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10 months ago · · 0 comments

Bipolar Disorder Explained: 3 Types of Bipolar Disorder (Part Two)

2. Bipolar Type 2 Symptoms

Bipolar disorder II manifests in hypomania symptoms and only lasts for four days.

A person with bipolar disorder type 2 will experience the symptoms of major depression and hypomania. The symptoms of hypomania are less severe and only last for four days rather than a week. It mostly happens to adults above 20 years. 

You’ll have a depressive phase where you don’t feel like doing things you used to enjoy. You’ll also tend to avoid pain and displeasure and seek utmost pleasure, prioritizing things that bring you joy over important things. 

You also sleep a lot or have insomnia, suicidal thoughts, and a reduced appetite. 

In no particular order, you’ll feel depressed, have hypomania symptoms, and return to a normal mental state (euthymia). 

3. Cyclothymia Symptoms 

Cyclothymia begins to develop from the early age of six! It eventually develops into bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder. 

A child or teen with cyclothymia will experience noticeable depressive symptoms of bipolar and mania symptoms but never to the extent that they qualify as mania or depression.

Children or teenagers with cyclothymia may exhibit the following depressive symptoms. They will:

  • Complain of frequent headaches and stomach aches
  • Mop around, be very sad, and cry a lot
  • Say they feel worthless and guilty
  • Eat a lot, or be very picky and eat too little
  • Have suicidal thoughts
  • Not be interested in playing or in anything

The manic symptoms could include:

  • Lack of sleep and not feeling tired after insomnia
  • Poor focus
  • Rapid speech and a flight of ideas
  • A short temper followed by anger outbursts
  • Being overly happy
  • Risky behavior

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

There is no single cause of bipolar disorder, and it’s often an interplay of different factors. Research shows that it may be related to your environment, genes, biological factors, brain structure, or physiological factors. It is also likely to occur if you suffer from the following disorders:

  • Psychotic disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Eating disorder
  • Substance or alcohol use disorder

Here are some of the key factors that are believed to play a role:

Genetics and Bipolar Disorder

There is a significant genetic component to bipolar disorder. If a family member has bipolar disorder, you are at a higher risk of developing it. But having a relative who has bipolar disorder doesn’t guarantee that you will develop the disorder.

Brain Chemistry and Structure

Imbalances in certain neurotransmitters and chemicals that transmit signals in the brain have been linked to bipolar disorder. Neuroimaging studies have also shown structural and functional differences in the brains of individuals with bipolar disorder, particularly in areas involved in mood regulation.

Neurobiological Factors

Abnormalities in various brain circuits and systems, including those related to emotional processing, reward, and mood regulation, are thought to contribute to the development of bipolar disorder.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormones, such as those involved in the body’s stress response (e.g., cortisol), may also influence the development and course of bipolar disorder.

Environmental Factors

Stressful life events, traumatic experiences, and major life changes can trigger bipolar episodes in genetically predisposed individuals. Substance abuse, especially stimulants, and drugs that affect mood, can also worsen bipolar disorder symptoms.

Biological Clock and Sleep Habits

Disruptions in circadian rhythms and sleep patterns have been observed in individuals with bipolar disorder. These disturbances can affect mood and energy levels.

Psychological Factors

Psychological characteristics and coping strategies may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder. For example, high-stress levels, perfectionism, or certain personality traits could interact with genetic factors to increase susceptibility.

Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders or certain neurological conditions, may mimic or exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

If you or someone close to you has bipolar disorder, remember:

“It’s treatable. It’s something you can live with and it doesn’t change your quality of life whatsoever.”

These were the words of Dennis Ombachi, and we second them.

10 months ago · · 0 comments

Bipolar Disorder Explained: 3 Types of Bipolar Disorder (Part One)

Bipolar Disorder

Close to two million Kenyans suffer from mental illness according to a 2014 World Health Organization report. To paint the picture in numbers, one in every four Kenyans has a mental disorder, which may be bipolar disorder

While public figures like Rachel Shebesh and rugby player Dennis Ombachi have openly shared their struggle with bipolar disorder, not many understand the condition. What’s more:

  • Some Kenyans are going through this and are not willing to seek help
  • Some don’t understand what’s happening to them

So, What’s Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition with extreme highs and extreme lows. The mood swings variation is so much that it affects your activity levels, your energy, sleep patterns, and the way you think.  It affects your thoughts, the ability to focus, and subsequently changes your behavior in a negative way.

“If mood swings are a campfire, bipolar disorder is a forest fire out of control,”

Dr. Dominic Sportelli, a Double Board-certified Psychiatrist.

While bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can’t be cured, it can be managed with the help of a mental health expert. This means you can take meds and the treatment should help reduce the symptoms.

Mental health experts treat bipolar disorder through a combination of psychotherapy and medication. So, you can get back to your usual self and enjoy a normal life if you stick with the treatment.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

The signs of a bipolar person could be manic symptoms, bipolar depression symptoms, or hypomania. 

Manic symptoms include: 

  • Hyperactivity
  • Talking excessively
  • Less need for sleep- some patients go for days without sleep
  • Easily distracted- they have a flight of ideas and jump from one idea to another without giving any of them focus.

Mania episodes are characterized by excessive physical and mental energy for seven days or more, so much so, that the person needs to be hospitalized.

People with bipolar disorder type 1 sometimes have manic symptoms which alternate with bipolar depression symptoms. 

Hypomania is a less severe representation of manic symptoms. It is hyperactivity for four days or less, which mostly occurs when you have bipolar disorder type 2.

A bipolar person with type 2 bipolar disorder experiences hypomania followed by periods of depressive symptoms.

Bipolar depression symptoms are: 

  • Feelings of extreme sadness
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of emotions or motivation
  • Hopelessness
  • Guilt

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are three types of bipolar disorder:

  1. Bipolar I disorder
  2. Bipolar II disorder
  3. Cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia

All these types manifest symptoms of depression, mania, or both. It’s easy to confuse the three types of bipolar disorder, but the distinguishing factors among the three types of bipolar disorder are: 

  • When they begin
  • How long the symptoms last, and 
  • How severe the manic and depressive symptoms are

Bipolar disorder can first show itself as mania, depression, or hypomania. This is why your doctor must carefully diagnose depression or bipolar disorder because the treatments for bipolar disorder and depression are completely different.

It’s quite common to make a misdiagnosis, mistaking bipolar disorder for depression like in the case of Dennis Ombachi.

1. Bipolar I Disorder Symptoms

The five warning signs of bipolar disorder type 1, whether or not you’ve been diagnosed are:

  1. A depressive episode before 20 years
  2. Antidepressants don’t work and sometimes they make your symptoms worse. 
  3. A close relative has bipolar disorder.
  4. You’ve had a recurrence of 3 or more depressive episodes in five years.
  5. Taking mood stabilizers leads to full recovery within 30 days.

Bipolar 1 disorder is mania. It typically begins at 18 years or less but may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. The manic episodes last a week or more and can be so severe to the point that the patient requires close monitoring in a hospital

The bipolar person may also experience depressive symptoms, although some people with bipolar disorder type 1 do not experience depressive symptoms. This could be followed by hypomania symptoms.

A person with bipolar disorder type 1 will easily get distracted, act on impulse, and have inflated self-worth ideas. This is called grandiosity. The person will think they’re a superhero of sorts, and sometimes, they’ll act like God. 

Grandiosity episodes can sometimes progress to psychosis. People in this state believe they can save the world, they may spend money recklessly and/or engage in risky sexual behavior. They may also do things that they would never do in their right mind. Eventually, everything comes crashing down, and they experience an extremely low point. This is mania psychosis.

They also have a flight of ideas and can talk of doing 1000 things in a rapid and pressured speech. Additionally, they are very irritable. 

A major symptom of a person with bipolar 1 disorder is they tend not to sleep and have no desire for sleep. They can go for a week without sleep.

If experiencing 3 or more of these symptoms for 7 days straight, the mental health expert will diagnose bipolar disorder type 1 after ruling out the following.

  1. Medical illnesses such as traumatic brain injury, temporal lobe seizures, and thyroid issues
  2. After effects of illicit drugs
  3. Recurrence of manic episodes. That is if you’ve had just one manic episode
  4. Depressive symptoms. As we mentioned bipolar disorder 1 may or may not have depressive symptoms

Watch out for part 2 on bipolar disorder type 2 and more.

1 year ago · · 0 comments

5 Little Known Ways to Deal With Workplace Bullying

Picture this. You’ve spent hours pouring your heart and soul into what you consider a door-busting resume.

Your fingers are numb, and your eyes are screaming fatigue. It’s been eight hours of meticulous editing and formatting.

With unwavering confidence, you hit the send button, imagining how great it would be if you got your dream job.

A week later, you receive an invitation for an interview. You walk in, nail it, and secure the job. Everything is checking out as it should.

But a few weeks into it, you start hating your new role. Your boss won’t stop humiliating you. His criticism is harsh, and the words cut deep.

You start questioning your competence despite years of trailblazing in your field. The headaches and tears are endless, and you dread reporting to work.

The truth is: you are a victim of workplace bullying. Your work environment is 100% toxic, and your mental health is at risk.

Here’re some tips for dealing with workplace bullying:

Developing these critical soft skills is essential for not just surviving but thriving in your professional journey.

Mental Health at the Workplace: Recognizing the Red Flags

Bullying at the workplace is the repeated mistreatment by a colleague or a group of colleagues. It could be:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Sabotage
  • Humiliating criticism
  • Threatening or intimidating remark

4 out of 10 employees experience bullying at work. More than half of those bullied lose their jobs without substantive legal reasons, according to a WBI Survey. It is ‘psychological violence’ that negatively impacts employees’ mental health in the workplace.

Examples of workplace bullying, as per Clark and Ritter(2018), include :

1. Disrespectful language and any threatening remarks.

2. Labeling or name-calling, insults, and dehumanizing language.

3. Your colleague or boss continually lies about you or leaves you out of important meetings or activities.

4. Harsh undeserving criticism in front of colleagues that leaves you feeling intimidated and humiliated.

5. Negative comments possibly circulated to everyone, consequently affecting your work performance.

6. Withholding critical resources at work that should help you perform your duties. It could also be a  colleague refusing to cooperate and collaborate on a task that needs input from all sides.

7. Your supervisor can make your life hard by issuing unreasonable assignments frequently.

8. Leaking of private information.

9. Intentionally sabotaging your promotion and other work benefits or opportunities, such as attending a workshop.

Now this is important. Because of workplace bullying, 67% of employees quit their jobs. They leave a job that was once dear to them. This is quite unfair, considering they worked hard to get the job.

How Do You Deal With Bullying in the Workplace?

Empower yourself to defy workplace bullying by mastering emotional intelligence and not cowering when attacked. Be tactical and apply these five tips for dealing with workplace bullies:

1. Document the Abuse

Pick your journal or phone notepad and write the date, the person who bullied you, and where it was. Give more context or details about the incident. Write the exact phrase or words used; if it’s emails, start grouping them in a file as evidence.

This will be helpful later when you escalate the matter to a superior manager or HR. It is strong evidence should you decide to file a legal complaint.

2. Speak Up Immediately When Bullied

Bullies take pleasure in the act and must be stopped immediately. Playing along will only make matters worse, so don’t do it.

Address the issue with utmost emotional intelligence using phrases like “Please stop that. It is dehumanizing.” Point out their lack of values and explain why the bully’s actions are a problem to you.

Stand tall as you speak, with shoulders straight and not hunched.

If you’re afraid of talking to the bully alone, you can ask a colleague to accompany you. You can also escalate the matter to a top manager or HR.

3. Talk to Your Supervisor or HR

Let HR or a senior supervisor know about the issue if you cannot face the bully. The latter is a good idea if the HR is unapproachable.

Be sure to research your company’s policy on workplace bullying and harassment. Use this information to back up your claims. It also helps you know your rights as an employee.

Additionally, have the documented evidence with you and make your case more about the business than you. Talk of company resources, time wasted, productivity, mental well-being, and anything that affects the business bottom line.

If it’s the HR who’s bullying you, speak to the next in charge.

4. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Do something that makes you feel good about yourself-something away from work. It could be a hobby like baking, a business, charity, or painting. Anything that makes you feel good.

You could also vent to a friend or relative. However, don’t make it a habit. Endless venting about workplace stress will strain your relationship with friends and family.

Talking to a counselor or therapist is a good place to vent, especially one who’s specialized in trauma counseling. Aside from getting solutions to this issue, you’ll learn how to handle your emotions and identify your triggers.

You’ll also know how to handle your mental health, be confident and not blame yourself that this happening.

5. Move on

If the problem doesn’t seem to have a solution, evaluate if it’s worth staying at the workstation. Don’t take things personally, and don’t expect the bully to change their ways.

Get closure emotionally and move on since you have little control over the situation.

As a last result, look for another job. Your mental health comes first!

How to Deal With Loss (4 Tips for Cancer Caregivers)

1 year ago · · 0 comments

How to Deal With Loss (4 Tips for Cancer Caregivers)

Caring for a cancer patient has never been easy, much less if it’s your sister, mother, father, granny, or close relative.

There are days you hope they’ll live. And days you wish the pain in their eyes could just be over. Some days you hope desperately and pray earnestly. “Please, God, let my sister live. Give her another chance.”

You hold the faith for your loved one, fundraise, and accompany them for the radiotherapy and chemotherapy. You firmly believe it’s going to be okay. Even this shall pass, and we’ll triumph! You look for alternatives to keep their esteem high when their hair falls.

But there are scary days when you watch their eyes shrunken with despair. Days when you are anxious, burned out, and stressed, wondering why us. You hope to see the day everything will get back to normal ;for laughter-filled meals during Christmas.

Sometimes God grants your wishes, but sometimes it never happens.

And you’re angry and in denial, wondering, “Why God? Why did you take my sister? Why did she have to die? But we thought we could beat this. We prayed, Lord. We fasted for days. Never did a day go by without us fighting.”

Then everything comes crashing, and you’re on a rollercoaster of emotions. You wonder if the fight and financial strain were worth it.

During times like these, you need someone who understands your pain. Someone to listen to your internal anger debates and offer a shoulder to cry on, as cliché as that might sound.

How a Counselor Can Help You Overcome Cancer-Related Grief

Counselors may not always solve your problems, but they will help you deal with your negative feelings and emotions. They offer practical tips to help you develop healthy coping mechanisms, and support you in finding purpose and meaning in life after loss.

With their help, you’ll navigate the complex and often confusing emotions associated with grief. They’ll tell you it’s essential to let it out by crying; no need to lock in your emotions. In fact, it is unsafe to do so because you can self-harm.

We’ve found that journaling or hitting the gym hard are good ways to release negative emotions. Joining a support group can also work because you need emotional support, and talking it out helps.

But most of all, therapy offers a safe palace to talk and express your anger. It helps you go through the stages of grief and eventually accept that your loved one is gone and it wasn’t your fault. If anything, you did the best you could.

4 Tips to Help You Cope After the Loss of a Loved One

It’s easy to lose yourself when grieving. Especially if you put in the hard work caring for the patient before their demise. But, these four things can help you navigate this period:

1. Try and keep up with the daily activities of life

Wake up in the morning, shower, brush your teeth and hair, and put on some clothes. Even if you don’t feel like it, take breakfast and small meals throughout the day.

Write a to-do list, like putting in a load of laundry at 4 pm, because you will likely need to remember. Ideally set a schedule accounting for every hour from when you wake up to when you go to bed.

2. Get enough rest

Sleep is good for the body and brain, especially when grieving because you tend to tire quickly, even in the morning.

Sleep and awake at the same time every day, if you can, and avoid oversleeping or cutting yourself from people. You also need to occasionally step out, walk a bit, or talk to someone you trust.

3. Don’t be too hard on yourself

Most caregivers blame themselves or think they could have saved their loved ones from death. While these emotions will definitely arise at some point, don’t beat yourself up for not being there or not doing enough. Feeling a wide range of emotions is normal, so treat yourself with grace.

4. Talk to someone

Talking to someone you trust helps in the healing process. You can talk to a qualified counselor to get the most out of therapy. A counselor determines how fast you’re able to deal with your emotions and not self-harm or get depressed.

Suicide Awareness

1 year ago · · 0 comments

Suicide Awareness

Do you feel suicidal but don’t know where to get help? Shape Destiny has helped thousands like you. We understand how hard it is to fight off negative suicidal thoughts. It may feel so overwhelming that there is seemingly no way out. The pain might be too much and you may feel like a tragic end to your life will put an end to your suffering. But there is hope in your situation. We assure you there’s hope.

What Are Suicidal Thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts are the intense feelings of ending your life tragically. These are thoughts or plans to injure yourself, hoping to die and escape from what’s going on.

You are more at risk if you have been bullied, sexually assaulted, or have a mental health problem like depression. Teens with substance abuse problems or those who have been bereaved may also be at risk of suicide.

Depression clouds thinking and limits your ability to overcome a temporary situation. You blow out the negative emotions, and the situation looks like it can never get better, yet it can, and it’s only temporary.

We encourage you to talk to someone you trust, a counselor, a coach, or a close friend if you’re feeling suicidal.

How To Tell You’re Suicidal?

You’re suicidal if you often think about ending your life. If you talk about going away, bidding friends and family goodbye with no trip plans, then there’s an issue. If you give away your valuables and talk about a hopeless, meaningless life, you should seek help. These negative emotions are telltale signs of suicidal thoughts.

If you or a friend shows any of these signs, they might be contemplating suicide, and you should get help immediately! Don’t wait or hope that your feelings will get better.

We’ve found that seeking professional help can help handle this complex situation. Don’t be embarrassed and shy from seeking help.

1. Accept how you feel
Admitting that you’re suicidal is the first step in coping with your feelings. Allow yourself to feel that way. There is no shame in feeling that way.

2. Talk to a counselor
A therapist or certified counselor can help you process these thoughts and develop coping strategies. They provide a safe space to discuss your feelings and help you identify a pattern or underlying issues triggering your emotional distress.

When you speak to a counselor, you get nonjudgmental advice and other resources to help you feel better. Here’s where you can get help:

● Book a session with Shape Your Destiny or call 0722507835.
Shape Your Destiny helps people who’ve gone through traumatic life experiences and loss to return to their normal selves.

● Call the child toll-free line 116, and you’ll get the help you need. No child deserves physical or sexual abuse. Any information you share will be confidential and it won’t cost you anything. You can call any time during the day or night.

● Call the Befrienders Kenya hotline at +254717234621 if you feel suicidal. They are available between 7 am and 7 pm.

● Nacada’s toll-free line is 1192, and it’s available 24 hours every day.

3. Talk to someone you trust
Sometimes, simply talking to someone you trust can help you feel better. Reach out to a friend or family member and let them know how you feel. They can give you support and advice.

4. Join a support group
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts that won’t go away, join a mental health group or support group for emotional support. Look for support groups of people who are in treatment for depression or of people who have overcome suicidal thoughts and similar problems. Sharing with others going through the same thing can be incredibly helpful and give you a sense of community.

5. Practice self-care
Taking care of yourself is essential when it comes to managing your emotions. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat healthy food, and exercise regularly. Also, find activities that bring you joy and help you relax, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing meditation.

Get Help Now

Dealing with your emotions can be challenging. The good thing is you can express your suicidal thoughts in a friendly atmosphere to a counselor. You can also develop healthy coping mechanisms and improve your overall well-being.

Start by taking small steps, and remember, it’s okay to ask for help.
Feel free to reach out when you need help. Our goal is to see you recover and return to your usual happy self.

Mental Health Awareness Matters

1 year ago · · 0 comments

Mental Health Awareness Matters

For a long time, mental health has been a taboo subject, shrouded in stigma and doubt. Yet, it affects our overall quality of life. Talking about it reduces stigma, and promotes early intervention.

Not so long ago, my friend Sally (not her real name), succumbed to a vocal outburst, muttering incoherent words that turned into loud cries and a string of indescribable words. She had been through too much after a noisy separation from her spouse, and she struggled to juggle work and parenting.

Her trigger, we guessed, was a co-parenting trip.

You know how seeing the person who caused you endless pain doesn’t help with healing? And how you can’t move on? And then finally you blow up? That’s what happened. For three hours, she recounted her ex-husband’s verbal and physical abuse, disparaging him in the most damning manner, ultimately dismantling his character. Eventually, she was taken to the hospital, albeit with some resistance.

The following day small groups gathered around her home, engaging in low-tone discussions. Some genuinely didn’t know how to help or where to start, but some were judgemental.

I hate to think they viewed her episode as a personal weakness, or a character flaw rather than a legitimate medical condition that requires treatment and support.

Sally’s situation highlights the pressing need for open and comprehensive discussions about mental well-being to end the stigma. Although we’ve made strides in raising awareness, there is still much to be done to reduce stigma.

What Is Stigma and How Does It Impact an Individual?

Stigma is a mark of shame or dishonor directed at people with mental health struggles. It is the finger-pointing, disapproving, and at times curious looks, following an episode. It is the negative reaction after people discover you have mental wellness issues.

Stigma can lead to unwarranted feelings of shame or guilt, especially after a scene like Sally’s. No wonder, people who struggle with mental health issues often feel ashamed or too embarrassed to seek help. They fear judgment or discrimination in communities or at their workplace, manifested in labeling and name-calling.

What follows is:
● Isolation and a gradual worsening of mental health
● Feelings of hopelessness and a desire for substance abuse to numb the pain
● A don’t care attitude or a sudden personality change, e.g. anger outbursts, starting to take alcohol,
a daredevil attitude, etc.
● Sudden neglect of personal hygiene
● Talks of suicide

These far-reaching results take time to recover from and can be life-changing.

It is why society must stop the stigma, and understand that stigma only exacerbates mental health issues. It lowers the quality of life and is directly linked to depression.

This is why we implore you to be more understanding and accommodating. We need to create a supportive society. Be proactive and actively seek therapy after noticing the aforementioned warning signs. Creating a conducive environment for the person to open up and talk about their problems also helps.

In Sally’s case, a counseling psychologist would have helped her navigate her feelings after the separation. She needed to let out her frustrations and address the anger until she got to a place of acceptance.

What Do We Learn From This Scenario?

1. Mental wellness affects overall quality of life. Sally was struggling, in pain, and tired. Clearly,
all was not well.

2. We should talk more about mental wellness. Had the community around Sally been more informed, they
wouldn’t have discussed her in hushed tones. It would have reduced stigma.

3. Education or empowerment is important. Sally and her friends could have made the informed decision
to seek appropriate support after identifying the warning signs.

4. Mental health awareness leads to improved relationships. Sally’s community would have been more
compassionate and empathetic to her had they known what she was going through.

5. Early intervention. This is the most important lesson. Sally must have had telltale signs of a
mental health challenge, which relatives and friends must have noted. Should they have known, what
to do, the situation would not have escalated to a verbal outburst.

Steps to Break the Stigma

Breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health is crucial if we want to help those who need help. You and I must raise awareness and promote open dialogue. We must continually create an understanding society that allows people to seek help without fear.

We can do this by:

1- Understanding That Mental Wellness Is Just as Important as Physical Wellness

When a close friend or relative is sick, we empathize with them. We visit them bearing gifts and get-well-soon cards. The same compassion and empathy should be extended to mental health patients. And no, pity does not fall in the empathy category.

Send recovery messages to mental health patients. Visit them often, and let them know it’s gonna be okay.

2-Talking About Mental Health Issues Openly

If you’ve suffered from depression, PTSD, or are bipolar, talk about it. Educate and inform society.
People tend to be ignorant and talking about it helps. Anyone affected will know what to do in such a situation. It also encourages someone who could be going through a similar issue in silence.

3- Understanding Mental Illness Needs Medical Treatment

If  you see someone down don't be tempted to step on them. Do your best to lift them .

Often, people with mental health issues are blamed for not doing enough. Society sometimes thinks they could have done more to avoid the situation, or that the condition can be prayed over.

Such situations cannot be wished away, and will not pass with time. The reality is, mental illness needs medical treatment.

Blaming a mental health patient for getting sick is like blaming someone for getting cancer. I mean, no one wishes to get sick.

Similarly, life experiences beyond their control led them there. In Sally’s case, there’s nothing she could have done to stop the separation and the pain which followed.

Promote a Culture of Acceptance and Understanding Around Mental Health

We can all do our part to promote mental well-being. Whether it’s by:

● talking openly about it
● educating ourselves and others about these issues
● advocating for better services and resources
Every action counts.

Let’s normalize seeking treatment for mental health as is with physical health, and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable seeking help. Above all, let’s stop stigmatizing anyone with mental health issues or anyone undergoing treatment.

TIME IS GOLD

4 years ago · · 0 comments

TIME IS GOLD

TIME IS GOLD

It may sound strange but Time is what we want most, but what we use worst said William Penn.

Time being an abstract element cannot be seen and touched. It is defined as

What is measured in minutes, hours, days etc. (Oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary)

History reveals that time management is a factor known to have marked the difference between successful and unsuccessful people.

What I have become now is largely because I made up my mind back in high school to manage my time well. I was brought up at the slopes of Mt.Kenya near the aberdare ranges, I used to walk to and from school bare-feet  for  a distance of 6km. my parents the late Edward  Macharia and Esther Muthoni were peasant farmers who struggled to make ends meet. It was a challenge to raise the eleven of us and many a times we lacked school fees, school uniform and basic necessities. Despite these impediments they encouraged us to work hard in school and excel in our studies. Our dad would go into the trouble of borrowing text books from our relatives after they had completed a certain grade.

The difficulties notwithstanding, I sat for my Primary Certificate Examination (K.C.P.E)   and performed fairly well. I was then admitted to  Chinga Girls’ High school. My grade could only allow me to get admitted through the second category which is today known as second selection. To be honest, I disliked the school as I felt that I could have managed a better school like a National school. Most of my time was spent in wishful thoughts. I kept hoping that somehow I could get a transfer  to another school. Studies were neglected and my mind was not focused. Harry Emersib  said that,  No gas or steam ever drives anything  unless its confined. No life ever grows great unless its focused, dedicated and disciplined. As a result, my grades were just average though I knew that I had the potential to perform well.

Before long I was in year three. This year sounded like a wake up call to me. I realized that time was progressing fast and this rang a bell in my mind. Coupled with the desire to succeed and to make my parents proud I had no time to waste in fact I needed extra time if I wished to succeed.

There was a boarding area and a tuition area in our school. There was a watchman manning the gate separating the two sections. One could only be allowed to go the tuition area at the specified time. This was a challenge to me as I planned to  wake up earlier way before the stipulated time. Starting then I was always the first to wake up for morning studies.  One day the  watchman asked me why  I was always the first to go for morning preps and I told him plainly that it was because I desired to succeed . He then told me that if surely that was my wish my determination was strong enough to enable me achieve my goal. This was his own version of  telling me that, if one advances confidently in the direction of  his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours Henry David Thoreau.

Almost immediately, my grades started to take an upward trend, to my surprise, towards the end of the year I rose to the top position in my class. We  then did the Indexing examination ranks students in order to  mark sitting arrangements during the final examinations and I was position five across the form. I had managed to beat majority of the students who had been admitted through first selection. Ultimately, I did succeed and qualified for university admission. Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along Napoeon Hill advised.

‘COVID 19’ REFLECTIONS

4 years ago · · 0 comments

‘COVID 19’ REFLECTIONS

Life truly does happen.it has been several months since the Corona Virus pandemic hit our nation. An announcement in the media that Kenya has confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 virus popularly known as Corona disease that was first reported in early December 2019 in Wuhan China became a game changer.

The president of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta further went to declare that all learning institutions should be closed with immediate effect, save for boarding schools and tertiary institutions which were accorded a few days to comply in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

As an employee in a learning institution this announcement rang a bell in my mind. Nothing had prepared me for this closure. The following day being Monday, I set to report to work only this time feeling disoriented with the turn of events. On arrival in school, the blank expression in the learners faces fuelled the confusion I felt. ‘’Teacher, do we have to really go home?’’ One student asked me. To say the truth, I dint have a response for this, I was totally at a loss to explain why things had to turn out that way. Fortunately, when we discussed the pandemic and how easily it is spread, they were at a better chance to appreciate the closure of schools. I prepared take a way work for them and trusted God that we would meet each other after the virus is tamed.

This quarantine comes with its share of challenges and on a brighter side with deep reflections and soul searching. My children are all at home, a teenager, a three-year-old and one-year-old. I can confess, it is a daunting task to keep them lock-down.

This is a season that comes with deep reflections, ‘’What really is the essence of life, devoid the normal working routine, the paying of bills, bringing up children and the allure of acquiring more wealth?’ Despite the fear and anxiety from this virus, let us keep hope alive. Thoughts about the havoc Covid-19 has caused to human kind leaves all of us with insurmountable fear and worry, what keeps me going is to know that I should not allow the things that I cannot control to determine my actions and thoughts. I cast my fears to Almighty God. My prayer every day is that God may strengthen me and every one of us to have unwavering faith, to be fearless and to follow the precautions set by the government and the medical professionals of washing hands with soap, keeping a safe distance from the other person, avoiding crowded area, staying home if one has a cough and working from home if possible.

One thing Corona pandemic has taught me is SELFLESSNESS. The world is now than ever before coming together to fight this common enemy. We can demystify Corona when we call it being

Careful On Regulation- Always kNeeling for A prayer.

STRESS – #TWO

4 years ago · · 0 comments

STRESS – #TWO

Other stress coping mechanisms that may reduce the risk of negative health effects are;

  1. Self awareness.  It is paramount to listen to your body’s response under different situations in your life, such as difficulty sleeping, over-eating, and under-eating. Being easily angered, having low energy, experiencing palpitations, constant headaches and stomach aches, increased alcohol and substance abuse.
  2. Engage in a relaxing activity. Relaxation and wellness programs greatly mitigate stress in our lives such activities include breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation and even talking a nature walk.
  3. Stay connected. No man is an island. Have a support system in place, this can be family members, church members or even close friends who can provide emotional support and practical help.
  4. Seek help from your health care provider. If you are experience a psychosomatic illness get proper health care. Let the health professional know that you are experiencing stress. Effective treatment is crucial in alleviating the long effects of stress.
  5. Have an exercise routine. Plan for exercise as part of your daily activities. Just 30 minutes per day of walking can help boost your mood and improve your health.
  6. Eat healthily. We are what we eat. A healthy diet goes a long way to reduce the risk of diet-related diseases. Our diet should have adequate amounts of nutrients as well as essential vitamins and minerals, as well as water to boost our well being and strengthen our immune system.
  7. Smoking and drinking. Be aware of your smoking and drinking habits. Try to cut down or eliminate smoking and drinking as these can aggravate stress in your life. Substance abuse may seem to calm down tension but causes more anxiety and stress in the long term.
  8. Get adequate sleep. Insomnia is a condition that makes a person to experience sleep problems, this is common when you are experiencing stress. If you are having difficulty sleeping, you can try to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume and avoid too much screen time before bed.
  9. Positive self talk.  Self affirmations are a great way of building self-confidence and focusing on the positive side of life. This consequently lowers anxiety and tension that could lead to stress in your life.
  10. Take life easy.  Don’t be too hard on yourself. Focus on your achievements and strengths. Write down the things you are grateful for each day.

Ultimately, if you are overwhelmed by stress, feel you cannot cope, you are using drugs or alcohol frequently as a result of stress, ask for help, seeking professional help can support you in managing stress effectively.