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


8 thoughts on “Emotional and Mental Preparation goes a long way I advocate”

  1. My goodness, Marie. I have worked with the typical population long enough to know that people will NOT understand your dilemma. People do not understand when a “broken” or “missing” piece within oneself contributes to reactions viewed by society as atypical. You understand their reactions (and responses) to your situation, however, their perception of YOU and the challenges you face is so abstract to them, they are incapable of offering anything better than “well intentioned” ineffective advice. Since you understand this, it seems easier to control the situation by nodding or smiling or pretending everything is ok. This places additional burden on you and simply becomes another “fire to extinguish.”

    Your awareness, intelligence and compassion are some pretty powerful tools in your arsenal. You need to find a better approach with those you care about (and care about YOU) when expressing your internal conflicts and the difficulties you have in PROCESSING them. You need to also determine for yourself, what ACTIONS you need to take to recognize EARLY IN THE PROCESS anxious aberrant responses are building within you to de-escalate the situation early on. Teaching other people what your needs may entail in such situations will help avoid their well intentioned, but fruitless advice.

    Hopefully, this provides a perspective worth consideration. It’s not about “flipping a switch” and becoming a whole new person over night; it’s about greater self discovery and applying the “tools” in LIFE (currently obstructed by emotional “noise”) to filling the voids that currently exist. Persistence, awareness,open mindedness and GRATITUDE for the benefits and challenges that life causes creates the level of clarity needed (quite often) to make this journey possible.

    1. Doc, thank you so much. I retain the following: “Persistence, awareness,open mindedness and GRATITUDE for the benefits and challenges that life causes creates the level of clarity needed (quite often) to make this journey possible.” That is why I do what I do and I share because deep within me I know there are others like myself ‘chocking’ out there, and writing also helps me a lot. I keep trying and I can honestly say am getting more and more better even with my reactions to what my mind considers ‘mis understanding or invalidation’ of my experiences. Once more, thank you so much for you comment and posts

  2. Dear Marie, my oh my I feel for you!!! And I love what doctor Jonathan wrote!

    On the other hand I no longer label ANYthing I do or feel as ” aberrant” or abnormal because that feels invalidating i. e. Making me invalid and everything I feel and experience is valid and real. And ditto my dear friend for you. So instead of labeling my experiences as abnormal or sick or aberrant or anything at all I have learned to ask myself whether my BEHAVIOR– which is really what leads to my reactions either directly or indirectly — serves life and greater happiness in the world because if it is making ME unhappy it is surely not serving life or happiness no matter how much I may believe I am serving some greater good by a self sacrifice.

    Now that said , if something I am doing is causing me to , say, not sleep at night for ANY reason at all we both know that is a danger sign, a really bad signal for me that should tell me something is “not serving life and happiness ” in my behavior because my feelings and ruminating worries are keeping me up at night… Now, you know I never want to be hospitalized again so I decided to figure out how to change my life so I would prioritize sleep no matter what. That was my behavioral change that changed everything all my feelings and thoughts — seemingly small but huge for me because I started to admit I had to really put my health above everything else

    Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t slip up just recently! I was scammed and stalked simultaneously and both kept me up till the wee hours but I could stabilize because I refused to label myself as bad or weak or invalid i had just made decisions that did not serve life and happiness so I went to sleep on time again and started over !

    We are not sick we are strong and healthy at heart we just need to know that what we do and need is acceptable no matter that it is, different from what others need and want in their lives. If you need regular schedules andñ habits then that is you and good not abnormal just you and life serving for you! I love you for it! Mott is like that too! Me, I cannot keep to a timetable or schedule if my life depended on it!!! C’est la vie! The problem comes in when we all have to be exactly the same , no? But how boring life would be then. Live as you want to and enjoy life on your terms — no one should ever tell you that your needs are wrong or ill or abnormal — it is your life !!!



    1. Pammy, thanks for your comments. I know you feel me. I am glad you have come to realize that we each have our own compass and need to be true to ours or else we perish in trying to ‘conform’ and ‘belong’ because we are so scared of being ‘judged’ and found ‘wanting’, ‘abnormal’, ‘shaggy’, ‘crazy’, ‘mentally I’ll etc. And even if we were mentally ill, should be a good think the we seek ways to regain a positive mental health or stay mentally ill and treated the way many unfortunate mentally ill are? Isn’t that what is adviced and advocated to seek alternative remedy to what plagues the mind? If one of my mind muggles is the absence of routine and planning and good sleep etc, then I should be disciplined about those right? And that ain’t pleasing to some because they can function on the other spectrum of going with the hour as things come up and sleeping little or nothing whenever, then you are right that we should not care nor fear any ‘labelling’. Thanks so much for your comment once more.

      1. Hi Marie

        I have been so swamped with work and then lethargy , work and then lethargy, in a cycle I could not respond until now but I did want to– and now I have put your blog in my bookmarks bar so even though I am never notified properly of your posts — or of anyone’s! I can at least check it easily and regularly !

        Anyhow I know we disagree on the issue of labeling perhaps because I have been harmed by it and you do not feel you have been harmed by any label but what about your brother Gabriel? If he had not been labeled “mentally ill” or bipolar along with epilepsy — and that was not necessary as plenty of people have epilepsy without getting a mental illness diagnosis tacked on as well…but being “foreign” as well as African put two strikes against him I deeply fear and so no one bothered to take him very seriously but just consigned him to the mental illness category at the first suggestion of trouble rather than probing more deeply .

        Of course I could be wrong. Maybe Gabriel was diagnosed as Bipolar well before he came to Boston and that condition was easily obvious to the world …I confess I do not know the facts well enough because due to my double vision I cannot read books of any length , which includes ,alas , yours!!! 8(

        But all I am saying is this label did not serve your brother even if it had some sort of seeming “validity ” — because as you know it just enabled the docs to ignore Gabriel the person and treat him like a “patient” anonymous and worse much much worse …

        Once you lose your personhood to a doctor once you become that label as patients do you lose your self and all hope of being treated like an individual or even a human being… and that is only the gross effects of accepting a label. The subtle harm done is I feel even worse.

        To let others tell us who we are rather than us telling the world ? Why? We can tell them in our own words what we need and who we are without resorting to labels — which are only “little boxes on the hillside little boxes made of ticky tacky ” as the old protest song goes — about fitting into boxes! I don’t think it helps anyone to fit us all into boxes of any sort — not mental illness boxes and not racial or religious or ethnic or any other boxes… I refuse to categorize people into groups of them and us at all. That way danger lies always!

        Love ,


      2. Pammy, thanks so much for your comment. Nope, we don’t disagree so much because I hate those labels. I never sought for one for myself even when I was seeing those docs in Europe. When they brought the issue of a diagnosis and some other meds I could try in addition to the sleeping pills and depression med I was already on and hating that much, I stopped going to them period. You know, I didn’t even know my brother was diagnoses bipolar well until two months before he died. I didn’t even know the fainting fits I had grown up seeing were called epilepsy. I just loved my brother. I agree to a very large extent the bipolar label and all other factors like immigrant nigga made him treated as such because he got the diagnosis in Boston from what I now know, and we haven’t even got his official death report up till today. Mum has given up writing. I believe the bipolar label quickly overshadowed the epilepsy disorder or the person in front of them period. Mental health awareness is VIP both for mentally ill and those not diagnosed with any mental illness but conscious about their holistic wellbeing. Loads of love

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