From my Therapy Trenches: Mirror on the Wall


Mirror Mirror on the wall…?

Hello all and happy new week. I had a pretty busy weekend (like there are some lazy ones more often right?) Hope everyone is hanging in there.

I thought to start sharing some shenanigans from my Therapy/therapist trenches (I mean I am in daily therapy myself, and as a therapist I work with clients every now and then). I basically am my own therapist and the boys are an excellent co-therapist team.

Today I look at one of the techniques I use in my trench. I ask some clients to look at the mirror and tell me what they see. I had one in the office (when I was at the hospital) and I always hope they carry one in their bags too (thinking of the ladies lol). After that, I ask them to talk to the person they see in that mirror.

I got real inspired to use this mirror technique after I was able to reach out to a client after two ‘unfruitful sessions’ at the hospital. I asked her the third time she came if she had a mirror in her back. She frowned but pulled it out and started making excuses for her appearance and ‘pimpled face’ oh my. I told her I saw all of that but that’s not why I asked if she had a mirror. She said she hadn’t made up that morning because she was running late. After trying to resist my urging her to ‘just look at herself in the mirror’, she did. I told her to do that for just 3 minutes but after the 2nd minute she broke down crying.

I then encouraged her to feel the feelings, face the fears and write down all she wanted. Later on, I encouraged her to talk to the person in the mirror.

It was after everything a wonderful experience for both of us. A few others have appreciated that technique too.

I have a mirror Infront of my room, I share the mirror with the boys. I look at it to see myself in all my shades, and I love to talk to myself. I do that before I leave home and before I go to bed each day.

I find this technique awesome and don’t know if any other person uses this, or has had to participate in any such experience.

Until next time, have a great week and stay inspired+motivated everyone

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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

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Mental Health Advocacy, Poetry

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…

Posted in Advocacy, Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden

How do you define yourself? Here is my how…


 

 

How do you define yourself Marie Abanga asked the journalist? and I said the following as it flowed from my heart: “I am a Person of Passions and a Tale of Talents”. What else would you want to know when someone defines themselves in such clear terms? But the look on the journalist’s face wasn’t seemingly satisfactory even if he didn’t say so. The interview was by TV 5 Africa on epilepsy and mental illness, questioning me in my capacity as the Country Director of the Gbm Foundation.

Their background check had indicated I was a lawyer, a mental health advocate, and  an author. They didn’t get the update that I was equally a CBT Therapist, a clinical psychologist, a motivational speaker and a life coach. When I introduced myself therefore at the beginning, I rolled through all the different stuffs I do and how passionate I am about each one and grateful for the different talents. As an author, I have written over 5 books and several poems, some of which I have turned into songs and look forward to going into a studio to record same. I will just stop at these few passions with their accompanying talents.

Indeed, my career path is in three dimensions although I can see them merging in one big jumble in 5 years. The lawyer will meet the Dr in Psy and the author will also join them and one new big path will emerge for me to keep following wherever they lead in all stubborn but passionate faith.

And so, I forge on with my passions, and the one which captivates and occupies me more recently is psychotherapy. I have a diploma with merits in psychology and a distinctions in CBT Therapy. I want to take an Msc in mental health psychology when schools resume and I also want to have a better understanding of addictions, substance abuse, dis-intoxication and rehabilitation.

Indeed, I was recently so honoured when two bloggers offered to write guest articles on the above. I will be putting them up on Wednesday and Friday, and intend to create a page for addiction and resources and its link to mental health.

Having found my purpose and got a very clear revelation of who I am, getting grounded in how I define myself brings me great joy and fills me with tremendous gratitude to God – my Higher Power for all the inspiration and motivation.

And you gentle readers and followers, how do you define yourself if I may ask?

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Poetry

Because I am Human


Because I am human, I have feelings

Because I an human, I have thoughts

Because I am human, I seek to love

Because I am human, I seek to know

Because I am human, I want to be treated as one

Because you are human, you have feelings too

Because you are human, you have thoughts too

Because you are human, you seek to love too

Because you are human, you seek to know too

Because you are human, you want to be treated as one too

How do we humans feel?

How do we humans think?

How do we humans seek to love?

How do we humans seek to know?

How do we humans want to be treated?

I don’t know for sure about you

I only know my word and the weight I give it

I try my best not to take things personal

Steering away from assumptions

making myself clear by saying it as it is

Call that sensitive or insensitive

My attitude is all I can manage

With Inner peace as my main goal

Loving is all I seek to do

The how I learn each day

The why I sometimes don’t even know

The when is only now I have

The what is all things living

Because I am human

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Poetry

You Shouldn’t… if You Wouldn’t…


Dear A,

You shouldn’t be quick to speak, if you wouldn’t be smart to listen

You shouldn’t be fast to blame, if you wouldn’t be up to the game

You shouldn’t be dumb to condemn, if you wouldn’t be glad if condemned

You shouldn’t try to impress,  if you wouldn’t try when am depressed

You shouldn’t dare to preach, if you wouldn’t try to reach the real me

You shouldn’t fake you care if you wouldn’t dare an extra mile

You shouldn’t bluff you are clean, if you wouldn’t help the unclean

You shouldn’t brag about your sanity, if you wouldn’t learn about insanity

You shouldn’t boast of your country, if you wouldn’t acknowledge its history
P.s: formally putting closure on some troubling mind muggles recently

Posted in Book Reviews, Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

Five Reasons why I’ll finish reading High Tide Low Tide…


High Tide Low Tide

Let me think seriously about how or what am going to write in this post – my truth from within my soul…

I have a very good memory, indeed even some events when I was 2 years old are still stacked clearly up there. Books I have all along read, I have since lost count, but still see so many covers flipping through my head and the first xcel sheet I kept with all those titles. And yet, I can’t recall any book I picked up to read and couldn’t proceed because I felt my soul stabbed!!! Here comes the above book, a sort of innocently captivating title right? I mean a very resourceful book if you’ll ask me. So what now?  Let me just write a short paragraph of some of the words which kept stabbing my soul when I tried read the first chapter:

Guilt, Incompetent, Unfortunate, Helpless, Sad, Uneasy, Fake, Farce, Hard, Difficult, Perfect, Imperfect, Irony, Sarcasm, Loser, Bother, Honesty, Failure, Victim, Apprehension, Doom, Darkness, Pain, Memories…

Indeed, the same me who had just a day earlier told the author I was honoured to review the book when approached, couldn’t even read another paragraph. Five days have since past since I got the ARC, I have written about my dilemma and recived invaluable advice and remarks and all; I honestly told Martin the author I was finding reading the book challenging and he was simply put Gracious in very few words. I have decided to continue reading the book – and will honestly review same when I get to the end. Here are five reasons why:

  1. I gave my word: My word is my bond, I have tried to not take my word as seriously in life, but I recently discovered that taking our words seriously is actually one of our personality traits. I am a Consul, in the Sentinel category and my stategy is People Mastery – ah what a personality trait and all. Anyway, I also love when people keep their word to me although I have come to make peace with myself that it ain’t my fault when they don’t;
  2. This book has made me take a personality test: I don’t know how many people have started a book and put it down to take a personality test before resuming reading! I have never done this and gosh it took a book innocently thrust my way to get me to this. I not only took the test, I went premium all the way to learn about my trait and other traits, my trait’s strength and weaknesses, many whys answered, many how tipped on and hmm so much. Thank you HT LT – who knows what else I’ll do before I finish reading you?
  3. I’ll even be getting a hard copy for my home library: Here again another first. I have reviewed so many books, a few times because the authors approached me. I have never gotten a hard copy probably for logistics reasons, but I have equally never asked for one until now. Don’t mind that with my first and I now admit very poignant memoir titled My Unconventional loves…I did mail out 5 or so copies to ‘reviewers’ I contacted online and who said I had to send them a copy… I was new to the business, was chasing reviews and was living in Belgium with a better mailing system than back in Cameroon…indeed that bool HT LT will be mailed from the UK to the US and sent through someone coming to Cameroon when the opportunity arises… that’s us, take it or leave it… Martin Baker took it and out of respect for him I’ll not just let him off to muse like I did, when none of those 5 reviewers who got my book didn’t even bother to even reply my querry;
  4. Martin Baker is a gracious Gentleman (I don’t care how old he is): The day I downloaded the ARC and read just the introduction, I put my kindle down and sent him an email with the first snippet of my apprehension. My guess/calculation going by time is, he read that before sending me a smiley on facebook messenger. None of us replied to the other. Am sure he prayed I didn’t give up just yet, while I sincerely wished I found the courage not to. I then braved on an finished part one, and the dread dregged me on. I let him know once again but told him I seriously wanted to try reading on. See his Gracious words: “Thank you for persevering with the book, i will be very interested in your thoughts”. Isn’t this so gentlemanly? and so I have come to realize the fifth and most important reason am reading this book is for me;
  5. It’s healing and making peace with and for me; and learning to be and do better for others: I watched a movie last night (one luxury I fortunately can manage with the boys being on vacation), titled “A Cross to Bear”. Don’t ask why that one and not another given I have a dozen or more in my library – some say am a ‘mini psychic’ lol. Anyway, the movie line (cause am going to do a review later I want and need to), is that a woman who opens her home to rescue abused or recovering from ‘something’ youn girls, gets to realize she was doing that out of guilt and had to start doing it out of love. Now, with regards to reading this book HT LT, a few other moments in my life ‘guilt over my brother’s demise‘ and not ‘out of love for myself or others in similar situations, has been my hidden motive.

In conclusion therefore, because this book from every indication is so resourceful, I mean I have all the 19 reviews it has on the amazon; because I need to do this for me and for healing and doing the best I can for others living with a mental illness or mental challenge, I will finish reading the book. I am even consoled and motivated by some lines from one of the reviews I found helpful on the amazon written by AngryGnome “…This book is not light hearted reading…But in spite of the serious nature of the illness, it is not depressing, as it is filled with hope, humour and more than a touch of beauty”.

Thank you Martin Baker for contacting me with the request to do a review of your book… you are a gentleman and indeed an invaluable friend to Fran Houston. It may be a slowread, but it’ll hopefully be a good and healing read – I look forward to reviewing same – indeed it’ll be an honour.

Posted in Journey to Coaching, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, Poetry

Be not Ashamed


no shame

Be not ashamed to cry

You can’t store it all forever

Crying is no sign of weakness

Humanness if you ask me

An emotion just like others

Be not ashamed to cry

When it hurts so bad

When the knee gets knocked

When the mind goes mad

Crying can help inside out

Be not ashamed to tell

When you’ve gone thru stuff

So shameful you want out

Telling could bring such help

And who knows who you help

Be not ashamed to write

Write it all for you or us

So much therapy if you try

You have to take a step

Ignore stigma and shame

Be not ashamed to read

Read yours and ours

Keeping the brain as busy

Just like you should your body

But be not ashamed of your pace

Be not ashamed to hope

Even when all seems hopeless

The last beat maybe bring a break

Hope that break could lead to a breakthrough

What is life without hope?

Be not ashamed to love

Love yourself and others

Try and try and try

You never can tell when

One more time could be deal

Be not ashamed to be You

P.S: This has personally helped me a lot. I remember hearing Obama and other big figures say asking, crying, reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but of strenth

Posted in Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, Poetry

If & When you hear am dead…


This may be a weird poem, but It is a poem and honestly one of my best – am grateful for the inspiration; I think I’ll make it stick to my front page forever and when I do leave, leave your comments on this post. Death is for real, face it or not, think about it or not, wish it or not, avoid it or not, it’s the passage even for the US President. I wrote a small chapter on my fear of dying in my last memoir, check it out

If & when you hear am dead

Mourn not for me

am gone where I’ve long dreamt of

alas that’s our ride

think about you more than me

If & when you read am dead

smile because I say so

I have tried my best and wrote it all

The good, bad & ugly have I lived

I am grateful for the time I had 

And for all I met

If & when you see am dead

you may as well envious be

I have been envious of them too

all those gone ahead to toil no more

this life takes a toll

sometimes the mind loses it all

If & when you feel am dead

don’t wish I weren’t

some actually die still living

physical death ain’t not the worse

Maybe just maybe life after now is for real

This and other poems are in a poetry book I am finalizing to offer the universe for free by the end of this month. Stay tuned and have a nice weekend people. Take care of your mental wellbeing

Posted in Journey to Coaching, Marie's Garden

Joys & Challenges of Single Motherhood: My Story P3


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The winning team: The joys outweigh the challenges big time

Hello world, the weekend is here and as I promised when I started sharing my single motherhood journey, here is the part three on some joys and challenges. The joys outweigh the challenges although for this post I kept the number for pro and con equal.

When you get lemons in life, do the best lemonade you can and look out for profit.

Shalom and happy weekend to us all