Tag Archives: Fortitude

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


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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone

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Just Say it as it is…


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Just say it as it is

Just say it as you see

Just say it as you think

Just say it as you feel

What is it you want

What is it you need

What is it you can

What is it you can’t

There is so much shallow

When you don’t say it

When you fake it

Because you want to make it

It may work for a while

But can last only a while

And the price you’ll pay

May lead you a painful way

It is worth every dime

To say it as it is

I ain’t saying no more

Yes yes to please

When my soul will miss

The serenity it so seeks

Sometimes silence says it too

If they don’t like it

If they don’t want it

If they don’t respect it

Not my worry

I will just say it as it is

(c) Marie Abanga 2017

p.s: Am not sure if this is a throwback poem because I wrote same last year, but I needed to remind myself of this now more than ever. The above picture taken in 2007 and found in my drawer recently, is clearly at time when I was a big people pleaser to the detriment of my own self. Today, as I learn how to take more and more care of my emotional and mental wellbeing, ‘saying it as it is’ becomes indispensable. Be you inspired and motivated and have a great new month full of self care, and just saying it as it is…

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.

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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

My participation at the 2nd national days for Mental Health in Cameroon


 

Hello world, well I knew I was going to have a hectic week, but I couldn’t tell how hectic it was going to really end up being. Fortunately I had a great weekend with my hood even if that equally left my feet crying fowl hahaha.

I left for Yaounde the city where the event was to take place on Monday by noon, and the trip this time around lasted 6 not 8 hours…thank you Lord. The next day Tuesday, the event started off only an hour late, a good sign if you ask me. Below was my Facebook summary about the morning session:

Day 1: Morning session 2nd National days for Mental Health under the theme “State of the art and perspectives in the wake of skills transfer in mental health”. (Translated by me so bear with me – our country may be bilingual in theory but not always in practice sadly so). Even though the event started an hour late, they got to cover all which had been marked for the morning session. There were speeches (4 to be precise) by the Director for health at the Ministry of Public Health, by the UNFPA Representative, by the WHO Representative, and lastly by the Minister of Public Health himself.

 

Rhetoric aside, I was very impressed with the testimony of two persons living with a mental illness, the Man lives with Schizophrenia and the lady, an IDP whose husband was kidnapped since 8 months today, lives with C-PTSD. A humourist also used his skills to drill us on basic notions of mental health, stressing the difference with mental illness and encouraging us all not to be ashamed of talking about mental health. There was also a 7 mins clip of some real life scenarios expect in the various conflict regions of the country, and some different causes of mental health challenges were looked at which led to more destructive behaviour like illicit drugs consumption leading to more distress and nervous breakdown.

The afternoon program promises to be more thematic with statistics on the current state of the art from the perspective of different stakeholders.

 

Day 2 was sort of my day and here is my recap as shared of Facebook once more lol:

Day 2: Morning session 2 national days of Mental Health Cameroon. Wow, what a morning. So much learned and I was called up to do a presentation of the organizations I represented, ie Gbm Foundation and GMHPN. So I had no camera man and below is the brief clip (sadly it seems clip failed to upload here and am damn tired to try via u-tube and etc) a friend of mine did as I was leaving the podium. You can all imagine what I share on, some personal experiences and the work of both the Gbm foundation and the GMHPN whom I represent in Cameroon. Charlene Sunkel I think we will get there, I made some great contacts. Thank you for the appointment and opportunity. Hopefully see you soon. Didier De Masso who did the facilitation, also did a great presentation in his capacity as HIFA representative in Cameroon, on the importance of making mental health information easily accessible to all. His recommendations on the need for more research grants for mental health, the creation of a national database of organisations and stakeholders in the sector and more, were highly appreciated. Care and Plan International also made presentations on their work on the field especially in the different conflict zones of the country. A lot is left to be done but the efforts so far are honestly commendable.

All in all, I had a great time both at the event and in the city of Yaounde itself. I made some very valuable contacts and am so proud of myself for the headway. I did stand my grounds to get an official invitation or nothing, and although I got that sort of last minute like on Friday, I went in somewhat hasty conditions and survived hahaha

 

Happy weekend everyone

How I embrace alternative treatment?


Last week I was down with malaria which starting attacking my system on Monday 10th and ran up to Thursday 14th.

On Monday I tried to ignore it and worked out vigorously but that didn’t do it. I wrapped myself all up and did sleep straight that night but the next day Tuesday I felt nah you got to go see a doctor and get a prescription. You can see the pictures of the medicines prescribed above, but I knew I couldn’t rely only on those medicines.

I added some natural herbs cooked and covered myself in there so I sweat some crap out for 5-9 minutes, you can see me sweating really good after each of those wrap ups lol, and I did that for three days /twice a day. That also helped me sleep much better and I felt better too.

Eating is hard when am sick, but I knew I had to pamper myself and get some much needed nutrients from some food anyway. So I got me some river joy and cerelac (normally for kids and babies but so what), added bananas, avocado, soft bread and much much tea. I tried brief walks on Wednesday too, and had a full rest and recuperation day, even that too wasn’t easy hahaha.

On Thursday, I was strong enough to go to court and see into a client in custody, my health fully restored by Friday, I did a bail application and that was granted this Monday 17th. I am so happy I embraced alternative and holistic treatment to the best of my capacity and could get back on my feet sooner than later. Be you inspired and motivated therefore, to embrace alternative treatments in your recovery. Am not sure I would have recovered pretty well and fast had I accepted to be admitted, or just stayed in bed all the while…

Have a great weekend everyone…

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

My Self Care journey: Sharing Seven Self Care (SC) habits of mine P1


Hello world, another Friday is here and I want to continue looking at self care being the best care. Some say I am a “multiple person’ and am ok with that. I recall my 39th birthday blog where I appealed for more empathy towards people like myself who were high functioning from every indication, but who also had their struggles. I live with RA and PTSD and so self care for me is a matter of survival.

So today, I decided to start sharing seven of my best self care habits harnessed during the years, hoping they serve some powerful communication + inspiration and motivation. It was in December 2009 that I was first told to seriously start to take care of myself. I was at an all time low and my last son was barely 5 months old. That year was a very troubled one for me, having attempted suicide some 9/10 months earlier. The good side of all that low was my readiness to try another way now… This way I came to realize involved ME taking care of ME and I mean very Good Care. This has come to justify Self Care as being the Best Care to me lol. This said, let’s see how we cover this P1:

1) Working out has resumed and has become VIP for me

I weighed 115kgs by then, had not worked out for like 15 years or more, ate like a ‘hoax’, hoping it will choke my ex husband up…do you visualize me at this point? And so on the 1st of January 2010, while the world slept after St Silvester’s shenanigans, while ex husband was yet to return from his jives, I stepped out at 3.30 am for my 1st walk. I had also decided to start a 30 days fast (had never done one before)…, and all my pain/hurt/and oh so so much, were in those first fearless steps. This the origin of my love affair with determination + discipline and determination (my 3Ds) …8 years later, swagging between 70-77kgs, I have overcome so much and can now do so much. Working out is simply non negotiable for me now… I have still been through a few days in a stretch where I can’t work out due to a health flare up (whichever it is P for physical or M for mental; doesn’t really matter to/for me), but then I always know it shall pass, I keep at the self care and I go right back to working out once the spirit is back …

2) My health + holistic wellbeing has become my priority

The same friend who encouraged me to work out, was amazed at all the medications I was on. I was taking at least 3 different meds for the RA and sleep issues+anxiety, although over all no improvement was being recorded. I look back today and think the over eating could have also been due to the side effects of those meds. Anyways, I heeded to his advice and started weaning myself off the meds with ‘vengeance’. I started searching for alternative remedies for my symptoms and after two years of meds, I was ready to try even cayenne pepper if it got to that lol. Eating healthy became an obsession. I have carried a lunch bag almost religiously since then. It was tough working on the sleep especially while still in a very toxic marriage, I just had to sleep during the day either in the office or at an aunt’s home nearby. I chose the latter often because I could then bathe thereafter and feel fresh to be more productive in the afternoon. That way, if I barely slept at night and got up at 2.30 am as was the habit then, I could go for my 3 am walk with no qualms. Running into thieves twice didn’t scare me off, that is how bent I was on taking care of myself. Eventually off all the meds, I only take any when in a crisis or when I feel one is coming… My wellbeing has become so priority, I can’t even tolerate ‘fake relationships’ from any point of view…

3) I reached out for professional help

The next and biggest self care habit I embraced was in knowing when to reach out for professional help, and then doing just that. You can only take good care of yourself so much. There comes that point when you need ‘professional help’. I had succeeded in salvaging myself from that ‘sham and shame’of a marriage, and was finally in a place where I could start a healing journey. I was meeting Angels on my path and my Gentleman encouraged me to seek ‘professional help’ for all what I told him about me. No more energy to strive on without help, I first hired a life coach. I call that the best investment I ever made for ME. My Hero Jeff Moore, oh God bless him forever, helped me so so much. Next, I booked appointments with a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. That was so much self care, self love, self acceptance and all things self… And come to think of all this Amazing work and Grace by which I have become a life coach and psychotherapist too? Come on somebody and say ‘self care is the best care’…

Let’s take a break here today, I will blog on the last 4 self care habits next Friday ( it was a bit intense recalling some stuffs in here – but no tears came and I actually felt some pride at how far I have come)

p.s as I write this post (22.08.18) I have had a mini flare up which started on Saturday. I have been all wrapped up in the office today as seen in the picture above, and it is 3 pm here now. I however feel so much better and am taking care of myself the best I can (some back to school preparation stress and anxiety too but I facing that head on by Grace)

Sometimes, sparing your sanity as a parent involves this..


Hello world and happy midweek lol.

On Monday I shared about how as parents we could sometimes just let them fume off so as to spare our ‘sanity’ lol. I mean the children or musketeers in my case can drive you nutty if you don’t flex a strategy to ‘manage them’ right?

Today, I want to share how on two separate occasions, the best I could do to spare my ‘sanity’ further density was to join in the ‘fun’.

One day, while I was preparing to go out to the farm in another city, I thought they were out there doing their laundry as we had agreed, only for me to get out and find the one and only Gaby with a car made out of a sardine tin. He looked so innocent and offered me to try it out. I held the rope and flashbacked to myself at that age or younger – making cars like that or with sticks and wheels was really trendy then. I enjoyed that brief moment and just shrugged at the fate of the laundry hahaha…

Two weeks later, I stepped out of the kitchen to find out same Gaby had abandoned his laundry to go play outside.

The washerwoman in me lol

I love doing laundry myself and I just decided to call him and do it with him – sparing my nerves some lol… He came with two buddies, and before I knew it, his friends were even more into the laundry foam than ourselves hahaha.

Anyways, in both scenario, breathing, joining in and letting the moment be, did really keep my ‘sanity intact’, and I didn’t ruin my voice shouting hahaha.

I therefore wish to inspire and motivate all parents and guardians in here, to sometimes realize that their ‘sanity’ is primordial, and that whatever is going on shall come to pass. If a choice can be made, choose the option that spares you your sanity hahaha. I am indeed ever grateful for all.

Sometimes let them Man It Up, Fume it out before Chilling down…


It’s been a while since I shared any shenanigans from our Home Inc, and so I just felt to start this week with one. You know as a parent you have to get that discerning spirit to know how to run the affairs in the Home Industry, and how, when or why to get involved guys’ wahala. For me as a single mother, it is even a little complex because I may have to intervene the mama way, and then the papa way – or could I just let them fume it out sometimes?

I preferred the third option one Saturday morning a few months ago when I was still on my long spiritual journey. One of the things I was fasting from was from anger, and so I couldn’t allow myself the luxury of asking them – the bickering boys – to shut up. I can’t for the life of me remember what was the issue, but I know tempers were up that morning, Gaby spoke so menacingly and David was fast approaching him. I decided there and then to just go close to without saying a word. I actually needed for them to spit out all the energy and fume it out before chilling some. When they chill, I can then rationalize the whole saga, we make peace and then draw conclusions, but otherwise no way. I also like leaving them sometimes to ‘man it up’ and ‘fume it all out all’ that way all the challenging emotions they feel at the time, get felt and faced. Cutting someone short when they are fuming may not be the best and as a psychotherapist I know and uphold same.

After they had therefore ‘manned it up’ and ‘fumed it out’, I gave each of them a glass of water and put two chairs behind them. We had a discussion and then made peace. I could still feel so dense energy in the air and so gave each person some chore to distract and help them chill more. Bottom line, they actually helped get the breakfast ready and we all sat down to a lovely breakfast with gusto.

And that is how sometimes the right technique can save the day in our industry and we continue to live, love and laugh ever after lol. It is vip for parents to not sweat the small stuff, or resort very easily to making the energy around more dense using whips, slaps etc, even though such methods may seem tempting and ‘provide faster solutions’. My sanity being at stake more often than I’ll appreciate in the Home Industry, being creative is imperative for me.

Be inspired all you parents and single mothers in the Bsphere

What, and why, is self care the best care?


Hello World, both on a personal scale and as a psychotherapist, self care is a very important precept to me. I therefore decided to wrap up this week with a post on self care, which I tell my clients is the best care. Many times they ask me in return, what really is self care and why is it the best care? We all know how taking care even of our basic necessities when we are mentally challenged can be difficult right? But here is the great thing, self care is not only about doing it alone, but also about knowing when to ask for help because right then that is the best way you can show yourself you care for you!!!

So, while on the web searching, I came across some sites having an article or the other on self care. The LawofAttraction.com defined self-care as copied below and indented, and I find that definition apt. I wouldn’t be adding to it and bore you out, thus here we go:

Self-care is a broad term that encompasses just about anything you to do be good to yourself. In a nutshell, it’s about being as kind to yourself as you would be to others. It’s partly about knowing when your resources are running low, and stepping back to replenish them rather than letting them all drain away.

Meanwhile, it also involves integrating self-compassion into your life in a way that helps to prevent even the possibility of a burnout.

However, it’s important to note that not everything that feels good is self-care. We can all be tempted to use unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, over-eating, and risk-taking. These self-destructive activities help us to regulate challenging emotions, but the relief is temporary. The difference between unhealthy coping mechanisms and self-care activities is that the latter is uncontroversially good for you. When practiced correctly, self-care has long-term benefit for the mind, the body, or both.

That addressed, why do I uphold self care to be the best care?

No one knows you better than you. No one can take care of you better than you. No one can make you valued, happy, sad, and all other feeling and emotions in between better than you. This is so so true for me, I mean I know myself inside out and I am true to myself.

I am therefore in charge of my own care – and so should/can you!!!

I have gradually developed several self care habits which truly make me happy and serene. When I am overwhelmed or need help, I keep my therapist hat aside, and reach out to my support circle. It is very important to have one, and to nurture your circle with your own presence, that way, when you reach out you will be helped and not shunned. We each have something magical to share, that smile or email or drawing, or a few poetic lines which makes someone’s day.

When we are in charge of our own self care, we can tell what works and what doesn’t, we can let go and laugh or cry without tearing ourselves down, we remain alive to ourselves and not zombie out under the influence of drugs – be they prescribed or illicit. The deal for me is identifying earlier than later what works for you, who can help you best when you are not so in tune with your self care plan ( yup good to have a self care plan), and what is the worst case scenario…

More to follow in a part two hahaha

Have a great weekend us all