I'm Dixie. 50+ Biology and health educator, qigong practitioner, beauty and wellness founder, empty nester, and all round life lover.

My Great-Grandmother Was Schizophrenic (Here’s How I Support My Mental Health)

My maternal great-grandmother, Rebecca Lincoln, whom I called Grannie, is a memorable figure in my childhood. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her fifties, a condition that greatly affected her daily living.

Grannie led a challenging life, often spending time on the streets, resistant self-care acts like bathing, swallowing her meds and cleaning her home. Sometimes she would disappear for weeks, was known for her cursing loudly, talking to herself, and sitting by the roadside. She also had a habit of chain-smoking and walking aimlessly.

Despite her severe condition, our family did everything possible to provide her with quality care until her last days. It’s widely known how tough it can be to care for someone with schizophrenia, especially when they’re unaware of their resistance to help, a condition known as anosognosia.

How she ended up this way, is anyone’s guess. In our family, there is a spiritual and scientific theory/explanation. I don’t debate about it. I believe two things can be true at the same time.

However, I often wonder if the lack of support during her menopausal transition might have contributed to or worsened her mental health condition, given that menopause can exacerbate depression due to hormonal fluctuations.

Grannie and I our own special bond. As chain smoker, she accumulated endless match boxes and Du Maurier brand cigarette boxes, which she kept and gave me to make furniture. I would glue the boxes together and make chest of drawers and couches covered with gazette, gift or brown paper. 

I still remember seeing her during my walks to school. I’d greet her with a cheerful “morning, Grannie,” and on good days, she’d recognize me and reply, “morning, Dixie-anne.” Other times, she was too engrossed in her own world to notice me.

She died when I was seven. The night she died, I could not sleep and overheard my uncle breaking the news to my aunt, “Yvonne, the old lady’s gone.” I was devastated, silently crying into my pillow, mourning the loss of this woman I deeply loved.

Reflecting on these memories always reinforces my commitment to self-care, a practice so important that I embraced the nickname “self-care connoisseur,” given by a client years ago. My great-grandmother’s story is a reminder of the tragic nature of mental illness and its potential hereditary impact. It’s like being trapped in your own body.

Menopausal symptoms vary widely, and my own journey has had its extreme moments. But being in tune with my needs allows me to manage these challenges effectively, a luxury not everyone has. This has only deepened my resolve to prioritize my well-being and support others in their journey toward health and vitality.

Menopause can definitely take a toll on your mental health, but there are plenty of ways to make the journey a bit smoother: Here’s How I support my mental health.

Keep Moving

Exercise isn’t just for physical health—it’s a huge mood booster, too. Whether it’s yoga, a daily walk, run, biking or a dance class, staying active can help keep those menopause-induced mood swings at bay. My go to is Qigong.

Eat Well

What you eat affects how you feel. During menopause, loading up on fruits, veggies, and whole grains can really help stabilize your mood. Try to keep caffeine and alcohol on the low side, as they can mess with your sleep and mood.

Sleep Tight

Menopause can wreak havoc on your sleep thanks to night sweats and all that hormonal fun. Try to make your bedroom a sleep haven: cool, dark, and tech-free. Establishing a calming bedtime routine can also make a big difference.

Chat it Out

Sometimes just talking about what you’re going through can be a huge relief. Lean on friends, family, or even a support group for women who are also navigating menopause. It’s comforting to share stories and tips.


Menopause can stir up a lot of emotions—from sadness about fertility ending to anxiety about getting older. Chatting with a therapist can give you some great tools to handle these feelings. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in particular, is great for tackling emotional challenges.

In summary, I’d like to add, mindfulness. Be attuned and mindful of how you are feeling. And here I go again, like a broken record. Practice triple A: Awareness, Acknowledgement and Action.

I'm a teacher, beauty/wellness founder, and Qigong Instructor. My work exists to support women and people experiencing the menopausal transition on their health and wellness journey. I believe in the sacredness, wholeness, and expansiveness of well-being and the menopausal passage, and I care deeply about teaching and creating experiences and safe spaces that provide support.

I'm Dixie Lincoln-Nichols

Hey, gorgeous!

The Blogger Deets

  1. This mental health disorder has had its grips on three members of my family! Most recently my cousin who as a result lost custody of her daughter . She’s better now and I’d now trying to put together the pieces of her life . Going back and forth to France to visit her daughter. She had gone through this with her mom and sister before. Thank you for sharing . It tugs at me, this very painful family trait. 🙏

  2. Dixie Lincoln-Nichols says:

    Giselle. Thank you for taking the time out to read and comment. I’m so sorry to hear of the multiple family members navigating mental illness. I know it can toll on families. Beaming prayers for strength and healing to you and your family. Happy to hear your cousin is better and able to begin the process of rebuilding her life. I wish her continued and sustained healing. Sadly, it is genetic. So we have to be so mindful and prioritize our self-care needs. Beaming all the best.

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