A few weeks before that day, I had had a series of surreal feelings. I have never been able to find the adjectives to describe them. But that day… I knew that they were all connected.
That day… I was on a flight from London to Lagos. I remember that the seat belt lights were on and the cabin crew was preparing for landing. I had freshened up and as is my pattern, I bent my head to thank my Father for a beautiful trip and a safe flight. That was the last thing I remember.
Very vaguely, I heard an announcement asking for the doctors on board the flight to come to the Business Class compartment. I slowly came round and I saw a beautiful air hostess softly saying to me, “Are you alright Ma’am? Can you talk? You just had a seizure…just relax. There is an ambulance waiting for you on the tarmac. You are going to be fine…” I had no clue what she was saying but I did remain calm on my seat.
It turned out that I as I bent my head to pray, I had gone into convulsive fits – just like that! Given my Pentecostal background, I took it for granted that it was an ‘attack,’ a one-off-episode and I concluded that by surviving it, I had overcome my ‘enemies’. However, contrary to my conclusion, that day became the beginning of a most frightful and humiliating period in my life. The siege that lasted 14 years had just begun.
From then on without any warning, I could experience a ‘black- out’ anywhere and anytime. My life would simply freeze; I could stare, seize or slump. The episodes were diverse and numerous. I dropped my son in school one morning and on my way back had a ‘black-out’ episode. I ran into an uncompleted building and crushed my brand new car. The air bag popped out blocking my chest area, my seatbelt strapped me to my seat and the Hand of God protected my life. Another day, I was driving down the Admiralty Way in Lekki and there had another ‘black-out’ episode. I careened off the road, ran into an electric pole pushing it down and destroying another car- while His hand held my life in place yet again. Needless to say, I had to stop driving altogether.
Another day on a treadmill in my local gym, I slumped and could have killed myself if that Hand I had come to depend on totally had not intercepted the fall. At the Hairdressing Salon another day, I slumped again and woke up to a band of hairdressers staring down at me and suggesting the Deliverance Ministers I needed to consult with.
Countless times, in countless situations, I would freeze and ‘black-out’. After each episode, I would experience severe disorientation. My mind would be dishevelled, my concentration bleak and chunks of my memory deleted. I often felt like cotton-wool filled my skull. I forgot so many names and faces. Sometimes, it would take me many minutes to juggle my memory hard enough just to remember my children’s names.
The more these episodes occurred the more my confidence dropped and the further I crawled into my shell. I was perpetually petrified about when and where the next episode might occur. I avoided going out as much as I could… even going to church was terrifying. What if it happened there…? I began to disconnect socially. Researching my condition and seeking help became my focus. After a series of tests, it was discovered that I had developed a lesion on the temporal lobe of my brain. This interfered with its electrical activity and led to the seizures I frequently experienced.
This diagnosis was very difficult for me to accept. I needed more than anything else to understand how and why I developed this neurological condition. No one was telling me anything meaningful until I read the book “Deadly Emotions” by Dr Don Colbert an Integrative Medicine Practitioner in Florida, USA.
He wrote, “A number of people including a number of physicians dismiss the importance of mind-body diseases or psychosomatic ailments… Medical research is showing more and more that there may be a mind-body connection to most diseases and ailments, not just a few…” It was like ‘EUREKA’ for me. I began to study harder and further until I came to the conclusion that my mind and my emotions were indeed the root of my health deprecation.
I had lost my mother when I was 13 years old. A few months before then, my dad had lost his mother and his father too. Every one repeated over and over how strong I had to be especially for my Daddy’s sake. I remember one person in particular who went as far as telling me that it was my responsibility to ensure that my Dad didn’t break down otherwise he could also die. Her words resonated and losing my father was the last thing I wanted to happen. I didn’t want to be left alone, an orphan with my 3 sisters to take care of. After then, I frequently, stole furtive glances at my Dad to ensure he wasn’t breaking down or dying. During this process, I perfected the art of suppressing my emotions (without knowing the consequences) as I struggled with being the oldest child in my family and filling my mum’s oversized shoes.
Through the years I became an expert at not feeling what I feel. I was a pro at pushing down any feeling that was painful to me or unaccepted by others. I didn’t realize that the more I experienced negative emotions and failed to express them, the more the pressure mounted inside. I didn’t know that by collecting these deadly emotions over the years, I had flipped on a self destruct switch in my body. My body was now compelled to go wherever my mind went. Not only did these toxic emotions stimulate the stress response that opened the door for this disease to enter my body, they also impeded the healing process.
The drug prescribed to ‘manage’ my symptoms was far worse than the symptoms. I felt awful using them but I still dared not stop. I struggled with fear, anxiety, anger and depression. My heart broke into pieces as I watched the quality of my life deteriorate. I experienced all shades of embarrassment. One day, I met a lady in one of my friends’ house. As my friend started to introduce us and I put on my most pleasant face; to my horror I watched the lady scowl, hiss and look me up and down. She said, “What are you trying to do Chiadi. Hmm! Who do you think you are? I don’t blame you at all. You are pretending you don’t know me eh…” I had no clue where I had ever seen her before that day. I didn’t bother to explain (who would understand) I simply apologised. So many such incidents, it was safer to just keep away to save my face…until I discovered the Integrative Treatment.
This Integrative treatment focuses on the well- being of the whole person- the spirit, the mind (soul) and the body. It combines alternative medicine with medical science and pays as much attention to the emotional and spiritual wellness of the individual.
I started by prayerfully tidying my spiritual connectedness with God before I proceeded to the emotional detoxification. God helped me identify all the deadly emotions and stressors I had harboured over the years and together we began to work through each of them. There were loads-anger, anxiety, fear, rejection, resentment, unforgiveness -the entire works. With the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy also, I began to re-arrange my dysfunctional thoughts. I identified their trigger, tested their validity against objective reality and then began to replace each of them with TRUTH.
It was at this point BTH Integrated Services was birthed…
I understood that most of my organs (including my brain) needed an escape especially from free radicals and toxins in the foods I ate. I hired a Nutritionist who is also an expert in alternative medicine. She stayed in my home for 2 weeks.Together we went through a detoxification regime (you don’t want to know the details). Suffice it to say that I ate all manner of RAW fruits and vegetables, with copious amounts of garlic, onions and ginger, no processed food and no oil. Before the 7th day, I knew something significant had taken place in my body. The 1,200mg daily dosage of my prescription drug was impossible for me to sustain. I had palpitations and acute breathlessness. Without medical authorization I reduced it drastically and there was no incident. At this point, I intensified my spiritual connection praying fervently for God to authenticate my integrated wholeness. I wanted a brand new life, not one laced with ‘black-outs’ and seizures. My Father and my Helper did; He came through for me.
I went for my annual check-up and from the result of my various tests (an MRI Brain Scan, an EEG, a Doppler test, an ECG test, and a 24hr ECG) the lesion on my temporal lobe was no longer there-another surreal experience that left me speechless. My doctor has recommended a follow on check-up in a few months to re- confirm these test results; I don’t know what he hopes to see but I trust the One that started this good work – He is faithful and He will complete it.
God has validated my hope and I now offer myself (via BTH Integrated Services and in collaboration with various experts) to the wellness of the whole person while focusing on their mind and their emotions -the bedrock of well-being. He comforted me with wellness first so that I in turn may comfort others.
So far, the result has been deeply inspiring as people identify, confront and conquer the ‘core’ issues behind their heart and their health. Emotions have healed, relationships restored, behaviours changed and lives renewed.