Thursday, July 23, 2009

SCHIZOPHRENIA... understanding and dealing with it

It all started 10 years ago(at least that was when we noticed) when my mum had informed my brother and I (we were in secondary school)that we were not going to school that day because she had realized that she was being monitored by ‘certain’ people and now they wanted to get at her through us. Then we noticed she became very withdrawn and would often not go to work. We later got reports from her office that even while at work she would lock herself in the office and would not pick up calls even from her secretary. Her ideas of life and the people around her had become so weird that even when we tried to make her see reason with us it was as futile as trying to drain an ocean by fetching from it with a teaspoon…

Dorothy, Delta.

The lady above has a mental health problem called schizophrenia. About 1% of most populations is said to suffer from this condition. It is a common case seen in most psychiatric institutions. It is a brain disorder which can affect how the individual thinks, feels and acts. The rate of occurrence is same in both sexes.


It is a complex and puzzling disease hence the actual cause is not yet known rather it is said to be the result of multiple interacting factors. Some of the implicated factors include genetics (hereditary), imbalance in certain chemicals in the brain which are responsible for the transfer of messages in the brain, and also various environmental factors which range from events during pregnancy, delivery, stressful events in childhood to stressful events in adolescence and adulthood. Smoking marijuana also puts one at risk of developing the illness.

Some misconceptions about this condition that I would like to clarify with regard to the cause is that schizophrenia is NOT same as ‘split’ personality or ‘multiple’ personality (as I have found out to be the popular assumption of many and this is partly why I wrote this article) neither is it caused by bad parenting or due to weakness in the affected individuals personality.


Symptoms may first appear between the ages of 15 and 35 even though it could occur earlier or later and this has been observed to often appear earlier in males than females. The appearance of symptoms varies from person to person; symptoms may develop slowly over months or years, or may appear very abruptly. In the early phase of the illness they isolate themselves, start neglecting their appearance, say peculiar things, and show a general indifference to life. They may abandon hobbies and activities, and their performance at work or school deteriorates. They may also be noticed to be sleeping poorly.

The person suffering from schizophrenia may experience one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Delusions -- false ideas that are strongly held unto despite contrary evidence. For example, individuals may believe that someone is spying on him or her, or that they are someone famous. They may believe that someone or some people want to harm them.
  • Hallucinations -- imaginary voices which give commands or comment on the thoughts or actions of the individual. It could just also be a disturbing sound or the person may think he or she sees, feels, tastes, or smells something which really doesn't exist.
  • Disordered thinking -- moving from one topic to another, but making no sense. Individuals may even make up their own words or sounds.
  • Oddity of behaviour—the person is withdrawn, mute, may neglect personal hygiene, talk and laugh with self or often assume very unusual postures.

There are variations in the pattern of presentation. The impact on the social functioning of the affected individual varies from minimal to severe. Some people may experience symptoms only a few times in their life while others may need to manage their symptoms through medication and self-care. The worst form of the disorder can make it difficult for a person to tell the difference between real and imagined experiences, to think logically, to express normal emotional responses or to behave normally in social situations.


In the past it was said that only about a third of people with the illness recover fully while another third do not respond at all to treatment. The remaining third are in between, that is, they get better following treatment but they still have residual symptoms which give them away that they are not completely mentally healthy or stable.

In more recent times studies have shown that only less than 20% of those with the illness show no response or significant improvement following treatment. Schizophrenia usually runs a persistent course and like other persistent medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, the medications only control and not cure the illness hence the need to take the medication persistently even when the individual is mentally stable thus preventing a reoccurrence of the illness.

The burden of the illness could be remarkable both on the ones with the illness and their loved ones; family members, colleagues and friends. However the following steps could help

· Educate yourself about the illness.

· Learn to communicate better with those with the illness; keep it brief and straight forward, don’t argue with one who has a strongly held false belief (its part of the illness and it could make him or her irritable and then aggressive).

· Set realistic expectations for them in view of the limitations placed on them by the illness. Help them set goals and assist them achieve it while being patient with their pace. Avoid criticism.

· Encourage independence by creating a structured and supportive environment this will improve self care and self confidence.

· Encourage them to take their medications.

· Find support for yourself and possibly be in contact with medical personnel who can come in handy during the crisis period of the illness.

Just like any other disease, early detection and appropriate intervention on this illness goes a long way to improve the general outcome of treatment and invariably, the quality of life those with the illness will eventually enjoy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Warren's Buffet 7 secret's for living a happy and simple life

wify sent this to me, I thought I should share this you could also check out the link they have pretty nice articles

Are you sold on the fake notion that owning possessions is the touchstone of your self-worth? Have you felt jealous and self-pity when a neighbor bought a new Mercedes or a new Yacht that you always wanted to possess? We all have.
If your paycheck is not keeping up the pace with your cravings for the new iphone, why not learn the secrets of simplicity from the richest man on the earth who still lives without a cell phone? Before you sink your money for the latest gadget what if you were to know that the Oracle of Omaha still has no desk computer in his modest office?
In this world full of the rich and famous, Warren Buffett remains the greatest investor ever born not due to his acumen for the wise investments that he has made during his life but more for exemplifying the greatness with simplicity. He’s full of wit and happiness and this is at the core of everything that he does.

Secret # 1 : Happiness comes from within.

In my adult business life I have never had to make a choice of trading between professional and personal. I tap-dance to work, and when I get there it’s tremendous fun.- Warren Buffett

This is the man who truly does what he loves. The battle between Productivity and anti-productivity blogs stems from their convoluted chains of frequently twisted rational to substantiate their claim that productivity is a force of an external demand – from an employer or a competitor. In reality, productivity comes from within. It comes from doing what we love and loving what we do. When we start trading time between our professional and personal life, we wage war in our own mind to justify our passion in terms of a personal benefit. In my business I have felt more stress and angst when I haven’t given all of my talent, hard work and passion to help others on a given day. The myth of working hard to make more money to buy more things throws us in the vicious circle of hallucination. Our happiness always remains imprisoned when we do work that we abhor yet justify doing it to pay bills for those things that we don’t need. I used to work even after buying my first hotel for many years to justify the fake notion that I needed additional income to pay bills. What I needed was to change my lifestyle to free myself from this never-ending rut chase.

Secret # 2 Find happiness in simple pleasures.

I have simple pleasures. I play bridge online for 12 hours a week. Bill and I play, he’s “chalengr” and I’m “tbone”. – Warren Buffett

If the man richer than God can find happiness in the simple pleasure of playing bridge online with another billionaire, I have to learn to be happy with the simple pleasures of playing cards with friends or playing with my children or taking a walk in the wilderness. All of these simple pleasures do not need extravagant spending. I used to go play golf with other businessmen when the local chamber of commerce sponsored an event. I never found happiness in those events as they were centered on generating more business and exchanging business cards than on truly enjoying the moment. I was allowing myself to be run ragged by trading business cards after hours in a vain hope of making more money whereas that time deserved a dinner with my family.

Secret # 3 Live a simple life.

I just naturally want to do things that make sense. In my personal life too, I don’t care what other rich people are doing. I don’t want a 405 foot boat just because someone else has a 400 foot boat. – Warren Buffett

The sad truth is that our ever-sophisticated advertising industry has conditioned our mind to find happiness from consumption by spending our hard earned money on the possessions that never bring us lasting happiness. We spend our life-energy on those possessions that we seldom use. We worry about making payments for a luxury car that sits in our garage collecting dust only for the right to brag about it in an occasional social gathering. Keeping up with the Joneses is the worst epidemic among those who should never contemplate that notion in the first place. If a man who can possibly buy a nation with his cash never espouses the mantra of “more the better”, I need to learn not to spread my legs beyond the reach of the blanket. We are conditioned to spend money before we earn it. We are sold on the fake happiness of “Buy now, pay later dearly” - It’s nothing more than buying possessions that we cannot afford. I have my share of insanity when it comes to mindless spending, but lately I try to pay for most of my purchases with cash. It creates awareness towards the impulse buy when I pay by cash. I have also started red lining items on the credit card statement that I consider useless spending. All of these efforts have built my awareness towards my impulse purchases. I have been using mantra of – “less is more” to simplify every aspect of my life. It’s a work in progress but the results are astounding.

Secret # 4 Think Simply.

“I want to be able to explain my mistakes. This means I do only the things I completely understand.” – Warren Buffett

There lies one of the greatest secrets of simplicity. Warren Buffett invests only in the businesses that he understands. If you ever read research reports from an accomplished Wall Street guru, you’ll find a plethora of details that make you dizzy. The success of Warren Buffett as the greatest investor ever lies in his ability to think simply.

I used to invest in the stock market in the mid 90’s when everyone wanted to make over night millions in an exuberant market. I used to read “Investor’s Business Daily” only to look at the movers and shakers. These were the stocks that made a significant upward move a day before. A few days before Christmas, I made $52,000 in one stock in a matter of a few days. I knew nothing about the company. I created a new reality for my thoughts that I had figured out how the Wall Street works. I was on my way to the riches. I applied the same thought model on the next several stocks. Needless to say, I lost all that I made and much more. I was lacking in a basic human quality that Warren Buffett has mastered well – common sense. It says a great deal about the character of a man who invested a measly amount in Microsoft despite the fact that Bill Gates is one of his closest friends. I learned a valuable lesson of life from this experience – “Not losing hard earned money is far more important than making more money”.

If I apply this rule in my life, I can develop clarity and sanity in my thoughts. Clarity is the mother of simplicity. Life is not a roulette; life is about simple yet profound choices.

Secret # 5 Invest Simply.

The best way to own common stocks is through an index fund. – Warren Buffett

It is astounding to know that the greatest investor in the world is not bragging about intricate financial maneuvering to impress the rest of the world with his financial genius. Instead, Warren Buffett shows us the most simplistic approach to our financial freedom – “Flow with the market rather than pretending to be smarter than God.”

In this world full of so-called financial experts, Warren stands tall by showing us the simplest way to the riches. The stock market has moved upward for the last hundred years despite numerous setbacks. He is using a long historical view to back his argument rather than making a futile effort to predict how we can make a quick fortune. After losing most of my capital in the late 90’s, I have precisely followed the simple advice of investing in the no-load index funds. I’m happier than ever and while my assets have not skyrocketed, they haven’t dwindled either.

Secret # 6 Have a mentor in life.

I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit-forming. – Warren Buffett

We are worshipers of celebrity demi-gods. All of us have this acute desire to look and live like these celebrities. However, are they truly the ones with character and moral compass to lead us? Having a mentor is as important as having a purpose in our life but having a wrong mentor is as devastating as having a wrong purpose in our life. The mentor has to be someone whom we can trust and have an unwavering faith in his/her guidance. The mentor has to be the one who has made outstanding strides in advancing the greater and guiding purpose of happiness in his/her own life. You’ll find that person in your inner circle if you think hard enough. Write down why you admire them. Try to emulate their traits and as Warren has shown by his exemplary life, with a little practice, you can form a habit to clone the life that you admire the most.

Secret # 7 Making money isn’t the backbone of our guiding purpose; making money is the by-product of our guiding purpose.

If you’re doing something you love, you’re more likely to put your all into it, and that generally equates to making money. – Warren Buffett

How do you rationalize the richest man on the earth still living in a small 3-bedroom house that he purchased fifty years ago? Warren Buffett never travels in a private jet despite the fact that he owns the largest private jet company. His character and way of life speak volume about his greatness. This is the man who spent his personal time investigating a $4 line item on his tax return to hunt down the specifics of it while giving away billions of dollars to Bill Gates foundation. It is rare to find the richest man on the earth living without luxuries that we want to possess even by mortgaging our future. He has demonstrated that while valuing the worth of money is vital for our ingenuity and success, money shall never become the object and end all of our motivation.

I’m an avid admirer of simplicity, but I’m an even bigger fan of the man who has mastered the greatness by living and breathing simplicity amid an ocean of wealth. Do you agree?

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

I HAVE A DREAM! testimony

“Sorry we won’t be able to publish your articles monthly… you know this is not a psychiatry magazine”. These were the words I was told after my first article was published in June edition of Genevieve 2008, and I was trying to push for a second publication. Some people suggested I should publish in any of the health magazines (for heaven sake, how many people even read that…I don’t…and I’m a doctor), many other lifestyle magazines kept turning me down and I must confess I sometimes felt discouraged.

It all started with an idea or should I call it a dream in 2007. I had come to the conclusion that there was a great dearth of information regarding mental health in the general population in this part of the world. My resolve was to be an agent of change by enlightening people so I started scribbling my thoughts and experiences into articles hoping that someday it will be published in a nationally renowned lifestyle magazine-precisely, Genevieve.

During all the times I was turned down by various magazines including my dream magazine the words of Otunba Gaddafi, one of Nigeria’s thriving entrepreneur, kept ringing in my heart; how he had persisted with his mobile toilet idea… so I persisted.

Someone read one of my article and felt it was good enough so he introduced me to blogging where I could post my thoughts without being harassed by any editor and make some dough (cash) while at it…did you really think this was strictly for charity?

Anyway the main gist is, I look back and in the last 4 months from March till this month in 2009, my articles have consistently been published in Genevieve and I was recently told along with some columnist of the magazine to send in articles monthly… even though I’m not yet a columnist o! At least so they said. I don’t know any other definition of columnist if your articles are being published monthly? Abeg I claim it jare!

I may not have it all…yet! But the Journey is the Joy, it may look fuzzy and hazy sometimes but it pays to persist and keep at it, who knows, if only you just took one more step, the fruits of the whole waiting process would have been harvested.

In closing I want to give props to Linda Ikeji (I hope you get around to read or at least hear about this) and Tobenna of Shirak! (a blog) who have inspired me and keep inspiring me in this blogging business. Also I really do want to appreciate aunty Betty Irabor for the priceless opportunity through Genevieve magazine as a platform to inspire right perspectives towards mental health and a more fulfilled life in general.

To all my fellow bloggers, especially all up-coming artistes like me… keep at it; you are indeed making a difference…whether good or bad (lol).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AKPAN...simply hilarious!!!

This is a piece my wife sent to my mail box I thought I should share it with you it is simply hilarious.

Akpan is now working in Dubai at the recently completed World class 5-Star hotel. Please do not ask me what he does!

AKPAN bought a new mobile phone.
He sent a message to everyone on his phone book. The message read: My mobile number has changed; earlier it was Nokia 3310, now it is Nokia 6610. Please take note.

In a conversation
AKPAN: I am proud because my son is in Medical College
Friend: Really? What is he studying?
AKPAN: No, he is not studying, they are studying him.
Akpan visits his Doctor

AKPAN: Doctor, in my dreams I play football every night.
DOCTOR: Take these drugs and you will be okay.
AKPAN: Can I take it tomorrow? Tonight is the final game.

Akpan and his wife
AKPAN: If I die, will you remarry?
Wife: No! I will stay with my sister but if I die will you remarry?
AKPAN: No, I will also stay with your sister.

AKPAN: People consider me as a “GOD”
Wife: How do you know?
AKPAN: When I went to the park today, everybody said, oh GOD, you have come again.

AKPAN comes back to his car and finds a note saying “parking fine”
He writes a note and sticks it to a pole “Thanks for the compliment '

How do you recognize Akpan in school?
He is the one who erases the notes from his book when the teacher erases the board.

Once AKPAN was walking, he had a glove in one hand and not on the other hand. So a man asked him why he did so.
He replied: The weather forecast announced that on one hand, it would be cold and on the other hand it would be hot..

AKPAN: Why are all these people running?
Man: This is a race; the winner will get the cup.
AKPAN: If only the winner will get the Cup, why are the others running?

In a classroom
Teacher: “I killed a person. Convert this sentence into future tense”AKPAN: The future tense is “You will go to jail”.

AKPAN told his servant: “Go and water the plants!”
Servant: “It is already raining”
AKPAN: “So what? Take an umbrella and go”

Do have a cheerful day.

AS A MAN THINKS...inspiring quotes

If you think you are beaten,you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost certain you won't...
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.