Art, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Creative Writing, Depression, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mental Wealth, Mood Disorder

DEAR DEPRESSION.

My old friend, the black dog, the slayer of beautiful souls, the barbed arrow right through the heart, the chaotic evil, the disaster looming over the horizon.

OG Depression, the demon singing horrifying lullabies to my weary veins, the insecurity killing my glorious dreams, fraying a piece of my heart and numbing a fragment of my soul… it’s been a long time coming!

I would like you to know that you have been crossing my mind a little more than usual these past days and I won’t sweep it under the rug or let it slide. I made it crystal clear on my last post that exulansis does not live here – my pen will keep bearing me witness.

You claim to be a quintessential part of me; I have religiously ridden with you even in the face of death without flinching but you still haven’t done me right. When we met at age 14, I was quite innocent then, but not anymore. Thank God.

Many people do not understand when I say that pain is beautiful, because they believe I’m romanticizing pain. That I’m glorifying the process of surviving pain when in reality it’s the lesson in the survival that I glorify. Pain is beautiful, it gives me insight and empathy and compassion and soulfulness. And those are not your everyday qualities. Thank you for teaching me that my life is not sunshine and rainbows everyday and that’s OKAY.

Depression is the cubicle I’ve sat at, the fishbowl existence I’ve lived in, the cold table I’ve dined at. But they say you must learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served. So today and all subsequent days, I choose to get up from the table. I choose love. All forms of love including self love. I mean didn’t they promise that if I love myself authentically, my energy and aura will reject anyone that doesn’t know my worth? Well you, my friend, do not know my worth. I can say that with a straight face and without an ounce of doubt in my soul. There’s no ghost of a chance here.

I choose love. There’s not a hope in hell that I will go wrong with love. Because love is a metaphor for forgiveness, a metaphor for strength and sweetness, a metaphor for redemption, for salvation, for healing, for wisdom, for might, for beauty, for royalty, for triumph, for goodness, for authenticity, for illumination, for jubilance.

Love is the voice of an angel from the shores of agony, from the tunnels of darkness, the sound of an angel serenading me to life, the heaves coming from my body.

Love is my father speaking words of affirmation, calling me graceful, professional, titular names everyday to my sometimes jaded soul from the other side of the phone. Love is my very African mother passionately calling me “the star” when she has five other wonderful children that sprung from her womanhood.

Love. It’s my doctor whispering me out of fear and putting my soul back in my body and ultimately both back in that recliner where he sometimes reads that medical history that reeks of something like the voodoo incantations of a stark raving mad Haitian witch doctor.

Love is my friends answering every frantic call and text, keeping up with my monotonous rants and not having a single selfish bone in their bodies.

Love is that doting fine man made of textures deeper than what I had been apprenticed to; the man polished by greater forces than bowling alleys.

Love is that stranger at the mall about 6 years ago eavesdropping on my conversation with a friend and remarking, “You are intelligent!” Love is me jokingly replying in a somewhat cogent tone, “Or maybe I just have good grasp of language!” Love is the wide grin preceeding us exchanging numbers and love, yes, love is him showing me to my first psychiatric appointment!

Love is that little girl at service last Sunday that clutched my hand a little tighter when my teardrop landed on her shoe during that spiritual sermon.

Love is that yet another very little girl at the sidewalks, the little girl whom I thought very well looked like eight glasses of water and seven hours of sleep, the beautiful little creature, the one at the sidewalks, the one that asked if she could touch my ears simply because, “zinashine kama stars,” going by the many piercings and golden jewelry. Of course it was a mighty yes from me!

Love, still on these little people, is that very very little boy from the opposite gate that returns the gesture by waving and smiling back each time we lock eyes. My goodness, whose beautiful son could this be?!

Love is my siblings finishing each other’s sentences. Love is the deep and seamless conversations from our childhood.

Love is my kinsmen in Ndhiwa, my neck of the woods, the cradle of the mighty Gor Mahia, the heart of the village, where people “lead the lives they choose” (not my words!), proudly putting me on a pedestal, paying homage to me, holding me in such high esteem as the strong woman, my great grandmother, CheChe, the woman who birthed that whole clan, the woman that willingly left Tanganyika because love knocked on her door, the woman my father named me after, the woman whose blood I’m so blessed and humbled that my children and their children’s children will carry for generations to come. Love is me tracing my roots to Tanzania and that side of the family’s every deed spontaneously giving hints of love.

Love is a real bond in a flawed world.

Love is Father Time allowing me to make monumental memories with my loved ones.

Love is my unborn nephew due sometime this month! The month of love!

Love is me learning a bit more about love and a little less about myself. Love is all the positive words and their nuances and layers of meaning, love is all the words that orchestrate me to leave my comfort zone or be my brother’s keeper. Love is me feigning strength until it’s inked in my bones, love is me drowning in insidous and compounding waves but still waking up to try and reach the shore tomorrow. Love is my favourite colour…love is your favourite colour too!

Love is my nurturing mother, love is my protective father, love is my charismatic sister, love is my unborn children lingering in my lover’s eyes.

Love is the whispering wind, love is the sun kissing the earth, love is the leaves breathing, love is the sea washing out, love is the raindrops pelting the roof as I sleep sound.

Love is the tasteful and timeless music and my dancing feet.

Love is my patchwork heart and my glitchy mind adorned, love is my sharp edges and missing parts validated. Love is my ocean of confidence.

Love is Wabi-Sabi. Love is me understanding that a box full of darkness is still a gift, and I can use that well for the highest good.

Love is the emotional explosions that thrust me into the arms of a loving God.

Love is me understanding that love is still very much in need of love today.

Love is me agreeing that life is my textbook and everyday I must breathe in a new page and be taught.

Love is me sharpening the blades of my pen to destigmatize the conversation around this sinister thing that is you, depression.

Love is me processing that the pen is mightier than the sword and paper is more patient than people.

Love is me catching a dream filled with affection and awe inspiring things and holding it in my heart until I get to see my loved ones in heaven.

Love is me becoming a vibrational match to each and every one of my dreams.

Love is butterflies, the whimsical beauties darting and swooping as they frolic between the greenery while I look on dreamily, touching me with their pale gossamer wings and leaving their magic on my skin as they restore my faith.

Love is the smell of fresh rosebuds.

Love is the beauty of the strange, the hope of time, the sound of space and the uncertainty of impossibility.

Love is the bountiful sky soaking my soul in the joy of illumination.

Love is the prickly bougainvillea not requiring a nod to harbour the blooming sight that wishes to protect its flower pod.

Love is me learning that in order for good things to come my way I must believe that I deserve them.

Love is me being nonchalant, unbothered and aloof from the playful bickerings that strive to force ugliness into my soul.

Love is me acknowledging that I cannot settle for being the gold fish in a fishbowl yet I have the capacity of a shark in the ocean.

Love is my aching awe and strong rush of gratitude for the good and the bad, for the yin and the yang, for all the blessings and the lessons.

Love is my philosophy. Love is my yellow brick road to happiness. Love is the future.

Love is not you, depression!

Love is me, me chasing my calling!

Peace, kid.

©️ Ida-Sharon

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Art, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Mental Health, Mental Wealth, Mood Disorder

MIGHTY GRATEFUL.

Happy New Year everyone! It’s a chilly evening here in my neck of the woods!

My birthday was three weeks ago and I just got discharged from hospital one week ago so I’m certainly a year wiser and tentatively a stone lighter.

I’m nestled against the pillows as I type this, mellow and comfortable in the middle of my bipolar spectrum, with a clear state of mind, a calm soul and a revamped spirit. Last night I slept like a log and woke up to find this knackered dog curled up beside me at noon. Life is good, safe to say.

Looking back, I realise I grew up in this type of fishbowl existence where having my kind of chronic illness was the largest elephant in the room of health discussion. I heard people talk, I heard people stigmatise. So I figured that if people were going to say it about me anyway, I would say it first, because if I said it first, I would say it better. That is why I started this blog. Let it be known that exulansis does not live here. Please. And thank you.

Interestingly, when the world closes in with darkness and sin, I’m grateful for the myriads of blessings. Despite the depression, I’m blessed beyond imagination. Despite the soul rot, I’m blessed beyond imagination. Despite the speed bumps along my journey, I’m blessed beyond imagination.

Therefore today, in retrospect, I’m particularly grateful to / for:

  • God. For being the pillar of my astounding support system. For holding me while teetering between stoical and fervid. For carrying me during all reflection, transition and rebirth.
  • Bipolar Disorder. Circular Insanity. For OG Depression, the black dog, the brain fog, the throttling monster, the slayer of beautiful souls, the barbed arrow right through the heart. Grateful really? No, BUT… for being an eye opener, for giving me insight, for giving me depression which teaches me empathy, for giving me anxiety which gets me to be more organised, for giving me suicidal tendencies which taught me to appreciate the moments I almost didn’t have.
  • Me. Finding myself. I feel like I had been a young girl of steel bright intelligence, but zero common sense. In other words. I had downplayed and underestimated my bipolarity and my femininity and their secret theatres of power and influence. I now strive to act as a redeemed, empowered young woman and a daughter of philosophy and ethic. A powerhouse, a legible wisdom of a grown woman, fearlessly navigating the turbulent waters of bipolarity. A grown woman of beautiful maps seldom left unread. A woman who is discontent with being the gold fish in a fishbowl when she has the capacity of a shark in the ocean. A woman who does not crinkle. A woman who knows her way around the minefield of self-actualization. A work in progress.
  • Music. Soulful music. For rap lyrics with wonderful emotional potency that resonate with me on a personal level. (God bless Kid Cudi). For the tasteful and timeless genre that is Ohangla. For its beautiful beats and for my dancing feet. (Please give ALL the flowers to Prince Indah).
  • The wind, the zephyr. I mean have you ever spent an unholy amount of time trying to make your hair tame only to step out and have the wind leaving like a witch that just flew on her broom? I’m grateful to the wind for constantly validating my princess hair!
  • Dr. C.O. For knowing how to help me stay on my cool. How to get me to stand ten toes down. How to whisper me out of fear and self-pity and put my soul back in my body, and ultimately my soul and my body all in that same recliner where sometimes he recounts a medical history that reeks of something like the voodoo incantations of a stark raving mad Haitian witch doctor.
  • Pens, paper pads and paperbacks. The readership, the blogosphere, the wordsmiths, the writers and the authors. Geniuses whose piercing words penetrate your heart and get plastered all over your soul. Clearly the revolution will not be televised but thank God for Ijeoma Umebinyuo!
  • My friend M. The queen of hugs and holding hands. An actual prodigy, a great listener, a top example, a quality friend, a real ride or die.
  • My friend N. For answering every frantic call and text. For not having a single selfish bone in her body. For her superpower of keeping up with my monotonous rants.
  • My friend C. For being a real bond in a flawed world!
  • My friend G. For the simple fact that we finish each other’s sentences.
  • My friend H. For being the sunshine in my last memories of O’ Level. And for constantly crossing my mind and lifting my spirit throughout A’ Level. 7 years on and she still saves the day from many miles away on video call!
  • My friend T. A person made of textures deeper than what I had been apprenticed to. A person polished by greater forces than bowling alleys.
  • My cousin BT. For his stellar personality.
  • My nephew Y. For his smile which also doubles as my medicine box.
  • My siblings B,B,B,B and B. Annoying, agitating, aggravating, nosey, caring, funny, determinated, intelligent and sweet. Whole bunch of awesomeness with a twist of wow and plenty of fun. For loving me religiously.
  • My grandmother. A daughter of the islands who had the most beautiful wrinkles around her eyes when she smiled. A woman whose eyes radiated beams of light with just one grin. A woman whose whole face was the map of her life. A magic maker. A birth giver to stars. For the 21 great years she was in my life as my bond companion.
  • My parents. If I didn’t have them I’d never see the sun.
  • Roses. The only flowers that convey messages without words!
  • Fair weather friends, phoneys, wet blankets, naysayers, rabble-rousers, unnecessary tirades, the losing team. For subconsciously reminding me that love’s still very much in need of love today, and that I’m imbued with heavenly powers and I can use it well for the highest good.

© Ida-Sharon

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Blogging, Life, Mental Health, Mental Wealth, Poetry

SHE’S OENOMEL.

She’s oenomel,
She’s strength and sweetness,
She’s wine and honey,
She’s blizzard and furnace,
She’s fire and water.

She exemplifies the sound of space,
The hope of time,
The power of pain,
The greatness of nothingness,
The change of the unstoppable,
The uncertainty of impossibility,
The essence of the downtrodden,
The beauty of the strange,
The beginning of the end.

She’s oenomel. ❣️

© Ida-Sharon.

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Blogging, Life, Mental Health, Mental Illness

THE WISH LIST.

I wish I did not act often like God were a figurine on the mantle or like He fits in my back pocket but rather like He is creator of the universe, and He loves me…

I wish I could shield myself from my own agonies and insecurities. From phones that do not ring, from snubbed emails, from the 6am alarm clock, from saying no but still feeling the responsibility to explain myself, from the malaise of bad company, from fair weather friends; the kinds that fly the coop as quickly as they can, at the first hint of trouble, from the frayed ends of the welcome mat…

I wish I could shield myself from depression, from Bipolar II Disorder, from mood disorders, from relapses…

I wish I could shield myself from false hope, from wet blankets, from naysayers, from rabble-rousers, from toxic people, from unnecessary tirades, from the losing team, from people with an agenda to harm, and those wild flowers meant solely to disarm…

I wish I could shield myself from romantic relationships that lead everywhere but the altar. I wish I could shield myself from relationships marred by arguments that feel like the brink of a break up. I wish I could shield myself from relationships characterised by constant gaslighting and guilt tripping. I wish I could shield myself from relationships that make me second-guess my decisions. I wish I could shield myself from relationships that seem like love is a misnomer or a fictional concept. I wish everyone could mow the lands where people have lost their vows…

I wish I could feel more at home especially in the love of the most precarious sight…

I wish perserverence were solely meant to mould life into love of fine, gold or cold firing…

I wish I could make society destigmatise the conversation around mental health within the snap of my finger…

I wish I could make us all refer to mental illness as mental “trillness” 😎…

I wish I could make us all root for people affected by the scourge of mental illness…

I wish I could wipe mental illness off the face of the earth…

I wish I could rap like the enigmatic 2Pac. Or sing pitch perfect like the regal Whitney Houston. Just so I could give a concert for free and heal a soul or two…

I wish I could master Messianic oration like Obama just so I could bless the human race with gracefulness and mind blowing speeches that move you to tears and orchestrate you to leave your comfort zone or be your brother’s keeper…

I wish I could write like Chinua Achebe, the mercurial creature with his own unique quirk, aspiration and preference that still drives me to aspire to create my own stories. I wish I could shield myself from bland and boring reads. I wish I could only encounter riveting reads. And wordsmiths. The more arcane, the better…

I wish I could be half as compassionate as Mother Teresa…

I wish I could be a flaming charisma like my big sister…

I wish I could effortlessly be the prime purveyor of grit and the patron saint of resilience…

I wish I could be the kind of African who does not see politicians without the hedonistic desire to bury them in stones, the kind of African who watches the local news bulletin without being sick to their stomach, the kind who takes pride in their passport because of the country in it…

I wish I could fly an airplane just so I would satisfy my wanderlust by visiting spots around the world on a whim, validating my travel dreams, one bucket list city after the other…

I wish I could read minds just so I would get into private investigations and solve the myriads of crimes that wreck(ed) the world…

I wish I could experience osmosis just so I would go to libraries and transform my brain into the richest data bank…

I wish I could buy a bottle of confidence, just so I would take a case and put it in the pantry! I wish confidence were wine, because wine comes in bottles…

I wish I could erase all of my struggles with sadness, lethargy and the minefield of self-actualization. I wish I could remedy every regret and every bad decision. I wish I could take more chances, different chances, try harder. I wish I could sift through my life, alter details and discard parts of my history on to the cutting room floor until ultimately editing all of the pieces together to create my own picture-perfect story. I wish I could act it out all again before the curtains fall…

I wish I could revive seamless conversations from my childhood…

I wish the bountiful sky could let me bring some of its stars down and let me soak my soul in the joy of their illumination…

I wish I could be as prickly as the bougainvillea so I would not require a nod to harbour the blooming sight that wishes to protect the flower pod…

I wish I could catch a dream filled with love and awe-inspiring things and hold it locked in my heart until I get to see my loved ones in heaven…

I wish I could become a vibrational match to each and every one of my dreams and aspirations…

I wish the whimsical beauties that are the butterflies darting and swooping as they frolic between the greenery while I look on dreamily, touch me by their pale gossamer wings and leave their magic on my skin as they restore my faith…

I wish we could acknowledge that we struggle with our faith because we see so many bring shame to it…

I wish Father Time could slow down so I can make many more monumental memories with my brilliant nephew Yul, and keep reminding him someday when I am gone, that I love him mightily. ❤️

I wish we could all agree unanimously, that after Hip-Hop & Rap, Ohangla is the second most timeless and tasteful music genre…

I wish we could all understand that a patriarchal society CANNOT become egalitarian without feminism…

I wish Capital Steez did not take his own life on the cusp of stardom…

I wish, consequently, that everyone would understand that people who commit suicide do not want to end their lives but the pain…

I wish, like Kid Cudi, more rappers were never afraid to bare their soul on wax, and give their lyrics a greater emotional potency that touches so many of us living with depression and battling suicidal ideations, in the most unheard of ways…

I wish I could understand why most of my heroes are either dysfunctional or dead…

I wish my loved ones never forget how grateful I am for them being patient with me while I’m teetering between stoical and fervid…

I wish the brain fog understood that I am a wounded healer and I have the power to turn wounds into weapons and trauma into triumph…

I wish everyone knew they are imbued with heavenly powers and they can use them well for the highest good…

I wish these words could fly off this blog and into print and someone somewhere picks my soul up off of those pages…

But most importantly, I wish I could be me. Just me; my best me. Regardless of whether I am slouched in front of my computer or hanging out with my best friend. Because if everyone were extraordinary, who would be extraordinary?

But I am but human. A human with a bleeding pen in my hands. A leakage of me lost in a brown study.

© Ida-Sharon

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Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Life, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Disorder

HEAVEN COULD NOT WAIT.

Friday 4th September 2015, 08:30 pm. She shuddered and expired. Heaven could not wait.

My eyelids turned lead heavy, my heart painstakingly hollow and my blood felt like acid. My grandmother was gone.

She had certainly been at death’s door for some months but I was not ready for that moment. Nobody is ever ready for mortality.

You see my Dana was larger than life. She was my first country. She was beyond love. She was ahead of her time yet still on time. She had a demure demeanour that easily lit up a room. She was always wreathed in smiles. She had the most beautiful wrinkles when she smiled, as if her face was the map of her life; her whole face radiated beams of light at just one grin! She was beauty and everything that pertains to it.

Laced with self-consciousness, intuition, veracity, willpower, tenacity, grit and LOVE. A senior citizen and your typical African (great)grand(mother), and as such, had some of the obligatory traits — spontaneous deafness, an unerring ability to stand right in the way and a bat-like sonar system that allows her to shout your name at the top of her lungs when you left one dish undone but stand ten toes down when she herself did that. She was an absolute sweetheart in the grand scheme of things though.

This lady binged on love and affection. Authentic love and affection. A birth giver to stars. A magic maker. She had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who would keep her on her toes; a wild ride to places she’d only see on telly. But I saw something striking in her liquid eyes, something that guided me from the moment I met her — her unflappable philosophy that whatever came her way she’d manage. And because she’d manage, we would, too.

Her relationship with God was a very skyward and personal one. She regarded Him as a friend. My own journey has been perhaps convoluted, my image of Divinity has somewhat shifted from that childhood vision (I believe due to my struggle with mood disorder), but the simplicity of those prayers remain! And so does something she told me when I asked her where God lived. She smiled at me very broadly and replied with a laid-back tone but somewhat cogent force, “In your heart.”

In her demise, I learnt that when the sled of death launches on you, when you watch the casket close on your loved one, it somersaults your mind forever. It brashly disrupts your mental, emotional and physical equilibrium. It brazenly reminds you of the frailty and fickleness of existence. Realisation dawns on you how terrible it is to love something that death can touch. I still hear the sound of her laughter under the starry sky in the middle of June, I still see her snow white teeth and her beautiful wrinkly cheeks traced with tiny spider veins, I still find bits and pieces of her in my musings and I still hold random conversations with her in my head 4 years after her passing, religiously. I still reminisce on everything.

I have learnt that there is no sanctuary for death; no respite, no silk cocoon you can wrap yourself to avoid it. Death is life and life is death and therein lies the metamorphoses, for both change and death are inevitable. Death can come fragrant as a dozen roses tied in silk ribbon, or it can slither in on the belly of a snake waiting for the right moment to strike or it can wrap itself around, throttling your breath from you. Death is the cold cup of coffee you never finish as you write your last words.

I think what puts us on edge regarding death no matter how familiar we think we have become, is its finality, surreal because there is no grand finale, no crescendo that can lead up to the moment.

Death will die too, one sweet day.

So dear Dana, I know I walked into your sendoff significantly mortified and soul-sick and a complete cesspool of mental illness, but today, 1460 days on, as I type this, I’d like you to know that I’m consciously blooming into an orchard of sunsets. Not because it got better but because I got stronger. Because I’m a budding wolverine, by virtue of you having been a veteran wolverine. That is why I must typify stout-heartedness, courage, ferociousness, aggression and fearlessness. I symbolize everything that is threatening or threatening. I’m firmly rooted, built up and established in the faith. In the faith that if it is good it is beautiful and if it is bad it is experience. In the faith that everything will be alright in the end so if it is not alright it is not the end. In the faith that I must keep feigning strength until it is inked in my bones. In the faith that I am a gladiator and I must never lay down my shield.

Thank you for teaching me that my patchwork heart and my glitchy mind are all WORTHY.

You are cradled in my heart eternally! I miss you terribly! I love you mightily!

And to my other Dana, my maternal forebear, Suzanna, woman of statuesque beauty, exquisite strength, precision, courage and LOVE. She was as alpha as they come. Strict, advocative and now peaceful and free as a dove. (She laid down her shield and gained her heavenly wings earlier on in February 2015).

So dear Dana Suzanna, you are the missing piece of my heart. Your memory is my keepsake. My life is a conduit of your love and the monumental memories that we made.

Thank you for teaching me that all my sharp edges and missing parts are all LOVEABLE. Thank you for adorning me.

You are etched in my heart forever! I miss you greatly! I love you authentically!

PLEASE GIVE ALL THE FLOWERS TO MY FATHER’S MOTHER AND MY MOTHER’S MOTHER! ❣️

© Ida-Sharon

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Mental Health

SIX.

One…two…three…four…five …six months later! Hello everyone!

A lot has really happened in my hiatus and as usual it has been a whirling rollercoaster of experience. Of course I’ve been riding the rollercoaster of Bipolar Disorder without a seatbelt on. Highs and lows of bipolarity and everything in between.

You see, in these six months, my favourite nephew began first grade. I’m excited. This little guy touched my life in the most unheard of ways. Some six years ago, one Thursday 6th September at 2pm, my beautiful sister put to bed a dainty baby boy with perfect caramel skin, beady eyes, rabbit ears and full head of hair. How happy I was to be the newest auntie, bonus mum and nurturer in town! (This was the first time any of my siblings had been blessed with a bundle). I have a soft spot for children and I’m obsessed with the naming norms. (I already know my future baby’s name yet there’s absolutely no bun in the oven yet!) So I nicknamed my nephew the tiger shark. Yes, after shark, the animal. Because I envisioned him growing up with the attributes of the shark. (The shark is symbolic of being a terror of the sea, it is fierce in everything it does. It does not compromise; it aggressively pursues what it wants.) I’m eternally grateful to my shark for teaching me that motherhood (or babysitting) basically needs you to be a multitasking jangler of different tasks at the same time. There were times I had to sing, dance, rock my hands, use the blow dryer just to get him to sleep or stop crying. I’m not even chest thumping but my nanny game is now out of this world, all credits to him. Looks like I’ll become a par excellent mama in future. Thank you dear Divine for this now all grown responsible little man full of life and immense energy.

In these six months, my beautiful, super smart, strong willed and perfect level of extra mother, turned 60 and became a senior citizen and we held a thanksgiving party for her. All hail mama, the lighthouse in my storm, our number one cheerleader, hype man and safety net in a chaotic world!

In these six months, my little sister turned 21. (Should I say I’m excited again or is it becoming cliché?) Considering that just yesterday I was teaching her to write. To think that now she’s all grown and kicking ass. I’ll never let her know the quarter life crisis. Cheers to the wonder woman, my little sister who’s not so little anymore!

In these six months, still on family, my other big sister became a fierce feminist. I mean why not? Because how does a patriarchal society become egalitarian without feminism?! Been a long time coming. Power to my budding powerhouse of a sister, my womyn, my lifeline, my hero, my heart!

In these six months, I noticed how much of a trooper my little brother is. I can’t believe he will be clearing high school soon. And after 7th October, the whole squad will be legal. Happy 18th birthday and congratulations in advance, sweet one!

In these six months, not more than a month ago, my little cousin came into this world. She’s a slice of heaven. Whoever said newborns look like grumpy old men was lying. She’s officially the youngest in the clan and she set a new standard. Buffaloes will be the new cool when she’s all grown and set for wedlock, she’s beyond cows. I said what I said. Lol.

In these six months, my eldest sister, is still the most charismatic.

In these six months, my dad is still my heart in human form.

In these six months my friends are still the realest.

In these six months, God is still God.

In these six months, the weather took a drastic turn! April came roaring like a lion. Cold like the heart of b*tch. I felt like the hailstones pelted right through the roof and into my soul. Cold weather catapults me to oblivion, shuts down my reflex and affects my productivity. Bright beautiful sunny days like today breathe life into my well being and whisper words of beauty to my aura. I love to welcome and sock up the sun rays because too soon the cold will graduate to thunderstorms and I will sulk.

In these six months, however, one thing was constant: circular insanity! Aka bipolar disorder, darkness my old friend, the pain in the brain. Actually the reason I didn’t blog was because my fingers lost coordination. Gross I know. But that was an unfortunate and severe side effect of one of the psychotropics I’m on. The other reason was because mental illness is uncultured. OG Bipolar just told me not to write. Squint your eyes, tilt your hear to the east, feel the zephyr that comes by, if you don’t, too bad…run a mile, text your bestie, sleep, eat… or just bite your nails but don’t blog. But it’s joke on you now, I know you’re a demon and I will slay you. You are uncultured, because you leave me to stay on my cool sometimes when someone’s dead but let me lose my cool when I can’t find my pen! You know it is definitely not because I’m more acquainted to the idea of death than the idea of losing a pen, but because mental illnesses or mood disorders, and especially you bipolar disorder, are a maze in itself, it is as though there’s a switch in my brain that flicks unrhythmically and unannounced. Circular insanity. Temporary insanity. I’m not sure if that’s an overstatement but I’m sure mental illness is still the largest elephant in the room. I nicknamed my mind “the minefield.” My mind is a minefield; an actual minefield of self actualization and lethargy. But today as I type this, I feel like I’m revamped and my energy is on steroids and I have reached a dangerously awesome level of might and will power. Woohoo!

In these six months, still, one thing was constant: the blogosphere. This is hands down the best place to be online! The beauty that is oracles and wordsmiths. The beauty that is penmanship. The beauty that is artistry. The beauty that is forever unmatched and undefeated. The beauty that is the write way. Forgive me if I’m going to get all sappy when I talk about how much blogging has impacted my life. I constantly find comfort and independence in a riveting read. You fellow bloggers (and the readership) inspire me to get outside my bubble, move beyond my insecurities, accept my disability all while offering compassion and sympathy for others. To love freely and unconditionally. To keep LIVING my dash. To build safety hedges to protect my sanity. To reset my mind, body and soul without a heads up. To LIVE. Thank you is an understatement!

In these six months, in the next six months and beyond, love, light and healing to everyone battling mental illness. Be steadfast. You are not a victim but a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. Today and everyday, me and our fellow survivors need your light, warmth and raging courage. Here’s to grit, here’s to strength and resolve of character, here’s to resilient dynamism, here’s to the only pill popping throng of chronic illness survivors whose illnesses aren’t visible to the naked eye, here’s to the beauty of the strange!

© Ida-Sharon

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Mental Health

DESTIGMATISE THE CONVERSATION!

I have not been able to blog for several weeks because my depression has been a witches’ brew of guilt, anger and bad religion. Lethargy had drained and numbed me to life itself. Things have successively been going wrong leaving me feeling like the butt of life’s joke.

Today I’m going to respond to something that cut me to the quick. I’m going to do it with dignity and not resort to name calling or shade throwing, because then I will have kept the same (bad) energy that one of my close relatives had when they publicly tried to shame my folks for my mental illness.

Okay. Can I be honest? Lay my cards on the table? I am aware that stigma and discrimination whether stemming from ignorance or not, are a direct depiction of one’s own insecurities, if you can’t accept someone for things they can’t control or didn’t choose, then you are the problem. If you can’t stomach the thought of their well-being, you could just love them from a distance.

I have to write this so everyone here can get a good look at ignorance and audacity in an overtly heightened state. Nothing is ever worth demeaning a person’s existence. Society NEEDS to destigmatize the conversation around mental health. We cannot do this by talking? Straight forward isn’t it? No.

Most people start the transition from childhood to adulthood looking to the future at a world of possibility. I on the other hand transitioned by a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder. But I cannot be shamed because I wear it like a crown. A crown of grace and grit.

“End mental illness stigma” is a phrase we hear often. The word “stigma” technically means “a mark of shame” and in the context of mental illness advocacy, we mean the unfair mark of shame others assign to us when it is revealed we live with different mental health conditions. It can also be shame we assign ourselves when we feel like there is something wrong with how our brains work, and decide to keep our thoughts hidden from others. However this idea of “ending the stigma” only scratches the surface of the real shame, micro aggressions and acts of discrimination people who live with mental illness sometimes face.

I’m blessed that I got a proper diagnosis. My psychotropics seem to be working like a shaft of light into my weary, befuddled brain.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Therefore society should stop making mentally ill people feel bad for their symptoms. We are flaky. We are sleepy. We are grumpy, aggressive and forgetful. We lash out. We cry. We over think and over compensate. We are sorry. We are trying. We know we are in limbo between too sick to be healthy and “not sick enough to be healthy. ”

S/o to everybody battling an invisible illness!

© Ida-Sharon

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