Mental health

That’s a big issue. So yesterday a minister’s kid killed himself, which raised the ugly topic about suicide on twitter. It really was more of a one sided affair with people castigating those who contemplate or commit suicide. At first I was angry but later I guess I felt sorry, sorry for the level of ignorance and sorry for the number of people who will continue to suffer and/or die because mental health is not highlighted enough.
I’ll use myself as a living example. I’m not ashamed to admit I have been to that level where I contemplated suicide; to the point I knew the how, among other horrible things. Though I guess there’s nothing more horrible than taking your own life. And I am among the lucky few.
I’m not really that sure where to begin or how to go about this. I won’t be that comprehensive, I’m not a mental health pro but I guess I expect after reading this, you might have an idea what goes through the mind of a mentally ill person, and you go out and learn more about mental health. I’ll cover only what I know well, and/or have experienced and get you on the journey that will hopefully result in more awareness and will get somebody in need the help they require.
There are several types of mental illnesses out there. I’ve experienced two; bipolar disorder and depression. These are the ones I’ll cover because they’re the most common and I have some semblance of experience with them.
I’ll start with bipolar disorder. For the most part this blog has been about my day to day experience with bipolar, since I started it(coincidentally though) right about the time I was informed that I might have the condition. As regular readers already know, that was confirmed last year i.e. stopped being a “might have”. Will make it as short as I can. Basically bipolar is a mood disorder characterized by elevated moods, the highs referred to as mania, and the downs just known as lows. It’s not a constant thing and may occur once, twice or several times a year. Untreated, this is incremental, meaning once you get the first episode, there will only be more. The mood cycle mostly begins with a feeling like euphoria or awesomeness that may last from a few hours to a day or two, followed by the low which basically feels like a period of reduced self-esteem and low confidence.
The reason it took me so long to get treatment was because I loved the highs and the occurrence of lows was negligible. Plus I used to get stoned and drunk a lot and therefore couldn’t recognize whether it was the drugs talking or the sick me. Some of the things I did, I don’t write about because my colleagues read this blog and even though I try to live my life as openly as possible, there’re facets of me I’d rather keep for my inner circle. I was lucky in my old job because my boss valued my input (and was my friend) so had tolerance for some of the stunts I pulled in the middle of such episodes, but more of that later.
With time I started to accept the whole ben-might-be-bipolar thing so I was able to observe my moods and have reasonable control over myself. Writing helped too, because I could compare the mood in the text with what I know as my normal self. I can’t tell at what exact point the lows turned to full blown depression and incidentally I didn’t know that till I met my current shrink.
 The mechanism behind depression is really really complicated. I remember in primary school we skimmed over depression, most probably because we were too young to comprehend this extreme form of sadness that just sucks the joy out of life. According to my shrink, depression is really more common than we think, it’s just that in most people it’s recognized too late to help them effectively. Depression is many times triggered by stress.  Be it from work, relationship and other external factors. Simple as it may seem, getting out of depression doesn’t simply involve “sucking it up” or shrugging it away.
In the brain there is a chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. Fluctuations of this chemical affects moods. In bipolar disorder the brain is not able to regulate the amounts of this chemical so sometimes it’s in excess resulting in  mania and when it’s a little resulting in the lows. Mine is mild bipolar so my body pretty much got things under wrap most of the time. For depression, the body is producing very little serotonin. I know, right? How can such a stupid little chemical do so much damage!? Anyway that is basically it! Genetic predisposition means some people are more vulnerable to depression than others.
Umm…so what do I talk about now… Oh yes, how depression affects a person’s life. You have to remember this article is just about sating the curiosity about what the fuck goes through a depressed person’s mind, it’s not an article you can quote because the experience might be different for somebody else, but there are professional journals about all this.
When you are depressed you are in a dark dark room in the most remote recesses of your mind. You may have things going for you but you can’t notice it. My self-esteem was low, although I tried to fake it. When I got home after work all I wanted to do was be by myself and I’d beat myself up about why I couldn’t hold a relationship, why I’d become poor, why at my age I was still living with my parents while many of my age-mates were having families. i would cry to sleep many times and I’d hate myself more for doing that because I’m a man. Generally I knew my life sucked.
I would have trouble sleeping and when it was morning I didn’t want to wake up, I just wanted to go back to my sleep to the sweet peace that is unconsciousness. This way the brain is conditioned the Pavlov way to associate the darkness with good and consciousness with bad. I always thought about death a lot all that time, but I was like “noo, what about my mom and sister. What will they think?” Mental reasoning is all screwed up (but you don’t realize that), sane reasoning is eroded over time because I started to think, look at the way they’re always sad because of me. Wouldn’t they be so much better off without me, at least they’ll be able to focus on more important things, their lives. See where I’m leading?
Eventually you come to the conclusion the world is better off without you. I am catholic so I also thought about hell, but realized I was living in one. I would drag myself out of bed, and go to work but I would wonder why the heck I was bothering with that shit. I spent over one year in that routine till I forgot what happiness was. Mind you I wasn’t depressed all the time, I had happy days, but when I got depressed, it would catch up from where it left off the last time so each time I would be lower. I’m seriously considering publishing some of the extreme things I wrote during those periods, if only for the sake of awareness, many of them were mostly goodbyes and a conclusion of a life “well lived”. Oddly enough my dependence on alcohol reduced and I stopped taking weed completely, to this day I never understood why because in many cases of depression the opposite is the rule. My shrink can’t tell me why either. I guess I wanted to enjoy my last moment as myself. Oh, here’s something to note, when a depressed person seems to suddenly come out of it and seems happy again; that is the most dangerous point because it is indicative they’ve come to a decision.
No, not the decision to seek treatment and suck it up “because life is hard for everyone anyway”. It means they’re at peace with themselves and their decision. It is that final moment when that voice/instinct of self-preservation finally dies out and there’s no inner conflict. I would know; I was almost at that point, right at the cusp. Oh I wanted to die alright but that voice in me hadn’t given up yet, I had to try one last thing before coming to my final decision(morbid huh?)…I wanted to see a psychiatrist. He is good people, wanted me hospitalized immediately because he thought he wouldn’t see me again. Yeah, hospitalization is just my nice way of saying Mathare mental hospital. Nah, I kid, they have private mental institutions. He didn’t charge for that session and I think he wanted to pay for my hospitalization, I kid you not. I didn’t have any money when I went there. I hate being confined so obviously there was no way I was going to let anybody hospitalize me. But I used all the money I had and bought the medicine I’d been prescribed and…here we are; more than a year later. I’m no longer depressed and have full control of my life. I know I stopped taking the medicine without consulting the doctor, but it came out he was going to take me off them anyway. I’m only being treated for the bipolar which is a breeze compared to depression.
Anyway, getting out of depression isn’t as easy as it seems, but my family and girlfriend were a big help. The girlfriend because she is the only other person who can really understand the shit-storm that was my mind, having gone through it herself (not bipolar). We broke up several times but eventually it was all good as I healed and had more control over my mental faculties. It had to end though. Pathetic, huh? You go through years of hell and when things are finally good…but that has been covered, I guess. But long story short, I love my family and they have always been there for me and really helped me especially in making me realize I was loved regardless of who I am; but Shae was the one who made me realize I could get out of it and be happy for once. She was my rock and for that I’ll forever be grateful.
My point is depressed people can’t do it alone. Most of the time you have to reach out to them to make them realize they are sick. Believe me, they don’t know that that is something that can be treated through therapy and medication. The worst thing you can do is judge them because you make it worse. I used to think being suicidal was cowardice too (the times before I was depressed, obviously). The only reason I got out of it so fast was because I knew I had a problem. As far as my doctor is concerned, I’m not out of the woods yet…fyi. I was depressed for a whole year before I got treatment, most people have gone longer without knowing and in them the damage is much worse and you need more patience.
It takes a lot to convince a person they’re ill. Depression is a disease no less like AIDS or cancer and the most important step is to make the depressed person come to accept it as such. It’s not shameful. Being taken to Mathare is not shameful, I know we make fun of that place a lot but I think it’s about time we stopped stigmatizing mental health treatment. Taking antidepressants isn’t shameful, seeing a psychiatrist isn’t something to feel shy about; when you need a doctor, you need a doctor.
Most importantly, even if they don’t want to talk about their feelings with you, don’t feel bad, they’ll get there, just make them feel your world is a much happier place because they’re there, whether they appear “damaged” or not.
One last thing, treatment of bipolar and/or depression is freaking expensive. If you know a friend is having difficulty paying for it, help them or find a way to help them. The treatment is really important. I’m lucky insurance started paying for my treatment; I had actually stopped for a couple of weeks because of financial reasons! Went to a pharmacist and the cost of the medicine was 18k! Really fucked up, huh?
I guess now it’s time to give the list of symptoms to look out for:
·         People become withdrawn no psyche in life
·         Decreased productivity at work, decreased energy
·         Hopelessness/pessimism
·         Sadness
·         Suicidal thoughts
·         Jfgi
 For bipolar I’ll just let you google it. But I don’t think bipolar is that serious especially in its milder form. Regardless, I’m having it treated and doing my best to stick to the medical regime assigned. But I really hate popping pills every day and I long for the time all I’ll need is the psychiatric help alone. Bipolar is really cool though when you think about it, right? It’s like FREE BOOZE, no hangover, no liver damage. Anyhoo, I’ve digressed. I tend to contradict myself a lot when it comes to bipolar. It is rather a double edged sword sadly.  You get this really awesome designer drug for free but dangling on it is a disclaimer “side effects may include: loss of job, loss of savings, loss of relationship, STI, death from the God-syndrome, depression etc…”
And those who make it a habit of judging people for thinking about suicide, nobody appreciates life more than the person that almost ended their own because only they know how close they came to going off the edge and how helpless that feeling is! I know you say those things out ignorance and mean the best, but fuck you. You don’t know!
Anyway I have done my part in showing you what it feels like to be depressed. Your part now is to find out more about it. I’ve only scratched the surface. On Wikipedia there’re over a hundred mental illnesses listed; chances are, somebody you know is suffering from one of them and doesn’t even know it. Do your part. Nobody ever died from knowing too much…unless you’re working for the mafia or a drug baron, in which case, good luck.
As a footnote, I know there are group sessions for people with mental illnesses which may be helpful if you think you are suffering from a mental illness or know somebody suffering from it. It really helps to talk about it with somebody you know has gone or is going through the same. If you need the contacts hit me up on twitter(@iz_ben). I’ll confess I’ve never gone to any because I don’t need to talk about it; I write almost all my experiences which is therapy enough (and remember I had a girlfriend that had gone through the same who helped a lot), plus i have a professional psychiatrist, which as far as I’m concerned is enough. Sorry, stubborn is in my nature.
Keep safe and look out for your physical, emotional and mental well-being, and of course those of the people close to you. Cheers.

O is for Obedience

HAVING AN OBEDIENT WIFE and kids who flinch and hide in the corner of the room when you come home is the hallmark of a successful family. Since having a well tempered wife is essential to asserting one’s manliness, here is a quick guide to finding and training your new wife.
WHERE TO FIND A WOMAN Bringing a woman into your home is a life-altering decision that requires careful consideration. Before you make the financial, social, and time commitment to adopt a woman, ask yourself if you’re ready for the ongoing responsibility. Once you’ve decided that a woman is right for you, the first step is to find one. Here are a few places to start your search:
MALLS
Most women can be found in malls—large shopping establishments that can be found in most major cities. Malls are rife with idle women ready for the picking. You can find women of different builds depending on which area of the mall you look in. For example, looking in trendy or novelty clothing stores will yield a younger, valley-girl type of woman, whereas if you look in the food court, you will usually find a larger breed of woman with thicker thighs that are more suitable for birthing.
SCHOOLS 
College campuses are a great resource for men in the market for women who come fixed. Females on university campuses are likely to be in heat, in good health, and anxious to leave the confinement of their self imposed academic prisons. Since stock models of these women come sterile, they’re ideal for men who are looking to avoid undesirable sexually transmitted diseases(namely children).
BARS/CLUBS
If women are like steaks, then the big greasy chunks of gristle that are left over after you finish the meal are what you’ll find in bars. Fortunately, there is a way to separate out the high-quality women from the low in bars and clubs. When you stand near a woman, listen for a faint whistling noise coming from between her legs, as if wind were passing through a large, hollow cavern. If you hear this sound, your prospective woman may have a condition commonly referred to as “whore.” Be wary of these women, as clubs tend to harbor many of them.
TYPES OF WOMEN Once you find an establishment with women, the next step is to choose a woman that’s right for you based on your level of commitment. Surprisingly, not all women are the same; that is, women can vary greatly in intelligence, body type, and personality. The following is a list of the most common classifications of women.
BLONDESThis type of woman is energetic and enthusiastic. These personality traits will wear thin after a couple of minutes and will transform into another personality trait known as “annoying.” Blondes love to laugh, drink, and hang out in bars, and as such have a propensity to be loose. Women with blond hair tend to have overtanned skin and blue eyes, which are seen as desirable physical traits by some men. This desirability is fueled by the music and television industries; so this type of woman is greatly sought after. Some analysts believe that, due to overvaluation, the market for blondes is about to burst.
BRUNETTES: As a rule of thumb, brunettes are more meek than their blonde counterparts, due to the higher perceived value of blondes. This underlying devaluation will occasionally manifest itself as “low self-esteem,” making brunettes more easily attainable. Unfortunately, not all brunettes are desirable, and the exceptions can be tragic. For example, the brunettes with lighter skin tend to sport especially noticeable moustaches, due to the dark color of their hair follicles. This type of woman may require a high level of maintenance to keep presentable.
REDHEADS: Redheads require a very assertive owner due to the trying natures of these women. For instance, most redheads are very combative with other women and even some men if you allow it to happen. The dominant nature of this breed may be undesirable to men with flimsy backbones.
  NEW OWNER CHECKLIST After you select a woman, it’s important to go through the following checklist to make sure she is right for you:
• Is the woman’s body clean and well trimmed? Are her upper-lip, shoulders, and lower back clear of hair?
• Any unusual smells? For that matter, any “usual” smells?
•Any excess baggage? This could be fat, kids, or psychological issues.
• Does she have black fingernails, nappy looking hair, scar tissue around her wrists, bags under her eyes, or creepy pink thigh-high stockings? (All these say “head case.” Be wary these women can be exhilarating at times, but you’re just as likely to have your penis cut off in your sleep.)
• Are her shots and vaccinations current?
• Does she walk with a limp?
• Does she look like she’s been bred more than twice?
• Did you check to make sure she’s not wearing flip-flops?
BRINGING YOUR WOMAN HOME There are several preparations you need to make before bringing your woman home. This is done for the safety of your property and belongings, as well as to prevent any unexpected medical bills due to accidental ingestion of drugs or toxic substances that may be in your home.
THE KITCHEN 
If left unsupervised, you will find that most women will naturally find their way to the kitchen. Although your kitchen may appear to be safe at first, there are several potential risks that you need to be aware of. The most common accidents occur when pot handles are left hanging over the edge of the stove. Make sure to turn the handles toward the back of the stove, where she will be less likely to knock them over while she’s mopping the floors.
THE BATHROOM
Make sure to keep medicine and supplements locked in cabinets. Some women have occasional fits of depression and may attempt to get attention by swallowing half a bottle of Tylenol. While this rarely poses a threat to the woman’s safety, Tylenol is expensive. One exception to this rule can be made with Midol, which you should leave in a candy dish in plain sight at least once per month. This will help keep your woman’s irritability in check. If you find that your woman is not consuming the Midol, you may consider mixing crushed tablets into her food.
BATHING TIPS: It’s important never to leave your woman alone in the tub, lest she slip and drown. Always stay with your Woman while she’s in the tub; you may even consider joining her. A long day of cooking and cleaning will make a woman filthy, so make sure to run an extra hot bath or shower, and scrub behind her ears and between her breasts-especially between her breasts. A woman’s chest is the filthiest part on her body and needs extra scrubbing to clean. Sometimes scrubbing isn’t enough, so you must use your mouth on her nipple pores to thoroughly clean your woman.
EXERCISE AND DIET
All women require some level of exercise and diet to keep fit and presentable. How much exercise a woman requires depends on several factors, including her body weight, frame, chest size, and self-esteem. For example, a woman with a low self-esteem will tend to overeat, causing her more weight gain than a woman with higher self-esteem.
Women with large busts require a type of exercise that consists of jogging, skipping, or jumping up and down on a trampoline. These types of exercise will help you determine your woman’s chest pliability. Some women with breast augmentations may show signs of discomfort while doing these exercises, in which case you should promptly exchange her for a natural model that won’t suffer from boulder tit syndrome.
Managing your woman’s diet won’t be simple, but can be accomplished by giving her less food. If your woman seems irritable with less food, try supplementing her meals with unflattering comments about her hips and thighs. Failing that, you may need to bring another woman into the picture; nothing makes a woman shape up like the threat of another woman vying for your attention. With practice you’ll find that a woman’s jealousy can be used like a tool to manipulate her into doing all sorts of things to gain your praise.
It’s also important to feed your woman high-quality food to prevent infections and other undesirable effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and bitching. Feeding her filler foods (i.e., Taco Bell) may cause parasites to invade her body. If you suspect that this is the case, have a stool sample checked for worms by a qualified physician.
HOUSE TRAINING YOUR WOMAN
Upon bringing your woman home, house training should be one of your top priorities. The key to effective house training is implementing a reward-counter reward system to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior.
A great deal of supervision and patience is required while training your woman to relieve herself properly. She may complain about finding the toilet seat up, but she will eventually learn that she can put the toilet seat down with a fraction of the energy she’d expend complaining about it.
You should reward her good behavior by giving her treats such as flowers (keep your eye out for half-off sales, or if you don’t mind carnations, stop by a cemetery), TV allowances that she can use to watch her favorite shows when you’re not home, and if you’re feeling particularly generous, you could let her take you out to dinner instead of cooking for you.
If an accident should occur, you must exercise care not to overdo your punishment while still sending her a message that this is unacceptable behavior. Make sure that whatever command you say will be simple enough for her to remember easily. These tips taken together will help make your ownership experience a good one.


Of life lessons and other stuff

Hell is still overburdened, I must stand and wait in line. Seems I have commitment treason; all I have sacrificed, led to nothing.
This is one of those blog entries that stay for weeks without being published because when i read them later in the drafts I wanna change a lot and probably take out chunks of it, but i have to fight it since it will ruin the general vybe i had at the time of writing. 
It has been little over a week since I got off the bipolar medications, not because the shrink told me to, but because I said so (said with a lisp); my body, my rules! I can choose to go back to doing drugs and shit and nobody can do jack about it, not my family not my friends not anyone. Funny enough I miss having conversations with myself, because in the long run you realize the only person you can really ever trust is yourself, those voices in my head that I stilled, they were never wrong. People will always pretend to be your friends (or soul-mate) and stab you in the back, people will try to change you, yet Mother Nature intended us to live free and wild. Now, in the current societal norm, that has to be within certain boundaries I guess; you know, my freedom to throw my fist anywhere ends where the other person’s face begins and that type of shit. I long for the time I can afford (figuratively and literally speaking) to let out my inner demons to roam free the way they were meant to and desire. Good guys ALWAYS get fucked! That’s one life lesson you gotta take to heart.
Anyway, getting off the medications isn’t a walk in the park, as I came to realize (ok, I already knew). Since I got on them my body started to rely on them just like narcotics and it seems, like a hooker leaving her pimp, you don’t just get to walk away. Let’s start with the headaches, dear Lord they’re freaky and painful, unlike regular migraines these ones have more oomph in that I feel like somebody is electrifying my brain every few seconds, it’s kinda hard to describe the sensation without shuddering. But I can take it, been through worse shit and lived to tell the tale. I have to take the occasional pill when it gets really unbearable, but I’m able to stay off them for increasingly longer periods.
So why am I getting off the meds without telling the doctor? [He will know soon enough, right about the time I publish this, and we’ll save the insurance company thousands] From of the top of my head: I came out of the depression that had plagued me for little over two years, in that all the negative stimuli that caused it has been removed from my life i.e. I’m no longer stressed, I’m no longer bankrupt  [ok I’m netting way way less than I used to, but I’m not broke], I no longer trust people in general, I changed friends and got rid of the stupid friends, and the number one reason: I finally took control of my emotions! Feelings are stupid; they get you vulnerable, used and hurt. I love my family and all, but that’s pretty much it, rather, as far as I will let them (the feelings) go from now on. In as much as the meds helped take away my depression, they really reduced my creativity. The irony is that the random patterns of thought that gave me all the symptoms of being bipolar, the mania and all that [excluding the lows] made me more creative.
My life has always been an open book, not because I want people in my life, but because I don’t give much of a crud about what people think of me to hide anything. When I was confirmed to be this…you know, the b-word, I didn’t hide it, even if it was a bitter pill to swallow, I took it in stride. If I was gay I wouldn’t hide it [but I don’t push my right to be straight down anyone’s throat or expect a celebration, gays take notice]. So just because you know shit about me doesn’t mean I care(d) enough about you; it just means my ability to give a fuck is so little you can’t even blackmail me, because what you may presume is a dirty little secret is everyday information to everyone else. So, even in the instances I learn of people talking about me behind my back, I just shrug it off. Amazingly enough, I’m not even curious who it is, or what, or the context because that is how much I give a fuck! That is just what life made of me.
If there’s one thing I have learned over time, it’s that people care too much about perception by others. Too many times we’re so busy looking over our shoulders to check if anybody has seen us or is looking that we fail to notice the next step we’re about to take. I guess I’m just recently learning that the one thing I did right before in my life was not caring about what people want me to be. If I had just continued to ease my life into the contours of my desires I would be in a much happier, better place. And that is what is wrong with our society. I am what is wrong with our society.  We want so much to live the lives of others that we forget we have our own desires. We don’t all want the same things. Frankly, that is why we don’t seem to have enough resources. We have been conditioned to think we all want the same things. Call it capitalism, blame the media or whatever you want, bottom line is we have affixed ourselves to such few fixed options it was only natural that they wouldn’t be enough and we’d break down into castes i.e. the haves, could haves and have nots; also leading to the buildup in sensationalist bullshit where we have this inexplicable interest in celebrities and royalty. Ok, I digress. Never meant to talk of capitalism, sustainable development, resources, celebrities and all that in this entry; I’ll cover that in more detail some other time, plus I need to do more research before I cover such topics as an expert[actually I am an expert on sustainable development and resource management ahem], but you get the gist.
My point in all this: be yourself, eat life with a big spoon. Follow your heart and never be afraid to explore your desires. And most importantly, people will always have an opinion about your life whether you’re good or bad, the important thing is not to listen and live your life. I’m avoiding the word “haters” but most people bitch about others because they (the bitchers) aren’t really that interesting; really in the long run what matters is what you think of yourself.  Just remember not to step on peoples toes unnecessarily, remember that thing I said about where your freedom of expression ends. And by living with these tenets your life will be so much happier.  If I have committed any fallacy, consider it intentional.
Keep well mes amies.