In this post I’m not going to get into any depth of what’s going on in America. This is how the events of this past week have effected my mental health. Please don’t leave any hateful comments. Keep this space safe and beautiful!
These past few days have been weighing very heavy on my heart. I was already feeling depressed but now it’s been a lot more difficult to handle.
I normally cook almost every day of the week even if it’s something frozen. I eat take out probably once a week; this past week I’ve eaten out 4 times. The energy it takes to make even the simplest of meals feels too daunting. My dishes are piled high, my dryer is full of clean towels and my dishwasher is full of clean dishes I haven’t put away in days.
And let me tell you, my wallet is hurting from all that take out!
I sometimes let messiness take over but usually I am able to sort it out rather quickly. This time not so much. Depression has taken ahold of me and plopped me down on my couch. There’s little I want to do besides lay around.
During work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I got very little done. I considered calling off but there were things I needed to get done. It took me all day to do them because I had no inspiration. The wheels of my mind were occupied by things greater than my work.
On weekends I like to split my time between rest and chores. I want to clean my house, I truly do, but I can’t find the energy.
I’m trying to be gentle with myself. I’m trying to take one hour at a time and not yell at myself for being lazy. That during these difficult days, it’s ok to not be productive. I’m trying to tell myself that and actually believe it.
What have I been doing to cope? Ordering take out, listening to Tomorrow x Together and playing Animal Crossing. I’m considering cracking open my Harry Potter books too. They’ve always been a comforting place for me.
How are you coping? Are you struggling more with your mental health than before? If so, what positive coping mechanisms are you using?
What a year, 2020. I think we can all agree that we have learned something new about ourselves and about the world. We saw polarizing political issues amid the worst pandemic in about 100 years. We made decisions about where we stood, and it matters not about right or wrong as much as we decided with our voices and by voting. Life will probably never be the same after a year like this one, but it has been a year of change for me.
What can I take away from 2020? Do you have time for a novel? This blog post might become a series that I write as we near the end of the year, as with all things in my life it is up in the air. I let the universe lead me along with my inner I, and it allows me to be in the now. That was one of the things that I learned, thank you to my life coach alongside Eckhart Tolle, and while it works, I am still learning to adjust to here, without being in the useless past or looking toward the future. The past is done, and the future is unknown. Even with everything that I do now, it is important to me to always know where I am with my mental health, anxiety, depression, and how I feel.
If you listened to the podcast about my last year, it reveals a lot about what I went through since my mother’s untimely death on December 15, 2019. I was in pain beyond measure. I went to my default mode that I had used before and after my diagnosis in 2007. I allowed the pain to go into a box and not deal. That made the pain so much worse, and it grew into my infamous dark passenger. Eventually, it would take me over, and it became such a significant part of my daily life. Though I could still function and do my daily work, including school, work, and writing. It was all to keep the pain at bay and not feel the feels. Keep working, and it can’t touch you, except at night when I would have uncontrollable anxiety.
In April of 2020, I met a kindred spirit, and she became my life coach after I worked in a seminar with her in May. By August, after deciding to begin life coaching and taking a chance on myself. I began a four-month journey that ended on December 1, and it was a lifetime game-changer. I learned all the things that I had inside to be what I set out in my initial session, to live in the now, be myself, and above all, she made her coaching in a way that fit my reading and writing learning lifestyle. Those four months, I felt more like myself than at any time in my life, and since then, I have repaired relationships, myself, and worked on the flow of living in the gray area. The real James, the genuine inner I, has come out. It was life-changing.
As a society and the global world, we learned that we are more alike than different, but there are still things to fix. We live in a pandemic world where we have to wear masks, a simple task, to help stop the spread of a deadly virus. We learned to social distance and stay at home, only going out for the essentials for months on end. The racial divide in America is becoming a forefront issue, long overdue, and we learned that Black Lives Matter, and it is not just about injustice; it is the system not working for specific cultural sections of our society. The divide only worsened as we learned that we can come together and vote for change, give a voice to those who need it, not be where we are, and be where we should act as Americans.
I love politics so much I minored in Political Science as an undergraduate. More Americans voted in 2020 than any other election in history, and while we all may land on different sides, it is time we become more together and less segregated. Unfortunately, the world got to see just how divided Americans are with how we voted, but democracy prevailing even with the outdated electoral college makes me proud to be an American. We are Americans first, and the America I know is a melting pot of every human being regardless of where we come from because let us face the facts, unless you are a native of this land, we all came from somewhere else, and many had no choice in the matter of how our ancestors were brought here. We have to be better to one another, and while pandemic showed us so much to fix, there is a long way to go from this point. Let us continue to be together and show the future, the kids, that we can be better.
In 2020, I read more books in one year from every genre imaginable than at any time in my life. I am a voracious reader. Some of the best literature I have been able to absorb came from the era of American Realism and Naturalism. I got to read Jack London, Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Charolette Perkins Gilman, and Mary Freeman, just to name a few. I reread my favorite and classic books, and with a lot of resistance, I gave away books to small bookstores to find new homes. I found a home in second-hand book stores and what they bring, and I binged on the likes of books that I love. I read about grief and living in the now. Reading is love.
I did amazing things in my writing, including re-publishing my memoir The BipolarWriter: A Memoir, which was a fight to get back, and in December, on the anniversary of my mom’s passing, I was able to publish my fictional novella Angel on the Ward.Two books in one year are more than I could imagine. I was able to edit my major novel, the first in a six-book series, The Rise on theNephilim, and continued to grow my business, The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services. New projects through my business will be significant in 2021. I have exciting writing projects like The Many Faces and Voices on Mental Illness, the two-year project. I found my place again in writing here on my blog again.
To be continued in part two, to be released on Christmas Day.
I wanted to preface this poem with a “trigger warning,” this is a poem I wrote about suicide and depression recently, at this time I am NOT depressed or suicidal. But, this poem could trigger those feelings, so please read only if you are in a safe place. This free-verse poem was written during a poetry class in my last semester of my bachelor’s degree. It was my raw feelings when I was suicidal turned into a poem, please enjoy. I will link the other poem I posted recently.
It has been a long while. I am lost in my darkest contemplations. Sinking, unable to breathe. “I’m Depressed,” there I admit it. Teetering, on the edges of the blackest of thoughts— suicide. The darkness serves as my safe and unsafe place. “I am always here for you,” says the darkness— it is far away in the distance, but I hear its cry. Fearful of this darkness I let the thoughts of the end consume, afraid of what could happen. What might happen? What will happen? This winding road is leading me to the point of no return. The darkness laughs, and it moves closer in the distance.
My thoughts seek the out the painful memories, and the thoughts missile into my consciousness. Afraid. So Afraid of losing myself. My life is a mess, a black hole of endless despair. At night I lay my head down— wanting to cry, and so I cry myself to sleep. “Yes, my friend, give in. You belong here with those who lose themselves.
Wishing. Waiting. Wanting. This will be my last day, nevermore. Awake. Alone. Again. Another day lost in the darkness, it consumes my inner soul.
God hates me for what I have become, I hate myself so much that God— he has given up on me. Let’s face it, my hope evaporated long ago, it is a wonder that no one in my life wants anything to do with this lost soul. “I am here for you—always,” the darkness tells me. Can I fight this— is there something I can do? Probably not. My life is this mess. The Chaos. I created a monster inside me.
The darkness begins to consume, first my mind— and then my body. The darkness is just outside my door, it tells me this is the right thing. “Death is just mean to an end— the end of the infinite agony,” he tells me. “Give in, your life is not worth living. Give in, it will be painless.” Thoughts devour any shred of hope. The darkness wants to win. It just might.
I find myself on edge again— a familiar place, but this time it is different. I lay out the pills tidily in front of me. Counting. Thinking. “Yes,” exclaims the darkness, “this is who you are now.” How many sleeping pills does it take to sleep forever? This becomes routine— a nightly ritual that never changes. I tell myself every night, this is the night. “You must do this now,” the darkness hovers just beside me, “this is your destiny.” A flood of my past consumes my present. There is no future.
What does life mean anymore? I continue to perish in sinking into darkness. Forever. Darkness, my best friend— and worst enemy. Depression my frequent companion, never leaving me. My darkest depression. Will I give in?
It’s 12:15 am, I am in a dark room
my mind racing and
the panic is rising out of nowhere.
Shallow and slow,
I can’t catch my breath.
It happens, every night, this night— the next.
Restlessness. A feeling of unease.
“I can’t do this,” I think.
A tingling feeling engulfs my hands,
numbness consumes my body.
I pace, take a drink of water—
then begin to pace again.
I must stay inside, “no— I can’t.”
I must go outside, “no— you can’t.”
“Fight this feeling! Please!” A different part says.
“You will never win this fight,” the anxiety answers.
My mind races faster this time, I’m running out of breath.
Helplessness, I am no longer in control of my body.
I overthink. “I am going to die!”
“Please stop! You must fight,” my heart and brain say.
Then again, I over think! And again.
My mind overthinks, “is this my life?”
I feel as if I am under water trying to catch my breath,
to be the person I was before I started to drown.
Sleep, it would be divine. I reach
for this tiny white pill. It is in my hand.
God, I want to sleep
so much to do tomorrow.
The weight of my school obligations crush me.
Finally, in control— again.
Anxiety, why do you control me so?
It’s over for now, but
tomorrow is another day.
I am doing something unorthodox today here on The Bipolar Writer. I hope that I have created a place where my fellow mental health sufferers can have a “safe place” to discuss their own issues. I often get emails from many who are seeking help or guidance or just want to talk about things. I want everyone who comes to this blog to know that if you are suicidal there is always someone here, I am always here to talk.
The unorthodox part is that today I am going to give my number to my followers if you are suicidal and you don’t want to reach out to help-lines (I have learned recently that they are not always great.) So, if you need to chat you can text me anytime. I will get back to you as soon as humanly possible. As a mental health advocate and someone who has been through the worst parts of mental illness alone, I want you to know I am a lifeline.
You are not alone. Suicide is not the answer. Again, I am always here to talk anytime.
Well, I thought it was time as I move forward to launching my LLC in January 2021. The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services is looking for its first new clients for the new year. While the business is new, I have been ghostwriting for close to six years, and I have several books under my belt, and I have current projects that will cross over into the new business. I am a memoirist at heart.
The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services focus will be on memoir writing in the mental health/mental illness realm, but I have other services that include a complete ghostwriting package, copywriting services, manuscript evaluations, teaching how to become a better writer, and blogger. While my main focus is on memoirs of any kind, I am willing to work on smaller projects as well. Even collaborative work will become a focus.
I know someone reading this blog post really wants to tell their story to the world and make money at it but lack the skills to write nonfiction. I come into the story as part of your narrative, and I take something beautiful, making it readable with little work on your part. I can do the initial meeting on Zoom, and I will compete for your business. This is an investment in you, and I will work to make your dream a reality. Please reach out to my new business email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us collaborate on something unique together!
World Kindness day is November 13 and World Kindness Week begins the Monday of the week with November 13. After the events of the last few years, and the many years crammed into 2020, kindness is needed now more than ever. There are a couple of Buddhist sayings that always come to mind when speaking of kindness. The first is, ‘Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.’ And the second is, ‘Be kind to all creatures. This is the true religion.’ Kindness is the quality of being friendly and considerate. There are many who believe kindness is a weakness and these are the people who would do harm to others.
When someone is kind to you, it can lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. What happens to you if you’re kind to others? Some benefits for a person who is kind to others include elevation of dopamine levels in the brain, which make us feel good. It can also include the feeling of emotional warmth leading to a healthier heart, reduction of inflammation slowing the aging process, reduction of emotional distance helping couples feel bonded, and contagiousness that often sets off a pay-it-forward ripple effect. There’s one important message I have for everyone regarding kindness. Always be kind to others and always be kind to yourself. That last part is harder than people think. Be kind.
James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction. Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com. He resides in Tucson, AZ.
2020. If you could sum it up with one word what would it be for you?
For James, it would be simple as WOW.
Here in this safe place, my collaborative blog, I have always been honest as I can with what I write, and for the most part, I have been open to everything about my life I share with you, the reader. There is a caveat, there was for a while me not so open to the world. Perhaps even most of my life, and that has been a different James thanks to life coaching. Now that will be for a later post, but it is relevant to what I will share with you now.
An Updated Works-Progress Literary Works
Works to be Published – Angel on the Ward
I have one work that is ready for the world to see. I have mentioned a few times that I am working towards self-publishing my first fictional piece, a novella about a year in the making, Angel on the Ward. There have been some delays. I am looking at a tentative date in early December if my cover is done by my cover artist.
In Final Edits – The Rise of the Nephilim
My major novel, The Rise of the Nephilim, has been on the back burner as I have been swamped finishing my master’s degree (I have one more semester). I have decided to take a semester off to get this novel over the top and ready to be sent out to publishers. For those who do not know, this is fantasy fiction, Dark Romanticism, gothic, medieval and futuristic six-book series that I have been writing for over a year and developing for over nine years. I finished the first draft sometime around this time last year, clocking in at over 213K in words, so I have got my work cut out for me in editing.
Works in Progress
I currently work in the writing process and move towards a first draft, a book for my business, The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services. This book is for a local man, and I started it in January. We have gone through the interview process, gathering everything, and now I am writing the book’s significant chapters.
The Beginning Stages Projects
One of the upcoming projects and I am working on funding is The Legacy of Sang’s Cafe in Salinas. It is a local book that I am proud to be writing. As a writer, there are not always chances to write about the place where you grew up. The author is raising funds and so if you can donate to The GoFundMe here. I am the ghostwriter on the project.
The other project I am also excited to be working on is more of a secret project. I can say I am in the interview stage, and it will be a fiction novel. That is all I can say right now.
I wanted to add to this list because I am working on an idea, and right now, they are ideas. One is a nonprofit to educate the rift that I have seen within the mental illness community and the professionals who prescribe us medication and therapy. Through experience, education is something that I have done throughout the blog, but see a need that can be filled. It will take some research from now until the end of the year. I am also beginning to get the first few episodes of my podcast off the ground.
I am sad to say that I had to move the start of “The Many Voices and Faces of Mental Illness,” my two-year project, to 2021 for several excellent reasons. I am working on getting my LLC, The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services, off the ground. I want this project to be one of the main ones that launch the business. The second is that all the proceeds are going to a mental health/mental illness foundation that I am currently working on starting. I am beginning to figure out what that entails (if anyone has the help they could offer about starting a foundation, I would gladly accept.) The last being that I have two significant book projects to finish and a novella to self publish by the year’s end. I plan on resetting 2021.
If you have reached out (and I hope you’re reading this those who have) I have not forgotten and we will begin in the new year with interview for the book. I do want to put faces to the illness, so pictures at lease one will accompany each story. The last story will be my own with some pictures that I have taken alongside the journey of writing this book. With that said, if you want to be on the list to be interviewed, please email me @ email@example.com.
In 1992, the World Federation of Mental Health established World Mental Health Day. In almost 30 years, knowledge about mental health a grown a great deal. The biggest goal for this day is awareness. Even today, there are many people who don’t understand the vast mental health issues people struggle with every day. Even the most recognizable disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) still lack awareness in the general public. Worst of all, people with no medical or behavioral health training claim to know about these disorders and spread false information.
I use this blog and others to share my own experiences. I share my first-hand account of struggling with PTSD and how I learned I had PTSD with two goals in mind. First, I want to bring awareness to people who know nothing about mental health issues. Second, I want others who experience the same things to realize they’re not alone. Many people suffer from poor mental health and don’t realize it. And many have no means to seek help. They may not have insurance. They may not have the means or ability to access medication. They may be afraid to take medication or think they don’t need any.
Help spread awareness about mental health by sharing your story. Only share what you’re comfortable sharing. I have found it helpful to talk about my experiences. It was one step I had to take among many to begin the path to healing. I’m still healing and still have a long way to go. Never give up. Never surrender.
James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction. Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com. He resides in Tucson, AZ.