Tag Archives: Healing Journey

My personal essay of mental health at the workplace


This year, World Mental Health Day was celebrated on tuesday October 10th under the theme Mental Health at the Workplace.

Over at the Gbm Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Wellbeing, we raised awareness both online and through traditional media. In my capacity as Country Director, I shared my personal essay of mental health as related to me then while I was working in a multinational telecommunications company. You can read that post right here.

WMHD FOR ME 2017

If I were to answer the above question today, I’ll say for me such a workplace is one where everybody feels safe addressing their mental health challenges. And you gentle readers and followers, what would be a mentally healthy workplace for you?

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Questions for an Author: June Whittle author of Deep Within My Soul…


ask-the-author-answers-edition

Hello World, this is the first of what I hope to often do: Profile & Interview and help promote New memoir authors! Why Memoirs? Because that’s the genre I write and it’s still a ‘shy’ genre especially, in my corner of the globe – Africa. My first author to be interviewed and profiled happens to be a dear friend and sister in Christ. I fell in love with the first of her blog posts I stumbled across – yes on the very night I was fumbling around trying to start my own blog! Her post titled «Am I a blogger or a … almost made me give up before I even started; and to think she’d been into blogging a good while? But then, that post ended on a note of so much hope – yes she was – yes I could become one too if I wanted and kept at it with faith.

This is what I have also gathered from reading her maiden but oh so soul searching memoir: shared from deep within her soul and titled just that. Without much ado, I’ll interview her for your reading pleasure and let her tell us more about herself and her journey to become this published author today. It ain’t easy I can tell, been there and still go through there, but she will agree it’s worth ever step of the journey…

Note: The post is way longer than my usual posts, I didn’t want to leave any area out and didn’t want to do a P1 & P2… I think whoever reads through the end will love it. 

june-whittle
Deep within her eyes… can we see?

1) The Profile

  1. Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:
  • My name is June Whittle. I was born in Jamaica and relocated to the UK to join my parents when I was a teenager. It was tough leaving my grandmother (who raised me) and my sisters behind. I had to readjust to the climate – it was very cold – and the way of life. The culture in Jamaica was very different to that in the UK. Jamaicans are bubbly, carefree, happy-go-lucky people. I was used to sunshine, loud car horns, a variety of colours, fresh home grown food and other cultural activities. The day I arrived in the UK, it was grey, quiet and everyone looked moody. I was sad.

Anyway, I continued with my education in the UK, started relationships, (some were abusive) worked in various fields and gave birth to my daughters. I became a mature student in 2007 and went to university to complete a PGCE teacher training course to become a teacher. Afterwards, I taught in further education colleges and met some wonderful people along the way. In 2012 God told me to quit my teaching job and write books. I gave up teaching in 2013, stepped out in faith and started a freelance writing career.

  1. About your Memoir, how did you come up with the title?
  • Well, I knew I wanted to write about my life, but coming up with a title was hard. Then one day “Deep Within my Soul” popped into my head. I knew straight away it was the right title for my book. You could call it divine inspiration.

2) The Soul Journey

  1. I heard Oprah Winfrey say Love doesn’t hurt; what’s your take on that?
  • Love is a beautiful thing. It’s not meant to hurt, but it does hurt if you end up with the wrong person. I believe it depends on what we mean by love. Although my partners and I thought we loved each other, it was a dysfunctional kind of love because we didn’t love ourselves. Therefore, our love wasn’t whole. It’s hard to give 100% of what you haven’t got. So, instead of the joys of love, I mostly experienced the pains of love.

  1. Did the love in your relationships hurt from the start or something happened down the road?
  • In the beginning, it was absolutely wonderful. When you first meet a man or woman you go through the honeymoon period where everything is beautiful. During that period, they can’t do anything wrong. In other words, you don’t see their faults because you’re on cloud nine and consumed by the love feelings. That’s how it was for me too. But, after a few months (when the honeymoon period wears off) he started to look at other women and became obsessed with them. That’s when he started cheating and our relationship changed. From then on problems crept in.

  1. Can you tell who was to blame and what you felt about all this then?
  • I think he was to blame for the fact that he couldn’t keep himself away from other women. But I also blame myself because I was shy, naïve, insecure and didn’t know how to satisfy him. Looking back now, I see myself as very immature and I didn’t know anything about relationships. However, some people might say that’s no excuse for him to cheat on me. He took it far, and chatted up my friends in front of me. This led to verbal and physical abuse, plus lack of trust and many heartaches.

  1. I read a lot of poems about Love in your memoir, and yet you were going through so much pain! So how did you find it writing about love while living pain?
  • Although I was hurting, the only way for me to find peace in my heart was to write about the love I yearned for. I wrote a lot of poems about my broken heart. Those poems came from deep within my soul. I suppose I was trying to touch their hearts with my words, although I didn’t show them the poems. It’s like I was living in a make-belief world. I knew what I wanted, I couldn’t get it so, I created my own world where I was safe to write what I wanted. Writing poems kept me sane. It was my lifeline as I poured out my painful feelings on the pages in my notepad.

  1. Do you think there is an ideal time frame to wait before moving from one abusive relationship into another relationship we hope not to turn out as sour?
  • It’s extremely important to heal from an abusive relationship before going into another relationship. Otherwise, you will carry the toxic junk with you. The toxic junk is a combination of anger, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness and sometimes hate. When you carry those negative things in your heart, sooner or later they will surface and mess up your new relationship.

Imagine buying an old car that hasn’t been serviced or taken care of. It’s got lots of faults but you can’t see them. Eventually, the car will start to give you problems. On the other hand, if you buy a well looked after serviced car, it’s less likely to break down on you. Plus, you will get a smooth drive and it will last you longer than the one that wasn’t maintained properly. Likewise, not servicing your heart, mind and soul after an abusive relationship will have disastrous consequences on a new relationship.

  1. What’s forgiveness got to do with healing?
  • Forgiveness and healing go hand-in-hand. It’s difficult to heal properly if you hold unforgiveness in your heart. Unforgiveness is like a chain around your heart. It squeezes it tight and tighter till it drains your emotional and physical energy. As long as it’s living in you, real healing cannot take place. This includes healing of sicknesses as well as your mind.

A friend did a project with some primary school children recently about forgiveness. She gave them a heavy rucksack each, to carry on their backs. Some said they didn’t mind as the rucksacks were quite light. However, after carrying them on their backs for a while, they became heavy and weighted the children down, causing them to feel uncomfortable and unable to walk properly. That’s what unforgiveness does. It drags you down and affects all areas of your life. Nonetheless, when you forgive, you let go of all toxins and your body will feel light and live again. Painful memories may linger, but will no longer be a problem. That’s when you know that healing has taken place.

3) The Writing

  1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
  • No. Although this is my first memoir, I didn’t base it on style, presentation or content of other writers. This is mostly because mine has poems so it’s different to other memoirs I read. I went with my gut feelings when writing. But, formatted it correctly to meet the requirements for uploading to Kindle for the eBook, and Create Space for the paperback. I followed their guidelines.

  1. Did you have a writing mentor?
  • No, I’ve never had a writing mentor. I took two creative writing courses, many years ago and a copywriting course in 2012. That helped develop my writing skills, along with reading books about writing.

  1. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
  • It was the first chapter where I summarized a little about my story. While writing, old painful memories came back and made me tearful and sad. I also felt negative emotions such as anger, resentment and unforgiveness. I was surprised because I thought I had dealt with those emotions. Clearly, they were still alive in my heart. I wrote about it in chapter 11 – “Finding Hope, my Testimony of Healing”. It’s amazing how we can fool ourselves into thinking we’ve done something, when we haven’t.

  1. How did you deal with that?
  • Well, first I talked to God about it and asked Him to take away those feelings. I felt better afterwards. However, I still had more work to do in that area. So, I repented and prayed from my heart to forgive my abusers for deep healing to take place.

  1. Which was your favourite poem and why?
  • It’s False Love. It was one of the hardest poems to write because it was written out of an extremely painful experience. Nevertheless, it was my favourite because that poem started off my writing experiences. From that poem, other poems followed which helped the healing process of writing to release toxic emotions.

  1. I read two real life excerpts in your memoir, was this to add to the veracity of abuse as a phenomenon or to show the resilience of the human spirit?
  • Those real life excerpts were to demonstrate the power of forgiveness. The abuse these two women suffered were extreme, although diverse. The first example was a vicious form of domestic abuse. The second example was of a teenager being raped by her uncle plus other cruel types of abuse. However, both women decided to forgive their abusers for the sake of their mental health, peace in their lives and more.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and what was it?
  • While writing, I did research about forgiveness and discovered there is a connection between unforgiveness and sickness such as cancer, arthritis, heart problems and other stress related illness. I also learnt that extra healing was taking place for me as I was writing my memoir. By the time I finished the last chapter, I felt free of any excess burdens that may have been clinging to my heart.

  1. How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?
  • It took me nearly one year to write because I kept starting and stopping. I changed my mind a few times because I was nervous about telling my story to the world. But my daughters and close friends encouraged me to do it. Also, because God told me to write it in the first place, I didn’t want to disobey Him. The self-publishing process took me nearly a week. The technical formatting part of it was rather challenging.

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers?
  • Yes, I think if your story can help others from the lessons you learnt, you should share it. Life is full of pitfalls, some good and some good. There are many lessons along the way. However, not everyone learns from their experiences. But those who learn have gold nuggets to share with others in the form of memoirs. If you can help even a handful of people struggling with the issues you came out of, it’s worth writing your stories. Your story can change another person’s life for the better. Another word of advice, make sure you have supportive people around you. It’s important to get as much encouragement as possible to boost your confidence while you write.

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
  • I want to give you the information you need to add value to your lives. My blogs and memoir are not just about me. They are to inspire, encourage, educate and motivate you. I love when you contact me by email or leave comments on my blogs advising me what I can do for you in future blog posts. Or, how you take away something positive from my writing. This is always my aim. Feedback is extremely important to me. So, please, always tell me whether I’m providing value or not.

  1. Any other writing projects, blogging etc?
  • I plan to open up my two blogs, Miraculous Ladies and Arise Single Christian Mummies for guest blogging in 2017. It’s time I share my platforms with other aspiring or professional writers out there. I also intend to hold workshops related to my memoir. I included writing prompts in the last chapter. I want to take it further and hold small groups or one-to-one workshops to help women write away toxic emotions that’s keeping them captive. In addition, “Deep Within my Soul” is book one of a series of inspirational memoirs based on exclusive and beneficial relationship life-lessons.

  1. Where can your memoir be found?

Thank you very much for answering our questions June. We hope to stay informed of any updates with your projects.

Dear readers, please feel free to drop any questions/remarks/observations you may have in the comments section, thank you for reading along.

Running Away From…?


shed-them-off

There comes a point in time

When you muster the courage for the review

You look at them inside out

The flash cards of the lifeathon

The near out of breathe you’ve sometimes experienced

The long and wide distances you’ve covered

The impulsive, compulsive & obsessive thoughts and actions

The numerous and sometimes weird people who took you oh for so granted

The ceaseless times you doubted, loathed and devalued your own self

The frustration, exasperation and near extinction

The very tricky race…

Ah: Who were you running away from?

Oh:


What were you running away from?

You’re near a decade to half a century old

And there seems to be no one else following you but you

Ain’t it real time to look at those flash cards again?

To stop piling new ones onto what seems like a trash hip?

Oh how I wish this could be a fairy tale

The likes I dreamt of reading Cinderella and Snow White

Couldn’t there be a life school with a kindergarden section?

One you really went to before formal school?

Well, am counting my blessing and seizing every chance

I REALLY CAN’T KEEP RUNNING AWAY FROM ME

Several dawns have come by since my 3 decades and a half

I guess now is time for that spiritual retreat

When it was first offered I scorned

Oh how I thank you Lord for my source of unconditional love

3 days of just me and YOU in all intimacy

To hell ever running away from … again

Release those bags: A picture which says it all…


shed-them-off

I truly wish it were not so easier said than done. I however think the emphasis is in striving to release them and not to look back. To care about our mental wellbeing and do something as soon as we can so the weight of those bags not ruin our bones. Of keeping faith in hope, of accepting our limitations mindful of the need to release all of them bags quick before we collapse. Of forgiving ourselves above all, and of releasing the bags as we can; as we move on…

Happy sunday to all, peace and love and healing all the way

Book Review: Surviving Schizophrenia: A Memoir By LOUISE GILLETT


Tell me if she looks like someone with a mental illness!!!
Tell me if she looks like someone with a mental illness!!!

I recall receiving this book by mail on the 19th of May 2014, and knew then that it was going to ‘shake me up’. I was still trying to understand what the hell was going on with my brother, and didn’t even know that I was going to understand so much more about my own self too. I had received an amazon coupon from school for a survey I took, and I used it for this and nothing ‘trendy’.

Louise’s story resumed in her words

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was just nineteen. I am forty-three now, and I have recovered – and I use the term ‘recovery’ in its fullest sense. I have been free of medication and free of symptoms for twelve years. I have a husband, a home, and four young children – all things that I never thought would be possible at the age of twenty-five when I was informed of the diagnosis. At that time I accepted what I was told by the medical professionals; that the outlook was bleak in the extreme, that I would get worse as I became older and that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life.

The Approach of the Medical Community as narrated

I was told that schizophrenia had first been diagnosed when I was nineteen, at the time of the first breakdown, but that it had not been thought appropriate to tell me then. Apparently the condition was confirmed by my second breakdown. Although I was confused at the lack of proof of the illness – there was (and remains) no physical test – I was told that there was no chance of recovery unless I accepted the diagnosis. Then, in a room filled with psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health nurses, I was told that my life was effectively over. That there was no chance of recovery anyway. They spelled out that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life, and that I would get worse as I got older. The treatment I received in hospital was brutal. Forced medication should in my opinion be outlawed, or saved for the most extreme cases— those who have been violent or suicidal. I was neither. The emphasis in hospital was on containment, not understanding, and this amounted to an inhumane system, notwithstanding the good intentions of some members of staff.

For more on this recap by Louise, read her blog entry shared on Mad In America!!!

What I make of her story

Mental Illness is for real and is sure due to more than one cause. Anyone can be affected and pretending we are fine or stronger than the ‘normal’ person, doesn’t mean we are immune to a meltdown. What begs for reflection is her assertion: “The emphasis in hospital was on containment, not understanding” – aha, is this why stats keep staying so bleak, dark and even dreary? That more and more people get mentally ill and just get worse? And what is the emphasis in society? Who is to blame? Obviously you the sufferer right? You sure brough this embarassment on yourself: Simply put, the Stigma is can definitely keep you really mentally ill. Louise herself admits to smoking cannabis and that is the big cause according to a nurse. Forget about “I was an extremely shy and nervous child. I had a chaotic upbringing – my mother was an alcoholic and my father a gambler. My father was also a very volatile character, and extremely verbally abusive. I found school very difficult – academically I excelled, but socially I was completely at sea…”

Conclusion of this review and introducing it’s sequel

Sequel to Surviving Schizophrenia
Sequel to Surviving Schizophrenia

Most of the books I review, are memoirs and I can’t help giving each of them a 5. Five stars to both the Author and the content. The courage, the traumatic experience revisiting all of that, the patience, resilence and all. I just wish such a survival could happen to my dear friend Pammy too. Anyway, stories like these help me just so tremendously in my own healing journey and murdy waters with a sometime frail mental health. I know I am alone in my head and to many, I just not ‘one of them’. Louise Gillett did not just stop at sharing her story, she wrote a sequel to that called Surfacing. She took her daughters to the Mental Hospital and decided to tell them her story herself. I just got a copy of this other memoir of hers, and I’ll be doing another review here in due time.

Louise Gillett can be found via her blog

This

F3 to my Memoir: P2 Narcissistic Abuse of Children by Parents and the family traumatic experience


  • BTS_Cover
    I promissed to share the second part of my F3 with you, and it is in all account one of the most sensitive topics of my memoir and even entire life. Indeed, even F2 was difficult to face.

    ” Narcissistic abuse can take many different forms, but the basics of narcissistic abuse is always the same. It would appear that all the narcissists discuss their ‘cruel tactics‘ at their ‘voodoo yearly Narcissistic convention’ (to put it this lightly). In my case I married a woman who turned out to be narcissist. However, before I understood what was going on, there were already two innocent children involved, and we were supposed to be a family.

    When the children were young, they were not a big threat to their Mom, and to her Narcissistic image. Although it was not clear in the beginning, afterwards it became clear that the narcissistic mother also was practising the ‘Munchen by Proxy syndrome on the children. This was one form of child abuse, and besides the making up of all kind of medical problems for both of the children, and convincing doctors to prescribe all kind of medicines, this woman bought all kind of medicines without a prescription, to give to the children.

    When it came to eating and feeding the children, the younger child (her golden child), was allowed to eat everything he wanted, while the girl, (her scapegoat) was not allowed to eat anything at all, because she was supposedly allergic to all kinds of different products. Although she claimed that both of the children had the same allergies, she allowed the boy to eat anything he liked, up to several hamburgers a week, until he became so fat that he was bullied at school by other children. The daughter was made so scared about eating, because everything could cause an allergic reaction. She finally ended up in the hospital where she needed enteral tube feeding, because the eating trauma pushed the child to stop eating at the age of just six. She stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks, but the enteral tube feeding had to continue for 6 month, and the treatment for PTSD syndrome took another year.

    After a court order forced my wife, and the mother of my children to leave the house, the children needed to learn how a normal meal looked like. After barely three months, my daughter has eaten over 50 new different food items, all of which she was supposedly allergic to according to her mother.

    Although the boy was never tested for allergies, the boy was suffering from the same allergies as his sister, according to their mother, and yet was allowed to eat anything he liked. At 11 years of age the boy turned into an obese teenager, who was too fat to even do any sports. It takes great effort to get him moving and to even start eating healthy things. He probably also suffers from some yet to be diagnosed behavioural and mental condition.

    Although now the abuse by their mum has largely stopped, it is going to take a long time before these teenagers are going to understand what they can eat and what is healthy for them to eat and what quantities are good for them.

    A new life for the entire family is starting once more. Without the narcissist around, everybody is starting to realise that they have been abused, and that they have experienced all kind of traumatic incidents, for years in a row, every day.

    Both of the children refuse to have any contact with their mother.  Since the court ruled that there should be a 6 hours visit every two Sundays in a month, between the children and their mother, the children have become even more determined to go no contact with her once the divorce procedure is over. Unfortunately the system is not prepared enough to understand that there are situations where no contact is the best option in a given scenario.

    The mother has had the opportunity for over 14 and 11 years to show her children what she can do for them, and yet all what the children have come out with is so much loathing of her person and sometimes each other.

    If you ever meet anybody in your life that tells you that they never want to talk to their mother or father, don’t tell them that it is their parent and they should love their parent. This causes only more traumatic experiences for children. Please show some empathy towards these people, that is the best you can give to people who suffer from traumatic experiences caused by a Narcissistic parent. I can therefore understand and empathise with Marie’s narration of her childhood. She was rightly her father’s golden child, and she has suffered so much as a consequence, enough to decide to go no contact with him”.

Healing is possible but it’s a journey which may take a whole life time if we are not lucky. As I shared last week about my healing journey from domestic abuse, this only started when I decided to go against convention and call it as such. This is therefore what I am doing with my entire healing journey from a very traumatic childhood, one which largely contributed to my brother’s mental demise and death.

I wish you all the best of your healing journeys…

My Healing Journey: Calling Domestic Abuse by its name


BTS_Cover

Hi all, this is going to be a brief but once more poignant post. I am preparing for my book launch on Facebook next Sunday the 24th of May, and I heartily invite any of you who can make it to join us.

I want to share a guest post I did on June my Jamaican Heroine‘s blog. Her blog is building a very warm niche for domestic abuse victims and it has lots of useful resources and other articles too. I wrote about how my healing from domestic abuse started when I decided to call it as such. June calls me a strong woman, but I find my strength from within. I find it in my Faith which has stood the test of time.

Sometimes we hurt until we just can’t go on anymore. Then we make the radical decision to call out it by its name. That is what Nancy did after 20 years of bondage. She wrote the F2 to my memoir and I am most obliged to this amazing woman and friend of mine. In my own case, I am calling them out by their various names, and I am sharing my healing journey in various memoirs. The first one on My Unconditional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption, not only opened the healing gates for me, but it even earned me a Voice of the Voiceless Award.

I wish us all a happy weekend and lots of peace and grace in your respective journeys. You may not be there yet, you may not be up to writing a memoir yet, but it can only get better if only you dare to name those hurts and face them as an imperative part of your healing journey.