Category Archives: Mental Health Advocacy

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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Support us and share the campaign

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

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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 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…

 

Have you ever had to go out of town just to savour a book? Introducing Birth of a New Brain by Dyane Leshin-Harwood


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My kindle and I, my kindle & I… oh what a wonderful treasure…

Dear world, last week while on a brief blogging break, I was excited to receive the ARC (Advanced review copy) of my lady Dyane’s forthcoming memoir. I got it in my email on Wednesday night, and tried to start reading it on Thursday. With the boys ha, I can’t find the time to read at home so I read on the go as in when stuck in traffic. But when the book you browse promises to be one so full and pregnant with ‘stuff’, men you have to go find some cool place to savour that book. I was fortunate to have a trip planned for the next day although I wasn’t so decided yet. Well, that book sealed it for me. Whatever thing I had planned to do during that trip was going to take second stage because I had to savour that book and finish it before or else…

I am going to be very honest with you, not because I know Dyane online, but because I laughed so much while reading that book – I just want to recommend it to you before I even tell you more. I am going to do three posts on that epic memoir just to tell you how much it got into me…

In this first post, I’ll share the pictures of my reading cocoon and the beauty of the day even when I got back to the home I was hosted in with the boys. In my next post on this memoir, I will share the reasons (not related to the main topic of the memoir) which make me advice you to get the memoir. The third post on this memoir will be focused on my review of the main topic of the memoir which is “mental illness” – “Postpartum Bipolar disorder” in Dyane’s case. Thank you already so much Dyane for loving and trusting me enough to send me an ARC of your epic memoir. My hats off to you after all you’ve been through and still go through, to find it in you to finally write this memoir and in that style. Reading truly takes me roaming & roving

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.

It’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales arriving this summer!

And the boys also got a blast at our host, a highschool friend of mum’s whose husband and her are befittingly called Papa and Mami by my siblings and I. The boys call Mami, Icecream Grandma because she has a big icecream venture. They negotiate to visit there at least 3 times a year. Look at the pictures:

Ain’t all that wonderful? It was a well deserved break for me afterall, Dyane’s epic memoir topped it all for me… I am so grateful.

Wishing us all a happy and cozy week ahead

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GO FUND US: SUPPORT AND SHARE OUR CAMPAIGN FOR EPILEPSY & MENTAL WELLBEING


 

Support us and share the campaign

 

Dear all,

It’s that time of the year again and our foundation is organizing an enlarged medical mission to it’s pilot area in the Lebialem division for epilepsy, diabetes, mental illness and al.
I am appealing to you to support our Gofundme camapign by making any donation you can.
You can equally share the campaign with your networks. Here is the link:
Thanking you so much in advance for your generosity and wishing you all the best of the season.

I hate you: Please don’t leave me…


I hate and love you

Who identifies with such? I sincerely don’t know how to go about writing this post. Maybe this other picture can say some more:

hate and love how boderline

And sometimes, no matter how much we try or wish, we can’t even hug nor punch…

Do you feel a victim? Then this picture can help maybe? :

being happy with yourself

 

Reminds me of my post on where my peace comes from

Are you a propagator? I mean are you a narcissistic with a boderline personality and co? These are all mental illnesses and some help can be found if only you seek it in all genuiness.

If we don’t stop the cycle at some point be it as victims or propagators, then that is enabling and keeping the generations chained in that trauma. A hurt soul can only hurt another soul – until one finds light, love, peace and happiness through Self-Awareness, Self-Acceptance; Self-Love; Self-Help; Self-Care … the brokeness continues

Some reflections from my searching soul… have a warm weekend

PAW Pink Party: I will be on a panel


So, hello world, we get what PAW stands for, and PAW Cameroon is slowly but taking off. I was invited to join a panel and I am excited about the panel I’ll be joining.

Getting Authentic: Leading from your Heart against all odds

This is a VIP highlight of my week. 

The week is starting off challenging because I somehow contracted the mumps virus… (I thought I was too old for that oh my), but I hope all is well by then.

Have a nice week everybody, and I ‘ll sure share feedback.

Thank you for your support and all

When I feel am running late… I’ll just take my time…


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Hello world,

Happy mid week. I wonder how I hadn’t gotten to this point all along. Ha, maybe because punctuality and anxiety over punctuality are so wired in my brain. Just the thought of me being even a second late could ruin my sleep. I prefer to be an hour early than a minute late. I have blogged about my obsession with punctuality over and again.

The paradox is that I have met and keep meeting people who are in love with what is fondly known as BMT or Blackman main time. You know that deal where you say the event starts at 5 pm whereas it actually kicks off at 9 pm, and well because you know no one keeps to time anyway. I have fallen several times for this and been there at 5 pm and waited my patience over hahaha

Anyway,  I started getting rather sick with my obsession with punctuality and decides last year to seriously start work on that. Especially with three musketeers gracefully occupying 70% of my time, how can I still be rigid with time keeping expectations?

So gradually but slowly I started finding a way to deal with such obsessive and compulsive attitudes.

Last Monday it hit me like BAM… I had got up at 4 am, hit my workout at 4.45 am and planned to be ready to get out at sharp 6 am. By 5.30 am, I hadn’t had my shower oh no…I’ll be so late… Big panic yellow lights waiting to turn red… But then I remembered in a flash how late and miserable and erratic I had got the last time I lost it for fear of being late. I decided to try it out a different way. I went into my room, took a deep breathe, had my shower and got ready without letting any panic thoughts ruin my consciousness. At sharp 6 am, I was ready and although I had to forego packing my lunch bag ( my fault now cause if I had done that the night before… Shush such thoughts now…) And big bonus, I wasn’t late to my 6.50 am appointment after all…

I know some people don’t worry about such things, but I know some do. I am thus sharing this with you to inspire you and to motivate you to keep working on yourselves.

Any other tips to share on how to take this anxiety trigger and their obsessive compulsive cousins?

Today being international women’s day, may I wish all the women who hop by a happy day