Happy birthday, dad! 59 years awesome!

Okay, it’s about that time of the year again where I bust out of my comfort zone and tackle something a bit different from my normal slop. It’s my dad’s birthday. Happy birthday to my dad, Samuel! He turns something something years old today. Scratch that, he’s 59 today! I’m a sagittarius; I love precision.

A few weeks back my dad was rummaging through his backpack because he didn’t have his keys but they were right on the table and I laughed at him and told him he’s 58 and he went like, “What has that got to do with my keys missing?” You see, my dad doesn’t like to be reminded of his age. Neither do I. I mean I’m a chip off the old block. Lol

Is it too soon to say “my old man?” Even though it’s cliche, I seriously don’t know what I would do without my dad! This man has given me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believes in me! There are days when I’m over the edge ( like today) and I think I just can’t do this anymore. But he always instills grit, resilience and will power in me, with unfailing optimism that astounds me time and again. He is the finest example of loyalty, commitment and unconditional love in my life.

My dad exudes pride, even though I don’t necessarily fit into the long desired ideal daughter mould sometimes. Mental illness is hell on wheels; more often than not you will lose your cool. During my teenage years before I got my bipolar type 2 diagnosis, I went from hospital bed to hospital bed, one or two of them for surviving suicide. I remember missing school for the whole of second term in senior five. Dad wasn’t always there during all this turbulence and I was very spiteful about it. Today, I understand that he had his own struggles and I could not even see them because I was either too young or too preoccupied with this gargoyle that teaches my brain to have this nasty habit of overriding logic. I have since learnt that nobody is perfect. Dad has loved me to life. Dad has loved me in the best way he knows how to.

If I’m still here navigating life, it’s not because of these “magic” pills I pop daily. It is certainly because of my dad too. I know psychotropics can be a godsend but anyone who has experienced mental illness first hand knows that psychotropics, psychotherapy and an astounding support system is pivotal to recovery.

My dad and I go a long way. We are like best friends but I’m more of his sidekick. We are not very physically identical because I take after my mother. (But he would swear I look like his grandma, the one he named me after). I have his complexion though. Both of us are very passionate word weavers and very established blubber mouths; we can talk till you get vexed. He is a better storyteller, however, and I’m good at just snorting and laughing and cackling. My dad has got jokes for days. Our major pet peeve is bad grammar.

Not to burst your bubble but my dad does not quite understand depression. And that’s okay. He religiously asks me to explain what exactly I feel when I can’t get out of bed or how it feels right after I pop the pills. I try to tell him that depression is like someone throttling you and tearing right through your heart with a knife all at once, because that is the best way I know how to. My trips to the psych hospital have made me understand that there are people who just can’t relate to depression or mood disorders. All they experience is sheer sadness. My dad is part of that lucky throng. He says his greatest heartbreak was when his mother, my grandma, died in September 2015. I saw him shriek as he viewed her casket. My grandma’s death and its effect on my dad remains the biggest formative and painful experience of my life. The other one is pain. The brain. Pain in the brain. Pain in my brain. Mental illness. 9th Wonder of the world. Dying on the inside while still alive. Constantly being sent to a tailspin of grief for no discernible reason.

But by virtue of me being my dad’s daughter, I will always come out ahead. My dad is intelligent and tactfully skilled at survival skills and a pro at getting something for nothing. Well… So am I!

Happy birthday dad!

I profoundly respect you and admire your disposition and your diplomacy to deal with conflicts and complicated situations. It is difficult not to put you on a pedestal. You sure deserve an accolade. ❤️

( I’m sorry you aren’t having a big birthday party this year and I therefore won’t get the chance to bail you out of a botched speech with my own impromptu genius. I mean, I’m the smarter one. Lol).

Love,

Your daughter / grandma / sidekick,

Sharon CheChe.

Advertisements

DEPRESSION, AMBIVALENCE, A YEAR OLDER!

I know many people perceive depression as an intolerable, persistent sadness and deep gloom. My most recent experience has vividly shown me that depression can be subtle, sneaky and disguised in symptoms that can be hard to identify. If you are having unexplained pains or aches, often feeling irritable, irked or angry for no discernible reason, crying at the drop of a hat –you could be depressed. This is me lately.

Depression is poking me in the most unexpected way, both physically and behaviourally. I’m obviously very lethargic but what hits hard is the frequent crying spells, the short bursts of spontaneous, out-of-nowhere (sometimes anxiety provoked) teariness. My little brother could be trying to show me a meme on his phone but I’d be very irritated and balancing tears and on the brink of slamming the door on his face just because he called my name “a little louder than usual.” On Monday I cried on the bus to town because I simply felt “unloved.” These feelings honestly make my stomach churn. I want out.

I have also have a significant lack of appetite. One meal per day suffices pretty much. I don’t even feel hungry in between. I’m also experiencing what feels like pathological guilt. I know guilt is a natural sensation at times but I have branded mine as pathological because it painstakingly scans the past and sees only a series of failures. I feel overtly guilty for having been born, guilty for having depression, guilty for having mental illness, right now I can’t think of any major life role (daughter, auntie, friend, girlfriend etc) without being consumed by feelings of guilt.

While these symptoms are specific “clusters” of depression symptoms manifesting to create different experiences of mental illness, it’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I mean I experienced another milestone… I turned a year older! Against all odds. Sailed through the shark infested bipolar depression waters of suicidal ideations, guilt tripping and everything in between. Forgive me but I’m happy sad, actually very ambivalent about this. Ambivalent for the prime reason that it was only yesterday that I walked into my 20s and let the tinges of adulthood kiss me fresh vibes of a world, tainted, yet beautiful. Ambivalent because now I’m inching closer to the quarter life crisis. Or so I feel.

However I must say turning a year older has triggered my love for reading and writing more. I’m falling out of love with my jeans and welcoming comfort to my skimpy dresses. I’m gladly binging on something called love. Something I had previously believed was a misnomer and a fictional concept. Love. Love that is a messed up world. Love that is going to fix us, no matter what.

So… Dear New Age,

You may look like a big number, but to me you are just as old as I am. You are the youngest I’ve ever been yet also the oldest I am. I’m just as paradoxical as you; tainted yet so pure. I would like you to know that I’m in search of something, something still unknown to me. We can discuss this over a year’s time as we turn over a new chapter on 10th December 2019, while we’re stumbling half drunk on our own musings and words. Until then, let’s learn a bit about love and a little more about ourselves. Let’s keep feigning strength until it’s inked in our bones. May we find our yellow brick road to recovery. May it strike us, one day, in retrospect, that these years of struggle for sanity were worthwhile. Peace and love, kid.

Happy holidays everyone,

Yours with the crazy rollercoaster life,

Sharida.

💜

GOD BLESS THE DEAD. ðŸ™

29/11/2018. In memory of our angel baby, my nephew, baby Naem, born sleeping today. He was the most ethereal of them all; perfect even in death. I will never be able to expound on how for the past several months I hoped and prayed he would not just be our rainbow baby but my birthday twin or at least my zodiac twin. I’m eternally grateful he actually turned out to be my zodiac twin. My little sag baby.

Here’s also in memory of our other angel baby, baby Mara, my beautiful niece, born sleeping too, on 02/06/2017. She was the most dainty baby I ever laid eyes on. Born endowed with a headful of black curls, perfect caramel skin and a prominent nose. So graceful in her deep sleep!

And also in memory of our other guardian angel, also perfect on so many levels because God does not make mistakes. Our guardian angel, sibling to Mara & Naem, the baby we carried but never met.

You three are forever cradled in my heart and I like to think that all of you are now in great grandma’s strong arms, basking in heaven’s glory until we get there. (I think I might need an extra pair of arms because too many of my loved ones are up there and when I get there I’m planning to hug all of them and never let go!) Until then, I’ll be here looking after your big brother, baby Yul, our now turned sunshine baby, keeping all your memories alive. The stark reality is that big bro is only six but he can already tell visitors that his baby sister (Mara) “went to be with Jesus.”). I know this pain feels insurmountable but hey I love you four in all seasons, and love is paramount, that’s why we teach big bro to keep your memory alive. Plus he’s the smartest six year old you will ever meet. So much style and grace in one little human. He radiates so much positive energy and his toothless grin improves my mood tenfold.

Your mother? Well she’s absolute dynamite. A bundle of stardust. A powerhouse. A young woman full of utmost grit, admirable tenacity and a very big heart. My big sister who treats me as though she birthed me. Not just me, all of my siblings and everyone she crosses paths with.

Dear Lord, I know You are still at the throne and Your word says You are closest to the broken hearted, wrap Your loving arms around these angels’ mother and bless her with Your peace that transcends all human understanding as we keep trusting You to restore like You did with Your servant Job. Teach us to wait upon You. Just like Your word promises in Isaiah 40:31, may You renew her strength and mount her up with wings like eagles, may she run and not grow weary, may she walk and not faint. 🙏

In memory of Naem, Mara and little guardian angel. In memory of all the babies we carried but never met. In memory of all the babies we held but couldn’t bring home. In memory of all the babies we brought home but didn’t stay. In memory of all the little angels too perfect for this tainted earth! ❤️💔❤️

God bless the dead. 🙏 🙏

Love,

Auntie CheChe.

WELCOME TO MY BRAIN; YOU MIGHT WANT TO BUCKLE UP! ðŸš§

As a part-time blogger, fulltime auntie and a student of everything, I realize it’s almost impossible to navigate from cradle to grave without coming head on with the besetting sin of audacity, bigotry and injustice. I don’t think I can expound enough how tired I am of bigotry and all forms of pigeonholed beliefs.

These sins are better shared. These sins are better highlighted. Raise your voice. Protect your energy. Protect your aura. Protect your sanity. You have the right and the moral imperative to do this. Speak out on the countless injustices that surround us, without fear of retribution. Be candid. Be bold. Be uncensored. Because when you turn a blind eye to this, injustice thrives.

I must say I’m particularly impressed by how the digital revolution makes us see even the injustice happening far from our shores.

But I want to believe that humanity shares a vision of equilibrium. And I also believe the world won’t fall back into balance on its own. We must therefore raise our voice. We must not condole audacity, bigotry and injustice in any form, whether racism, classism, sexism or even “sheer” suppression of voice. The more we muck with these sins, the more we have to dedicate ourselves to unmucking.

Speak out on injustice because justice is something that is pivotal to our being. Speak out.

My pillar virtues are justice, grit and tenacity. I continue to envision a world that is just and balanced and harmonious; a world devoid of all stigma, including those related to mental health.

But where did the rain start beating us? Let’s go back to the drawing board, let’s make another blueprint, let’s do a thing, two or three, let’s create a safe haven, let’s make the world a better place!

A few tips on how to fight injustice:

  • Set an example. (Make changes in your own life).
  • Speak out. (This could be by a simple blog like I’m doing or by posting on social media etc).
  • Exercise your right to vote.
  • Donate to a course in which you believe.

Power to you!

Well who knows next time I might just give a big smile! Lol

Love,

Ida-Sharon.

I QUIT MY MEDS… COLD TURKEY!

Hey everyone! It’s been a minute! Life definitely happened during my hiatus; I underwent a huge rollercoaster of emotions.

I moved to another town and as any other human, I developed personal relationships with others, some of them my loved ones, and notably some of the relationships started with adoration, moved to isolation and culminated into extreme gaslighting. But there is this one that stands out: one involving an extremely awe-inspiring person that floats my boat on so many levels. Yeah, it may sound sappy and cliche or even somehow mawkish but getting over this one would sure be a daunting task. Lol. This isn’t some phase of hypomania. I know I’m bipolar, but still, hell to the damn no.

Well I appreciate all these experiences. As a firm believer in the notion that one must learn from everything that comes at them, I appreciate the yin and the yang, all of that.

That aside though. I STOPPED my psychotropic medications… COLD TURKEY! This is not advisable clinically and it was not a personal decision. It has been about 14 days of not taking Prozac (my antidepressant) and Olanzapine (my antipsychotic and mood stabilizer). These two psychotropics have been my “wingmen” for two years now. I love how psychotropics are steadily percolating through our culture and shaping the public understanding of mental health.

I must admit it hasn’t been a walk in the park as I have had to try many psychotropics before I arrived at these two. I have previously taken amitryptiline, carbamezepine, haloperidol, artane, escitalopram etc. Looks like I pretty much hit the psychotropics jackpot when I popped my first Prozac and Olanzapine.

Prozac and Olanzapine have been a godsend to me. They have constantly awakened me to the poignant beauty of this life. These drugs are nothing short of magical; they have resiliently fought my random feelings of lethargy and constant bleakness and random outbursts of emotions for almost no discernible reasons. Words fail me.

Fellow bloggers, I won’t lie; the chickens have come home to roost. I’m having serious withdrawal symptoms that range from insomnia, confusion, anxiety, agitation, nightmares, fatigue, migraines, muscle spasms, fogginess, flu-like symptoms, night sweats, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs. Literal brain zaps.

However, because my bout of depression isn’t here yet and my appetite isn’t messed up, a part of me is secretly hoping that this is just a slump and everything would resolve itself and someday I’d be able to lead a “normal” life. Ignorant as it may sound.

Let it be known that I’m not advocating for abrupt discontinuations of psych meds (your psychiatrist needs to wean you off them!) because these drugs cause biological adjustments in the brain, but so do mood disorders. This is no scant basis. Exude caution. Boy doesn’t it look like I’m making another impromptu visit to my psychiatrist soon?

Love, light and healing to all mood disorder survivors!

Yours with the crazy rollercoaster life,

Ida-Sharon.

A rare photo of me smiling

DESTIGMATIZE THE CONVERSATION AROUND MENTAL HEALTH.

I haven’t 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 had successively been going wrong leaving me feeling like the butt of life’s joke. But that’s not my burble for today.

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 but I must say it was a very close relative. He tried to shame my dad for “having a bipolar child” and told him that “he needs to get his head checked urgently too. ”

Okay. Can I be honest? Lay my cards on the table? 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, much less a close relative. Society needs to destigmatize the conversation around mental health. We can’t 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. I’m the prime purveyor of tenacity and resilience.

“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’s 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 lucky that I got a proper diagnosis and my psychotropics seem to be working like a shaft of light into my weary, befuddled brain. My minefield mind is on a hiatus. Medication can be a godsend. But this doesn’t happen overnight; I hereby encourage my fellow spoonies to persevere, have grit and hope that the right antidote to this darkness can be found.

Well September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. 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! 👊

Yours with the crazy rollercoaster life,

Ida-Sharon.

MEET IDA-SHARON 😊

Myself.

Hello everyone! It’s been a hectic few weeks of trying to get my brain meds to comply. Whew! S/o to my minefield mind for finally behaving. At least long enough for me to publish this blog.

My name is Ida-Sharon CheChe Ngollo. I’m also called Sharida or Awuor Super. I’m in my early twenties, weighing in at a healthy 60kgs and standing tall at about 5″2. I have 5 siblings, one nephew (my amazing sidekick) and the cutest gosh darn dog you will ever meet! My dad is my lifeline and my mom is dynamite, a bundle of stardust. My siblings are the reason I don’t fret.

I’m bipolar. Scratch that. I have Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar II Disorder to be specific. But I cannot be SHAMED; I wear my Bipolar Disorder like a CROWN. I’m mildly asocial and a purveyor of resilience. A firm believer in the notion that everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end. Born into strength, I’m endowed with the spirit of the concrete rose: beautiful and delicate yet full of grit and tenacity that strikes more firm than its thorns. I got a double-barrelled name but the rest of my siblings all have names that begin with the letter ‘B.’ I’m not saying I’m a rarity or an antique or that I stand out but hey.

I experience life through emotions. I feel colours, see love, smell achievement and hear a smile. I find bits and pieces of who I am in unexpected places. I fear having my voice muffled; my instinctual nature shunned. I value my freedom and the interpretation of who I am. I’m sensitive and creative. I’m a music lover; I wake up and go to bed with music. I’m intuitive and compassionate. I’m that girl dancing to the beat of her own voice. I’m all that is of this world both seen and hidden. I have unintentionally broken hearts and had my heart broken intentionally… Love is life’s biggest contradiction. I’m passionate and imperfect. I’m a playful spirit with an old soul. I find comfort in independence as much as I do in a riveting read.

I love being a woman (we are the world’s most passionate / compassionate nurturers). I love my faith; I love who I am and who I will be. I refuse to apologize for who I am. Apologies are just words and words are transient. I’m open minded and willing to try just about anything. I believe life is my textbook and day by day I will breathe in a page and be taught.

I’m just living my dash.

A few of my favourite things / people :

  • Smiles that heal the world.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Colour blue.
  • Tupac Shakur and The Outlawz. (They are my spirit animals. Everything they do resonates with me on a personal level).
  • Beards that connect.
  • Philosophy.
My best friend Millah and I at the park.

Cheers!

Ida-Sharon.