The Re-release of “The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir”

I have been working on getting back to this point. I am announcing that once again, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir is finally available to buy once again on Amazon!

Working on getting my memoir republished all has been a humbling experience. So many hurdles came with republishing my memoir, but I learned a lot throughout the tribulations of these experiences. It is the same with being Bipolar–it is a learning experience. That is the essence of my book!

I will link to my author page below. If you purchased the first version of this book, you would notice that there is a different cover now. I wanted a fresh start with the cover design. I have put my book on Amazon in print and digital, if you want to purchase my book, please do from my author website page because there is a digital version of the old book still on Amazon. There are some old copies in print too, but those will not be under my name. I hope that the end of the week, the other digital copy from my publisher, finally takes off their edition. It takes time. Please purchase my with the cover above with the raven. I will be setting up some special offers for the re-release on Amazon!

Please purchase my memoir from my author website here!

Always Keep Fighting

James

So Many…

There are so many men and women out there during this pandemic, waiting, longing and eager to send their friends, partners and parents flowers.

So they waited a long time to show these flowers how pretty and wonderful these people are. But they have to wait a little longer…

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Sending you angel love and blessings.

Love, Francesca.

Depression, the New Reality

Photo by Alan Tang on Unsplash

Depression is something that many are experiencing for the first time for more than just a fleeting moment. People are staying in bed more, and social isolation to keep the coronavirus is a new reality.

Depression is sneaky. You might think those extra hours of sleep is a good thing. Resting is perfect for the system, and a good six to eight hours is good. There is oversleeping, and that is a symptom of depression. I have been monitoring social media, and those that live alone and have to work at home in our new reality are having trouble adjusting. Depression can take over in the best of times, but in this new world, depression is, even more, something to look after. Mental health is essential.

I have talked about social isolation and anxiety, but equally important is depression at these times. I was a victim of this recently. On Tuesday, I overslept for three hours. I habitually wake up at around eight every morning and get to sleep around one in the morning. Since getting my CPAP machine, I have found balance in sleep. I worked a couple of days in bed because of the cold, but it had an effect I was not expecting.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

With the shelter in place in California, I have lost business with my freelance work because people have more time to work on their stuff. The one major project, the ghostwriting of a book, was put on hold last week and this week as I work on finding the best solution to continue with the interview part of the book. Coupled with finals for graduate school, I was getting overwhelmed, and depression got into my system without me really knowing.

There are things you can do that can curb depression if you are feeling the full force of it right now. The bed should be for sleeping and for that activity only. I am no stranger to watching Netflix in the comfort of my bed, but not leaving your bed can be detrimental. Perhaps watching television on a couch or reading a book. When you associate a bed with all the activities of life, it can give you a sense that everything is okay. Taking a shower is so essential when depressed, and so is going outside for the sun for fifteen minutes can uplift your mood. If you’re in winter and the sun is not out, lightboxes are a fantastic thing to use. I swear by them, and you can find them on Amazon.

One of the more popular things that I am seeing and liking about this time in our lives is that people are connecting with others online since we can’t meet in large groups. Its a fantastic idea and one I am going to be using in the coming weeks as there is no end in sight. I can feel like you are drowning, but if you stay vigilant depression can be reduced effectively.

It took me oversleeping in for me to realize depression had again taken over. It has been a running theme over the last few weeks, and I have been able to limit it for a day or two. I have close to thirteen years of experience, and I can figure out triggers of depression with the best of them. Not all are so lucky. I am always available by email or by phone. Know you are not alone in this fight. For those new to depression, never feel that you don’t have someone. There is an entire community here on WordPress.

One last thing. If you have to go out into the world, make a plan, and limit yourself to exposure. Get items delivered if at all possible and make sure that you sat thank you to those who have to work in this crisis. If you see a nurse, paramedic, grocery store worker, delivery drivers, or anyone who still has to brave the world because they are essential, so be kind. These people are the real heroes of this pandemic. Always stay safe.

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

Become a Patron of James Edgar Skye and be a part of his writing here: Become a Patron!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Chapter Sixteen – The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir

To allow people into my book. I am releasing a few chapters here on my blog, as well as my author website, where you can also find blog posts here. This chapter chronicles the “lost years” just after my diagnosis of Bipolar One. You can purchase my book on Amazon here.

Chapter Sixteen: The Lost Year of The Bipolar Writer

THE FIRST THREE YEARS of my diagnosis are what I consider the lost years of my life. There were so many things that went wrong in these years. If I am honest, these years set me back in my mental health recovery. I sometimes hate that my mind wonders to how different I could have been without these lost years. If I had accepted that I was Bipolar and believed that things could change. I don’t know where I would be, but that is a false equivalency, because these years made me better.

I realize what I went through during those lost years, is why things are better now. It took me years to realize this truth. I struggled, went through hell, but somehow, I made it through. It was about a week after my last suicide attempt, when I had just gone through several seizures that I realized my life had to change. When I was laying in that hospital bed, I realized I wasted three years of life. I didn’t really exist in the real world, only the world that I created.

My lost years. I will never get them back. No matter how much I look at the past. I am in a better place in the last three years then the first three in my diagnosis.

In these “lost years,” as I am fond of referencing them as, I was so lost. I couldn’t tell you what day of the week or month it was most days. It was even worse when trying to figure out the year. Time just passed me by, and so did everyone in my life. Isolation became my best friend and at times, I talked very little.

It was endless depression with very little peace. It was the darkest time in my life. My thoughts were often on the fringes of suicidal idealizations. I thought about all the ways I could die through suicide. I was a man without a purpose, or a will to live.

I remember less about the individual days during this time in my life. I spent most of it lying in bed, or on the couch watching movies. It was where I spent almost every second of my time. There were times where, I would play my video games, but the common thing was I was usually in bed.

At one point, I set up a makeshift desk that sat on my bed where I could place a television. I connected my Xbox 360, which always seemed to be on. I could play video games, and then switch to watching an endless supply of movies. I had a ginormous collection of movies on my external hard drive. I surrounded my bed with blankets, to give my living area an aura of complete darkness when I needed it. I rarely slept at night, preferring to rest after an extended 45-50 hour gaming and movie sessions. They always ended in the day for some reason.

I would take my Seroquel then, and sleep for 14 hours. The days meshed into a constant haze of sleep and endless depression. My thoughts were always dark. I didn’t care about life. I had a single light in my bed space. It was my own little self-made prison, but I reveled in the isolation. I would go days and weeks without leaving my dark space and days without showering. I loved my dark place, because it was mine and isolation along, with depression were my friends. What I failed to understand was that it was only making life worse.

I remember I had these goals. It seems stupid now, but back then, these goals were my everything. Any game that I would play, I had to get at least 75% of the Xbox achievements or more of game. For a long time, my score on Xbox live was at 89%. These things mattered in my life when nothing else did. I always remember this, because it was essential to be a real gamer to people. I remember how for a moment, when I could complete every achievement on a game, I felt a glimmer of feeling good about myself. These moments were fleeting.

I was a role-playing gamer. Being a gamer was all that mattered in my world in those first three years. I didn’t care if I ate that day. Or if I drank enough water. When I did eat, it was all the wrong things. I didn’t take care of myself those early years. If I am honest, I never thought I would make it to my twenty-fifth birthday. In some ways, I almost didn’t.

I only left my house when it was trips to the hospital or to see my psychiatrist every month. I remember going to the hospital one time for a severe panic attack. The nurses pumped me full of Ativan because my heart rate (which is always high I found out) wouldn’t go down. I remember this memory because of the nurses. They thought it was remarkable I was still awake given that they had given me so much Ativan. My life was a mess.

I lost so much in those early years. Life passed me by. I didn’t care about anything or anyone outside myself. It showed in the times that my parents had to drag me to the hospital at 2 am, and I didn’t care one bit about how this effected their days. I never once dawned on me that my parents were living in hell too. When these events happened, they still had to go out and work the next day. My family was always waiting for the next drama I would bring.

Most of the people in my life gave up on me. In those early years, I was on my own. Living but not living. No one came to visit with me or to hang out. I was in complete isolation from the world. I wasn’t interested in politics or what was the ‘in fad’ or who was famous. I lived as if there was no tomorrow. It was the only way I could keep my thoughts from spiraling out of control.

It didn’t always work. When I couldn’t distract myself enough, it would mean that it was going to be a bad night. My thoughts consumed me, and the only way to ease the emotional pain was to self-harm. Cutting on my arms became of a way for me to release all the emotional turmoil that tormented me daily.

The blood running down my arms was my release for the few hours that the physical pain would be the only thing on my mind. As time went on, I cut deeper. I stole razor blades and used them until they became dull against my skin. I could live with the physical pain any day. The emotional distress was hell every second of my existence so why not find a release?

Nights were always the hardest. I would cry silent tears, because I couldn’t figure out which way was up in my life. I felt lost and alone. I was alone. Those three years between my first suicide attempt in 2007, and my last were the worst ever. I didn’t live, not like I should have been living.

It became too much as the years pass me by. I never got better, only worse. Cutting became useless. The emotional pain that I put myself through was killing me. I wanted out of this life. What was the point of existing when you don’t live?

It came down to one day in June 2010, where I thought my life would end. But my story, it was just beginning. I didn’t know it at the time. That is how I lived my first three years of my diagnosis.

Always Keep Fighting

James Edgar Skye

How My Experiences Changed the Life of Someone Else and Me in the Process

I have wanted to share this experience since November of 2019, but the timing has never been right. Things happen in this life, and the truly amazing things tend to go by the wayside.

This is a story about how my book actually helped someone. I will reference this person as them or they to preserve their identity. This human saw one of my posts about how excited I was about the release with the original publisher of my book, The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir. They had been a follower but at a distance for about a year. They never commented on my blog post, but they liked the blog posts not only from myself but also from my many contributors. 

From what they told me, for years, they were struggling in silence with their illness. They had decided long ago that they would not share their stories with anyone that were in their lives. Even writing anonymously on a blog like I do here as James Edgar Skye. They wanted to share, but they were scared to do so because of one thing, the stigma. What would other people think?

Now I corresponded with this person through email. Even then, they decided to email me through an anonymous email with a fictitious name, which is not uncommon in the mental illness community. They decided to share their story with me. The first time in years, they reached out to some, me, and it was an enormous responsibility. Still, being someone that a person can reach out to is something I now live for because I love being a mental health advocate.

Photo by Adrià Tormo on Unsplash

I could not believe their story, and what truly got to me was that they read my book, and it was life-changing. Here I was, James Edgar Skye, so open about my mental illness, my suicide attempts, and even my experiences with self-harm.

I wrote my memoir to show people that they can share their stories, and it helped someone. They decided afterward to seek help, something that I was ecstatic about because they were so afraid before. It was a trying experience for them, but in the end, it has been a fantastic experience. They reached out yesterday and gave me an update. After some therapy they reached out to their parents and told them about their mental illness diagnosis. They were understanding, and though they did not fully understand, she gave them my book. It helped them.

The best thing in my life is this blog and what it has done for people.

If I never sell another one of my books, it would suck there is so much that I want my writing to be, and helping people come to grips with their mental illness is the greatest gift I can give. But, if I never sold another book, well, then I helped one person. That is something I will always cherish. With that said, I would love to help more people. I will continue to work towards that goal by getting my book out there into the world. Now that I have self-published my book, I have more control.

I wanted to share this story because it really made my day. There is more to this story, but I am sure you get the idea. Anyway, as always, stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can always purchase my book here, on my author page.

Or visit me on my author website: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me

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

2020 Big Ideas

First and foremost I would love to share my new author site outside this blog. www.jamesedgarskye.me

I am a writer who needs multiple projects that are ideas, in first drafts, editing, and ready to publish. I am also seeking an agent for those out there looking for a writer. For right now, I understand the self-publishing process, so that is good in my book. I will continue to go down this route. I have a fantastic cover artist (if you are looking, please email me!) and people I trust besides myself to edit my work. I prefer to keep busy.

Here is an idea of where I am at right now just in works in progress.

  • The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir – (Non-Fiction) Republishing in March 2020
  • Angel on the Ward – (Fiction Novella) In formatting and working on the cover art. Getting ready to publish in April 2020.
  • The Rise of the Nephilim – (Fantasy Fiction Novel) In editing looking for an agent
  • Hyeon and the Precious Notebook (Short Story) Looking for literary magazine publication.
  • The Dark Passenger (Short Story) Currently in the final editing phases.
  • Vacation From Heaven (Non-fiction) this is my major ghostwriting project of 2020.

What can I say, I like to keep busy, even as a graduate student.

My Next Big Ideas

A Book Sharing the stories of the Mental Health Community

That brings me to other projects that I want to launch in 2020. The first being A collective book on the stories of the mental illness community. I have been throwing around this idea for a while, and I think it is something that will be long-term. I hope to travel and meet people to write their stories. The money will go to helping others with medication, seeking mental health services, and perhaps other projects. Not a dime will go to me. A lot of this project will hinge if I can convince my followers to become Patreons. I will use my books as incentives for those who want to be a part of my writing process.

A Mental Health Podcast

I have two people that will become contributors once I get all my ducks in a row for this project. Both have experience in mental health. One of these two mental health advocates has experienced differently from mine. One is a bit younger with varying mental illnesses, including PTSD, that she deals with daily. The other, he is the man whom I am ghostwriting his book, is much older but also has some fantastic experiences that significantly differ from my own, including getting off benzodiazepines, which is a tremendous story. It will have guests, and I have big plans for this project in 2020.

Growing The Bipolar Writer Brand

Building my brand is going to be a fun project, and again, it comes down to if I can launch my Patreon account with enthusiasm. I am thinking t-shirts, coffee mugs, and maybe even one-day hoodies that show inspirational things alongside my brand The Bipolar Writer.

I wanted to share all of this because this is the year where I take everything to the next level. My followers are so important not just to me, but to the contributor writers that call this place home. I want to show the world what a community such as ours is capable of doing amazing things. That the support and understanding that I have experienced is the best. We need to change the stigma of mental health together!

Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Please if you can, Become a Patron!

Now I See

Yesterday, I received my very first pair of glasses. I didn’t realize how blind I was. I now see everything so differently. So crisp. So clear. It’s insane. I had no idea that I wasn’t seeing things clearly. And it reminded me of myself when I realized something was wrong with my brain.

I have struggled with crippling depressions ever since I can remember. And these depressions are a lot longer than a week or a day. They last from 6 months to 3 years. My most recent depression lasted 3 years and included 6 months of not eating, which resulted in my body nearly shutting down. It included many, many nights of self-harm. And when I finally came out of it, I dove straight into my very first manic episode.

My manic episode lasted for a little over a year. And it took 9 months to figure out that something was wrong with me. During the first 9 months, I was extremely reckless, hyper-sexual, and felt indestructible, all-knowing, and ecstatic. I didn’t need sleep because I was fueled up on manic energy. I was creating art, music, books, and I wasn’t going to stop just to sleep. In order to stay awake when I did get tired, I turned to drugs, which is COMPLETELY out of character for me. The mania caused me to lose my appetite, so I lost a lot of weight again, and the drug use just made it worse. I overdosed 6 months into my mania (didn’t tell anybody, though). During the next 3 months, I was desperate for money and I was still hyper-sexual, so I began taking money for sex. This is also COMPLETELY out of character for me. It was after I got roofied that I realized something had to be terribly wrong with me.

I went to my PCP, who said it sounded like I had bipolar disorder. However, they weren’t equipped to handle mental illnesses, and asked me repeatedly to go to a psychiatrist. I put it off because I was feeling great (still manic). I also didn’t want to admit I had a mental illness. It didn’t take long before I tripped and fell face-first into another depression. This one was intense, and lasted 3 months. By the end of the 3 months, I was experiencing depression and mania at the same time.

I became extremely reckless with men again, and I was hallucinating a terrifying black demon. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I couldn’t even go into my bedroom; I was so afraid. The only way to get the demon to go away was to cut myself. So I started etching little red ditches in my thighs every time it happened. I begged for help. I went to the hospital and begged to be admitted to the psych ward. They even saw my thighs. They wouldn’t take me because they said I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. I never felt more invisible and helpless in my life.

A week later, I called my boss and told them what was happening to me. She has bipolar disorder, too, so she immediately called 911 and asked them to do a wellness check on me. Instead of coming to my house, they called me and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet. I wanted to say good-bye to my daughter (who I sent to my mom’s because I knew I wasn’t safe). So I told them I was fine. Thankfully, my cousin decided to call them again, so then they actually came to my door. It was just in time, because I was just trying to cut a path in my arm that was deep enough to bleed out. They saw my arm and said if I didn’t come with them, they would 302 me (give me no choice). I said PLEASE take me, I’ve only been trying to go for a month. So, I finally got the help I needed, and it was 2.5 years ago. I’ll write about my stay in the psych ward another time.

My whole point is that sometimes you don’t realize how blind you are to your situation, actions, behaviors, etc until something is put in front of your eyes to make you see it. For me, being raped opened my eyes. And then my brand new glasses made my vision clear, for real. 😉 The important thing is to make sure that once you see your issues, you get the right help for them. And then do the research so that you can be self-aware and catch episodes before they have a chance to spin out of control, which we all know happens very quickly.

If You Ever Need help

The idea of sharing my number is not the first time I have done this, but I wanted to double down on my recent renewal of being more of a committed mental health advocate.

If you ever need someone who will help you through a tough time in your life, I hope to be that person, because it is important to me to be accessible to the readers of this blog.

My inspiration of late comes from the outpour of support from the followers of this blog. I am going through one of the worst experiences of my life. I can say with certainty that I am not suicidal even though my thoughts have been depressive at times. It is a significant thing to lose a mother. My mom would want me to dive deeper into my mental health advocacy, as she always told me, and so that is why I am doing this post. So here again, I am posting my number, you can find it on my blog as well on the main page.

James’ Number – 831-287-4369

If you need someone to give you some advice on how to get through how you feel, I will be there and answer as quickly as possible. The other route of course is my email.

James’ Email: jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

I will also list my social media platforms so that if you are not comfortable with these ways of connecting to The Bipolar Writer, you can always contact me.

Twiter: https://twitter.com/JamesEdgarSkye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesEdgarSkye/

What I want is total transparency with being there for the people following this blog and the mental illness community. So I hope that those who feel like reaching out because they are suicidal or anything mental health-related do.

Lastly there is always the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Always Keep Fighting

James

The Bipolar Writer Has Been Gone, and I am Sorry

It has been a while friends, and I am sorry.

I was mad at the world. No one in particular, or at some level, I was angry at God. My faith, my foundation, and my life shaken to the core the day my mom passed away on December 15, 2019. The anger I had inside of me made it impossible to write a single blog post.

I wanted to say thank you to all that reached out while I am grieving for my mom. It means the world to me. I am still in the process of working out what my life looks like without my mom. It is a certain thing in this life to lose your parents, but my mom still had more life to live. To see me continue to grow as a writer, and I felt this last over a month now that there is a piece of me missing, it will always be that way. I feel lost some days, but I have to stay strong because it is what my mom would have wanted.

I wanted to write here on my blog about everything I was feeling, but everything came out angry and sad. I am still sad, but I am no longer mad at the world. I didn’t want my followers to see me like this, alone, angry, afraid, and above all, depressed. I have always been open about how life affects my mental illness daily, but I needed some time. I wanted to reach out because I was lost. I am far from out of the woods as the grieving process is a long one.

One good thing about this process is that I was still able to write. I stayed busy. I am helping my dad clean out his shop. I am increasing the number of jobs I am working on in my freelance. I even began ghostwriting this amazing book.

I am querying my major novel, and I finished this excellent short story. I will be publishing a short novella, and writing has become my coping mechanism. I am in the beginning stages of a book about others in the mental health community, an idea that my mom came up with, and one I will be running within the coming months. I am looking to start a podcast. Staying busy right now helps because I have less time to dwell on the negative. That is not to say my nights and some days that I feel I can’t leave the warmth of my bed, but I am not getting down on myself–my mom would not have wanted that for me.

Life is fleeting, and I intend not to waste away in depression and anxiety. I will honor my mother’s memory by living life as the best as I can each day. I will write more here and begin to heal.

Always tell your family you love them, I didn’t get a chance to tell my mom before her stroke took over her brain. I got a goodbye, and I always told my mom how much she meant to me. I wanted to end this post with a story. On December 6th, 2019, I was reading a chapter in my memoir that I wrote about my mom. I texted her right after and told her that she was the one reason that I am alive today and doing what I love. I had no idea that hours later, my mom would have a stroke and never regain consciousness. But something told me that day I had to read that chapter and tell my mom how much I loved her and was lucky she always believed in me. I tell this story to everyone who asks me about that day because the last thing I told her was to “please just breathe mom.” I couldn’t tell her I loved her at that moment because she was being taken away by paramedics.

Always Keep Fighting

James

A Decade Mental Health Reflection

10 years is a really freaking long time. Looking back I think this may have been the most transformative decade of my life because so many monumental things happened.

I graduated from high school and college. I got my first part time job at Wendy’s (a fast food restaurant in America) and first full time job (that I reluctantly quit). I fell in love twice, lost my virginity, had my heart broken many times and bought a house with my boyfriend of nearly 3 years.

**I’m going to be writing about self harm and suicide. If this may be triggering for you, I suggest waiting for my next post. Talking about self harm is triggering for me still but I want to talk about it openly and honestly.**

Self-Harm

During this decade I learned about depression and anxiety, finally labeling how I had felt for most of my life. I cut myself for the first time in 2011 in my college dorm room because I felt an overwhelming sense of depression and loneliness. This action impacted my life quite a lot. I used it to cope with my mental illness when I was at my lowest points for many years.

You can still see some of those early scars on my arms in the right light. I usually notice them in the summer when the sun shines the brightest. It takes me back to all of the pain I felt in those moments, when I thought this was the only way I could survive each day.

Therapy

Back in 2014 I was in my last year of university, I had returned to the main campus after spending a year in a big city and abroad in England. I struggled so much to readjust to life on campus but I couldn’t. I couldn’t focus, I had no energy and no drive to attend classes or do my assignments.

This brought me to seeing my first therapist, Jennifer. She was the total opposite of me personality wise, she was straight-laced, practical and put together while I walked into her office a total wreck. She was a counselor at my university that I saw every other week. She helped me take those first steps to sorting through my mental illness which lead me to the therapist I have been seeing since September 2016.

I love my current therapist. She has been with me through my very darkest times struggling with intense suicidal thoughts and daily self harm. I saw her twice a week for months until I got a grip on myself. Once I finally made it to once a week I was so proud of myself. I now see her more or less on an as needed basis which I never thought would be possible.

Suicide

After a bad breakup from my first love, my life was in shambles. Before this I had occasionally had suicidal thoughts but they were not even close to the level of intensity these were. “Kill yourself” was on repeat in my mind constantly. I couldn’t have a moment of silence without hearing that phrase.

I never attempted suicide, I think because I had such a strong team of professionals supporting me. My therapist, doctor and psychiatrist were helping me, I didn’t want to let them down by dying. And we were all working to find a medicine that would help me.

Since being on medicine I haven’t had intense suicidal thoughts. I have them occasionally  if I’m at a low point but other than that I am ok.

I’m sorry this post is so long but I wanted to write up a brief bit of my mental health journey from this past decade. In 2010 I wouldn’t have expected for all of this to happen. Life surprises us, it surprises me on a regular basis.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!