It was precisely on the 4th of April that I hosted an incredible young lady called Yensi Helen, the founder of the Hope Centre. I will write a post about her and the amazing work she is doing subsequently. That day was also the appex of my healing eye near going shut.
I had a few days earlier seen a vision of 5 white rays coming to that eye as I slept, and when I got alert and waited for the 6th ray, ha nada. But I had gotten the message. It could be worse, but it will get better. Indeed, a few days later, it got worse as you can see.
The eye swelling started out as a joke sometime around February 26th. I mean it could be hardly noticed in the pictures below taken around then right?
28.02.18 eve of spiritual journey takeoff, last outing sort honouring an invitation. Eye has started nagging lol
03.03.18 Day 3 into spiritual journey, eye on its own path too
I took it mildly in the beginning, trying out home remedies before starting what I now call a medical tour of duty. I mean I saw 4 different opthamologist, a neurologist and a cardiologist lol.
12.05.18 Back from same farmer’s market 70 days later 12.05.18
With my buddy Gaby, it’s Celebration day – 6 hurr
Ella my missus always around to support lol
But, through it all, I kept my cheer.
My initial predicament was how to start my internship at the psychiatric ward as a clinical psychotherapist with that eye. Hurray, nobody cared about my sun shades which ended up becoming my trade mark.
Day 1 internship psychiatric unit, helping to clean out the flood
Eye 90% healed by now but googles have become trademark lol
Fast forward to 3 months later, it is getting better and better and am so happy of course.
10.05.18 – eye doing so much better
And so dear all, in life, as it happens, convince yourself it could get worse and it’ll sure get better. Move on trying your best not to throw or be invited to any pity party, revel even in being called a one eye wonder woman (the most befitting nickname I have ever received by the way lol), and why not even think about the worst case scenario? ( I had already looked at some real sexy eye patches just in case you know).
I can’t tell you how much my spiritual journey has purified me and fortified me and made just love life 120% over. I share to inspire and motivate, be well everyone
You ask them kids to do their laundry on the veranda while you are in the kitchen. You get a call and when you turn round you see one of them like that. Your first impulse is to take a picture to immortalize the moment, then I flash-backed to my own youth and saw myself not even at home but in front of the school taps while everyone studied. I at least kept my panties on and I stopped doing that at age 7. He is 8 years. Some say I should skin him alive, others say to pray hard, others say to talk to or with him, and one laughs loud saying therapist heal your own son, there is likely some ADHD there. What you advice my gentle readers and followers?
You come back home and find some neighbourhood kids invited by your son to play baby football in your living room. You see proof of what he does with his exercise book sheets and how he treats his school bag all the time. Well, I let them play because at least I get to see him, he gets to forget about TV (not that I have any), and he develops camaderie and learns to lose without fighting. On the down side, they finish and leave all that paper and chalk drown on the floor for you and you get to shout out your lungs before order returns. What will you do gentle reader and follower?
You grill groundnuts for soup and you give him to go out and peel them so you can make the paste. He does just that but he eats up near half of that. Times are hard and you were hoping the 2 cups you had could make a pot of soup to last 2 days fora family of four for lunch and supper. I have explained to him previously why he shouldn’t eat dem groundnuts. Well, I shrugged, and decided I was better off doing that myself next time unless I could give that to a bigger child. I explain to him again why he shouldn’t eat them up especially in tough times like these. Can’t recall if I was any better or worse at his age, or if anyone even gave me such a chore in the first place. And you?
You are once again convoked to David’s doctrine school (just friday I was in his school) where he has accumulated three absences although he leaves home each Sunday morning for doctrine he himself chose to attend. He knew it was a three years program although he is by this second year already failing with his grades and attendance.What do you do? Beat him up, withdraw him or let him continue to do whatever he wants? I give him 200frs each Sunday and tbt am getting tired with the whole thing too. Yet, I don’t want to stop him from having or making that experience. Gaby didn’t opt for that, while Alain is already done with his from a school where he had only a year of doctrine. I give him some work as punishment when he returns, and ask him to write a 700 word essay about the whole saga not leaving out the resolutions. I can’t go and sit there with him and still get to do all I have to do with and for them…my me moments are near getting threatened completely lol;
You have sworn not to buy flip flops again nor a pair of shoe before school breaks out. Yet you feel so sorry for Gaby who has no flops again Lord knows where each goes to, and his lone pair of Shoes already looks so haggard. I confess I recognize that child and the genes he inherited And so, .I decided today after laughing at myself, not to bother swearing any never again around. I consoled myself by getting a dark chocolate bar from the market. Chocolate indeed is an anti-depressant unless any proof to the contrary…
Dear Readers and Followers, some of my quirps and muse as a parent and single one for that matter… ever grateful for my support team and journey to holistic wellbeing via different mental wellbeing plans…Yes We Can…we always try to find the Fun in the dysFUNction… (thanks Linda for the inspiration)
A) I lost my grandma and her burial was this weekend in fontem- Anglophone Cameroon hence no network while I was there. I lost my voice somehow and here are 4 inspiring takeaways from that:
1) Always be grateful for the miracle of life, of sight, of speech, of hearing, of walking etc. When you lose any, you can then know what those in similar situations are going thru
2) Appreciate the virtue that is silence. Silence whether intentional or unintentional, if appreciated opens you up to good meditation, observation and enhances your listening skills. When silent, you learn just so much.
3) In everything give thanks and keep a cheerful attitude. I learnt small to make gestures and write some more, I got some more loving from my family especially mum who bought me a bucket of ginger, garlic and lemon lol to be mixing daily until the voice returned. I ate just one small ginger last night and the voice is returning…
4) No condition is permanent here below…we are all on a journey. Even the blind man gets better once he by feeling accepts and adapts to his condition knowing even that is not permanent. When we die, all those disabilities and etc die too. And this is why, I have embraced my hearing deficiency with Grace.
B) And yes, before that, I blogged here near daily of my struggle with insomnia. Indeed, a friend had to stake his money on me to let me know he had confidence I was up to the challenge. Ha, so this is how that ended: After Granny was burried, I told her now in meditation that I had not been able to sleep right for the past days but that I really needed to sleep starting from that day which was a Saturday. And guess what: I went to bed at 8.30 pm and woke up at my normal 4 am. I decided to monitor my sleep again last night, this time we were back to Douala at my mum’s.
I went into Granny’s room and lit a candle and I told her I wished to sleep in her bed. I put on the nightie she had on the day she died ( uh huh daring right?), and I told Insomnia aloud, dare show up – you know I don’t fear sleeping in Granny’s bed wearing her nightie. Oh boy did I sleep so sound. From 9 pm to 4 am as routine.
And that’s it, I beat insomnia without drinking Camomile after all. I was a worried when I first lost sleep last Tuesday , and some advised I go see a doctor. I followed my intuition which urged me to wait it out a week first. I put all my faith in that, and saw a therapist for psychological help with that wait. It was worth its wait in Gold.
The lesson I get here is that sometimes patience is so vital, identifying the source and not just treating the symptom is also vital. Finally, having a positive and grateful attitude and sourcing alternatives and not just looking for a magic pill is also worth it.
C) Does the above picture say it all or what? Dad has been telling her friends stuffs and three of them thanked me for taking care of their friend lol. I am just showing him ( the only dad I have anyway) some love while he is still around. Wouldn’t want to write my feelings in a mass and tribute booklet if I couldn’t show them to him while he lived.
With the above, I wish us all be inspired and motivated to have a great day and week.
I don’t know how to qualify my moods today. All is not so good and am near pissed. Why should what happens in America or wherever shake me so? I mean I had a nightmare last night (hardly recall any precedence zut). The KKK were torching 3 homes to be precise – I woke up ant it was 1.28 am I have a clock that reflects on my ceiling. I just have to type all this out and hopefully calm down enough to continue my day which is equally so taxing already with a phone crash last night.
So, yesterday I wrote of America’s ghostsAmerica’s ghosts – I had been planning before the terrible incident of yesterday to blog about America’s Ghosts and America’s Angels after reading the wonderful book by Steve Fugate titled Love Life Walk.
The ghosts of Jim Crow, of the Civil War or the Appropriation, Misapporiations and reservations, the treatment of natives and immigrants (who aren’t fortunate to belong to certain families descendants of immigrants themselves) oh my gosh gosh gosh – I really need to stop reading so vast and caring so much. I now can understand why events likle the collapse of the Berlin Wall or the murder of JFK and etc could drive some off the edge to maniaville completely.
But no I wouldn’t go off any cliff because I am tougher. I will brave this but I now know I should mind more of my business than what the media trusts my way. I will chose what I click period. Las Vegas shooting touched me and I reached out to mine – but maybe this time because it was in a church and the victim toll – oh my …
And yet America has so many angels. I visited 5 different states in 2015 and took all means of transportation I could just to be in the move – name it I took it maybe except private jet (which I wasn’t even hoping to). I walked of course, took the bus (both in the city and cross city – two different companies even), train, cesna, plane, even hitched a ride in Vermont after visiting my Precious Pammy at the hospital and it was getting dark etc and I have no recollection of being treated shabily. I mean I remember Richie who played some instrument (ah yes the Clarinet) and bout me a soda and told stories all the way, I remember oh this lady who bought me food in the train from VT to DC, I remember Sherry who invited me to spend the night over at Virginia, I mean Pammy whom I had never met who invited me to the US in the first place and contributed towards my air ticket, made up such a nice room for me even though hers was in such a mess, so so many good memories I can’t even remember again. I thought it was because I was a foreigner (don’t ask me if I carried a sign), but when I read Steve Fugate’s book I knew there were Angels indeed in America.
Sadly now, When such a terrible thing occurs, a culprit is to be found asap. Mental health is a suspect par excellence and it’s even cool if records can prove that asap so the case can be closed. But I have known quiet a two hands full in America who live with various mental health challenges, illnesses and etc and they are oh so nice or simply keep to themselves.
Seriously, I am shaken and taking some big measures. No twitter for a while and hardly any facebook. Even if the fire is burning on Mount Cameroon heading towards Douala IDC!!! I am reviewing my interet list on G+ and of course I wouldn’t click any sensational headline again – serves me right.
I know a lot of killings and crap and hatred and hurt out there, but for a human being to calmly take a gun in a church or wherever and gun down others – then something is really wrong somewhere.
I pray for myself and the angels in America to not let the ghosts and nightmare of that country close in on us and mess up further our fragile mental healths.
God Bless America indeed: I feel better having ranted this out here
P.S: AM LEAVING ALL TYPOS TO REMIND ME OF HOW SHAKEN I WAS WHEN I WROTE THIS POST
Hello world, call it review fever if you please: but, this girl here reads books like you’d drink milk lol; and she likes to share her thoughts on those books when they get to her soul. For me to start a new week with a book review speaks for itself – that is if the title of the book doesn’t do it enough justice.
Let me just dash in, this because on a Monday morning we all want to get it started and off to the maximum we can before the ‘blues’ set in right? I mean this is one of the many powerful things I learnt in this book (I never knew I could fall in love with a self help book), you can zap from ‘freaking out to freaking amazing’ with determination and dedication. You may need help but it is possible. You will need to be authentic and confident always, and know today if you never did or were not sure of it, that your vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness. Come on now give me more vulnerable situations…anytime anywhere…exploit them and let them catapult you to speak up, stand out and shine… I mean why settle for victim and throw all those endless pity parties while people around you who may have even gone through worst are now making a healthy and wealthy living sharing their stories?
Now, have you heard of power dance? Regina introduces this in her book. Give it a try, musn’t be an entire song and that can be anywhere anytime. And when you are one of those I used to be…you know the one who will shake and panic and worry about all what will, would, could go wrong right up to outright freezing on the podium, be it because you forgot your message or one ‘vampire’ in the audience shot you that ‘stare’; you will witness a radical and permanent transformation after reading this book.
All in all, this book is not only for those starting out into their speaking journies whichever category, but also for those of us some where in between. I give this book a 5 star because I honestly feel Regina wrote way too much to get anyone even in elementary school to be able to speak up, stand out and shine.
Drawing from my extensive corporate experience in six countries, I have developed a top Transformational Leadership Practice for Business Women, and I am now known as a Power Shifter and Career Accelerator, Diversity & Co-Creation Advocate, Speaker with a Passion for Dance, and Author of Speak up, Stand out and Shine – Speak Powerfully in Any Situation, as seen in this Huffington Post article:
With her signature system, Powerful Leadership Transformation (PLT), she works with companies to transform top female performers into top leaders so they can make a bigger impact and generate more business for companies, clients, and themselves. With her guidance, organizations can unlock the strengths of the talent they already have, to cut down on turnover costs. Regina focuses on driving fast results for her coaching clients by emphasizing an empowering mindset and a compelling, confident presence, enabling them to accelerate their careers, while making an outstanding contribution to their organizations.
She speak five languages and has over 18 years of international experience in the corporate business world, including management positions at The Boston Consulting Group in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, where my primary focus was on HR; career & performance management; training & talent development; operations & budgeting; and office build-outs. At BCG, she also had a leading role in opening two new offices in Portugal and Brazil, as well as several international projects throughout Europe and Latin America. As an entrepreneur, She has owned two businesses in Argentina and Brazil, and has translated 12 books on dance, culture, politics and science. Her eclectic background allowed her to develop a special skill set that flows into herunique transformational approach.
She is a Certified Leadership Ambassador by Take The Lead Women and serve as Co-Chair of the NYC Financial Women’s Association’s (FWA) Distinguished Speakers Committee. It is her honor to be a trusted advisor of UN Global Champion for Women’s Empowerment in Entrepreneurship Alysia Silberg’s Fireside Chat and Pitch Camp communities for global entrepreneurs, and a leading member of Alysia’s Global Women Game Changers group. Studying Judith Glaser’s “C-IQ for Coaches” Program (Creating WE Institute) has allowed her to enhance her current focus on co-creation and to coach team leaders to navigate successfully through conversation. She am also a Premier member of Women Speakers Association (WSA) and a member of West Coast Speakers Coalition.
P.S: Ok world, I stop at that, Ms Huber’s profile is clearly longer than my review of her book and am jealous. I have already audited with her you know, and I will be signing up to be coached by her once a fortune cookie is left by my office …
Hello world, following what happened on Friday, my sons dad said he is no more contributing to their education (that was all he was doing). I thought he was joking – like angry and jealous sort of. Yesterday David went there to collect their school bags and books, and was driven away like a pig. He came back home in tears. This was followed by a series of sms from his dad telling me all he could… I have done what I can so that David starts school today (He is starting secondary school – in the US that will be junior high), and will be in th same school as Alain. That is a walking distance from Home. Gaby will start tomorrow by Grace. I specialize since 2011 in making the best lemonade out lemon.
My life is a thrilling one indeed, and we find the FUN in the dysFUNction. I am so grateful for everything, I wouldn’t give their dad the pleasure of having me run after him nor drag him to court…no not yet…no not now…I made a strong statement that friday, stronger than court or social servce, that was his language and he got hit far harder than not irrespective of any saga which followed…
YES OH YES: Iam very proud of my scars, I wear them like a badge of honour…
Have a nice week all, dare to be proud of your scars and wear them like a badge of honour even if some think it is a badge of dishonour.
Hello world, with barely a day to go before the Month of May is over, let’s wrap up with my Granny Jill’s interview shall we? So yes here we go after P1 of yesterday:
Can you tell if there was a difference in the way your son was treated before and after he got that diagnosis?
No, because we realized much later that the doctors suspected paranoid schizophrenia very early on, but they are not keen to diagnose such a serious illness in someone aged 20. Doron entered the military in Israel with a medical profile of 96 and when he was released, he was like someone missing in action. For 18 years, people thought of our Doron as ‘normal.’ For the next 16 years, they called him mentally ill. But, we always called him Doron. Our once gregarious son was ill, vulnerable and scared. He’d lost his sanity and grieved for that loss. He’d lost confidence, suffered harassment and discrimination. IF someone did agree to hire him, they offered such a low salary that it was insulting.
If you wouldn’t mind, can you tell us any short or long term effect to your own mental health as a result of your son’s mental illness?
It affected the whole family. My husband, who devoted a tremendous amount of time to Doron, became stressed as he was running an accountancy business. Our daughters did without sufficient time and energy from us, without vacations, without extras as every available cent was poured into another prescription drug, another treatment, a new psychiatrist. We did without too – we minded less. Our daughters no longer brought friends home. They returned from school, ate then fled. I learned about stigma: “She’s the one with the crazy son! Of course it affected me, no matter how much I tried to ignore it all. But, having a son in a psychiatric hospital is different. People with physical illnesses get many visitors in the hospital, are showered with flowers, chocolates and other gifts, while very few people even visited Doron. His good friends came at first until they had to get on with their own lives. We understood. Doron’s aunt and uncle were very supportive to him, something I will never forget. I learned at the support group to look for something I liked doing every day, and I did. I liked tutoring English, loved being with my children and grandchild, but, when I was very upset and down, I dug furiously in our garden. I disliked attending weddings or parties as everyone looked so happy and I was so so miserable, trying to keep a smile on my face. Later I learned from a smart psychologist, that I’d assumed that the other guests were happy but how could I know? Maybe they were also plastering ‘fake smiles’ on their faces? My friends told me afterwards that during Doron’s illness, I was extremely angry with the world. True!!!
3) The Writing
Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
Many years ago, after Doron became ill, I read Anne Deveson’s Book entitled ‘Tell Me I’m Here.’ At that stage, I had no idea that she was a famous person. I simply felt; if she can do it, why oh why can’t I? Well, I started off by keeping a sort of diary but I jotted things that occurred in our once peaceful home onto scraps of paper which I popped into my bedside drawer. When I was asked to join a creative writing group, I typed out all the notes that I’d written and the teacher said; ‘You have a book there.” And that’s how all my more serious writing began. At first I wrote more short stories, then started slowly and painstakingly to write about what was happening in our house. Then, I didn’t even know that 1% of the world’s population suffered from schizophrenia – which is without taking into account all the other psychiatric illnesses that abound.
Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
Chapter 37, The Last Callwas one of the most difficult to write because of two pages. Page 224 where I wrote:-
Before schizophrenia, our three children had spent years of closeness, laughter and sibling secrets. During the years we lived with Doron’s illness, his sisters had shared their fears and tears, wishing they could escape the shadow but always drawn back to watch over, listen to and protect their older brother, who, in his healthy years, had done the same for them. It was then that my late husband had gathered us around him not long after we’d heard that our beloved son had taken his life. I want you to remember that Doron did not take his life. He took what schizophrenia had made of it. He ended his agony and I thank my son for putting an end to his suffering. I hope that he has found the peace of mind he so desperately sought, the peace of mind that eluded him during the last 16 years of his life. Now we all have to face the tragedy of our loss.”
And a part of page 225.
“On January 19th, 1996, we buried Doron. It was three months before his 34th birthday. On that dull winter’s day at my son’s funeral, the earth that had been dug out, stood in a mound ready to be thrown back. For the last time before he was buried, I talked to Doron, while in the cold, still air, I heard a thousand birds sing their songs of life.
All the people who loved Doron could finally say farewell. I saw people there who had not coped with his schizophrenia, but knew how to handle death. So many friends, neighbors and acquaintances stood, shoulders touching, their breath mingling in the icy air into one great sigh for our loss. The rabbi intoned the familiar words. His voice echoed in and out of me like surf slapping against the shore. His words didn’t comfort me. I registered simple animal sensations. My mother’s frail hand clutched mine. My daughters were trembling. My husband was crying. I was the only one unable to shed a tear. I whispered goodbye. So much left unsaid. I ached to see him on his surfboard. The thud of earth, marker. He was gone. He didn’t say goodbye. In a tumble of memories, I saw Doron’s smile superimposed on the painful image of his anguished, tortured expression.
I love you, Doron.
Which if any was your favourite chapter to write and why?
Chapter 27 because it showed that one can be happy in the midst of schizophrenia. Our daughters were aware of the terrible stress we were under and presented us with two flight tickets to Crete, including accommodation for four days. With misgivings, we took leave of Doron who was in a hospital at the time, hugged the girls after thanking them profusely. The flight was forty-five minutes in duration and we flew to our Greek hideout with our son’s blessings. “I am happy for you both,” he said. Both my husband and I loved spending time together, even more so on vacation and we reveled in the fact that we had nobody to take into consideration. We relished the unexpected gift of time together, this reassurance that love and pleasure were sometimes hidden in the crevices of pain. It reminded me that despite our woes, the world went on turning and sometimes presented extraordinary surprises. Our break on the idyllic island of Crete seemed longer than four days, and we felt whole again when we flew home. Every moment had been precious and I’d banished thoughts of mental illness, grateful that our girls had banded together to allow us this escape. We didn’t know when or if another opportunity would present itself but we were ready to face the next round with schizophrenia.
4) So overall how did you cope?
I learned to take one day at a time. I tried to remember Doron when he was healthy and how much pleasure he had always given me. I cradled the gentle way he used to speak as if they are butterflies alighting on my hand, an event so startling, that I didn’t want it to end. Coping with the stigma was difficult for my daughters. It took me about a year to learn to live with it, yet my husband didn’t give it a thought and told his clients that he had to end their meeting early as he had to visit his son in the psychiatric hospital. Not a single client left him for that reason.
4) The Message
Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially on challenging subjects like mental health?
Today, there is a tremendous amount of material on mental health out there, both on-line and in books, so check out the market and make sure that y our book is different. There is always another angle.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
a) I would like people to know that my late husband’s favorite quote was one of the things that kept me on an even keel while Doron was fighting his demons. Schizophrenia had to take second place whenever I read the following prayer even though I am not a religious person.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
b)We knew nothing about mental illness till we were thrown into its midst. From the start, we got the message that we were to blame. Fortunately, my late husband refused to accept the blame. He didn’t allow me to either. Smart move. There are no miracle cures and not too many answers. We needed to know that parents cannot cause schizophrenia. We needed to know about the mental health society, ENOSH, the Israeli Mental Health Association to enable us to join a support group as eventually, it was a support group of 22 parents who shared my grief, fears and confusion without pointing an accusing finger at me. We learned there to take each day as it came, to change our expectations and hopes and to use humor wherever possible, something my husband did naturally. We needed to know what to say when our son told us that we ‘didn’t really want him to get better.” What to say when he threw out the food I’d just cooked, convinced that I was trying to poison him. How to behave when he trashed his sister’s bedroom or covered his window with aluminum foil to keep ‘them’ out, or slashed picture frames in his search for microphones that e had hidden there in order to help ‘the establishment.’ I needed to know how to act when he became aggressive, depressed or suicidal. What we did not need was to hear a psychologist or psychiatrist ask us; ‘well what did you do?
It was at the support group that we learned how to set limits as we still had to find time for our healthy children and for each other. We had trouble with the way the staff decided at the last minute when they were releasing a patient from the psychiatric hospital. I had to organize extra food, change my teaching schedule and my husband had to reschedule his client’s appointments. We felt the need to know what side effects each medication could cause, as well as what the illness was causing him to do.
The power of stigma is devastating and if mental health professionals and caregivers could help explain to the public that it is an disease like any other, that it is not contagious, that most sufferers are not aggressive, despite the media headlines – that they commit no more brutal crimes than so-called ‘normal people.’ Could you help floundering parents put a sop to the stereotypes of mental illness and also tell the world that people who suffer from mental illness do not come from crazy families.
Last but not least, PLEASE give our sick children some hope. Nobody can live without hope.
If I have managed to change the attitude of just one person who reads this, my emotional upset at rehashing Doron’s story will have been worthwhile.
Any other writing projects, blogging etc?
‘My son, my son,’ was published in Hebrew in the anthology UPWARDS, Chapters in Community Mental Health edited by Yechezkel Taler as well as The Last Call in the anthology Hidden Lives edited by Lenore Rowntree and Andrew Bowden and A short love story “Love on the Kinneret’ in Ang-Lit Press’ LOVE IN ISRAEL, 65 short stories in honor of Israel’s 65th anniversary.
Having reached the age of 78 but still behaving like a teenager, according to my grandchildren, I am writing less, but still writing.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write all this.
Thank you very much my favorite Granny Jill for answering our questions. We hope to stay informed of any updates with your projects.
Jill Sadowsky was born in South Africa and has been living in israel since 1963. She has been writing since her son contracted paranoid schizophrenia. Granny, is a multiple award winner and her works have been featured in distinguished journals. She is a sought after speaker on brain health/illneses especially given her experience as a care giver of two loved ones lost to Schrizophrenia and Alzehmier.
And so world, with this wrap up interview, I must say I am so grateful to the Universe for giving me the Grace to blog each day for this month of May which is mental health Awareness month. Tommorrow I do a recap of the internviews and some of things relating to my mental health advocacy. Granny Jill is one of my best inspiration – my at 78 years? What do you all think?
Hello world, Let’s continue with the second part of our interview right? You can refresh on P1 right here
3) The Writing
Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
No. I wrote it how I wanted it to be, played a bit. And though it does have a nice creative style and feel that many (not all!) have commented they enjoyed, it was a bit crap at the start. I was too full of myself, too thrilled with getting it finally done (much was written in notes 20 or so years earlier and saved in email). It needed a lot of editing (I did all editing myself) and it needed to be filled out with more detail.
I recently even did a minor update with a few things that needed to be fixed and added in a couple of resources. Just want it to be of value to whoever takes the time to read it. And for it to help someone heal their suffering. Give ideas of things that may help.
Did you have a writing mentor?
No. A few were very kind to check out the earlier version (and honest enough to tell me it needed a ton of editing!) but that was it.
How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?
I had a bunch of notes I had written years before and saved in my email. It just felt right to do it, and I was ok being public as my son was older. First version I put up on Amazon as a kindle book took maybe eight months to complete. Updated that a little and then published as a paperback book via Createspace maybe six months or so later.
4) The Message
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I shared as much as I could. My blog is full of more info on a ton of topics that didn’t fit into the book. And my way of learning and connecting with others, helping to affect change. Speaking out abou the overdiagnosing and overdrugging, etc. I learned not too long ago about the death of children who are erroneoulsy being given BP diagnosis. So sad. They have health issues, but no, they should not be on psychotropic medications. The doctors fueling this new targeting of children – some have been sued after the child become completely disabled or worse, dies – should be in jail is my line of thought.
Any other writing projects, blogging, business etc?
My bipolar blog I mentioned above – a much different voice than most of what is out there.
My freelance writing business – info here: I’d love to help someone write their memoir! Special discount for mental health focus 🙂
Hello World, during this month of May which is Mental Health Awareness month, I am as you must have noticed, doing interviews with authors who have written on mental health, especially about their personal experiences.
I have done a modest review of Molly’s memorable memoir on my blog, and it is my honour to interview her too.
1) The Profile
Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:
Sure. Born in U.S., youngest of five kids, mom a nurse, dad (after 4 years in WWII) owned own insurance biz. Very athletic (probably saved me from having worse mental-physical health issues), soccer in college, diagnosed Manic Depression freshman year after a psychotic break and hospitaliztion. Normal middle class kid. Loved animals, loved nature, loved being active. Did well in school. Always in one sport or another. Had close friends, the first boyfriend, first kiss, pajama parties, dance parties, prom night… plus some other things I will refrain from mentioning. Lol.
About your Memoir, how did you come up with this audacious title?
I had a FB group for e-book authors, and I asked for feedback on my book title. One of the earlier ones was “A Brain Gone Awry”… everyone hated it. I of course, thought it was brilliant. Ha! More ideas for a title not that great according to my helpful ‘more experienced writer’ critics either.
Then someone told me I had to be more clear, and that folks want to ‘solve a problem’. So I realized my gift to share was to focus on BP-1 (the classic Manic Depression) and to talk about the alternative care that I did over the years that helped me. And helped me not be on psych meds – which is huge. Most folks want that. Hence the title about BP-1 and how to thrive.
2) The Soul Journey
Going from the assumption therefore that you are surviving and thriving, what is your take about mental health?
I am doing well. I’ve suffered – and still do – like anyone who has to deal with these issues but have had many wonderful things in my life as well, so am thankful.
My main issue is that the ‘Chemical Imbalance’ theory used to put folks on drugs has to end. Sure, these meds can help someone suffering with an epsiode of illness (bipolar is episodic in general – with normal periods of functioning) stabilize, get back in control, but are very harmful with long-term use. And no – there is no such thing as an identifiable imbalance they correct. They affect brain chemicals (like anything you ingest into your body) but are neurotoxins with many distressing side effects and create new ‘illness’ issues i.e. side effects.
Mental health is a huge term. It would take a long time to write my thoughts. But the main issue for me is to identify underlying causes of the symptoms someone is experiencing, if possible. And then search for ways to treat. I still deal with quite a bit of fatigue… but not severe, debilitating depression like I had in my younger years. God that was awful. And the improvement is from learning about and treating some of my unique health issues (thyroid, allergies, detox from toxic exposures, etc). Others can do this too.
Did your diagnosis help or hurt your mental wellbeing in the long term?
What an excellent question. I’m not really sure how to answer this… as I had no ‘choice’ in being diagnosed. I didn’t read a book and think ‘oh, this is me’ or spend a bunch of time in therapy then get told I was bipolar. I had the classic onset with a manic episode in late teens and was hospitalized. And no, I was not doing cocaine or any recreational drug that caused it.
A diagnosis is just a label describing symptoms, is one way to look at it. I kept it pretty under-the-table from my outer life as much as I could when younger. But I had to have treatment – had severe depressive episodes and mania. So in that respect, it was needed I guess. Though I fought for other ways to be well and learned much, and healed much on my own with regular docs – what I share in my book.
I can say if I had bought into the ‘I have a chemical imbalance and have to take psych meds’ for life nonsense I would be dead by now. No question in my mind. And also I would not have had some of the amazing experiences I’ve been fortunte to have: college degree, healthy baby, well paid professional work, rasing my son as a single Mom, travel the world, etc. All of this while not on any psych med(s).
Can you tell if there was a difference in the way you were treated and the way you perceived stigma before and after you got a diagnosis?
I definitely have experienced stigma (personal relationships, being treated differently, fewer job opportunities) – was forced out of a four-year university program due to knowledge of my medical history. Stigma is real, and I am not sure how it can be changed.
I had a fair amount of emotional cruelty too – the “tough love” approach is how some describe it. To deny what it really is. When I was severely ill, living on the street, wealthy family with multiple apartments unoccupied didn’t intervene. I spent Christmas in a homeless shelter miles from everyone else secure and safe in their home. Of course it was my fault I had become ill, my fault I was forced out of college then crippled with student loan payments, my fault I’d somehow not fit into the cultural norm everyone felt comfortable with, my fault I was raped, my fault I was mugged, my fault I somehow didn’t miraculously emerge a rock solid twenty-something making tons of cash.
At it’s essence, stigma is really a form of emotional cruelty. And there’s plenty of cruel people in this world.
If you wouldn’t mind, can you tell us about motherhood with a fragile mental health like yours?
Fragile is a bit offensive of a word… though I know you do not mean it that way. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Surviving what I’ve survived I look at as an inner strength, something in my makeup that no one will ever take away. It is a part of me and will be when I leave this earth. I’m vulnerable in ways some others are not, but not fragile. And never have been.
I loved being a mom and was like many other single moms. I was on no psych meds, never hospitalized, worked for many years, eventually went on disability but still worked to provide a better life and opportunities for my son. We lived and traveled abroad, he is bilingual, has had a ton of amazing experiences.
The only thing that is very different about me – that really would not be noticeable to others – is I have to keep stress down. Limit social time. Had to focus on my son, staying well. Most don’t have as much of those concerns. But most haven’t Manic Depression with a history of psychiatric hospitalization either.
It was always on the back of my mind that I had to stay focused and be careful not to trigger any severe episode. For the most part I was successful. No parent is perfect. My son was raised with more love and caring attention that many children are.
P2 – the conclusion of this lovely interview comes up tomorrow so stay subscribed lol & Thank you
mum, author, mental health advocate, therapist, inspires & motivates with personal experiences