The Bipolar Writer Podcast Episode Four

The Bipolar Writer Podcast: What's Going On? Why I've Been Missing The Bipolar Writer Podcast

Episode description This is a catch-up episode of where James is right now as we head towards the end of June 2021. Catch up with James and learn the new journey he has been on over the year.  If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/support
  1. The Bipolar Writer Podcast: What's Going On? Why I've Been Missing
  2. The Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment
  3. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Alaina
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Colleen
  5. Bullying and Mental Health
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The Bipolar Writer Podcast

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

Visit my author website at http://www.jamesedgarskye.me

Purchase my Memoir and Novella here: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks

The Bipolar Writer Podcast

For everything James Edgar Skye use the QR code below Or use this link.

World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide prevention is an essential topic for me because I am a survivor of suicide. My last attempt in 2010 changed my life, and it almost ended. I count myself lucky, and I mourn those that have not been so lucky. I want to share on this day a chapter from my memoir about suicide. I hope you hear the words and understand what they mean to me to share my story. If you want to purchase my memoir, you can here.

Chapter Four: The Bipolar Writer’s Take on Suicide

SUICIDE. I HAVE MY OWN PERSONAL thoughts on this subject. This is just a part of what I will talk about on the subject of suicide over the course of this memoir, but these first thoughts are very important. 

In the darkest places of my mind, I still remember how it felt when suicide was consuming my every thought. I must go to that place again, but this time it’s only to understand and give you an idea of how suicidal thoughts were a constant in my life for the first 3 years of my diagnosis. 

I believe that we are put here on this earth for a reason. Many of us are put on this earth to help others deal with problems like suicidal thoughts that lead to suicide attempts. I like to think this is one of those times—and I am that person. I want to share my thoughts on suicide from my own experience. You may not like every word that I say here in this chapter. Writing about suicide is never easy, and any human being who has experienced suicidal thoughts knows that once you are past these thoughts, it is not fun to discuss. There is always a chance at relapsing back into suicidal thoughts, so I write this in hopes that I continue to know that suicide is not the answer and you can get past these thoughts as well.

I have so much to say about suicide. I have had the unfortunate pleasure of going down the road of attempting suicide 3 times in my life, and survived to tell my story. That doesn’t count the suicidal thoughts that have waged war in my head since I was a teenager. I am one of the lucky ones in a way because I am a survivor. There are so many of my fellow mental illness sufferers that have taken their life for good. These people will always be in my thoughts because I wish I could save every person that is suicidal. I had to get to a good place in my own life first, but I hope if you are reading this you understand the necessity of such a chapter.

I am afraid and excited at the same time to write about the subject of suicide. For most of my life exploring my thoughts about suicide limited to expressing that I am against suicide. To anyone reading this chapter it took me a while before being able to figure out myself in this mental illness life. I have tried 3 unsuccessful times to take my life. It feels so strange to say I have survived, but it’s true.

The topic of suicide rarely comes up in my real life, and never in this way. It comes in part, because of the stigma of mental illness and from people not wanting to talk about suicide. It took one person asking to write my thoughts about suicide that gave me the strength to write about this subject in this chapter. So here I go.

It has taken me many years to be in the right place with my diagnosis so that talking about suicide is something that I can now do. My last suicide attempt was in 2010. Since that time, I have always advocate against suicide.

To be in a place where suicide is the only option isn’t as fresh in my mind in the sense that I think about suicide anymore, but it is the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life. I remember it well. You never forget the depths of the darkness that is suicidal thoughts. The places that my mind went to when my depression was at its darkest was Hell, and it felt like there was no escape. I wanted to be anywhere but in my own body.

My experiences with suicide attempts were the result of many weeks of very little sleep. The constant racing of my thoughts would consume my every second. I spent so many minutes convincing myself that I was not good enough to live in the same world as everyone else. I went inward into myself, disappearing from the real world. My appetite would disappear, and I would go days without talking to anyone. I spent hours and days in bed lost in endless darkness. It was consuming to a point where I needed to escape this life.

Nothing was real to me in the weeks leading up to my first suicide attempt. My girlfriend at the time always had to worry about my mental health moment to moment. Weeks before my first attempt, I had said goodbye to the world on social media. My family found me before I could take it to the level of suicide but the darkness was still there in my mind. I found myself convincing everyone in my family that things in my life were okay. I said, “I am fine” so much that I almost believed it to be true. I told everyone I was on the mend. It was a lie. 

I don’t know why I wanted to convince the people who loved me that I was okay. It may have been a selfish need to make myself feel better about what I was planning, and yes it was very selfish. I failed to think or care about anyone but myself. It took 3 suicides for me to come to grips with that reality. My suicide attempts hurt the people that loved me; it shows how selfish I was being.

Being who I am, I did research on suicide methods. I saw the real statistics on suicides, and I didn’t care if I became another statistic on a website. The tools were there to let someone know that I was suicidal. Calling the suicide helpline should have been the first thing I did, but I didn’t want help. I wanted not to exist. I found the only means to take my life that was accessible to me, an overdose. It wasn’t a great solution, but at the time it felt right, even if it felt wrong after.

Over the weekend and the days leading up to my first suicide attempt, I didn’t sleep. I was fighting a war inside my head, and the battles were endless. I always remember my first suicide because the event happened during Thanksgiving week—it happened on a Tuesday and I was in the psych ward that night. I remember feeling angry at the doctors that would not release me after I told them I was no longer suicidal. Looking back, it was another lie. I still wanted my life to end. It makes me sad that this was the first time in my life I would miss Thanksgiving with my family.

My first suicide attempt failed because wanting not to be a part of this world was my cry for help. That is why I decided to tell the world that I planned to end my life, again I had talked about suicide only a few weeks earlier on social media. Deep down I wanted my family to stop me, which is what happened. The people that love me found me in time. It took me years to come to this conclusion. At the time, I was so mad at the world that I survived because all I could see was my will not to live.

It’s a weird feeling when you finally take that leap to commit suicide (for lack of a better word). At that moment the world became surreal for me. Everything in my mind became clear, and I felt for the first time that I was at peace. It wasn’t real peace of course, and it was only a temporary feeling. One that ended when I thought my life did.

I remember some of what happened next. Being rushed to the hospital. The doctors and nurses were forcing a black charcoal substance down my throat. The faint conversations about me trying to commit suicide. The doctors and nurses knew something was wrong with what I did, even if I didn’t believe it. Then, many hours later, a nurse and a security guard were pushing me down a long hallway to the psych ward.

That was the first time I was so deep into depression that I turned to suicide. Within a month, I tried again with the same result, a stint in the psych ward. I chose to write about the first and second suicide attempts together for two reasons. The first reason is looking back deep-down I didn’t want to die in those first two attempts. I can say that with confidence. The second suicide attempt was a month after my first suicide one so it meshes in my mind. I don’t remember much from the time in between the two attempts and why I tried to kill myself so quickly after the first time. I mention this because it is different than the last time I tried to commit suicide. It would be about two and a half years before I would be so deep into depression again that suicide became my only solution. I really held on so tight that I could survive, but my depression never got better during this time period.

In 2010, I again wanted to end my life, and the need to not be a part of this world was consuming. It had been two and half years since my last attempt, and my life had only gotten worse. I was amid the most extended depression cycle of my life that started in 2006. I could not find my place in the world. I barely existed, only leaving my house a handful of times in those first 3 years.

When I was alone, my thoughts were dark. I imagined walking out of my house and down the street to walk into traffic on the highway. These thoughts were occurring almost daily as I continued my struggle with depression. I thought about hanging myself from the huge oak tree next to my house. I thought about slicing my wrists and bleeding out on my bed, which was the couch in my parents’ living room. I thought about the many ways I could remove myself from existence and it became an obsession. I would read articles about people that committed suicide. I was on the edge of suicide all the time. Just waiting for the time where it became too much and the only way to finally find peace was to make a bad decision.

Outside my immediate family, most of the people in my life gave up on me by 2010. If I am honest, only my mother still had faith in me at that time that I could one day be in recovery. Most of my family came to realize that if I wanted to commit suicide, there was not much anyone could do to stop me. I don’t blame people for giving up on me or for feeling helpless. I was the worst version of myself during these years.

I remember one day I was especially suicidal and some of my family came to visit my parents. I was alone in the dark with my thoughts when my aunt came into my room to check in on me. My aunt is the sweetest lady in the world, but I was in a dangerous place in my mind. I picked a verbal fight with her. I resented when she called the cops after I told her if she didn’t leave me alone I would kill myself. Suicide became this horrible weapon that I could wield against people who only wanted to help me. My aunt forgave me for it, but I often remember this and feel sorry for the altercation.

It was much of the same behaviors as the last time I tried to commit suicide, but it was also different. The most glaring difference was that for the first time in my life, I wanted to die. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted it to happen and that it would happen. Since day one of my diagnosis with Bipolar-1, I didn’t believe that I would make it out of my twenties. There was something wrong with me and I had not yet faced the problem. At that moment in 2010, it was becoming clear that my life was going to end.

I planned everything this time. For weeks, I hoarded my Seroquel so that I could take such an intense amount that it would kill me. At this point in my life, I was no longer in charge of holding onto my medicine only to take it in front of my parents. I found ways to pretend to take my medication. I told no one of my plans. I stopped all my online activity. I disconnected from life. I was lucky that my friend couldn’t get ahold me and had my parents checked in on me. It most likely saved my life.

I don’t remember anything after taking my medication that night. Years later, my mom told me it was the scariest suicide attempt that she had to live through. It was with reluctance that she explained what happened. I was in a coma for 3 days I remember waking from it and thinking, ‘What the Hell, why is there a catheter in me?’ The doctors had no idea if I would live or die with one of my doctors thinking I would die. One thing they were sure of, that my family got to me with little time to spare.

I spent a week in the hospital after I came out of the coma. My doctors released me into the care of my parents. About 2 days after my release I collapsed on the dining room table and had a seizure. It was taken in an ambulance that took me to the hospital where I had 3 more seizures over the next twenty-four hours. I was the scariest thing that I have ever lived through in this life. It is hard to believe I survived it all because I thought I was dying. My doctors thought it was a late reaction to the overdose. They were never actually sure, and never gave me a definite answer of why I had the seizures. I was on anti-seizure medication for 2 years and luckily, I have never had another seizure since that time. It was these 2 hospitalizations that changed my life and finally made me open to fixing my problems.

Why tell this story? For one, a request came through that I share my thoughts about suicide on my blog. It was a great idea. I thought after writing that blog post that the subject deserved a chapter in my memoir. But how could I tell someone reading this that suicide is not the answer if I don’t share my own experience? So, I decided that I would share my story and then my thoughts. Here are my thoughts.

Suicide is dark, and it feels endless. If you decide to go down that route, there is a good chance that you won’t live past that decision. I am lucky in some ways because I am here, but it’s sad that I let myself get to that point. My story should be a cautionary tale. If you survive suicide, you have no choice but to live with it, and it is better never to feel that way at all. No matter how my life has changed for the better over the years, my family will always be wondering if they could have stopped me. 

Even though over 7 years have passed, it will always be in the back of my family’s minds that it could happen again. That I could go down the road of suicide if things get that bad again in my life. My family will always be looking at me and wondering ‘when is the next time I will try to take my life.’ I deserve it, but it is a feeling that I wish would go away. I will live with this in every relationship in my life because even when getting better, suicide is always an option once you have tried it. I will never own a gun because the temptation will always be there somewhere in my mind. I have not gone down to that place for a long time. I may never go down that route again, but it is always something that could happen again.

If you feel like there is nothing left to live for, I will tell you there is—your family, your friends, and because it will not always be this bad. Life. It is worth living. Things are bad now, sure. But even when life is at the absolute worst, it will get better. Yes, something very wrong is happening in your life. If you feel suicidal at this moment, that is okay. You can survive this darkness. You can change the way you comprehend these depressive thoughts.

Suicide is never the answer. There are people in this world that are living with diseases that could take their life at any moment. They have no control, but you do when it comes to suicide. You can control your situation no matter what suicide tells you. Trust me when I say the voice that tells you suicide is okay is dead wrong. I listened to that voice before and was lucky to survive it. 

I tell anyone who feels suicidal to seek help. Call the Suicide Hotline. Call a friend. Text me or find me on my blog where I list my personal number. Find a way to fight. I have my writing, reading, and music. I watch sports, and when I am down, I binge watch shows that make me happy. Please, learn from my experiences. Believe me when I say, if I could go back, I would choose to get help instead of suicide.

If you know someone who is talking about suicide, please remember this important fact that many people tell their intentions of suicide. Listen to the people around you, especially those you love. If someone is joking about suicide or threatens to commit suicide takes the words at face value. I have joked about suicide before to people and they just laughed it off, but deep down I wanted someone to stop me. Just to know I exist. Call the authorities on that person if they do not want help. It is better to be safe than to lose some to suicide. The person you love will forgive you, and if they don’t, it is still the right thing to call the authorities because they say committing suicide is the only answer because saving their life is what they need to start the healing process.

The greatest advice I can give those who are suffering from depression is this—if depression is leading you to suicidal thoughts, the first step is to understand that there is something wrong in your life. You have a mental illness. 

It is okay to admit this to yourself and to the people around you. The second part might be trickier so only when you are ready. On this path to recovery and understanding of my diagnosis, it took me a long time to understand. The first time saying “I am Bipolar, it is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me,” was the first time believing that I could fight this disease. 

Consider that in your life you have a mental illness, and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with having a mental illness. After that, it becomes clearer that suicide is never the answer. Depression was and always will be a dangerous thing in my life. I made the decision to change my outlook for the better when I decided suicide is not the answer in my life. I started to fight for recovery, and it became the difference. I am able to write about suicide and share my experiences.

My life will always have elements of chaos. Every day I deal with depression and anxiety at some level, and often it hits the extreme levels of being Bipolar. I still fight every day. I am lucky enough to wake up each day alive. It gives me solace. I want to be active because death was never my friend. You never know when it will be your last day so decide to live. 

Live as much as you can even if you’re depressed. I take days off from life too, because sometimes everyone need a mental health day. Never give into suicide and the dark thoughts that occupancy it. The darkness will be there sometimes, but it will not last forever. I once thought I could never live outside my depression, and yet I am living proof that you can.

My highest aspiration in life is to teach people about suicide. The pain that suicide brings to your life and those around you is not worth it. My experiences are a part of me. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. I can’t stress the importance of getting help so I will repeat it. If you feel suicidal, get help; it is not worth it to give up hope.

Together we can prevent suicide. I want to end the stigma that comes along with this part of mental illness. I want people to learn from my mistakes. I know it is idealistic to think this way. I would rather believe it is possible to end suicide than to see any more of my people die because of suicide.

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 Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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National Suicide Awareness Month

September is National Suicide Awareness Month and September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. You never know what other people are going through. Be kind whenever possible; it’s always possible. Maybe this is something you don’t show much concern with because it had never affected you directly. You never know who in your life may decide to take their life. Even if you think someone is self-harming because they want attention, that doesn’t make their pain less valid. Existence is pain. Sometimes that pain is overwhelming. We can overcome that pain if we seek help from both professionals and from people in our lives.

If you’re hurting, or think your life is meaningless, there are plenty of places to seek help. If this post speaks to you, I want you to leave a comment. I may not respond, but if you feel alone, look at some of the other comments. Many people, hundreds of thousands, feel the same about their lives. You’re not alone because so many people have the same feelings. Reading articles from TheMighty.com helped me when I was looking for some comfort. I felt people there were in the same boat and I felt less alone. I’m sharing the resources listed on The Mighty website below.

Suicide Prevention Resources

If you are feeling suicidal, there is hope. 

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255

You can reach the Crisis Text Line 24/7 by texting “START” to 741-741

You can call The Trevor Project, an LGBT crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline, 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386.

You can call Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 if you live in the U.S. Call 877-330-6366 if you live in Canada.

To find local resources in your area, visit To Write Love On Her Arms.

If you are hard of hearing, you can chat with a Lifeline counselor 24/7 by clicking the Chat button on this page, or you can contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 800-799-4889.

To speak to a crisis counselor in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.

If you are a veteran (or your loved one is a veteran), you can reach the Veterans Crisis Line by calling  1-800-273-8255 and Pressing 1. You can also send a text to 838255.

Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

For additional resources, see the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education).

You can read the following stories from people who’ve been there (from The Mighty):

And for additional messages of hope, click here

You are not alone.  

If You Want to be happy, prove it.

 

 

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Hey all, this is gonna be my last Vlogcast, I, I realized, you know, my, my story never belonged to me. I’m done telling it. I’m ready to continue speaking and writing and spending all of my energy, investing all of my energy into the new story, the new true honest, heartfelt, joyful, fun, excited, passionate, creative me– the universe created me to be. One of the things I always say *laughs* and remind my the clients that I work with, the friends that I have, the family member, is I always teach best what I need most and right here this is it.

This is it.

Intention matters. Intention behind everything you do. I’m telling you now, that, what I’m about to tell you this is universal wisdom: it’s not mine, it just flowed into me. I’m gonna share. So, intention is everything. Whatever intention you have behind every single action you take is something you will need to sustain in the future.

If your intention behind something is to boost the way you feel about yourself because you feel guilty, because you feel like you are obligated, because you are doing it from an expectation placed on you…so you’re afraid what people will think if you don’t do it.

Intention matters. It doesn’t matter where you were born. It doesn’t matter where you grew up. It doesn’t matter where you currently live. It doesn’t matter if it’s between family members, friends, colleagues, partners, acquaintances, strangers.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter if it’s between an instrument and you. It doesn’t matter if it’s your career, doesn’t matter if it’s your, if it’s, if it’s a passion, if it’s a project, a book… it doesn’t matter. Your relationship with everything is dramatically impacted by the intention you place behind the relationship. Telling you now, this is a hard pill to swallow, for me anyway, to swallow because I’ve lived, I’ve lived behind the ruse of obligation, I’ve lived behind the ruse of filial expectation, I’ve lived behind the ruse of, well, this is just how life is supposed to be…

Intention is everything.

You’re going to spend your whole life trying to catch up, trying to pick up the pieces, you’re going to keep experiencing heart ache after heartache, heartbreak after heartbreak… intention matters.

Intention.

Set the intention behind everything you do. Are you, are you doing things to avoid something? Are you doing things to elope something? Are you doing things because of expectations? Obligations? Are you doing it because of,

“What will people think of me if I don’t?”

These are the kinds of things, these are things that will make your life flow more. I’m not saying your life will be easier but it will be better and this is one of the, I’m telling you, we teach best, what we need most and this is what I need most. This lesson. Go.

To stop trying to be in control all the time.

It’s one of the main things that agitates anxiety, depression, thoughts of not wanting to be alive anymore, is all of these stories we have and I’m done telling mine. It’s not mine anymore. Moving on. Learning to let go. To stop caring what people think. To shed everything in life… shedding everything in life that is fueled by expectation, obligation, good intentions… to boost my ego, is the ego, the ego.

It’s not worth it.

And…a key piece that clicked between here [I am pointing to my head in the video] and here [I am pointing to my heart in the video]… it’s not even about life being short. *Laughs* It’s not about life being precious. It’s not about being a good person. We are all connected and it’s a choice. Everything is a choice. It may not feel like it, but it is.

Make that conscious choice, the intention — to seriously emotionally, spiritually, mentally, psychologically detach from things that are killing you. A lot of the stuff that kills us, it crushes the spirit, it, it, it stifles the intuition and it really tamps down the soul.

So what… here’s a question for you:

In what area of your life, do you desperately, desperately just want to ebb and flow and not feel bad all the time and to relieve yourself of pressure, relieve yourself of obligation, retire from anxiety, move forward from depression… to embrace that those feelings of not wanting to be alive anymore. I mean how often has rejecting those feelings actually turned out in your favor.

There’s a lesson to be learned: what are you avoiding?

To wherever you are in the world, be it morning, afternoon or night, I believe in you  and I know you can do this.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns or you want to connect and learn more about how you can move forward from all of these I’m here. 


Chilledcow.bandcamp.com
Album: Relief
Artist: Pandrezz
Songs (in this order): 1. SnowFlakes 2. WhenSheCries 3. When She Sleeps

Follow me on the various Podcast platforms to support the creation of these episodes.
This will be my last Vlogcast and post on this blog. Afterwards, you can find Grounds For Clarity’s Thought Founder Kim Johnson here:

And here: Grounds For Clarity

We teach you how to break your patterns, habits and behaviors in exchange for another chance at life.

We give you the self-confidence to say no and say yes in areas of your life you never imagined possible.

Sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Feel ready to move on?

We have a proven track record of success for holding people accountable to the emotional changes they wish to see in their life. Learn to build a life that respects you and you, it. Stop blaming your past experiences, your family, your health and start taking responsibility for what you say you want.


Book a Discovery call with Kim Johnson, Thought Founder of Grounds For Clarity, LLC here, to determine if hiring a Mental Health Skills Lifestyle Coach is for you. 

I believe in you.

Steadfastly,

Kim Johnson
Thought Founder of Grounds For Clarity, LLC

I am Kim Johnson, Thought Founder of Grounds For Clarity, LLC.

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Audio ambiance courtesy of ChilledCow.
Bandcamp album: Conscious Ego
1. Cianite ft. Flitz&Suppe
2. Unravel ft dryhope

Welcome! I am not sure how you heard found me, but I am grateful you are here 🙂

My name is Kim Johnson and I am the Thought Founder of Grounds For Clarity, LLC where our vision is to provide a foundation for a quality life free from stigma and taboo one conversation at a time.

I am thrilled to be a part of The Bipolar Writer’s Mental Health community where our mental health is our health. Here’s to our health!

It has been a 7 year journey and in many ways, even longer than that, to dip deep, tap into and develop my passion into discernible words.

I invite you to visit my intuitively-led, soul-driven business — Grounds For Clarity, LLC

An Interview of The Bipolar Writer

Interview By Kim Johnson Thought Founder of Grounds For Clarity LLC

Interviewee: James Edgar Skye

Groundsforclarity.com

Yesterday May 13, 2020, I had the honor to do an interview for Grounds For Clarity LLC with the interviewer Kim Johnson. In this piece, we talk about my experiences with suicide and suicidal thoughts in a thought-provoking interview.

There is also this link, which shows other interviews done by Kim. She has been working hard to share the stories of others. Please visit her website Grounds For Clarity and also the link: 

https://groundsforclarity.com/hearstory/

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 Sam McGhee on Unsplash

“Is Cutting a Cry for Attention?”

Just as a warning to anyone in a sensitive time, I am writing about suicidal thoughts and self injury. I even triggered myself writing this so please take care of yourself.

Last week at work we had a suicide prevention seminar. A client killed herself in our building earlier this year so my boss thought it was appropriate to have one of the local universities bring their special suicide prevention team over to do a presentation.

Being someone who has been suicidal and being relatively active in the mental community, I had my critic hat on. I didn’t expect to learn much because I know the signs that somebody is suicidal. I lived it for many months.

So the presentation went fine, I had no qualms or anything to be pissed off about. Until…

For some reason that I don’t have the answer for, two of our organization’s board members were present. I had no idea why they were there but they were. It all went to shit when the one woman raised her hand and asked:

“So what about cutting? Do people cut themselves as a cry for attention? Are they suicidal?”

I rolled my eyes so hard I nearly fell over. I was hoping the speaker would say something intelligent, to show that she actually knew what the hell she was talking about. Instead her response was outdated and she was entirely misinformed.

She said yes to both of her questions. I immediately became silently angry. I couldn’t believe that somebody who is an alleged expert about this is telling my coworkers that people who cut want attention and want to die.

Here’s my response to her question:

You can’t lump every person who self injures into a shallow explanation like that. As someone who has struggled with self injury for 8 years, I never once did it for attention. I have always work diligently to hide my cuts and scars from people. The last thing I ever wanted was for someone to see what I did to myself. For me, it’s always been embarrassing.

Some people are suicidal and cut but use self injury as a coping mechanism. Not as a means to kill themselves. During my severe depression where I had constant thoughts of suicide, I cut myself daily. But that’s just my experience, not everyone’s.

Responses to questions like that only perpetuate the falsehoods about people who self injure or are suicidal.

What are your thoughts about this? What would your response be to that woman?

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. While it’s great there’s a month dedicated to this, it should be 365-day year awareness.

I understand suicide can be a touchy subject especially for those who have struggled with it themselves or have lost a loved one to it.

I wanted to share my personal story with suicide because that was something I struggled with for a long time.

I was 14 years old when I started getting suicidal thoughts. I was in high school and was completely miserable. I was living in an abusive household suffering abuse from my mom on a daily basis. It was physical, verbal, & psychological abuse. Living in such a toxic environment and experiencing that abuse on a regular basis caused me to go into a severe depression.

I would spend hours locked in my room crying myself to sleep. I would always question God asking him “why me?”

“Why was this happening to me?”

“Why did I have to get a mom who treated me so terribly?”

It wasn’t much longer when I started to get suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

My mom told me so many lies on a regular basis that it was hard for me to not believe them. She convinced me I was a burden to others & that I shouldn’t be on this earth. She told me things that no child or person should ever here. She told me she wished I were never born and that she wished she had me aborted when she had the chance. These are things I wish I could say never happened, but those were all lies she told me.

My thoughts started to become more negative and darker as the days went on. I started to lose feelings of happiness and forgot what happiness felt like. I started to feel numb & empty on the inside not feeling any emotions but sadness. I started to cope with self-harm when I was 14 years old. I believed it was the only way for me to feel something besides emptiness & sadness so I turned to self-harm.

That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to creep in and became more frequent. I started to believe the lies my mom and my depression told me. I believed I was a burden to others and that the world would be a better place without me in it. I wanted out of the world so bad that I came up with a plan when I was 15 years old to end my life. I had been prescribed pain medication from a dentist visit when I had to get a root canal and researched that medication and found that if I took all of the pills in the bottle I could never wake up again. That was my plan.

It was like playing tug o war in my mind though, there was that part of me that believed I was a burden and that I should just leave the world now, but there was another part of me that wanted to keep fighting. It told me to keep pushing through that those negative thoughts were lies and I could beat them.

I confided in my high school’s guidance counselor and he helped me push through the suicidal thoughts. I didn’t seek out treatment for my depression at the time even though I should have. Throughout high school I still struggled with depression and being active in sports helped me manage it.

After high school and when I went away to University the suicidal thoughts started to creep in again. I thought it was just homesickness since I was going to school on the other side of the country, but it was much deeper than that for me.

It was the summer of 2014 when I was home from University that I sought out treatment for my depression. I struggled with an alcohol addiction and one day when I had way too much to drink I couldn’t control the suicidal thoughts. I knew that if I didn’t seek out help that night, I would have harmed myself and may not be alive today. I had my best friend’s boyfriend drive me to the mental hospital and drop me off. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this and I told him yes I knew if I didn’t get help I was only going to get worse.

I spent three days in the crisis unit of the mental hospital. I was put on Zoloft and anxiety medication that helped ease my anxiety while I was there. I wish I could say going on Zoloft helped with my depression, but it actually made things worse for me. At the time I was diagnosed with depression and didn’t know I had bipolar disorder. When I was on Zoloft I felt like a zombie I was so out of it and numb, I hated it. I didn’t realize that for those who have bipolar disorder, anti-depressants could cause you to go into mania, which it did for me.

When I was back at University that semester I was a wreck. I was in and out of depressive episodes along with being in manic episodes. My alcohol problem was out of control and my behavior was reckless. I was failing all of my classes and was drinking on a daily basis. I started to struggle with self-harm again and the suicidal thoughts again. I knew that if I didn’t leave University and get myself out of that environment things were only going to get worse for me. That’s when I withdrew from University and moved back home to Florida.

I wish I could say everything got better for me when I got back home to Florida, but my depression grew worse. The psychiatrist I was seeing was no help at all to me and didn’t listen to my problems. He didn’t care to give me a proper psych evaluation and just wrote me a script for the next anti-depressant out there. I continued to struggle with self-harm and battled the suicidal thoughts daily.

I was empty & numb living in an endless cycle of my depression.

It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when I finally found a psychiatrist who gave me a proper psych evaluation and diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. Getting on the proper medication and changing my lifestyle to healthier habits, put an end to the suicidal thoughts. It was like the fog had finally been lifted and I could see clearly again. I started to see a therapist for a few months as well that helped me work through some of the issues from my past.

I’m happy to say that I am stable now and have not harmed myself in over three years now. I still find myself going into depressive episodes every now and then and will catch the suicidal thoughts creeping into my mind. I’ve become a lot stronger than I was three years ago and can fight off the thoughts much better than before.

I know living with a mental illness will be a life long battle for me. I’ve spent over ten years now fighting the demons and while it can be exhausting, I know I will survive the fight.

For those of you that have experienced something similar or going through a tough time please never hesitate to seek out help. There are so many resources available out there today and remember you are not a burden to others. Your life matters and you are never alone in this fight.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Finding Yourself in an Impossible Situation

There might come a time when you are faced with an impossible situation, a friend or family member tells you that they are suicidal. Even worse is a situation that I have encountered in my life–a friend, knowing my history, asked me to help them commit suicide. What do you do?

When a person says that they are suicidal take it seriously. Suicide is a serious and what it takes to let your thoughts go down to the darkest places is something that warrants knowing what to do in these situations.

The first thing you can do is to tell that person that it will be okay, that people all over the world have gotten to a place where they believe that suicide is the only answer. Let them know that there are resources right away, and the biggest is the suicide hotline:

The National Suicide Hotline. 1-800-273-8255

If you are outside the United States you can look up international suicide hotlines that can help someone you love. These places are designed to help people who are in emergency situations—I consider suicidal thoughts as one of those emergency situations.

Asking the Right Questions

It is essential to find out the level of suicide your loved one is and if he/she is in a place where they will act on their suicidal feelings. Suicidal thoughts and feelings can quickly move into suicidal action, though you might not be a professional you can ask questions to determine where he/she is at the moment. The following I took from Mayo Clinic Website with questions you should ask:

  • • How are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?
  • • Do you ever feel like just giving up?
  • • Are you thinking about dying?
  • • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
  • • Do you think about suicide?
  • • Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?
  • • Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
  • • Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?

Looking for Warning signs

There are plenty of warning signs that your family member or friend might act on their suicidal thoughts. When someone is talking about suicide saying things like “I want to die” or “I wish I hadn’t been born” are signs that things are bad. A preoccupation with death or suicide is another indicator that I had in my own life. There are many signs, and I implore that you research the critical signs of suicide if you believe a loved one is planning to commit suicide.

Asking them to Seek Help

This where things can get tricky. The first thing I recommend is to ask your family member or friend to seek professional help (this is tricky because seeking help on your own is often impossible.) But, you have to be able to make the hard choice—if he/she is suicidal, you have to call 9-1-1 or immediately take them to the hospital. It is better to be safe than sorry. Your friend or family member may hate you, I know I did when my family called the authorities on me a number of times, but if its life or death– chose life.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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I’m too comfortable talking about suicide

While there has been a big push to be more open about mental health, suicide, self-harm – so that people can actively seek help, I feel like I’ve already gone too far.

I am too comfortable talking about my suicidal experience.

A question that my psychiatrist asks every time during my visit is – “Is life worth living”?

Typically, I say, “yes” with a weak smile on my face. But this week was different.

I said, “I guess.”

He immediately looked at me and asked, “Why do you say that?”

Once again, I bluntly said, “I don’t have a choice, do I?”

Now, I honestly have no idea why I said those things.

Yes, life is worth living, and I choose to live my life because it is worth fighting for. Despite my daily battle with mental health, there are still good things in life and things to look forward to,

I notice how shocked people get when I ever so easily talk about my own suicidal thoughts, or experiences I had in the past. The typical reaction I get includes looking around side to side, making sure no one is listening or staring and giving me a look with sad eyes asking if everything is okay.

For me, talking about my suicidal thoughts in the past – is such a natural conversation. I am “too” comfortable talking about these things in the public, and I thought it was a good thing.

But now, I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I am scaring others away because I am too comfortable using my “s” word, driving people away from me.

Is there such thing as being “too comfortable” talking about suicide? I don’t know.

Being raised in a culture where people shy away from using the “s” word, I stick out like a sore thumb.

Help. What should I do?