How to beat the backslide

Wow, 3 posts in one day, Alan, what the heck are you on? And where can I get some?

No but seriously, I have stated that I am 99.9% cured of my mental illnesses thanks to ECT treatment. However, something I don’t often see with mental health blogs is the backslide. A backslide? What’s that Alan?

Well, in simplistic terms a backslide is when your habits and thought processes of the depressed you resurface. I am going through one right now, granted…I am drinking…again. However, alchohol for me doesn’t have a negative effect on my mental health, I mean I don’t think it does…but what do I know, I’m a recovering (not anymore) alchoholic.

My mother and I got into a rather small argument today, well, at least she thinks it is small. We fought about going to my dad’s house (our old house that he won in the divorce) to pick up the storage we had left in the garage. Now, to me, all of it could be thrown out. I don’t hold sentimental value in things, because at the end of the day, it’s just stuff. Stuff, is always replaceable, dispite who it came from. My mother holds an extremely strong attachment to the stuff from her mother. I mean, I can see why, I love my mother more than life itself. The part I have a problem with though, is that she values this stuff, from people who have passed, more than the people who are still here.

I digress, back to the point here…how to beat your backslide. Many may view my drinking as the cause of the backslide. Or at least adding fuel to it. I view it as the only way that I can calm everything going through my head. My brain is usually a mass of thoughts, coming and going from every direction, for everything. For example, a glimpse into my mind:

There are starving children all over the world

The girl you like has a boyfriend

The pen you used to use, is it still in your car?

Garbage and recycling is tonight

Someone dies every 9 seconds or something

When was the last time you showered?

Did you change your clothes today?

Did you accomplish anything today?

Etcetera

As you can see, none of them are positive thoughts, that is how I know I am backsliding. The drinking helps at least put all those thoughts into a single file line, so they attack me one at a time.

Now I’m not saying that you should go out and get blitzed. But what I am saying, is that you should continue to push forward, retrain your brain, and go out and live your best life. Separate yourself from the negative in your life, even if that means moving across the country.

What I am saying is, do whatever you have to do to kick your mental illness’s ass. Alan Wolfgang, signing off

Be sure to check out my blog Out of My Mind

When You do Too Much in This Mental Illness Life

When I came into my current graduate courses I was riding a perfect high. My new novel was coming along, and I was finding a real balance between work (writing and freelance) and school. My memoir was in the publishing phase, and life was good. My grades were at the highest it could be for the first few semesters, and I thought I was going to continue to breeze.

Then somewhere depression and mania decided to hit one right after another. It happened first with mania, or it is possible it started with hypomania, but I was on top of the world. I was not sleeping well, and I was averaging somewhere between 3-5 words a day on my novel. I thought for once I was balancing my life. Then my grades started to slip, I almost quit graduate school, and my depression decided that it was time to pay me a visit.

That was about five weeks ago, and since then I have been battling a long depression cycle–again. It sucks because when you get out of a depression cycle, you feel so much better than before, and this will be a good thing because it is good for your mental health. I had one early depression cycle, and I usually have them until April, but the months of March, April and May everything was relatively okay and depression free.

I am not good at dealing with stress, and I am a perfectionist when it comes to school. I graduated summa cum laude with my bachelor’s degree because I was relentless to be the best. When it comes to facing some adversity, especially with school, I run and hide because dealing is not something that I do well, I have to ulcers to prove it. I was ready to end my graduate career over one bad grade.

When things spiral for me it sucks because school is my fallback, and so is my writing. I had to reshuffle my life. Refocus on school. Take a step back from writing every day. I finished the first draft of my novel last week, which is great, but I can’t seem to shake this depression. I am trying, and I hope to get out of one of my classes, Literary Theory, with an A, or at least B. Perfection is the untenable thing in my life but it gives me control. I am the worst version of myself when this happens, and I came close to buying a bottle and drinking for the first time in four years–just to forget.

Life will give you reminders when your overloading and I have to get better at figuring out these triggers in my life because I can’t continue on this up and down rollercoaster. Just when I think I have this mental illness life figured out, my life changes in unexpected ways. Where to go from here? I am not totally sure, but I know things have to continue to change in the right way. I have to take “me time” for my mental health.

I am work in progress, and it seems I always will be.

Always Keep Fighting

James

A Thank You, Patrons

Sunday is always my relaxing day but writing is life

Relax. Such an amazing word. It is something that I do not do well.

This month my Patreon account has grown a little with the addition of three new members. As it is the end of the month, I wanted to have a special shout out to those who have joined my writing journey.

For the purpose of this post is only to name first names as a thank you.

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  1. Angela
  2. Chris
  3. Paula

For those that are interested signing up and becoming a patron, the sign up is easy, and the lowest tier is $2, and in the future, when my book is published this summer, I will be adding more to the tiers. So why not become a Patron of my writing??

A New Bipolar Writer Blog Milestone

12,000 Followers on The Bipolar Writer Blog

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

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

Always Keep Fighting

James, and the Contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog

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Writing Topics for June

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

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

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Medication Changes in 2019

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This year has been the one for many changes as my new psychiatrist since the start of the year continues to make my life easier so that I continue to be productive in my graduate studies and writing projects.

The first change has been a good one. I am no longer on Ativan, and I have changed over to Clonazepam, which has helped my social anxiety and my general anxiety. It had some early drawbacks like I was really tired the first two weeks of taking the medication, but eventually, that went away, and the results have been positive.

My psychiatrist wanted to change my mood-stabilizer from Lithium to Depakote, but I had a bad reaction to this medication to where it was raising my anxiety the longer I was one it, and I was able to stop the medication and stabilize. Sometimes in this mental illness, life medication changes are not great, and this is one of those trial and error things that comes along with this life. I was able to stay on the lithium which seems like it will continue to be my future.

Today I had an appointment with my psychiatrist today, and she wants to make more changes since the Depakote failed to work. Right now, I am starting a new medication again called ____, and I will know in the next few weeks if it will work with the medication that I am already on. I am no longer taking antidepressants, so this new medication is supposed to help curb depression, but it is not an antidepressant.

The one piece of bad news is that there is not really a change for Seroquel, one of the most essential medications that I take and also the bane of my existence.

The medication would be fine if all it was for was to keep any voices at bay (not that I hear voices anymore that was a long time ago), it was used as an anti-psychotic, and for sleep. But the side effects suck. The two main ones are major grogginess with waking in the morning and the weight gain. Since having to take more to get me to sleep, my weight keeps increasing no matter how much I work out and change my diet, which I have done.

That has been my 2019 medication changes so far. Maybe there will be some positive out of all these changes, it is too early to know for sure, but at least I have someone that is finally listening to me. That has been a pleasant surprise so far. Things are always changing and that is a good thing.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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The $2 Patreon Challenge

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I ask a lot from the followers of this blog. Maybe too much. I want so much to publish my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir, and right now I am in the beta reading part of the writing process. I have a copy editor ready to put the finishing touches on the memoir. I have saved every penny (that has not gone to keeping this blog at its highest level) but it is not enough.

The last count for this blog 11,500 followers and I love that so many people are a part of this collaborative journey. I want to challenge my followers to subscribe to my Patreon account for the $2 tier. I know for so many, myself included, we have so many responsibilities when comes to this mental illness life. The sign up is easy and I offer a lot even at the lowest tier. There will also be a special blog post for those that become patrons in April and a release of a never before seen poem.

With that said, I hope I can get many of you to rise to the challenge. If you can’t I understand, if you can’t subscribe, please share this post. It would mean the world to me–James.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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A Look at my Writing Projects

It has been a busy year in the writing department for The Bipolar Writer. When it comes to writing I like to have several projects that I am working, in the editing phase, close to publishing, and future projects. So I wanted to update on each project.

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The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir – Non Fiction

There is, of course, my memoir, the culmination of my life’s work. I started writing in 2007 and finished its completion in 2018.

Since that time I have been editing, adding, more chapters, and then more editing on my own. In March I finally found a beta reader (started to read in April) who I trust, I am not very trusting with my literary works, and I am hoping that she finishes by the end of April.

For those who don’t know about the project, this is my memoir–my story. It is told in a non-linear format and it shares my experiences of my life with a mental illness. It’s my whole story and I am hoping to self-publish in May or June depending on my copy-editor and if I can pull together the scratch that it will cost me.

Memory of Shane – Screenplay

Logline: A young college student falls in love with a struggling writer, but when his mental illness becomes a threat to her future, she must decide if love is enough.

This is one of three screenplays that I am querying at the moment, but this is the one that will make it on this blog post. This screenplay was started in 2016 and finished in late 2017. I have been working on querying it since early 2018 with not a lot of success. but I continue to persevere.

This summer, I will be entering it into several screenwriting competitions to try and get my name out there as a screenwriter. This a romance/drama screenplay about love, mental illness, and if you can live with someone that has a mental illness.

Angel on the Ward – Fiction Novella

I am really excited to talk about this project. I never meant to write this in the way that story ended. This was originally written in first person narrator format, but I made a decision last month to change over to third person omniscient and write a short novella (about 35-40k in words) and it was a fantastic experience.

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Upcoming Projects

The Rise of the Nephilim

This is my big project, my series that will help define my career (the picture is one I found on pixabay) and I am about the start the first chapters at the end of the month once I get past my current graduate finals/

This project is years in the making. I have been building this fictional fantasy/supernatural world for so long. The characters, themes, outline, world building and everything under the sun is ready to go. I want to spend a week working on the beginning chapters so that I am super focused. It will be the first in a series and it is looking as if it will be a long book.

This Mental Illness Life – An Interview Series

This is a fresh project that has not technically started but in the past, I have interviewed many in the community to share their story.

This will be something new and much bigger. It is one of the projects that will require me to get my Patreon account going because the plan is to interview people in person. That will require travel and expenses. Maybe with The Bipolar Writer memoir being published and my Patreon account I can make this a reality.

Since starting this blog it was always my dream to write feature interviews of the people in the wonderful mental illness community. This is most likely a future endeavor but I would love to get it up and running.

Ending on a Note

This is where The Bipolar Writer is at with his writing projects. I am excited about where my life is going and the projects I hope will be a success. Things were not always positive so I feel good at this moment.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Tabbi’s Interview Feature

This is a continuation of reposting the series of interview features that I wrote from 2017-2018. This is Tabbi’s.

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Tabbi’s Interview Feature

Panic attacks about nothing. The days where you can’t force yourself out of your bed. Then your mind begins to change, and this time you switch into mania. Your mind races and you have endless energy. It feels as if you are all over the place. The safest places like your own home become a battleground for depression and mania. It’s a typical day dealing with the issues of one human being dealing with her mental illness. Tabbi Ashley—from Western North Carolina.

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“The best way to describe this is to imagine yourself facing a lion or a bear that is in the attack position coming toward you. Think how your body responds— you heart rate increases, palms are sweaty, the mind is racing, and your breathing changes,” Tabbi explains in her interview.

Even when the things you love surround you it can take you over. It’s never easy according to Tabbi, and it is pretty hard to describe to those not affected by a mental illness, but she does what we all do. When people ask Tabbi does her best to explain.

Many of our mental illness journey stories come from our childhood experiences and in Tabbi’s life, she can remember struggling with bouts of depression as early as eight-years-old. Growing up, Tabbi on the outside was a normal and sky kid, and her parents had divorced when she was four. It was at this point in Tabbi’s life that changed. It became the catalyst for her later issues with mental illnesses.

“In my childhood. I endured eight years of sexual molestation and neglect. It began shortly after my parents’ divorce,” Tabbi remembers.

Someone so young the abuse in Tabbi’s life might have seemed normal to her. But when she saw the warning signs of another family member, she decided to speak out.

“I finally spoke up to someone outside of the family and moved into another situation.”

If only this was the end of the abuse that Tabbi would endure in her life. In her new living situation, it became another place with physical and verbal abuse. By the time Tabbi reached the age of seventeen, her panic attacks led to a diagnosis. Tabbi had no knowledge at the time for fear that it would only make things worse for her.

In Tabbi’s early twenties she once again found herself in a doctor’s office after an illness recheck. It was a long road from her teen years. Tabbi found herself at the point of exhaustion from fighting her own brain. Tabbi knew nothing about her diagnosis of panic attacks. At this point, she couldn’t take the constant fight in her brain.

“My doctor spoke, and I started crying. I begged him to help me or to tell me to commit myself because I had reached my limit,” Tabbi recalls of that day.

For Tabbi, she got the treatment that most people getting diagnosed for the first time. The doctor diagnosed Tabbi with Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Clinical Depression and prescribed some medication to help. The doctor sent Tabbi on her way.

By March of 2008, Tabbi was struggling with depression. In her mind, she was sure that there was more to what she was dealing with on a daily basis.

“I worked with a therapist and my doctor. They diagnosed me with Bipolar disorder. A year later, my team diagnosed me with PTSD from my years of sexual, verbal, physical abuse, rape, and two abusive relationships.”

It didn’t end there for Tabbi. Six months later her doctor added the diagnosis to schizoaffective disorder. The basis was the fact that Tabbi was having ongoing hallucinations, both auditory and visual. When she is under extreme stress these hallucinations tend to get worse for Tabbi.

As of today, Tabbi has a plethora of official diagnoses. The diagnoses follow as such: Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. It was tough for Tabbi before getting her diagnosis. She often struggled to reconcile her struggles with normal people.

“Before my diagnosis, I would look at other people and see that they weren’t like me. They didn’t seem to struggle like me to do everyday tasks. They didn’t seem to have trouble processing things. They didn’t have to close down themselves to get through a single day.”

Nights are always the worst for Tabbi’s PTSD because of her night terrors. Smells and touch are the biggest triggers for her PTSD. But, with working in therapy sessions Tabbi has found her night terrors to be more manageable.

Those of us with a mental illness tend to learn through experience how to deal on a daily basis. Tabbi works best through a good daily routine.

“I try to watch the foods that I eat because I know the things that affect my mood in negative ways. I make sure to walk my dog and do things that make me happy. I also limit the time I spend with toxic and negative people and situations.”

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It isn’t always perfect in Tabbi’s world. There are times when she has to deal with her auditory and visual hallucinations with the help of her dog Moose. “If he doesn’t respond or react it’s not real. If he does, then it is.”

Tabbi uses several things in her life to get through her mental illness issues. She works with her car team (a doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist.) Tabbi has a strong but small support system of family, friends, and others with a mental illness. Tabbi doesn’t believe that group therapy would work in her life. Instead her support group of doctors and family is her own version of group therapy.

Making lists are a part of the daily routine for Tabbi. On the good days, she takes full advantage of everything on her daily list. When the harder days hit Tabbi’s life she works on a single goal off her list. If Tabbi completes it, then she works on another until she can’t do any more tasks.

“I try not to beat myself up about it, and I know there is always tomorrow.”

It can be very hard to make long-term plans with the many mental illnesses controlling Tabbi’s daily life. She never makes plans too far in the future because every plan requires the knowledge of what mood she is in at the time.

Her mental illness affects other areas of her life like maintaining a relationship. “I would feel guilty about saddling someone with my issues,” Tabbi responds.

The way that Tabbi processes her emotions is unique to her own battle. It means spending time away from people. Tabbi would rather be alone than have someone judging her on how she deals with her issues daily. Instead, Tabbi focuses on her small group of friends and invests her time and energy with them. Within the mental health community, Tabbi has found the most strength and understanding.

“I’ve learned not to judge someone by outward appearances because everyone is dealing with something, and that on some level, we can all connect with one another.”

One question when interviewing for these feature articles is a favorite of mine. I get to ask the interviewee what they would like to share with the mental illness community in this article. Tabbi wanted to share this little piece of wisdom.

“I have survived many things in my life. But, I can say that the hardest fight I’ve ever had is the fight with my own mind. We have to remind ourselves and each other that we need to keep fighting. We can rejoice in those moments that we have peace and a calm mind. We should focus on what we can do now. We should be educating people. At the same time breaking down the stereotypes to show everyday people to never give up.”

The therapeutic nature of writing one’s journey and experience writing on a blog is important to many of us.  Tabbi finds that when she is struggling the most, her blog allows her to shares her story and experiences. She makes amazing connections with others that have similar experiences. He blog allows her share these experiences through the written word, and it has meant the word to Tabbi.

The biggest question that faces many of us that live with the daily struggle of a mental illness is what makes life worth living?

“What makes my life worth living changes on a daily basis,” Tabbi explains. “When I get down I have to remind myself that my nieces and nephews need me. My dog always with me and he needs me. I do important work in my community and they need me. When my brain tells me that no one would miss me, I count my blessings.”

Tabbi wishes to convey that she believes that no one has to be alone in the struggles of a mental illness. There are many resources and one of the best is reaching out to someone. You can always find someone to listen.

“It might not be the first person, but don’t give up. It’s okay to reach out and need someone to help you. We’re created to help one another.”

Tabbi’s story is one that was such a pleasure to write here on the Bipolar Writer. I learn so much from the people I interview for these features. It is amazing that given what she has been through, Tabbi still looks to help others like her. We all have a journey that has taken us to different places in our lives. It was an honor to share Tabbi Ashley’s story. If you want to know more about Tabbi you can find her blog here:

www.beyondthemoonlight.wordpress.com

Interviewee: Tabbi Ashley

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Author: James Edgar Skye

 

Tony’s Interview Feature

Here is another interview, this time Tony. Please read and also look for the other interviews that will go live this month of April.

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Tony’s Interview Feature

If there is one thing that I have learned while writing interview features on my blog is that in every walk of life for someone dealing with a mental illness, the story is different. Our stories are what define us, and hopefully, make us better people in the end.

I always imagined telling the story of someone much like myself, and in truth, I have a real affinity for stories. It was amazing the number of people willing to have me share their story.

When I first met Tony, it was on my blog, and over the course of just a short time, he shared pieces of his experience within my blog posts. When the opportunity came to share the major parts of his story, Tony jumped at the chance to be featured on The Bipolar Writer. Here is the story of one human being and his journey from his orgins to today—Tony from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

How does one deal daily with the struggle of a mental illness? Tony’s explains his daily experience in this way, “Having depression is like having a fog, of varying colors, consistencies, smells that kind of sharp itself, hovers, reveals and conceals different things at different times.”

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It is always easier to capture how a person feels in their own words, and in the interview with Tony, he uses his creative side to describe the daily struggle with depression.

When talking further about depression Tony had this to say, “Sometimes, heavy as a lead blanket, sinking to the ocean floor. Other times sparse, allowing more breathable air, less stifling. Sometimes it’s grey, other times it is pink. But the fog is there, it just looks and feels different at times.”

The “fog” that Tony describes is commonly thought of how depression feels, and it can mean the difference between a good day and bad one. For Tony, the fog means simple daily tasks taking up most of this morning with time stretching out like a wad of gum, seconds cutting like blades, and every moment weighted down by the depression.

Tony can trace his diagnosis to his childhood days. When he was very young, Tony was diagnosed dysthymia (mild depression) with severe depressive episodes in which he describes as, “Kind of like cloudy, with a chance of storms.”

It was much later and recent when he received the diagnosis of Bipolar Two and avoidant personality disorder.

An avoidant personality disorder is described as a psychiatric condition characterized by a lifelong pattern of extreme social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and sensitivity to rejection. But for Tony, this diagnosis means so much more, “It’s a tendency to retreat than to face things (problems) face on.” This is common with someone with a mental illness, but for Tony, his avoidance is rooted in the history that is can only be told in his own words.

“I don’t really remember having a mental illness or not having a mental illness.”

It is easier to walk in another person with a mental illness’ shoes if you know his story, and Tony’s story is one of amazing perseverance in the face of turmoil. Tony was adopted at birth by a devoted family with loving parents, but he describes their personalities as much different than his own. “My adopted father was a hard-working gregarious man who severe Bipolar disorder who had to go off work permanently while I was still young,” Tony recalls.

Tony’s mother, who was also a nurse, spent most of her free time with her husband’s issues leaving little time for Tony and his sister. “She too was loving and kind, but distant as well.” It was most likely this isolation that led Tony to begin to show signs of his avoidant personality disorder and it didn’t help that he was diagnosed so young with mild depression.

Tony was identified at a very young age as a gifted child and got through his elementary school days well enough, and weathered most of the storms at home. But, Tony began to use food as a coping mechanism and began to gain weight all the way to the beginning of his high school days. At this point in Tony’s life, we see how turmoil can lead someone down disastrous behaviors with depression as the copilot.

Tony remembers his early days and describes himself as having crooked teeth and a lazy eye, which led to severe bullying in teen years, “By the time high school hit, I was already 300lbs, and was bullied on a daily basis. I started having the shit kicked out of me. I hated school so much I would set my alarm to 2 am and hit snooze for the next four hours until it was time to get up so that I could fall asleep and wake that many times knowing I didn’t have to get up and face the day.”

With the daily torment of his peers and need to find a way to cope with the darkest depths of his depression, Tony chose to use hallucinogens dropping acid or eating mushrooms just to get through the moments of his school life. It only made things worse for that he was labeled a stoner and had little support from his teachers who cared little about the struggling teen.

“I dropped out, I isolated, I sat in my bedrooms for weeks on end, not showering, doing anything, barely surviving. I was depressed. I was allowed and encouraged to be depressed by an ill parent.” It can be tough living with a parent that mirrors your own issues, and these types of relationships, when reflected on later in life, this can feel destructive. 

It was tough going for Tony for most of his childhood and his teenage years. But as a human being, our journey is one that teaches us perseverance, and though it may seem as if this life is not worth living in the struggles of a mental illness, there is always a time when things feel okay. As if life is showing you a little light in the darkest places.

Tony eventually found that he could be functional after losing the majority of the weight he gained over the years. Tony found a few years of “normalcy” that often comes with the end of a depression cycle. In this period of time Tony made the decision to go back to school where he received his college diploma in Social Service Work. As most stories with a mental illness go, this short period of normalcy was quickly followed by a glut of personal tragedies in his adult life.

Everyone experiences personal tragedies in their life, but for someone prone to severe depression it will often sink the sufferer deeper into depression as a response. The shorter the period of time and succession of tragedies can often leave a mental illness to suffer little time to compartmentalize these events.

“I experienced in a short period of time my dad’s brief fight with cancer, my sister’s own discovery of her own battle with cancer, the ending of my marriage, which was followed with the birth of a daughter who was born at 1lb 3oz at 25 weeks with bleeding on her brain and a hole in her heart.”

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Even the strongest of us in the mental health community can only hold on for so long. It is no surprise given the succession of tragedies in Tony’s life that he had a psychotic break and was hospitalized for twenty-one days. Tony recalls that experience well, “It was frightening, but I felt safe, and I away from all the shit of the world for a short period, and I didn’t have anything to do but get better.” It was in this experience that Tony started writing and doing collage art.

In Tony’s experience, it is often tough to get through a single day with his mental illness. When he is symptomatic he uses routines that help him complete tasks in a ritualistic way. It helps that Tony gets through a day alive, but on the worst days, he only accomplishes a fraction of what he had planned. To combat the bad days, he focuses on his limitations, trying not to get too ahead of himself, and try hard not to take the bad too seriously. These types of behaviors come from years of dealing with the darkness and finding wisdom.

That wisdom showed when Tony was asked about if he ever had suicidal thoughts, “Yes, I have several times. Once I got close enough to downing a bottle of pills that I knew enough to drag myself to the ward. When you can’t trust yourself with your pills, you know you’re in trouble.”

Writing can be the most therapeutic part of the life of someone with a mental illness. I know in my own experiences that is true, and Tony has found his place in his own blog and writing. In talking about his story with me it has helped Tony to process the past and to look to be grounded in the present.

“My blog and being creative in general have meant the world to me. I am not someone who talks about things. I sit on them” he recalls. Tony believes that seeking help is an important part of his recovery, but engaging others through creative expression is an amazing experience that he cherishes.

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In Tony’s life, he often finds solace and happiness in the little things in his life that make it easier to deal with his mental illness. Tony has his kids, nature, art, music, friends, and family that are his support system in his darkest times.

Every one of the human beings in the mental illness community wants their story to be one of many that make a difference or end the stigma that surrounds all of us. “At some point in our lives,” he explains, “I am pretty sure we could all meet the requirements for a mental disorder diagnosis. It’s okay. If we are honest and brave enough to be vulnerable and tell people what we are feeling, it’s a start.”

Tony believes that we all have a vulnerability that keeps us from seeking help, but if we are willing to be open-minded and willing to accept that we have a mental illness it could mean getting the right help. Tony believes that it’s not about weakness, laziness, or morals. It is about your health and illness.

Tony wants to tell the world his story, the ups, the downs, his love for his poetry and his art; to be featured on The Bipolar Writer in Tony’s eyes is a vital part of his healing process. Tony’s is one of the many, but there is no doubt that his story has to be told.

art were watching

Here are some links to written poetry Tony wanted to share:

https://handsinthegarden.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/sleepless-the-fever/

https://handsinthegarden.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/the-lonely-crowd-worded/

If you would like to know more about Tony and his journey you can visit him on his blog. “My Hand in the Garden” @ https://handsinthegarden.wordpress.com/

Written by: James Edgar Skye

Interviewee: Anthony “Tony” Gorman

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All art pieces on this article are done by Tony

Other Features written by J.E. Skye

Morgan’s Interview Feature