Consultant/Lecturer/Radio Host Gerry McDaniel Talks #Mentalhealth, Stigma (& what The Bible says about it)

 Gerry-McDaniel-mental-health-and-the-Bible-tami-tsansai-blog

Hi lovelies, happy new week! For today’s #MentalHealthMonday post I’m happy to share with you a very insightful message I received by way of a WhatsApp broadcast that was forwarded to me by a friend, and a short interview with its author, Gerard ‘Gerry’ McDaniel— lecturer, consultant and host and producer of RJR 94 FM’s Palav programme. The message contains wise words (his own perspective) on mental health, the stigma around mental illnesses (and how nonsensical it is) and, most interestingly, what The Bible has to say about it all — I was happy to see it’s quite a bit.

Since he’s a Christian, I found his take on the matter particularly enlightening and refreshing, considering that many other Christians do not share the same sentiments and, due to ignorance, discredit mental illness. Some are known for telling challenged individuals to simply ‘pray harder’ and step up their faith, so his thoughts were a welcome difference. Scroll down to read the excerpt and get acquainted with the wise man who said it all. At the very least, I think you’ll find it interesting too.

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Ode to a friend lost

Author’s note: Greetings all. I recently announced that Fridays will henceforth be dedicated to interviews and features, however, I need to switch that up and return to regular scheduled programming next week. Be cautioned, however, that today’s post is more like a reflective stream of thoughts that happens to be a tribute to the life of my just-deceased friend. It is pretty much me bleeding and ranting on paper, albeit virtually, in an attempt to make sense of my feelings and the experience of knowing him in the grand scheme of things – it is therefore as lengthy as it is poignant. My apologies.

Saturday, April 12, 2014 – the backstory

Skeptical though I was in the months leading up to our energetic convergence, I managed to open my mind enough to go. I had already declined several invitations and referral meetings and was in fact quite cynical about meeting some random enlightened and erudite geezer everyone referred to as ‘The Guru’… according to the picture I had in my head at least, luckily, it was not so. It was a very dark time for me – something that had unfortunately over the years become more familiar than distant, so rather than the occasional tête-à-tête with depression, I had more bouts of dealing with it  – being emotionally crippled and physically drained – than actually living my life and loving it. I was angry and sad mostly, and when I wasn’t, I lived in a fog that was thick enough to shroud me, allowing me to stay far removed from everything else but not too thick to allow everyone around me to see and interact with the pseudo-self I presented without suspecting much of anything.

I was torn about many things and it felt like I was leaking in my spirit, but I was too vacant to stop the bleeding. Seeing, feeling, knowing and examining the gaping wound but being unable to cauterise it, I was okay with just letting it run. There wasn’t much outside of that. Autopilot days in work mode, being fake pleasant and functional, doing a job I loved doing in a place that I loathed being in… it drained my energy. All this woven into a level of stress so deep, it drove me near psychosis, near death and near the complete loss of my essence. Sure, there were moments when I caught a glimpse of my old self, smiling, and could almost touch her, but I was never able. In my head, I had neither time nor desire to share this willingly with anyone. In my heart, I knew I had to do it, so I did. Continue reading

Anderson Cooper tries schizophrenia

Cats by famous painter Louis Wain, who suffered from schizophrenia. He had a thing for painting felines and it's argued that the progression of his illness was seen in how abstract his paintings grew over time.

Cats by famous painter Louis Wain, who suffered from schizophrenia. He had a thing for painting felines and it’s argued that the progression of his illness was seen in how abstract his paintings grew over time.

Hi guys, it’s been a while since I posted about mental illnesses, so I’m quickly sharing a video that chronicles a day in CNN top journalist/anchor/producer, Anderson Cooper’s life. What makes it really thought-provoking is that he willingly takes on an experiment wherein he goes about his normal daily activities as a schizophrenic, using simulations of the things that really occur inside the mind of someone with schizophrenia. UPDATE: You can read his own blog post here which also gives insight from Pat Deegan, the clinical psychologist and an actual schizophrenic who designed the experiment.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness wherein the afflicted persons have major difficulty understanding what is real and what is imagined. This affects everything in their lives and causes them to act ‘abnormal’, effectively disabling the person. I’d say probably eight out of 10 times these are the people whom society labels as ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’, and as someone for whom this topic is close to home, I try to shed some light on the subject whenever I can.

From what I know of the disorder, it’s a pretty accurate representation of what it’s like, which is why it struck such a chord with me and I just knew that I had to share it.  I really admire Anderson Cooper and his great work, and I believe this experiment is a beautiful example of how journalists can use their influence for good. Watch the video below to see Anderson Cooper give schizophrenia a shot, and please, try to keep this in mind the next time you feel like calling people ‘crazy’, or stigmatising and ‘trolling’ someone who actually has a mental illness to live with. It certainly isn’t a walk in the park.

Love and light.