Dear Patient

Dear patients,

Stigma is ever present when it comes to mental health, but I feel that it needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed over and over and over. I have never been so proud to sound like a broken record. I got into health care to break stigmas. I didn’t want patients to feel like their needs and concerns weren’t heard. I didn’t want patients to feel like they were being judged. Honest to God, I don’t judge a single patient.

I don’t judge you for having multiple partners.

I don’t judge you for being on Medicaid.

I don’t judge you because you are gay.

I don’t judge you for your addictions.

I judge people based on their character and I won’t apologize. Don’t be a shitty human. The end.

I have to say something about my experiences because I hope that it breaks the stigma of health care and mental health. I do not get up before daylight and work a 12 hour shift for the money. I don’t sit and listen to other people’s issues at some of the most vulnerable time in their lives for money. 99% of people in health care are there because they truly want to make a positive impact. We ask the same question to every single patient over the age of 12. “In the past two weeks have you been feeling down, hopeless, or depressed?”

I get so many different answers but few anger me, disgust me, and make me forget why I am in the field I am in. I want to scream at you.

It isn’t funny, don’t laugh.

It isn’t something you can jokingly say, “yes, all the time” to.

There are so many people who burst into tears as they admit that yes, yes they do feel this way. It is okay to feel this way. “I’m glad you’re here today.” That is what I say. That is what someone told me, and that is what I will say to every single person who is strong enough to say what is most certainly a hard thing to say out loud. Today, I had to out myself. I am an open book and if you ask I will tell. I don’t walk around telling people I have bipolar. I pretend. I tell half truths.

“I couldn’t sleep.” And I stayed up until 4 AM compulsively making nonsensical lists that didn’t need to be made.

“I am just not feeling it today.” I barely got out of bed and forced myself to shower after three days of not doing so.

“I’m just not talkative.” I am afraid I am going to explode on you so I am choosing silence.

Today, I did none of that. Today, I told my coworkers that I have a mental illness, I struggle to function a lot of the time, I am just like that patient you called crazy, and I am sick of hearing them talk about people I relate to so much. Your doctor’s office is a safe space. An asylum where you can be open, honest, and seek help. Shame on them, not us. Today, I was someone I do not know. I hope you know that I am honored that you trust me. I am a safe haven. I will never downplay your concerns, symptoms, or feelings. You are someone’s parent, child, sibling, best friend, or coworker. I will treat you as I want myself and those I love to be treated. Without you, I would not have a purpose or a job.

Even the assholes who choose to believe that you are immune to depression.

Please don’t be ashamed. I am at times, but never too ashamed to ask for help.

Forever your biggest advocate,


P.S. I have an appointment tomorrow with a new health care provider. Let’s hope she is one of the good ones.


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.


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.


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.


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