The Church and Mental health challenges…could we be more…


Voice of the Voiceless
How can I be silent?

I leave dots after more because I leave it to each one to fill in what they want. I was shaken and yet poked up when I read of the pastor’s suicide. I was also in serious reflections about mental wellness whether you were a christian or not – coincidence or not? World suicide day had just come and gone, and I remember holding a knife to my heart 10 years ago while 5 months pregnant. I wrote several related posts on Facebook about this yesterday and I just saw another article which took me back to thinking about doing this post.

Here is the link to the article I read:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/september/pastor-dies-by-suicide-three-things-we-all-need-to-know.html?share=

Now, I don’t know about out there, but in my country mental health challenges are ‘not welcome in church’ period. Better call them demon possessed attacks or wicked people thrown sorts on you – bottom line is you have to be delivered in church, you have lots of penance to do and …

With me being so vocal about my mental health challenges and my PTSD diagnosis from 2014, I quickly learned when I joined church that it’s not so welcome to be vocal – about that and about pretty much – like Rape. I am contemplating if I can swim in such a sea or if I have to leave for real.

So, will this suicide by a pastor cause the ‘church’ to become more…open, real, compassionate, and you can go on; or will they quickly dissociate from the victim pastor, finding reasons to show he was perhaps a ‘fake’ pastor after all?

We’ll see how it goes…in the meantime let’s remember #mentalhealthmatters

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The Increase in Child Rape: Cases in our Society (What do we do?)


Yesterday 25.04.19, I was a guest on a power program on HiTv called Girls’ Talk, hosted by the talented Wilson Blessing in the city of Buea, Cameroon.

We were looking at the Increase in Child Rape in our society and we had other expert resource persons like Prof Teke of the University of Buea and Dr Forbellah a partner with Doctors without borders. I was brought in in different capacities, and discussed different aspects of rape which could be leading to its increase in our society regardless of all we cry against.

Interesting pannelAs a lawyer, I looked at the shortcomings of the provisions in the penal code and how undettering they were to perpetrators. As a Psychotherapist, I looked at the life time trauma of victims/survivors. As a parent, I looked at our plight, role and responsibilities.

All about HopeAs the founder of the Association Hope for the Abused and Battered, I used some specific cases we have addressed so far to drive home my points that there is a lot needed to be done by our collective Synergies. You mustn’t wait until your child or family member is raped before you speak up. It was a thrilling day. Visit our website at www.hope4abusedbattered.com, email us at hope@hope4abusedbattered.com
#itispossible
#thereishope
#BetheHope
#rapenotruined
#togetherwestrong
#Iamfreedomnlove
#hope4theabusednbattered
#attitudeofgratitude

Clinical depression is no death sentence


A Mental illness is not a death sentence. Clinical depression can only last that long. Joe is 38 and is ok with the world knowing he has been struggling with his mental health for 4 years and lost touch recently. But, #thereishope. I received him at the Integration Clinic Bonamousadi Douala Cameroon yesterday and he was hospitalised for a closer follow up and holistic treatment approach.

Ekema is a peer diagnosed with Schizophrenia 25 years ago and living with me since June 2018. He is doing so well now and is
working at the Hope for the Abused and Battered center currently running from home. He came to visit Joe and reassure him all will be well. Visit us at http://www.hope4abusedbattered.com

After Joe took a bath (hadn’t had one for days prior)

#notostigma
#mentalhealthiswealth
#mentalillness
#BetheHope
#Iamfreedomnlove

Love therapy in the midst of it all


Love therapy is the best I found to work with the rape victims who come to my centre. My center is called Home of Hope & Healing, run by the association Hope for the Abused and Battered. This therapy works hundred times more than sympathy or empathy therapy, or any other therapies I learnt in school. I ask very few of any questions, I just love and tap into my spirit’s bidding. How else do you reach out to a freightened 9 years old who was sexually abused and raped when she was 8? And what of the 23 years old who was sexually abused from the age of 8-11 and raped from the age of 11-18? Worst of all both atrocities by relatives who had ‘ward’ over them? I am so grateful for the way the Lord is using me to #makeitmatter and #MakeitMemorable for these girls. #itispossible someone, #letGodandLovelead #letitflow #youdeservehappiness so always cherish an #attitudeofgratitude Georgi and Courage make me so proud of the goodness of the Lord in my life Amen

If you can donate to my Gofundme Campaign to open a centre, here is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/MarieAH4AB

Book Review: Psych Meds made Simple by Ashley Peterson


Psych Meds by Ashley

It’s been a long while I reviewed a book on my blog, but I have been reading many without being bitten by the ‘review me’ bug lol. Ashley’s book has gotten the ‘review me’ bug biting my fingers again. The book is simply one I had to read and make as many as notes as possible, the total being 65 highlighted notes. It is on the basis of these that I review this very important book mental health users and carers would do well to read.

The goal of the book is very clear as follows: The goal of this book is to demystify psychiatric medications and give people living with mental illness, as well as those who support us, the knowledge to make the best possible decisions when it comes to medication.

With the above in mind, I read the book as the project manager I am. I recall with some loathing truth be told, when I spent nearly 2 years taking medications including psychiatric ones, without ever trying to acquire any knowledge which could help me make the best possible decisions for myself. Had I known will always be the last in class because we hardly even think of them when starting a lesson.

Well, with psychiatric medications, you seriously don’t want take your health or those you care for, for granted. Mental illness (I live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), is for real and yet, you are not an invalid who can’t decide for themselves unless totally sedated or so psychotic enough to care any more. Ashley’s book is focused on the most common types of psychiatric medications: antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti psychotics, anti anxiety medications, and stimulants, and yet she is adamant in asserting that: “The notion that medications produce some artificial form of wellness is simply absurd. What I gather from reading the book all through therefore is that, she did all the research including using her own self as a case study, to give her readers and the mental illness community at large, a good base of knowledgeable material to get and keep the conversation going. Recovery from a mental illness is possible if the right combination of medications and holistic treatment protocol are found. Trust me I know it may be hard, it is even daunting reading about the different side effects of the several of the medications.

I learned so much, and I honestly marvel at the depth of the research into technical and not cool products such as medications. I learned for example that it is better to take a cocktail of medications at reduced dosage, than only one at a high dose whose side effects may be devastating. I was also thrilled to learn about the relationship between inflammation and depression, and so much in the book kept getting me highlight wow. I could now understand some about the side effects I experienced, as well as those my brother who lived with bipolar disorder did.

The book is not boring to read especially because she uses words we can easily understand, and above all her own story as a case study. I appreciate her authenticity and vulnerability, and support her overall aim of fighting stigma surrounding mental illness and psychiatric medications. I follow her blog Mental Health at Home, and will recommend both her book and blog to everyone.

Thank you so much Ashley my heroine for writing such a long over due book. In my country, there is still such a pervasive culture of the doctor knows best, and the patient is just supposed to take them medication. Now, some patients and carers can start asking real questions while requesting for medication adjustments and re-adjustments.

About the Author

Ashley Peterson writes one of my favorite blogs, Mental Health at Home. For her 40th birthday last week, she was kind enough to offer her new book, Psych Meds Made Simple for free!

Ashley is a former pharmacist and currently works as a mental health nurse. I admire that she writes from a professional perspective and from a personal stance, as she lives with mental illness.

I really recommend this reference guide to anyone who takes psychotropic medication, has a loved one who does, or who works in the mental health field (counselors, social workers, healthcare providers, etc. – I am a psychotherapist and could refer clients to this book now of course hahahah)

You can find Psych Meds Made Simple for a very reasonable price on Amazon.

Child Sexual Abuse: Today Georgi, who next???


Sexual abuse of our children and young girls in Cameroon is becoming a call for concern.

It was barely a month ago that we learned of the case of 10 years old Marie Fortune who had been viciously and consistently raped by her aunt’s husband, leading to her death barely 10 days after being admitted in the hospital.

Child abuse so glaring to a faultLast Friday 15th, we saw a picture on Facebook of a heavily pregnant 11 years old, and before we could reach out to the source to investigate and do some further advocacy, we received the following distress whatsapp chat from another victim [15/03, 12:25] Georgi: Bonjour Madame

[15/03, 12:26] Georgi: J’aimerais que vous prenez le temps de lire ce document

[15/03, 12:26] Georgi: J’ai besoin d’aide et je pense que vous pouvez m’aider à avancer dans ma vie

[15/03, 12:27] Georgi: Mais je vous supplie de le lire jusqu’à la fin

[15/03, 12:27] Georgi: C’est long je sais. Mais j’ai essayer d’être brève du mieux que je pouvais

[15/03, 12:28] Georgi: J’ai eu votre contact via un site internet après une longue recherche sur le net

[15/03, 12:28] Georgi: SVP ne me rejeter pas

[15/03, 12:54] .Marie A. Abanga: Salut Georgina, je vais la lire et revenir vers vous ok? Non je ne vous rejete pas.

She reached out in French and anyone who doesn’t understand French can kindly google translate same. She was pleading with me to read the 4 page story she sent me, and not to reject her. She concluded by saying she desperately needed all the help she could get because she wasn’t working/earning any income. I actually received her at my home(which serves as the temporal offices and center of the association Hope for the Abused and the Battered) that same evening at 5 pm, and we had a soulful hour and a half together.

We need to help Georgi find safer accommodation because where she moved to is still just as taxing although no more sexual abuse. The stigma, insults and control is taking a toll on the now 23 years old Goergi.

We also wish to help her to do a thorough medical check up because she still has pelvic pains and can’t afford to go to the hospital. Our Founder (that is myself – a certified CBT Therapist and Psychologist), is offering free psycho-therapeutic sessions to Georgi for as long as she needs these.

No donation is insignificant.  By Grace, the H4AB mental health care support center and safe halfway haven for victims like Georgi will be opened. Visit our website to know more about us, and to contact us directly to join or support our work. God bless us all. Thank you in advance as you donate and or share our campaign Georgi’s story in full and in French: could be read on our facebook page right here.

Follow this link to donate please: https://www.gofundme.com/MarieAH4AB

When a 10 year old is consistently and viciously raped for two years before she dies…


At H4AB, It’s all about Hope: Hope for Children Victims of Rape: The case of Fortune RIP

Hope for Children victims of sexual abuse because this is the worst form of childhood abuse we can ever imagine (26.02.19)

Fortune: Just 10 years old but her life was hanging on the drip. Viciously raped over and over by her aunt’s husband. She rested in the Lord yesterday 25.02.19 at around 2 pm. May she rest in but may her rapist know no peace.

Family matter it may be said, but the law is clear. This innocent child had been raped for 2 years consistently and viciously by one who was supposed to be her guardian.

Some legal colleagues and my humble self had been brainstorming how to take up the case pro bono. We had tried to make contact with her family and finally got to visit them in the hospital last week.

It was but normal that the first visit just be a familiarisation one, while we bring up the need to prosecute in our next visit. A visit which sadly wouldn’t take place.

Please all, let’s just say no once and for all to any suppression of information; and victimisation of victims all over again.

We parents and guardians can’t afford to continue pretending it’s ‘family matter’ and not good to expose perpetrators.

Imagine how much physical and psychological damage such attitudes cost the victims all the way into adulthood. Adverse childhood experiences is for real, and Fortune’s spirit is silently crying for Justice from the grave. The law on Rape in my country also leaves a lot to be desired.

Kindly help us draw public outrage and intervention by the Ministers of Justice and Social Affairs by signing and sharing our petition. We really appreciate: http://chng.it/Gn4F7bNH