Depression Poetry: A Retrospective

I wrote this poem on April 3, 2015. I was in a dark place. I was close to suicide for the first time since 2010. I had been mourning my grandfather and my life was in a bad place. I was in the depression cycle that started in the summer of 2014 and didn’t end until the summer of 2015. I haven’t had a depression cycle quite as long as this cycle.

This poem is one of my more darker free thought poems. I just wrote what I was feeling.

This is a look back at the top blog posts for The Bipolar Writer Blog which will end March 12, 2021.

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My Darkest Depression

I know it has been a long while…
I have been lost.
Depressed.
And even tittering on the edges of suicidal thoughts.

It has really just been that way.
I am so afraid.
So afraid of what could happen.
What might happen?
The truth?
I am going down a road that I may never come back from again.
It scares me to death.
I know the signs and yet here I am.
Afraid.
I am really just a mess so much lately.
Most nights I really want to cry.

So I cry myself to sleep.
Wishing.
Wishing that I don’t wake the next day.
Yet, here I am.
Awake again. Another day. More struggles.
I often think that God hates me.
That I hate myself so much that God has given up on me.
Let’s face it, I would give up on me.
It is a wonder that no one wants anything to do with me.

Is there something I can do, probably not.
My life is this mess, the mess I created.
The Chaos.

It’s not gonna change—I tell myself that every night.
It has become me, my past is present. It might be my future.
What does all this mean anymore?
I continue to perish in the darkness. Forever.
Darkness, my best friend, and worst enemy.
Depression my familiar companion, you never leave me.

by James Edgar Skye

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

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

Photo Credit:
unsplash-logoBen Blennerhassett

Morgan’s Interview Feature

Starting this month I will be reposting each of my interviews of the “Interview Feature” series. This was something I started in 2017, and while I have not the time at the moment to write new ones, I am planning on writing a book with many interviews in the future if I can get my Patreon account. With that said, here is the first one I ever wrote.

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Morgan’s Interview Feature

Since the inception of my blog The Bipolar Writer it has been my goal to write the stories of others like myself. I have written my own story in my memoir (also entitled The Bipolar Writer) and sharing my experiences on my blog. Every human experience in having to live with a mental illness is unique to that human being and the suffering from it is also unique. It is why I believe it is imperative that I share other’s stories, so here is the story of one brave mental illness sufferer—Morgan who lives in Australia.

The daily struggle of waking up every day to a mental illness can be a struggle and for Morgan, it is no different. Morgan has always felt that her daily mental illness struggle is a hard one, and had this to say, “My mental illness has always been very affected by what’s going on around me, some days it much worse than others.”

We all have that story of when we went from the unknown to the known with our diagnosis. Surrounded by the people Morgan loved on her twenty-first birthday, it became clear to her that in that moment she could barely acknowledge the event and a feeling of numbness. Only broken by the speech of her godparents and seeing the face of a filmmaking mentor, seemed to register to Morgan that day. “I was very lucky that afterward a very close friend, who suffered from anxiety herself, stayed behind and I decided to tell her how I felt,” she recalls.

Sometimes it takes just one person to listen before you realize you need help.

It was here that Morgan, after talking with her friend who recommended that she seek help, that she made the decision we all face. Two weeks later she was diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety and moderate to severe depression.

We all have a history, a time before our diagnosis where we had little to no understanding of what was going on in our lives, and Morgan remembers many times since she was a child that anxiety was a constant and silent companion. Morgan describes her early experiences as just a part of her personality growing up, a common thought during the early stages of anxiety. Like most things with a mental illness, her anxiety grew over time.

AnxietyasPartofPersonality

Morgan remembers that her anxiety was always there with her since she was a child, and at times she felt more anxious than other times, but the feeling never left her. Morgan recalls her memories with anxiety in an interesting way, but not uncommon, “I have no memory of not having anxiety, which is not surprising seeing as many people on my mother’s side of the family suffer from it.”

Anxiety is often the silent partner for the sufferer, and you hardly know it’s there until it makes it presence known. Identifying other family members when looking back your history of the causes of anxiety in their own life is common, and it no surprise that Morgan can link anxiety through her experiences with her family.

Death is an important part of our lives, and the inevitable part of life is that you will lose someone close to you, for someone with a mental illness this can be devastating. It was this way in Morgan’s life, and it was important enough that she brought it up in her interview with me, “My anxiety definitely became much worse after the death of my father and the suicide of someone I had grown up with within two months of each other when I was nineteen.”

The feelings associated with death in the mind of someone who is devastated with anxiety, depression, and grief can make a person with mental illness turn to the only thing they truly know when it comes to emotions—deeper feelings into the depths of depression—of feeling lost and alone.

“I experienced my first panic attack after their deaths, and I would go on to experience both moderate and severe ones in the years that followed,” Morgan explains.

For Morgan, depression was a much different beast, but still important. Looking back, Morgan can trace her first feelings of prolonged depressive moods to age ten or eleven, when her family issues started to affect her life. Her father was in early stages of vascular dementia which caused Morgan’s father to get easily frustrated with his family. At the age Morgan was at, having to go through puberty while dealing with depression, made it hard for Morgan’s childhood to be a normal one.

Depression would become a factor along with physical pain that affected her in school work over the course of her young and teenage life.

There are so many triggers in one’s life that can start a depressive episode, and Morgan recalls several in her life. One constant problem in Morgan’s life is that her physical problems have always triggered depression episodes. “During puberty, I began to experience severe stomach pain and nausea on and off, within a year lightheadedness and fatigue became frequent symptoms,” Morgan remembers growing up.

It was the beginning of what would become a trend in Morgan’s life with her physical problems causing depression that, in turn, affected her schooling. With her depression came plummeting school work and effectiveness in school over the years as a teen. It culminated for Morgan in her final year where once again her unknown mental illness issues made things impossible, “Even though I had amazing teachers, my prestigious school could only compromise so much, and halfway through my final year, I was told I wasn’t able to graduate.”

DepressionandPain

How can anyone, let alone someone who is dealing with the dark places depression can take you to, deal with this kind of heartbreak? Morgan remembers what it felt like, “I can remember thinking about ways to die most days.”

This feeling of wanting to die when faced with such emotional pain is common among those within the mental health community. It is easy to empathize with Morgan because at one point many of us have had to deal with this feeling. Some, like myself, have given into suicidal idealizations. For Morgan, even with her growing mental illness problems, she had to choose and she chose to work on her physical health.

People can also be major triggers of depression in the life of someone with a mental illness, and often they leave the deepest of emotional scars on our lives. When Morgan’s parents first sent her to group therapy as a young impressionable teen, it was far from the normal. Morgan describes the group therapy that parents put her into as an alternative and “hippy” where other kids that had been through the program would come back to help. The problem? Most of the kids were still dealing with their own problems and still in need of help. It is here that Morgan first met an older boy who changed her—and not for the better.

Morgan recalls this relationship as unstable and one she couldn’t live without at the time.

“I developed a very strong crush on one of the older boys who were there to help, and he quickly realized how he could use my emotional feelings to manipulate me.”

Over the next four years of her teenage life, she stayed in touch with this boy, and she recalls that during this period of her life, her depression mood swings went from occasional to a constant menace. Morgan remembers the negative thoughts that this boy brought to her life, “One of my strongest memories of him now is the text messages telling me how much pain I was causing others by being in their lives, and how I was worthless.” For Morgan, this was a daily occurrence and a recognizable one for many dealing with a mental illness.

Dark Shadows Sweater Evening Hoodie People Night

This boy confirmed every fear and anxious thought that Morgan ever had about herself, but the connection had always been there for Morgan, and cutting off this person from her life was filled with difficulties. As humans with a mental illness, we often attach ourselves to situations where it only serves to further our negative thoughts. We feel as if we are not good enough for the world, so these relationships, no matter how destructive, can lead to deeper attachments.

Eventually, on her sixteenth birthday, Morgan finally cut off all contact and ended a relationship filled with emotional cuts that stayed with her for many years.

Not all people that come into the lives of someone with a mental illness are negative influences. In her journey, Morgan has found two people at school that became saviors in her life and they are still a positive influence. In her late teen years, Morgan found the strength to fight her ups and downs with depression with filmmaking and found solace in her friend Alice who became her rock after her father’s death. When Morgan finally sought help it became clear that her past was affecting her future, and since has grown with her experiences.

“I’d known since I was twelve that I had some form of depression, after all, most of my symptoms matched the ones I’d heard of in group therapy, but getting my official diagnosis of anxiety was life-changing.”

These days Morgan gets through her daily struggles with the help of important medications like anti-depressants and breathing exercises that she learned in cognitive behavioral therapy to help cope with anxiety. Morgan also credits a strong support system of family and quality friends who not only know what is wrong with her but offer help in her those times of great need, supporting her along her journey.

When Morgan has a panic attack, she has learned to tell herself, “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”

In Morgan’s life, she has found solace in the things that make her life worth living. Close personal friends that are always there for her. Morgan’s boyfriend of eighteen months has seen the worst of her diagnosis and is still is a constant patient and supportive influence every day. Throughout her life, she has been lucky to have her parents that always encouraged her creativity and dreams. It was Morgan’s mother who fostered her creativity, “My mother passed on her love of art and cafes, and we still share wonderful deep emotional conversations together, which are the main ways I process life.”

Of course, Morgan has her cat, Alistair (a Dragon Age reference perhaps) who is always a wonderful distraction from the rest of the world.

In every journey of a human being going through a mental illness you can find real wisdom in the struggle, and Morgan wants her story to be one of many that will help with the goals she sets out to tell her story here on The Bipolar Writer blog, “One of my biggest goals is to reduce the stigma around taking medication. I chose not to take medication for a long time, and it’s one of my biggest regrets I have in life.”

Morgan also believes that the stigma that comes with having a mental illness keeps teens and young adults from seeking help. Morgan recalls when she first started to realize that she was dealing with depression, she saw daily shirts that said, “Cheer Up Emo Kid” which were quite popular in Australia. These types of stereotypes in Morgan’s mind further the stigma that just smiling should be enough to cure you. No one human being chooses to have a mental illness and it can be scary to even think about getting help, but Morgan believes she can change this by telling her story.

“If I could choose this life, I thought, why the hell would you think I would choose this? It is very important to realize your mental illness is not your fault, but you can do something about it.”

In this mental illness life, there is always someone to talk to, a professional or a friend that you can trust. If Morgan could change one other thing about the stigma that comes with a mental illness it would be this, “It’s important to know that there is help out there, even if you aren’t well enough to seek it out in this moment.”

Many of human beings that will be featured on The Bipolar Writer blog cite their creating content on their blogs as one of the biggest thing that makes life worth living. Morgan calls her blog a place of solace that helps keep her steady,

“My blog keeps me from going insane by giving me a little goal to achieve every day, whether it’s replying to comments, writing a new blog post, or promoting on social media.”

Creativity

Morgan is a filmmaker and writer who was diagnosed with endometriosis at seventeen and depression and generalized anxiety at twenty-one. She uses her creativity as an essential part of her healing process.

You can find Morgan’s blog at:

www.fistfulofglittersite.wordpress.com

Written by J.E. Skye

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

Interviewee: Morgan

My Therapist

Hi Everyone. I am continuing to share more guest blog post spots on The Bipolar Writer Blog. Today I share the story from the following blogger Leon, you can find his blog here:

https://existentialcafe.blog

My Therapist

Meeting Eileen for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. I lost my previous, and up until then only, therapist to a better career; she went on to become a trauma therapist for veterans at the VA. Throughout our time together, I developed a deep bond and sense of trust with her, and I was sure she was going to be the one and only therapist in my life; to me, our relationship resembled a romantic destiny, minus the romance, but certainly one full of intimacy. It took me longer to open up than it did for her to leave; but, I knew it was best for her, thus being genuinely happy for her much deserved success. Yet, the sadness over her loss lingered for an extended period of time; it was a year in which I was sure that I would never enter treatment again. For someone who lost his father and his stepfather, losing another seminal figure was emotionally devastating; although, there was no aspect of me that would admit it.

But then, something significant happened, which was, to a kid marred by recurrent abandonment, improbable; a mentor of mine strongly suggested that I resume clinical supervision, and she had the perfect supervisor for me. I was highly skeptical initially; I didn’t need a supervisor, I thought, as I was near certain that I knew all that I needed to. However, after several attempts, I finally gave in, telling Nita, my mentor, that I would see her colleague Eileen for, at least, a consultation. And off I went, reminding myself that this wasn’t going to be therapy, and it wouldn’t evolve into anything more personal than our supervision work required. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth, but I had to delude myself in order to take that first step. So, we met, and, as though she could see through my eyes into my soul, she asked if I preferred psychotherapy instead; telling her about my experience with my previous therapist, I politely declined. This was the beginning of our great adventure.

Over the next few weeks, I began to disclose more and more of my personal life to Eileen, focusing on the manifestations of my personal challenges in the context of my clinical work; I quickly realized that by being in supervision, I was already in treatment. We discussed my problem with accepting, and dealing with, being idealized by women, and the consequences of my unwillingness to discuss physical attraction when a patient confessed their infatuation with me; and, we discussed my fear of disappointing, warning others that idealization could only lead to disenchantment, which would devastate me in the process. So, I fought against my clients’ illusions, romantic or other, because I was terrified of exposure. And, this was where the real treatment began; Eileen became my fellow traveler.

With her inquisitive and penetrating psyche, Eileen dug deep, helping me focus on past sorrows which I had long ago repressed: the bullies, the grade-school teacher who told me that I was ugly, my abusive stepfather, an overprotective mother, and my terror of wanting in perfection, believing that the lack thereof implied inadequacy and shame. Little by little, and session by session, the mask was slowly peeled off, exposing the vulnerable boy who resided in a basement that was long forgotten and buried in the depths of a seemingly rational, adult mind.

Eileen, like me, loved Irv Yalom; she told me that it was the relationship that healed, and it was our relationship which healed me. As a fellow traveler along my side, she went with me into that dark, and nearly deserted, basement, one that I’ve perpetually feared to enter. And, she helped me understand what happened to me, while reinterpreting my experiences in more positive and, more importantly, more realistic forms. She helped me to see that I wasn’t unlovable, and that those who harmed me were reacting to the harm which was done to them, not to me. But, although she took me there, it was there where our mutual journey ended. Eileen left me alone in my basement, signaling that a part of her would always be there with me. This time, it was different; this time, my heart didn’t ache from a memory of abandonment, as I knew that her spirit was there inside, and would help to carry me through.

I went to work on picking up the pieces, putting back together the parts of that shattered boy who remained chained in isolation. And so, as therapy neared its end, my work was complete. I looked at that little boy and smiled, telling him what I had never said before: I love you. With an expression of terror on his face, he looked back at me and asked if he’d ever be down there again. Staring peacefully into his innocent eyes, I responded that, from then on, he would always be a part of me, no matter where I went. I took his hand, with him holding onto mine, and together we went up those creaky stairs, taking one final look at a room that would never be occupied again.

https://existentialcafe.blog

Morgan’s Interview Feature

Since the inception of my blog The Bipolar Writer it has been my goal to write the stories of others like myself. I have written my own story in my memoir (also entitled The Bipolar Writer) and sharing my experiences on my blog. Every human experience in having to live with a mental illness is unique to that human being and the suffering from it is also unique. It is why I believe it is imperative that I share other’s stories, so here is the story of one brave mental illness sufferer—Morgan who lives in Australia.

The daily struggle of waking up every day to a mental illness can be a struggle and for Morgan, it is no different. Morgan has always felt that her daily mental illness struggle is a hard one, and had this to say, “My mental illness has always been very affected by what’s going on around me, some days it much worse than others.”

We all have that story of when we went from the unknown to the known with our diagnosis. Surrounded by the people Morgan loved on her twenty-first birthday, it became clear to her that in that moment she could barely acknowledge the event and a feeling of numbness. Only broken by the speech of her godparents and seeing the face of a filmmaking mentor, seemed to register to Morgan that day. “I was very lucky that afterward a very close friend, who suffered from anxiety herself, stayed behind and I decided to tell her how I felt,” she recalls.

Sometimes it takes just one person to listen before you realize you need help.

It was here that Morgan, after talking with her friend who recommended that she seek help, that she made the decision we all face. Two weeks later she was diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety and moderate to severe depression.

We all have a history, a time before our diagnosis where we had little to no understanding of what was going on in our lives, and Morgan remembers many times since she was a child that anxiety was a constant and silent companion. Morgan describes her early experiences as just a part of her personality growing up, a common thought during the early stages of anxiety. Like most things with a mental illness, her anxiety grew over time.

AnxietyasPartofPersonality

Morgan remembers that her anxiety was always there with her since she was a child, and at times she felt more anxious than other times, but the feeling never left her. Morgan recalls her memories with anxiety in an interesting way, but not uncommon, “I have no memory of not having anxiety, which is not surprising seeing as many people on my mother’s side of the family suffer from it.”

Anxiety is often the silent partner for the sufferer, and you hardly know it’s there until it makes it presence known. Identifying other family members when looking back your history of the causes of anxiety in their own life is common, and it no surprise that Morgan can link anxiety through her experiences with her family.

Death is an important part of our lives, and the inevitable part of life is that you will lose someone close to you, for someone with a mental illness this can be devastating. It was this way in Morgan’s life, and it was important enough that she brought it up in her interview with me, “My anxiety definitely became much worse after the death of my father and the suicide of someone I had grown up with within two months of each other when I was nineteen.”

The feelings associated with death in the mind of someone who is devastated with anxiety, depression, and grief can make a person with mental illness turn to the only thing they truly know when it comes to emotions—deeper feelings into the depths of depression—of feeling lost and alone.

“I experienced my first panic attack after their deaths, and I would go on to experience both moderate and severe ones in the years that followed,” Morgan explains.

For Morgan, depression was a much different beast, but still important. Looking back, Morgan can trace her first feelings of prolonged depressive moods to age ten or eleven, when her family issues started to affect her life. Her father was in early stages of vascular dementia which caused Morgan’s father to get easily frustrated with his family. At the age Morgan was at, having to go through puberty while dealing with depression, made it hard for Morgan’s childhood to be a normal one.

Depression would become a factor along with physical pain that affected her in school work over the course of her young and teenage life.

There are so many triggers in one’s life that can start a depressive episode, and Morgan recalls several in her life. One constant problem in Morgan’s life is that her physical problems have always triggered depression episodes. “During puberty, I began to experience severe stomach pain and nausea on and off, within a year lightheadedness and fatigue became frequent symptoms,” Morgan remembers growing up.

It was the beginning of what would become a trend in Morgan’s life with her physical problems causing depression that, in turn, affected her schooling. With her depression came plummeting school work and effectiveness in school over the years as a teen. It culminated for Morgan in her final year where once again her unknown mental illness issues made things impossible, “Even though I had amazing teachers, my prestigious school could only compromise so much, and halfway through my final year, I was told I wasn’t able to graduate.”

DepressionandPain

How can anyone, let alone someone who is dealing with the dark places depression can take you to, deal with this kind of heartbreak? Morgan remembers what it felt like, “I can remember thinking about ways to die most days.”

This feeling of wanting to die when faced with such emotional pain is common among those within the mental health community. It is easy to empathize with Morgan because at one point many of us have had to deal with this feeling. Some, like myself, have given into suicidal idealizations. For Morgan, even with her growing mental illness problems, she had to choose and she chose to work on her physical health.

People can also be major triggers of depression in the life of someone with a mental illness, and often they leave the deepest of emotional scars on our lives. When Morgan’s parents first sent her to group therapy as a young impressionable teen, it was far from the normal. Morgan describes the group therapy that parents put her into as an alternative and “hippy” where other kids that had been through the program would come back to help. The problem? Most of the kids were still dealing with their own problems and still in need of help. It is here that Morgan first met an older boy who changed her—and not for the better.

Morgan recalls this relationship as unstable and one she couldn’t live without at the time.

“I developed a very strong crush on one of the older boys who were there to help, and he quickly realized how he could use my emotional feelings to manipulate me.”

Over the next four years of her teenage life, she stayed in touch with this boy, and she recalls that during this period of her life, her depression mood swings went from occasional to a constant menace. Morgan remembers the negative thoughts that this boy brought to her life, “One of my strongest memories of him now is the text messages telling me how much pain I was causing others by being in their lives, and how I was worthless.” For Morgan, this was a daily occurrence and a recognizable one for many dealing with a mental illness.

Dark Shadows Sweater Evening Hoodie People Night

This boy confirmed every fear and anxious thought that Morgan ever had about herself, but the connection had always been there for Morgan, and cutting off this person from her life was filled with difficulties. As humans with a mental illness, we often attach ourselves to situations where it only serves to further our negative thoughts. We feel as if we are not good enough for the world, so these relationships, no matter how destructive, can lead to deeper attachments.

Eventually, on her sixteenth birthday, Morgan finally cut off all contact and ended a relationship filled with emotional cuts that stayed with her for many years.

Not all people that come into the lives of someone with a mental illness are negative influences. In her journey, Morgan has found two people at school that became saviors in her life and they are still a positive influence. In her late teen years, Morgan found the strength to fight her ups and downs with depression with filmmaking and found solace in her friend Alice who became her rock after her father’s death. When Morgan finally sought help it became clear that her past was affecting her future, and since has grown with her experiences.

“I’d known since I was twelve that I had some form of depression, after all, most of my symptoms matched the ones I’d heard of in group therapy, but getting my official diagnosis of anxiety was life-changing.”

These days Morgan gets through her daily struggles with the help of important medications like anti-depressants and breathing exercises that she learned in cognitive behavioral therapy to help cope with anxiety. Morgan also credits a strong support system of family and quality friends who not only know what is wrong with her but offer help in her those times of great need, supporting her along her journey.

When Morgan has a panic attack, she has learned to tell herself, “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”

In Morgan’s life, she has found solace in the things that make her life worth living. Close personal friends that are always there for her. Morgan’s boyfriend of eighteen months has seen the worst of her diagnosis and is still is a constant patient and supportive influence every day. Throughout her life, she has been lucky to have her parents that always encouraged her creativity and dreams. It was Morgan’s mother who fostered her creativity, “My mother passed on her love of art and cafes, and we still share wonderful deep emotional conversations together, which are the main ways I process life.”

Of course, Morgan has her cat, Alistair (a Dragon Age reference perhaps) who is always a wonderful distraction from the rest of the world.

In every journey of a human being going through a mental illness you can find real wisdom in the struggle, and Morgan wants her story to be one of many that will help with the goals she sets out to tell her story here on The Bipolar Writer blog, “One of my biggest goals is to reduce the stigma around taking medication. I chose not to take medication for a long time, and it’s one of my biggest regrets I have in life.”

Morgan also believes that the stigma that comes with having a mental illness keeps teens and young adults from seeking help. Morgan recalls when she first started to realize that she was dealing with depression, she saw daily shirts that said, “Cheer Up Emo Kid” which were quite popular in Australia. These types of stereotypes in Morgan’s mind further the stigma that just smiling should be enough to cure you. No one human being chooses to have a mental illness and it can be scary to even think about getting help, but Morgan believes she can change this by telling her story.

“If I could choose this life, I thought, why the hell would you think I would choose this? It is very important to realize your mental illness is not your fault, but you can do something about it.”

In this mental illness life, there is always someone to talk to, a professional or a friend that you can trust. If Morgan could change one other thing about the stigma that comes with a mental illness it would be this, “It’s important to know that there is help out there, even if you aren’t well enough to seek it out in this moment.”

Many of human beings that will be featured on The Bipolar Writer blog cite their creating content on their blogs as one of the biggest thing that makes life worth living. Morgan calls her blog a place of solace that helps keep her steady,

“My blog keeps me from going insane by giving me a little goal to achieve every day, whether it’s replying to comments, writing a new blog post, or promoting on social media.”

Creativity

Morgan is a filmmaker and writer who was diagnosed with endometriosis at seventeen and depression and generalized anxiety at twenty-one. She uses her creativity as an essential part of her healing process.

You can find Morgan’s blog at:

www.fistfulofglittersite.wordpress.com

Written by J.E. Skye

Interviewee: Morgan

How Therapy Saved my Life

This is a rough of one of the chapters of my memoir. I wanted to share what I have so far as it is a topic of great importance in my life espeically as I work towards working on my social anxiety.

Therapy can be the Difference

I struggled in the years before I was able to receive help in the form of a therapist. I had to deal with my depression, anxiety, and even my social anxiety with little help before therapy. I got help with medications with my many psychiatrists, but I never had someone to talk to about my problems. It made me really self-conscious about talking about my issues.

When I have dealt with a mental illness since 2014, I have found steady footing in therapy. It comes down to the right therapist at the right time. I was able to get a real therapist who understands and in a real way, gets who I am. It really changed my life.

During the duration of the last ten years, I have only been in therapy for three of those years. I have been lucky so far to have only one therapist.

One of the reasons therapy was never available to me was because of insurance. I didn’t have insurance until 2014. Obamacare changed the course of my diagnosis is major ways. I will write about that in other chapters of my memoir.

Getting health insurance for the first time changed the game for my diagnosis. For the first time, it was possible to get more help. It was no longer seeing my psychiatrist for medicine changes and refills. It was possible for the first time to talk about my issues. It opened up the possibility of writing being a part of my life again. Without opening up for the first time in my life in therapy, there would be no Bipolar Writer blog or memoir.

dingzeyu-li-773-unsplash.jpg

I have been a part of my local behavioral health system since 2007 after my first suicide attempt. I was skeptical the first time they told me that I would get a therapist. Since my first psychiatrist left in 2012, it has been a carousel of one psychiatrist after another. I was never good at opening up about my life and that was no different in 2014. I was content to deal with my issues on my own, but this was only made my issues worse. I never thought that therapy would change everything. It’s important to look at what caused I believe that dealing with my problems was just up to me.

My case was so bad in 2007 that my local behavior health department had no choice but to take me in to see a psychiatrist. If you have dealt with the “system” you know that they will limit you at every corner when you don’t have insurance. The catch-22 is the classification of having a “pre-existing” condition. When I first applied for insurance from the state of California, they said my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder was pre-existing. It makes getting help at the state level almost impossible. At least until Obamacare.

Without therapy, I would never have found the strength to share my experiences with the world.

It was in therapy that I first found the strength to share my past and started to understand what was going on in my life. Up to this point, I had shared my past with my psychiatrists at some level, but never in depth like I did in therapy. It was slow and steady at first as I worked to get comfortable.

My nature was always to share the least amount of my life. My therapist helped me get through some of the worst depression cycles of my life. We have worked hard in the last year in getting my anxiety in a better place. It’s not perfect but that is because for years I never dealt with my problems.

Therapy means the world in my life. To have a steady presence in my life in the form of my therapist. I have in my therapist someone who understands when I am depressed and I miss appointments. My therapist understands that during my long eight week college semesters I will stress out. I will put undue pressure to perfect.

My therapist has helped me understand the perfectionist side of who I am. My therapist helped me see the little victories during my week can help relieve stress. Often, she tells me I am being too hard on myself and that I always get good grades and complete my writing goals.

It is important to my mental health to work through my issues one session at the time. Three years ago it was impossible to talk about my past. I was never open to the idea of talking about my issues. I was happy to never deal with my issues. The truth, I was far from happy and my issues only got worse.

It amazes me still that therapy has been such a difference in my life. It has helped me take my recovery to real life goals that I am always working towards and make them real. My last suicide attempt in 2010 was a major step in the right direction. But, I was still lost. I found myself in going back to school, but there was always something missing. Therapy was the key to pushing myself to work on my mental health goals outside my life goals.

For so long I thought to work on my mental health was an impossible task. It no longer feels that way when I wake up each day. Seeing success in therapy changed the game for my mental health.

I still have to work at it each day. This means keeping my depression at acceptable levels during the winter time. It’s becoming clear that no matter how much I plan, there will still be days that things don’t go right. Now I can accept this reality, and move on.

When I wake up in the morning with the feeling of not wanting to do “life,” I have coping skills. I give myself a break and only do things that make me happy like writing or reading a book. I make a pledge to do better the next day. I know what my limits are and walk away from what I am working on at that moment when reaching my limits. “Tomorrow is another day” is something I learned in therapy and it has become my mantra. I was never good at letting go when life wasn’t perfect. I realized every day there is imperfection.

In the past, I would have waited weeks to call back my therapist. When it came to dealing with my depression I always thought I had to deal. Now I usually call ahead if things beyond my control are keeping me from making an appointment. When depression got a hold of me it would take weeks to get back to normal in the past. With therapy, I learned that depression means slow down. I do that, and now I bounce back better every time depression takes me down that road.

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I don’t force myself to be productive in my life. I find the flow of each day and continue to grow. Knowing that we have limits in this life is important. What drove me before was the need to make up all the years that I have lost since my diagnosis. I realize I can’t make up those years all at once. I need to find the flow of my writing. I need to be who I am, The Bipolar Writer.

A chapter in my memoir such as this one is so important for me to share with the world. I can’t emphasize the importance of how talking out your issues in therapy is what can change your life. I know from my blog that some people find group therapy helpful. If that is what helps you, make the decision go that route. Find a group that will help you work through the issues. It could be important to you to do both individual and group therapy. Find what works for you and go with it.

I know for some, it might be impossible right now to seek therapy. It could be the lack of insurance like it was for me, but don’t ever let that stop you. It can be a fight to get help, but it is worth the fight for every person living with a mental illness. There are resources out there that are free. Research is your best friend. If you are going through a tough depression cycle, suicidal thoughts, or even anxiety. It is important for you to seek help. It is important to talk about your issues. Find someone that you trust to talk to a close family member or friend.

If that doesn’t work, there are so many amazing mental health blogs out there that you could talk to the blogger. Use a fictitious name if it’s easier. I have found writing my blog under my pseudonym to be a way to tell my story without actually using my name, helpful. It can also be therapeutic.

If I have learned anything over the course of the last ten years it’s this. When you hold on to your problems it only makes it harder to recover from your issues.

I will end this with a plea to get help if you need and never be afraid that no one will understand.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoAperture Vintage

unsplash-logoDingzeyu Li

unsplash-logoKyle Broad

Music That Changes my Mood Part Three

Its been a great day. I finished writing another feature article, and I wrote a great blog post today entitled “My Mental Health Awareness.” I am editing and proofreading my memoir in the next few hours but I wanted to add another addition to Music That Changes my Mood, this would be the third edition.

You can find the blog post that inspired this series, here.

Also the other pieces in this series:

Music That Changes my Mood Part One

Music That Changes my Mood Part Two

So here we go, some music that changes my mood. It was especially big today as I spent the day writing.

Taeyeon – 11:11

Those of you who follow my blog know my obsession with Korean Music. This is a great song I discovered this year. If you have time find the YouTube video that shows the English lyrics because they are truly amazing. 11:11 is just a song that will always have its place on my Korean music playlist.

Echosmith – Future Me

This song came up while I was on shuffle on my iTunes. It’s a song that I love to listen to because at any level you can relate to the lyrics. If the lyrics feel right and the melody is something I can listen to, it makes the mood playlist. This song is important even now as we look towards 2018.

Paramore – The Only Exception

There isn’t a Paramore song that comes up on my playlist of songs that change my mood. I literally have about a million Paramore shirts. I always loved this song because as an introvert the lyrics really speak to me. I don’t make a lot of exceptions when it comes to letting people into my life.

Panic! at the Disco – I Write Sins not Tragedies

You can’t go wrong with a Panic! at the Disco song and I Write Sins, Not Tragedies is a classic. I remember driving to work and the album in which this song hails was always on. It was my go-to album to pump me up for the long commute when this song came out.

Sam Hunt – Break Up in a Small Town

When I say I listen to every genre I really mean it. I occasionally listen to good country music. This song always got to me because I had a relationship in a small town it was never good seeing my ex-girlfriend.

Eyes Set to Kill – Break

Eyes Set to Kill – Come  Home

I wanted to showcase that not all songs on my mood playlist are happy songs. Sometimes you just need some good hardcore rock to get you through a tough day. I have listened to Eyes Set to Kill for about as long as I have been Bipolar. Their music (the two sisters and their band) got me through some of the worst of my early years of my diagnosis.

Well, this has been fun to share some music that is a mood changer. When depression gets me down, music and writing get me through the worst of it.

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J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoMark Solarski

unsplash-logoHanny Naibaho

My Weekly Wrap-Up 12/18 – 12/24

Well, we have finally arrived the day before the big day, Christmas Eve. For me, it has been a weird up and down rollercoaster. I finished my finals and I am ready for some much-needed rest from school. Rest for me means writing because I find nothing more therapeutic. I am closing in on a real first draft of my memoir The Bipolar Writer, and I hope for it to be completed in my time off becomes a reality.

I always like these weekly wrap-ups because of its an opportunity to look back on what I wrote and what we talked about on this blog. So let’s get started.

A Little White Pill

I opened my week with a poem. A Little White Pill was another poem I wrote about dealing with panic attacks. A common theme over the month of December. It is similar to my poem 12:15 am but it dives deeper into the issue. It was written during a particularly tough panic attack I went through.

What Drives Me

This blog post I talk about the things that drive me daily to continue to achieve my goals. I have so many big things coming in 2018 and the biggest finishing my Bachelor’s degree and completing my memoir. There are other equally important goals like starting my Master’s program and maybe winning the BEA student screenwriting competition. I reached my 2000th follower just before writing this blog post and it felt like another amazing goal for me to reach. It is important for someone like me, who deals with being Bipolar and anxiety daily, to always be moving forward.

Morgan’s Interview Feature

I was excited to write my first interview feature article for The Bipolar Writer on a very special friend of my mine, Morgan. It meant a lot that Morgan was willing to share very personal experiences with me and to allow me to share them with my followers. Every journey with a mental illness is different, and its important to me to share the stories of others. Take a journey from the origins of Morgan’s mental illness to how she turned her issues into the creative process. Morgan’s Interview Feature is a must read.

Learning From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

I wanted to celebrate my eight months of working with CBT to get my anxiety under control with one of the techniques I have learned during my time. It has been an up and down process but I have learned a lot about how effective CBT can be. In this post, I talk about “Nonjudgemental Focused Emotional Awareness.” The point of this exercise is to see how you do at not judging the thoughts that come through your head while you are focusing on your breathing. In my own experience, it has been helpful to break down my thoughts into a spreadsheet that breaks down each session. It’s great for really breaking down turning negative thoughts that often come racing through my head.

My Bipolar Experience with the ER

In this post, I talk about the first three years of my diagnosis and how the many emergency room visits within the American Healthcare system can be counterproductive for someone with a mental illness. Everyone experiences the emergency room differently but I eventually realized that it is not always the most effective place to go. In the blog post, I share my experiences as an example of what could happen.

Tony’s Interview Feature

Tony’s Interview Feature was the second installment of what is shaping up to be one of the biggest series on the Bipolar Writer. Tony’s story is another look at how a mental illness can affect the course of someone’s life. It is amazing how people are willing to share their story with me, it really means the world. Like all of our stories, Tony’s journey is a unique one, and another story that about turning the worst part of our mental illness into a creative outlet.

Then, There are Nights

In this blog post, I talk about what I am not describing as one of the worst panic attacks since starting this journey. It lasted for hours and almost landed me in the hospital. The post was a short one but I talk a lot about looking at the triggers and look toward the future at getting my anxiety back under control.

My Fourth Honest Post

I love writing these posts because they are all about reflection and looking towards my future. This reflection was one of my favorites because it was after the worse panic attacks of my life. It is amazing how something like a panic attack can really put things into perspective. I really looked towards the future of this post. reflection is good for the soul.

Giving up Coffee

In this post, I talk about a different medical issue in my life dealing with my stomach problems and my issues with ulcers. I had to talk to my stomach doctor again and it seems that I will have to give up coffee, which if you follow my blog, will be a difficult task over the next few months.

That is my week, and to be honest, its been a good one even with the craziness that is my life.

I wanted to end this post by wishing all my fellow bloggers and followers a very Merry Christmas. It has been an honor to have so many great people read about my journey. The best thing I did was start this blog.

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J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logorawpixel.com

unsplash-logoIgor Ovsyannykov

My Social Anxiety Life – Part Six

If you haven’t yet read my blog about the things I am thankful for, please do. This will likely be my last blog post until the end of the week on Sunday. With a shortened week and a pile of school work, my only focus for the rest of the week will my school work and my memoir. I have to prioritize.

This is the sixth installment of a series that chronicles my issues with my social anxiety. I wanted to post this today while it is still fresh in my mind. Last night I had one of my regular panic attacks when my thoughts of what my Thanksgiving day will bring in the form of a social situation that I would rather avoid, consumed me. I will explain in a minute, here are the other blog posts in the series.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

If you have been following my blog over the last month or so you know that things between my best friend and I haven’t been great. Okay if I am being honest they have been downright horrific, to the point where she has disappeared from my life. When she asked me to do something so unspeakable, she has sent two texts in well over a month time. We have spoken about five words total.

It would be easy to just let her go from my life, but she has been one of the most important people in my life over the last ten year and even more than beyond my diagnosis. We have had spats like this before and didn’t talk for a few years. At that time I cut off pretty much everyone in my life, but she walked back into my life when my grandfather died in 2014.

The problem is, her family and my own are very close. Her brother is also my best friend and unlike his sister, we have always been close. Nothing really gets between us because we know and trust one another. Every Thanksgiving as long as I can remember their family comes to our house for the holiday, and this year is no different.

Last night I started to overthink last night and my anxiety began to take hold of me to the point of a full-blown panic attack. It was well after midnight which is where many of my worse panic attacks happen to me. I tried everything. Music. Relaxation. Meditation and mindfulness breathing. For almost two hours I was a ball of anxiety, and my only salvation came from an extra Ativan with the one I had already taken a few hours prior. Eventually, I got to a point that I could sleep around three in the morning.

That is what led me to write this sixth installment of “My Social Anxiety Life.” It is not all that hard to figure out my triggers of the anxiety attack. I don’t do well in situations like the one I will face today with my former best friend? Actually, I don’t know what to call her. Are we still friends? Will there be awkward silence between her and myself? Should I just hide in my room and just forget dealing with Thanksgiving drama?

I think there is a real lesson. Nothing good happens after 2 am (I wonder if anyone will get this reference.) I need to learn to write down my thought before they happen. I knew where my thoughts would go, and foolishly I thought just not dealing the issue like CBT has taught me, instead I thought things would be fine. You would think I would learn by now that this is never the case. But I can reflect today here on my blog and move on. Today might suck at times but I can always walk away. The holidays are supposed to be peaceful, but with family, nothing is ever peaceful.

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving. Always keep fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Timothy Eberly