Mental Health Friday #26

Mental Health Friday #26

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I know, I know, there are quite a number of us here for whom the previous year was fraught with dampened expectations, punctured dreams, heartbreak and betrayal. I have a fair idea of what it feels like; I spent a chunk of 2017 popping Fluoxetine and Quitiapine, and I “coincidentally” lost a job one month after opening up to my struggles with depression.

I lived out of my suitcase for six weeks, waking up next to warm bodies in Calabar, squeezing my six-foot frames into Nissan Micra taxis in Ibadan, and rolling on large dusty mattresses in Port Harcourt. I was ignored by people from whom I expected support, and I overdosed on Haloperidol, but I’m still here, I’m still here.
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I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

There may be a large volume of uncertainty as one year gives way to another, and you really can’t be blamed for that (for some, seeing out each day was tasking enough), but I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

In 2018, I hope you find peace, I hope waves steer you to shores, and I hope that the darker rooms of your mind find light bulbs that last significantly longer. I hope you find love, and if you have, I hope that you sustain it. Never lose sight of the fact that every emotion of yours is valid, and you have the right to be vulnerable, to be sensitive, to be intense without apology. If he is not comfortable with it, if she tries to stifle you, don’t be afraid to take a walk.
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I am all too aware of how helpless you can be when trying to hold on to love, and how hard it is to resist chasing after yesterday, but this year, I hope that you learn to move on and get over, I hope that you learn to attach premium value to your feelings. I am not oblivious to what it means when someone has you wrapped around their finger, but you deserve the one who wants to be with you everywhere (ok, almost everywhere, to avoid a restraining order), you deserve moments that are the stuff of dreams, and there’s need for you to stop having your heart dragged around.
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I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices

Sure enough, no one owes you anything, but I hope you run into people who’d be willing to help you with no long talk, I wish that this is the year you finally get it together, and I hope you come to terms with the fact that you can’t have everything (godliness with contentment, or something like that). I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices you have to make, yea, I hope Life finally allows you to find your rhythm in 2018.
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Much is made about worthy causes and progressive movements, but I hope that “group think” does not erode your mental faculties, I hope that you don’t shelve the values you hold dear in the name of being “woke”, heck, I hope that you get to have a mind of your own in 2018. Here’s hoping that you avoid needless drama, and here’s hoping that your decisions are well advised, so that those who detest you would find no opportunities to kiss their teeth on your account.
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True, not everyone attaches importance to the hype and anticipation that comes with another January, but I like to think that the calendar deserves its respect…and in all this, I am convinced that Someone is watching over us, so (for those who believe) feel free, send shout-outs to Him!
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Here’s to adventure and memory-making in 2018.

Written by Jerry Chiemeke who is a lawyer, screenwriter, writer, editor and a critic and writes at JerryChiemeke.com. I came acrosss the inspiring post above on one of the groups I am in, and requested Jerry for permission to share it here with You guys. 


If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

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Somewhere in Africa

Somewhere in Africa

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Somewhere in Africa,
A dark skinned child
Lay on clay soil, laughing away
The earth’s worries.
His mother, braiding cornrows
On his sister’s 4C hair,
Discussing the business
Of the neighbour’s daughter,
Who is conveniently
Absent from their midst.

A man, assembles his
Remote tools into a barrow:
Hoe, spade, cutlass.
The ridges are made,
Seeds sown,
He stares at his empty land,
Nothing’s growing.
The sun is out,
The cloud’s at bay,
A prayer escapes from his lips,
Lord, please let there be rain.

They have food for their stomachs
Only for a meal,
A day.

A man steps upon clay soil,
To the sound of a child’s laughter:
Water glistens upon his skin,
His stomach churns;
But two hands are outstretched
Towards him.
He smiles:
Picking up the laughing reason
Why everything is all worth it.

The above image is courtesy of British Ecological Society

Mental Health Friday #3

Mental Health Friday #3

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The effect of stigma on an individual’s acceptance of a diagnosis is something I find extremely important. As I noted in my last mental health Friday post, my first diagnosis came at the age of five.

At first glance, one might find it easy to stand in judgment of a mother that turns away the opinion of an expert. However, in my case, I was most likely one of the first children diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder and at that time (1974), the term Manic Depressive was still prevalent. I can only try to imagine what the “label” would mean to my mother at that time. Something to the effect of her daughter being crazy, stupid, and/or dangerous. To look at her daughter, she knew those things were not true, but had she had a realistic view of what the disorder meant, she may not have so hurriedly pushed it aside.

the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses

At the age of 23, and receiving the diagnosis as an adult, I made an effort to educate myself. What I found to be the problem in seeing this in myself was that the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses. These things were not the case for me and so I turned it away myself, based on my oddly extreme ideas on what the diagnosis meant. Read more

Over a cup of coffee-

Over a cup of coffee-

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Ever wondered what it would feel like,
to voice our affect over
A mug of coffee:
You and I and all the others.
To ignore the rule that sadness,
should be dwelt with in silence;
Have a laugh over our pain which
Has a name.

Ever considered the possibility:
That our silence is a fuel which brews
It, and speaking- the water which can
Quell it. If only for a bit:
This pain which has a name.

I don’t know about you, but
My coffee is brewing,
The sun is set to rise,
My mood has no compass yet.
What you say?
Let’s talk about it?
This thing which turns us
Into shadows of our former
Personas…

Mornings-

Mornings-

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Wake up.
Feel the warmth of the sun
Reflecting upon your golden skin,
feel it’s love bathing every inch
of your body. Absorb it-
the love the universe
Is pouring onto 
you.

Let it seep
Through the pores of your skin,
Through your bloodstream straight
To your heart, to your brain which
Needs a jog, a reminder that you
Are needed, you are loved,
Your presence on the
earth is a necessity.
Stay…

Beneath the surface-

Beneath the surface-

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Some scars are tapered to our skins as a reminder, of the battles we’ve conquered and a reminder of a future we do not want to recreate.

Some scars hide in the depth of our memories. Sitting, bidding their time and awaiting that one little thing called a trigger, which would birth them into existence again.

And then there are those scars, ambling between our frontal cortex and amygdala. Always there in our thoughts, present. Awakening a daily battle of conquest and defeat (of which victory is not a daily occurrence).

Some scars are revealed, many are hidden, but everyone inevitably houses one.

And if we look beneath the surface, we’ll find that most people are just as scarred as (if not more scarred than) we are….
—-Be Kind

Long ago-

Long ago-

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It seems so long ago-
Since the cold outside,
Matched the cold within,
And the grey skies reflected,
The world I hid;
When the right words failed me,
my words disgraced me;
When the hurt I bore,
I dispensed,
To those who didn’t deserve it.

It seems like a century
Has passed, from the time
When the face in the mirror,
Was starved from its one source;
When the body I dwelled in,
I failed miserably;
When the soul inside was aching,
And the body- failing.

What seems like centuries
gone is but a few years;
And the cold outside,
Now feels foreign to my skin.
And my words have filters,
And my body now my temple..
What I though I wouldnt survive,
I lived to tell it’s story;

When Life Happens…

When Life Happens…

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There are some people in this world, who have learnt the art of living and loving the life they’ve been granted. They are masters in leaving yesterday in the sea of the past and welcoming each dawn with a brand new slate.
They have learnt that this world would break us if we let it, and they know how to traverse it with cracks. They know that love put into the world is never a loss.

Those are the people you meet at a bus station, in a plane; strangers meeting solely by fate. And when you come across one, you will know because they have mastered the art of spreading rainbows no matter the weather; and the sun rays they bring with their presence, last with you long after they are gone.
These people are the gems of the world.

 

Uncle, Danger

Uncle, Danger

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He told her it was okay,
And no one had to know,
This was their little secret,
A game- was what he called it.

And no one saw the bruises,
Or the terror in her eyes,
The tremor in her voice,
Whenever Uncle came around.

Doors were locked at nightfall,
To keep evil at bay,
But evil was within the home,
Masked as family.

Until one day, he wasn’t-
A car crash, they confirmed.
And smile as a free bird she did,
To all’s bewilderment.

Uncle…. oh you devil,
What have you got to say,
6 feet below the ground,
With all your evil deeds.

Lord- I can’t forgive him yet,
But I will try to move on,
I owe it to the little girl,
He almost… almost destroyed.

 

 

 

Mental Health Friday #19

Mental Health Friday #19

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The cop came back into the living room where I was sitting, nursing my two and a half month old daughter. “The boy didn’t make it,” he said. “Ma’am, I need you to come with me.” I handed my baby girl over to her dad as I got up from the couch to obey the officer.

His words drifted through my foggy mind as I told myself, this is all just a bad nightmare— I will wake up soon. With no socks or shoes on my feet, I silently followed the officer out of my house not knowing that would be the last time I would ever exit that front door. Yet, I felt an unusual calm and peace enter my heart as I sensed that this was “my path” or “my destiny.”
Little did I realize my journey would lead me into years of torment and pain when the truth finally came crashing through my delusional head….
*****

I once had a previous life where I attended college full-time, studying business management. I held on tight to a 3.9gpa as I managed to make mostly straight A’s in my classes. I was officially divorced from the abusive “sperm-donor” of my happy little boy who seemed content without a man in the house. I smoked marijuana on a regular basis to help me with my terrible mood swings as well as to help me focus on my homework (which I started to find hard to concentrate on while sober).

Then a few years later, during my senior year of college, I became pregnant again with my daughter. I was excited and filled with joy at the opportunity to raise two children as a single parent. My daughter’s father was a good man that kids naturally seemed to flock to. My son adored him and in spite of our cultural differences, he accepted me and my son as family.

He helped me when he could; however, with his mother being in her late 70’s, he lived with her in an apartment across town to take care of her. As a result, we never officially “lived together” and this arrangement worked perfectly with my increasingly introverted self.

Then came the day that I started speaking in tongues (and no, I wasn’t at some radical church at the time). I was home alone with my two children. I also had an “internal interpreter” who could understand just what I was saying. I went to the bathroom to use the facilities and then I started to shout out a name. I heard my son saying “What?”
This happened about three times until my son opened the bathroom door and said, “What?” again.
“In the name of Jesus you shall flee!” I shouted at him from the toilet in English.
My son replied: “Goodbye.” Then he shut the bathroom door.

Once I got done in the bathroom, I went to check on my son. He was in his room holding a little ball. He told me,
“Mama, I tried to hit that boy with the ball, but he flew out the window.”
I knew then that a demon was trying to attack my son. Yet, I had a sense of knowing that this moth that was flying around in his room was actually that demon which transformed and it would be dead soon.

The very next morning, as I was nursing my daughter on the couch, my son came out of his room with the dead moth in his hand. So I “knew” the demon was gone… This initial experience along with my son’s statement and behavior started my trip into what most would call a very delusional and psychotic journey.
The command hallucinations held me like a puppet on strings for about a week doing various things to rid the demon from my son as I thought the voice in my head was God telling me what to do. For example, I started fasting and eating nothing, just drinking water. Read more