It isn’t all in my head

I was alone in my humble apartment when I fell just the other day whilst on the phone with my assistant, trying to make a cup of tea. I had been struggling to sleep well for a few days, even with the aid of prescribed sleeping pills. So after a very taxing weekend of driving, singing gigs and the usual struggles of “adulting” I took a much anticipated nap. I took my pills as prescribed and climbed into bed, savouring roughly two hours of decent slumber. I woke up and picked up my phone to inform a few close friends that I had managed to get some sleep even though I woke up to a pounding headache. This isn’t unusual. I suffer from migraines now and then mainly due to tension. The hamster wheel in my mind is running on a V8 engine of late, therapy and calming agents aside.

The kettle was boiling and I mentioned to my assistant that I would climb back into bed as soon as I had used the bathroom which I desperately needed. I remembered feeling light headed and telling Vuyo that I would call her back in two minutes. I had convinced myself that two minutes was all I needed for my bathroom visit, pouring of the water into the already prepared cup and sliding comfortably back into bed. I repeated the phrase to Vuyo and whilst questioning why I had in all of 30 seconds forgotten that I had already pardoned myself I heard my phone fall. When I came to I realised that I had fallen with it. I sat in a daze and used my more sober voice to convince my self that it was safer to stay on the floor until my eyes weren’t cloudy and my head did not feel like I was hit by an unruly Putco bus. A quick scan of my body once I made it to the pillow confirmed that I wasn’t physically hurt. My mind however was in turmoil; Is this normal? Would it happen again? Should I call my psychiatrist?

Truth is that I was exhausted and had jumped back into work prematurely. My fear of going hungry due to insufficient funds had trumped the doctors orders to take it easy after my discharge. That and something I am not quite ready to share (keep reading, I will divulge the juicy details in due time).

My discharge from Vista Clinic in Centurion, a psychiatric and wellness hospital, was followed by rather vile tasting events. I was coming to terms with the reaffirmation of my existing disorders; anxiety, ocd and the likes but had two more to wrap my already clustered head around. The more pressing one being MDD.

MDD is the abbreviation for Major Depressive Disorder. I discovered that depression at this level may be caused or exasperated by events, circumstances and trauma but the main cause is a chemical imbalance. Therapy is a wonderful aid but medication (let me stress, the right kind for your body’s make up and other affiliated disorders) is necessary to alleviate the sometimes crippling symptoms. Symptoms range from instrusive thoughts, crying spells, fatigue to body aches and numbness. Insomnia and more frequent anxiety and panick attacks may also form part of this list of unpleasant symptoms if you have also been diagnosed with anxiety. Take note that only a psychiatrist can diagnosis and prescribe appropriately for this disorder.

I had lost a month of work during my admission and there were people who needed my assistance with pressing matters.

Why not top it all off with a flimsy, misinformed and quite honestly annoying newspaper article. Being in the public eye is not all that it is cut out to be, trust me. It’s crazy what the art of writing and journalism has been turned into a playground for sensationalism. And how carelessly we speak about people, their lives and families, around issues that society formerly deemed as both personal and delicate. I guess this “comes with the job” but one can’t help but wish humans would be a little more sensible and considerate of the effects, especially on the extended members of our circles who did not choose to dabble in this industry.

I am not writing this to complain about the pros and cons of celebrity status (a status I honestly believe I have not personally reached in any case) but rather about the lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding of mental health issues. How they can affect one physically, how they are not a “white peoples sickness” and how I’ve realised just how many people don’t know how to treat it because they can not call it by name.

I would love to collaborate with professionals to better explain the issues around mental health. I mainly have my own experiences and those of family members and close friends to share at this point. I do not wish to overwhelm you so we will take it a post at a time.

Keep this in mind in the meantime; YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. You are simply human burdened with a force most persons do not understand. You are allowed to ask for help, in fact you should. Asking for help does not make you a burden, it makes you brave. Brave enough to find ways to survive, overcome and conquer. You are not alone and you are amazing. Waking up to face the world with any or many of the mental health issues we suffer from is almost supernatural.

Take time out. If you need a minute, take it. I needed a month and found some quiet during my visit at the Clinic. Feel free to email me for more info regarding the clinic and other institutions that are setup to help, sometimes with the simple burden of being an adult.

A brave and compassionate creative @mluart had a conversation with me which resulted in an agreement to take a more creative route in creating awareness around mental health.

Follow my Instagram page @mathunzimacdonald for more on this and other awareness projects to follow in the near future.

My email address is info@mathunzi.com. Open for more information, sharing and support, business and collaboration enquiries and bucket loads of love.

I only deal in love. Let’s leave the negativity to Black Twitter.

Strength, Love and all things beautiful

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UNdo (18.09.2012) 

Five years ago today, at roughly 08:00, I stood waiting outside the magistrate office. I would legally and otherwise bind myself to the picture of forever that I had carefully woven in my heart and mind. Today, I can’t commit to a celebration. So instead I will rabble in reflection below…

“That only happens in movies” they said. We defied their limited notions with a timeless kiss in the dirty streets of Johannesburg, while clinging to our pockets lest those who picked them, found them. Weeks later a meeting you would have with a familiar stranger would anger me and have me tuck my heart’s keys away lest YOU found them. But your eyes sparkled with ambition and your hands struck me with desire; I loosened my grasp.

My father said “dare not be unequally yoked, how then would you raise your children?”. He said this deeply simmering with delight at your wish to take my hand and make an honest woman of me. We lay excitedly gazing at the single pearl on my finger, speaking of what WOULD be. Rarely did we speak of what COULD be if we lost the keys we both had been entrusted with.

My diamond ring which pardoned the single pearl, after the familiar stranger made a mockery of it would be tainted still… My old lover would leave this earth. You asked me to mourn, maybe wishing that, that would wash the corners of my soul that you still hadn’t occupied. I could only dream of being called your wife. My tears were aimless. Was I mourning the one who was or what was predestined to be.

Before you watched me walk down the isle, fame, money and adoration found us. No, wait… It found you. I happily walked with you, sapphire and diamonds in hand. I had a piece of paper now that carried all the promises of “for better or worse, till death do us part”. This little piece of paper wrapped the keys inside of it and invited my mind to it’s warm abode. I became delusional. Your eyes never wandered and neither did mine, why worry about those would pry lustfully at my flesh and your status? Our cellphones carried no weight of passcodes. Our home reeked of pleasure and satisfaction. Our eyes glistening with promise. We have found what we were looking for in that timeless kiss on the dirty streets of Johannesburg.

I remember the first time I cussed at you. The first time I threw something at you. I remember how I broke the promise never to slumber in anger. See, we understood that heart’s stop beating in the mornings too. What we didn’t know was that the covenants of lovers had hearts too.

“In 5 years we will review this contract.” We laughed loudly.

I laugh now remembering the fourth. The fourth of six. Six years of analysing the colours in your eyes. Six year of birthdays and deaths, of humans and covenants too. I want to forget. The death of the colours in your eyes that painted my heart’s canvas.

Year seven pending year five, I bought a bucket of paint. Black. I poured it over my soul. It dripped. Down to my feet and left bare the lessons I HAD to learn from YOU, from LIFE, from LOVE, that were specially crafted FOR ME.

Love with no reservations. Love stupidly. Love completely. Love to death. Love beyond death. Love beyond pain. Love your scars. Love the flowers on the graves of your hand written happily ever afters. Love YOU first, after God. Love the journey. Love him. Love him despite. Love him inspite. Love prayer. Love commitment. Love recreation, rehabilitation, restoration. Love your children. Love their children. Love their joys. Love LOVE.

This piece of paper no longer holds my mind. This was no choice of mine. Life spat in my face often enough and entrenched it’s vile stench in my hands; Each time I dared to wipe my tears I would smell the struggle. The struggle to be who I promised to be while loving you. Loving us. Loving this. So my mind detached in search of cleaner spaces.

Almost eight and safely at five, I would only changed two things. The deaths of the beings we coloured in hopes of creating masterpieces.

The rest should stay the same. How else would I undo the knots of premature promises I made to you. How else would I learn to celebrate what has become at FIVE.

It was/is NECESSARY

Her untold story 

Losing a child to miscarriage may be one of the most painful things any woman may suffer. To society, it’s not a true loss because you had never ‘met’ your child or they had not ‘developed enough’. The pain one feels as a coffin is lifted into a hearse, is the very pain experienced. And what’s  worse,is that you cannot talk about it. I mean it is so ‘taboo’ and possibly ‘shameful’ to your family. So you grieve and suffer in silence, whilst people confidently ask ‘so when are you having a baby?’. It is also something we are not educated about. There is something called a missed miscarriage. Your baby passes away but your body doesn’t recognize the death. So you happily continue being ‘pregnant’ until the doctor breaks it to you. You may choose to wait for the baby to pass on its own eventually, or be induced and suffer labor pains only to deliver a lifeless being. The trauma of carrying your lifeless child lingers. Then you must wake up and carry on as usual lest people wonder. Throw away the baby magazines, delete the apps, and break the news to family and friends who really don’t know what to say. Then the choice to get pregnant again comes into play. How do you begin?  Knowing that babies die before you get to hold them, kiss them… How do you process all this in your quiet corner. What do you say to the disappointed faces who’s pockets had begun to shake for your baby’s sake and who’s hearts were just as eager? How do you not think of 10 000 things you must have done wrong, even though science says there is really nothing you could have done. You must then attend baby showers, and babysit, and listen to careless girls toy with the idea of abortion or careless mothers complain about their gift. If only they knew that in a second your life can change. I still pray for every woman who has suffered a loss, early or late pregnancy or even after the child was born. Somebody does understand. Understands that you had named your child and sang to them,and had worked hard to prepare for their arrival. Someone understands the guilt when you consider barren women and others unlucky as this. This may sound petty, but what an enlightenment when the world discovered that Beyonce had had a miscarriage. The most affluent are human too and suffer the sting of death.

No one is seeking pity. Just a release from the solitude. The freedom to celebrate a life that could have been.

The person to tell her story.
Again,be kind to everyone,because you simply cannot know what battles are being fought within.

Acknowledge her strength but love her in her weakness.

Call her mother,she has given life that was cruelly taken away.
Each child is a blessing… A miracle
‘A letter to my unborn child’ she wrote…
Mommy loves you…