No Therapy for The Bipolar Writer

What has Bugged me Since November, Losing my Therpaist

There has been something bugging me, and it came to the forefront of my mind today. I felt the need to get it off my chest, and writing is therapeutic for me. I want to begin with some history.

For those who might be new to my blog, I, James, have been in the adult system of care in the state of California and the county Monterey. Behavioral Health, as it is called, has been my home for everything mental health related . To meeting with psychiatrists (the many over the years) for medication refills and changes, the idea of group therapy which I never could do, and one therapist since 2007. I talk extensively about my experience with the adult system of care in my memoir. I was twenty-two at the start of this jouney, and fresh off my first stint in the psychiatric ward.

It was not until 2015 that I actually got insurance, thanks to Obamacare, and I was finally eligible for therapy. I met my therapist in the summer of 2015. Until November of last year, she was the one advocate in my life that cared about my daily struggles with Bipolar disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. This blog, my memoir, and becoming The Bipolar Writer only became possible when I opened up in therapy. Before, I was not very good at expressing the mental illness side. 

Everything Changed

Photo by Tim Chow on Unsplash

I can’t fault my therapist for moving from long hours for probably not the most exceptional pay for a better job. She was terrific, and she helped me through so much. I got to this point because of my mom, therapy, and undergraduate/graduate school. My therapist was also my case worker and tbat is important. Only one other person in the system, my psychiatrist from 2007-2012, actually cared.

It has been five months. I keep getting the run around in December, January, and February of this year. They are working on getting me a new caseworker and therapist. They wanted me in group therapy through it would not start until February. I was just working on getting ready for these types of situations, and so I declined group therapy. I have trouble with being around people in person. Which is ironic because I connect with people all the time here on my blog. I was hopeful that eventually, they would hire someone new, and things would get back to normal. Then COVID-19 happened to the world, with it was the changing of everything.

Now, as with everything else in my life when it comes to my mental health, I am in a holding pattern. The county is freezing hiring a new caseworker and therapist, and so I have no therapy for going on five months. Its the longest since I first came to therapy. There is always a silver lining when I write these posts. I am better equipped to deal than at any time in my life. Yes, its been hard since I began sheltering in place and social distancing when it comes to anxiety, but I am slowly adjusting.

It is looking like we are going to be this way in California for a while. I will deal with it the best way I know how, writing, some meditation, and perhaps adding some new things to my routine. When this is all over, maybe I will once again be in therapy. God knows that I will need it. Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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

Purchase The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir here.

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“Too much” or just being human?

Few weeks ago, I wrote about my fear of not being a capable therapist as someone who struggles with my own mental health. I’ll be starting graduate school this fall to become a licensed therapist, and I’ve been dwelling on this thought a whole lot.

I came to conclusion that it would not make me an incompetent clinician, but it comes down to knowing my limit and boundaries. Which includes making sure I am well and myself is treated before I try to work with clients.

Well, something new came up in my mind.

How would YOU feel if you find out your therapist has a blog where they disclose about their mental health? They are seeing a therapist (even as a therapist) just like you, seeing a psychiatrist and so forth – and all of this – you find out by reading their blog.

I will be THIS therapist in few years if I decide to keep on posting and using my real name in the blogging community.

I just don’t know if that is just… “too much” or even would be considered unethical?

Of course, I would never be telling my clients to go check out my personal blog page, but I’m talking about in cases where they may stumble upon it.

How would you feel/ what do you think about a therapist having their own mental health blog – where they disclose their mental health conditions?

Courtney’s Interview Feature

This a feature I wrote on Courtney. You can find all feature interviews here.

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Courtney’s Interview Feature: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a unique mental illness diagnosis. It comes with uncontrollable mood swings that can happen every minute of every other day. The unpredictability of Borderline Personality Disorder can make any day the worst ever.

“They range from anger to sadness to even happiness,” Courtney explains. “But the feelings I have are mostly negative.”

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Courtney from Waterford, Michigan, is living every way with the realities of BPD. Two and half years ago Courtney found solace. It would come in the form of a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. But like many of us in the mental illness community, the journey to the right diagnosis was a rough one for Courtney.

“Before my diagnosis with BPD, I had different diagnosis’s ranging from depression alone to Bipolar. My life was a complete disaster. There was no such thing as a “normal” day.”

In her early years, Courtney would deal with constant mood swings. The mood swings made family life impossible at times. Verbal arguments were common, and it leads to instability in her family life. It was not uncommon for Courtney to try to commit suicide. On more than one occasion she had to live through the reality of suicide attempts that seemed to come out of nowhere.

“My moods would flip as easy as it was to toss a coin,” Courtney recalls. “There was no telling how my day would start, or how they would end. It was scary.”

Courtney will admit she doesn’t have the best memory. She often has a tough time reliving the past, or even remember it. “I wouldn’t wish what I endured those years before my diagnosis on anyone.”

It’s not all negative in Courtney’s life. Courtney surrounds herself with people that support who she is. This support system includes her husband, mother, and Courtney’s therapist. The positive part in her BPD comes from the right medications and a good psychiatrist.

“The medication prescribed to me that I take every day,” Courtney explains. “I believe it plays a big positive part in my BPD.”

There are daily struggles that Courtney must face. The emotional instability that comes with Courtney and her BPD can make life hard. It can be hard to maintain a relationship, even with the ones that Courtney loves. Anxiety and depression often make themselves companions next to her BPD. On any given day she will feel lazy and depressed.

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It is not uncommon for Courtney to want to do her entire to-do-list for the year in one day. It can be exhausting, but she always finds a way. Support is her most prominent ally.

“My mental illness affects my life every day. Little things that shouldn’t bother me, bother the hell out of me,” she explains about how BPD affects her life. “I get irritable over the little things, and sometimes I have no control over my anger.”

Courtney by nature isn’t a violent person, but at times she is on the edge of exploding at any moment. Three things contribute to this feeling. One part Anxiety. One part Depression. One part Borderline Personality Disorder. It can be a disastrous combination.

“It affects my relationship with my husband, my kids, family, and even friends.”

We all have a goal when writing our blog, something we want to share with the mental illness community. For Courtney, her message is one of education.

“I want people to become educated and aware of mental illnesses,” she explains. “There is a stigma that surrounds people like us, and it needs to die. That’s why the title of my blog is “kill the stigma.” I want people to open up about their struggles, to not be afraid of backlash, or to receive support. I want people to be able to talk about mental illness as easy as they talk about a cold.”

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For Courtney, writing a blog has done wonders for her life. It is her way to cope and at the same time receive affirmation. It’s not about the comments or the followers from Courtney’s perspective. It’s about people viewing and reading what she is presenting to the blogging world.

What Courtney is doing with her blog is educating and finding a way to make a difference. She writes to teach on topics like depression, anxiety, and Borderline Personality Disorder.

“I have already done that on a small scale. It also helps me to know I am not alone. I have had several people close to me and distant have reached out. What they are saying is how they have dealt with their own illnesses and wish they had a voice like me.”

My favorite question that I ask in these interview features is what in their life makes life worth living? Courtney’s answer is why I love to ask this question.

Courtney finds peace in the little things in life that make living worth it. She mentions her husband, mother, children, and her belief in God. “I remember how much they love me, and how much I love them. It helps to feel wanted and needed, and I’ve never felt either of those things as much as I do currently.”

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There is also the personal things in her life that Courtney wants to work on. She recognizes that she is not the best person in the world. Courtney works each day to strive to be a better person despite BPD.

Courtney recognizes one crucial thing that makes life worth living. It is this knowledge that those of us in the mental illness community should live by.

“If I were to kill myself today, I wouldn’t be able to be a better person. I would go to hell, according to my beliefs. I don’t want either of those things, so the hope that I have now makes life worth living.”

The alternative to the negative thinking that Courtney displays is positive. Its roots are in her past experiences with suicide.

Within the confines of her journey, Courtney has often had suicidal idealizations. For a good part of her life and journey, this was a regular thing. Courtney believed that it was normal to think about all the ways that you wanted to die.

“As a teenager, I didn’t know any different,” she remembers. ” I have had suicidal thoughts ever since I can remember. I would think about cutting my slitting my wrists, about driving my car into a poll at 100 mph, or swallowing pills. I even thought about putting a gun to my head and pulling the trigger.”

In the present time, Courtney struggles with these thoughts less and less. It helps to have the right system in place. For Courtney, she relies on the right medication, therapy, support, and coping skills. It is within this system that helps her combat these thoughts.

It doesn’t mean that Courtney hasn’t gone down the road of trying to take her life. “I have attempted suicide three times, and the first time I flatlined. It took Narcan to revive me. I thought it would never make me want to commit suicide again.”

This thought was great for Courtney, but was temporary and only for a time. She would go on to attempt to take her life two more times. It was through these trials and getting the right support that keeps her steady. Its enough for Courtney to stay off the suicide path.

“It takes time. There is no instant cure and that’s what I wanted. I was expecting it for so long, I wasn’t patient enough.”

Courtney wants to share through this feature article many vital pieces of wisdom. The first is that mental illness can happen to anyone. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and it can affect anyone.

“I am glad that I’m winning,” Courtney explains. “I am so glad I am winning.  I finally feel like I have my mental illness under control after more than a decade. And you know what? It was so worth the wait and effort.

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Courtney is at a level that we all hope to get to, a place where you are good with your diagnosis. Her words of wisdom speak truthfully. In my own experiences, all I have been through got me to a right place with my own diagnosis. It is the most fantastic feeling in the world, but the battles are what made us stronger. It has made Courtney stronger.

If you would like to know more about Courtney and her journey you can find her writings on her blog.

When I was looking through her blog, this post stood out the most. You can find so many great pieces on Courtney’s journey with Borderline Personality Disorder on her blog.

Interviewee: Courtney

Author: James Edgar Skye

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Photo Credits:

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unsplash-logoMorgan Basham

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unsplash-logoTânia Soares

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unsplash-logoAustin Schmid

A Final Push – My GoFundme Campaign

I wanted to say first, thank you all to those who have already donated towards upgrading The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog to the business level. There have been some fantastic large donations and also amaing small donations that have brought us closer, but we are still not quite there–as of today we have made over 300 dollars, which is really amazing! I think this final push will help us finally achieve our goal.

Always Keep Fighting!

What is the Goal?

The next level. Upgrading The Bipolar Writer blog to the business level for the next year and a half. This will give the blog more options on getting the collaborative work out there into the world. I also want a place where authors can showcase and sell their work on here (I am working on how this will be possible.) At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to spread the stories and experiences of those in the mental illness blogging community with the world and end the stigma.

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

This blog has always been self-funded by my own money, but the community has also helped me with funding from time to time. Every penny that I raise is going towards this blog and spreading the many stories that feature on this blog. It takes just small donations (significant donations are also welcome) and with the 11,100 plus followers of this blog donating 2-3 dollars we can finally reach the goal! The final goal will be $425. 

You can also help my spreading the word by clicking the reblog button or sharing this blog post on twitter or facebook.

My GoFundme

https://www.gofundme.com/rasing-to-upgrade-the-bipolar-writer-blog

There are other ways to donate

PayPal

This is another excellent way to donate, and to do so just press Pay with PayPal and you can choose to give a minimum of $2.00 (you can decide how much based on the number of donations, so 3 times would be 2 x 3 and you would donate six dollars.) 

Venmo – 831-287-4369

I don’t mind sharing my number (I have before several times in the past.)

That is it. I am hoping to raise enough money by this weekend. 

James Edgar Skye

What are Your Worst Mental Illness Symptoms

I feel better. My depression lessened over the weekend, and I have a good feeling about where the rest of February will go when it comes to the depressive episode being entirely over.

I have not felt this good since the first week of January. While thinking about what to write this week on my blog I came up with a question that I want to pose to the followers and contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog. Just a couple of questions.

Identify what you struggle with…

What are your worst symptoms?

How do you dea?

Feel free to leave your comments down below! Let us use this as a stepping stone to something great. Maybe it will inspire you to write a blog post!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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A Guest Blog Spot – Emily K. Harrington

Memories That Almost Break Me

By Emily K HarringtoN

https://goldfishpainter.com/blog/

Yesterday in therapy I told the story of the last days with Sophie and my first days of incapacitating mental illness, just before I was officially diagnosed. I was surprised at how upset I became in therapy, and by the clarity of my often faulty memory. Timeline was:

I started to feel like I was becoming invisible in October, right after I started dating Sophie, right when I turned 19.

My depression increased. I started to disappear.

By Christmas, I knew something was wrong with me, but I didn’t know what. I remember saying “Something is really wrong with me,” to my mom when I came home for Christmas break. When my folks drove me to Austin at the New Year to put me on a plane back to Ohio, my dad gave me a giant teddy bear in the parking lot, and I hugged him and cried very hard. My mom took a picture of us that I have here in my house. Our eyes are red, even though we’re smiling. His arm is around my shoulder, and we both look like we’re holding our breath.

January was something called “Winter Term,” which exists because it’s basically too cold to live in Ohio in January. The campus empties out. Everyone did an individual project during Winter Term, appropriately called a “Winter Term Project,” and you could complete your project anywhere in the world. Oberlin is mostly wealthy, so students would do their projects in Hawaii or Barbados or Portugal. Wherever they wanted, basically. A tiny minority of students would stay on campus, so the ice-laden, snow-covered campus stayed partially open. The libraries had some limited operating hours, and one of the cafeterias was kept functioning. I chose a listening/research project on mezzo-sopranos of the last century. My roommate, Laura, went away somewhere for the month, so Sophie and I had a giant room to ourselves. We hid inside, only leaving to find food or go to the conservatory to research. Baldwin had a large, round practice room on the first floor with a piano in it, directly below my own round room, so we didn’t even need to go to the conservatory to practice. There were two places near us that delivered food: a Chinese place on Main Street and a Dominos about 30 miles away. With temperatures severely below zero, it was worth the money and the wait to not have to leave the house. We binge-watched TV and movies on her laptop, ate takeout, and existed naked with the radiators cranked. The sky was only ever grey or black.

I started to think that I would marry this girl, and soon after I had that thought, I started feeling stressed and trapped. I didn’t think I’d ever be strong enough to leave her. There were things I didn’t like, but I felt so stuck. I was madly in love, and marriage seemed like an inevitability, but I had the sense that I was too young and hadn’t been with enough people yet, seen enough of my life, or learned enough about myself to be happy making that lifelong commitment. Then I started to get sick.

It started with stomach pain that turned into nausea and vomiting. I went to the doctor, got lots of tests done (including a CAT scan and a vaginal ultrasound), and wound up with a diagnosis of an ulcer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and interstitial cystitis. I did have cysts on my ovaries, but one correct diagnosis out of three is a pretty low success rate. The gyno who did my pelvic exam said I had a bladder condition, prescribed legal speed, and sent me on my way.

The first day on that stimulant was the night I became furious with myself in a conservatory practice room, blacked out (also known as having a dissociative fugue) and walked several miles out of town. When I came to, I called campus Safety and Security officers to drive out and pick me up. I got back to the dorm, popped two hydrocodone (my first attempt at self-medication), and stood outside of my room looking at the doorknob, feeling like there was a pane of glass between my outstretched hand and the door that I couldn’t possibly penetrate.

At some point, I found out my stomach pain, combined with my psychological symptoms, could be bipolar disorder. I made an appointment with a psychiatrist, went in to be assessed, told him about my perfectly practical and achievable plan to hang myself in an abandoned barn I’d found with a ladder and an electrical cord, and he sent me to a psychiatric unit for violent offenders in Lorain, Ohio. I stayed for 4 days and then came home with a Neurontin prescription and no diagnosis.

At 2:30 AM one night, Sophie got really sick and needed to go to the hospital overnight. The prescription speed and a missed night’s sleep started the true psychotic break, which you’ve heard all about. When I came to a moment of functionality around 4 pm the next day, I called my mom and said (again) “I’m not okay.” She told me to find someone to drive me to the airport at 5, that she would book a flight immediately, and to give her Sophie’s phone number.

On the drive to the airport, the blue sky was heavily dotted with bright white clouds that had the same texture as my mom’s fluffy scrambled eggs.  I could hear them singing to each other. By that point in the day, my psychosis had completely enveloped me, to the point of adjustment. It wasn’t at all frightening; the heavens were singing to me. I am not a religious person, but my psychosis has frequently taken on a literalist interpretation of angels, Satan, spirits, hell, and heaven (so far).

On the plane a few hours later, I was watching the Johnny Cash in-flight movie from the aisle seat. Next to me sat a man in his 40s with glasses, a button-down shirt, and khakis with a phone holster attached. Total white-guy dad. He was bouncing his 2-year-old son on his knee to distract and comfort the baby boy from popping ears and irritating confinement and boredom.

About halfway through the movie, I started to see a red glow in my peripheral vision where the man was seated. I turned to look at him and his eyes glowed red. I could see red light surrounding him, and his hands grew long claws from the fingertips. He was still bouncing the baby boy on his knee, holding onto him tightly with those terrifying claws. I knew in my bones that I was sitting next to Satan. I didn’t know what to do. I called the flight attendant but was afraid to speak when she came to me. He was going to hurt that little boy, he was going to drag me to hell with him, and I thought about screaming for help, but couldn’t see how anyone else on the plane could possibly save me from Satan, himself. As I looked around in a panic, I felt the floor beneath my feet drop away, and when I looked down between my feet, I saw 30,000 feet of empty space between me and the carpet of blackness and lights that make up a city from above at nighttime. My feet were swinging freely. My seatbelt seemed a laughable precaution. No one else noticed, so I stared straight ahead with tears raging down my face. I thought it best just to try to act the same as everyone around me. Surely the judgment of the many was currently better than my own.

I came home confused and in pain, still wanting to kill myself. My mom called every psychiatrist in town, and the nearest appointment was 6 months out. She convinced me that the fastest way to get help was to go to DePaul, the local psychiatric hospital. I seized a moment of doubt in my plan to off myself, and I told her to take me, quickly, before I changed my mind. We got in the car two minutes later. I didn’t even pack.

I already had one horrifying hospital experience under my belt that included living with real-life murderers and armed guards stationed at locked doors holding rifles with two hands. The threat this new hospital posed was made more significant in my mind through projection. By about one hour in, I was a wreck. I went into my very first mixed-state episode. It was hell. Literal hell. Eternal, unyielding suffering. I had no idea that episodes pass. I’d never had one before. I thought this was life now, that I was finally just broken, and that I no longer had a choice to live. I was in hell.

Suicide would make it stop. I knew that much. It was the only move I had left.

I double wrapped my phone charger around my neck and wrapped the other end around the top hinge on the bathroom door. I kicked a chair out from under me, but the jerk didn’t break my neck, so instead, I started to suffocate. My vision started to go white when I saw a shadow and heard someone screaming “help!” Someone grabbed me around the middle and lifted me up to take the pressure off of my neck. I felt cold scissors against my throat and hear a snapping sound of then cutting my charger’s cord. I took one deep breath in and started screaming.

I screamed. I wailed. I remember being partially removed, as if I was standing across the room, observing. I remember thinking that I sounded like a wounded wolf. I was screaming because they had cheated me. I had the answer. I even had the courage to commit to the answer. And they stole it. How could they do that to me? It seemed like the cruelest thing they could have possibly done.          

I lost Sophie a few days later when I got out of one-to-one observation. She broke up with me over the phone. When I called her and admitted to my attempt, she was rightfully terrified and overwhelmed. Mental illness doomed and then ended the relationship, which is no one’s fault. I lost my mind and my first adult relationship at approximately the same time. This order of events is not unavoidable, but it’s also not uncommon. Many others who live with mental illness have experienced this themselves.

Lately, I’m not doing so great. I’m having more severe symptoms than I’ve had in years and some of the things that are happening take me back to these memories. All of this happened over a decade ago. The 13th anniversary of my first suicide attempt is in 2 months.

While the symptoms are becoming severe, the coping skills I have are now strong enough to provide some solace and structure. Still, even with great tools to use, it often hurts like hell, and I’m terrified of going back to the place I was in 13 years ago. I don’t want to have a full psychotic break, be hospitalized, attempt suicide, or lose my relationship.I have skills now. I have a support system. I have medical care. I have a partner in life. I have 13 years of experience in keeping myself alive. I have amassed a wealth of helpful components to cope with my illnesses.

I have to fact-check. There are worse things than having a psychotic break. There are worse things than going to the hospital. There is no evidence that I will attempt suicide. There is no evidence that I will lose my relationship.

Cope. Fact-check. Ask for help. Go to the doctor.

I know what to do. I’ve done this before.

Viagra for Mental Illness

My therapist and I once debated what would be the one thing that could change the human race.  Ok, not really but the seriousness of the conversation felt like that.  We asked what would really change the face of mental health and why the mental health industry is taking so LONG to come up with a proper solution.  I, and other people with mental illness, have paid our dues, and  we’re ready for a proper solution for our non-sexually transmitted brain infections.  And me, I want for the brain – a little blue pill – that will stop embarrassing responses to the need to be um, UP for living.  Yes please.  I would like to be performance ready.  I would even come up with a little dance to show the world how ready I was to penentrate this thing we call life.

In developing this pill, we would need to understand what the primary problem is.  And after more than a decade of falling around figuring out what Bipolar is, and the many other ailments of people with mental illnesses close to me, I have come to the conclusion that the primary cause of all mental illness is a terrible, flesh eating feeling called I hate myself.  It permeates our existence, and nothing makes you feel better about it. Medication dims it slightly, but when it overtakes you completely – lets just say you a lot become life impotent and can’t stand up for anything.  In my experience, you can start your day out well, have your coffee and cigarette like a good girl, and then well, life and mental illness.  And whilst you may have several outputs to complete, you will instead lie on the couch (and from personal experience) try to inhale your body weight in sugar, burn the couch while you are asleep – or be awake the whole night, either trying to do too much to feel better or nothing at all, and feel worse because of it as well.  Awesome.

I cannot speak for everyone else, and I don’t know what your experience is.  But what happens most with this emotional impotence, is a constant cycle of not liking myself very much, and well, other things just become less important.  So when I go to hospital, and they ask me do you have less pleasure in daily activities (yes daily), do you still wash (almost rarely) and then, just because these questions are stupid, the answers to rest, I fill out equally stupidlly.  For example: sex: (my pills knock me out so no) and race: (I prefer not to put myself through the additional trauma of exercise, so um, DUH, no).  Yes.  I am already emotionally impotent.  Do not make fun of it, or ask me stupid questions, when well, it is hard.  Excuse the pun.

Honestly though friends, I am tired.  Tired of something that makes you want to climb out of your body.  Out of your head.  And I have never found a successful way to do that.  Or a way that’s good for your health, and well let’s not do anything that decreases that.  Instead I issue a challenge to the world – to the mental health industry – to please, please come up with a solution that helps THIS. This vortex of hate myself that needs emotional viagra the most.  Until then, I will be living, loving and eating liquorice on the couch.  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I am 4M’s Bipolar Mom.

I am too attached

I associated the word “attachment” as someone who is clingy, annoying and who has “issues” that they couldn’t resolve in the past – Until this year.

I get attached to people fairly easily. Most people say it’s because I am just a very caring person and that is a good thing.

I want to see it as a good thing, but it hurts.

It hurts to let people go in my life, including my therapist.

This past summer, when things were just extremely stressful and my anxiety has heightened up like never before. During this time, my therapist’s abrupt news of termination was enough to trigger my first depressive episode.

I was in so much denial for the longest time, but I had to come to conclusion that it was because I was so attached to my therapist.

Thankfully, we got in touch again and took another month or two to fully work it out and terminate “safely”.

My therapist suggested doing a group therapy in a group that they were leading this fall, so that I can have a smoother transition of saying goodbye.

Today was actually my last time seeing her as the group terminated.

Am I sad? Kind of. Am I going to have a depressive episode like this past summer? No.

It’s a bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye, but it leaves me with a thought wondering what I can do to leave my “attachment” behind. It’s ironic how the word attachment is so attached to my own emotions.

I know I am not alone in this. How do you deal with attachment and saying goodbye?

I would love to hear.

What’s the Make, Model, and Year of Your Mental Health Struggle?

Hi, I’m Chelsea. I drive a minivan.

I didn’t want to drive a minivan. When people learn that I do drive one, they start assuming other things about me. They also assume: I drive slow, am distracted, have no taste in vehicles, have children, will make a bad decision whilst driving because I’m probably turned around yelling at said children, and that I shop at Costco every day.

Now…. some of those things might be true. But, guess what? am not the minivan. I just drive it. am a person. My name is Chelsea. I am not slow, distracted, tasteless, children, bad decisions, or Costco. I am a human and I am also worthwhile.

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When you go out into the world, what sort of vehicle do you drive? Van? Jeep? Truck? Bicycle? Bus? Sedan? Train?

Are you large, difficult to turn, and roomy like that van? Are you fun outside but hard on the joints over speedbumps like a Jeep? How about pushy and a bit too high off the ground like a truck? Maybe you can’t really afford much in life or are environmentally conscious like a bicycle.

Our mental health struggles are our vehicles.

Say that you go out to the workplace after a difficult morning, only to snap at someone because they echoed a mean thought your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder chugged and chugged and chugged. That wasn’t you, though. That was the OCD you have to take to work.

What about the night that Depression was your ride? That dark interior, battered trim, and iffy transmission was only how you got to the party, not who came inside.

And let’s not forget the lunchtime meeting you had with Anxiety. Your mechanic still shakes his head over the number of ‘strange noises’ you swear it kept making, the sudden stops, and its refusal to even start when you were at a traffic light.

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Thinking about mental illness as a vehicle might make you say, “Well, then, why can’t we just get another car?” Money, mostly. Circumstance. What your insurance will cover. What you need for your size of family, parking space, parking expenses, and (again) budget.

That’s not to say you’re stuck forever in your quirky transport, nor that you can’t address some of its more-limiting issues. In fact, you really need to address them.

-If you are repeatedly blocked from getting the engine to even start

-If you are constantly arriving late

-If you cannot seem to ever get out of the seatbelt when necessary

It’s time to see a mechanic -er, a therapist or mental health doctor of some sort.

No matter the age or condition of the vehicle, they can always help. No, your car will not be the same as when you first unknowingly signed that crappy contract and drove it home -but, do you want it to be?

And, sometimes, you do get a different ride. Sometimes you have no choice. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes worse. But, the car you drive is still not you.

You are you. Most importantly, you are always the driver. Never forget that.

Photo credit:
Rodolfo Mari
Pixabay
James Sullivan

Finally an Update I Will Love- My Memoir

It has been a long process. Seriously. There were so many days where I wanted to quit it all and give up my dreams of sharing my experiences with mental illness through a memoir.

My memoir— The Bipolar Writer, a dream that will become a reality in the coming weeks!

An Update on my Memoir – The Bipolar Writer

I had this goal at the start of writing my memoir. To show the many sides of my various diagnosis’ over the years— Bipolar One, Social Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety & Insomnia. Just to name the various issues that I cover in my book. It’s finally almost done!

It has been a long, arduous process to edit/proofread my memoir. So many chapters and I wanted to keep them all. I struggled internally with how to structure the memoir. To I tell a chronological story? Well, that would make sense except my story covers the first ten years of my diagnosis. There are points where I remember things, but it is never in order in the way that my story unfolded. So I chose to do something different— at least in my mind. Just tell parts of my story— no particular order.

I am so close to the final draft which has hit many speed bumps along the way. I still need a cover artist (if anyone is interested, please email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com with some samples and a price.)

Which leads me to self-publishing. I have been reading about different ways to publish my memoir. I can go the digital book route at first and see where that takes me. I can self-publish with a company and sell physical copies of my book, but I am not sure that I have enough money for that quite yet. I have raised a lot from this blog— but not enough. The digital route seems my best chance at getting my first non-fiction work to the general public.

It will be one year in September since starting my memoir. It’s been an amazing journey, but one I am ready to finish.

With that said, I am opening up to all of my followers for the best publishing advice that you have, it would mean the world to me to finally publish The Bipolar Writer.

As always— Always keep fighting (AFK).

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog