The Humans of Mental Illness: A Book Idea

My First Big Announcement of 2020

Stories. They are meant to be shared with the world. Mental illness stories are no different.

We all have a mental illness story. It begins sometime in the past where our realization and, at times, hospitalization leads to an understanding that you have a mental illness. Then begins the story and the journey. I have written my story, and now I am ready to share the stories of those in the mental illness community.

I have been preparing for a summer project that could be a year or two in the making. I want to create a book with the stories of those willing to share their stories. I have done this before at there blog level, and I am not ready to do this at the book level. My book would be an in-depth look at the stories of those who don’t have the writing skills to share their story but desperately want their voices heard. I want to bring together a book that will show the human side of mental illness and break the stereotypes and stigmas that we face.

I know there are so many great stories, and I want to share them. My hope with this project is not to make money for me but to help launch podcasts, YouTube channels, a Facebook page, and so many ideas to help those in the mental illness community. It will be a book of stories. Crucial to ending the stigma but also showing the world that we have a voice and its importance.

I have been utilizing the platform Zoom to do interviews for my memoir, as well as interviewing the subject of the book I will be ghostwriting this year. It has opened up so many possibilities for interviewing those willing to have me write their stories. I don’t know if this plan will hold water, but if you are interested, please reach out. I will be ironing out the details, including some interview questions I have everything, including ways to record and transcribe at my fingertips. I want this project to work so that we can have more voices in the world of mental illness and mental health.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

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Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev on Unsplash

Write for You

Creating is an outlet for emotions unspoken, passion untapped, or stories untold.

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Why do I write? Why do I spend countless hours spinning words and sentences into paragraphs attempting to make sense of whatever moment or idea has struck me that day? Why is it so important for me to express myself in a way I have never been able to do out loud to others or even to myself? Why is it when I unleash the pages of my truth do I feel fifty pounds lighter and as if I can conquer the world?

You ask any writer, musician, poet or artist for that matter why they do what they do, you will find that although each individual answer may sound different at the jump, as you peel back the layers, the foundation is usually the same. Creating is an outlet for emotions unspoken, passion untapped, or stories untold. It is a path to express oneself in a way that some may not be able to otherwise. Whether the reason stems from challenges to heartache or from excitement to success, the art of expressing oneself, in whatever manner it may be, is therapy for the soul.

For me, I write for me, it helps me to discover the truth about who I am and why I am here. I write words that sometimes are difficult to spell out and even more difficult to read; I write from a place that only I know is there until that moment my fingers dance across the keyboard; I write because the more I do, the more free I feel; and, I write for you, because even if it’s just one twisted tale or deep emotion shared, and a connection made, it is one less person believing they are alone in this journey of life.

There is no doubt I, along with my writing, has matured and shifted over the years, and while practice has helped, it is not where I place all the credit. In my growing up as a person and as a writer, I have found that the words are stronger and the meaning behind them deeper when they are honest, raw and real. I have learned this honesty by facing fears I didn’t even realize I had, extinguishing lies I have been telling myself, taking responsibility not for those around me, but for myself, and learning patience not just with others, but with me, and I have also found the more words I put out into the world (much like love, laughter, and kindness), the more I get back.

For me, writing is cleansing, challenging and can take me to places inside my head and my heart I never thought I would go, but has helped me carve my path to the real truth that lies within. Whatever your reason for creating, in whatever form that fits you best, do it for you. Write for you, paint for you, sing for you, and do it with raw honesty, that type of honesty that can be more difficult for you to admit than it is for people to hear. The fact is, the more honest you are with yourself, the more those around you will connect with your truth and the more you will realize you are not alone.

Much Love,

Lisa J

I Read/Write/Watch Horror to Cope with My Mental Illness

I always enjoyed horror though I never considered myself a fan of horror. I remember watching Tim Curry portray Pennywise the Clown in “IT” (1990) when I was three or four. I pretended to sleep while my parents (and I) watched the film “Dr. Giggles” (1992) about an escaped mental patient who kills with a surgical theme when I was six. I saw the film “Return to Cabin by the Lake” (2001) about a murderous screenwriter as a teenager. These films standout because they reminded me of suppressed trauma. Repressed memories that only recently returned.

I recall watching many films and having no emotional response. Scenes that made most tear up left me feeling numb or indifferent. I felt out of place and segregated from everyone else who had ‘feelings.’ Even horror films didn’t scare me or make me jump. I felt I knew the scares were coming. In high school and the first few years of college, I was described as ‘creepy’ by many of my peers. I could easily sneak up and scare others. I’d walk behind them for several minutes before they noticed me. One friend remarked after going through a haunted house it didn’t scare them because they had known me for so long.

I didn’t become an avid reader until my late 20s, but I’ve always had interest in writing. In the first grade, I wrote a detective story. It had all the tropes of film noir though I didn’t know what those were at the time. Film noir has similar elements to horror with suspense building and dealing with killers without the fantasy elements. I always enjoyed reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe and he is considered the creator of the detective story.

Many of the stories I have written or plan to write deal with death in one way or another. Some may not be called horror stories but still have death somewhere. I have written a few detective stories as well and they’re much better than that first one in the first grade. Serial killers, murderers, monsters, and people who’ve lost their minds take center stage in many of my stories. These are the topics in which I am most interested. Why do I have this fascination with killers, monsters, and madmen? Why would anyone want to think about these horrors?

I believe this is my way of coping with my own trauma. Upon writing this, I am 32. My trauma began when I was four. It had such an impact on me, I had to begin anger management counseling when I was six. We were cleaning up one day in class to go to recess. I was putting away a puzzle or something and this other boy tried to help. I told him I got it. He helped anyway. I got angry and hit him with a chair. I reacted with violence because I was exposed to violence at home. I thought that was the best response.

As I’ve aged, repressed memories resurfaced, and I’ve started to feel. I tear up during emotional scenes in romantic comedies or dramas. I can feel my heart racing during chase scenes in horror or action films. Horror films and horror fiction remind me of the violence and terror I experienced as a child without causing a panic attack. Writing horror fiction, I believe, is my way of dealing with the trauma and getting all the pain out. My mind has tried to pull my repressed memories forward through horror fiction. I think this is why horror is becoming even more popular as so many traumas continue in our chaotic world.

I am not the only person to experience this and this is not exclusive to PTSD. People with different anxiety disorders have a similar affinity toward horror fiction. Here are a few other articles I’ve found on the subject.

How do you feel about horror when it comes to your mental health? Is it helpful as it is for me or do you struggle with watching or reading horror?

Photo Credit: James & Carol Lee