A light one from my world: Our new neighbour has a daughter and that’s a boom


kids courting
Ok keep that image in mind as you read lol

Hello world, sunny sunday is here and although I had planned a different post I just thought I’ll blog sort of light today… (Life light if that can be served hahaha) – am tired of morose news…

So breaking news in our apartment building: The new neighbour has a daughter!!!  (And this could maybe catch some president’s eye?)

Now, ours is a three flats building right; and the previous neighbour had 4 boys (the one we met when we moved in), and the one above had no kids. The first two neighbours moved out and two new ones moved in and almost same pattern but: The one above us who replaced the mama of 4 boys, has one pretty daughter!!!

Now, I have 3 boys, and well the 11 and 8 year old are still begining to find girls pretty or attractive? Alain is a big guy and at 14 has his life and stuffs with his age group and fortunately I know pretty much all his friends (both sexes and have always been informed since kindergarden) so he definitely doesn’t care about the neighbour’s girl!!!

She is 8 years and so that should be Gaby right? But, I overheard David and Gaby debate if her age mattered (what?) – like for David maybe?!!!

I have watched Gaby in particular fret around her and gladly zoom in and out on errands for her mom (normal out here in some close knit neighbourhoods where kids are kind of sent by whoever to the store etc). He has already told me he has a crush on her and I was just waiting for an opportunity to meet her and feel for myself you know.

Sunday 15th Ocotber we come in from church and there she is coming downstairs with a big trash bag asking for the direction to the refuse bin (ok you foreign folks, out here we have refuse grounds at the end of the street or somewhere and bins could overflow and the garbage overflows and covers the bin from view altogether lol). Both boys quickly offer to go show her but Gaby the smarter one takes the bag from her hahaha.

Well, I guess they have a good start on their way to and fro so on their return and soon we are done with lunch, he takes permission to go up and play with her. Wow he even gets me to call her mum to ask if he could come up and play with her. I mean with the previous neighbours there wasn’t all this fretting. They clicked the same day and played football right thereafter and still chat via phone now. We moms even got to get along because the boys raced up, down, in and out together alot.

Funny how some of these things play out right? Anyone had any such fun experience?

Have a great weekend everyone

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The Race 2 the Grave


It muses my mind

Mankind is on a race

One so fierce

The fool seems the whistleblower

No sight of the finish line I see

But then again there are seas

Which may make the track

As hard to trace

But the race picks up

Ever so fierce

Don’t ask me I beg

Am only a writer

Our leaders may know more

Wants and needs ever rising

Fears and foes ever adding

A strange race it seems

Cause near the finsh line

Some wish they hadn’t run at all

In Memoriam: Dreaded Death Dare I Muse


Dreaded death dare I muse

Why you don’t come when we wish?

Or maybe you guess right, even when we do we really mean not

He was some years back very sick

Three heart valves changed at once

We vigiled and wailed and even wished

But not you to respect any one

So now I muse 

What do you order us do

To be better prepared or armed?

Maybe we can ignore you altogether

And live and love to our best?

Say it and send it and savour now and not tomorrow

Cause if you come today, then we regret not

You really seem invincible inevitable and dare I say inviolable?

Gosh: you have stung so close again once more

His daughter & lone seed is just a year

I wouldn’t even dare call his young wife

At least we are still many around

The best to heal is all we can do it seems

Adieu Armstrong: I wish I wish I wish…

I muse no more…keep your dread I beg

———-

P.s: lost a cousin so close we grew up same house and my boys called him uncle, cherishing care free holidays at his home…

24 hrs chrono for Dyane Harwood ahead of her first book talk


Good morning world;

When my special and very brave friend Dyane Harwood asked me if I could keep a flame shinning for her on Thursday as she did her first book talk, of course I quickly bought a big green candle.                      
 Lady dearest, may this flame warm your soul all through this day and especially as you talk.                                                             It is the first, but many are sure to be lined up.  Remember you are a pacesetter for #postpartum Bipolar Disorder.           Whoop whoop whoop!!!  

My Prayer and Affirmation Wall 2 Inspire some…


 

Hello World, am inspired to share something close to my heart which helps me every day, morning and night to stay grounded irrespective of any circumstances. The above is my prayer and affirmation wall just above my bed. The lighting is sort of dim because I have a ‘green coloured’ bulb in there. That colour green, is my favourite and so happens to be the mental health colour lol. It is soothing light to say the least and makes me love my room more – my serene space. Having that wall helps me introspect a lot each day as I wake up or prepare for bed. There you find my personal prayers I have written down this lane, some of my poems, some affirmation, gifts from the boys, and drawings from Gaby etc.

When I read for example the above appreciation note, I know even if I don’t feel so good or up to that day, I have and I am appreciated so I can’t be any hard on myself – I mean I should appreciate myself more right?

Indeed, it is that prayer and affirmation wall which led a cousin of mine to recommend the movie “War Room” to me. That movie is a soulful one and nothing to do with the violent war the world knows. If you have time, it is free on youtube and here is a link.

Be inspired by my journey dear world, and wish you find your own serene space…

Happy Midweek everyone

Advocating for my son and students all the way …


wp-image-125500887
My special friend and deputy CEO of In Our Home Inc

Hello World, that is my first son Alain (for those just hopping on my blog). He turned 14 years last october 8th and we went to a Chinese Buffet for a first time – they  (all 3 boys I have) had a great time.

Now, Alain is in form 3, I guess middle high in the US or so. Recently, when writing about experiences I had in his brother’s school with two teachers, I also mentionned some I had in his own school over some grade scores he had been removed for some reason I couldn’t understand. He is a very hardworking student, has always been on honour’s roll since primary school and takes a lot of pride in his performance – of course I do too although I try to make him not put so much pressure on himself. One of his teachers gave him a 2/8 in a question because he forgot an element, and yet his friend who gave same illustration forgetting same element got a 6/8. When he went up to ask the teacher showing his friend’s paper, his two marks were substracted and added to this friend’s.

Of course I marched to that school the next day and spoke with the proprietor and dean of studies. I was assured the grades will be reviewed. Ha same afternoon, he comes back home with another paper taught by the same teacher where he gets 3 answers marked wrong which I know are correct. I am getting itchy and go back to the school the next day. The teacher whom I don’t see, had told the dean the previous day Alain was rude in his approach to asking about his paper, and he left out some words (critical to a complete answer it sems) and actually …… I left the new paper and requested for a meeting with this teacher and the dean.

The meeting was arranged for last friday at 7.30 am and I was there of course 15 minutes ahead. I explained the situation again, said my concern was in teacher/student relationship which appeared to still be one of ‘teacher knows it all’ (Alain told me he was adviced by the dean to stop ‘challenging’ his teachers). I said at home I didn’t know it all and we ran the home as a team and I told them I was sorry when at fault. The teacher gave his own explanations; and well all is well that ends well.

Some relationship dynamics have changed over the past century and one of these is students/lectuers or teacher etc. Back home, it may still be a big challenge finding a balance and even letting parents in (in his school PTA’s are once a year only – imagine that) and hmm some parents simply don’t even want to know or be involved anyway.

I therefore advocate that students/pupils be let to express themselves and taught from a young age how to do so politely  (I however doubt Alain was rude – teacher may just have been embarassed he even came up to him in class and brought along a friend’s paper and well in our schools you may not see a teacher after class hours because they teach and go unless they have another class after a while and you are also out of class you know). Students also get a bost by their parents’ involvment and their teachers taking them as human beings and not just people to be taught sort of.

Finally, Alain got his marks reinstated and got good grades overall for this first sequence (he feels slighted he was second in class -but that’s ok by me).

Sharing to inspire parents and advocates, it ain’t easy but often it is worth it.

Have a nice week us all

 

Please could you just…


Please could you just listen

Listen to my tale

Tale so fade

Could very well be stale

Nothing you can do

But still

Please just listen

……….

Please could you just read

Read what I write

Written with rollers

Rolling every other direction

Some could be rash

Trash or bash

Nothing you may do

But still

Please just read

……….

Please could you just say something

Anything but silence

Silence drives me crazy

Crazier than I might already seem

Never mind the impact now

Just tell me how u feel

How it is, how it was

Nothing it may create

But still

Please just speak

……….

(C) 2017 Marie Abanga

P.s: How many times have we overlooked such basic and life saving ways of helping someone even ourselves?

My personal essay of mental health at the workplace


This year, World Mental Health Day was celebrated on tuesday October 10th under the theme Mental Health at the Workplace.

Over at the Gbm Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Wellbeing, we raised awareness both online and through traditional media. In my capacity as Country Director, I shared my personal essay of mental health as related to me then while I was working in a multinational telecommunications company. You can read that post right here.

WMHD FOR ME 2017

If I were to answer the above question today, I’ll say for me such a workplace is one where everybody feels safe addressing their mental health challenges. And you gentle readers and followers, what would be a mentally healthy workplace for you?

Questions for an Author P2 – Birth of a new Brain Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder by Dyane Harwood


 

Yesterday, Dyane was telling us about the most difficult chapter she wrote. We continue from here:

  1. How did you deal with that?

I had to take plenty of breaks from writing the “One Pill Can Kill” chapter, which helped a lot.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and what was it? I learned that I was stronger and more disciplined than I thought I ever could be, and I found those things out relatively late in life (my mid 40’s) which goes to show that late blooming (in terms of achieving our lifelong dreams) is possible!

  1. How long did it take you to ‘give birth’ to the memoir we would very soon be seeing on the shelves? Ten years! And they seemed like dog years!

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially those living with a mental illness? Surround yourself with those who believe in you and your writing. Find a writing mentor if you can! One thing I wish I had done years ago was join the National Association for Memoir Writers (NAMW) because they have a ton of support and advice for memoir writers – really incredible resources! They also have membership sales twice a year and you can email them to find out when they are. You may also be able to work out a payment plan with them I believe – I paid less than $100 to join, which was still a big deal for my budget, but it was completely worth it. In terms of mental health, if you’re going through a rough path, allow yourself to take weeks, months, even years off if you need to. I took lengthy breaks – I had to – and that’s why it took me so long to get the book done. But what comes first is mental stability.

  1. Was it easy to get a book deal and how did you fare in the negotiations if we may pry? I wish I could say I had an agent because many people don’t think you’re a “real” writer unless you have an agent. That is no longer the case. There are many more publishers nowadays that accept manuscripts directly from the authors, which is wonderful. But what I did have was a generous friend who knew one of the publishers at Post Hill Press. She enthusiastically recommended my proposal to him; he reviewed it and ultimately he offered me a contract. Before he worked at Post Hill Press, he worked at “Big Five” publishers for many years in high positions, so I felt pretty great that he believed in my proposal.

Any other writing projects, blogging, support groups, etc? For now I’m promoting the book and giving talks to perinatal mental health and bipolar groups in the Bay Area. I’m also getting into the world of podcasting, as you know! I really enjoy it! To hear my first podcast please go to Dr. Katayune Kaeni’s “Mom and Mind” website – and find that right here:

My second podcast is on Podcast One’s “Mind Full” program with mental health advocates Alisha Perkins and Colleen Lindstrom. I let myself loose on that episode, so kindly check it out here:

3. Where will your memoir be found, and any book tours already scheduled? You can buy my memoir on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, R Kobo and iBooks. Thank you so much, Marie, for giving me this opportunity to share my experience with your followers, I will definitely update you with any book tours I have.

Thank you very much Lady Dyane my heroine for answering our questions. We hope to stay informed of different updates with your projects.

Please visit Dyane’s blog and her website for more on her writings and mental health advocacy.

If you dear gentle readers and followers have any questions for Dyane, you could leave them in the comments too.

 

World Mental Health Day: Questions to Dyane Harwood Author, Birth of a New Brain (Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder)


Birth of a new brain cover

Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) is published by Post Hill Press this very October 10th 2017.

It’s available on Kindle and paperback

Hello World, today on this very special day, I mean very, very special day: Today is World Mental Health Day and the Birth of Dyane Harwood’s long awaited literary baby; I have the singular honour, pleasure and modesty to interview my dear friend, one I fondly call Lady D and The Captain – the author, dynamic wife and mother par excellence. I connected with Dyane early into my blogging adventures, and we have stayed friends since then. I still look forward to visiting Dyane in her corner of the Western Coast in the US, and take a “redwood bath” with her and her famous Scottish collie Lucy.

I salute Dyane’s courage to go through with it and not give up. Dyane is equally a seasoned author and has written for the Huffington Post, SELF Magazine, BP (Bipolar) Magazine, and more. With this said, I’ll interview her for your reading pleasure and let her tell us more about herself and her life journey, mindful of her postpartum bipolar disorder diagnosis.

1) The Profile

1. Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:
Hello, my dear friend Lady Marie! I grew up in Los Angeles, California with my brother Martin and of course a dog – an Irish Setter named Amber! We had two very loving parents and many blessings; however, it was a difficult childhood as my father had bipolar one disorder and his mental illness took its toll on our family.

2. About your Memoir, how did you come up with the title – you must admit it is one of its kind?
I love my title! Originally I titled the book Quest for Rest because when I began writing it in 2007, I was manic and hypergraphic (which is excessive compulsive, writing associated with bipolar mania and epilepsy, of all things, Marie!) — later on, I switched titles because I no longer felt attached to Quest for Rest. Birth of a New Brain simply popped into my mind and felt right.

2) The Soul Journey

1. I lost my only brother to bipolar disorder and its complications – hence I dread the word and diagnosis; what’s your take on that word?
I cannot STAND the word “bipolar”! I agree with Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, the author of the classic memoir An Unquiet Mind, who prefers “manic depression.” I think that term describes the mood disorder so much better than “bipolar”ever could. It’s just a really dumb word and to be honest, I have problems saying it out loud.

2. How did you get your diagnosis and how have you fared since that diagnosis?
In 2007, approximately six weeks postpartum, I voluntarily admitted myself into the local psychiatric unit as I was manic. I was diagnosed at that unit and it took me seven years to find the right medications to help me. During that time I went through two phases in which I tried to live without medications; one of those phases involved a very slow, systematic tapering schedule that I had researched before undertaking it. I do not want to sound like a drama queen, but I almost died after each attempt to live meds-free. However, some people can live with bipolar and stay stable without taking medications.

3. How have you been coping with your mental illness and yet still been able to function at times enough to write and publish?
The book has been the most challenging project of my life. When I finally secured a publisher, I found the entire process was far more difficult than I had imagined. I coped fairly well although I ate a ton of sweets and gained 15 pounds despite using Lose It! And exercising! My medications and having a stable, loving family complete with Lucy the Scottish Collie/Writing Muse enabled me to get through it all.

3) The Writing

1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
Oh yes! Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir and books by Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time) and L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) have influenced my writing, but there are many other books that affected me too! I have a list of some of them in the book’s appendix section.

2. Did you have a writing mentor?
Wendy K. Williamson (author of the bestseller I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar and the co-author of 2 Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival) believed in my writing, and she inspired me to “go for it” in terms of sending my proposal to publishers.

3. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
That’s a great question. I’d definitely say the “One Pill Can Kill” chapter about how taking one Elavil (amitriptyline) pill made me acutely suicidal and when I realized what was happening to me, I asked to be taken to the emergency room at the hospital. I won’t go into other details (and I don’t go much into them in the book because I felt there were plenty of books about that topic already – it didn’t seem necessary) but I also want to say that this specific medication works well for other people! We all know medications affect every person differently…thus the need for caution when trying a new medication and have someone on hand to observe your reaction to it if it all possible!!!

To be cont’d tomorrow, kindly visit again…

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