Tag Archives: Mental Health

Personifying my Anxiety: I call her Loha


Anxiety Loha
Loha, (Love Hate): My worst friend my best enemy

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.

Love loads and all the best from Loha and I 🙂

My Mental Health Awareness Month Wrap up…


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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…

If you are moved and generous with a like, please like our facebook page right @inspiringpositveactionsnow Thank you very much

Questions to an Author: Jill Sadowsky


David's Story
The cover says so much; the contents would move even the toughest of hearts

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

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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

Enjoying Me My Mental Health Advocacy


 

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My contributions on pages 20-21

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

 

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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

Questions to an author: Molly McHugh P2


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Hello world, Let’s continue with the second part of our interview right? You can refresh on P1 right here

3) The Writing

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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 🙂

  1. Where can your memoir be found?

On Amazon here as a paperback and kindle book.

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

Any questions for Molly or ideas for my questions to an author series please leave them in the comments! Thank you for reading; Mind your Mind and take good care of your mental health.

Questions to an Author: Molly McHugh


bipolar-1-disorder-how-to-survive-and-thrive-by-mollyHello 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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

Alone time to better position yourself…


Alone time 1

Hello world, this is a short post but I hope the title and graphics tell us it not one to be taken lightly. I will as usual use a personal incident to illucidate why I so value alone time.

One day a few weeks ago I returned home from seeing off a friend and there was smoke in the kitchen. It later on turned out my last son Gaby had turned the burner on and gone off to take a shower and then forgotten about what was on the stove. David had put some rice to warm us as I was leaving, and after he turned it off, Gaby taught he hadn’t done done a good heat up. When I came back, already stressed from some incident during the day, I was so angry I was shaking… all the what ifs were running wild in my head… I instinctly gave David a slap and just realized that wasn’t the best approach… I had tears in my eyes and the boy was apparently so shocked he burst into tears too… I quickly went and locked myself in my room and put some soothing music… I stayed in there for like 45 mins and although they all came knocking on the door, I had to calm down completely before letting them in. We talked, made peace and I was so sorry. I was however glad I locked myself up and got that alone time…

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We need alone time especially to care for ourselves, our mental health, take perpective etc. I call them My Me Moments and used to plan them and structure them and all… but now, even when I wake up and have some precious 15 minutes before the boys barge in, am grateful…I take even blogging breaks when I need to and I don’t appologize for saying No I can’t go with someone because I’ll rather stay by myself home… Life can be so hectic, these alone times are so needed to better position oneself

Alone time 3

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Precious alone time in on the beach Dakar after sports

And you gentle readers and followers, any thoughts on alone time?

Be not Ashamed


no shame

Be not ashamed to cry

You can’t store it all forever

Crying is no sign of weakness

Humanness if you ask me

An emotion just like others

Be not ashamed to cry

When it hurts so bad

When the knee gets knocked

When the mind goes mad

Crying can help inside out

Be not ashamed to tell

When you’ve gone thru stuff

So shameful you want out

Telling could bring such help

And who knows who you help

Be not ashamed to write

Write it all for you or us

So much therapy if you try

You have to take a step

Ignore stigma and shame

Be not ashamed to read

Read yours and ours

Keeping the brain as busy

Just like you should your body

But be not ashamed of your pace

Be not ashamed to hope

Even when all seems hopeless

The last beat maybe bring a break

Hope that break could lead to a breakthrough

What is life without hope?

Be not ashamed to love

Love yourself and others

Try and try and try

You never can tell when

One more time could be deal

Be not ashamed to be You

P.S: This has personally helped me a lot. I remember hearing Obama and other big figures say asking, crying, reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but of strenth

When Royalty gets involved…


Today, I am presenting a poster on the need for epilepsy mobile clinic to plug the knowledge gap in rural settings…in Dakar Senegal. I will subsequently do a post on the corellation between epilepsy and mental challenges (my brother suffered from both and I have read from some who have had a challenging history with both)

Over to today’s post, I want to share an interesting post I read on the mental health writer’s guild aptly titled: Heads together a Right Royal Approach

The point of my post today is that mental health advocacy and sensitization is gaining more and more celeb attention: Yes; the cream of the creamIest Royalty are Putting their Heads Together and doing face time with stars like the one and only Lady Gaga…

So, if Royalty can talk about it and get involved – what holds you back?

We all have mental healths to take care of admit it or not, stop the stigma by putting your own heads together – thank you

Imperative Scarifices (Launching Mental Health Awareness Month)


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Never been a coming without a going

A taking without a given

I may be losing touch

Seeing too much reality

———-

More of as I see

You have to sacrifice 

Even manna was prayed for

No good ain’t easy

—————-

You got to watch a lot

Watch what you eat

Watch what you drink

Watch what you smoke

Watch what you do

——————-

And then the people

You got to sacrifice some

Who you know

Who you don’t

Who you look up to

Who you look not to

———————-

If inspite you still crazy go

You got to try

Try to take dem meds

Try to do some sports

Try to sleep a sound

Try to try therapy

Try to eat right

Try to not give up

—————–

Cause in life as I see

Much depends on us 

Us before them

It may seem impossible

But with sacrifice

The ill can be buried

Imperative sacrifice

Mental health is Mental Wealth, lend a helping hand or listening ear: Stop the Stigma