-50% of mental illness begins by age 14

-Borderline Personality Disorder is the most misdiagnosed. It’s so misdiagnosed, in fact, that there isn’t even an accurate prevalence rate for the condition

-Borderline Personality Disorder is the most painful to live with. BPD can produce symptoms of intense emotional pain, psychological agony, and emotional distress.

-Having more than one mental disorder is called comorbidity or co-occuring disorder (7.9million of adults in the US, don’t know about Nigeria).

When you think you have every mental disorder, it’s a disorder in itself called somatic symptom disorder. The symptoms associated with somatic symptom disorder are not under the person’s voluntary control, and they can cause great distress and can interfere with a person’s life.

-When a person doesn’t have the ability to perceive or recognize his mental illness, it is called anosognisia or lack of insight (denial).

The reason why people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder refuse medications or do not seek treatment claiming they are fine.

-The five main warning signs of mental illnesses generally are as follows:

  • Excessive paranoia, worry, or anxiety.
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability.
  • Extreme changes in moods.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping pattern.

-Autotopagnosia- A type of agnosia involving loss or impairment of the ability to recognize (i.e., point to) parts of one’s own body. 

  • 5 major mental disorders most likely to run in the family
  • autism, 
  • attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • bipolar disorder
  • major depressive disorder and schizophrenia

-Clerambault syndrome or erotomania or psychotic love is characterized by the delusional idea, usually in a young woman, that a man whom she considers to be of higher social and/or professional standing is in love with her.  

The core symptom of the disorder is that the sufferer holds an unshakable belief that another person is secretly in love with them.

-Othello syndrome (OS) is a type of paranoid delusional jealousy, characterized by the false absolute certainty of the infidelity of a partner, leading to preoccupation with a partner’s sexual unfaithfulness based on unfounded evidence 

Transableism is a term that refers to the desire to acquire a disability through choice rather than happenstance.

The syndrome of apotemnophilia, body integrity or amputee identity disorder, is defined as the desire for amputation of a healthy limb, and may be accompanied by behaviour of pretending to be an amputee and sometimes, but not necessarily, by sexual arousal.

What do you know about autism and aspergers?

What if I told you that there many people living with autism or on the spectrum that have not and will never diagnosed because it is not physically apparent?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. It means the individually is not a neurotypical therefore he does not process information and emotions the typical way.

1 out of every 125-150 children in Nigeria is autistic.

That is roughly 600,000 children living on the spectrum.

This is from a study in 2014 and not taking adults into account. 

ASPERGERS is a high functioning autism. People living with aspergers have milder signs of social and communication impairment.

This in turn makes it harder for people living with aspergers to be diagnosed. 

People living on the spectrum are just wited different, sometimes it shows physically, most times it doesn’t. There’s no known cause though genetics plays a role.

Contrary to what people may think about autism and the intellect, autistic people more often than not have a higher IQ.

Popular people on the spectrum? Einstein for starters.

Bill Gates, Tim Burton, Isaac Newton, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk … you get the picture.

Safe to say autism may make genius. 

But it is NOT roses or a sure road to success.

Chances of suicide are 3 times higher in them.

They don’t fit into the society and most likely never will.

They find making and maintaining friends hard. May end up never married or find it hard to maintain a relationship.

They don’t necessarily communicate the way we will understand or understand the way we communicate. 

Common Signs of Aspergers?

Just because you are socially awkward and introverted doesn’t mean you are an aspie.

-avoidance of eye contact 


-obsession with patterns, routine, repetition (OCD)

-obsession generally with particular object or topic of interest

-Not empathetic in the typical way

exceptional verbal skills (great vocabulary)

-below average non-verbal skills. Don’t understand gestures, body language, facial expressions 

-above average intuition(some say they are as close to psychics as they get)

-social and speech difficulties (their voices maybe monotonous with no emotion to it)

– do not typically show their emotions. An aspie may not show shock, surprise or fear on his face.

-may struggle with seeing from other’s perspectives

No you don’t want to be autistic. Forget the Elon Musk thing, they are facing so much hate and misunderstanding.

So much bullying and suicidal thoughts.

In Nigeria, there are parents trying to kill their kids because they are ‘possessed’.

In the western world, they are marginalized and called weirdos and oddballs. They don’t fit.

Society isn’t designed to accommodate them.

They are constantly misunderstood and harrased.

Imagine you being called out every single day for seeing the world the way you do.

Or being punished for seeing the sky as red not blue. When what you actually see is red.

Being stopped from doing something your brain says you MUST!


Remember that high ranking police official who couldn’t read well. Remember he kept blabbing ’transmission, transfusion, transfer…’ and it went viral. And we had a good laugh. And some turned it into a song. Mocked him good.

Well, I’m just here to tell you we are shitty people. 

I later learned (from unconfirmed sources) that he is dyslexic. Which means he can’t read as fluently as you can because that part of his brain which can easily decode letters and make sense of them is unfortunately not very developed. Says nothing negative about his intelligence.

So, let’s explore the four dys’s.



-Dyscalculia and


What they have in common? They are neurological disorders leading to learning disabilities . I.e a part of the persons brain responsible for that function just isn’t as responsive.

What they are not? A measure of intelligence. People with either of these are just as intelligent, sometimes more as it may be affiliated to other disorders like Autism.

Causes: Hereditary most times.


A chronic neurological disorder causing inability or great difficulty in learning to read or spell, despite normal intelligence. They just don’t recognize those symbols we know as letters or what to do with them.


-Very poor reading skills

-illegible or bad handwriting 

-writes letters in reverse (b instead of d)

-writes words in revers (deb instead of bed)

-Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers and colors

-trouble learning foreign languages

-difficulty memorizing 

-math difficulty 

-difficulty summarizing a story

Does it get better? It does but according to neurologists, it never really goes away.

Do they work? Definitely, normal jobs like you and me. They just need to educate their colleagues and employers about their conditions.

What else? Nothing! They are normal people.


Learning disabilities involving math. Often called number dyslexia.

A disability that impairs an individual’s ability to learn number-related concepts, perform accurate math calculations, reason and problem solve, and perform other basic math skills.

No, just because you have problem solving math problems doesn’t mean you have dyscalculia, there’s being bad at math (what you are 😏 ) and there’s having a neurological disorder which prevents your brain from making sense of math problems not to mention solving it.

There is no single type of math disability. Dyscalculia can vary from person to person. And, it can affect people differently at different stages of life.  


-visual-spatial difficulties (problems interpreting graphs, charts, maps, can’t tell how far objects are or space)

-bad at doing things like tying shoes

-language processing difficulties 

-Difficulty making sense of money and estimating quantities (told you you are just bad at math)

-Difficulty with telling time on an analog clock

-Poor visual and spatial orientation

-Difficulty immediately sorting out direction (right from left)

-Troubles with recognizing patterns and sequencing numbers

Other facts: it is present more in children with ADHD or ADD

Again, not a sign of intelligence or lack of it.

To everyone stigmatising people with bad handwriting, it may just be a sign of something bigger (shame on you). And it may just be that we have bad handwriting 😌.


Where dyslexia is a disorder that impairs the ability to read, dysgraphia impairs the ability to write.

Dysgraphia is a term that refers to trouble with writing. Many experts view dysgraphia as challenges with a set of skills known as transcription.

Dysgraphia makes the act of writing difficult. It can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting and organizing thoughts on paper. People with dysgraphia can have trouble organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page.



  • Forming letters
  • Writing grammatically correct sentences 
  • Spacing letters correctly 
  • Writing in a straight line
  • Holding and controlling a writing tool 
  • Writing clearly enough to read back later
  • Writing complete words without skipping letters

Dysgraphia often occurs along with ADHD and learning differences. These include dyslexia, written expression disorder, and expressive language disorder. 

Caused by trouble with motor skills which can improve with therapy.


Or developmental coordination disorder (DCD).

Dyspraxia is a brain-based motor disorder. It affects fine and gross motor skills, motor planning, and coordination. It’s not related to intelligence, but it can sometimes affect cognitive skills.

 It is an immaturity in the way that the brain processes information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted. 

Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language and thought.

 Children that have dyspraxia may suffer from clumsiness, slightly slurred speech, awkwardness with walking or short term memory loss.


  • Unusual posture
  • difficulty with fin motor skills that affect writing, artwork, and playing with blocks and puzzles
  • coordination problems that make it difficult to hop, skip, jump, or catch a ball
  • Hand flapping, fidgeting, or being easily excitable
  • messy eating and drinking
  • Temper tantrums
  • Poor hand-eye coordination 
  • becoming less physically fit because they shy away from physical activities.

Although intelligence isn’t affected, dyspraxia can make it harder to learn and socialize due to:

  • a short attention span for tasks that are difficult
  • trouble following or remembering instructions
  • a lack of organizational skills
  • difficulty learning new skills
  • low self-esteem
  • immature behavior
  • trouble making friends

Dyspraxia is a lifelong condition. There’s currently no cure, but there are therapies that can help you effectively manage the disorder.

These disorders are often interconnected with a person having more than one.

They may be symptoms of other disorders such as autism.

They can be managed with therapy and they do get better in adulthood but some studies show that they can never be cured as they are not diseases.

People with either of the above disorders can lead normal lives with proper management 

Usually connected to ADHD or ADD in children.

‘Who doesn’t like money abeg?’ I shake my head comically at the obviousness of my wise saying.

‘That’s why you work for it. Not say that you have to marry a man who has money. That’s gold digging’. The fact that Yasmin says things like these and still feels like she is the smartest tot that roams the earth escapes my comprehension. 

‘Mining my darling’ I correct her ‘Gold digging sounds stressful and illegal. When you mine, you are reaping the natural endowments of the person and showing him his potential by investing in you. Doesn’t mean I won’t make money, but my money is mine and his money is my mine. Note the difference?’. I cross my fingers that just finished gesticulating the mathematical structure of my definition to her and smile victoriously. 

‘Mine and my mine’ Fafa says. ‘Good one’ She laughs in what might be a sarcastic or genuine laugh, I keep my smile on. Fafa might be annoying but she appreciates genius .

‘You still sound like a gold digger’ Yasmin says, her signature blank look smack on her face.

‘You sound like poverty mentality’ I roll my eyes.

‘You’ Fafa directs at me in between munching on chocolate chip cookies ‘sound like a wise sage to me’. See, Fafa has sense.

Yasmin’s sense of morality is warped. She believes she is a moral compass and world morality guide and in the same stride, believes the actions of Thanos can be justified. He just wanted to depopulate to save the future generation. Huh?!?!

I tell her so.

‘Thanos’s reasoning is logical. It isn’t moral’ she explains.

‘Okay so logic supersedes morality?’.

She thinks for a while before nodding. ‘Logic supersedes everything’.

‘Tell me better logic than securing one’s comfort in the future by marrying a rich person. And I’m being gender neutral here’.

‘The person can lose all that in the blink of an eye’.

‘Aaandd…’ I stress on the word for emphasis ‘the person might not. I am someone who has a hustler mentality, even though I don’t actually do the work’ I quickly add the second part while gazing directly at Fafa. Her head had shot up when I said I am a hustler at heart. 

But I am. I am someone who sees potential everywhere; potential in people, in places and in ideas. The biggest enemy to actual implementation of my ideas is my fear of failing, of disappointing myself. It makes me unwilling to act.

‘Success is actually more important’. Yasmin presses on. I can see that she’s taking the discussion way more serious than it ought to be and no matter how smart she is, I don’t see myself arguing on and on with a 19 year old. She may know the books, but honestly, she’s yet to see the world in its truly elusive and whimsical form.

‘Yeah. You are right’ I say in all seriousness because I agreed. ‘Just make sure the success comes with money’.

She sighs but doesn’t say anything else. The finality in my voice has communicated that the conversation is dead for me.

I smile a bit as I scan through my phone. If only… if only my siblings know the real me. If only they know that the tough face I put up almost all the time is a facade, and I am not half as composed or confident as I may seem. And I don’t have my act together just because I am done with school with a good grade. And I am actually a big softie at heart.

If only Yasmin realises there are a dozen things I search for in a potential partner and finances doesn’t even rank top 5 on my list. Loyalty does, and trustworthiness and understanding, because I believe if that was a solid foundation in my parents marriage, then they would have weathered the storm heads-on. Wouldn’t they?

Money on the other hand, it destroyed everything.

But I have to be strong. For everyone. For my sisters who, no matter what, see me as a beacon and look up to me before taking actions. For my brother who is like a newly blinded man searching his way through a haunted maze.

For Mama whose hurt is still deep and whose regret has started surfacing.

For Baba and his new world, I have to show them we are strong to hold off our end.

For me though, all I want is for everything to get sorted out, for everything to go back to how it was so that I can stop pretending to be this happy, calm and sane person when anxiety and lack of confidence on what the future holds racks my every vein.

I feel a ball of tears sneak up my throat and I swallow it down. Things can never go back to the way they were. That I know. I just pray it can somehow get better.

That is why you need money Nana. You need to actually start seeking it. I have been racking my brain, trying to figure out what people may need during the lockdown, something to engage them and get their money at the same time.

A knock on the door makes me snap back to Earth. 

‘Yasmin’ I say without raising my head from my phone and she immediately stands up to get the door.

‘Daddy is looking for you’ the messenger says before turning and leaving just as suddenly as she came.

I shake my head in despair, here goes.

He’s in his parlour entertaining the never ending troop of guests and political vultures. I perch on the dining chair, my head buried in my phone.

Fafa goes straight to the fridge and fishes out a tub of Häagen Dazs then sits down to dig in. Yasmin stands erect by the grand white show glass, her arms wrapped around her impatiently. She was doing something on her laptop when we were summoned and she is no doubt eager to go back to it.

We proceed to be granted an audience after the batch leaves. We are barely seated when Jamil comes in with Kamil in tow. Kamil’s eyes light up when he sees us and he immediately rushes to my side.

‘Nanaaaa!’ He exclaims and hugs my feet. I hug him back with a large grin. 

‘Big boy! How are you?’. I pick him up and place him on my lap.

‘Fine. A mished you’ he says, his palms squishing my cheeks. I struggle to smile against the pressure of the tiny hand.

‘I missed you too. You are going to follow me today right?’. 

He nods. 

‘I’ll get my clothes from my Mommy now. I’ll go to your house for 10 days ’I chuckle as he holds up three fingers. Then he slips off my lap and runs to his Mom.

Baba is smiling when I turn back to him. I immediately lose mine. He might have noticed, he might not have, but I rarely smile around him. He lost that privilege years ago.

Baba asked how everyone is and we answered in the affirmative of course, with probably only me doubting the sincerity behind his question. 

After handing us our upkeep and allowance, he announced that he was giving us each capital to venture into something worthwhile since we weren’t neither in school nor working because COVID said so. It is almost like he had read my mind. My brain has already started reeling. What am I good at? What can I do to invest this money and turn it over?

The money was to be sent to our various accounts. Baba was worried about Yaya and how he was going to spend his. It is not unfounded, we all know he can spend all of that money in unnoble ways within a few days. 

The painful clench to my heart is back and I have cycled back to blaming Baba for everything. Afterall, Yaya was perfectly fine before he broke us. But for how long can I blame him and avoid accountability. What happened had happened, no matter how much I’d like to hold Baba responsible for everything, we needed to take charge of our future.

Ayyyeee! See who is grown up. I listened to a podcast last night about forgiveness and letting go and apparently it’s doing small wonders. About time. 

Mental Health

Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior or a combination of these.

Mental health includes emotional, psychological and social well-being.

Mental illness is associated with a lot of factors including genetics, life challenges, marriage issues, hormones, loss of a loved one or property and many more.

Mental illness is more common in women, in fact, depression is the most common mental illness in women. Women are also more prone to having Post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety due to the prevalence of sexual assaults and domestic violence.

Gender bias and discrimination, inferiority complex, oppression, emotional abuse, humiliation and a sense of loss also contributes to why more women are prone to being depressed than men according to the World Health Organisation.

Rape victim shaming also leads to a high number of suicide. Many people in this society have still not come to terms with the fact that a rape victim should be treated as such no matter what leading to stigma and abandonment. Many rape cases go unreported.

Now merge these facts with a society that does not recognize mental ill health, oppresses and stigmatizes the depressed and prefers to look the other way when the symptoms manifest. Little wonder women in Nigeria are in the forefront of spousal killings, stepchildren maiming, co-wives burning and other borne of pure pure frustration and depression.

When the majority of the populace are ignorant of the psychological disorders ravaging the nations very core, it is no surprise that it will only keep growing in multiples like a Hydra tackled by an ignorant swordsman.

From early teenage years, hormonal changes and growth wreaks havoc on the senses and teenagers often get misunderstood for acting and reacting in a certain way when in reality, they cannot help but react that way because of the changes occurring in them. And for some, when puberty is backed up by sexual assault and oppression in home front such as early marriage and gender bias, they can end up being depressed at a very early age.

People take mood swings attributed to monthly cycles for granted but every month, women have a shift in their hormones and that not only lowers their immunity, it makes them moody to the point of being temporarily depressed, anxious, irritable and borderline bipolar. Those may be because of the monthly cycle, but it may also be a warning to a greater problem.

Pregnancy is the major cause of hormonal  turbulence and it is not uncommon for a woman to be depressed and have mood swings throughout that pregnancy. 

Post-partum depression or baby blues occurs after birth (usually first birth) and it can be so serious it can make a woman homicidal to the point of killing the baby or suicidal. Some women especially those who conceived through rape tend to be blame the baby and have a certain enmity towards it.

All these, apart from puberty are unique to women therefore it is the duty of fellow women to lookout for each other during these times. And the first step you can take is get this message out there, inform others, offer help and generally be supportive all through.

How do you react to physical illnesses? Do you ignore physical pain, tell your loved one to ‘man it up’ when he has a killer headache, decide to treat yourself when you have diabetes? Or do you go to the hospital and seek professional help.

Now how do you react to psychological diseases? Are you are that mental illness do as much harm to you and your body as the physical and many physical pain are in fact, a manifestation of the pain that is lodged up in your brain seeking a way to get noticed and treated.

Mental health awareness, in developing countries especially, is just gaining momentum after wreaking harm for years unattended. 

Recently in Nigeria there is an appalling surge in the number of suicide and suicidal attempts, murder of spouses, relatives and strangers, terrorism activities and other life threatening acts. Are you aware that over 70% of these acts can be attributed directly (as in the case of suicide) or indirectly (as in the case of terrorist attacks) on mental ill health.

Psychopaths, sociopaths, people with borderline personality disorders and other personality disorders walk, work and live among us (they might even be us), but the lack of awareness on the signs to watch out for and when to get help can make the disorders worse to the point of making them dangerous in the society.

Depression spreads it’s tentacles far and wide, more so because it has found a suitable environment for growth in Nigeria fed by lack of awareness, shunning, pressure, frustration stemming from work, home, marriage life, studies or standard of living.

The lack of empathy makes it that much harder for patients to reach out and the stigma makes it worse when it comes to seeking help. But no one has ever stigmatized people for seeking help with cancer, so why is cancer of the mind any different?

What we need to understand is that mental diseases are diseases like any. What we need people to know is that having them is okay and seeking help is an act of courage. What we need from people is to research, know about the importance of mental health and what to watch out for, know the many different personalities and disorders, observe the people around them and give them a should when they need it. 

Because you mental well-being means so much more than what you think. It means the world.

Legend has it that there was once a family that was as close to the ideal family as could be.

The parents were the best of companions, constantly teasing each other, eliciting so much laughter, the best buddies. The children were mostly well-groomed and obedient and they got together well except for the occasional sibling fight.

They weren’t rich in this family, they were comfortable. Never lacked, never had in excess… they were the second bed laid on by goldilocks…. just right.

And then it all came crashing like the Wall of Jericho when the father joined politics. At first it was all good. Politics fit him well enough for someone who just started. Their comfort-o-meter was moving towards the greener light.

Before they got too comfortable however, Baba announced he had gotten married.

He did not say ‘I want to get married’ or ‘I have the intention of getting married’ or ‘my heart is doing me like I should marry’ he said ‘I have married another woman’. Hell did not break loose in the house after that declaration, hell became a tenant.

Maleficent moved in a month later. Apparently she was introduced to Baba by her brother who is part of his political circle months earlier. She is a good looking, young, widowed lady whose late husband left with two kids and a huge pile of money. Scratch that she’s not good looking, she’s beautiful. Sometimes I wonder why she chose to marry my father when she can chose from many different men who have more to offer.

I’m not saying Baba has nothing to offer, he is a very charming, charismatic and intelligent man and he ages very well. But she is so much richer than him I’d have expected a woman with a dark heart like hers will look for a place with more riches for her vampire fangs to suck.

Anyway, two months prior to the announcement, a massive renovation was initiated in the house near ours. We were so excited to get new neighbors; ‘maybe I’ll get a friend. And from the looks of it, they are definitely rich’- Fafa.

‘I just hope they don’t have a dog who’ll bark all night and stop me from sleeping’- Yasmin grudgingly.

‘Maybe they will have a tall, dark and handsome son who will be all posh and will sweep me off my feet’- Me in my mind.

 Me in reality- ‘This house is too fine, I bet they will be snobs’. 

A month later, Maleficent with no conscience/ The wicked stepmother moved in. Apparently she bought the house and beat it to fit her wicked tastes. 

Who does that?! Who marries a man with a family unannounced, buys the house sharing the same fence with his family, renovate it into a beautiful duplex that makes his existing home look like a gargoyle, and then a few years later, make sure he divorces his wife?. I’ll tell you, devil’s apprentice.

So I wanted to build up on the part where she led to my parents eventual separation but I’m too mad for that. Besides I may never share this journal with anyone because of the boringness in my life. So yeah, it marked the beginning of fights and mistrust in my parents life.

My siblings and I were all but sidelined. I literally had to pick up the maternal broom, I was 17, I should have been planning for prom.

Well Mama might be meek and after the initial brouhaha, she was willing to let things slide but she is no pushover. So when things got unbearable, when Baba wouldn’t come to our side for a month even though there’s a door that joins both houses from within, when he wouldn’t send upkeep money or he’ll retaliate at the slightest provocation, she left. 5 years later, we still aren’t over it.

Pretty messed up right? Honestly I didn’t expect it to be worse than this but well, my brother followed her soon after. According to the WSM, he was being very rude, discourteous (isn’t that basically the same thing?) and downright insultive to her. From what I heard, she made it seem like he was being almost violent, which is the fattest lie in the books; my brother is almost too gentle for a guy. Anyway, he was always fighting with Baba. Baba was always picking faults in his every behavior. She was always adding fire to the existing bad blood between father and son and then there was us, the three younger sisters trying to team up for our brother and fight for his innocence, in the end, we lost.

He moved out and moved in with Mama who is back in her fathers house occupying her mothers room. The thought of it alone disturbs me all the time. It makes me feel so bad thinking of Mama back in her fathers house because where else will she live? With all the other step mothers and siblings and relatives looking at her like the sad divorcee kicked out of her home. 

And it annoys me to no end that she has to move from a comfortable city house to live in an old-setting house with toilets outside of rooms and musty blinds and linens, dusty uneven plastered walls and rickety roofs. It makes me so mad. One of the reasons I need to make me money so soon and so bad. 

I know this makes me an ungrateful, selfish and probably cursed child but sometimes I feel like I wouldn’t mind Baba dying because that will bring an end to all this fiasco and I can use my inheritance money to get Mama a house. But I quickly try to get tid of that thought and conveniently blame shaytan, though I doubt it, I can be pretty dark myself.

What else haven’t I spoken about regarding our dysfunctionality apart from the fact that we (my sisters and I) still reside in our old home and at first we were getting food from the main house but it later trickles to nothing, instead, we get shopping money, buy food items and make our meals which is honestly more preferable if we get the money on time. Most times, we have to ask him and I hate the idea of asking Baba about anything and Fafa isn’t a fan either so we usually leave it to Yasmin. She has no problem getting the dough from him. Usually he sends us some lumpy pocket money and while Fafa collects hers with a smile and counts already thinking up ways to destroy the money, I grudgingly accept mine mumbling on how I cannot be bought; and truthfully, I wouldn’t mind not getting bribed into forgetting the destruction of our happiness by him.

Let’s talk about the step siblings. A male; Jamil;16; surprisingly good boy. Likes to play game and eat doughnuts everyday. Smart enough, responsible with his sister, tries to keep her in line. Not a fam of his mom’s attitude. Tries to be nice to us (was over nice at first because he thought he just gained a new family but we weren’t so forthcoming, surprise!!!!) and we are actually cordial, sometimes familial with him. I always remind myself that it’s not his fault, helps a bit.

Then Hanan; 14; bland personality honestly. Nothing to her. Got some of her mothers pretty features. I feel like she is too plain minded to be wicked. But then I feel like she might snap out of it and gain a personality when she blooms. We exchange greetings. Sometimes I ask how is school? She looks back like I just spoke Mandarin, not rudely; like she doesn’t get it. So I sigh and move on.

Her kids aren’t little no-good meanies and that makes things a bit easier to deal with.

Then our half brother; Kamil; three years old, a little angel. The reason I usually go to the other side. We honestly share a different I kind of love. Sometimes I bring him back with me because he wouldn’t let go. One time, he even spent teh night, his mother surprisingly didn’t mind. She doesn’t mind our relationship with the kids, she especially Kamil. ‘I wouldn’t wantnto come between siblings’ she says self-righteously. Oh yeah? How about coming between families huh?

I guess that’s it. The important ones you should know. There are unimportant people by the side like Umaima, WSM’s relative some-how and the messenger, Rahina, WSM’s younger sister who is 31 and very childish, silly and inappropriate but thinks she is the smartest pants lying around on the street and some others I couldn’t care less about

So my grand plan is to not go out into the sun. It makes me look like a half-baked witch when all my vanity wants is to resemble some Nubian beauty princess who has all the rich princes trying to get the glass slipper on and she doesn’t have to work a day again in her life.

I’ll try to not go out, I mean the government are basically begging us not to and I’ve heard rumors of curfew so perfect. I’ll drink only detox water. If I must go out even within the house, I need to have on sunscreen. I’ll exercise because Ciara body will not make itself. I want step out into the world after my estimated three months and look like a glossy ‘Vanity‘ magazine cover come to life. Y’all are not ready.

There’s however only one problem, my vanity is so vain and poor hence my quest for money. I need to utilise this lack of work period to venture into money making things that aren’t necessarily as deep as yahoo yahoo but kinda deep. I need an entire wardrobe overhaul because I want to attend rich people weddings and meet rich people friends and just bask in rich peoples glory even if for a while before I eventually get tired like I do with everything.

I need to purchase the baddest assest skin and hair care products so I can rock the baddest assest skin and hair and bags! I need fancy bagssss of life. I need lipgloss because they are an absolute necessity. Apart from having naturally dry lips, Iipgloss make me have an attitude. This baby is going to be born again.

But before all that, I need to open my eyes, get off this bed, greet the wicked stepmother and her husband who happens to father my siblings and I, get pissed by them for all of three minutes because I am tired of their pissful attitude, call my mother to calm me, piss some sister off or vice versa, eat a big fat burger and suya , gain weight and await apocalypse. 

Awesome! Sounds like a solid plan for a good day.

Fafa is up when I go to the parlor. Sometimes, it’s like she never sleeps. You go to her room in the middle of the night and the lights of her phone will be reflecting her face. You’ll think she is doing something reasonable then 5 hours later, you are on Twitter and you discover your sister had tweeted in the middle of the night how she can’t sleep because of mosquitoes or how she’ll die if she doesn’t eat seafood that night. Then one Arewa Twitter person will tell her to go eat crayfish from her mothers kitchen and she’ll laugh along on the timeline but will call him bastard in reality.

‘Oh! You are up’ she says after glancing at me.

‘Nope. I say with a yawn. ‘I’m fast asleep. It’s called somnambulism; sleep walking’.

She lets out a loud fake laugh then almost immediately dons on a blank face.

I walk to the kettle and fetch her pre-boiled water- because I know there’s always hot water where there’s Fafa as her constant high is one god-awful tea concoction or the other- I pour a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and hold my nose as I gulp.

‘What’s that meant to do? Spark up ulcer?’ Fafa the intermeddler asks.

‘Weight loss’ I reply shortly.

‘All I see is ulcer’ she shrugs.

‘Just because you are fighting your internal battles-literally’ I add with a smug smile ‘- doesn’t mean we all will’.

She shrugs. ‘Whenever you feel the heartburn rising, just know that I have Mama’s puke-worthy concoction for that’.

‘You and Mama always have one medicine or the other for everything in life’.

She smiles enigmatically. ‘What can I say? It’s a gift’.

I roll my eyes. ‘Any food from the other side?’ I ask her.

She shakes her head without looking up from her phone. I sigh and look for something to eat from the kitchen; some bread, some mayo….will do.

Where’s Yasmin? I ask Fafa after the gulping my last spoon of cereals and internally wondering of what use the vinegar is since I just ate bread with mayonnaise and a bowl of cornflakes.

She shrugs. ‘Probably on the other side’. I contort my face to mirror Fafa’s. Apparently Yasmin is so loveable even the wicked stepmother likes her. The wicked stepmother liking you is the biggest deal; equal to winning a nobel prize for likeability.

There’s a knock on the door. The messenger has arrived, I think. What does she want now, someone to back her while she dazzles Baba with a spell?

I open the door expecting to see Umaima, Mommy’s somehow relative who is always the one sent with messages for us. My eyebrows shoot up when I see the tired person standing by the door.

‘What brings you here this early morning?’ I ask him.

He frowns, pushes himself in and settles on the couch.

‘You too? It’s my father’s house last time I checked’.

I almost roll my eyes. ‘I mean isn’t it too early… never mind’ I stop myself. Everything you say will be definitely misconstrued and be given a negative meaning by him.

‘Good Morning Yaya’ Fafa greets him. He merely nods back at her.

‘Aren’t you going to school?’ He asks

‘Baba says it’s not safe, besides it’s closing on Monday.’.

He snorts and shakes his head. ‘As if he cares’. 

I shake my head at the ridiculous dysfunctional family I have and go back to my room to freshen up.

Baba is on everyone’s not-good book. But he is definitively on my brother, Abdullah’s bad book. We call Abdullah, Yaya as he is the eldest in the house but he sure doesn’t act like it..

Yaya doesn’t stay in the same house with us, he left with Mama upon the arrival of the (Wicked step mother) WSM; short. She literally kicked them out.

The story of my family’s fall from the grace of one single unit to a dismembered chopped off family tree started some 6plus years when my father decided it was wise to join politics. Then maleficent set her eyes on him, then he fell in love and everything came crashing.

When I come out, I find Yaya lounging on the couch. Yasmin is back from her visit to the other side and Fafa is on the phone with her loud friend Naima. No one needs to be told when Fafa is talking to Naima because Fafa’s throat also gains an amplifier and they start a shouting match trying to be heard over the others din.

Like calm down sisters it’s called a phone, they don’t do town criers anymore.

‘Good Morning Nana’ Yasmin greets me.

I answer her and she intercepts me before I ask where she was. ‘Mommy sent me a text asking me to help her with some calculations of her record of accounts. I think something is fishy, her staff may be shortchanging her’.

I stare at her for some time before I nod. ‘Okay Sherlock’  I say loud enough for her to hear.

Yasmin is the only one among my siblings who relates well with the WSM and with Baba because one;

She is the young sweet one (to them)

She is the smart one

She is unrebellious 

She is the one who has so much potential they had better gotten her on their side so they can claim their accolades when she joins NASA

She is just the model child, miss-goody-two-shoes, forgive-everyone lets-live-in-peace-and-harmony. *Eye roll*

Sometime I see her as a traitor, sometimes I feel she isn’t being true to herself, she is trying to conform to what everyone expects of her, she is trying to be liked by everyone except of course we, the siblings. With us, she bring out her thorny side.
But you of course can’t say a thing because everyone will say it’s envy. I am older than that brat with 5 years and I sure am not jealous of her for nada. I Just can’t live a life of ‘yes’ to everyone and everything, I’d rather be fed to the crocodiles, neither can Yaya. Fafa is in the middle, rebellious but useful enough to be liked or at least tolerated. I don’t even try pleasing them, it pisses them off. 

It’s possible it’s because when the WSM crashed my family, Yaya and I were the most affected because we were more mature and we saw what it did to our mom. Whatever is the case, I just want a way out of this environment. And something tells me marriage might be the only way. Sigh!!!!!!! My non-existent love life you say? That’s a story for another day.

Next time I come back to you dear journal, I’ll pick up the pieces of our family book and put the puzzle together so it all makes sense. For now, just know that our middle name is ‘dysfunctional’ and our lingua franca is ‘drama’.

See you next time.


Dear Reader: If you are reading this then there are several possible reasons why;

-The world did not come to an end. Good thing

-The pandemic ended and I did not survive- not necessarily a good thing- and some gold diggers decided to Anne Frank it.

-The pandemic decided to disappear and I cash this baby out.

– The pandemic has shown no sign of leaving, we have learnt to live with it and I have turned my dear journal to a dreary history book.

Either ways. It is being read by you. I don’t know how this will play out. I might start coughing tomorrow and die in 5 days time- my throat has been itching- I might not write an update for weeks because may uninteresting life has become even less interesting or I may be whisked away by a royal family of handsome rich people who are adamant that their highly chivalrous and intellectual son must marry me and the pandemic will be a royal honeymoon. Then I’ll have plenty of stories to tell.

Another thing is I may be too embarrassed writing my life’s deepest senselessness and I may not be able to share all this.

        Chapter  One: The Lists

I know I’m not going back to that humid office that smells like our boss’s sweat for a long time. I feel it in my bones. Maybe Corona will mandate the closure of the wastage of time, mental energy and fashion sense that is NYSC or maybe I’ll be rusticated because of the hostile energy I exude whenever I wear that terrible Khaki that looks so nice on me. Apparently poopoo green is my colour, with the things I’m beginning to discover about myself, I’m not even surprised. 

I know I’m going to miss a few things like the chit chat with Lauje, the office assistant who is either in his twenties or fifties-I really can’t say- tall and lanky (hence the name) and whose head is clearly missing a few knots. He is loud and almost always speaks off point except he is talking about money; then he becomes a pro arithmetician.

I’ll miss looking at Mrs Binta, the lady whose real complexion remains the biggest office mystery -because a mix of the purple-brown lipstick and heavy foundation do funny things to ones visual senses- as she strolls in last every day and strolls out first because her ex-husband was the director and no one can say nothing.

I will definitely miss the epileptic wi-fi I can connect to only on the stairs on the way in and even though it means meeting and greeting people except when I’m pretending to be on the phone, it is worth downloading three episodes of Stranger Things after three hours.

I have barely stepped off the Napep when the scent of Jacqueline’s noodles swarm my senses and a wave of nostalgia hits. I already miss that heaven sent plate of noodles that tastes like epiphany. I always discover new things about life in every fork and I suspect she cooks them with weed, chicken poop or something like that so that we always keep going back for more. I told Hadiza that the other time and she looked at me as if I am a heathen for suggesting Jacqueline might have a slight.

Today, the Government have made an announcement ordering all offices to shut down. Today, I make two lists. 

One; all the things I would love to do in the three months (my estimate, seems far fetched but we shall see) it will take before Corona sorts himself out (definitely a guy). 

Second list; what I would love to do before the world wraps up and ends in the next few months because while an extreme end of my mind is hopeful, the other extreme end is in plain idiotic paranoia.

I swear when I see the figures of Covid-19 cases on the screen of TV before I walk out the moment the news starts because Millennials aren’t meant to like news, it looks like we have reached the finishing line and they are just rolling in the end credits. 

But then Anne Frank probably also thought so, then she decided to write a journal, then the world (Germany here) picked up the pieces, pieces of her memory and glorified her years of isolation and eventual death. Could be me. Being famous even if post mortem is better than passing through all this ‘The First Wave’ movie come to life without being acknowledged for my bravery. So let’s write this journal.

Here’s what my lists look like. Should we start with the gloomy one or the hopeful one?

To do list before Covid19 departs and the world gets back to normal even though I doubt that:

– Make money

– Make friends from different countries

-Eat junk


-Make money 

-Get a boyfriend

-Make sure he is rich and doesn’t have smelly mouth (these two are hard to find together)

-Start planning on getting hitched (how does this even work?).

-Reconnect with family and old friends.

-Be nicer 

-Read Qur’an, learn Hadith everyday 

-Try reading a novel without having a headache and nausea

-Meditate inside a tub of warm water

-Sleeeepppp to get rid of eyebags and unwanted people

-Practice becoming ajebutter

-The boyfriend must be rich (emphasis)

-Go natural and grow hair to a healthy afro or waist length, whichever comes first.

-Melanin popping or just bleach the darn skin.

Pretty realistic right?

To do list before the world wraps up AKA Apocalyse

-Memorise Qur’an

-Have one kid, but I’ll have to marry first right? And I really have no time for that.

-Make money


-Eat junk because we will all die.

-Spend all the money on food… I repeat,  we will all die.

– Tell your crush you have a crush on him and that we will all die.

-Write a letter to your boss giving him tips on how to stop smelling like a skunk for the betterment of Earth.

-Sleep or don’t sleep. That’s your problem because we will all what…?

-Slap Tasi’u’s always clean shaven head because I really want to do that before I die.

There, done. My list looks like the beginning of an award winning movie.

Now to the implementation.

‘Hmmm! You smell like your office’, my sister greets as she walks by. 

I glare at her for a second.  ‘You see, it is these things you say that makes people contemplate suicide’

She laughs and walks away feeling like her life’s mission of annoying people 3 times in an hour is gaining momentum. 

I knew things were out of control when I found my sisters ‘To Do’ list from three years ago and in between the ‘make friends and stop talking to them’, ‘buy Iphone 8plus through prayers’ and ‘escape going to the University’, she legit has ‘annoy people for no reason at least 5 times daily’ like some sort of worship.

‘When did they take the lights?’ I ask her.

‘They never brought it back’ she screams back. 

I let out a long sigh, drag my bag behind me and vow to get a power bank the next time I go out. Then I remember Corona and I sigh even deeper. 2020 is going to be a long year, I can feel it.

Disclaimer: This journal is a pure work of fiction. It, in no way depicts the life of the writer nor any person. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Are You Okay will follow the life of our protagonist (she still has no name), and her quest to fulfill ‘the list’, or at least some part of it. She will discover how not-so-straightforward life is, how plans unfurl in funny ways, how family can be the crowd you want to avoid and how love can be found and possibly lost within a short time.

Most importantly however, she will find out about herself. And I hope everyone following this journal will open him/herself to self-discovery too.


It is the most interesting of times…

I have been duped of the money I was given by my Dad as my poverty alleviation intervention, the guy I’ve been crushing on for a year was crushed by a truck driver and my only reaction was to laugh at the irony of how my crush got crushed, my clothes have become 3 boubous and 2 nighties because they were the only things I could fit in, I have approximately a football field of pimples playing hide and seek on my face, the world has run out of my favourite chocolate and …. Oh yes! Corona; the beginning of the end.

It is the worst of times.

The Year of Lefasefarel.
Welcome to my journal.

If you are here to read about how I excel at solving mathematical problems (I suck at Math), or how I’m a pro basketball player or how I can read minds, or something equally uninteresting and eww-inspiring that only simpletons do, then you shouldn’t move on from here. My life is not that serious and honestly I don’t want it to be. 

Now that that’s out of the way, lets move on to the 12 totally amazing and awe-inspiring things I excel at doing😊.

1- Thinking incomprehensible senseless stuff right before I sleep off – My gibberish creative time and space is right before I doze off  or when I’m between consciousness and sleep… that time, my brain rolls films of nonsense that makes sense to my brain and that I’ll not recall after I’m fully awake.

But I swear when that is happening, I feel so inspired I can write a book.

2-Washing toilets- Is it weird that this is the first thing I actually typed (brought it down to seem more normal)? Because I think I was washing a toilet when this topic came to mind. I was washing and thinking, damn! You are one good toilet washer. In another life, I could wash toilets for celebrities and charge €1000 per session (clean toilets only).

I just really hate to see that I’m done with a toilet and it’s not very clean so I use up a whole bottle of Kleanit (best toilet washer ever.. my sister sells it), use brooms, plastic brooms, soft and hard sponge, Jik, detergent… everything until the toilet looks like Trumps teeth.

3- Sarcasm – In my mind or verbally. I cannot stand people who don’t get sarcam. If the snide sarcastic remarks I make in my head are to be revealed for a day, I wouldn’t have a single relationship with anyone I know afterwards. We say the most sarcastic things my head and I.

The remarks may be orally said but I have to be comfortable with the person first and I have to be sure the person will 100% get what I mean and so far, only 2 people get my ostensibly sarcastic, dual-meaning, exaggerated comments. Whenever we are together with one of them, she calls me mad like 4 times on average. 

4- Elite humour- I’m sorry if you don’t get my humor. It’s elite, you are not. Since people always use the word elite for even the most inappropriate of things, why not?

When you see me smiling alone for no reason, most likely I just thought up a super funny joke or scenario or I’m engaging myself. Telling this scenario out loud is never a good idea because it never sounds half as funny so I just keep it in my head and laugh … alone… like I’m crazy.

5- Writing fast- Maybe because I learnt how to read and write late (in my primary four; before then, I’ll write letter by letter as in alphabet by alphabet as in if the word on the board is ‘fringe’, I write ‘f’, look up at the board, write ‘r’, look up…) much to the chagrin of my classmates and teachers… so when towards the end of primary 4 I was hit-in a moment of epiphany-by the reading formula, I became a torrential writing force.

 I write so fast, faster than I process the word, faster than my brain processes the word. 

In classes where lecturers talk in the stead of lecturing or dictation, I usually have notes while my classmates complain about not even being able to jot. Even though the notes are not comprehensive to others apart from me.

Because of that, my handwriting is horrible.

6- Being inconsistent- I’m sorry but this blog is suffering for it. When I start (any new project or commitment), it’s all fun and games and I have enough ginger to make tea for a village but before you say ‘ginger’, my steam has run dry. Sigh!

7- Overthinking/ Over analysing: I over the top think through and think back on everything imaginable. Whether its a fact or an incident or a person or something said and done or something I said and did or a movie I watched, a book I read, the little baby crying in the bus, the man driving the Napep I entered today who looked like he has herpes, the woman in the market who might have shortchanged me, the intentions of people and their trustworthiness….. etc. Endless list. Some are deep, some are vain. 

And I analyse all these things from every angle possible.

8- Over looking things- You can do something to me that should elicit an explosive response and I’ll over look, but that just means I don’t really rate you or I don’t want to indulge. I can overlook and downplay serious things and choose to react to ones that may seem trivial…

9- Typing on the phone- I take notes in class on my phone sometimes and I usually keep up, I wrote my two books on my phone, my University project, over hundreds of thousands of words… and I type really fast.

10- Changing topics- You think you’ll loop me in a conversation I don’t want to be in, you need to have another thing coming. I can change topics so subtly… you’ll notice, if you are smart, 4 minutes later.

11- Daydreaming – Why do you think I fail a course? Because I’m a listener, I understand while listening better than reading, so in class, when I should be listening, I’m usually daydreaming about another world, therefore I’m not listening , therefore I fail to utilise my listening learning capacity… it’s sad.

12- Making parfait- I am at liberty to once in a while market my brand and I’m saying this with my head high that I make the meanest greek yoghurt and greek yoghurt parfait that has ever graced your taste buds. And this is me not even selling myself.

Do you relate to these things or do you find some weird. What are the things you excel at? Share, share lets see.