My Social Anxiety Life Part Eight

I wrote this piece yesterday. It’s always great to share my social anxiety experience on my blog. My series “My Social Anxiety Life” is always a great glimpse into how I live with social anxiety. Here is the last three in the series:

Part Seven

Part Six

Part Five

Today was the first day out in the real world in over a week and the first day of 2018. It amazes me as I sit here eating a very delicious pretzel, that I am a unique person among all the people I see going about their lives.

I am sure there are others around me dealing with social anxiety, but I feel very alone in all of my social anxiety. It’s so hard to figure out who isn’t dealing with the constant feeling of going home versus being among people and wanting to end this little experiment of leaving the safety of my house.

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This is just a first stop. I needed to re-up on my supplies and I have a doctors appointment with my psychiatrist in a half hour. A nice snack with my music on my wireless headphones makes it easier to deal with being out in public. I never really take the time to realize that people are just trying to deal with their own things. They move past one another with their own goals in mind,

I look around and I can’t shake this feeling that the people around me know that I am socially awkward and full of anxiety. I feel as if I feel as if don’t blend into the crowd, and yet, I blend in so well.

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My doctor’s appointment went well enough. By the time I got to my psychiatrist office my Ativan has kicked into gear. It’s still strange to be around my own people. I wish sometimes I was more open to talking to people like me, it is so much easier on my blog. It’s harder in this place because everyone is here for the same reason, they have to talk with their therapists and psychiatrists. I know how much anxiety can come from this event, and its why talking to people here at behavior health isn’t the best idea.

Still, I feel left out. Many of my people here know each other. They do things like group therapy, the one thing I am against trying. They say hello to one another and I feel left out. To combat this, I just put on my headphones again. I hate being socially awkward.

I did have an out of body experience today. I saw a guy that was in the psych ward the first time I was in. I am not sure if he recognizes. It’s doubtful. I didn’t have a beard ten years ago.

It’s amazing that I can get through my psychiatrist appointment that just an hour before I was very anxious feelings about, I almost didn’t go. In the end, I got through it and survived.

I am hoping by next week my therapist and case manager will have more information about the anxiety service dogs. If anyone knows where I can find more information I would be forever grateful.

I really wanted to stop at Starbucks and get a hot tea and read for a bit. I wasn’t ready. I haven’t left my house very much the last couple weeks deciding to do most of my writing at home. It would have been too much in one day to sit in a coffee shop and read.

I do plan on getting out more in the coming weeks. It is on my list. It’s just tough to get back in the right frame of mind with my social anxiety. It’s also raining which always makes me sad. Once I start my semester next week I will be using my outings to go out and study. Maybe at different places this year.

It’s been a mental health day. I have been writing every day since Christmas and it was nice to listen to a new book. I have a huge audiobook collection and I decided to listen to Stephen Kings IT. It’s been years since I read this book, but it felt good to read a few chapters out today.

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My social anxiety life wasn’t perfect today, but even so, I left my house for the first time in 2018. It’s a start and it is one of my goals this year. To really get out of my own space. Be comfortable in life outside my safe zones.

I can’t complain though, we are only three days in and I am working hard on getting every goal back on track. My writing is flowing the best it’s been.

Another chapter in my social anxiety life is done and gone. Time to listen to some good music and sleep.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoAndrew Neel

unsplash-logoAlexander Lam

unsplash-logoJosé Martín Ramírez C

unsplash-logoJanko Ferlič

What J.E. is Thankful For This Year

Happy Thanksgiving my fellow bloggers.

I thought long and hard about writing my thoughts on the things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. It has been a crazy week for me, it always is during Thanksgiving week, but with the passing of my ten-year diagnosis and suicide anniversary, it was extra special kind of crazy. Still, I am thankful for many things and here is just a few.

1. I am alive, and that means the world to me.

2. Thankful for all the positivity that my fellow bloggers have brought to my blog.

3. I am thankful for finding my place in this crazy world and how I am working towards carving my own little niche in life.

4. I am thankful for those people who are in my life today and have always been there as family and friends that I would trust with my life.

5. I am thankful for the strength to write my story down and be honest within the space I am allowed on my blog.

6. I am thankful role-playing video games and music because, without both, my depression would consume me most days.

7. I am thankful for every blogger who has shared a piece of their lives with me on my blog, you mean the world to me.

8. I am thankful that I have the ability to write and change the stigma of mental illness as much as one writer can.

9. I am thankful for starting a new journey, a new ten years where I will conquer everything I can in life.

10. I am thankful that in 2010 someone, God most likely, intervened in my suicide and kept me on this earth. I truly believe I can connect with people through my writing.

11. And lastly, I am thankful for every blogger who spends a moment of their day on my blog. I couldn’t write without you.

What are some of the things that you are thankful for? Please share in the comments below.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours. Share smiles with the ones you love. Be happy that we are alive.

And always keep fighting.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: Pro Church Media

Excerpt From Act Three – Memory of Shane

This is a scene from act three of my screenplay Memory of ShaneI wrote this scene after I completed the first draft and its a special scene to me. This scene shows Shane just hours before his suicide attempt at the end of the screenplay. It has no dialogue, yet it to me represents some of what I felt before making the decision to take my own life. If the scene looks familiar it is because it is a mixture of depression and anxiety that comes with such a decision. Here is another blog with a different scene.

INT. ADRIANA AND SHANE’S APARTMENT – AFTERNOON SAME DAY

MONTAGE:

– Shane is rapidly pacing the living room of his apartment. His laptop is open on a coffee table and a cup of coffee sits next to it, the steam still coming from the cup.

– After a beat, he sits down on the floor in front of the laptop leaning against the couch. He begins tapping on the keyboard of the laptop what seems to be a letter for Adriana.

– He gets up again unable to hold his focus on his work and begins to pace his living room once more.

– After a moment, his breathing starts to quicken as he takes deep shallow breaths. He moves to the kitchen and takes a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and takes a long drink. A look of panic washes over his face as this does little to help his breathing.

– He pulls his phone out of his pocket setting it on the counter next to the water. He starts to rapidly open and close his hands over and over.

– He picks up the phone from the counter and begins to make a call to Adriana but he quickly pushes the end button.

– His breathing quickens faster and he starts to feel faint. He grabs his water and then makes his way to the couch as his legs buckle under him.

– He pulls a pill bottle out of his pocket and puts several small round white pills on the table. He takes one and puts it in his mouth and gulps more of the water in the bottle.

– He continues to sit as he opens and closes his hands. It is a long time before he decides to take another of the white pills.

– After a while Shane sits calmer than before, his panic attack seems to have has subsided. He moves from the couch back down to the floor in front of the laptop and starts to type again.

END OF MONTAGE

Photo Credit: Alexander Lam