Welcome to Mediva Wellness Centre
I’m ask y’all to join me in celebrating one of coolest psychiatrists in Kenya, yes cool psychiatrists exist, Dr. Njeri Muigai and her amazing DISRUPTION!!!
I say disruption because she totally massacred this word but in a good way so this post will do the same. Like any Kenyan with a mental health condition, I have been ‘handled’ by different doctors in different treatment facilities and I have gone through the motions; from misdiagnosis, over medication, the ‘valium doctors’ – these doctors prescribe valium for anything and everything to doctors who never explain what is happening and all they do is give prescription after prescription then a ridiculous bill. One of my main issues with those working in the mental health field is that they only see the illness and not the person and my politics is, I am a person first then there is an illness somewhere in the picture, a mental illness at that. To break it down, I am not Sitawa the epileptic or Sitawa who is bipolar instead I am Sitawa, a beautiful and powerful woman (if you don’t think so, ask my life partner) who just happens to have epilepsy and bipolar…I am so much more than my experiences and illnesses and so is everyone with a mental health condition in this country. Another issue is the whole I am the doctor, you are the patient…my word is final. Having gone through the system, I have an idea or two about what works for me and what doesn’t so let’s work this out together. Last year I openly shared about my ordeal in three different hospitals that earned me a blog comment from ‘an anonymous doctor’ who said they would beat me up…I got locked up in a psych ward for three days because the more I tried to tell the doctor about my rights and experiences with different meds the more sick I looked (and I am yet to blog about Dr. Moraa and my hospitalization this August, I literally feel my energy shift when I think about it so give me time…I will have it up soon)…so when I say a psychiatrist is cool, I know what I am talking about.
I celebrate her and her human centred approach to mental health.
I celebrate her because she has seen how it has been done before by the ‘gate keepers’ and asked what will happen if we disrupted how it has always been and gave people an alternative. We have seen the CNN program from a while ago, we have heard cases of break outs and we know a lot of people equate their lack of compassion or concern to the fact that the work is too much, the pay too little and adding mental health into the mix just throws compassion out the door but not for Dr. Muigai…despite it all, she is changing the system from within by being an example and for that I celebrate her.
I met her earlier this year through a friend of a friend who wanted to partner with me and we have developed a lovely relationship, both professional and personal, ever since to the extent that she was one of the few people who knew what was happening in my life these past 5 weeks and she kept checking on me, none of those annoying phone calls or texts check ins…Simply put, she got me and my situation which again from my experience it is an art (my life partner is still learning this art); and for a psychiatrist to have it is a blessing to the mental health movement in Kenya and Africa as a whole…another disruption worth celebrating.
My best spot is the open space for the different therapies/sessions that opens to the dinning area During our one way communications, (I rarely responded but she didn’t give up), she invited me for a road trip to Thika to see her wellness centre; Mediva Wellness Centre, a change of scenery no pressure invitation which I honored with a lot of effort on my part just to leave the house; I was, somewhere between being depressed and that level one gets to just before the get to the getting back on their feet level. When we got to the centre and my spirit immediately felt at home. The centre which houses 15 – 18 people at ago, depending on the season, is on a branch off road to the left off Thika Rd, where the Delmonte Shop is located (check the website for a proper map but it didn’t take much time for us to get there from the CBD).
It has spacious single and double rooms, each self-contained, complete with a full length mirror, numerous wardrobes and a flat screen TV, she really went all out on comfort and I particularly loved the space in the rooms; I definitely wouldn’t want to have all that pressure in my mind and also live in cramped up space in the name of recovery. It is in a nice quiet environment and as she took time to explain the programs, I could see myself doing loads of journaling and mindfulness practices there; which I suggested that she adds that to her programs and that I was up to facilitating those sessions. There is also an expansive field for physical exercise or simply enjoying the sun, a pretty looking room for the daily group sessions, a dining area where meals are served buffet style and an upstairs lounge where group edutainment videos are watched, she offers all forms of therapies from music therapy, group therapy, art therapy and I guess the expansive field area counts as eco therapy…this centre looked more of a guest house than a treatment facility, another element I loved; that priming atmosphere that I keeps reminding you that you are resting, you are rejuvenating works for me better than all that medicine smell and just the whole treatment facility feel, blame my past experience…she totally disrupted my thoughts about seeking help. There is also a separate house on side where the medical side of things are done since the centre works with those with addiction and mental health related conditions but I loved the fact that it is also used by people who would like some time out with a little guidance; more like a vacation with a supervising practitioner within reach.
I am so grateful that she invited me to her centre, my system really that environment. When we went to eat after the road trip, I spoke continuously, a little too much for someone who was down and when I got home, I knew I had found a place I could check myself into with no hesitation because I was confident the owner and her team are keen on compassion and human centred approach to handling mental health issues and the environment was conducive for one to get better. I will definitely blog about my stay if it happens (next time I am in a funk) but before then if you or someone you know is looking for a place to handle alcohol dependency, a mental health condition or just have time out with a little supervision, Mediva Wellness Centre is the place…you can contact them on +254711228904 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I think Dr. Muigai understands what those of us living with mental health conditions need and she dared to look at the beneficiary as opposed to her many years of practice and for that I celebrate her.