Tag Archives: Unconditional Acceptance

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

Joys & Challenges of Single Motherhood: My Story P3


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The winning team: The joys outweigh the challenges big time

Hello world, the weekend is here and as I promised when I started sharing my single motherhood journey, here is the part three on some joys and challenges. The joys outweigh the challenges although for this post I kept the number for pro and con equal.

When you get lemons in life, do the best lemonade you can and look out for profit.

Shalom and happy weekend to us all

Emotional and Mental Preparation goes a long way I advocate


I am just back from a trip and I did share some update on Friday and Saturday.

For the main part of the trip and a personal mission, I had prepared myself emotionally and mentally intensely for a week. I knew organizing a medical mission targeting 500 – 1000 beneficiaries was no joke. Yet, all and I mean much did not depend on me. So I was ready to sleep late and deal – heal from overwhelming scenarios as much as I could. Glad to say I lost my cool only once on the DDay.

Today Sunday, was another day however and I had not prepared emotionally and mentally for the day’s events. I wasn’t even aware of  the program up to the last hours. You can imagine how that shook my mind already so frail. I couldn’t make it and yet I was stuck there and had to wait. I was so tired and slept a little but my thoughts of getting back home and my disrupted routine kept bugging me.

I finally got home 5 mins ago and it is 10.30 pm here. My normal sleep time is 9 pm. Yesterday I missed that but I was prepared, today I am not. I have to deal with it. I hope writing my worries down like this with help me. Maybe I will also go drink some hot chocolate, I believe it helps soothe me. 

I know some will say in life you have to be flexible and adapt and face stuffs like a ‘normal’ person. I am not a ‘normal’ person; diagnosis is not what will make me believe I am/or confirm that I am not … Whatever normal person is. I feel more and more mentally taxed by what will otherwise be ‘normal’ to others. Not being able to be ahead of my program or to even know what is planned and well ahead of time, drives me to an edge. Not sleeping on time, not eating what am used to, too much noise and different reactions from people are taxing now more than ever. Sometimes, even an hour’s preparation can do, but I need to be ready in my mind.

I wasn’t like this before. Maybe youthfulness and the ‘people pleaser’ in me made me  very flexible and outgoing etc. I have been through stuffs since then which have plainly caused such trauma; going on nowadays,  my mind gets scared of future foreseeable ‘trauma’ which may be caused by I don’t what… Sometimes I am scared I am becoming emotionally and mentally frail to a not so good edge. Maybe that’s why I try so much self care you know… I don’t want to rely on meds. Hence I need to prepare myself emotionally and mentally well in advance for any program which will change my routine. For example I attend the African Epilepsy Congress in Dakar in 2 weeks and I have been preparing emotionally, mentally and of course logistically since January.

Empathy not suspicion and disgust of people going through such challenging times is needed. Sometimes, it seems the ‘normal’ people don’t understand or are quick to say they do while advising you to just pray, get over it etc. Maybe that’s why people going through such challenges like these isolate themselves and will rather smile and say all is fine, rather than begin to explain what may only be rediculed? Others try to cope doing whatever numbs their feelings of makes then ‘feel happy’ and ‘on top of it all’/

I am what may be considered highly functional, but I love being prepared and also following my routine. Now Sleep evades me and yet my internal alarm clock will do it’s 4 am jingle and I wish to do sports and help the guys off to school. I know it may not work out that way because of the disruption so far. I hate to struggle and have to try calming down by writing all this. But I also share so someone be inspired and motivated. We are in this together.

Here is to my trying to sleep and to good logic of taking people as they come… That is equally fighting mental health stigma when we share our struggles and seek for ways to take care of our mental health

A non bipolar related recommendation for Birth of a New Brain by Dyane Leshin-Harwood


the one and only Lucy
The one and only Miss Lucy

Hello world, take it from Lucy and I

I want to without much ado, give you at least 7 reasons why you should pre order or look out for the release of Darling Dyane’s epic memoir. That is, other than the fact that it made me have a wonderful day out, eat some ice cream with the boys at our dear icecream grandma’s, and laugh oh so much:

Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th.

Birth of a New Brain is available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!

Ok: Let’s get going:

  1. If you want to know how to act well enough to be selected for a role as kid: get the memoir;
  2. If you want to know how many times you should enter for a contest to win a sports car before giving up: get the memoir;
  3. If you never knew a dog could get a c-section and suffer a stroke and still be a ring bearer at a wedding: get the memoir;
  4. If you want to know how to avoid your broken heart from being quickly mended: get the memoir;
  5. If you want to know how to import a boyfriend and soon regret it enough to cameloen the colours of envy for months: get the memoir;
  6. If you want to know the best way to bribe a potential landlord (not with sex I emphasize); get the memoir;
  7. If you want to know how to prepare for and pass your massage therapist exams (not what you are thinking): get the memoir

And the biggest bonus

  • If you want to know how you can ‘flimpsily’ say  ‘it’s not my type” and to have to treasure that for life : get the memoir
  • and oh another medium bonus: I used to call my vip buddies my ‘PP’ meaning ‘Personal Person’ – but if you want to know what it truly stands for: get the memoir

I hope I haven’t given any spoilers away – men I laughed more than I should have when reading that memoir. Dyane was generous in making a large chunk of it about life and all before getting serious about the not funny subject matter of Postpartum Bipolar Disorder…

About Dyane Leshin-Harwood 

lady D

Dyane Harwood is the author of the memoir “Birth of a New Brain – Healing
from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder” (Post Hill Press, October 10, 2017) with
a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw. She holds a B.A. in English and American
Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. A freelance
writer for over two decades, she has interviewed bestselling authors
including Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Anthony Bourdain, and SARK.

Dyane lives in Ben Lomond, California with her husband Craig, their
daughters Avonlea and Marilla and their collie Lucy who serves as a
writing muse and sits on Dyane foot when she writes.

Dyane’s website: www.dyaneharwood.com
She blogs every Friday at Birth of a New Brain: 
www.proudlybipolarwordpress.
Birth of a New Brain Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Birth-of-a-New-Brain

You can find Dyane tweeting away on Twitter: @DyaneHarwood

The Mystery Blogger Award: What an awesome Birthday gift


Am I any mysterious? Hahaha
Am I any mysterious? Hahaha

Wow, Hello World, I am a whole year older+2 days and I feel good… so good… I mean how better can it get to receive a mystery blogger award ? I thought I had received all sorts of awards out there, even thought to paste it up front that this blog was henceforth award free… but truth be told, who doesn’t like recognition, appreciation even if it be outright flattery ? Well I do, and am diving head on into this award game once again – I mean even if only for the reading and regaling pleasure of my Cameroonian Sister Ngumabi who nominated me. Look, she is also the first of my Cameroonian sisters or bloggers to offer me a blogging award. But then, what is this whole mystery stuff about ? I asked her  (and she’s super excited since this is her first award), and then I read her own nomination post – I copy and paste some of that to spare us some nods 🙂

WHAT IS THE MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD?

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.
Okoto Enigma (creator of The Mystery Blog Award)

RULES

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
2. List the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
9. Share a link to your best post(s)
#Now let’s talk about me#

Three things about me:

  1. I decided in May 2011 to speak my truth henceforth regardless of the price – so far so good though it sure costs a lot sometimes;
  2. My boys and my cat keep me going above all else – I hardly can hold down any anger in thei presence;
  3. I am a hopeless passionate and romantic girl, sometimes I just don’t wanna get too close to any situation which may warrant my being me

Answers to Ngumabi’s Questions

1. Is blogging a profession or just a hobby?
A hobby oh my dear – remember me the hopeless passionate?
 
2. Funny question: Which is your favourite fairy tale story?
Cinderella – really wish I were she or maybe somebody’s fairy God Mother?
3. What is your best advice for handling criticism?
Ignore them – Haters gonna Hate – Keep doing your thing and let them criticise until their graves!
4. What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
Life is indeed simple, love can fluctuate, Hope should be constant, Faith is fabulous, gratitude is golden, charity has harvests you can’t imagine!
5. What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?
I did a blog post on that on the eve of this new year: That I lived and Loved – & I loved and Lived
Aw dearest Ngumabi, thank you for the nomination. I did this for you, but am afraid I can’t follow all the rules to the letter. I can’t nominate as required, many of those I know don’t do these awards stuffs – see we past that “age” hahaha. You keep doing your thing ok girl… see you someday I mean it 🙂 And yes my best blog post is: And wow I found Love
And now to you my gentle readers and followers, anyone is welcome to regal themselves and any of us who will hop by with accepting my open nomination 🙂 – you can devise your own questions if you chose too 🙂

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care…


Avant Poem: Hello World, barely a day into the new year I come up with such a poem? Well, it is not my actual state of mind, but the inspiration came and reflects my reality at some and other times… Above all, I want to think there are some people somewhere going through stuffs and currently their state of mind may pretty much reflect that… Am I a sort of Voice of the Voiceless?

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care how I feel…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care how you feel…

Sometimes I simply don’t wanna care how they feel…

Sometimes it’s simply so hard to care…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care how I look…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care how I speak…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care how I walk…

Sometimes I simply  very simply don’t wanna care…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care what they say…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care what they do…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care what goes on…

Sometimes I just truly really don’t wanna care

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care I am moody…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care I am grouchy…

Sometimes I just don’t wanna care I am sleazy

Sometimes caring is just so oh so hard…

 

Post Poem: It may seem at the time one goes through all or pretty much of the above, that it’ll never come to pass… but since life itself is fleeting, so to is all that… hence I got and went for the apt sometimes… 

Wishing us all the best and so so much more for this new year – Am a January girl, I love fresh starts especially at the beginning of a year and so I’ll trying to show as much in my blogging this month…

Doing all it takes to stay afloat


On TV last Friday morning, doing one of things I love doing, inspiring others with my whole being
On TV last Friday morning, doing one of things I love doing, inspiring others with my whole being

BS: This post was written as a guest blog for some multi blogger platform which threw open invitations out – well they said not all submissions were gonna be published and it was to run only for November… Although my submission was never formally rejected … at least it logically never made it to their publish button… So since I have a publish button too at my disposal, I do that HERE ON MY OWN BLOG… so regaliously (hoping this is an english word) 🙂

I remember when as a toddler I really had no big issues to worry about, I was afloat and was actually known as the ‘go lucky rosy girl’. You can imagine who goes by such a nickname huh! I say big issues because I did have some which I kept all to myself in my mind and matter. Although I was considered a lucky kid whose dad ‘loved’ her above all her siblings, and bought her books and more than she wanted, needed or even asked for, deep within me I was sad because I felt I had no relationship with either of my parents. I mean as a kid, my mum had to knock neighbours’ doors at sunset to find me. As a teenage when rebellion had kicked in full swing, I oscillated between their homes, never feeling at home in any of them. Life was already kicking me by then and my relationships with the opposite sex were becoming more of an embarrassment than otherwise. To make sad matters most miserable, I decided to ignore my parents warning and coax a guy into marrying me – I thought having my own home was going to keep me afloat.

It turned out quick downhill from there! I engaged in impulsive, compulsive and obsessive behaviour – too much for me to keep living, I picked up a knife. But no it wasn’t to be, I packed up and left the marriage and my kids behind. I started globe trotting, hoping to finally find some place where I could settle down and keep afloat…Nada

Four years latter, I finished my running away cycle and returned home the prodigal daughter. It was time to face the mirror, It was time to be a mum to those 3 innocent boys who never asked to be born in the first place. It was time to deal and heal from a messed up mind and past which was threatening to ruin my future. I just had to do all it took to stay afloat. In the healing journey which had actually begun when I started roaming around, I had come to discover myself, embrace and accept myself just as I was, and forgive myself too. I let go of my past, the hurts and all, I made peace with God and Man. It’s now a do all I can and should to stay afloat. No more regrets, I feel am afloat for real – no more fear of sinking!I am so Grateful to be alive and keep counting the bonus years I have with reverence… I am determined to do all it really takes to stay afloat.