Emotional and Mental Preparation goes a long way I advocate


I am just back from a trip and I did share some update on Friday and Saturday.

For the main part of the trip and a personal mission, I had prepared myself emotionally and mentally intensely for a week. I knew organizing a medical mission targeting 500 – 1000 beneficiaries was no joke. Yet, all and I mean much did not depend on me. So I was ready to sleep late and deal – heal from overwhelming scenarios as much as I could. Glad to say I lost my cool only once on the DDay.

Today Sunday, was another day however and I had not prepared emotionally and mentally for the day’s events. I wasn’t even aware of  the program up to the last hours. You can imagine how that shook my mind already so frail. I couldn’t make it and yet I was stuck there and had to wait. I was so tired and slept a little but my thoughts of getting back home and my disrupted routine kept bugging me.

I finally got home 5 mins ago and it is 10.30 pm here. My normal sleep time is 9 pm. Yesterday I missed that but I was prepared, today I am not. I have to deal with it. I hope writing my worries down like this with help me. Maybe I will also go drink some hot chocolate, I believe it helps soothe me. 

I know some will say in life you have to be flexible and adapt and face stuffs like a ‘normal’ person. I am not a ‘normal’ person; diagnosis is not what will make me believe I am/or confirm that I am not … Whatever normal person is. I feel more and more mentally taxed by what will otherwise be ‘normal’ to others. Not being able to be ahead of my program or to even know what is planned and well ahead of time, drives me to an edge. Not sleeping on time, not eating what am used to, too much noise and different reactions from people are taxing now more than ever. Sometimes, even an hour’s preparation can do, but I need to be ready in my mind.

I wasn’t like this before. Maybe youthfulness and the ‘people pleaser’ in me made me  very flexible and outgoing etc. I have been through stuffs since then which have plainly caused such trauma; going on nowadays,  my mind gets scared of future foreseeable ‘trauma’ which may be caused by I don’t what… Sometimes I am scared I am becoming emotionally and mentally frail to a not so good edge. Maybe that’s why I try so much self care you know… I don’t want to rely on meds. Hence I need to prepare myself emotionally and mentally well in advance for any program which will change my routine. For example I attend the African Epilepsy Congress in Dakar in 2 weeks and I have been preparing emotionally, mentally and of course logistically since January.

Empathy not suspicion and disgust of people going through such challenging times is needed. Sometimes, it seems the ‘normal’ people don’t understand or are quick to say they do while advising you to just pray, get over it etc. Maybe that’s why people going through such challenges like these isolate themselves and will rather smile and say all is fine, rather than begin to explain what may only be rediculed? Others try to cope doing whatever numbs their feelings of makes then ‘feel happy’ and ‘on top of it all’/

I am what may be considered highly functional, but I love being prepared and also following my routine. Now Sleep evades me and yet my internal alarm clock will do it’s 4 am jingle and I wish to do sports and help the guys off to school. I know it may not work out that way because of the disruption so far. I hate to struggle and have to try calming down by writing all this. But I also share so someone be inspired and motivated. We are in this together.

Here is to my trying to sleep and to good logic of taking people as they come… That is equally fighting mental health stigma when we share our struggles and seek for ways to take care of our mental health

The enlarged medical mission kicks off today: Wish me well


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So DDay for the medical mission is here and we are estimating to help 1000 beneficiaries.

I am hoping to coordinate to the best of ability and delegate as much as possible too. We have 10 volunteers and our Executive Director came in from the US with some medications and volunteers.

Wish me well o, I wouldn’t send juju your way 🙂

traditional dancers

If any of you wants to check out more about my village other than juju stuff, here is a link:

A very emotional day: finally ready to see where he was buried


Hello world, some update from my village.

 Starting with if you’ll call this good news: the internet connection cut 3 months ago has been restored. Am therefore writing this post as a tribute to that restoration;

Second emotional news: I saw my dad and although I didn’t get a hug, I got so much more. I put my hand on his shoulder and he put one of his behind me too. Some may see this as a no event but to me this is such a big deal… See our smiles…gratitude for the peace… Also reconnected with my big step sister today am thankful and I spoke to the daughter of a late cousin I was so fond of. Indeed we had same surnames and age oh we were pals…

Third and toughest emotional news, I finally did go and see where my brother Gabriel was buried. When he died in the US and his corps was brought home, I flew in from Belgium but refused going to see where he’ll be buried. He is buried behind my dad’s compound, and although I have been here some months ago, I didn’t feel ready going there. Could my going there today mean I was ready for some sort of closure about his death ahead of the medical mission starting tomorrow?

Sometimes in life, some grief shake us up and we near lose our bearings. We have different ways and timelines of dealing with grief, but I wish we all give it a try and not let fear ruin it for us. Even grief at a relationship we so looked up to or one causing us so much pain, we need to find the strength to deal and heal for our mental wellbeing.

Wishing us all a happy weekend… 

I started the day with tears but am much better now… Sharing this to let someone somewhere going through similar stuff know they ain’t alone

Pleased 2 Piss People Off


Wow world, another friday is here and am glad to share a big discovery I made during my recent BBB.

You know, when I have an issue and take a break, I look forward to understanding what’s going on, why or how am faring the way am faring, and what to do next.

So, the first thing I noted was that I am still getting worked up over other people’s reactions or expectations of me! I mean I sometimes felt pissed off and decided to google the word hoping to find some anti piss-off ‘medication’. I didn’t find no solution, only some images like the above.

Bingo, I have a cat and could use the first one, but I have no hair to shampoo, so I could  only offer that to whoever was pissing me off literally speaking right?

Further reflections made me realize some vip things now:

 

Oh my gosh yes, yes, yes: I could learn the art of pissing people off too 🙂

Afterall, why should some piss people off and get away with that? I didn’t want to be nasty or outright mean, but I had to make my points henceforth and no longer suffer in silence:

  1. If speaking my mind is pissing people off: am pleased;
  2. If caring for myself is pissing people off: am pleased;
  3. If keeping quiet and letting someone fume is pissing people off: am pleased;
  4. If sleeping over something before responding is pissing people off: am pleased;
  5. If not being excited as I am expected to be is pissing people off: am pleased;
  6. If unflinchingly saying NO and standing by it is pissing people off: am pleased;
  7. If saying yes with a but… Is pissing people off: am pleased;
  8. Gosh, if to my own self am true is pissing people off: am very pleased!

The bottom line I advocate is that although the words ‘Piss Off’ may be found repelant or repugnant, they can be appreciated and used positively to stay sane.

I share my discovery and strategy with the goal of inspiring and motivating others. How many suffer in silence because they don’t want to ‘piss anyone off’ while being continually ‘pissed off’? For a previous and still struggling people pleaser like myself, if passing through learning and practicing to piss people off my way is what I need to find a balance: am pleased.

Ahd now over to you gentle readers and followers? What do you think about these words and their impact on one’s mental health?

It is hard starting all over; it is hard dealing with grief; somethings are so hard…


I lost my skipping rope four months ago and with that my skipping groove. Trying to start all over…ain’t ever easy but am not discouraged. I used to skip 500 at a go, today I could only do 200 average at a go. That’s still a big motivation even if I still feel less flexible than before. Yes you can, don’t give up…

Grief strikes: It is hard not to feel

My darling Donna lost her beloved father yesterday and I feel so sad I can’t be with her in this challenging moment of need

Secondly, a few hours ago I saw a young man on the streets whom I recognized as one of the altar boys at my wedding in 2006. He was so friendly and I met him a few times again thereafter in church and about. Today, he had a bag full of junk and was talking to himself – what could I do?

I travel to my village tomorrow – off network for four days

The medical mission our foundation is organizing kicks off on Friday. Our team leaves the city for the village 8 hours away on not so cool roads tomorrow morning. There is no network there and I will be hyper busy and yet super anxious about stuffs etc – I have tried since monday to prepare myself emotionally and mentally and I just keep my fingers crossed.

I will be taking my skipping rope with me and will try find time to go hike in the woods

Thank you for reading ( more of my short sport clips on my modest youtube chanel) e.g: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJUclj_ZNM

A Tale of Doctors and wellbeing


Team doctors

I have heard and read it several times, people saying well my doctor never told me this or that, or he said this or that, and em that was or wasn’t covered by insurance. They were mean, no sympathy or empahty, oh so kind and compassionate…

I recall when my late and only brother (he died in 2014 at age 33 after 18 years with epilepsy and bipolar disorder) used to go the doctors all the time. We were close, and I took him to his appointments back home and sat in those consultation rooms, as well in the labs and all. Back home in Cameroon, all seemed to be going well and although he was on a few meds I think 2, he was also on a lot of food supplements, natural remedies, and mum made sure he ate vegetables and fruits like it or not. I discovered carrot juice via him and I still love it to this day, A lot changed when he won the diversity lottery and relocated to the US. Before we get there, let me tell you what I witnessed with most of the doctors we went to back home. They treated him with empathy, they took time to explain updates to us, the prescriptions and side effects, and even recommended alternatives to counter the side effects of those meds. He so loved some of those doctors and could sing their praises un end.

Come in Doctor N° 1 in my tale

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The serene and reassuring doctor

My brother got worse somehow, we were helpless from this far and we prayed he atleast got some nice doctors. So, when he told us of his primary physician called Dr Daniel Gross, we were so happy. 

My brother looked forward to their appointments. My mother talked with that doctor. Dr DG encouraged him on, he went to therapy both group and solo. He still did some ‘shaggy’ stuffs, but those were better than the total isolation in which he lived his last couple of months. I later found out well he was taken off Dr DG ‘s roster or maybe Dr DG moved on…, and therapy was stopped (probably not covered by insurance…), and so he got assigned another doctor. By then he had started putting on so much weight and was on 6 or so meds.

Here comes almighty Doctor 2

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No Comment

… And so it came to pass, that after my family had voiced their concern about the drastic side effects of my brother’s cocktail in May 2014, that mum had complained through his nurses and his case manager in June (while on a two week visit with him), my brother went for another ‘doctor’s appointment in July.

Here is a recap of what Dr whoever said:

He told Gabriel (my brother) that he was aware of his mother’s concern about his weight and that he weighed more than Gabriel;

This doctor put and kept him him on the following meds + more ; and knew what was going on – in his own words to mum :

  • That he was aware of the side effect of Risperdal, which he prescribed, those included drowsiness, dizziness, drooling, nausea, increased appetite and weight gain;

  • That he also prescribed Zyprexa and was aware that the side effects include: Constipation, dry mouth, increase appetite, weight gain and stomach upset;

  • That he was aware that Zyprexa is taken in use with Benadryl it could lead to a stroke or heart failure;

I leave it at that for your interpretation, and I make a case for this other doctor I just found

Doctor N° 3

In my constant searching for information, not wanting to just let myself go and rely so blindly on what the doctor will tell me or prescribe, I discovered an ideal doctor online. This doctor is sharing information on how to make healthy choices for a healthier and happier life, and he seems like one of those not quick to prescribe medication. I recall a recent episode where I developed the dreaded mumps, and Doctor J advised me on natural remedies and yes sleep. Wow, he tries to sound wake up calls, demystifying disease and passionately interacting with all on his platform. I don’t know about his offline practice, but where I in the position to chose my doctor, I’ll chose Doctor J any time.

Afterword

We all have a choice – at least the majority of us do. We could lose that choice for a reason or the other, that I dispute not. Yet my case is that it is awesome to realise sooner than later that we not only have a choice but we owe it to ourselves and our community to make healthy choices. We may not be able to avoid going to a doctor altogether, but we can change doctors or try to stay healthy and manage our ill health in alternative positive ways whether recommended by a doctor or not. I have read quiet some books (memoirs especially) by people with a mental illness or other illnesses like dreaded cancer and co. None relied solely on medications – a couple even got well without medications or worked to get their dosages reduced to a barest minimum while improving on the food they eat and their overall lifestyle. When it used to be said your doctor is  or should be your friend… I don’t know if that’s still true…

 

A non bipolar related recommendation for Birth of a New Brain by Dyane Leshin-Harwood


the one and only Lucy
The one and only Miss Lucy

Hello world, take it from Lucy and I

I want to without much ado, give you at least 7 reasons why you should pre order or look out for the release of Darling Dyane’s epic memoir. That is, other than the fact that it made me have a wonderful day out, eat some ice cream with the boys at our dear icecream grandma’s, and laugh oh so much:

Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th.

Birth of a New Brain is available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!

Ok: Let’s get going:

  1. If you want to know how to act well enough to be selected for a role as kid: get the memoir;
  2. If you want to know how many times you should enter for a contest to win a sports car before giving up: get the memoir;
  3. If you never knew a dog could get a c-section and suffer a stroke and still be a ring bearer at a wedding: get the memoir;
  4. If you want to know how to avoid your broken heart from being quickly mended: get the memoir;
  5. If you want to know how to import a boyfriend and soon regret it enough to cameloen the colours of envy for months: get the memoir;
  6. If you want to know the best way to bribe a potential landlord (not with sex I emphasize); get the memoir;
  7. If you want to know how to prepare for and pass your massage therapist exams (not what you are thinking): get the memoir

And the biggest bonus

  • If you want to know how you can ‘flimpsily’ say  ‘it’s not my type” and to have to treasure that for life : get the memoir
  • and oh another medium bonus: I used to call my vip buddies my ‘PP’ meaning ‘Personal Person’ – but if you want to know what it truly stands for: get the memoir

I hope I haven’t given any spoilers away – men I laughed more than I should have when reading that memoir. Dyane was generous in making a large chunk of it about life and all before getting serious about the not funny subject matter of Postpartum Bipolar Disorder…

About Dyane Leshin-Harwood 

lady D

Dyane Harwood is the author of the memoir “Birth of a New Brain – Healing
from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder” (Post Hill Press, October 10, 2017) with
a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw. She holds a B.A. in English and American
Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. A freelance
writer for over two decades, she has interviewed bestselling authors
including Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Anthony Bourdain, and SARK.

Dyane lives in Ben Lomond, California with her husband Craig, their
daughters Avonlea and Marilla and their collie Lucy who serves as a
writing muse and sits on Dyane foot when she writes.

Dyane’s website: www.dyaneharwood.com
She blogs every Friday at Birth of a New Brain: 
www.proudlybipolarwordpress.
Birth of a New Brain Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Birth-of-a-New-Brain

You can find Dyane tweeting away on Twitter: @DyaneHarwood

1 Whole Week 4 just David & I


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That was in David’s School

Hello world,

Wow I just spent a whole week with David.

David is my Shepard; David is my King; David is my gentleman. David opens the door for me, David likes insisting on the dinning table: ‘after you mama’ and when I ask why he’ll say because it is ‘ladies before gentlemen’. I don’t want to bother his young and fresh mind on what sometimes goes on in the ‘bigger world’. David is my second son aged 10, and he didn’t have an Easter Break per-se because they in final year of primary school had preparatory classes in school daily from 8-12 pm.

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Those particular shorts of his I have begged to have them given me to fix but nada

And so hmm, that is how David and I came to have a whole week to ourselves at home. I had left his 2 brothers in Buea when I went there to savour Dyane’s epic memoir. Ok, my plan had been to send the three of them to Buea for the Easter break before I knew David wasn’t going to have a break. Now, during the first week of that break, Alain had opthalmologist appointments and now wears glasses, and Gaby the star had a tummy rumble and a wound under his foot which he picked up from one of his many adventures in the neighborhood barefeet of course – oh poor me.

With David, you talk less, do more,  and appreciate silence and art more than all. He loves , cooking, drawing or watching one comic or the other. He also has a like minded friend in the neighborhood who goes to his school too. They often hole up in our home after school and draw all those characters they see.

I made it a point to have dinner with David everyday and to help him with any assignments. I thought of what else to do with David, and realized I could start by walking with him to his school. The last time I had walked with them (Gaby is in that school too), was at least 2 months ago and that was a quick dash.  

Last Thursday therefore, althought having a hectic day ahead, I decided to walk with David to school. We walked mostly silently, enjoying the breeze and birds chirping , with me making not so successful attempts at conversation. Yet, David was smiling all the way and I later realized he was just happy to have me all to himself and walking with him to his school. When we got there, he asked me to buy him something to eat (we hadn’t had breakfast before leaving, happens sometimes). I also decided to have whatever he opted for so as to taste for myself what they eat in school.

David was so happy he became talkative, introduced near his entire class to me and then em – wished me to enjoy my meal. He wanted to go on with his friends now.  My entire day was set to be yummy, nothing could wipe the sweet memory of our walk to school and his joy at introducing his mates to me.

A walk and a sandwich was all it took this day. When I asked David on the eve of his brothers’ return while we had our last quiet dinner together,  what he liked most about our ‘home alone’ days, he said the best thing was my walking with him to his school that day, and my not being so stressed out the entire week.

Oh these kids, not only do they notice but they also have their own peculiar benchmarks. Alain the first will shrink if I offer to walk with him to his school for example, and Gaby the last will not be bothered. No I think he will find my presence by his side restraining since he plays as he walks and stones play with him too.

All in all, although I had hoped to have this Easter break to myself, I have a book I started writing in January and am not finding time to write, I am grateful for what I got – a whole week to bond with David.

If life doesn’t always turn out the way you want, turn yourself out to make the most of it. 

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