Mental Health Friday #15

Mental Health Friday #15

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When the psychiatrist first told me I had paranoid schizophrenia, she started it off with, “I have some bad news.” I have heard my diagnosis described as, “Every parent’s worst nightmare” and many other almost fatalistic phrases.

How are you supposed to feel about yourself when people describe something that is so much a part of you as awful, terrible, tragic, or sad? Living with paranoid schizophrenia is not for the weak, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world either. Those of us with a mental illness know that suicide is the worst thing, because in the case of suicide everyone loses and the illness is the victor. Suicide should be every parent’s worst nightmare, not schizophrenia.

Unlike suicide, there is hope with schizophrenia. I have symptoms every day, but I live a good life. I worked most of my adult life as a social worker, a library assistant, and a marketing director. I am happily married to the love of my life, and I am currently enrolled in a certificate program for writing at UCLA. I am an aunt to some wonderful young women and men. I am a sister to all five of my brothers. I am an only daughter to my parents, and I am a niece, cousin, and friend to many people. Does that sound like “a parent’s worst nightmare?” No, it doesn’t and it isn’t.

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writer’s Quote: Joan Murray

writer’s Quote: Joan Murray

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Welcome to another writer’s quote/poem Wednesday, where I share some of my favourite poems written by other authors. I had initially planned on sharing a poem by C.K Williams, titled the Nail, as this week’s submission, but then decided against it today.

Why? Because, I personally have had enough of what’s going on in this world. We are not good to one another. I mean, just look at the ridiculousness carried out by “white supremacists”, in the United States. How did we even get here. From celebrating the first black president just a few years ago, to having to convince people that something as simple as the colour of one’s skin doesn’t make a person inferior.

This has got to stop. And so, I decided for this week, instead of bringing another poem depicting the sad world we live in, I wanted to take you guys along to South Africa, in this poem. Where one woman, against the backdrop of poverty, politics and economic difficulties, displays strength and courage. She plays her part in a society where even the leaders fail to play theirs.

Her Head by Joan Murray
Near Ekuvukeni,
in Natal, South Africa,
a woman carries water on her head.
After a year of drought,
when one child in three is at risk of death,
she returns from a distant well,
carrying water on her head.

The pumpkins are gone,
the tomatoes withered,
yet the woman carries water on her head.
The cattle kraals are empty,
the goats gaunt—
no milk now for children,
but she is carrying water on her head.

The engineers have reversed the river:
those with power can keep their power,
but one woman is carrying water on her head.
In the homelands, where the dusty crowds
watch the empty roads for water trucks,
one woman trusts herself with treasure,
and carries water on her head.

The sun does not dissuade her,
not the dried earth that blows against her,
as she carries the water on her head.
In a huge and dirty pail,
with an idle handle,
resting on a narrow can,
this woman is carrying water on her head.

This woman, who girds her neck
with safety pins, this one
who carries water on her head,
trusts her own head to bring to her people
what they need now
between life and death:
She is carrying them water on her head.

Facebook page: words of a random. Let’s connect!

Mrs Latashka-

Mrs Latashka-

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Mrs Latashka had no money,
Bore 5 girls with her husband Monty;
Sarah was a baby when he went running,
To another woman; says neighbourhood gossip.

Mrs Latashka toiled night and morning,
All kind of jobs, to earn some money;
Never took charity, though neighbors offered,
She trudged through life owning no one nothing.

Mrs Latashka was one of her kind,
Bore 5 girls, whom most saw as burdens;
Ignored all advice- to stop the toiling,
And earn, by getting all 5 girls married.

Mrs Latashka grew old not weary,
Little Sarah had gone off to Uni,
Her joints now weak from all the toiling,
Her face aglow for, she was reaping.

Mrs Latashka had clothed all children,
With education and self dignity,
She lay- her last few breaths escaping,
With the satisfaction, it was all worth it.

It’s been a while I wrote a ballad, thought I’d write one today.
Facebook page: words of a random. let’s connect!

Unbroken-

Unbroken-

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You held me,
But I am still standing,
You tied me,
But I’m still walking,
You drowned me,
But I breathe under water,
You can break me,
But my pieces would suffice me.

You whisper-
When darkness surrounds me,
Like a coward,
Hiding whilst there’s lighting.
You create-
Illusions around me,
Unaware-
My Lord’s, all the light I need.

You can hold me,
But I’ll still be standing,
You can break me,
My pieces would suffice me.

R- Rape, there I said it

R- Rape, there I said it

 

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The Shock on their faces,
And the line of their lips,
Spoke much more than words,
Ever uttered could speak,
When she stood up
Gallantly,
On a 9 am
Assembly,
I was a victim of rape,
There- I said it.

Enshrouded by shame,
And Shadowed by fear,
For five years I wallowed,
Under the victim’s umbrella,
The word- I couldn’t utter,
Four letters of terror,
Hidden by society-
It happened to me.

The shock on their faces,
And the silence abound,
Fuelled up her drive,
As she spoke on her life,
She mentioned statitics,
And looked at the crowd-
Rape- Is a crime,
And shame is a lie.
You’ve a right to your story,
Your body,
Your mind.

My Sister in Somalia 

My Sister in Somalia 


My sister in Somalia,
Her skin a golden brown and hair,
A curly thick nest of black strands, lay
Today- voice devoid of strength, and body
a reflection of it’s former image,
My sister in Somalia lay silent,
No words to say.

My sister in Somalia-
The pride of the eastern African
Continent, the shoulder which held
Together- family, friends, a nation in
Herself- bearing one after the other
Little ones, in succession.
My sister lay today,
Skin on bones.

My sister in Somalia-
The fighter who’d give her all
For the future generation, a wife
sharing the burdens of her
Partner, with ease. My sister lay today-
Her young ones, at her feet-
tired eyes moving across all three;
And the dreaded- who to feed?
only one morsel to eat,
I weep for my sister in Somalia.

The girl with the black veil-

The girl with the black veil-

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Yes she will smile and,
Yes she’ll say thank you;
But only when needed,
And that’s all she uttered.

Yes she would walk and,
Go into classrooms;
But thats all she went to,
And only when needed,

She walked with her head high,
Her blue eyes looked downcast;
A black veil her trademark,
We named her dark widow.

But no one, yes no one
Even once tried to get her,
To open the world, we all
Knew she held within her.

Her frail body floated,
Under layers of clothing,
The nickname travelled fast
But she walked on unbothered,

Until the day she didn’t,
The girl with the black veil,
The news came as a shock,
Our dark widow had passed on.

We found out the reason,
She hid behind a black veil,
Leukaemia- they called it,
Her cells were killing her.

We prayed for Azmeena,
We wept for her departure,
She fought all alone,
And we did nothing to help her.


This is something I wrote as a free-write literally now, Just to keep the muse going. If you are not a fan of rhyming, feel free to ignore this. 🙂

the above image Is courtesy of  Emaho magazine.com

A very different Post!

A very different Post!

“no matter how tough the world becomes, you must never run out of sweetness”- Bernadokath. That said, let’s spread a little love and sweetness to a dear blogger friend and his daughter who is the definition of a fighter. Please give this a read, and spread a little love today

A Dog's Life? (Stories of me and him)

This is a very different Post from my usual literary meanderings, as it focuses on my daughter Melanie.

She was diagnosed with a brain tumor 10 years ago and, as it was not possible to surgically remove all of it, she has had considerable chemo and radiation treatments.  Sadly, while those treatments have no doubt kept her alive, there are numerous long term side effects which dictate that she cannot perform regular work functions, and is therefore dependent on benefits from her disability provider.

When she is up to it, she uses her time volunteering for a non-profit program that coaches people who are fighting poverty.

Melanie has always been a fighter but, being unable to earn an income, she is struggling to cover her basic living costs.  When I was in N. Vancouver last October, he spirits were quite high, but she was obviously concerned about paying her monthly…

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No means no

No means no

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For the girl, who screamed No
Till her voice was hoarse-
From yelling,
From screaming,
Pleading- for them to stop.

And her blood stained clothes,
Weren’t evidence enough;
And the length,
Of her skirt-
Was brought into question.

For the girl turned down,
By those who swore to protect her-
Cause good girls,
Aren’t out,
At such time of the night.

For the girl whose strength was burnt,
With one statement to the ground;
Did you resist,
I said No.
Well, is that all you said, No?

For the girl who built her world,
From the rubbles of the past,
Born from anger,
Fuelled with pain,
Watered with hope in order to say-

To the girl, who screams No,
And is told, It isn’t enough.
No means No,
It is enough.

In response to the daily prompt- Resist

The above image is courtesy of Sos safety magazine

The weight loss journey-

The weight loss journey-

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It’s not the starting that is difficult,
It’s the knowing where to stop;
When to put a brake on the pedestal,
When the time comes to change course,
On the journey of weight loss.

Not eating- ‘course is difficult,
But to start eating is worse;
Every bite becomes a battle,
Between necessity and want,
A struggle it becomes.

The thing- which once gave you joy,
Now evokes apprehension,
Should I or should I not?
When every meal time comes,
And the not would always win.

But you made it, you little fighter you,
And you’ll it make through this too;
It was okay to start, to take the road,
It’s also okay to change course.
It is a journey after all.