What is right with these Selfies?


Dear gentle readers and followers, today I want to counter another  post on what I thought was wrong with those -selfs, by writing about what I think is right with some Selfies below. Sure I don’t refer to those selfies we capture as photographs like that ‘palaver’ one Potus (President of US) took at Madiba’s memorial service, getting Flotus(First Lady of US) worked up,  and the world ‘gossiping’. No, I want to look at those ‘internal’ selfies, the ones we could take and examine the negatives in our heads before even deciding to show them to the world.

I came across these two quotes and thought to use them as an introduction:

Positive Self Image
Positive Self Image
Our thoughts indeed hold us back
Our thoughts indeed hold us back

Foreword

Unfortunately, some of us grew up trusting ‘others’ to show us our image or photograph.  We felt their approval meant we were ‘good’ to move on. Of course, as a child, you naturally rely on your parents ‘acceptance’ of you and what is ‘good for you’. You trust their choices and judgments and you probably grow up in that reliance. Maybe eventually, you replace them with ‘friends’, ‘husband’, and ‘society’ in general too? The one person you find it sometimes difficult to ‘rely’ on, is YOU. This to me is the onset of ‘problems’.

When you get lots of negative feedback in the process, even when that era is past, the ‘stuff’ stays in your ‘upstairs’ and that’s when the real processing begins.  You start feeling ‘awful’ to say the least, and you think you are several things not. Regardless of if you meet other sets of ‘people’ who start ‘praising’ and telling you lots of positive stuff, it doesn’t ‘filter’ up there. You may even just sink further emotionally. It is in this respect therefore, that I thought of looking at some +selfies which could be worth considering seriously.

Only YOU can spare YOU

The quote says it all, I need not add any further, right?
The quote says it all, I need not add any further, right?

Sure I speak from experience and that is the good thing. I am not, ‘that priest (just an example) who will lecture on marriage but who doesn’t have any iota of practical experience to quote’. I wrote so much in my book and l put it all out there so people know what damage I did to myself and to those who seemingly cared, by my ‘upstairs delusions’.

I equally found this quote which advice on  one of the stuffs parents could do to help their kids out:

I really think this could be a good start, though by far not the only
I really think this could be a good start, though by far not the only

Some +Selfies

This is a quote I love from our late Iron Lady!

Easier said than done huh?
Easier said than done huh?

And so, we have some good mental selfies like Self-Acceptance, Self-Worth, Self-Love, Self-Pride, Self-Confidence and of course, the master Self-esteem.

Thus I embarked on a difficult and challenging highroad. That of driving my upstairs to more great selfies than l had ever even thought of. I started by:

Ignoring all what I was told and knew I wasn't, to focus on what I knew I was and loved to be
Ignoring all what I was told and knew I wasn’t, to focus on what I knew I was and loved to be

Next I seriously reflected on and still do reflect on:

Being brave to own my story and love myself
Being brave to own my story and love myself

I definitely now now my true worth and can feel the inner me gradually merging with the outer me. No more need to live parallel lives or fake smiles. I have that self-confidence that l will Lean in and Lean on on this journey and that I can and will help others on theirs too. Frankly, I wait for no one to hold me in any higher esteem than I hold myself. This to me is positive self-pride, nothing to do with haughtiness. Frankly, if you can’t be proud of yourself and your achievements, what good are you to yourself? I know what the bible and whatever says about pride, but I know we all understand what I hereby mean by self-pride right?

Resume

I am so grateful and faithful to all what I am learning and doing now in my life. Have always tried to be only that, now I also think it is worth trying hard to impress your own self with whom you truly  spend all 24 hours of your day with right?:

Worth trying hard to impress your own self right?
Worth trying hard to impress your own self right?

What other better quote to resume than this?

Captures most if not all I dare think
Captures most if not all I dare think

And so dear readers and gentle followers of mine, what are your thoughts? Any experience to share or just a like to cheer?

 

 

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Ignorance: The Human Disease


This is a masterpiece. How do I reblog this? I feel sad and yet happy each time I read a post like this. Dear T, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

takingthemaskoff

image

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. We will not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” -Albert Einstein

Robin Williams didn’t kill himself, stigma killed him. It kills many people like him everyday. Here is how:

STIGMA, that is the reason people do not ask for help. STIGMA is the reason people do not go to the doctor and say I’m depressed, or I’m an addict, or I do not feel things like anyone else. Who wants to say that I feel all these intense emotions? When you know what the result is going to be. What we will do is we will give you medication. We will tell you to change, to just feel…

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The Funeral Program of my Love


Dear All,

I leave today for home once more. I do not return in joy to see my boys like I did two months earlier – oh no, I return to lay my love and hero to rest.

What I lost
What I lost

Herewith is the Funeral Mass for Gabriel, (contains his bio, our eulogies and a media gallery of sorts) for any interested in reading some more about him while I prepare to publish his book come November.

THANK YOU ALL!

30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge – Day Two


This is so powerful, I can only do it Justice by a reblog. Thank you Kevin for sharing your story with us

Voices of Glass

30-day-challenge1Day 2: How do you feel about your diagnosis?

Well it is day two of my 30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge and since I only posted Day One’s posting very lat last night/very early this morning I feel like this is the second posting that I have written today.

But the truth is that I am very keen to try to do one of these every day for the next 30 days and so today’s posting is in line with that objective.

Today’s subject or question is “How do you feel about your diagnosis?” and it is a very important question isn’t it?

If I am honest (and certainly one of my objectives in this blog is always to be open and honest) I have mixed feelings concerning the diagnoses that I have received.

In my previous post I touched upon the difficulties experienced in even gaining…

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Taking my mask off


A white mask on a black face is probably closest description of what I had
A white mask on a black face is probably closest description of what I had

I wore a mask for a pretty large chunk of my life and then one day I couldn’t keep it on. I just had to take it off, peel it or drag it out along with some of my skin, whatever it took I did, and still do. I was suffocating beneath that mask. Dear gentle readers and followers, this post was inspired by a great blog I came across recently and now follow with my entire 3 D’s (Determination, Discipline, Dedication)!

Defined and Classified

I think I had been defined and classified from childhood. I was defined as an outgoing person, an extrovert and a brave cum courageous and all girl. I was proud to be all that and happier to belong to the Class of those ‘marked out to make it in society’.  ‘My world’ knew I had all I needed to make it in life and I mean, external life surely right?  My dad had a ‘good job’, and we went to ‘good schools’. I was ‘smart’, ‘beautiful’ (this guarantees a good marriage for most I suppose), generous and even pious when need be. Hmm, how much I fitted into Conventional Society?

I grew up really feeling I belonged and dared not disappoint any one but myself. You know, you live with yourself all your life and you have to face yourself some day some how. But In the Meantime, I soared. I was bound to. What was the alternative? I had to fight for my brother, first physically and now emotionally. There were yet, some instances where I ‘derailed’ (my mask loosened its grip sort of), but em that was ok by ‘society’ – it can happen.

Crowning my ‘success’

Yes, to crown my success as was expected of a ‘normal and lucky girl like me’, I went through different schools and universities. I got some job or the other, and then got called to the prestigious Cameroon Bar Association. Before that, I got married to a ‘good man’. I even had kids, 3 boys for that much – any African knows the importance of having at least one son right? What a success? I ‘loved’ that mask. Indeed, it hadn’t failed me so far, I couldn’t afford to let it down. I could deal with any ‘hurts I had wearing it on each day’, I could deal with the ‘voices in my head’, simply put, I knew how to live parallel lives.

Did I really get it?

This is a good question I suppose. I think I did for a while and I had plans on sorting myself out in hiding you know! In one of our Advocates In Training  workshops, I chose to present on ‘The Private Life of a Lawyer’. Premonition or what? Who was I making fun of? I knew all what I was doing in ‘private’ then but that was covered behind my mask right? And so, I think I got it then when I lectured to some applause how a ‘good lawyer’ had to carry on privately making sure his deeds never tainted his ‘public life’. The profession is a noble one and I even hear they bury their departed member face down (em, whatever that means – I may even opt to be cremated for all I care).

How parallel is this?
How parallel is this?

I couldn’t keep that mask on anymore

I had to pull that mask off
I had to pull that mask off

I just had to take it off. It was getting so unreal for me, I was hurting, aching, burning, hoping and wishing each day was going to be my last. One day, I picked up a knife, this was the ultimate. I am sure I scared even my unborn son. My Mask was so white and yet I was so black. I decided to sort it out my way because by then, I was already so depressed and mentally challenged enough to trust ‘those who had helped me put on that mask in the first place’. I thus relied on my own troubled guts and my ‘non-classified friends’ (actually classified as dangerous). The street kids, the rascals, the adulterers, the prostitutes.

I am happy I did, it has since then been all about honesty. I braved it, I dared it, I tamed it, and I stood up to it. I still do face several challenges both within and otherwise. I am just happy I no longer have a mask on. I decided not to blog with an acronym or other name than mine. It is no more about ‘crowning success’ and ‘living up to expectations’. It is no more about ‘making my parents family and society proud’. It is now about doing myself right, feeling right and advocating for right my way.

Dear gentle readers and followers, I have lost all what ‘crowned my success’ back then and even one of my dearest love. I may be disbarred from that noble and legal profession for this this much with my hitherto ‘private life’. I am now fully divorced, I left those same kids behind and get to visit them maybe once a year, I am starting all over so to say. At least, I don’t have a mask on, and wouldn’t dare help consciously put another one on someone’s face. And you?

I Choose Love


I choose love too especially now that my heart grieves so badly.
I choose love, because that is the best I want to choose here below.
I choose love to the extent of reaching out this far and achieving this much.
Yes, though all the love in the world couldn’t save my brother, all the love I have for him will keep his memory in me forever.
I am so glad of you all my e-family, especially the ‘Shaggy’ ones like us!

Bipolar On Fire

My favorite meditation on my Deepak Chopra Living in Love app on my iphone is called “I Choose Love.” That is the mantra that is repeated throughout the meditation. Most of the time when I’m meditating, my mind is just wandering around the universe, wondering if I have any yogurt in the refrigerator? Did I forget to pick up a prescription at Walgreens? Is it time to get a new pedicure? If so, what color?

For the first time today when I was meditating, I was actually able to focus on and experience the mantra “I Choose Love.” A chill went through my body as I realized that when it comes to Love, my cup runneth over. I am so incredibly blessed with this huge, and hugely supportive family of parents, brothers, sisters, brother and sister-in-laws, and dearly precious nieces and nephews, not to mention cousins, aunts, uncles, and some…

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Just another figure to add or substract


Green light or Red Light?
Green light?

or;

Red Light?
Red Light?

 

My Mental Health Advocacy now takes on another dimension, with the demise of my brother. I will tell his story, because he lives on in me forever. But today, I want to briefly look at what his demise does to Arithmetic. Is he just another figure to add or to subtract? Does it signal a green or a red light?

Research and more research

On the eve of my brother’s demise, I was as ever so often, reading some article or the other on Mental Health. The one I was reading this time around, was on Mark Cogan’s blog where he posted an article titled:

Better health care must include mental health

He shares how being dedicated and determined to do his job as an editor right, got him into serious trouble and ushered him in to the Mental Health World.  These are his own words:

As the editor, my punishment was ten-fold. I received protection from the police, was banned from eating at several restaurants, coffee shops, and petrol stations.  I had to do my shopping at night. I was now a pariah. Months of ridicule and isolation were too much to handle. I became aggressive, hollow and distant.

I had post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The article moves on with some global statistics probably ‘well researched’, and wraps up with some fickle of hope as he unearths that Mental Health and Well Being, is for once mentioned as a conclusion of the third suggested goal for post 2015 MDGs. Here are his words again:

It’s a tribute to the work of the OWG and the outcome of the High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases, that mental health has at least a brief mention in the outcome document. The third proposed goal, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” for the very first time includes everything from ending HIV/AIDS, reducing global maternal mortality, as well as water-borne diseases like malaria. It also includes “premature” mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment.  The last few words under 3.4 grabbed my attention: “…and promote mental health and wellbeing.”

Ok, What has that got to do with Arithmetic?

The point I am trying to introduce is that, until the powers that be finish doing their own Arithmetic and decide whether they would rather get those huge taxes from the almighty Pharmaceutical Brotherhood (who use people like my brother and YOU – who ever is in the situation my brother was, as guinea pigs for the drugs mindful of the devastating side effects), any deaths from Mental Health, will just be another ‘shitty case’ to add or subtract depending on the angle you approach it from.

As for me, of course my brother’s is another case to add to the desperation and frustration against the SYSTEM. I care less of which ever system I refer to, giving that neither the African nor the Western Systems are any better with regards to stigmatizing and misunderstanding or ignoring Mental Health.

Well, looking at it from the last system he was in (US of A), his case is just one more ‘shit head’ to subtract from the welfare and disability or whatever list. After all, whose fault is it if your ‘Family’ can’t afford a private insurance so you see the best psychiatrist or go for the real therapy (not the sometimes damn group therapy or public therapists and professionals more interested in keeping their licenses and punching their sheets than in the ‘nut head’ sitting before them)? Is it their fault that your family can’t support you financially and otherwise? Common, give them a break they seem to beg, ‘They are doing their best right’?

What could be a plausible Scenario?

Maybe, if the SYSTEM, really thought of the real statistics, what it actually costs them to have all those ‘shit heads’ in the Community, they would think twice about forcefully revising their approach to Mental Health (MH).  Let me use a personal and painful narrative to make my point clearer.

My Brother probably never harmed a fly intentionally, but I saw him come close to killing my son in a very manic episode he once had. He had picked up my son who was just 10 months old at the time, and I didn’t know then that he was ‘brewing’. All of a second, he got up and started pacing with those red eyes only those of us in the ‘Shaggy family’, know of. He scared the hell out of everyone in the house because he became furious and used one hand to push or break things while still holding my baby. Everybody ran out of the gate but I stayed with him. I never knew about therapy then, but I knew I loved both my brother and my son to see them in that situation. I calmly talked to my brother and told him I was scared of him and knew he wouldn’t drop my baby as he threatened. I told him he was so loved by us all and that I knew it wasn’t him being that furious. I appealed to his spirit in my own way and urged him to breathe. He ended up calming down and with his usual smile, gave me my baby who had been turned head down and was dangling from his hands as he held him just by one foot (imagine a chicken so held).

Imagine therefore what goes on in the minds of the psychopaths, those who go shoot in communities, schools and you name them. Imagine all the homes, families and communities affected. Imagine the suicide alarming statistics and the welfare roll.

I think it is high time there is a change of approach.  Which light is currently on? I am losing my sight too it seems!

When I write such posts, I weep for my brother. I started learning lots on MH and trying to reach out the likes of us out here, somehow too late. I had my own issues too and I didn’t even know how bad I was close to total screw up.

For this reason also, I am making and have already made a conscious decision to take great care of my emotional and mental well being. I will be seeing a psychiatrist and eventually a therapist, and I also have a Life Coach. I don’t look forward to being put on any Medications, but I look forward to guidance on how to identify my triggers and symptons and how to ‘Breathe In and Out. Common pals, we can’t only blame the SYSTEM right? If you feel something is shifting up there, give stigma and shame a slap and reach out for help.

Yours respectfully, Marie Abanga

Grieve it out: I am trying and it seems to help


I love treasure hunting too
I love treasure hunting too

It may be just 5 days since the demise of my brother, oh whose brother? l knew my brother had several challenges because I was there when it all started several years back. I just didn’t know what exactly all those were called or how to properly help him out until … too late now right?

 Thus, my descent into Limbo and my attempt at keeping grip on to the vessel of sanity has been simply put ‘oscillating’. I even foolishly though this evening that I was ‘in control of this mourning period’.

Now I know, that I am not yet fully in control but that I am getting there. Keeping mt brother’s memory and legacy on in me and via all works I plan to undertake, is hence another of my passion’s. But, In the Meantime, I grieve his sudden departure – ha, the tsunami!

At least, I am grieving out and not in, and it seems to help. You may wonder what experience I have to make such assertion. Of course, only deaths give you those and I have had a pretty small ugly share. I know what it is to bury a child (no matter the age) and I know that, that ‘vacuum Cleaner’ will forever roam in the neighbourhood of your heart.

What I now think is right about grieving out, is that it helps and heals. When I lost my daughters (via a miscarriage and the other at just a day old), I never grieved out. Common, in my society, you are expected to ‘hush’ such episodes because they might as well have been ‘evil spirits’ passing your way. Grieving them may bar you from having others. You have to get back to your ‘gestation’ very fast.

But now, I am grieving out and wow. I rant, I cry, I threaten to die too, and I calm down. I talk to people, especially those who have ‘Walked this unceremonious path’. I do a lot of meditation and I take it easy on myself as much as possible. Hey, I even renewed my gym vows

Even in my grief, I smile, knowing the battle is still on
Even in my grief, I smile, knowing the battle is still on

(suspended two years ago on my return from Arusha), and even the sweat seems to blend with the grief, facilitating its exist.

It's not easy but it is worth it
It’s not easy but it is worth it

However, as I slept this night, I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe well. I got up and sat of course infront of the PC. Checking my emails and ever watchful of phone calls and notifications is now permanently on my ‘to do list’. And I know it is ok not to be able to continue sleeping but to do what I am currently doing. I am writing this post and then I will make some more calls. Maybe I will also get to write another chapter of my brother’s book.

I talk to him about my grieving, I even ask for his advice. I try to imagine how he in his usual way, will always want to help out in spite of his own ‘bleedings’. Trust me, I know, I have been there and I still do that. It is well, it is right, to grieve out and in so doing, I have gotten so much support than I would have ever gotten otherwise. Thank you all.

SOS: One of those days we dread


I need ...
I need …

I don’t know why I thought 33 was a golden age. I don’t know why I thought at that age you either made or break it. Hmm, now I don’t know what to conclude about that age anymore. Losing some one at 33, where do I start? I simply dread the day I lost him.

And now, we have to bury him. Another day I dread. I don’t even want to think about the day we lower his casket. I don’t want to think I will henceforth refer to him in past tense. Oh no, his last words to me were that he thanked me so much. This was on Thursday night and two days later, he was gone.

I equally dread this very day, when we are trying to come up with a program for his final journey home, wherever that now is. And now, as if living with that pain in your heart is not enough, you have to fight with the thoughts of what it will cost you physically, financially and otherwise just to make it past the burial.

When somebody dies away from ‘home’, he is expected to be brought back ‘home’. Please don’t ask me more, I am as confused as anything. I just know one more think and this is very comforting. I know I have a strong support network and that I can grieve as I please. I am no superwoman, I wouldn’t play strong like I did when I lost my daughter.

One more think I dread of this day, is my having to reach out for financial support to repatriate my love’s remains home. I hear it may aprox to a gulping 15.000$ and I can’t lie that my family can do that on their own. I thus decided to open a bank account for my beloved and I know those who can would chip in a $, a £ or any currency of their choice. The details are thus:

ACC NAME: Gabriel Bebonbechem Memorial Fund 

BANK: ING BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

IBAN: BE 36377055498181

BIC: BBRUBEBB

ADDRESS: 15/2 AVENUE JEAN MONNET, 1200 BRUSSELS

Dear gentle followers and readers, thanks for the support I have been feeling and getting. The post I did yesterday on my grief, has so far been viewed more than the total 50% of my other posts. Thank you once more. If you can chip in any dime, you could email me at marie@marieabanga.com if you please.

mum, author, mental health advocate, therapist, inspires & motivates with personal experiences

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