P.s: Inspired by an event this morning; I said as it is and am ok with me. I hope this poem inspires so many, to start or keep living true to themselves. Above all, minding my mental health is supreme for me. In return with saying it as is, I pray for the Grace to be more emphatetic and patient with myself and others…
P.s: These poems will be part of my “Serene Soul” collection, inspired by the healing, closure and acceptance am finding while studying the book High Tide Low Tide… By an awesome twosome Martin Baker and Fran Houston… Can’t thank them enough
Let me think seriously about how or what am going to write in this post – my truth from within my soul…
I have a very good memory, indeed even some events when I was 2 years old are still stacked clearly up there. Books I have all along read, I have since lost count, but still see so many covers flipping through my head and the first xcel sheet I kept with all those titles. And yet, I can’t recall any book I picked up to read and couldn’t proceed because I felt my soul stabbed!!! Here comes the above book, a sort of innocently captivating title right? I mean a very resourceful book if you’ll ask me. So what now? Let me just write a short paragraph of some of the words which kept stabbing my soul when I tried read the first chapter:
Indeed, the same me who had just a day earlier told the author I was honoured to review the book when approached, couldn’t even read another paragraph. Five days have since past since I got the ARC, I have written about my dilemma and recived invaluable advice and remarks and all; I honestly told Martin the author I was finding reading the book challenging and he was simply put Gracious in very few words. I have decided to continue reading the book – and will honestly review same when I get to the end. Here are five reasons why:
I gave my word: My word is my bond, I have tried to not take my word as seriously in life, but I recently discovered that taking our words seriously is actually one of our personality traits. I am a Consul, in the Sentinel category and my stategy is People Mastery – ah what a personality trait and all. Anyway, I also love when people keep their word to me although I have come to make peace with myself that it ain’t my fault when they don’t;
This book has made me take a personality test: I don’t know how many people have started a book and put it down to take a personality test before resuming reading! I have never done this and gosh it took a book innocently thrust my way to get me to this. I not only took the test, I went premium all the way to learn about my trait and other traits, my trait’s strength and weaknesses, many whys answered, many how tipped on and hmm so much. Thank you HT LT – who knows what else I’ll do before I finish reading you?
I’ll even be getting a hard copy for my home library: Here again another first. I have reviewed so many books, a few times because the authors approached me. I have never gotten a hard copy probably for logistics reasons, but I have equally never asked for one until now. Don’t mind that with my first and I now admit very poignant memoir titled My Unconventional loves…I did mail out 5 or so copies to ‘reviewers’ I contacted online and who said I had to send them a copy… I was new to the business, was chasing reviews and was living in Belgium with a better mailing system than back in Cameroon…indeed that bool HT LT will be mailed from the UK to the US and sent through someone coming to Cameroon when the opportunity arises… that’s us, take it or leave it… Martin Baker took it and out of respect for him I’ll not just let him off to muse like I did, when none of those 5 reviewers who got my book didn’t even bother to even reply my querry;
Martin Baker is a gracious Gentleman (I don’t care how old he is): The day I downloaded the ARC and read just the introduction, I put my kindle down and sent him an email with the first snippet of my apprehension. My guess/calculation going by time is, he read that before sending me a smiley on facebook messenger. None of us replied to the other. Am sure he prayed I didn’t give up just yet, while I sincerely wished I found the courage not to. I then braved on an finished part one, and the dread dregged me on. I let him know once again but told him I seriously wanted to try reading on. See his Gracious words: “Thank you for persevering with the book, i will be very interested in your thoughts”. Isn’t this so gentlemanly? and so I have come to realize the fifth and most important reason am reading this book is for me;
It’s healing and making peace with and for me; and learning to be and do better for others: I watched a movie last night (one luxury I fortunately can manage with the boys being on vacation), titled “A Cross to Bear”. Don’t ask why that one and not another given I have a dozen or more in my library – some say am a ‘mini psychic’ lol. Anyway, the movie line (cause am going to do a review later I want and need to), is that a woman who opens her home to rescue abused or recovering from ‘something’ youn girls, gets to realize she was doing that out of guilt and had to start doing it out of love. Now, with regards to reading this book HT LT, a few other moments in my life ‘guilt over my brother’s demise‘ and not ‘out of love for myself or others in similar situations, has been my hidden motive.
In conclusion therefore, because this book from every indication is so resourceful, I mean I have all the 19 reviews it has on the amazon; because I need to do this for me and for healing and doing the best I can for others living with a mental illness or mental challenge, I will finish reading the book. I am even consoled and motivated by some lines from one of the reviews I found helpful on the amazon written by AngryGnome “…This book is not light hearted reading…But in spite of the serious nature of the illness, it is not depressing, as it is filled with hope, humour and more than a touch of beauty”.
Thank you Martin Baker for contacting me with the request to do a review of your book… you are a gentleman and indeed an invaluable friend to Fran Houston. It may be a slowread, but it’ll hopefully be a good and healing read – I look forward to reviewing same – indeed it’ll be an honour.
Hello World O’, how many Fridays will meet me exclaiming what a week!!! Ah life is a mystery and I am honoured to receive this really descriptive award.
Thank you once more dear Joan for nominating me, I just realized this award was twinned with the Blogger Recognition Award I accepted last day. I love these appreciations of my ramblings and hope they are much more for my indefatiguable mental health advocacy. So here we go, I just say thank you and return to my mysterious life hahahaha
I have know Loha pretty all my life. She has kept my mind alert more than I could ever wish for. Whether I ask her to come along or not she does. Always offering suggestions, making me doubt my own self, getting me double check on stuffs I have done, and beating myself more than I should for any omission or slight delay. She sometimes makes me wish a day had 48 hours even when I’ll still feel like a failure at the end of each day.
Oh Loha you are the worst of my friends – you nag! Yes, although I like that you help me plan well in advance and think of all possible scenarios of what, who, why, when something could go wrong; the fact that you more often than not come up with those your fall short blabla when any merry comes or is sighted, qualifies you my best enemy.
I think we should revisit our relationship, I wish I could just cut you out, sometimes I feel I have done just that. Is it a must that once you know someone it should be for life? Can you answer me that? Or do you only want me to take a pill which could give me that courage to kick you the hell out of life?
I am gradually however discovering how to get back at you, for all the years when you sucked me down, with all your nagging. I can now tell you to your face, call you out to the world, embarrass you too some. If you don’t like my approach, get lost because more is coming. I have new friends teaching me more tricks. I know much more than I used to, Loha you better step up or be doomed forever you shapeless chameleon creature – no doubt your best colour you say is black!!!
P.S: That was a guest post I submitted last month following a call to submit. I followed up and got my submission acknowledged, but it never got ‘selected for publishing’ and no courtesy did I get in the form of a ‘rejection/notification’. So, considering it their loss and Loha being mine anyway, I share it with us all.
I am officially taking a 1 month summer break from writing on my blog, but I’ll be reading, commenting and why not reblog any I find cool.
Truth be told, I have been looking forward to this day when I take a break from ‘trying in near vain’ every week day, to raise awareness on Mental Health on my blog. I am sure if someone types Mental Health in Africa on google my name will pop up. Well, to that extent, I will be very happy because that is also the visibility of this ‘shameful thing’ I am talking about. You know, yes we all have minds, yes we will like for them to function at their optimum, but no please don’t tell us that is the same as mental health. Only those who are mentally ill should be concerned by any mental health ‘stuffs’ and could it not be some of their fault that their minds flew away so ‘cuckoo’ ? If I am looking, doing and feeling great why should I be talking about the reverse right ?
The above are equally musings I have had throughout this month. I mean I can be qualified as one who is looking, doing and feeling great. Let’s face it, just look at (some of) my profile pictures, media gallery, write ups (except in the mental health category of course) and em what I sometimes say I feel – what should be my business talking and near nagging about such an ‘ackward subject’ as if the world does not have enough global warming threats and political turmoils to deal with ? Even if some members of the British royalty and American pop star Gaga – through some known celebrities and not so known wanabees are talking about bringing heads together to advocate for more compassion and love, self care and awareness of mental health issues, do you think you could ever join any of those ranks or gain any attention ?
This month, I have indeed made it my business to blog every week day about mental health. It is important for me that I write and keep writing because I love writing, it is like a lifeline (So much theraphy for me). The second thing is, you never know there may be one person you save on any day with your write up. I have ‘nagged’ some friends including my favourite Granny of 78 good years, sending her questions and making her write nearly 2000 words for my blog for free. I did this because I wanted to nag the blogosphere and the entire world my own little way this month of May. I was not the only one doing this, I discovered several others were doing similar projects and I contributed a write up to some of them. I had the honour to be featured in a local magazine published in the big USA, that was huge as far as my efforts to raise mental health awareness was concerned.
Behind the scenes, I kept learning and sharing, teaching my children more and more, being more vulnerable with my friends and families about my own challenges with Anxiety and mood disorders, my minor eating disorder and so on. I shared more and more copies of my brother’s journey with strangers as faraway as Dakar – Senegal where I attended the 3rd African Congress on Epilepsy, one of those neurological conditions which is so easily correlated to mental problems. This relationship was actually studied at the congress and one of the main causes of their ‘unhealthy relationship’ was STIGMA. Ah that big, dreaded and dreary word – you know… ‘No I don’t hate them but No I don’t want nothing to with them’.
My research and curiosity with mental health/illness has led me to read many books, developed friendships with those ‘society’ has shunned/stigmatized and considered either posessed or obsessed, and watch documentaries and movies like the incredible ‘Out of the Darkness’ staring the phenomenal actress/singer Diana Ross. I had to watch other movies by Diana Ross to see if she put in her all like that in other movies. I learnt so much from this movie, how a sister could turn her back on you when you got that ‘schizophrenia label’, how the man who was courting you would drop you like a rotten banana once you told him of your ‘label’, how even your own child would sleep barricaded from the inside because she’s been told you could strangle her before regretting it. Good for her her mum stood by her to the end, that’s what mums are for – at least the majority who themselves are not having mental health issues are living up to their God given vocation.
Therefore, while I formally take a break from writing daily about mental health, well am just spreading awareness platforms. I have recently taken a big leap of faith and co-founded a company called Inspiring Positive Actions Now Limited whose maiden event was last Sunday, and one of the main poles of this platform is Mental Health Advocacy.
Thank you all who read/liked/commented or even sighed at any of my posts this month, I am grateful for the opportunity to live and do my own mite to impact the society I live in. Take care of your mental health, the gateway to your holistic wellbeing trust this much…
Hello World, very honoured to be wrapping up my interviews with authors who have written on mental health, with one I fondly call Granny. I was so delighted to talk with her on phone when I visited the US in 2015, and I was so happy when she liked the memoir I mailed her.
I have done a modest review of Jill’s heart breaking memoir on my blog, and it is my honour to interview her too. I don’t know how a mother handles her only son’s mental illness and survive his loss, I see my mum dwindling between striving and surviving but I am not in her mind. I hope Jill tells us a little how because she is one of those brave mothers!
1) The Profile
Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit from your life before mental illness struck:
I was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1939 and had an enchanted childhood. I studied teaching in Cape Town where I met and fell madly in love with Alec. We married, and immediately, our relationship was a loving and caring one consisting of give and take. After our baby, Doron was born, we left family and friends to fly off to Israel, the country of our dreams.
(Doron means ‘a gift’ in Hebrew.) The real name of her Son refered to in the memoir as David
About your Memoir, why did you write it all those years later and with many names changed as you say?
Because I had never written before. But, I wrote notes every night on what had occurred each day from the time that Doron became ill which was during his arbitrary military service although in retrospect, there had been some signs previously. It took time but the book called ‘Weep for Them’ was born and published – the hardcover edition in 1998 and the paperback in the same year under my pen-name Sarah Ben-Dor. Neither were translated into English as I simply could not face rehashing that excruciating experience all over again.
Years later, after we’d lost our son, I had so much more to add, that I consulted with my husband and two daughters and asked for their permission to write an updated book in English, using my real name this time. They agreed. But I had to change the children’s names as well as my husband’s while writing because that made the whole process a little less painful for me as I was reliving the 16 years of Doron’s illness all over again.
2) The Soul Journey
What is your take about mental health?
When our Doron was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, I had heard little about the subject and had never met a mentally ill person. Today, I am older, wiser, read whatever I can on new developments but, to date, am not convinced that there is something that could have helped our son who proved to be medication-resistant for so many years. I pray that somewhere, someone will be able to help all those who might be suffering the way Doron did. I never felt guilty about causing his illness as I had read that parents cannot cause schizophrenia.
Did your feel guilty for your son’s deteriorating mental health? If yes what did you think or do, if no please explain some to us.
A few older psychiatrists pointed the finger of blame at me, but fortunately, I had read enough to know that I was innocent of that, at least. I had to do something so, I approached the Israel Mental Health Association ENOSH, and asked for permission to start a support group for parents of mentally ill children in our neighborhood, in English, as Hebrew is not our mother-tongue. They let us use their facilities and offered assistance but frankly, most of us, 22 in all, did not want to hear another professional at that stage. We met regularly twice a month and became like one large family. We could speak openly about anything to do with our ill child, confident that we could trust one another to be honest and not to speak to anyone else about what was said. I felt safe with them, so much so that they became like an extended family.
Parents cannot cause schizophrenia.
Mothers cannot cause schizophrenia. I want every single parent to know this:-
I bet you all part 2 tomorrow is equally soul searching, captivating and near gut wrenching – stay tuned
Hello world, it’s 18 days already into this month which is Mental Health Advocacy Month, and am enjoying my efforts at raising awareness.
I mean, in addition to writing and networking for such a ‘complex’ subject which I am passionately passionate about (oh yes I am), I have had the honour of guest blogging and now am even published in a magazine oh wow.
Two full pages to write all I wanted on the topic
And it could not have landes on a better date. Today I am not only working from home because am tired of commuting into town with all that ‘crazy traffic’, but I also had to deal with 2 ‘mini’ stressors this morning.
Let me sit back and leisurely read this magazine. LEGIDEON is published by some dynamic sons and daughters of my native land in the diaspora; and it is Succulently labelled “A Washington DC Based News Magazine” – you can log in and read online.
Keep doing what you do and enjoy yourself in the process… All the best to us all – take care of your mental health
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 🙂