“Even if you did nothing, you are still worthy; worthy of love, of friendship, of happiness, of peace and of laughter. Your “amazingness” does not come from “the things you do” but who you are at your core.”
– Rachel Eyo
When was the last time you enjoyed just being?
Just being you; kicking back and relaxing; being present and enjoying the beauty that is life; doing nothing.
More often than not, we tend to find “joy” in “doing”, in being motivated, in being busy and in being “productive”. We swell with pride at an accomplished feat and sometimes do not even pause to celebrate said feat. Rather, we’re immediately on to the next task, goal, mission or vision. And if we fall short after a victory, we are quick to get hard on ourselves, forgetting the recent victory we forgot to savour. We are constantly on the move and not stopping soon, not even to get proper rest. Sometimes we proudly say “sleep is for the dead” and worse, we believe it.
The fast-paced world we live in occasionally makes us feel being busy (not “productive”) all the time is a good thing and not being busy is a not-good thing. Social media has exacerbated this feeling due to the fact that we have constant access to a steady stream of daily updates of things “being done”.
As a result, we’re constantly “doing”, constantly attending meetings, working, creating, dashing here and there, meeting deadlines and working some more. In fact, we subconsciously derive some joy and validation from constantly doing to the point that believe that if we are not busy or doing something, then we have nothing significant to contribute to the world. This explains why taking some time out to rest or vacationing with family without looking at a laptop could prove very difficult for some people.
Thus, we tie our worth and self-validation to what we do, achieve or accomplish; When we “do” and are busy, we are worthy and amazing. When we are doing nothing, we are not worthy and so we fidget and fight ourselves and look for something to occupy our minds and we are restless through out.
I’m learning to enjoy the art of being, enjoying my existence, the present moment, breathing in the fresh air and taking one step at a time. While I hardly get bored(because I’m always with one book or the other, lol), I’m learning to be okay with doing nothing at certain points and just appreciate life for what it is. Sometimes, it feels weird because I’m used to “doing” and feel weird when I’m not doing, but I’m slowly unlearning glorifying “busy”-ness and “doing”.
So, be okay with being bored occasionally, be okay with the quiet, take walks, REST, meditate, unplug from social media and the noise occasionally and bask in the beauty that is life.
In this remarkable memoir-in-essays, Basset Ikpi explores her life-as a Nigerian American immigrant, a black woman, a slam poet, a daughter, an artist – through the lens of her mental health and diagnoses of bipolar II and anxiety.
In I’m Telling the Truth but I’m Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame. Confusion, medication and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives- how we appear to others. and most important to ourselves – and challenges our preconceptions about what it means to be “normal”. Viscerally raw and honest. The result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are – and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories is also a lie.
Where do I start from?
Hands Down one of the most beautiful books I have ever read in a long while! Such honesty and openness that the author exhibited in penning this work of art.
As a mental health advocate, I loved the book because it highlighted certain conversations that should be had in Nigeria on mental health. Through Bassey Ikpi’s eyes, readers are able to understand what someone who goes through anxiety and bipolar disorder feels.
I recommend for every Nigerian, mental health advocate, Nigerians with mental health issues and everyone dealing with Biplolar II and/or anxiety (whether or not you know what it’s called).
I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing Bassey Ikpi and loved every second of it!From her book to mental health issues to Bassey’s journey with Bipolar II and Anxiety to Motherhood and mental health awareness in Nigeria, we had an amazing time discussing the book!
Watch the full book review and my interview with Bassey Ikpi by clicking the links below:
It is easy to get enveloped in fear and anxiety in these times and with everything happening around us, including the increase in the rise of corona virus cases, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the bad news flying back and forth globally.
For the first time in a really long time, we really understand what we mean by phrase “the world is a global village” as everyone’s business has now become ours. We are concerned about where people we engage with physically have been (even though most of us are working remotely from home). We are worried about being in the wrong place at the wrong time even if it’s just to step out to stock up on supplies.
Some of us have gotten paranoid or had mild panic attacks at the sound of every sound of a cough or sneeze even when it’s coming from us! Suddenly, our breathing does not feel right and we worry that our immune systems may not be strong to overcome this pandemic. A little spike in our temperature is automatically cause for alarm. We are therefore putting in place safety measures that we hope will protect our physical beings and see us through this pandemic.
However, while it is important to consider and observe every possible safety measure known to mankind to protect your physical body from harm, it is also important to ensure that in this period, especially as you work from home or self-isolate, you do not neglect your mental health.
Your mental health; which includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being, affects how you think, feel, and act. Your mental fitness or lack of it has the ability to positively or negatively affect vital areas of your life including your physical health. You have the ability to “think yourself sick” in that if your mind continuously conjures symptoms in your head, you may become paranoid to the point that you believe that you have a particular sickness.
The importance of optimal mental health during this period cannot be emphasised. So, here are 5 tips to help you cater to your mental health in the midst of the current chaos.
1. Limit Exposure to News
There is a lot of bad news making the rounds on televisions and in social media. The number of confirmed cases and deaths of this pandemic keep increasing. There are also concerning events simultaneously occurring around the world at the moment.
While it is important to stay up to date and remain informed of current developments as they arise, it is also important to balance and filter the amount of information coming at you.
Too much of bad news can cause untold levels of paranoia, anxiety and depression. So stay informed, but as much as possible, consider limiting your exposure to moment by moment updates in the news. Stay away from fake news; avoid reading and spreading every Broadcast message you receive especially when its from unconfirmed sources.
2. Entertain yourself
You may currently be working remotely from home or on self-isolation and so spend the majority of your day indoors. This may get boring at some point in time.
It’s interesting how most of us who never had a problem with staying indoors for days at a stretch now suddenly feel bored or feel the need to step outside to see what’s going on. Well, I guess there’s something about loving something more when it’s done naturally and without force.
However, given the present circumstances, you will find yourself indoors for days to come. Find new ways to entertain yourself because your normal routines may become boring overtime. Switch things up and research suggestions on things to do.
A few examples are: read new genres of books, write (in your journal or a book you’ve been meaning to work on), listen to music, exercise, create content (make funny videos), take an online course, chat with family and friends online, engage in funny and entertaining threads on social media and watch lighthearted or YouTube videos.
Speaking of Youtube Videos, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel, BooksWithRachelEyo where I review books I’ve read. You can click the link below to entertain yourself and watch my latest book review!
No, meditation is not just about sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed while making humming sounds. Meditation is a lot more than that as it involves a using particular techniques like mindfulness to focus your mind on a particular object, thought or activity. Trust me, it’s a lot harder than it seems.
By doing this, you are able to eliminate unwanted thoughts and clear your mind of any overwhelming feeling. You are also able to train your mind to be more attentive, stable and calm no matter the chaos happening in the world at the moment.
What you can do is take five to ten minutes of your day meditating. You can sit in an absolutely quiet place, close your eyes and focus just on your breathing or any other sound. When thoughts try to creep in as they normally would do, you mentally swat them away and maintain that quiet calm.
Praying also helps quiet the mind and keep the brain functional. This is because your body ultimately bows to your mind and the belief system you constantly reinforce therein. If you strongly believe that prayer will bring you peace and comfort, then it will. Prayer does not have to occur in a structured pattern. Just say it as you feel it and your spirit may just feel a tad bit lighter.
4. Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
This is another way to cater to your mental health during this period, especially if you’re self-isolating and alone. Talking to family, friends or loved ones can act as a much needed boost to your mood and general attitude to life.
As much as possible, resist the urge to self-isolate your mind. Reach out to people or friends you have not checked out in a while. Thank goodness for technology as we can now video call and voice call friends and family all over the world.
5. Stay Positive
I will be the first to admit that this may be hard to do right now, given the circumstances and the news that you wake up to every morning but stay positive.
Things may be uncertain or scary right now, but what you have is your attitude and state of mind. Stay positive, think happy thoughts, pray for those in need and stay hopeful.
This too shall pass. ❤️
Wishing you Love and Light,
We need all the positivity we can get. ❤️So, I’ll be sending out daily encouraging emails/newsletters to your email to keep your positivity level right up there, starting Friday, 27th March 2020. Click the link here to receive the daily and weekly emails and share with friends and family.
I parked my car a couple of times along the stretch. But I was too scared to walk close to the edge of the bridge.
I’ve been thinking a lot about life. My purpose? Why I’m on earth? It doesn’t make any sense. It never has. I continue to search. I feel lost. I feel alone.
Why can’t anyone hear me screaming through these smiles? Why can’t they hear me fighting to stay alive? Oh, I’m just being selfish. Everyone has their life to live, I guess.
It’s crazy of me to think of diving into that never-ending water. But sometimes I hear it calling out to me. I hear it promising me heights of ecstasy and peace of mind that I will not experience here.
I have torn at my hair a little more than I should in the past hour, desperately attempting to pluck each thought from my head. My braids are in a bundled mess.
I winced in pain when my hand successfully yanked out a loose braid, ripping out a chunk of my hair along with it. At least, I got something right.
My mind constantly runs ahead of me and I feel powerless to stop it. It wages war against my soul and losing seems like the only option available to me. And these knives on my bed? I need them and they need me.
I have not stepped out in months. My soul, I mean. My soul has not stepped out in months.My outsides? Perfect.
I often wonder what the other side of life looks like. Today I want to find out.
I know I’m crazy.I mean, who wants to die so much that they are already dead on the inside?
One to carefully and precisely carve out the deep-seated, soul-shatteringpain I feel in my heaving chest; and the other, well, for emotional support while I slowly carve.
In the past hour, I have caressed my left palm with the tip of each of the knives’ shiny blades at least twenty times, daring the unthinkable. It is amazing what comfort each knife brings to my spirit.
The knives stare at me invitingly from the comfort of my soft grey duvet. The air conditioner whirs gently in the distance but I hear them clearly. I hear them gently calling out to me and reminding me of the heights of ecstasy they have promised. I hear them promising me so much, I am certain that undoing what I have started is impossible. Most importantly, I hear them promising me silence.
Crazy. Mad. Lunatic. Idiot. Crazy. Out of Control. Restless. Chaotic.Lunatic.