Tag Archives: Mental Health

A recent brain+body break & a book review


My body+brain break last Nov 30th led me to hole up in a library with an awesome book titled: “A Woman after God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George.

I needed a brain+body break and yes, what I had been planning to do over two weeks ago, that’s spend an entire day in conclave at B4Kids library, reading a good book, was seemingly the ideal thing to do to relax this brain+body.

I was there as early as 8:15 am after an early start at home and some meh workout. I had slept visualizing this day.

And yes, it was simply relaxing and blissful. Like I was with God all day in a special place ie, next to His Heart found in this soulful but thought provoking and action challenging book.

He knew I needed to read this book, this day, and to be assured and reassured of He having my back as I kept on in His Vineyard after 3+decades of grooming just for that.

I mean you will need to read the book too to get a feel…that is if you are ready.
The book is divided into 4 parts worth the read and I mean every letter of each sentence… grateful for the reading maniac I seem to be lol

P1: The Pursuit of God. How do you pursue God with your Heart, your words, your actions, your obedience to His own Word?
P2: The Pursuit of God’s priorities. How do you discover them as laid out for your life, and serve God with your heart and all your love in whichever corner of his vineyard He’s assigned you to?
P3: The Practice of God’s priorities: Do you seek God’s Heart and Grace to do the work you got according to His own priority?
P4: In praise of God’s priorities. What’s your praise if you got all the above going? What’s your legacy, and soul and commitment to keep being after God’s own Heart?

The author Elizabeth George makes no claims of sainthood in her own journey of being a woman after God’s Own Heart. Maybe this is what endeared me to the book so much and made me determined to finish it in one sitting? I read that she and her husband have been active in ministry for more than 30 years…which should actually be over 40 years of we consider that version was updated and expanded in 2006.

I am forever grateful to my new sister and friend Etonde NBA who has this beautiful kids’ library called B4Kids, and graciously told me I was welcome anytime. I don’t know what this book is doing in a kids’ library, maybe so that mothers read some while their kids are reading/doing their own stuffs?
To God be the Glory…
#brainbodybreak
#womanafterGodsHeart
#selfcarebestcare
#IamMAGnectic

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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

Why am doing this mini fundraiser to attend a Mental Health Summit in London here…


Hi everyone, I am a little ‘laggy’ doing this mini fundraiser raiser here to attend a VIP summit in London next month.

I was recommended by the coordinator of the Global Mental Health Peer Network (am a recently appointed executive representing Cameroon), to the organizers of the summit sometimes last month and I forgot about it. Three weeks ago, I received a formal invitation, filled the form and boom in 4 days I got an approval as a delegate.

Well, I couldn’t fund that and didn’t know I could go to the delegates’ area of the website and download a form to fill. Last Monday, at 11.30 am, I pay attention to an email from the organizers saying the last day to apply for funding was that same 11th at 12pm. I had probably been overlooking updates and co from them thinking it wasn’t a lead worth following (why I didn’t just as usual apply for funding I don’t know). Here I zoomed quick to delegate area using the PW I had been provided but never even bothered changing, downloaded the form filled same and sent it back at exactly 11:50am.

Can you believe my joy when last Friday I received a funding approval for transportation and accommodation for the two nights of the summit?

Issue now is visa fees which stand at 200usd with my appointment set for Wednesday like in 12 hours I hav to pay that amount.

Two reasons am doing this mini fundraiser therefore:

1) I need to raise the fees before 12 noon tomorrow or lose the appointment slot (the dates are already too close and I don’t wish to lose that slot);

2) I would love to see the tribe support me attend this very important summit. I will consider it a big blessing to have even 1£ or 1euro or 1usd from any of my gentle readers or followers for this.

So, if you are moved to donate, I will appreciate you send any amount you have to my PayPal. This is so abrupt I know, I really didn’t want to throw it out here until I realized I really needed help.

Thank you very much in advance to all who will donate, be sure I’ll acknowledge each of you personally.

God bless us all

Who just got appointed to the GMHPN Executive representing Cameroon?


 

GMHPN EXEC Committees
Is my face good somewhere there to the left directly under the founder’s? That’s an honour for me lol

And to think I almost gave up on the application procedure. Ah Determination, Discipline and Dedication pay big time. I am up to the task because I also have these 3 Ps to fly with.

I know this is yet another springboard for me and all the work I do for mental health awareness and my own self care; I equally know as a psychotherapist it is important to be in your ‘client’s shoes’ too as much as you can – and so I am super excited about this appointment and really know without a doubt this year is indeed my year of Grace.

Thank you all who have been here and there with me in my mental health journey, thank you all who have trusted me to help them help themselves in their own mental health journey. My appointment to the highly awaited GMHPN, is for Cameroon and I can’t hesitate to mention the HIFA Representative for Cameroon, my friend Didier Demassosso who passed on the call for applicants to me in the first place.

And while I brace myself emotionally to receive all the likes and congratulatory messages, may I encourage you to take a look at the GMHPN’s Newsletter for June right here, or for July right here; like our facebook page, and join our ever growing global community of mental health peers. If you would like to also join the Mental Health 237 facebook page I created, contact me here or if on facebook, inbox me…thank you very much.

Have a great week everybody and be inspired

To God be the Glory

A Lost Generation: Opiods and Young Adults submitted by Jake Belfry


When I created a page for addictions and recovery, I didn’t know I was going to be receiving many guest articles and resources.

When I did a 2 months internship at the lone public psychiatric ward in Douala the economic capital of Cameroon, 90% of the youths I received had an addiction to something – call it sex, drugs, opiods with the choice one being Tramadol. The youngest I saw was 13 years old and already looked like he could beat me up. Actually tried to fight with the bouncer oh my.

So today, I want to share a resource/guide sent my way by Jake Belfry the Addiction Outreach Specialists over at Silvermist in the USA. Silvermist recovery is a Young Adult Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania, who pride themselves in: “Inspiring Hope Through Empowerment, Fellowship and Recovery from Addiction”.

The guide is a downloadable PDF that can be save and printed for guidance.

Here are a few topics in the guide:

  • Why Young People Use Opioids 
  • How Opioid Addiction and Dependence Develop
  • Opioid Addiction is Treatable

My other long term goal, I think this one beats the goal to create an hospice with a kindergarden for inter-generational healing, is to build an addiction and recovery center. Needless to say there are barely a handful to be generous (I know only of 2 in my city) and am happy I can be inspired by what works elsewhere such as at Silvermist.

Recovery is possible, I have been working one on one with someone spent over a month at the hospital and has been sober for 3 months now. This is the longest they have been since the started using over a decade ago. They have been hospitalized 3 times already but we all hope this time was their last time.

If you  or someone you know needs help with an addiction, especially our vulnerable youths exposed to just all sort of stuffs today, please reach out to someone or any of the many organizations available on the net.

I am ever grateful for all the submissions I receive especially those with a message of hope in their conclusion.

Keeping Your Head Up In Recovery by Kimberly Hayes


Keeping your head up in recovery
Photo from Pixabay

Keeping Your Head Up In Recovery

There’s no way around it: substance abuse is a terrible thing. Addiction sneaks into people’s lives and steals all they hold dear. Relationships are destroyed, careers are lost, and homes are trashed. Still, once someone makes the decision to start on the road the recovery, it’s important to keep a positive outlook despite all the damage that has been done. Here are a few tips on how to keep your head up when you feel like everything around you is falling down.

Eat, Sleep and Exercise

This tip is first on the list, because it’s so simple but so powerful. If you are eating badly and not getting enough sleep or physical exercise, you will feel worse, you will have less motivation (and more depression), and you will have much less of a chance of reaching your goals. To maximize your potential, you must eat in a healthy manner, get plenty of sleep so you feel well-rested, and develop a steady exercise routine so your body begins to get back in shape. When you feel better, you’ll have a better outlook and better behavior.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude is a powerful tool that we often forget we have. You can’t always control the circumstances around you, but you can control how you respond to them. Staying positive in the midst of recovery will help you avoid relapse, allow you to find your happiness in places other than the substances you abused, and make it easier for others to help you. You can start on your road to positivity by making a list of things you’re grateful for. Focusing on gratitude for even simple things will get your mind in the right place and help you realize how many of your needs are actually met even when life is hard. As long as you’re breathing, you can show gratitude.

Dealing with Guilt and Shame

Guilt and shame are some of the hardest feelings you will have to face during recovery. Guilt and shame arise from your failure to live up to your values and moral standards. They will often become more pronounced as you move through recovery and clarity returns, helping you realize the reality of the mistakes you have made and the damage you have caused. You will have to face these feelings head on. Talk about them, confess them and seek forgiveness, both from yourself and those you have hurt.

As Swift River explains, “Getting to the root of your addiction will be a confusing and emotional experience, but understanding your substance abuse completely is an important step in conquering it. Additionally, marriage and/or family counseling can help facilitate healthy conversations with your loved ones and pave the way for stronger relationships.” Rebuilding these relationships is key to your positive attitude, and once you have begun this productive course of action, your guilt and shame will begin to fade as well.

Give Back

Another way to stay positive is to get the focus off yourself by giving back to those in need in your community. Volunteering will help you connect with others, give you increased self-confidence and self-worth, and connect you with a bigger purpose. Whether you serve meals at a homeless shelter, help build a Habitat for Humanity house, or volunteer at an animal shelter, giving your time and attention to other causes is a noble endeavor with positive benefits. It will also help others begin to learn to trust you again.

Attitude can play a larger role than we know in substance abuse recovery. Staying positive by following the advice above is a great first step to full recovery from the effects of addiction. Stay grateful, keep your mind off your own circumstances, and focus on larger purposes than your own, and you’ll be well on your way.

Author

Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created PublicHealthAlert.info to help keep the public informed about the latest developments in popular health issues and concerns. In addition to studying to become a crisis intervention counselor, Kimberly is hard at work on her new book, which discusses the ins and outs of alternative addiction treatments.

Photo from Pixabay

Healing is not an illusion but a possibility: My brother lives in me


 

Four years on, day for day since I got the call which shook me like no news had shaken me before.

My brother…whose brother? like I would say before starting a fight in your defense whether you were wrong or right.

I am so grateful for where I am in my healing journey and I know you are smiling at your ‘mama Ayo’ from deep within the clouds of our lives.

I can never say thank you enough Lord for letting me have my brother for 33 years, to love and learn from, and to share with in all ways I could. He is forever in my spirit anyway, so the death of the flesh could only hurt me this much now I conclude.

Healing is not an illusion dear all, it is a possibility if you get to looking beyond what you see; if you get to feeling beyond what you touch; if you get to listening beyond what you hear.

p.s: I will forever miss you Gaby, but I will forever feel you as you live on in my spirit – and in our hearts

img-20180802-wa0012725921558.jpg

Be inspired and motivated dear gentle readers and followers

 

Because I have hit rock bottom I can…


 

Because I have hit rock bottom, I can work with those who have

Because I have been abused, I can work with those who have

Because I have been traumatized, I can work with those who have

Because I have known pain, I can work with those who have

Because I have known loss and grief, I can work with those who have

Because I have loved and hurt and cried, I can work with those who have

Because I have made poor choices in life, I can work with those who have

Because I have tried and tried and keep trying, I can work with those who have

Nothing ain’t easy, but it is so worth it to reach out

To try just one more time, to hope the next call will be it

There is help out there, though mingled in such grime

Marred by stigma, taboo and shame

But we can meet, sometimes by fate and faith

Someone who truly understands, and is willing to help us out

It sure takes patience, empathy and dare I say love

But it is possible, because: I hit rock bottom and bounced back!!!

P.S I chose purple because it signifies hope to me

If you want to get in touch or get more details about my related service, please visit my website to this effect

Therapy is Tough: There are no Pills to Prescribe nor Pop


Dear World,

I started my official therapy practice on the 2nd of April 2018, and to say it’s been all rosy will be untrue. However, reflecting on the above has helped me to be filled with compassion for all I see and to recognize the reality of the situation in my country as far as mental illness/challenges and alternative treatments especially therapy is concerned.

Many want a quick and permanent fix which they are sadly yet to get with the medications they are taking. They are prepared to give something else a try, but helas not many want to try something as tough as CBT or psychotherapy. CBT involves work and honest vulnerability and collaboration. One honestly told me he couldn’t trust me or himself.

Some reasons I have come to think Therapy is Tough are the following:

  • It takes some time

Depending on the problem formulated (which itself could last an entire session), I could suggest some therapeutic engagement of 2/3 months. This time for me is good enough for a more accurate assessment of both the client and the work accomplished. The clients (many are patients) don’t have that time to spare especially given their current state and search for good health. Then, there is the family whom I love to. I have however only met a handful of the families whose patients am trying to work with. I think they expect me to understand their embarrassment, frustration and lack of motivation to give this ‘therapy thing’ a try. They simply don’t have any more time to go try this alternative treatment. It all boils down to the patient’s engagements which I have hinted can dig up a tsunami for all concerned. A few have carefully pondered this and told me they are not ready, they prefer to keep ‘suffering’ while hoping the right meds for their condition is found one day;

  • The pervasive meds culture is here too

Well, for almost all I have seen out here, it is all about amazement at the many meds they take which can’t do the trick. The shrink told them to just take their meds religiously and since they take and nothing happens, he only adds some and stops some or increases the dose and the circus continues. I have seen like 3 who are at their 4/5 hospitalization in 8/10 years of crisis. Maybe the shrink being overwhelmed (only one available for 30/50 patients some days), and not really having many options to suggest to the patients and their families, hardly recommends seeing a psychologist or therapist (assuming there were a handful in the city lol)

IMG_20180427_102719.jpg

  • The families don’t buy into therapy and many don’t have money

Throughout my stay at the hospital, I have sadly found several families to be discouraged and dispirited more than the patients they bring. I know how difficult it can be, I was once the family of a patient. But mum was instead open to trying anything and I mean anything. I accompanied my brother a therapist and other appointments, and one actually came home for their sessions. But, the reluctant families here, even when as part of my internship I offer talk therapy for free, don’t really think it can be of any good. Imagine how discouraged the already discouraged patient can be to talk to or talk with you. Talking of money for out of hospital sessions especially as I’ll be leaving there in less than 10 days, the big excuse is there is no money – all the many meds have already drained up all resources. Reduce the fee to the barest minimum and it is still no – thanks. A few have come for one session and paid up yes but have thought about it again and just stopped.

The above is some of the reasons I have come up with in my analysis of the challenges of therapy in my setting.

I don’t know about the approach to therapy elsewhere; nor the appreciation mental health consumers have for therapy. I would sincerely appreciate any comments in this respect. Thank you very much.

Ps: I am not contemplating stopping practice, just sharing a side to the coin of my reality since starting practice as a CBT Therapist and clinical psychotherapist

Have a great week everyone

My once in a life time opportunity at the lone Psychiatric Ward as a clinical psychotherapist


 

 

Hi World, when you dare to follow your passion, with persistence and perseverance, it is a deep sense of fulfillment all the way – all the time. I bash you not but I am learning, loving and sharing so much in this once in a life time opportunity at the lone psychiatric ward in our city of Douala, Cameroon.

Needless to scare you with grueling details on say the numbers we receive each day, the number of shrinks available leaving out anything psychologist or therapist… nor the condition and resources of the ward… I got two months running from April 2nd – June 2nd 2018 and for that I simply put honoured, humble and happy. One of the first patients I saw wrote me a love letter on the eve of his departure and just yesterday another told me he was sad I was too beautiful for him. I mean isn’t this worth it?

You know, it wasn’t easy picking up psychology studies after I completed my CBT Training obtaining the first ever DISTINCTIONS note in my entire academic pursuit. But, and indeed, I was so motivated by this score and took an online diploma in psychology, dedicating close to 13 tough hours spread over two weeks, to have a merits score of 88%. Well there was lots of reading background too right? Anyway, below is what my records show:

Learner-Verification-Diploma in Psychology
Sharing just to inspire and motivate

I was now ready to for the once in a life time opportunity at the lone public psychiatric ward in my city, and considering the journey to get that opportunity, not even a nagging swollen eye nor any discouragement from ‘friends and foes’ could blur my vision.

I will just share a small portion of an email I sent to my soul family after two weeks at the ward:

April 20th: I call them my friends, I meet them before reading their records, most if not all have pure hearts marred by etc

Simply put, I am the first therapist seen there and I am fortunate to do it my own way. I am personal – calling names and not bed/room numbers; and I greeted and hugged a 19 year old girl and it meant the world to her. (She’s moved on to be my first ever private client, she is doing so well already and gladly her meds were revised … to read she’d been diagnosed with Schizrophrenia almost broke my heart)
Sadly, the meds culture is invading here and I have seen some zombies. But, many families don’t keep their patients here for more than a week because they don’t have money.
There is also quiet a high amount of addiction cases and I have already met and still work with 3 of them. Sad too many of their families have abandoned their patients and either care very less about them.
I generally see patients first and connect before reading their records, most records are filled with so much negativity and bias and bring out all things violent or pointing to need for incarceration and fierce treatment with ‘no mercy’ anti psychotic shots like haldol and valium oh my…
I take it in strides and many love me, indeed the lone bouncer there has started calling me to help him calm difficult patients ha. Some patients outright ask for me and some nurses too are not so pleased. But I go there only 3/week and the Major and Psychiatrist love me so and are so grateful I am there.
I mean, why would I pass on such a once in a life time opportunity to make a huge difference in my life and those of all these people hurting and suffering from all these debilitation, marginalization and stigmatization like my brother had, just because I am initially a lawyer and from a ‘noble profession and background?’

 

I have never doubted the intelligence my Almighty Father gave me. It is simply awesome all I sponge in, do, learn, love, share and embrace. No turning back for me, I embracing it all – all the way. His Amazing Grace is sufficient for me.

Gaby draws for a client

The boys are so proud of me and ask about my day. I tell them about my friends and sometimes they draw for them like Gaby did above for anty Love – she treasures that drawing and shows it off to everyone lol

Now, have you ever heard of an intern having an intern? Nadege above is a psychology major student who was sent to me on May 15th to train for two weeks before I leave. Here is a flash from our first day together. We took some pictures as she requested, and when she sent same to me, we had the following exchange (shared of course with her permission):

[14:08, 5/15/2018] Marie Abanga: Thanks for the pictures darling. Ravie de travailler avec toi (saying am happy to work with her)
[14:29, 5/15/2018] Nadege Psy: Don’t mention. Me too fière de bosser avec toi. Cette journée à été formidable (saying she is so happy too to work with me, and the day was a blast)

Our office is a hospital room, and we sometimes make a weary client to lie down for 15 minutes to the sound of some meditation music etc… we are out to help our friends as best as we can and am so happy to say I can give myself a 65% reach out. I go for walks with any I think need a walk or have that hot energy to burn out, I sit wherever with whoever, pray with them or sing or even just stare, hold hands, it’s all my spirit leading me. And it has indeed so done, I mean look at what one could manage to write on a worksheet I gave him

Another one who initially told me they don’t speak English, now greets me each morning as follows: “Hello lovely…” He gave me the large chocolate bar in the picture… many have given me little stuffs too, and it’s all so warm…

Be inspired and motivated with that passion and vision of yours regardless of your current circumstances or who says what around you. There is no doubt my just ended spiritual journey has fortified me bigtime for this once in a life time opportunity…

Happy midweek to all