World Bipolar Day Celebration: Combating Bipolar and Its Stigma in Nigeria

Sunday, March 30, 2014 0 Comments A+ a-





World Bipolar Day Celebration is an initiative of the Asian Network. Their vision is to bring world’s awareness to bipolar disorder and eliminate social stigma.

Amazingly, I have observed that one of the ways to achieve world awareness on bipolar and eliminate stigma (social or otherwise), is for individuals who have been diagnosed bipolar to share their experiences.

 In Steven Covey's words, "creative experiences can be produced regularly, consistently, almost daily in people's lives". He went on to explain that, "it requires enormous personal security and openness and a spirit of adventure", to achieve this.

Personally, I admire the openness and spirit of adventure displayed by Adam Boland as he relates his bipolar experience with ABC News, Australia. He recalls that, as the only child of a single mother, his childhood was difficult, often traveling up and down the east coast of Australia, changing schools frequently leading to his inability to maintain stable friends.

Eventually, he found succour in television. In his words, “TV was my secondary parent if you like. The characters on TV became friends".

Remarkably, Adam Boland grew into a Television Producer of repute. He recorded outstanding achievements as he took Channel Seven's deteriorating breakfast show, 'Sunrise' to number one.

Recently, Channel Ten hired him, expecting a turnaround to their breakfast and morning shows. Unfortunately, soon after the launch of the new breakfast and morning shows, Boland had a break down and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Recall that, bipolar disorder is a mental illness where people experience extreme mood swings that can affect their lifestyle and life in general.

In my opinion, Adam Boland maximized his potentials as a bipolar person. He was energetic, enthusiastic and creative. ABC News puts it thus, “His obsessive nature, creative flair and ability to work long hours gave him the edge in a fiercely competitive industry".

Following his diagnosis of bipolar last year, Adam Boland started taking medication and returned to work. By January this year, he decided he could not go on. He said, “it finally struck me, I wasn't trapped by Channel Seven, I was trapped by television".

Presently, he is determined to find an identity beyond television and advocates on behalf of those with mental illness. He affirms, "There is a stigma and I think the media has a duty to help smash that... mental illness is as valid as any other illness".

As the world celebrates World Bipolar Day today, what can you do to eradicate the stigma associated with the illness in your environment?

 In Nigeria, where I'm from, when bipolar manifest as a manic episode and the patient is aggressive and uncooperative, they tag that individual as 'mad', they will keep describing him as 'mad' until he is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt, that he's no longer 'mad'.

 This scenario is common because the awareness on bipolar is low. Or what do you say about the young woman who gets married to her prince charming without disclosing her bipolar status to him. Only for him to be informed when she breaks down in the delivery room with postpartum blues.

You can imagine the damage that will do to the trust on which the marriage is founded. She didn't disclose to him because she was afraid of losing him or being stigmatized by his family!

Let us make a conscious decision to help create positive awareness in our own little corners of the world and our little efforts will add up to the big picture someday.


Food for thought:
In Nigeria, how can we create awareness about mental illness and eradicate stigma? Please send your feedbacks to idaretoblossom@gmail.com

References:
www.creatingminds.org/quotes
www.mobile.abc.net.au/news


PRAYER:
Father, as I make a conscious decision to share my bipolar experience to create awareness and eradicate stigma, I ask that you would perfect all that concerns my mental health and keep me from fear of relapse, in Jesus name, Amen.  - 2nd Timothy 1 v 7 , Psalm 138 : 8 -


KINDLY REMEMBER:
· That you have to take your medication(s) as prescribed by the doctors.
· That you don’t have to avoid your appointments with your physician.
· That you have to rest well, eat healthy, exercise safely, and avoid stress.
· That you can pray over your medications that; they will work perfectly for you without side effects.
· That you can pray to God to perfect all that concerns your mental health.

My name is Precious, I was Bi-polar, and I live a full life

You can send your feedback to idaretoblossom@gmail.com

DO YOU HAVE AN IRON WILL?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2 Comments A+ a-





We were at my grandfather's house for the meeting; I and my immediate two siblings were allowed to attend. The air in the room was gloomy ; Granddad had a stare on his face that suggested a mixed feeling within him, my mom looked tired, confused, but relived at the same time, Dad had a fixed resolution on his face, one that suggested he was about to do what was best for everyone present in the room.

The rites began and in a few minutes the twenty year old marriage between my parents was traditionally dissolved, the bride price returned to my Grand dad, just like that!

I was nineteen, going on twenty when this happened, and I quickly realized that I now had the responsibility of caring for my six siblings being the first of the seven children the marriage had produced. This responsibility fell on me because dad insisted on the full custody of the children.

Well, I worked tirelessly to ensure that my siblings had the best; from going to the market three times a week, cooking their three square meals, assisting with their home works, washing and pressing their clothes, and even attending P.T.A meetings (Parents / Teachers Association).

I also ensured that my siblings were carried along, being that our mom had given us that foundation in Christianity while she was in the marriage.

Nonetheless, like Chinua Achebe's book title 'Things Fall Apart', the centre could no longer hold...

I had been attending a church program for over a week. I was in one of such programs, when the congregation noticed I was acting funny - singing loudly and crying uncontrollably. They took me to the pastor’s office and prayed for me. With not much difference to my present state, they had no option but to take me home. To summarize the long story, I eventually found myself a in a psychiatric hospital.

The doctors diagnosed Bipolar disorder. Yes, you can imagine the shock on my parent’s faces. Why? How? The doctor’s said that I had been chewing more than I could swallow. I know you would be wondering; what would a 20 year old be dealing with that could lead to this? That’s a story for another day.

The recovery process was rough. First I had to come to terms with the bipolar diagnosis and how it was going to affect my life way forward. For starters, I was advised not to continue with my Law pursuits as it would require I read long hours which in the Doctor's opinion was not advisable for me, so I switched to study Theatre Arts.

Even with the Theatre Arts, the first semester was a disaster  *smile*  I could hardly write legibly or reason fast as a result of some of the side effects  of the drugs prescribed for me then. While I was in recovery. I observed that I had lost memory of things I used to do effortlessly, things like: cooking, recalling past events, the ability and confidence to relate with my peers. I had a very low self-esteem, in fact one day, I told my Dad that I felt like dying, that there was no point in living (funny, just imagine that!).

I am not recalling this story to elicit pity from you, no I am not. But I want you to know that there is hope for every Bi-polar patient out there, I know that the Nigerian environment may not be very conducive for many Bi-polar patients to blossom, but we (you reading, and I). Can begin today to create an enabling environment for bipolar patients, by:

  1. Understanding the illness: Research about the illness so you can have informed opinion when you relate or come in contact with Bi-polar patients.
  2. Do not let your actions/decisions towards them be characterized by stigma. If a bipolar individual qualifies for the job, hire them. If they possess the innate skills and abilities that your business needs to get to the next level, get them on board. One thing I know about Bi-polar patients is that they are very creative, deep thinkers and sometimes very energetic, all these traits if channelled positively can yield great results in the work environment.
  3. Do not shelter them too much: Most parents, friends and loved ones in their bid to see that the Bi- polar patient is comfortable and happy, have deliberately shielded them from many life circumstances ignorantly. They accompany them to everywhere, make decisions for them, monitor who they talk with, or about, they pamper them to a fault. I am not saying you can't do the above for them, just apply moderation in all you do, give them some space to be themselves, if they fall, be there to pick them up, that way they will have their own experiences on how not to indulge next time and develop confidence and self-esteem daily.
  4.  Do not limit them to what you think they can or cannot do. Ask them soul searching questions. E.g.
What is your life plan? 
What can you do presently to achieve it?
What are your natural strengths and weaknesses?

That way they feel loved and accepted and rise up to the challenges these questions may pose to them.


My Bipolar story has taught me that no excuse in life is good enough to make me fail. I have learnt that if I have a victim mentality, then I will live like a victim. What has your Bipolar story taught you?


PRAYER:

Father, your Grace is sufficient for me, when I am weak , then I am strong because I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me, In Jesus name, amen. Philippians 1:13.

KINDLY REMEMBER:

· That you have to take your medication(s) as prescribed by the doctors.
· That you don’t have to avoid your appointments with your physician.
· That you have to rest well, eat healthy, exercise safely, and avoid stress.
· That you can pray over your medications that; they will work perfectly for you without side effects.
· That you can pray to God to perfect all that concerns your mental health.

My name is Precious, I was Bi-polar, and I live a full life
You can send your feedback to idaretoblossom@gmail.com



What Triggers Bi-Polar?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 0 Comments A+ a-



A recent report has it that, the Grammy award-winning singer, Chris Brown has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II.

According to webpronews.com, his treating Physician asserts that, “Mr. Brown became aggressive and acted out physically due to his untreated mental health disorder, severe sleep deprivation, inappropriate self-medicating and untreated PTSD”.

The question on my mind when I came across that news, was, what triggers bipolar? (Hopefully, I will share my bi-polar story in my next post).
Webmd.com suggests that, “Scientists have found that bipolar disorder is not caused by a single gene but rather by multiple genes, each contributing only a small amount to the vulnerability, acting together in combination with other environmental factors such as stress, lifestyle habits, and sleep”.

It went on to say that, “People are sometimes diagnosed with bipolar following a stressful or traumatic event in their lives. These environmental triggers can include seasonal changes, holidays, and major life changes such as starting a new job, losing a job, going to college, family disagreements, marriage, or a death in the family”.

Interestingly, WebMD, notes that, “Stress, in and of itself, does not cause bipolar disorder (much the way pollen doesn't cause seasonal allergies), but in people with the biological vulnerability to bipolar disorder, having effective skills for managing life stresses can be critical to a healthy lifestyle in order to avoid things that can aggravate the illness (such as drugs and alcohol)”.

My suggestion to you is that living with Bipolar is definitely not God’s best for you, but you can take deliberate steps to live life at your best, you have to develop effective skills for managing life stresses. This will take a while, it doesn’t happen overnight. Some of the ways I consciously develop effective skills for managing life stresses are:

  1. I made peace with God: Thanked him for all that I have been through and for creating me with these emotions, because He knows me inside out and loves me still.
  2. Loving Me: I Love ‘Me’! There is only one ‘Me’, only ‘Me’ can do things that make ‘Me’.      Regardless of what people are going to say about you, or what you think about yourself; you are in a class of your own, created in the image of your heavenly father, equipped with the talents and skills to do things, God knows only you can do. Focus on your strengths while partnering with God to work on your weaknesses.
  3. I seek to add Value: When you add value to others, you get fulfilment. Fulfilment gives you that kind of joy that makes you look forward to adding value to more people on a daily basis. The ability to add value is an indication of a soul sold out to loving God and service to humanity.
  4. Develop a strong support system: This may include members of your family, friends and loved ones who know your bi-polar story and are committed to the process of seeing that you are getting better every day in every way.
  5. Know yourself: Study yourself like a book! Pay attention to your feelings and emotions, if you feel sad, find out why? If you are excited find out why? If you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself what’s the overwhelming factor in the situation? Knowing yourself is a very effective way to manage the stress you encounter daily.

While these are just a few tips, I will like you to try them out and share your experience with me. I have tried them and still do them. You will have a worthwhile experience and God’s grace will make your inputs effortless.


PRAYER
 Father, Keep me as the apple of your eyes and let all my experiences impact positively on my life and the lives I encounter daily, in Jesus Name, Amen.

KINDLY REMEMBER:
· That you have to take your medication(s) as prescribed by the doctors.
· That you don’t have to avoid your appointments with your physician.
· That you have to rest well, eat healthy, exercise safely, and avoid stress.
· That you can pray over your medications that; they will work perfectly for you without side effects.
· That you can pray to God to perfect all that concerns your mental.

REFERENCES:

My name is Precious, I was Bi-polar, and I live a full life

You can send your feedback to idaretoblossom@gmail.com


WHO DO YOU RELY ON?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 0 Comments A+ a-


It was one of those days when I felt like there was enormous responsibility on me but little strength to execute and see result.

I had been struggling with some issues that bothered strongly on whether or not I trusted God completely. 

In the midst of everything, it seemed as though God was absent; my spirit was too noisy to sense what God was saying concerning my situation.

On that faithful Monday morning, I was walking down to the office, musing about the state of things in my life, my eyes caught the sight of a dead female goat and its young kid crying by her side, crying unbearably as it mourned its dead. I found myself staring intensely at the sight with goose bumps on my skin, a deep empathy rising in my heart. 

As I watched the kid crying uncontrollably, I realized that the kid truly depended on its mother for support, succor and nourishment. But the mother, who had no control over her life, had disappointed him.

This scene gave me a different perspective to the issues I was facing. I got a personal conviction that indeed God alone is reliable! He’s the only God who never changes, truly cares, will always be there for me and whose words can change situations regardless of the impossibilities that paint them.

I don’t know the situation you are faced with right now, but you need to make up your mind on who to rely on. Man, without intending to, can fail you because he does not have the ability to be your problem solver. 

Whether you are dealing with a mania or a depressive season in your life, please, do not be discouraged. You can trust God with your life; he can raise men, women, and scenarios to prove his faithfulness to you. Of a truth God is reliable. Who will you rely on?


PRAYER
Heavenly Father, help me to always remember that I can trust confidently in you, that you are not a man that you should lie, nor the son of man that you should change your mind. Thank you Father, because I can trust you with all that I am, all that I have been through and where I am now, thank you because you will make a way of escape for me, in Jesus Name, Amen.



 Kindly Remember

·         That you have to take your medication(s) as prescribed by the doctors

·         That you don’t have to avoid your appointments with your physician.

·         That you have to rest well, eat healthy, exercise safely, and avoid stress.

·         That you can pray over your medications that; they will work perfectly for you without side effects.

·         That you can pray to God to perfect all that concerns your mental health.



References:  Isaiah 49:15, Psalm 118:8-9, Proverbs 3:3-5




My name is Precious, I was Bi-polar and I live a full life

 You can send your feedback to idaretoblossom@gmail.com