Tag Archives: Mental Wellbeing

My Mental Health Awareness Month Wrap up…


IMG-20170518-WA0011

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: Martha Graham-Waldon P2


ask-the-author-answers-edition

Hello world, let’s continue from where we stopped yesterday, click here if you didn’t read that – Martha’s been a very deep soul journey

5. So overall, how have you been coping this far?

Writing my memoir helped me reconcile myself to my past and it has helped me to live more fully in the present. I have connected with so many people who have had similar experiences and now I am a speaker for NAMI giving presentations in high school on mental health and suicide prevention. All of that has been tremendously rewarding.

3) The Writing

  1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?

The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok offered encouragement to me to tell my story. It is about her experiences living with a mother with mental illness. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is another exemplary memoir that will soon be made into a movie.

  1. Did you have a writing mentor?

I utilized methods taught by Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Meyers of the National Association of Memoir Writers http://namw.org/ to sort through my writing and create a scaffolding and timeline of important turning points in my life. Studying the memoir writing genre connected me with a vibrant writing community online and in real life.

  1. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?

I called one of the last chapters in my book “The Hardest Chapter”. I suppose you will need to read the book in order to find out why that is.

  1. Which was your favourite chapter to write and why?

My favourite parts of the book are the chapters in Part One called “The Magic” because as I wrote these chapters I was able to escape back into the memories of a mostly happy childhood.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and if yes, what was it?

I learned that I am not alone in my experience. Writing my memoir was a very healing and cathartic experience and it has been gratifying to be able to help others through their healing process as well.

How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?

It took me about seven years to write the book and find a publisher. Once I signed the contract, it took another 13 months for it to actually appear in print.

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially on challenging subjects like mental health?

Study the memoir writing genre and connect with the memoir writing community. I took memoir writing courses offered through the public library and online. Read as many memoirs as you can. All these things will help you find your own voice. Don’t get discouraged and try to write a little each day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Early treatment and diagnosis are important so you should seek professional help if you suspect you or a family member is experiencing a mental health crisis.

  1. Any other writing projects, blogging etc?

I am currently writing a novella, my first attempt at fiction. I don’t blog regularly but I admire those that do!

  1. Where can your memoir be found?

On Amazon, through Barnes & Noble, Kobo; my publisher Black Opal Books, and Scribd. Here are the links:

Amazonbarnes & Noble: Kobo: Black Opal Books: scribd:

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

About Martha

Martha Graham-Waldon is a writer, mental health advocate and armchair activist who resides in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with her family and a menagerie of pets. Her articles have been published locally, internationally and online. She is a winner of the 2015 Women’s Memoirs contest for a vignette based on her memoir in the anthology Tales of our Lives. Her memoir Nothing Like Normal—Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia was published by Black Opal Books and is available on Amazon. In addition to writing, Martha loves travel, the outdoors, Jazzercise and music.

My Nest: My Bed: & I


my small room in Belgium
My Nest and Bed in Belgium

Hello World, now that I no longer live in Belgium, I feel comfortable sharing my nest and bed in the final months I spent there. And nope, I didn’t make that room up to take a picture, that’s how I love my nest and bed to be made up to the pin. Indeed, the day I wrote a plea for strength to leave the bed, I was lying on that bed you see there.

I loved that nest of mine so much, it was pretty much the first and only one I got to have all to myself in Belgium – I could finally make it as comfy and nesty as I like for the sake of my hollistic wellbeing. I am not only a very time conscious person, but I love organization, tidyness, cleanliness you name it… I think I already blogged about my small cleaning venture before travelling out. I shared some surfaces with two flat mates like the kitchen, loo and living room, and I didn’t end up minding they abandoned the cleaning to me when they discovered I loved doing that. At least I go to eat free Indian and Senegalese food every now and then.

And so, here is why I write about my nest and bed today. I want to advocate from personal experience that the state of your nest and bed often reflect the state of your mind. May being Mental health awareness month, I am raising awareness anyway comes to my mind.

I am almost addicted to a made up nest and bed, to the extent that I’ll not step out of my room in the morning even to go for sports, without making up my bed and space. This space can be the tiny one I had out there, the other homes I lived in before there, the two bedroom home I currently live in with my musketeers, or even a palace I may end up in who knows right? and – those musketeers already know their mama by now – gladly two out of three like neatness and tidiness too. To me, where I retreat to and call my home, and where I lay me down my head to rest( given that sleep and I have a peculiar relationship), I just like thinking of it throughout the day and seeing it so well kept and ready for my return – smelling so comfy with some candles and potpouri and all. I mean next to my bed or bedroom, two other favourite places in any nest I have are the Loo and the kitchen…

I know there are some people who don’t care about such trivalities which could instead add further pressure to a perfectionist gauge, I can only envy them their care free selves. I haven’t been able to try leaving my nest and bed un made – make a psychologist will explain why to me someday…

And you my gentle readers and followers, anyone ever had such thoughts about their nest and bed?

Take care of your mental health, you must not have a mental illness to feel concerned about your mental health. A good mental health means you can think straight about pretty much anything and so it is as serious as the sprain in your knee.

Questions to an author: Molly McHugh P2


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

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.

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…

alone-time 2

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

Exif_JPEG_420
Precious alone time in on the beach Dakar after sports

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

Nice Lemon: For toxic situations & Relationships


lemon
Forget about its acidity
Hello World, May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I am dedicated to doing daily (weekdays) posts all having a relation to mental health. Today, I want to share some tips to helping detox from toxic situations and relationships which can harm our mental health. I picked them up from one of the many books I have read, one day I will find that book again and do a review – If I can recall it is about boderline personality people and how to cope: Hope it helps
NICE
N stands for: No. Practice saying it. And remember that you don’t need to explain why the answer is no.
I stands for: I. Express how you feel: “I feel …”; “I think …”; “I know …”
C stands for: Clear commitments and agreements. Strive for clarity when you communicate your expectations and commitments.
E stands for: Enough! Don’t hesitate to denounce abusive behaviour.
LEMON
L stands for: Leave the room or the situation.
E stands for: Emotional distance. Reduce the amount of personal information you share. Limit the topics of conversation.
M stands for: Move out of the house, or away from the area.
O stands for: On your terms. Visits and other interactions are your prerogative.
N stands for: Not answering, or selectively answering, calls, letters, e-mail.
Have a nice weekend us all: Remember you can make the best lemonade with all nice lemon you find

How do you care?


how do you care

How do you care for yourself?

Do you care to spend some time with you?

Do you care to find out what’s up with you?

Do you care to try to care more for you?

And you, how do you care for me?

Do you care to listen to me?

Do you care to talk with me?

Do you care to show some empathy?

Do you care even for a little sympathy?

And you, yes you, how do you care?

About that child so sick in his mind

Their actions all flag read

They try to reach out to cry out

Even adults are not spared

Cause we all aren’t the same, some minds are healthier than other

So how would you care?

When a patient walks into your door?

When an e-mail comes into your inbox?

When you phone rings at odd hours?

When maybe the brave track you down the street?

Would you call the cops?

Or maybe the ambulance?

Prescribe more pills and send them off?

It’s good to know how you’d care

It makes all the difference how you care

The care you show the care you get elsewhere

I have tried and it works

And let’s be real: it could be anyone

Feeling the knack anyday

And so please all: think about how you care

How you care about you and others

Mind Your Mind


Mind your mind
Mind my mind?
Sure this nightmare will go
If not I’ll get some pills
And the mind will go still
Why bother to mind that mind?
You have to mind
Mind your mind I urge
Feed it what you want
Out of the mind actions arise
And if you don’t mind your mind
Who I pray can mind it best for you?
Mind your mind
Mind what you think
Mind what you wish for
Mind because the mind is oh so powerful
Minds have messed many up
And you can tame your mind
That’s minding it all the way
Early in the morning
Late in the evening, ah at all times
All the mindfulness will pay big time
The earlier you start, the better

If & When you hear am dead…


This may be a weird poem, but It is a poem and honestly one of my best – am grateful for the inspiration; I think I’ll make it stick to my front page forever and when I do leave, leave your comments on this post. Death is for real, face it or not, think about it or not, wish it or not, avoid it or not, it’s the passage even for the US President. I wrote a small chapter on my fear of dying in my last memoir, check it out

If & when you hear am dead

Mourn not for me

am gone where I’ve long dreamt of

alas that’s our ride

think about you more than me

If & when you read am dead

smile because I say so

I have tried my best and wrote it all

The good, bad & ugly have I lived

I am grateful for the time I had 

And for all I met

If & when you see am dead

you may as well envious be

I have been envious of them too

all those gone ahead to toil no more

this life takes a toll

sometimes the mind loses it all

If & when you feel am dead

don’t wish I weren’t

some actually die still living

physical death ain’t not the worse

Maybe just maybe life after now is for real

This and other poems are in a poetry book I am finalizing to offer the universe for free by the end of this month. Stay tuned and have a nice weekend people. Take care of your mental wellbeing

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