An acknowledgement like this goes a long soul way


Let me just drop it here almost a week later. I was the April She Hero of the Woman Words literary press overseen by Comrade Mbizo Chirasha. I have just been so busy I almost forgot to share such an acknowledgement o. I am humbled and really appreciate the goodness of the Lord in my life. May He continue to use me Amen. Read on and share. Thank you comrade:https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/2019/04/27/marie-angele-abanga-is-our-she-hero/

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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.

Commemorating not just a day, but an entire week in honour of my womanhood


I chose the word commemorate instead of celebrate for different reasons.

I want to talk about how I made the International Women’s day 2019 memorable for myself and others. To begin with, the theme for this year was significant from two perspectives. #BalanceforBetter makes me think of two types of balances. The balance we women have or should strive to have with ourselves and with other sisters, and the balance of between the genders. All these balance for me are for the better.

I started going on air as early as the 4th of March as a guest on the Catholic radio and TV broadcasting media house called Veritas – the truth will set you free. You see, I am already a household name in my country especially in my community – and I am often invited to talk about pertinent societal issues like abuse and  of all forms, mostly drawing from my personal experiences. The candour with which I share make them invite me 3 times a year at least. I love going there too. I commemoration of my womanhood and my journey so far, I had a very authentic and even vulnerable 1 hour with the host.

The next day 5th of March I was on another platform called LTM TV where I was talking specifically about the sexual abuse of girls and women – the focus was on the vicious and consistent rape of 10 years old Fortune who had died on the 25th of February from complications. My advocacy was that if we didn’t put an end to such sexual abuse especially of young girl and babies even, where was society going to have the kind of women it needed? I mean strong, resilient, hardworking and even God fearing women.

The very next day at 10 am I accompanied my mum and a panel of ladies to a daily show called in the House. The topic was the Challenges of female entrepreneurship and leadership. That too was so beautiful. The advocacy here was that we women had to stand up and push on. We had to keep hustling for our own financial independence, while asking assertively for a seat on the table – or better still draw up our own table like Meghan Markel Duchess of Sussex once advocated in a speech at the UN Women.

Thursday the 7th of March I went on air twice. At midday I did a Facebook live video to celebrate a very enterprising World Pulse sister here by name Agnes Kuoh. She has a foundation called Agui Foundation which trains women to be self reliant by doing a lot of stuffs they needed at home, and why could also be sold to gain some financial independence. She and I have met and bonded and I really appreciate her. I had already been on TV the prior week talking once more about female entrepreneurship using her example. AT 6 pm the evening, mum and I along with 3 other dynamic young ladies once more made up a panel to discuss a re-strategy of the IWD concept especially in our country which had infamously become renowned for excesses in drinking and debauchery of some women on the 8th of March. My mum seized the opportunity to announce the launch of her coaching and mentoring program.

Thursday 8th of March D Day proper, over 15 ladies were convened at my mum’s Diversity Management and Consulting Ltd firm for the launch of the ” Coach a girl to thrive program’. We had over an hour of training from her and fruitful discussions by all present. We ended the day with a little office cocktail, while I sat down soon thereafter to do a live video calling on women celebrate themselves and one another not only on that day but always. We women had to learn to be a sister’s sister and be there for one another like Michelle Obama famously encouraged.

Celebration is not the appropriate word for me when we think of what is going on in my country in the two English speaking regions of my country. A civil unrest poorly managed has left hundreds dead, some hundreds exiled, and many more hundreds internally displaced. To commemorate is defined as to serve as a memorial or reminder of; to honor the memory of by some observance of a day set aside by the international community for women to do the most they can to say “Look at us, we deserve to be noticed too, and we are here to stay, stop abusing us and relegating us to the back seat”.

The other days of that symbolic week were spent doing live videos on other aspects of our womanhood in my capacity as a survivor of Domestic Abuse, as founder of the association Hope for the Abused and Battered, as a psychotherapist and above all as a Christian. I equally participated to the best I could to activities organized by my church for the women – these took place on Saturday and Sunday 9th and 10th March. I can only be honest to say I have never commemorated any IWD as passionately, purposefully and holistically as I did this one. I am most grateful to the universe for the energy and opportunities.

She told me she had AIDS and I told her that was ok: In memory of Violet gone too soon


HIV

I met Violet in September 2009 and in December 2009 she was dead. I had sent word to the village looking for a nanny and when Violet said she was available, I arranged for her to come very fast. Little did I know what I was signing up for. But here is the deal, I had already made a covenant with God that if he spared me of AIDS especially after the turbulent ‘sexually’ irresponsible life I had led so far and was again pregnant, I was never going to ‘reject’ any person on my path because of their status. That was in 2003 in the city of Yaounde inside a church after I had just given my blood to be tested for HIV at the CHU hospital. How could I therefore send Violet back a few hours after her arrival and following her revelation? I feel out with my husband and mother but I wasn’t going to fall out with God. My baby was 3 months old and I knew Violet wasn’t going to deliberately or accidentally harm my baby. We loved each other till the end. Her last words to me 3 days before dying however still tear me up on days like these: “mummy why have you abandoned me?”

She had returned to the village to spend that ‘last’ Christmas with her own daughter, leaving the hospital here on her signature because she felt her end was near after all.

The Following is a conversation I had this (this post was written (01.12.18) morning with my neice who lived with us back then: [01/12, 07:36] .Marie A. Abanga: Morning mama Ndolo [01/12, 07:37] .Marie A. Abanga: You remember Violet who lived with us for like 3 months to take care of Gaby? [01/12, 07:37] .Marie A. Abanga: If yes, did you know she had AIDS? [01/12, 07:37] .Marie A. Abanga: If yes, how did that make you feel especially as you guys slept in the same room? [01/12, 07:38] .Marie A. Abanga: Please I will like to share your answers in a live video am doing at 8 am to talk about her. Today is world AIDS Day. Thank you baby [01/12, 08:13] Malaika Moki Linonge: Hello mama [01/12, 08:14] Malaika Moki Linonge: Sorry I am in the mkt [01/12, 08:14] Malaika Moki Linonge: But it was a good experience [01/12, 08:14] Malaika Moki Linonge: I was afraid that we could be contaminated, especially for the bb [01/12, 08:15] Malaika Moki Linonge: And also as I stayed with her at the hospital [01/12, 08:20] Malaika Moki Linonge: It was wonderful when we knew she had AIDS, we where surprised why u took her in and understood why u excepted her for some work at home [01/12, 08:20] .Marie A. Abanga: Thank you baby so much [01/12, 08:20] Malaika Moki Linonge: U are welcome mama

Anyone wanting to watch the live video I did could click the link below

https://web.facebook.com/marieangeleAbanga/videos/1253824834759318/

#thankyouviolet #notostigma #knowyourstatus #liveyourtruth #safesex #Showsomeempathy

Although World Aids Day is come and gone, we are still in the month of December. I shared this on my Facebook on the day itself, along with a live video. I just thought to share this here again, to inspire+motivate us all.

Posted in Advocacy, Cameroon, My Heroines

Please could you vote for my sickle cell Warrior Arrey Echi?


 

Hello all oh, please I need your votes to get my Sickle Cell warrior Arrey Echi nominated for some big awards o.

You sure saw my blog about my becoming a Strong and Proud Sickle Cell voice now thanks to her right? She has for a few years now done these colorful online campaigns to raise awareness, hmm this year’s own beat all the others. Yours truly was featured and appreciated to all my blushing.

 

Arrey shared this at the end of this year’s campaign on her facebook wall:

I would like to say a big thank you to those who supported the sickle cell awareness month in one way or another. Worth mentioning are those who went out of their way to support our activities by buying a #BreakTheSilenceTee shirt.

Because we have a lot of activities planned for warriors, we had to seek ways to raise funds and what better way than to add some swag into tee shirts while we devise other means to ensure we have our programs funded?

With 5.000frs, you can also get a tee shirt like this and because I like nyanga, I just needed to bring some swag into it with this unique Cameroon touch thanks to Enjoh Prodencia Asanga and her unique #ContriLifedesigns.

Please support a worthy cause. Get a Break the silence tee for 5k or if you like gi we 1million we no go mind 😉 😉

Our people say one hand cannot tie a bundle. I am forever grateful to all who are always supporting me in one way or another.

A collage of some who bought and wore in support of sickle cell awareness month.

Thank you all. The awareness continues.

#BreakTheSilence #BeASickleCellVoice #SickleCellAwareness

To vote so she be nominated for the categories:

  1. Best Blogger in English; and
  2. Best Social Media Campaign

Please just go to this link and go to those categories, click them and you are asked just two questions.

  1. Who are you nominating? answer ARREY ECHI.
  2. Why are you nominating this person? Answer BECAUSE SHE DESERVES THIS NOMINATION.

Simple right my people? So I beg on bended knees lol, give us your votes so my heroine gets these nominations. You can vote everyday too, I do that. They insist you have a facebook account and I hope many of us do o. Thank you very much

p.s: I will sure be back when thanks to your votes she gets nominated and we needs votes for the finals hahahaha

Posted in Marie's Garden, My Heroines

Two more portraits from my darling Phoebe…am spoiled


I am still so emotional and fighting back tears. In total, I have got three precious portraits from Phoebe (formerly Pamela Spiro-Wagner)

I am not sure I need/want to write about who Phoebe is to me and how much she means to me. These posts, like here, here and here for any wanting to read some of my previous blogs on my darling… Ah how I wish I could just get on a plain and go wrap up in VT now under one of those her comfy comfy handmade blankets.

Phoebe is so gifted and talented, has been through so so so much, and yet has such a heart of gold. She is Graceful even when she is having a tough time, so generous and makes me so grateful to know her and call her darling.

I appreciate you and treasure you darling Phoebe, yes all the way to the grave and even beyond Amen

Thank you so so so much

Posted in Advocacy, My Heroines

I am a proud sickle cell voice thanks to my heroine Arrey Echi


Hello world, the first two pictures were taken at her house in Yaounde, and the third one in my own house in Douala.

I am talking about my heroine Arrey Echi’s house lol. Now, here is who my heroine is in a few words;

She is a gentle and caring soul. She lives with sickle cell anemia and she is a warrior. Recognized both nationally and internationally for her advocacy, she has received quiet some awards for her work. She is currently setting up her foundation aptly called Joy2Endure, and those t-shirts are part of her branding and advocacy material. Ah, I could write a whole book about Arrey Echi.

I happened to have gone to the same university with Arrey, but hmm…where will a chakara like me meet a gentle lady like Arrey if not through our respective online advocacy? We’ve been following each other like for a year now, and we even ran into each other at an event last November, but the time wasn’t right yet it seems. We acknowledged each other and continued our friendship online.

Two weeks ago I decided it was time to go visit her when I got to Yaounde. It was an awesome visit. We had just 30 or so minutes together in her office, and it was hard to say goodbye. Indeed, we agreed when next I was in Yaounde I was staying with her. Here was my recap on facebook lol;

Marie Abanga is feeling blessed with Arrey Echi and 2 others.

21 September at 11:10 ·

I have been following all her advocacy here on FB and didn’t really want to write anything until I met her. The conference I had to attend in Yaounde and hopefully spend a night at her place eating one of her healthy and deli dishes she sometimes tempts us here with, was suddenly postponed. Gladly another opportunity came up and Yaounde I did have to go. I braved the 8hrs trip because above all I was going to meet my heroine. Her voice left me mesmerized, we just got into each other. We both don’t hear so well and so we enjoyed reading our lips and using our hands lol. I am a passionate advocate of some causes too and so I love meeting other passionate advocates like her. And to say we were UB mates? Well chakara me couldn’t meet calm and focused people like her there. And to think I was dreaming she could be my petite soeur because of her petite self and gentleness? Lol see me to blush. Life has lessons. Am a proud student. What is there to fear about sickle cell? Follow my heroine Arrey Echi and be educated. Thank you darling for receiving me.

The opportunity came up while I honoured an invitation to the 2nd national days for Mental Health. I got to Yaounde on Monday and left her house on Thursday morning. She simply spoiled me and I wrote the following about her on Facebook.

Marie A Abanga is feeling grateful with Arrey Echi and 3 others.

Yesterday at 05:43 ·

Arrey Echi I will celebrate you from the mountain top because you are a remarkable person with a very warm heart. I am not saying this because of all the food you loaded me with (wish I could finish each of those plates however lol), I am saying this because of your gentle and caring nature. When someone in 2018, warms you water for your bath, you go on your knees and say a special prayer for them. You came back home early not feeling so great, but you still offered to fry some plums? Chai thank God I had already brushed my teeth and quickly went me to bed. This early am you asked me to wait for a quick breakfast or take along, ha mami, I couldn’t for the love of me accept that o. Now, the advocacy you do for Sickle cell is not just noise, I witnessed you eating balanced meals and sleeping good and co. You even thought me why it was VIP to know one’s genotype using a simple to understand diagram. Have I said before I am mesmerized by your voice? I wish I could stay longer and learn sign language like that other student of yours. Dearest Arrey, I will celebrate you now and not later. Thank you so much, and thank you too Yensi. Dearest Arrey then, hopefully see you next time in your office where there wouldn’t be all that food hahahaha.

Now, talking about being a Sickle voice, the food didn’t kill my voice hahaha. I learned why it is so vip to know our genotype and she used this diagram to explain that to me.

save_20180926_104236

I think I was lucky gambling into making babies without knowing my genotype. I will however get the boys and I tested cause one never knows, and for them, iy would be great knowing their genotype now and not when they fall ‘madly in love’ hahahaha.

Anyways, dear Arrey, I just wanted the world to know what a pearl I have found in you. All the excellent work you do to raise awareness, and that am adding my voice to your campaign and say, ‘No Sickle cell is not witchcraft’, people can live with sickle cell into a ripe old age, #NotoStigma

Happy weekend everyone

p.s; let me just mention that Arrey brought me so much popularity on Facebook with a total of over 170 likes and about 50 comments on all my write ups about her lol

Posted in Cameroon, My Heroines, Parenting

Talking about kids+talents: May I introduce OTANG The Rap Princess from Cameroon


With the above clip, and in light of this week’s theme on my blog about children and their amazing talents, I wish to introduce OTANG The Rap Princess from Cameroon Africa.

Its been just 3 months since I discovered this free style of hers on Facebook…and you can tell I was mesmerized to the point of contacting her manager to offer pro bono legal services for when the big deals start coming lol – and bet ya they are here already. Miss OTANG DA GAME CHANGER is already the “Brand Ambassador of the Voice of Hope International Foundation”.

Recently on promotion in Yaounde the capital city – invited to some prominent shows and all such great platforms, she took time out to reach out to the less privileged kids on the streets.

img-20180907-wa00002116823292.jpg

And so, her EP was recently released in grand style, and is currently making waves in Cameroon.

OTANG is a brand and voice to be watched and I hope some big labels sign her on early before the deal skyrockets…read more about this Game Changer on the awesome 237Showbiz site right here.

 

OTANG is my heroine no joke, I can’t wait to meet her in person and get my own selfie while the celebrity train is still within my reach o

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, My Heroines

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?

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Mental Health Advocacy, My Heroines

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