For the Love of Coffee – Part Two

It is safe to say that I am a coffee addict, and I wanted to write my 50th blog post on a subject I love. I have written about my love for coffee before here on my blog.

I wanted this to be a lighter post since I have had some serious blog posts lately and the ones that I currently writing are the most serious ones so far on my journey in writing this blog. In this blog, I want to share my love for coffee, and how the holiday season is where my favorite limited edition coffee is released every year at Starbucks.

ed Okay, I admit it out loud that I am Starbucks addict, not just a coffee addict. I consider those things separate but fun addictions. I don’t drink Starbucks every day (just almost every day) and yes I know it’s the most overpriced coffee out there, but I can resist a good gingerbread latte while I am writing during the winter months. I can trace some of my best work to sitting at my favorite Starbucks sipping coffee and writing. 

When a gingerbread latte is too strong with cinnamon, I can easily change it up and drink my second favorite choice chestnut praline latte.

In the past, November’s have always been tough on me. There hasn’t always been a place for me in society during the winter months. But a coffee shop, even a high priced place like Starbucks I can blend into the scenery. I can sit around real people talking about how excited they are for the holiday season. This time of year can be hard for anyone, but the energy from the people in a coffee shop is so helpful to someone who is like me. I can feel for a time that I am a part of the outside world during a time where I feel most alone. Coffee for so long was, and is, how I made it through the world.

I am willing to pay a little bit extra for a good cup of coffee because at this time of year I spend more time in bed lost in depression, and it’s better to get out in the world when you feel down.

I find myself here right now at Starbucks surrounded by people who have no idea what I am dealing with, but that is okay. I have my headphones on listening to music and my hands are busy writing. But, for this moment I am a part of something, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment. I am at peace in this moment and I can’t help but smile. I never smile much anymore. It is the little things.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Takahiro Sakamoto

Testimonials for “The Bipolar Writer”

Hello, my Followers.

It has been an amazing journey so far with my blog and the connections that I have made here every day. As part of the theme for my WordPress blog allows me to add testimonials from people that follow my blog. It is a great way for me to feature you, my followers on my blog, and for me to show the blog world the connections I have made on this website.

I wanted to reach out see if anyone is willing to write a testimonial on what works on my blog or in my writing. Testimonials can be just a short thing about what you like about my writing. I am opening it up to anyone. If you would like to be a part of my page, write a short testimonial, with the name you would like featured on the testimonial page, and a picture that you would like me to use, and your blog site address and send it to my email jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com.

I will start featuring testimonials every week based on who gets the emails to me first. Anyone can apply.

Have a great day my fellow bloggers.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Igor Miske

My Weekly Wrapup – 11/6 – 11/12

Nothing beats an early morning writing session, an extra hot/extra shot chestnut praline latte, and good music.

It has been a great week for me writing here on my blog and my memoir, but as I have learned this week sometimes you have to struggle with the bad things (depression) while achieving your goals. I did finish the final edits on my screenplay as well, so I really have no complaints.

I reached a major milestone with The Bipolar Writer blog reaching 1,000 followers, and it makes the journey a worthy road to go down. I couldn’t imagine my blog getting to this point with so many followers, and every one of my followers has my thanks and gratitude.

Let’s look at the past week before looking ahead.

In part five “My Social Anxiety Life,” I explored another part of my social anxiety, the thoughts that go through my mind late at night when I know there is something important happening the next day. These catastrophic thoughts can be crippling at times because it keeps me from sleeping, In this blog post, I explored the “what ifs” and the fear before anything has happened scenarios that haunt me at night.

In my blog post “My Manic Life – The Other Side of my Diagnosis” I explored the mania side of my diagnosis of Bipolar One for the first time on my blog. This blog post was one that I put off for as long as I could because, on so many levels, I don’t have the understanding of my mania. I explored my destructive behavior during manic episodes to include outrageous spending sprees. This is a great read as I shared another piece of the puzzle.

My mid-week blog post was one that I had been wanting to write for a while, “Journaling and Tracking Your Mood.” The aim of this post was to share how journaling my thoughts in a written journal and tracking my moods daily, weekly, and even monthly has been an effective way to see where I am at in a given day.

“How Therapy Changed my Life” was chosen this topic of discussion this week because I had been reflecting all week how far I have come since starting therapy. This piece is mostly about how therapy was effective in my own life and I emplored my reader to find a form of therapy that works for you, like group therapy.

I wanted to focus some of my energy exploring the topic of medicine, and more specifically my own struggles with Ativan. In “The Realities of Ativan” post explored my research for the first time on a medicine that has been a part of my diagnosis over the last ten years. This blog post was tough to write because at the end I still couldn’t answer if my need to increase my dosage back to a comfortable level is due to addiction or need. I will most likely expand this topic in the coming weeks.

I hardly get to explore a part of my writing on my blog and I think that has to change. In “Excerpt From Act Three – Memory of Shane” I shared a single scene from the third act of my feature screenplay. I like the feedback since I am moving this project to two different screenwriting competitions in the next month.

One of the goals of my blog is feedback. I wrote, “When My Creativity and Depression Collide” to see what kind of feedback I could get from my followers. It worked. This is a subject that plays out a lot with the seasonal element of my diagnosis takes over and my depression increases. My followers gave me encouragement and ideas to keep my creativity flowing regardless of my depression. It always feels great to make real connections.

That is the coming and goings with my blog over the last week. I will tackle some interesting topics again this week like giving up vices in my life that were hurting my recovery, more about my social anxiety, and a few other topics. This is the final week before my ten-year diagnosis/suicide anniversary, and in the week that follows I will be writing a three-piece blog post as I explore my thoughts on what ten years of being Bipolar has meant to me.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

The Bipolar Writer

Photo Credit: Alejandro Escamilla

To All Those Who Follow My Blog

To the Followers of my Blog,

Thank you.

When I started this blog almost three months ago my expectations were small. Share pieces of my life with the world as I work towards the ultimate goal of writing my memoir. Share my experiences with being Bipolar, living with anxiety, insomnia and the many wrong things about my life.

I wake up most days excited with the prospect of sharing another piece of my life, and to connect with real people in the mental illness community. I feel so connected to the people who comment and read this blog. I am excited to unveil pieces of my writing because I know how it will be perceived.

I am looking towards my future with this blog and my writing. To many more followers and people to connect with on this blog. I wanted to end this post with this, if you are anyone ever needs someone to talk to about what is going on in your diagnosis, I am always here.

J.E. Skye

The Bipolar Writer

When My Creativity and Depression Collide

It has been an interesting week for me both as a writer and a human being. I have been able to write and be effective this week, but not at the level I would like to be at some days. In the past, my creativity has always taken a backseat to my depression in past years especially at this time of the year.

November will always be the hardest month of the seasonal element of my Bipolar One diagnosis. My history in this month has been nothing but bad over the last ten years. Ten years of bad experiences have to lead me to dread this month and it is no wonder that my mind wonders the “what if” scenarios dance in my head.

I have tried my best this year to be proactive and not let my depression keep me from my goals. This month started out good, or at least okay, but to be honest, my depression has started to control my effectiveness in all aspects of my life. Even today I had trouble finding the creative spirit to write this piece or do any work on my memoir. I considered just taking a break and trying again tomorrow, but I desperately want to change the narrative that I can’t be effective during the month of November.

I have struggled the first two weeks of my winter semester. I have gotten my school work done, I always make sure to get that my school work gets done especially since I am so close to finishing my degree. It doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle to stay focused. It only gets harder from here with pending projects coming almost weekly for school, and I worry about my effectiveness of completing tasks, and if I will have to choose between school work and writing (my blog and my memoir.)

It is in my nature to be the kind of person that worries about every aspect of my life. My creativity and my writing have really taken a turn over the last few months in a positive way. I have found my place in my writing for the first time ever. Even writing my first screenplay and the novel version of Memory of Shane, my creativity was never consistent. I started the screenplay last year around this time and my depression often kept me from finishing it until the New Year.

I think one thing that is affecting me so much is my feelings about my ten-year anniversary that is less than ten days away. So much can happen between now and then, it scares me sometimes to even think about that I have really made this far. I never thought I would get here ten years ago or even five years ago. I have had to struggle every step of the way, and more than once I have taken major steps back.

At the same time, I am in a great place in where my creativity in my written work is the best it’s been. I always feel better after a long writing session at my favorite coffee shop. I haven’t felt this good about writing in so long.

The best thing for me is to is work through my depression. Even writing this post, when I honestly felt like not writing at all, has helped me. Maybe I can finish editing my screenplay tonight as I get it ready for some fall screenplay competitions.

I am curious to hear from my followers, what do you find effective when depression and creativity collide.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Aleks Dorohovich

How Therapy Changed my Life

Therapy with the right therapist can make all the difference in the world for a person who is dealing with a mental illness. During the duration of my

During the duration of my diagnosis, I have spent more time not in therapy due to the fact that I could not afford it or had health insurance (I will write about the subject of health insurance and be able to afford medical costs during my diagnosis in another blog post.)

It was in 2014 when I finally got health insurance and it made it possible to receive help from a case manager/therapist with my local behavior health department. I have been a part of behavioral health since 2007 when I was diagnosed. I was skeptical at first when they told me that I would get a therapist. Since my first doctor left (the one that I had been working with for five years to get better) it had been one psychiatrist after another.

My case was so bad in 2007 that my local behavior health department had no choice but to take me in to see a psychiatrist. If you have dealt with the system you know that they will limit you at every corner when you don’t have insurance. The catch-22 of the situation is that I was classified as having a “pre-existing” condition so getting state help was practically impossible. It was only with Obamacare that this changed for me, and it is why I feel comfortable sharing my own story here on my blog. Without therapy, I would never have found the strength to share my experiences with the world.

It was in therapy that I first found the strength to share my past and started to understand what was going on in my life. Up to this point, I had shared my past with my psychiatrists at some level, but never in depth like I did in therapy. It was slow and steady over the years as I started to get comfortable. My therapist helped me get through some bad depression cycles and we have worked really hard in the last year in getting my social anxiety in a better place.

Having that steady presence in my life,  a professional who understands that I sometimes miss my appointments or when she remembers how I feel about school or how my life is going at that particular moment of the year. I can talk to my therapist about how I am a perfectionist and when things are not perfect (which always seems to be the case) it changes me. I get depressed. Then she tells me that I might be too hard on myself. She helped me realize the little good things in life that most people in my situation would love to be able to do. My ability to write and to get good grades. I found my compassion to help people like myself in therapy.

We work through my issues one session at a time. Three years ago I would never have believed it would be possible to share my life with anyone let alone a therapist, and yet I have been more open the last few years. It amazes me still that therapy was the difference that I needed to take my recovery to the next level. Since my last suicide attempt in 2010, I have been working on a single major goal (and also a bunch of equally important smaller goals) which is to work on coming to terms with my diagnosis and get better. Both of these have seen success.

This means keeping my depression at acceptable levels during the winter time. I have learned even this past week no matter how much I plan, there will still be days that things just don’t go right. The last two days were a perfect example. On Tuesday I did the bare minimum on my writing and school work and missed an appointment with my therapist. I was just too depressed and eventually, I laid in bed the rest of the day. Yesterday I got more done after an earlier start but by afternoon I had reached my limit and stopped writing.

In the past, I would have waited weeks to call back my therapist and reschedule but this time I called her that day and talk about my depression. I would have let my depression take over the rest of the week but I was able to adjust by sleeping in a bit today and then starting my day. I feel much better at where my depression is today. Yesterday I tried to force my day and it was less productive than I would have liked. I learned in therapy that my life is about constant adjustments in my behaviors.

I write this blog post because the importance of talking through issues that go through your life can change your perspective completely. It did for me. For some people group therapy really works for them because of its like-minded people. I am not in a place where I could share with others in group verbally versus writing my thoughts here. It just feels more comfortable/therapeutic to write and group therapy was never for me. But it might be for you.

If right now you are going through a tough depression cycle, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, or anything related to your mental health it might help you get through it to talk to someone. It might be someone you trust or a professional. Through so much of the last ten years of my diagnosis, I wasted so much time thinking there would be no one on this planet that could possibly understand what I was going through.

If I have learned anything since starting this blog is that people within the mental illness community are more compassionate then I ever gave them credit for, and I think that there is not a better group of people in the world. I am proud to be a part of the mental health community and the connections I make every day through my blog.

I will end this with a plea to get help if you need and never be afraid that no one will understand. Always keep fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Gerome Viavant</

Its the Little Things in Life

I have to learn to love the little things in life, like going for a walk on the beach. I never do that anymore.

This will be my last blog post this week as I am spending the rest of my weekend editing my screenplay again before I submit it for a few competitions. I am also going to find some time to watch football and read a good book. With that said here are just a few of the little things in life that I love in this crazy life I live.

My blog posts have been overly serious this week as I dive deeper into working on my memoir, The Bipolar Writer. I really love what I have shared so far here in my blog because it is a passion of mind to explore the many parts of the last ten years since my diagnosis. But sometimes my writing takes a lot out of me and I just want to write about things that make every day worth living.

One of the things I love in life, especially during the winter months when seasonal affective disorder (SAD) starts to take hold, is zip-up hoodies. I can remember wearing them as a teenager, with a beanie and the hood up before it became a “thing.”

As an adult, I still love to wear my hoodies this way because it became a part of me. If you ever see a guy with a hoodie and beard wearing a beanie in a corner table of a coffee shop with his headphones lost in his writing, it will probably me. Just so you know.

Music has helped me get through tough times in my life. Like today, I spent the day writing and listening to a wide range of music like the Hamilton soundtrack and one of my favorite artists Paramore. My playlists on iTunes music are endless, and it really depends on my mood or what I am writing. I don’t discriminate. I listen to almost every genre of music at some point in my life. I’ve listened to everything from hardcore rock to indie to classical. I even love Korean pop music (which has been an ongoing obsession for the last six years) or any pop music for that matter. I can’t classify myself as liking one type of music genre because if the lyrics get me in my feels, I am hooked.

It’s funny that one thing that has always been a constant in my life is my love for books. I only own about a million of them (okay nowhere near that but my collection is formidable.) One of the best things about being an English major is that I have taken about every literature class available and it has expanded what I read over the last few years.

I have my favorites of course like Rowling, Hemingway, and my all time favorite Edgar Allan Poe (the “E” J.E. Skye is in honor of one of the greatest writers I have ever read.) I have been reading since I was about three or four. My obsession with reading books came from easy access to books my whole life. I grew up (well middle school and high school) on The Harry Potter series, but I read so many amazing different authors in my life.

Within my book collection (which lately has included audiobooks) you will find every genre imaginable. My latest books that I am conquering are re-reading the Game of Thrones series and catching up on reading Stephen King. I am fan murder mysteries and I used to be able to say that I was a huge fan of James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels (though lately I have been turned off by his style, I am not sure it is even him writing anymore.) One of my favorite memories in life was going to the library and picking out books and just getting lost in the worlds that authors created. I could be anyone when reading a book. I could be the hero. Some of my deepest and darkest depressions that I got lost in the ugliness might have been worse without books.

I think my love for books is why I love to write. I am better when I am writing and it is my favorite way to communicate with people. This is why it is easier for me to discuss and explore my diagnosis on my blog rather than talking to my therapist.

One of my greatest loves, of course, is coffee. I am an addict and a better writer when I have coffee in my system. I am one of those people who you probably won’t want to talk to before having my coffee. When I had to give it up for a time this year I was insufferable to be around. I complained openly about having to give up coffee (because of my ulcers.) One of the happiest days this year was when my stomach doctor told me that I could drink coffee again.

The reason I wrote this particular blog post is that as I continue to share my life with the blog world, and I don’t want people to think that all I do all day is get lost in my writing and talk about what is wrong with me. I kinda lost sight recently on the good things in life. Like when I smile after listening to lyrics to a song that spoke to my heart. Or that moment when my favorite holiday drink comes out and that first taste of my gingerbread latte hit my system. I forgot how great it feels to have a hardcover book in my hands and getting lost in the pages. I forgot the feeling of going for a walk. I got caught up in the last few weeks trying to meet a deadline that I lost perspective on why I am writing.

I am a passionate person and sometimes I forget that the little things in life make life worth living. So tonight, after a long editing session, I will open one of my favorite books in the middle of the story and get lost again.

What are some of the things you love? It doesn’t have to do anything with your mental illness or diagnosis.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Senor Sosa

My Weekly Wrap up 10/23 – 10-29

This week was shorter since I made the decision to only write four blog posts this week. Unlike other weeks since this blogs inception, my posts have been getting longer and more into what will go into my memoir “The Bipolar Writer.”

To all my followers that have given me amazing feedback on my blog I thank-you, it has really given me the confidence in who I am as a writer. I think in the coming weeks I will consider asking people to share their own stories with me. I had a great idea for a book, a compilation of others like me with mental illnesses and their stories. I wouldn’t mind feedback on this and if you think it could be a reality. This project would be separate from my memoir, but if anyone is interested I will link my personal email at the end of this post.

What did we discuss this week?

` To me, the biggest post was my thoughts on a very important subject in my own life—suicide. It was perhaps one of the hardest posts to write, I have written one other post about suicide but from the position of how suicide affects families, so I took my time when writing this suicide piece. I shared my own experiences and then shared my thoughts on the subject. The piece that I wrote this week is going into my memoir, and I will further expand on it. I don’t normally free write a blog like I did (I usually outline it first) but it seemed worked out and I have gotten good feedback. If you haven’t read the piece, please do it really is a personal piece.

My Second Honest post was just me expressing my thoughts about things that were bothering me in the past few weeks, and especially about my friend who to this minute has not even contacted me to tell me she is alright. I have to ask her brother. All the feedback that I got is pushing me to just let it go for now, and it is what I decided to do. Hopefully one day I can repair the damage. I also touched somewhat on my depression cycles and breaking down when I last saw my therapist. It’s a good piece because it shows that even though things are going great in my life, my depression—mygreatestt companion—will always be there, but at least I know I can fight it.

One of the more interesting posts this week came in How the Change of Season Affects my Depression because this post was all about timing as we move from fall to winter months. My diagnosis of Bipolar One has always had a seasonal component because my depression is at its worse time of year, but I also talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I can trace some of the worst times to the period of November to at times to April and March. I tried to commit suicide for the first time Thanksgiving weekend 2007 and New Years 2008. One thing that developed this week was that for the first time since identifying that I am once again in a depression cycle that I stayed in bed yesterday way past when I woke up. I had been trying to make it habit to get out of bed right away like today. I will have to monitor this because it gets easier the more I stay in bed, and before long it will be every day.

If you haven’t read my blog post Sleep Hygiene – Top Ten Tips you really should.

What to expect in the coming weeks?

I have a huge list of topics to write about this week so it is possible that some subjects are going to be left for blog posts beyond this week. I am starting a new semester (I am almost done with my BA in creative writing with a specialization in fiction) so I may write 4-5 posts this week. I want to start posting some scenes from my screenplay Memory of Shane to get feedback. I think this week will be a great mixture of scenes and subjects like my experiences with medicine or more CBT information. I know I will be working on my social anxiety with my therapist so I can share my thoughts before and after. I will write as much as possible, as I also plan on writing at least five first draft chapters in my memoir this week.

J.E. Skye

jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com

Photo Credit: ​Thought Catalog