When I had my first stroke I knew nothing about them. I felt dizzy and had trouble walking. I drove myself home from work and had to pull over on the New Jersey Turnpike to throw up. I was positive I had a stomach bug! I got home and went straight to bed. The next day I felt the same. “Sleep it off,” my body was screaming. I was only 43 and a very busy mom and sales executive. On day three I dragged myself out of bed and immediately noticed my left leg was not working properly. I took a few steps and thought, “Is this a joke?” My shirt sleeve was crooked so I reached up to fix it and punched myself in the face!
I headed straight to the ER. Well not quite. On Day 3 I finally realized something was wrong and went to the ER. I was admitted and was finally on my way to being diagnosed and getting some rehab. Six months later I was recovered and back at work. It was hard but I was tough and pushed hard to be 100%.
Fast forward six years. I was lying in bed one night and started slurring my words. My husband noticed immediately and said, “We are going to the hospital.” I agreed but all I wanted to do was go back to bed and sleep it off. By morning I lost my whole left side despite getting TPA within 30 minutes of my symptoms. This recovery was going to be even harder than the first time.
What if I had followed my instincts and went back to bed? I might not be here today. Every time I talk about this to stroke survivors, many will admit they tried to sleep it off. They say time equals brain because the sooner you get to the hospital, the better your chances of recovery. Sleeping it off does not help. Fight your instincts and get to the hospital.
I found this Safety plan template from suicidepreventionlifeline.org and downloaded it. This is a handy tool to have if you’re ever in a crisis. Click on “Get help”, click on “Help yourself”, click on “Make a safety plan”, then click on “Get a plan template”. You can print it out and fill it. I’ve learned this from my therapist and the hospital I have stayed.
I suggest posting this on your refrigerator or your door so you can see it before you leave your house. Also handy if you keep it in your phone.
Just remember: You’re not alone, there’s help and there’s always a choice! Your life is worth it and the people you care about well, obviously care about you!
If you feel your safety is in danger or you know someone else is please call 800-273-8255 (U.S.), Text 741-741 (U.S.) or go to befrienders.org (international). Don’t hesitate because it can save your life or someone else. #youmatter
Did you know everyone has patterns in their life. Certain days will trigger certain emotions. Until you recognize these days and emotions, the pattern will remain. Once you recognize the date and the emotion, you can begin to change the pattern and give a new emotion for that date. Also, keeping a mood chart can help pinpoint the triggers of mood swings and also help you know when it is time to seek help. It will track when your energy is high on a day that you are agitated the most. This is when someone should seek help right away. If you would like to know how to start a mood journal, post it in the comments and I will gladly help. #Moodjournal#BipolarDisorder#Anxiety#MoodDisorders#triggerwarningsuicide#gethelp
I noticed changes in my mood and thoughts around the age of 12. I did not know when my thoughts got so deep that it created another world for me. I started living mostly in my head. I could not confide in my parents about anything because I was always bullied by my dad. My dad was very strict, yelled a lot in every situation. The harshness my dad portrayed then did not go well with my sensitive self. A lot of things was confusing for me, including my sexuality, I was attracted to girls. I felt so different from other girls, i did not like what they liked. I preferred hanging out and playing with boys. I did not like to wear what the girls wore, I prefered to dress like the boys.
In my country, in certain areas it is considered a bad thing for girls to wear boys clothing. As a girl, if you dressed like a boy, you would be seen as a spoilt child. This was really confusing for me because i hated being in skirts and dresses. I hated my body, my bust and the fact that I menstruated and I was not like other girls. I even tried to hide my bust when it started growing bigger, by tying it down with a piece of clothing. I was a tomboy, I wanted to be like other girls so bad because I did not like the stigma of being different. So my thoughts plunged into negativity regarding every aspect of my life. I could not share all these thoughts with no one, so I got so depressed and started contemplating suicide.
I didn't even know anything about depression or if what was happening to me was depression. My grades in high school dropped. I became withdrawn and isolated. I became forgetful and anxious, filled with so much resentment and guilt. My country has no form of help for the depressed at that time. I doubt if there is any form of help now. A whole lot of people do not believe in the word .
If you share how you feel with people, you will be ridiculed or considered crazy. You can't even tell anyone you are contemplating suicide because they will think you have gone mad. So I was embarrassed by my own thoughts and feelings. Not sharing my thoughts and not able to get the help I needed got me deeper into . My parents knew there was something wrong but they did not know what the problem was. I attempted suicide when I was 13 by taking overdose of some pills meant for cold and topped it up with alcohol. I passed out and was rushed to the hospital. I am 39 now and I never told my dad that was trying to end my life. He passed August 2017. I told my mum this year that I attempted suicide.
I am sharing this story because I get so embarrassed sharing. But I no longer want to keep my experiences to myself. I want people to know that people from my country Nigeria and the whole of Africa get depressed too and there are so many Nigerian kids and adults alike suffering from mental health challenges such as anxietybipolar and schizophrenia. Some Africans think its a Western illness no its not. #gethelp #CheckInWithMe