Category Archives: Mental Health Advocacy

Would you take free candies from such a bag?


What a halloween display lol

Friday is here and it is a Funny Friday for me. So my darling Phoebe shared the above picture with me and this is what she wrote:

This was my Halloween display with candy for passers by in the pumpkin bag  The arms are papier-mâché complete with fake painted wounds!! I think I scared people away with it!!!
Dunno about you but men, would I have fled hahahaha
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It is called: Hope for the Abused and Battered Association


my gift from god1059994039..jpg

So world, last week I said there was something in the pipeline. It was going to be all about Hope. This girl who navigated by grace from Hopeless to Hopeful is now ready after 3 years of grooming, to contribute her might in giving hope to others still in that hopeless hold of despair…

Before I write further, if you are on Facebook, please show some love by liking our Facebook page. 

When I was about to start this year, my spirit told me it’s going to be my year of Grace. Barely a month into the new year, my spirit said set yourself aside for 70 days and do a spiritual journey fasting from 7 things. Ha, I mean even my mum said I was going nuts.

Not only were some pissed I was seemingly leaving the legal practice to get into psychotherapy, but they weren’t even seeing any clear road map.

Now, earlier this month same spirit said start doing live video campaigns to advocate for the battered, and then a few days ago – bingo; you are creating an association and you will call it… I wrote down the constitution and everything in like 3 hours – it was near magical – I got the numbers to call, found the support from an awesome sisterhood network I belong to online, volunteers reached out and long story short we are on our way to legalization and more…

Would you say I walk with stubborn but passionate faith or not yet convinced?

At Hope for the Abused and Battered, we have the following objectives:

The association Hope for the Battered (H4B) has the following objectives:
• To provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, and the battered in our communities;
• To provide counseling and psychotherapeutic assistance to individuals and groups;
• To raise awareness and sensitize the population on the damages caused by domestic violence, and all other forms of violence;
• To encourage a spirit of peace, love, forgiveness and living in harmony in our communities;
• To cooperate with associations with similar objectives

Here are our four focus areas:

1) Hope for victims and survivors of Domestic Violence;
2) Hope for persons living with a mental illness or mental challenges;
3) Hope for abused children and youths; My own son’s case is going to maybe be the first we handle as an association lol
4) Hope for the Battered and Tattered by life.

Anyone wanting to join us and make a difference should kindly contact me. It must not be financial assistance, we still need to build a website and get the word out sort of. We need to get legalized then start looking out for partners and sponsors… I know this will be huge, I pray for the Grace above all

Have a great week everyone, thank you so much for all your support, reading, liking, commenting, I really appreciate and am often moved to tears

 

Hmm seems Facebook Juju got my moral values & co too right lol


My Moral Codes

Now, for those who don’t about Facebook ‘Juju’, it is those links which you see every now and then asking you to take a ‘face reading’ sort of, by their ‘mediums’ lol. I mean what can I tell you other than that yours truly has been taking some of those ‘face readings’ and the results are quite impressive?

Last Wednesday I shared some, when announcing a ‘huge social project’ in the pipeline. It’s all about keeping the Hope alive in myself and humanity.

So ‘Facebook Juju’ not only got the moral values right, but also something about what people notice the first time they meet me, and em also that am someone special lol

Now, I wish I had those links saved so I could share for someone to maybe go try their luck? Would that be wrong to do? I don’t really know o. I am however happy with my results – and o that were free face readings hahaha. Sometimes your mental wellbeing gets some boost from where least expected. These make me really feel like a princess.

Have a great weekend everyone

Something huge about Hope is in the making…


Happy midweek everyone. Now when I started this year and my spirit told me it was my year of Grace, I just wrote that down and said Amen.

The above picture is from one of those Facebook picture readers. I love and agree to that one intoto. And below are some 7 facts about me they got right too.

There is something in the making and I got a name and a small team already.

Yes, that’s life for someone like myself who is freedom and love. A tale of talents and a vessel of her Almighty Father. Where ever He Leads I go. His Grace Alone is sufficient.

Thank you in advance for all your best wishes and prayers

From my Therapy Trenches: Mirror on the Wall


Mirror Mirror on the wall…?

Hello all and happy new week. I had a pretty busy weekend (like there are some lazy ones more often right?) Hope everyone is hanging in there.

I thought to start sharing some shenanigans from my Therapy/therapist trenches (I mean I am in daily therapy myself, and as a therapist I work with clients every now and then). I basically am my own therapist and the boys are an excellent co-therapist team.

Today I look at one of the techniques I use in my trench. I ask some clients to look at the mirror and tell me what they see. I had one in the office (when I was at the hospital) and I always hope they carry one in their bags too (thinking of the ladies lol). After that, I ask them to talk to the person they see in that mirror.

I got real inspired to use this mirror technique after I was able to reach out to a client after two ‘unfruitful sessions’ at the hospital. I asked her the third time she came if she had a mirror in her back. She frowned but pulled it out and started making excuses for her appearance and ‘pimpled face’ oh my. I told her I saw all of that but that’s not why I asked if she had a mirror. She said she hadn’t made up that morning because she was running late. After trying to resist my urging her to ‘just look at herself in the mirror’, she did. I told her to do that for just 3 minutes but after the 2nd minute she broke down crying.

I then encouraged her to feel the feelings, face the fears and write down all she wanted. Later on, I encouraged her to talk to the person in the mirror.

It was after everything a wonderful experience for both of us. A few others have appreciated that technique too.

I have a mirror Infront of my room, I share the mirror with the boys. I look at it to see myself in all my shades, and I love to talk to myself. I do that before I leave home and before I go to bed each day.

I find this technique awesome and don’t know if any other person uses this, or has had to participate in any such experience.

Until next time, have a great week and stay inspired+motivated everyone

I finally wrote a letter to the girl I once was…


Wow, sometimes swallowing your own prescription pill is hard I must confess.

Come see me to be sharp in advising my clients to write a letter to their younger selves lol. It took a call for stories (for an award hahaha) over at World Pulse (which I equally just joined after years of procrastination I must add).

Anyways, I wouldn’t critique myself so much. I had  done a photo therapy and even slept with my childhood  photo under my pillow.

Please, go here and read the letter yours truly wrote to Ayo as I was then popularly known…

Have a great weekend everyone

Life and love goes on in our hood


After my rant of yesterday and the meh feelings, I am happy to be on a great going today.

We did our meditation, starting again with a mini course for life. Those daily cards are simply epic. Such communion time with the team is more VIP to me than putting the home in order and etc etc.

I have said my serenity prayer over the missing lenses, and handed that over to my Almighty Father.

Indeed the day started on a very positive note and I feel fantastic.

Wishing us all a happy midweek and a day full of life and love all the way.

I am an angry woman and a wounded single parent today


https://web.facebook.com/marieangeleAbanga/videos/1224200294388439/?t=4

I hope that link takes you to the live video rant I just did to explain and sort of manage my anger.

Here is a sum sort of: “I am an angry woman and single parent today. My son’s lenses got stolen in class yesterday in a minute and all I get when I go there today, is more interrogations of my son and I, and a call to calm down. The Dean of Studies says he will talk to the class. In the meantime my son can’t copy his notes, and is already feeling I don’t even know how to put it”.

Don’t know what any one in my shoes will feel about this whole incident, I don’t even know all the feelings am feeling currently

Since a Visa to London is not a Visa to Life, I have been busy living lol


 

So Friday is here peeps and I have been busy living indeed wow. I would have been in London this week had I received the visa I applied for to go attend a World Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. But hmmmmmmmmm, no definite feedback yet from the visa guys other than an email saying:

Unfortunately, the processing of your application has not been straightforward and we will be unable to decide your application within our customer service targets. We are continuing to work on your application and aim to make a decision as soon as possible.

And seriously now, other than a wow wow wow; what could be a better reaction? I applied on the 21st of September and got that on the 3rd of October. My only qualms is my passport ‘held up’ in all this hahaha.

Anyways, that visa to London wasn’t a visa to Life so I continued living my thrilling life lo. So brief but very important timeline shall we?

  1. Friday October 5th 2018, I have a great workout and leave for work so fresh. Am doing some series on Facebook titled ‘Musewithmarie; Keeping it Real; and #MyVoice’ – where I raise awareness to causes that matter like domestic violence, mental health and wellness etc;
  2. Sunday October 7th 2018 I get to vote for the first time in my 39 years of living wow wow wow. I was to fly out on Friday 5th, and when I didn’t get that visa to London, I knew I had no reason not to vote. Getting registered and getting that card took me three years and I wasn’t going to let that down the drain right? To put this presidential elections in some perpective, we got the same President since Ronald Regan became president – like how many guddam years today? I read he is the 2nd longest serving President in Africa wow;
  3. Monday October 8th was my son Alain’s 15th birthday and that was enough to make my week.
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The winning team, I now agree the CIC is in the no smiling stage lol

That evening we went out for dinner and to my amazement he contributed for the outing – I mean I would have missed all this had been off to London right?

I share just those 3 to let someone in some difficult or challenging situation right now know that there can always be a silver lining to a dark cloud if we dare look very well. At least for me that worked once again. I was a funded delegate and all I spent was time and visa fees (big amount of 200 usd for which I even did a fundraiser ha). But am not sitting here and cursing or whining (other than that I’ll appreciate getting my passport back, sooner than not). No, I am busy with living and for this I need no visa…

 

Have a great weekend everyone

The serious foursome Ss which stall mental health and wellbeing in Cameroon


I have written extensively on mental health, mental wellbeing and mental illness on my own website, blog and the Gbm Foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing of which I am the Country Director; and on numerous national and international media. But, these serious foursome Ss pop up again and again – seems like there will be no meaningful progress until they are squarely addressed.

S1: SPIRITUAL ATTACK

When you are in a very religious country or community, you should realize that religion and spirituality or whichever comes first to the people, plays a very big role in their lives. Indeed, long before ‘white man’ medicine came, people were cured or healed through incantations and other process including drinking various portions and following special protocols. A spiritual attack is when there is a belief that the origin of the attack is mysterious especial when no other logical explanation exists. Truth be told, no logical explanation exists to explain a mental health challenge or disorder, and the first stop when there is a crisis here, is mostly to a Man or Woman of God. Hold up, they are actually competing or on the same line of importance as the traditional doctors when we consider the second S.

S2: SUPERSTITION

Even where it can be ascertained it is a spiritual attack, the source must be rooted out right? Who else but a jealous person or witch/wizard can cause someone to have a mental health problem or illness? The predominant belief in our communities had always been that any sudden illness or death is superstitious and very suspicious. Mental health challenges or illnesses are no exception. Indeed, for these categories of ‘wahala’ (local slang for trouble), it is the norm and can only be cast out or cleansed by the traditional doctor aka Ngambe man (witch doctor) for us. I mean, if neither the spiritual healer nor the herbal healer cannot help, why not just chain up the person and let them waste away and die instead of bringing more embarrassment to all concerned? The next S comes in here.

S3: STIGMA

Stigma is both from without and within. The society and even families stigmatize the patient and their family; and the patient loses all their self-esteem and stigmatize themselves by withdrawing further and further into their own ‘world’. Families get fed up trying to help while navigating all that stigma, and the patient’s ‘supposedly non-compliant attitude’ only makes matters worst. Tie them and lock them up or outside in a barn let them become whatever they want. The patients equally fed up with the treatment and stigma, lookout for ways to live their ‘freedom’ and to ‘communicate their frustration’ in anyway that appeals to their already very distorted cognition. Society notices and sighs in slushed sentences and all stakeholders are at a lost on what to and how to proceed. And then the next S.

S4: SHAME

Note I write the last two Ss in all caps. My own way of shaming them actually. Shame can make even families with the means to take their patients to the hospital and seek better and alternative treatment protocols not to do so. Shame is the outcome of all the stigma explicit or implied, and we all know how people could sometimes fight to protect their ‘reputation’. We have surely heard of ‘honour killings’ in some countries where families have taken the lives of one of theirs because of the shame this individual was bringing to their name. Some patients out of shame, could also contemplate or commit suicide because the life they now lead is definitely the skeleton what was before they fell ill and they can’t stand the pain, stigma and all any more.

It is therefore my humble submission that we in Cameroon have to address these foursome Ss if we are to really make any progress with any mental health campaign. Our realities are still far different from those of the west, I saw this first hand when I did a two months internship at the lone public psychiatric ward in the city of Douala. Many patients brought in are already so challenged and ill, it’ll take much more than a brief hospitalization to help them. Some even in the hospital don’t open up to get any little help available, they are ashamed or feel stigmatized even by some medical personnel – sad to admit.

Today as we celebrate World Mental Health Day under the impressive theme Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World, I salute the efforts made to raise awareness to the different issues involved surrounding mental health, but I add that we should step up our listening. Sometimes people hurt so bad but there is just no one to listen to you even when you want to trust enough to tell.

Marie Abanga is a phenomenal woman by every account who defines herself simply as a person of passion and a tale of talents. She runs a private psychotherapy practice in the city of Douala – Cameroon and be contacted through her website at https://marieabanga.com.