The Time to Tell


The Time to Tell

The lives we lead
The lies we live
The pain we pile up
The shame we stack up
The hurts we hide up
The sorrows we stifle
The Stories we shy from
The Love we long for
The hope we have
The help we hold up
The hugs we get
The hugs we give
The healing is sure
(c) Marie Abanga
Kumba, Cameroon 20/02/21

Getting a World Pulse spirit Award means a lot to me


I was related to receive an email that I was an Awardee of a World Pulse spirit Award as an activator. I have been on World Pulse since October 2018 and it’s so good to be on such a sisterhood platform where your voice and story matter.

Check out more on the announcement in the below instagram post, and you might want to register for the virtual celebration and also get to know more about World Pulse

Support our Anti-Rape Campaign ‘It Starts from ME’


It starts from Me Ending Sexual Violence/Rape Campaign

Each month, hundreds of cases of rape and sexual assaults are being talked about and we know these appalling crimes of sexual violence/rape is being committed against our sisters/brothers, daughters/sons and babies. These heinous acts have caused some fatalities as young as 3 months old and three quarters of survivors of this distressing involvement are under the age of 15.

Despite the trauma involved many cases of rape and sexual violence still go unreported as families and communities practice a culture of silence or indifference about sexual violence/rape leaving victims devastated.

In Cameroon there are no safe homes/shelters for victims/survivors and medical treatment is unaffordable to many of them.

The N4SHE found that institutional practices and traditions can lead to a highly unsafe environment rarely challenged by our society. The society has miserably failed to educate and evolve to always pass the blame on the victims thereby communicating to victims that violence is a ‘normal’ feature of life. Schools, therefore, can be breeding grounds for potentially damaging rape culture which remain with pupils into adult life. Yet, with appropriate intervention, schools can provide an enabling environment for the prevention of sexual violence/rape.

The main objective of this campaign is to raise awareness and sensitize parents, teachers and communities at large to make use of the three Rs “RECOGNISE, RESPOND, REPORT” in children who are victims of sexual violence.

The target population is parents/teachers & community stakeholders across the nation.

So, do you want to join the campaign raise awareness, sensitize and normalize the conversation around rape? We are just a WhatsApp away

Join the Campaign train @ +237652956343

Please donate to the campaign: https://gf.me/u/yn552g

FB Page: https://web.facebook.com/TheNetworkforSolidarityHopeEmpowermentCameroon

https://www.networkofhopeandempowerment.org/

Be the Change you want for your community as “It starts from Me”

A poster capturing the enormity of mental health awareness needs in Africa


#mentalhealthawareness so beautifully captured in this poster by my friend and Global Mental Health Peer Network executive from Zimbabwe Angelica Mkorongo.
Are we really doing enough? Are we even talking enough? Are we even listening enough? #mentalhealthmatters let’s keep talking and sculpting and painting and singing and dancing and shouting and marching …about it. #thereishope #bethehope.

A message of hope from my own mother


A message of hope from my own mother Bibiana Taku on the first mental health matters open day organized by @Hope for the Abused and Battered last week. For the first time since my return, I watched and listened to my mum talk about the loss of her beloved only son Gaby Mindful, and other challenges in her own life which have moulded her into the heroine she is today. Thank you mama
https://youtu.be/hut-X2azGgM

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/

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.