Category Archives: Mental Health Advocacy

Twinkes not Wrinkles 


Twinkles not wrinkles

Those I want for the season

The reason but no treason
Twinkles not wrinkles

They come naturally

Please let them be
Twinkles not wrinkles

In my eyes not on my brow

That’s all by Grace
Twinkles not wrinkles

You want those too?

If yes, you welcome

If no, I know you nought.

Up and about this Saturday for some respite

P.s: Wishing us all the best for the season, new year ahead and life in general

Advertisements

Even Rest & Recuperation (R&R) ain’t easy


Wow wow wow, glad friday is here. I have a full social event tomorrow, like all day and night, and I feel fully R&R from a hectic last week.

The R&R never came easy, and you may even wonder what’s the deal which warranted such R&R in the first place.

So this is what I was up to between the 27th of November and the 2nd of December.

  1. 27-28 Nov: last minute preparation for a big Gbm event  – a mega donation from a sponsor, at the centre being constructed in my village (over 600kms from where I live – factor in roads and all)- Gave evening lectures at the university both Monday and Tuesday before travelling over night to my village;
  2.  29th Nov: Got to the village at 7.30 am, tried some mild R&R then on to reception of Sponsor, official donation ceremony and refreshments from 1 pm. Here are a few pictures:
  3. 30th Nov – 1st of Dec off to the other end of the village to meet Dad for the funeral of my late aunt – mind you these celebrations in African contexts are not taken lightly. And there was dad to take off, and to spend quality time with;
  4. 1st Dec – 2nd Dec over night: Travel back to Douala and my boys

So there in a nutshell was one hyped week for someone who suffers greatly when her routine is distrurbed.

Gladly, I had prepared myself emotionally and mentally this time as much as possible, but still the body took its toll and crashed on return. R&R was desperately needed.

But R&R  didn’t come and easy and there was a price

That saturday Dec 2nd, I tried to sleep all day but my musketeers + Ella wouldn’t let me. Not that I really knew how to – I even tried to take the boys out that afternoon  but nada, tried to lock them out – nada – so we all ended up in my bed watching the movie “Homeless to Havard”. At least I was in bed and they had fixed me lunch and lots of tea.

Next day Dec 3rd, the pain in my whole body let me know I had to go even for a brief walk before crashing in bed again. I braved a walk and gladly didn’t over do it. Felt much better and thought I could zoom it to cook for the week ahead and etc. Did a little and back to bed. In the afternoon I had to go all across town to pick up some stuff from mum and there was TRAFFIC – poor me.

Monday Dec 4th – Tuesday Dec 5 th, I tried to work half days and I had picked up the flu and etc taking me forcefully back to bed.

In a nutshell, as much as I wanted and needed R&R, it didn’t come so easiliy and then I had to pay a price for my stubborness.

So my advice to you peeps from experience is; whe you feel a burn out, just lie still and feel the pain to healing using whatever works for you. I for example put myself on fruits, vegetables and hot (anything) therapy + an inspirational movie and music to sooth the nerves too you know

Have a nice weekend everyone; as for me I’ll be at the Returnee event for the entire day and night with my IT shoes and all hahaha- so another R&R we go for again thereafter…

I broke the taboo


When I got there

I was scared to go near

I knew it was out of bounds

Heard it belonged to a shaggy fellow

~~~

He knew none will dare

offer to clear

all the clutter with any duster

it was an implied taboo to go any near

~~~

The reasons were never so clear

the arguements made no sense

 nor did I care for either  

was done with all the quagmires

~~~

I dared to ask and sure It was NO

I recalled Silent but Stuborn love

I dared to go there and did my best

the end result we both loved

~~~

a bond like none other had been born

Stigma can actually be from the source

It takes a lot to clear that out

But with love, it can be done

~~~

OH YES -ALLELUIA

I broke the Taboo

~~~

p.s: Believe me when I write pictures are too graphic of the before to share – needless to share the picture of the after. I am most grateful for the grace to go through and clean up the clutter with passion, love and affection. I was proud of my work and stayed in that space a while with love. The appreciation was tremendous. Sometimes breaking through deserves silent love and nothing more.

 

 

Am most grateful for a renewed relationship with my Dad


Pic with dad
Chirstmas day as a family

Hello world, happy Thanksgiving. The above picture was taken on one of the last Christmases we shared as a ‘happy family’. I am next to my dad and I without doubt do not look ‘happy’. Indeed I wasn’t happy with my dad even though to all I was his ‘golden child’. I wanted him to be there for us all and not just provide food and stuffs or organize big parties and make shows like send me off to France for summer and brag about it on my return ignoring me even in the whole process.

wp-15111206417671129070471.jpegI went through a lot in my adolescence and blamed dad for pretty much. I even thought I now knew what was wrong with Dad can you believe how good I had become in finding fault with others? I finally decided the whole blame game wasn’t helping me and I better forgive him and move on. Yes, I was hopping for a hug from him and not some handshake I found ‘cold’; but could it actually be my attitude wasn’t also helping me in the whole process?

IMG-20170801-WA0012.jpg

And then I found love deep within me; and made my peace with everything and everyone including Dad of course. I begged parents to spare their children  from their fights, and then took my boys who had never visited their grandpa, to visit him and spend three great weeks with him.

I am so grateful for the healing and I finally got my Huge Hug from my daddy. Next week I go for my aunt’s burial but will spend 4 good days in my dad’s company, can you think of anything to beat that?

Wishing us all the best

I am Sophisticated and other mix from my world


Advocate me
Yeah that lady you see there is said to be sophisticated

Hello world and happy weekend,

  1. I wouldn’t have blogged about being sophisticated if that remark hadn’t been thrown at me twice in two days. First on Wednesday and then on Thursday. First case was on a whatsapp forum where I wrote: ‘with all due respect I beg to disagree…’ The backlash was to me ‘complicated’. First I was told I was disrespectful (in writing the way I did – have learnt now), next I was told I was ‘jealous’ (because I said much time was wasted on a professional group wishing happy birthdays unend – like 93 messages that day was just that), and then the: ‘You are sophisticated’ – leave the group if you don’t like… Thursday another incident with an individual on whatsapp again. He write to me a second time without my name – shoots something like: ‘Hey, can we meet…’ I had already told him I find it more personal when my name is used at least in the first exchange for the day, and I had told him so the previous time we chatted… He didn’t take my gentle reminder lightly and: ‘You are sophisticad’ was dished again. So, maybe am sophisticated after all. I really don’t mind how anyone sees me because I see myself as it matters to me the most and am proud of who I am becoming big time. If sophisticated is part of the description by some – then so be it;
  2. It isn’t my business how others raise their kids, but if I have to help babysit them for a weekend, it gets into my business. You see one of my neighbours with whom I have a very cordial relationship lost her grandma and couldn’t travel with her two kids. She asked if I could have them for the weekend and I said no problem. They have slept here before and are quiet kids for their tender ages of 3.5 and 2 years respectively. Her first is a boy and the second a girl. I have observed to her because we talk alot and cross paths a lot, that I think she is clearly favouring her daughter over her son. She didn’t hide from me that he reminds her of their dad and all the pain he has/is causing her. The daughter named after her mum is clearly her baby, fondly called mama and has so much stuff more than the boy. Now when she left them, she packed lots of stuffs and a spare shoe for the girl, and the boy had just a tiny handful and no pair of shoes at all. He came in slippers while the daughter had shoes on. I am none to judge but I personally know such glaring discrepancy can take a big toll on a child’s self esteem and even make matters worse at home for the mother. I was at her back for months before she let go her style of correcting the son. She could trash some life out of him and it caused me real painful flasbacks – of course he just kept ‘fumbling’ and the cycle went on… I see a big difference in that area today;
  3. When others know you take care of them in various ways, it may be difficult for them to think you may need taking care of too…I mean even self care is viewed to them as being selfish – Yep I may be Sophisticated is that it? Since Monday last week I have been fighting inflamations on my knees and eventually right hand, but whenever I mentionned that it was quickly brushed aside like it’ll pass don’t worry and then back to their own concerns… I have therefore decided to step up my selfishness scale until I find a healthy balance. I am therefore home today, done the barest minimum for my boys and ofcourse much for myself starting with a long walk – I am starting a new book, finishing a movie and hoping to start and finish another one…

I am very grateful for my support network (quality over quantity is what makes my network so special). One of those I reached out to FOR FREE (seriously reach out to him if you need any expert assistance – and it’s all FOR FREE how big heart is that), is Doctor Jonathan Coltier who has the incredible blog: It’s all about healthy choices

Ever grateful for life, happy weekend every one

 

America’s Angels and other musings related to mental health…


Hi World,

I don’t know how to qualify my moods today. All is not so good and am near pissed. Why should what happens in America or wherever shake me so? I mean I had a nightmare last night (hardly recall any precedence zut). The KKK were torching 3 homes to be precise – I woke up ant it was 1.28 am I have a clock that reflects on my ceiling. I just have to type all this out and hopefully calm down enough to continue my day which is equally so taxing already with a phone crash last night.

So, yesterday I wrote of America’s ghostsAmerica’s ghosts – I had been planning before the terrible incident of yesterday to blog about America’s Ghosts and America’s Angels after reading the wonderful book by Steve Fugate titled Love Life Walk.

The ghosts of Jim Crow, of the Civil War or the Appropriation, Misapporiations and reservations, the treatment of natives and immigrants (who aren’t fortunate to belong to certain families descendants of immigrants themselves) oh my gosh gosh gosh – I really need to stop reading so vast and caring so much. I now can understand why events likle the collapse of the Berlin Wall or the murder of JFK and etc could drive some off the edge to maniaville completely.

But no I wouldn’t go off any cliff because I am tougher. I will brave this but I now know I should mind more of my business than what the media trusts my way. I will chose what I click period. Las Vegas shooting touched me  and I reached out to mine – but maybe this time because it was in a church and the victim toll – oh my …

And yet America has so many angels. I visited 5 different states in 2015 and took all means of transportation I could just to be in the move – name it I took it maybe except private jet (which I wasn’t even hoping to). I walked of course, took the bus (both in the city and cross city – two different companies even), train, cesna, plane, even hitched a ride in Vermont after visiting my Precious Pammy at the hospital and it was getting dark etc and I have no recollection of being treated shabily. I mean I remember Richie who played some instrument (ah yes the Clarinet) and bout me a soda and told stories all the way, I remember oh this lady who bought me food in the train from VT to DC, I remember Sherry who invited me to spend the night over at Virginia, I mean Pammy whom I had never met who invited me to the US in the first place and contributed towards my air ticket, made up such a nice room for me even though hers was in such a mess, so so many good memories I can’t even remember again. I thought it was because I was a foreigner (don’t ask me if I carried a sign), but when I read Steve Fugate’s book I knew there were Angels indeed in America.

Sadly now, When such a terrible thing occurs, a culprit is to be found asap. Mental health is a suspect par excellence and it’s even cool if records can prove that asap so the case can be closed. But I have known quiet a two hands full in America who live with various mental health challenges, illnesses and etc and they are oh so nice or simply keep to themselves.

Seriously, I am shaken and taking some big measures. No twitter for a while and hardly any facebook. Even if the fire is burning on Mount Cameroon heading towards Douala IDC!!! I am reviewing my interet list on G+ and of course I wouldn’t click any sensational headline again – serves me right.

I know a lot of killings and crap and hatred and hurt out there, but for a human being to calmly take a gun in a church or wherever and gun down others – then something is really wrong somewhere.

I pray for myself and the angels in America to not let the ghosts and nightmare of that country close in on us and mess up further our fragile mental healths.

God Bless America indeed: I feel better having ranted this out here

P.S: AM LEAVING ALL TYPOS TO REMIND ME OF HOW SHAKEN I WAS WHEN I WROTE THIS POST

America’s Ghosts seem to BE closing in on the living…


I am just reading about the shootings in the Texas Church on my way to work, and I just want to write this brief post.

  1. I know as in past cases that this incident will be viewed by many differently and am no different;
  2. My views don’t matter but am truly sorry and sadened by the amount of hate and hurt out there;
  3. America like every other country has its ghosts…maybe it is time to acknowledge their helplessness and do some mass healing?
  4. Thinking of America now is scary, even it my country ain’t on the list of forbidden countries, am not going anywhere near that country again. I pray sincerely for all I know and love out there.

A video shoot, a huge hug, some vaseline & soulful sharing make my weekend


IMG-20170721-WA0001

Hello world, this past week was a difficult one for me with anxiety rearing such an ugly head again zut…but good I had a plan and then hmm some natural remedy on the dreaded day made me relax near 360°.

On friday I travelled for my late cousin’s corps removal from the mortuary and wake keep (and his demise had simply left me numb to this whole life v death thing). I had arranged with another cousin who has a studio in the same city to shoot my brief video for my mental health coaching services.

  1. The video shoot went so well and he has promised to do the ‘mixing and all’ this coming week so that I get the final video before the week runs out. Am glad the mortuary was at 2 pm and we finished by noon. When I got to the house and all were getting ready to leave for the mortuary, there issue of who was to stay behind and receive mourners came up – of course I quickly offered to do so (sparing myself some very emotional stimulation – I recall colapsing when I saw my brother’s corpse);
  2. I was introduced later in the evening to a mourner and she asked me if she could give me a hug. She was looking at me like she couldn’t believe I was the one standing infront of her. She said: “Oh Marie Abanga you are so strong, your write ups have been helping me so much, I really am so grateful” and all that while hugging me hugely. I sure needed and appreciated that huge hug. I told her she was also stronger now that she could read all I write and feel that for herself. All she needed do was find a way to show and share her own strength. Guess her name people? Favour;
  3. I spent the night at one of my adopted daughter’s and in the morning I realized I didn’t bring rubbing oil with me. Buea the mountain city is very cold for one like me (with rhumatoid arthritis) and so I always stay wrapped up and look forward to putting so much oil on me. I was therefore full of glee when she told me she only had vaseline. I mean only? That stuff keeps you warm and glowing I don’t care about the smell, price or whatever. I haven’t used vaseline since returning to Cameroon because Douala where I live is really warm and I have ‘palm kernel ‘ oil (even more cheaper and foul smelling than vaseline lol – but keeps warm and makes glow) for when I travel to Buea. That vaseline made me remember my Belgium era because of course out there I used only vaseline in abundance. I was so grateful to use vaseline again;
  4. On my way back I stopped at Limbe to check on my cousin (yes I have so so many cousins lol) who lost his dad. He was also my class mate in secondary school so I had rallied some batch mates to visit him together yesterday morning. Well, his phone had a problem and although we gathered as planned, we couldn’t get to him to know where exactly he was. The others left after an hour and I stayed at their down beach residence to read and enjoy some breeze. Just before leaving, I decided to try one last time and bam – he picked up (had just gotten a new battery he said). We sat and shared much gist for 2 good hours – I had never spent as much time with him – just the two of us and oh my how much soul sharing we did.

All in all, I am having a cool weekend thanks to the above memories and the joy of being alive. I wish us all many memories like these which make life lovely amidst any head and heartaches.

Have a calm sunday

p.s: currently reading a book called Love Life Walk by Steve Fugate and I mean I can’t do that book any justice. If you haven’t heard about him, maybe you could listen to this recent podcast of his?

A very comprehensive review of my book for a weekend read


WCS by Genero

BOOK REVIEW: ‘WHAT IS THE WORST CASE SCENARIO? BY MARIE A. ABANGA

The memoir ‘What is the worst case scenario’ is a refined reality of life which I believe is a must read for every aspirant person seeking relief from the strong fears of life.

I am heavily inspired by the wordings of Winston Churchill in the foreword of this book found in page 18 wherein he says ‘Never give up, never give in. Never. Never. Never’.

The Preface introduces the memoir proper and brings out the worst case scenario to be the aspect of FEAR of what people will say, or do; defining fear meaning we should fold everything and run; face everything and rise; or false emotions appearing real.

The first chapter dubbed ‘The fear of staying’ opens up with the author describing how she had a mental hostage as she was growing up and the fear of staying was eminent and so the mind probably makes a mental note ‘you don’t want to stay, well you just try your best to cope hoping for the opportunity to escape’. The author describes various levels of her escape mechanisms which kick starts with her being enrolled in a boarding school, followed by the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, she further envisions marriage to be the best escape-she describes it as a wonderful refuge. She manifests her fear of staying broader when even before the Mayor, they argue on the matrimonial regime to opt for. Her fears to stay could solely be consoled in the arms of other men. She concludes by saying her problem was overcoming the fear of leaving, and not getting defeated by that fear which was threatening to make me hostage for the rest of her life.

The second chapter dubbed ‘The fear of leaving’ opens up with the author describing fear as such a terrible thing which can make you a prisoner right in your own bed. Hence, she had to leave her father’s house with her brother because her dad and his new wife were becoming unbearable. After an eight years hiatus, the author regained a prodigal daughter status and she and her dad were ‘seemingly happy’ in her own words though she now had two additional siblings and a third one on course. After the third step-sibling was born, lack of ‘personal resources ‘other than a ‘disturbed mind’, got her to ‘hang’ around some more years at her mum’s. The author got two sons after losing her first pregnancy and loosing another child at birth, then since her marriage was more of lip service, she asks herself if she could leave? This got to a stage where she took a knife and wanted to commit suicide and leave this world with its headaches. She closes up her fear of leaving by a choice to fold everything and run as she often did and then to eventually face everything and rise.

The third chapter dubbed ‘the fear of losing’ describes the greatest fear of losing to be that of losing your mind. She still figured out what to do to be suicidal as a fake wife, a loser, a miserable woman and a sham of a mother. The search for solace found her in marriage seeking refuge. Her fears to lose her esteem, marriage and reputation became primordial in her mind. Her years spent in Belgium were actually necessary for her personal journey towards emotional and mental wellbeing.

The fourth chapter –‘The fear of failing’ Opens up with her expressing her inability to see, face or talk to her lecturer and also her inability to study and work hard with severe skepticisms of her course outline. This made her to earn poor grades in school and had to resit her exams. she narrates her freshman experience as she goes in for her LL.M programme in Belgium to study International Law with International Relations. She encountered hearing problems in following up classes and had to get a Sesame Hearing Aid. She sees failure inevitable but decides to face her fears of failing when it comes knocking as a learning curve onwards. She describes all failures be it emotional, mental, professional, spiritual and otherwise as learning curves if we all exhale and inhale in all humility and modesty before resitting the lessons. The author further shares some 30 quotes which she googled about failure which in summery tries to tell us that no great success was ever achieved without failure as failure is seen as a stepping stone to achieve our dreams. Hence, like the great Barrack Obama says ‘You can’t let failure define you – you have to let your failure teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently the next time’. A quote which the author got from chapter five of Abraham Mutwol’s book titled ‘The 26 Inspiring Life Lessons from Barrack Obama….’This chapter in brief aims at saying you may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated…as nothing will work unless you do. The author concludes this chapter with a teaser question of us finding out what is the worst case scenario if we fail? There is a choice, either we fold everything and run away forever or we learn from the events, face everything and rise. The author chooses the second option conclusively.

The fifth chapter – ‘The fear of being loved’ opens up with a pondering question of whom in his ‘right’ senses and emotions fears being loved? She writes about her desire to be able to face everything and rise when any love like gentleman comes along. She commits herself to trust her instincts and reasons and not her emotions on their spur of a moment. She exposes the zeal to rise and thrive amidst difficulties. She exposes her unconventional loves wherein she felt loved in the most unconventional of those relationships. She expresses her earnest desire to be loved and narrates her story of love and later expresses her fears of rejection and abandonments. This chapter that talks more on her love life tales ends with her fears of one thing or the other always looming her mind.

The sixth chapter labeled ‘The fear of loving’ expresses her dilemma in her fear of loving, whether receiving or giving, what she calls philophobia which ranks high amongst unusual phobias. She defines philophobia as an unwarranted and an irrational fear of falling in love though often times the sufferer does fall in love but it causes an intense emotional turmoil in his or her mind. The nature and causes of philophobia all vary from case to case and sometimes, it is a real mystery as to why it might have occurred in the first place. She narrates the story of the queen of England who was philophobic and furthermore says the symptoms vary from individual to individual. Most revering is the fact that she concludes this most delicate and VIP chapters by resolving to face this fear of loving after researching much about it and desires her three musketeers read this and are not philophobic.

The seventh chapter – ‘The fear of stigma ‘ opens with the author expressing her dislike for friends who run after mentally deranged people and sing songs and sometimes throw stones when she was a kid. She exposes her beloved brother’s outpour of foamy saliva today known as epilepsy as a stigma. She exposes the society for stigmatizing people’s bad mental states which can lead to seeking suicide as an option; but advocates that we should not give in to the fear of stigma maybe because we may be branded or marginalized. With a refusal to give in to fear, the author consciously decided to stigmatize stigma. She hails efforts done in this regard like that of Greg Mercer in his story titled A Nurse with a mental Illness; My story.

She further tells us how stigma kills people daily and if we help keep stigma alive, we cause more pain and death. She shares the tale of her fair lady and heroine friend Dyane Leshin-Harwood who suffers from postpartum bipolar disorder in one of her posts with the caption ‘A Stigma of one’s Own’ and secondly ‘ Stigma from the source’. She ridicules self stigma which is accepting prejudiced perceptions held by others which can lead too the reluctance to seek treatment, excessive reliance on relatives, social withdrawal, poor self- worth and may lead to abuse of alcohol and drugs. She ends this chapter by resolutely deciding to advocate much for the marginalized in our societies and says what matters to her most is her legacy and what she leaves behind for her sons and the world at large.

Chapter eight dubbed ‘The fear of advocating’ talks of the author’s dreams of becoming a doctor or a lawyer and she has indeed ended up as a lawyer and a fierce mental health advocate too. She exposes how her beloved brother’s crisis is admittedly the catalyst for her daring advocacy to the point of accepting the huge task of being the country director for the Gbm foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing. The mental malady has four distinct stages namely 1-Mild symptoms and warning signs; 2-Symptoms increase in Frequency and severity and interfere with life activities and roles; 3-Symptoms worsen with relapsing and recurring episodes accompanied by serious disruption in life activities and roles and lastly number 4- symptoms are persistent and severe and have jeopardized one’s life. She concludes by resolutely adhering to advocate against all odds while alive.

Chapter nine which is the shortest and last chapter is dubbed ‘The fear of Dying’. It is all about nothing can delay or deny death when its time comes. She exposes her case of losing three siblings but conclusively resolves that the worst case scenario is that if you live, you will one day die. By Banda Banda, Douala, Cameroon