Category Archives: Mental Health Advocacy

Why am doing this mini fundraiser to attend a Mental Health Summit in London here…


Hi everyone, I am a little ‘laggy’ doing this mini fundraiser raiser here to attend a VIP summit in London next month.

I was recommended by the coordinator of the Global Mental Health Peer Network (am a recently appointed executive representing Cameroon), to the organizers of the summit sometimes last month and I forgot about it. Three weeks ago, I received a formal invitation, filled the form and boom in 4 days I got an approval as a delegate.

Well, I couldn’t fund that and didn’t know I could go to the delegates’ area of the website and download a form to fill. Last Monday, at 11.30 am, I pay attention to an email from the organizers saying the last day to apply for funding was that same 11th at 12pm. I had probably been overlooking updates and co from them thinking it wasn’t a lead worth following (why I didn’t just as usual apply for funding I don’t know). Here I zoomed quick to delegate area using the PW I had been provided but never even bothered changing, downloaded the form filled same and sent it back at exactly 11:50am.

Can you believe my joy when last Friday I received a funding approval for transportation and accommodation for the two nights of the summit?

Issue now is visa fees which stand at 200usd with my appointment set for Wednesday like in 12 hours I hav to pay that amount.

Two reasons am doing this mini fundraiser therefore:

1) I need to raise the fees before 12 noon tomorrow or lose the appointment slot (the dates are already too close and I don’t wish to lose that slot);

2) I would love to see the tribe support me attend this very important summit. I will consider it a big blessing to have even 1£ or 1euro or 1usd from any of my gentle readers or followers for this.

So, if you are moved to donate, I will appreciate you send any amount you have to my PayPal. This is so abrupt I know, I really didn’t want to throw it out here until I realized I really needed help.

Thank you very much in advance to all who will donate, be sure I’ll acknowledge each of you personally.

God bless us all

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Sometimes go with them and listen to them to know how they feel…


When you look at Gaby’s smile can you tell he was afraid? I am so happy I walked with him to school on his first day of school and could sense some anxiety in him as we got into his school. His grip of my hand firmed up and he became so quiet. He was moving into a new class -G5, and was probably wondering how it was going to work out. I asked him how he was feeling ( not good to ask them what’s wrong or embarrass them by saying they are acting up etc), and he frankly told me he was afraid. Wow, the Gaby I thought I knew? Afraid of a new class? Wow really – as in what can we really know for sure right?

To make matters scary again for him after I had tried my best to make him face the fear and near overcome it, we just discovered the class teacher is the same who taught G4 last year and with whom he didn’t get along for the few days he spent in his class. Mr D is a ‘no nonsense’ teacher who even spanks oh my. So we quickly agreed on Gaby’s best option being that of greeting Mr D and behaving better in class, and we see how that goes. Gaby agreed with me that Mr D was not spanking those who were not rowdy in class and who did their homework. We had a plan and I had to help him out each day to the best of my ability…

And that is how I have added home teacher to my list of daily occupations, trying to get up keep up and even slightly ahead why not lol.

Current feedback: He likes his new class and teacher because the latter doesn’t spank him. He answers questions in class and is more attentive than playful and distracted, although his buddie from last year got moved to the 5B and he kept in 5A, he is getting to make new friends and can still play with buddy A at break time. At this age, such stuffs definitely matter big time lol

My point or prayer is that especially with our children who sometimes seem they got it all together, when they are transitioning, we should walk the journey with them. Walking that phase may be driving them/dropping them off each day for a few days or a week before they start taking the school bus, and listening to them/asking them how they feel everynow and then. And this is taking care of their mental health too, teaching them it matters and they can trust us to tell us whatever is going on in them at any moment…

Here is to a great week of bonding and listening between parents and children

Children could have so many talents… let’s nurture them


Hello world, wow another week is here and boy am I happy the three muskeets started off school great and am doing my best in this all. There is so much to be grateful for as parents me holds, but above all as it stands, I am immensely grateful to have my 14 years old son for a barber. He not only shaved me, but he did shave his brothers’ own too.

And how you may wonder did it all start? A few days ago, I noticed he spent a lot of time at the neighbour’s. He don’t usually do that and so I was curious. It was then his brothers told me he goes there to learn how to shave. And to think he had been doing like he was sneaking? Oh my boy, probably thought I was going to be ‘mad’ at him or whatever. But hey anyone here will be ‘mad’ at their boy for learning a new hustle and one which will save you all some time and money? I mean this is healthy hustle, not drugs pushing so why wouldn’t I encourage that?

And to say he is gentle and careful is an understatement. He was so grateful the neighbour trusted him with his appliance…oh my lord help me but I have to buy a complete shaving kit before the month is over lol…

And I share this to encourage us parents in here to let ‘the children tell/show us what they can do’.

When I was growing up, I remember keeping to myself and my friends all over anywhere but far from home. When I heard the sound of my dad’s ride or my mum’s voice, I shouted ‘order’ and that was the code word for everyone at home to adjust themselves and even get ‘lost’. Remember that tagline ‘Children should only be seen and not heard’?…well in my home it sometimes felt like even to be ‘seen’ was calling for ‘trouble’ hahaha

So, starting a new week us all, may we parents/guardians/aunties/uncles and all in between, encourage and nurture our children/wards to be the best they can be at pretty much any thing they are good at especially if it wouldn’t land them in trouble with their soul or the law hahaha

My self care journey: My Super Support System


Hello world, this is the mega wrap up of my self care journey I have been sharing with us all for the past two Fridays, and I couldn’t do any conclusion without letting you in on my Super Support System. Now, I have a whole support system and not just a support network of individuals, because some key actors in my super support system are not individuals, nor even tangible objects. I mean you can think of a forest, a beach, a river, waves, music, feelings invoked by meditation…

1)The People

My family+friends and oh my 3 musketeers. Some of my few but special friends have been featured here and are both offline and online. From Judi Joli to Beautiful Bea to Darling Donna and my own Lady D Harwood not forgetting my precious Phoebe and more; hmm I am special and blessed. My mum is equally an indispensable person in my support system even if our relationship has been through its own share of shaky hahahaha. My sibling too know what to do or not to do to show some support too. The musketeers know so much about me and what I even sometimes need without my screaming so much lol. They are one of my natural antidepressants and am ever grateful.

2) The Places

There are places I just need to go to and I feel supported. First on this list is the Loo my love. Sitting in the loo especially my own loo lol, is like …words fail me to describe the experience. My room, the woods, the beach, you know those places which just help you calm down and relax. I have hardly felt any “fire on the mountain or had 1000 miles per micro second thoughts” in these places.

3) The Activities

When am down and I fight to even get up and dress up for a work out, the chances are if I do leave that bed, I’ll walk. Walking even if painfully and no matter how many steps I take nor what I do thereafter, is a big support. I feel much better when I try to work out especially when I don’t feel so good. Another activity is meditation, or praying, listening to calm music, a recording of the waves…so much soothing support

4) The reading and writing

I know they could go under activities but they just deserve to stand alone. I know realize the extent to which reading has been a vital coping mechanism and now a very special component of my support system. Now, writing is but the natural effect of all that reading right? I once wrote a book in 30 days at the height of my grief following my brother’s death. Insomnia near sent me to a psych ward but it seems the writing kept me grounded – dunno if this makes sense lol. I just don’t know how to spend a day without reading or writing and I have been known to calm down and glee when I see a book (especially one of mine) when am not doing too good.

5) The Advocacy for myself and others like myself

I have come to realize that advocating for myself and others like myself, is very important to my self support. I add this to my support system because I know that the more I advocate for myself and others going through similar or more difficult times, the chances are I feel better and more people relate to me out of empathy than sympathy. This is why I write about the good, the bad and the ugly of my thrilling life hahaha

Be inspired and motivated…a big big THANK YOU to all who are part of my support system, the activities and all – Girl you are definitely trying your best lol

Have a great weekend us all

 

Peace sometimes has a price for parents I bet ya lol…


Hmm happy midweek world,

Say this has been a bugs bunny week so far… My musketeers started a new academic year on Monday and well supermom don’t come with super powers oh me…

So, on Sunday Sept 2, after the family meeting and checking all blablabla, I mean Alain had even shaved my hair same like theirs as you can see in our photo (that’s a post on its own), I just wished for some peace. But hmm, what you said???

They had other plans and all I kept getting were reports and wails and all. No energy to shout or threaten, I quickly decided to motivate with some cash…that is…I set the bar high in exchange for a 100frs (not up to a dollar or euro bey hey that huge for them lol) payment.

I said he who could win all 3 rounds of a certain game could come and get the money. While waiting, I got me some peace…they needed all their concentration to play and hopefully win all three rounds; and you can guess if anybody did win hahaha

So, was I smart or what? I needed peace and I got me some peace…they played with each other instead of fighting with each other…ok I compensated with a yummy dinner ahead of back to school on Monday September 3rd.

Be inspired and motivated us all, the journey can only get more exciting with a little creativity hahaha

1st Globuntu Online Summit: I’ll be telling my story from breakdown 2 breakthrough


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looking at all 10 storytellers, do I look like the typical  ‘Angry black woman’? hahaha

Hello world,

Another is week is here and we are starting a new month for real. Wow, the 9th month in this 2018 which just started like yesterday? And yet, I have so much to tell about this year, one which my spirit revealed to me was my year of Grace. Ah, it’s been Amazing Grace how sweet the sound…all along. Thank God really that I blog so much and have all my records as I progress – cause sometimes it could feel surreal what has happened or is planned by faith you know…

One of these plans, is to join a panel of 10 amazing storytellers to share my story of what I did when “Shit happened”, and I was near checking out altogether from this life.

Storyteller Marie Abanga

You could watch the Ted X by the amazing founder and host Ms Beatrice Achaleke – my boss lol, where she talked about what she did when “shit happened” in her own life. Needless to say Beatrice is my heroine, have worked with her from my most tender age and we are related by much more than blood. Here is the introductory post I did of her several years ago hahaha.

 

Now therefore, anyone who believes like Iyanla Vanzart once asserted that:

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.”

Will rush to book one of the few remaining early bird tickets before they are all picked up…click right here and sign-up cause am so excited to get to tell my story on this beautiful platform offered by the Globuntu Academy for Happy Minds. I will forever be grateful to and for Beatrice.

While at it, maybe you would love to check out the Facebook event page or look out for the Globuntu Academy for Happy Minds?

My Self Care Journey: P2 of some seven self care habits of mine


Hello World, last Friday I started sharing seven of my top self care habits harnessed over the years, and I promised to post P2 today. Here we go without much …

4) Writing and Blogging like merry marie lol

In September 2012 I got the writing bug for my first memoir. I couldn’t sleep at night and seriously wrote each day from 12 am to 2 am – God knows how my brain didn’t explode. I was now at mum’s waiting to go to Belgium in January 2013, I was on a serious fast which got mum seriously concerned I could be going anorexic again, I was also working out 45mins/1hr each day except Sunday. Lord, the writing was needed to calm me down some. It felt real good. I am so happy for that because today I have 5 books which I self-published in the past 5 years wow. In November of 2013, Blogging joined the mix by some curiosity, and that has been another big outlet for me to write down whatever and then process same whenever need arises. This has also led me above all, to network and read about people whose journeys are hmm… I have a great support system from the blogosphere, I became more aware of myself and my journey and its impact on me and mine, I even got more inspiration and motivation from all the writing. One super way writing and blogging help me take care of me is that, when am struggling or just feeling anyhow, I start to write and somehow start healing. It’s been simply amazing all that has happened since I started writing (with regards to my books, since I have kept journals from childhood) and blogging. I even rebaptized myself “merry marie” and have strived to live up to that one day at a time hahaha. I just make sure to find a balance and not let my gadgets or social media take me hostage lol

5) Finding Self-Love and My Me Moments

Some of those pictures up there show me in My Me Moments swags and jives. I mean, what should I write again about those moments? Once I found the truest and best love right where I had failed to look all along – inside; once I realized my best friend and I could give each other as many treats as we wanted or needed; ah it’s been a great source of self care, rest, recuperation, re-bonding and re-bouncing…I am so comfy just being with me even in the company of others…call that what you wish, self -love is my own appelation.

6) Going & Living Spiritual all the way

This was a gradual process, I mean not going religious but spiritual. I have come to embrace intermitent fasts, mediation, retreats, and courted some like Patience & Humility with love. So, when my inner voice told me last February it was time for a long spiritual journey of 70 days; fasting from 7 big stuffs including blogging and eating, hmm I knew this was it. Spirituality and I are now good for life. Try it whoever is inspired, ah the serenity even in the midst of the most nasty adversity and all – I ain’t trading this for nothing. The lessons I learned, all I gave up, conquered and the new me who emerged in spirit, soul and body – God am Grateful beyond words. This was definitely the next best investment in my self care.

7) Staying ever mindful of new habits and weary of all toxic stuffs

If you have been reading right from P1, you can see I have come a long way. My poem titled Hopeless to Hopeful tells it all in 2 stanzas. All I have learned and am now implementing, both personally and in my psychotherapy practice, have made me very mindful. I sleep as much as I can at night (often 9 pm – 4 am, turning all those gadgets off), I have my serene and safe space (my loo no shame lol), I don’t sweat the small stuffs especially at home with my 3 muskeets, I know my temperature and feel it, literally learned to walk confidently and speak in a proper way and tone. Today, I take my time to reply to any ‘perceived attack sms/emails’ (once took 7 days and another time 30 days, and others I ignore outright); inshort I don’t go near anything toxic consciously. I have bashed my ego and ditched perfection, I am not fazed by food or fashion…I could go on and on…

In conclusion, if after reading about my 7 self care habits someone is not inspired or motivated, then I may not be doing a great job living my purpose. There is one stand alone self care vital habit I will blog on… you guess right if you call it Support System. Until then… hope you find some inspiration and motivation in my self care journey.

 

Judy Joli ma miss et heroine


Hello World, happy midweek. I am writing today about one pretty little backbone of my support system, there was simply no way I could ever write about my support system without ‘Ma Miss Judy’ being among – and am planning a post on my super support system next week lol

When I moved back home from Belgium in August 2015, and decided to settle back once and for all, it was easier said than done. I hung out at mum’s for 6 months and then found a place of my own. I then knew I needed help keeping that place up and running before my head exploded. I put that into prayers and went about my business. A few days later at a shop, a friend of the sales assistant, boldly but politely told me she was looking for a job – just any job she quickly added. I called her 3 days later to offer her the house help job I was seeking to fill, and she quickly accepted the offer and told me she could start the very next day.

Judy (I quickly added Joli because she is pretty and loves to make “nyanga”), came and in no time became my first ever PA and ‘tata Judy’ to the boys. In short, I could write a pamphlet about ma miss Judy, ah God is good. Her youthful spirit and constant cheer, make her so ‘go to and wonderful’. I learned so much from her, and taught her all I could. She still calls me maman to this day lol. I was so happy our home was equally a safe haven for her and she even spent some weekends – just because. I visited her family and still do when there is an event. Her father is a carpenter and you can imagine all my wooden furniture are from him – and that is no joke…I love my bed above all lol

And so, when it was time to move on, I recommended her for her next job. Yet, we have stayed together. When my eye was going through what I call ‘it’s own hiatus’, Judy  Joli showed up sometimes like an Angel – when most needed. When am to be on the go, just an sms or phone call to Judy’s dad and ma miss is at home for back up.

She is so full of life ma miss – seriously she is one of my natural anti depressants. when I asked her to send me some of her pictures for this post, she simply dumped an album on me hahaha

For all the above, all what Judy Joli is to the boys and I, I will forever be grateful. She is my heroine, and the best aunt her ‘new comer cute’ niece could ever ask for.

Pour Judy

Quand tu va finalement lire ceci ma chère Judy Joli, sache que le monde entier sait maintenant quelle chérie tu est pour les garçons et moi. Je suis très reconnaissant, que Dieu te bénisse et protege pour toujours. Beaucoup de gros bisous, maman

Ain’t Got No Time To Hate


Dear ex, know it for good

Ain’t got no time to hate

You can blackmail forever

I wouldn’t live on forever

Ain’t wasting time to hate

The buttons you so pushed

When you carelessly rode

My lift up, down and round

Finally did the unthinkable

The lift broke down for real

And yet, life has to go on

Ain’t got no time to hate

Me got my lift rebuilt

Learned to service it good

No more careless riders allowed

Ain’t got no time to hate

You can disown dem all you want

You ain’t God and will never be

Me got so much I gotta do

For myself and a distance too

Do whate’r you wish with you

Pray and work harder is what I do

Ain’t got no time to hate

(C) 2018 Marie Abanga

p.s: Wow, and I mean wow…it’s been a long long while I wrote a poem, this should be the first I am writing for publishing in 2018. I mean I have moved from a searching soul to a serene soul and was getting ready to publish my serene soul collection by December, and although this poem is seemingly serene, the circumstances surrounding its composing were a bit disturbing. In a nut shell, x threatened by sms to disown sons because they refused to go with his ‘erratic plans’ this summer. He seems to have stood by his word and followed up saying he ain’t chipping a dime for their back to school. Well, thanks for the pain and inspiration – am not wasting any energy fighting – got my boys already with me and he ain’t God. So, to all in my shoes or anything similar, don’t give in to hate, that’ll eat you up…bring yourself to grieve and then steam it off…don’t give them the luxury of thinking they got you psychologically and emotionally again – Amen

pps: 27/08/18 Update deserved because this is a testimony that love conquers all.  The above saga played out in July and it took me 3 weeks to deal and heal and write that poem for closure. I refused to fight back in human ways, my support system was active, and I let it go. And just on this day when this scheduled poem was published, I receive what I cal a “peace truce phone call”. The balance of the kids fees and needs for the year has been paid. I looked up to the Heavens and said a silent prayer of gratitude. Ain’t got no time to hate and bear any grudges indeed. Sometimes the best fighting is done on your knees and with tears…all is well that ends well

My Self Care journey: Sharing Seven Self Care (SC) habits of mine P1


Hello world, another Friday is here and I want to continue looking at self care being the best care. Some say I am a “multiple person’ and am ok with that. I recall my 39th birthday blog where I appealed for more empathy towards people like myself who were high functioning from every indication, but who also had their struggles. I live with RA and PTSD and so self care for me is a matter of survival.

So today, I decided to start sharing seven of my best self care habits harnessed during the years, hoping they serve some powerful communication + inspiration and motivation. It was in December 2009 that I was first told to seriously start to take care of myself. I was at an all time low and my last son was barely 5 months old. That year was a very troubled one for me, having attempted suicide some 9/10 months earlier. The good side of all that low was my readiness to try another way now… This way I came to realize involved ME taking care of ME and I mean very Good Care. This has come to justify Self Care as being the Best Care to me lol. This said, let’s see how we cover this P1:

1) Working out has resumed and has become VIP for me

I weighed 115kgs by then, had not worked out for like 15 years or more, ate like a ‘hoax’, hoping it will choke my ex husband up…do you visualize me at this point? And so on the 1st of January 2010, while the world slept after St Silvester’s shenanigans, while ex husband was yet to return from his jives, I stepped out at 3.30 am for my 1st walk. I had also decided to start a 30 days fast (had never done one before)…, and all my pain/hurt/and oh so so much, were in those first fearless steps. This the origin of my love affair with determination + discipline and determination (my 3Ds) …8 years later, swagging between 70-77kgs, I have overcome so much and can now do so much. Working out is simply non negotiable for me now… I have still been through a few days in a stretch where I can’t work out due to a health flare up (whichever it is P for physical or M for mental; doesn’t really matter to/for me), but then I always know it shall pass, I keep at the self care and I go right back to working out once the spirit is back …

2) My health + holistic wellbeing has become my priority

The same friend who encouraged me to work out, was amazed at all the medications I was on. I was taking at least 3 different meds for the RA and sleep issues+anxiety, although over all no improvement was being recorded. I look back today and think the over eating could have also been due to the side effects of those meds. Anyways, I heeded to his advice and started weaning myself off the meds with ‘vengeance’. I started searching for alternative remedies for my symptoms and after two years of meds, I was ready to try even cayenne pepper if it got to that lol. Eating healthy became an obsession. I have carried a lunch bag almost religiously since then. It was tough working on the sleep especially while still in a very toxic marriage, I just had to sleep during the day either in the office or at an aunt’s home nearby. I chose the latter often because I could then bathe thereafter and feel fresh to be more productive in the afternoon. That way, if I barely slept at night and got up at 2.30 am as was the habit then, I could go for my 3 am walk with no qualms. Running into thieves twice didn’t scare me off, that is how bent I was on taking care of myself. Eventually off all the meds, I only take any when in a crisis or when I feel one is coming… My wellbeing has become so priority, I can’t even tolerate ‘fake relationships’ from any point of view…

3) I reached out for professional help

The next and biggest self care habit I embraced was in knowing when to reach out for professional help, and then doing just that. You can only take good care of yourself so much. There comes that point when you need ‘professional help’. I had succeeded in salvaging myself from that ‘sham and shame’of a marriage, and was finally in a place where I could start a healing journey. I was meeting Angels on my path and my Gentleman encouraged me to seek ‘professional help’ for all what I told him about me. No more energy to strive on without help, I first hired a life coach. I call that the best investment I ever made for ME. My Hero Jeff Moore, oh God bless him forever, helped me so so much. Next, I booked appointments with a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. That was so much self care, self love, self acceptance and all things self… And come to think of all this Amazing work and Grace by which I have become a life coach and psychotherapist too? Come on somebody and say ‘self care is the best care’…

Let’s take a break here today, I will blog on the last 4 self care habits next Friday ( it was a bit intense recalling some stuffs in here – but no tears came and I actually felt some pride at how far I have come)

p.s as I write this post (22.08.18) I have had a mini flare up which started on Saturday. I have been all wrapped up in the office today as seen in the picture above, and it is 3 pm here now. I however feel so much better and am taking care of myself the best I can (some back to school preparation stress and anxiety too but I facing that head on by Grace)