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 Epilepsy Advocacy, Journey to Coaching, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

I submitted an abstract to the African Epilepsy Congress; and guess what…


 

presentation-of-gbm
Mum presenting the foundation at its launch in December 2014

Hello World,

This week starts off great for me – & us at the Gbm Foundation, it is one full of anticipation. Last thursday at precisely 20.35 pm, I saw an email notifcation from the International Burreau for Epilepsy captioned: Re your abstract… Well, I didn’t want ‘bad’ news just before sleeping – I took a deeep breathe, prayed and slept…

Next morning after an intense workout, it dawned on me it could very well be an acceptance of the abstract I submitted… I started singing songs of praise because I had hesitated submitting an abstract in the first place – am no researcher nor scientist you know.

Dear Marie Angele Abanga,

We are pleased to inform you that the abstract you submitted to the 3rd African Epilepsy Congress 2017, with the title “The Need for Epilepsy Mobile Clinics to Plug the Knowledge Gap in Rural Settings”, has been accepted… (What else did I need to blow up?)

Kindly read the blog post I did on the foundation’s blog this am, and follow us there to support our work. I thank all here and everwhere else who already support us and me most especially in any & everyway.

I hope my journey with the foundation and my other endeavours like weight loss, inspire and motivate us all not to give up on our projects. We need to continue our various advocacies especially for delicate, sensitive and largely marginalized causes like Epilepsy awareness and mental illness care regardless of the fact that sometimes life is really simply weird.

Posted in Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

I was on TV this Saturday to talk about Mental Health: No one talk is too many…


Gabriel Bebonbechem with his Signature Smile

His book was one of the main items on the agenda. It was a 2 hour programme. I spilled it all, on air about my own challenges and attempted suicide in 2009. Here is an excerpt, the best of what I could get the cameraman to film with my fone who’s battery was dying:

I read that the theme of the 2015 edition of World Mental Health Day is “Dignity in Mental Health”. And, I will not wait for anybody to give me my dignity, I will claim that dignity myself Head high and I will not be ashamed of talking about my own challenges, if only sharing them could help even just one other person, one other struggling family.

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I have come a long way, I proudly say I have found the strength in what remains. The healing is still ongoing, but the future is promising. I have my Faith and an Abundant Grace to count on, and those alone are more than sufficient. They have always more often than not led me to amazing people too.

Could this be true?
Could this be true that one on four people suffer from some mental health disorder?

Kindly read the post I wrote on the Gbm blog here, and why not leave a comment there if possible?

Posted in Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

Meeting the awesome Reuben, Julie and the Inclusion Centre…


Ruben and I
Ruben and I

Meeting awesome Reuben and Mum

It was with so much pleasure that I accepted Julie’s invitation to go for a long walk with her son Reuben. Julie was introduced to me by Pam, who talked (well, she writes and I read cause no voice back yet) so nicely about the Inclusion Centre she ran. I called Julie as a result, on Thursday night, and boom the invitation for Friday 9 am. I was picked up at Pam’s and we went to an amazing area of VT. I mean, the nostalgia was wild – just like in my own village of origin. Here is my selfie with Julie:

Julie and I
Julie and I

The lovely Twosome

One thing that struck me about this duosome is the ‘buddy’ pair they were. And yet, this didn’t stop Reuben from having fun at our worry. He took off like on a F1, and almost got us almost using a loudspeaker. Of course he arrived way before us and looked really happy:

The one and only Ruben
The one and only Reuben

Reuben is simply put fun to be with. He knows a lot of information and his mum Julie often asks him the direction to someplace, or some help with IT stuffs. Reuben has done this wonderful youtube clip you will all be touched watching:

Meeting the others at the Inclusion Centre

After this beautiful walk for well over 2 hours, we went to the Inclusion centre run by Julie and all the guests. It was so beautiful. I left initially to go visit Pam at 1 pm following my twice a day special visitor pass, and I came back pleased to talk to the audience following Julie’s invitation. Oh my they were so thrilled to learn about Cameroon in Africa, my story in brief and the work I have started with the Gbm Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Welbeing. The discussions were so interactive, followed by a bubble trouble party. Ruben and co also played ball and I was simply put so touched. There are some you tube clips of the Inclusion centre and you can have an idea of the atmosphere from their website.

Dear Gentle readers and followers, I am so grateful to my sweet Pammy for inviting me to the US, and for introducing me to Julie, Reuben and the other wonderful members of the Time Trade Community who stopped over at her place to visit me in the evening. It’s been a soulful trip to Brattleboro, and yet I feel like it’s been the best leg of my US Adventures. I leave back for DC and MD tomorrow, for a more quiet visit with other family before flying back to Belgium. Thank you all so very much.

Find more about the wonderful Inclusion Centre:

inclusioncenter.webs.com

facebook page: inclusion center, Brattleboro, Vt

Thank you very much
Thank you very much

Posted in Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, My Heroines

Charting my way to Pammy: The Journey so far


By Pammy my heroine
By Pammy my heroine

Hello world, I leave this morning for Vermont via New Hampshire Lebanon, yes to finally visit my friend Pammy. Pammy and I have in the past year and half, become much more than blogging friends. There are at least three posts in this blog about Pammy. You can read either this, that or that.

On the Faith of Pammy’s invitation

I am a very honest person. It was on the faith of a very simple invitation letter from none other than Pammy, that I finally got this eldorado of a US Visa. Indeed, after my brother died, I loathed coming here nor even ever trying to get a visa. When Pammy asked if I could visit her someday, I said “sweet, if on the faith of your invitation I get that magic visa at last, for you I’ll step foot there”. So, I couldn’t fathom coming to this country and leaving without visiting Pammy…

And yet it almost happened that way…

Some more truths be told:

  1. We had a little issue, more provoked by third parties than by ourselves. Pammy panicked and lashed out at me. I stayed calm, did as she said, all the while reassuring her of my genuiness and unconditional love. I am concerned to this date that this episode was among the triggers which landed Pammy back in some institution;
  2. Pammy being institutionalised, caused some panick now from my end. Is it still worth it to go visit her? How do I even get in touch given that she was now cut off internet and mobile phone,  and I had no other number by which to get her?

By Faith once more

I contacted a mutual friend Alaina, this wonderful friend who called 911 to rescue Pammy when the voices in her head urged her to hurt herself further. Pammy had reached out to Alaina in distress. Anyway, Alaina didn’t have any further information.

Somehow, Pammy finally got wifi and sent me an email and contact info. Before a week had run out, she had to be moved because there was another lapse. Loss of contact again and I was already in the US with a ticket to see Pammy. My friend Richie whom I met on the bus to NC, advised me to go the Red Cross once I got there. I talked with whoever I thought could help. I called the last address and fortunately she had signed a release form for me. I got infor for the new place, but when I called there and didn’t know her unit – they said they were sorry. And yet, Pammy later told me she had signed a release form for me in this new place too. The receptionist or whoever answered the call, just didn’t have the time to check in her file.

In the meantime, Pammy remembered her neighbour’s number and called him. She asked him to go on my blog and reach out to me through my contact form. Now I got this wonderful email just as I was leaving for Boston on Sunday. It made my trip which was already ushering in very emotional times:

“I’m not sure if I’m contacting the right person. If you’re the friend of Pam Wagner and are planing on a visit to Brattleboro this month, please contact me. I have info for you”.

I didn’t doubt this guy when I read the above from him, and I know by faith it shall be well. I’ll get to Pammy everything being equal…

Dear gentle readers and followers, allow me to share with you a few lines of the last email I got from my sweet Pammy last night:

” Just to let you know that as far as I know ————, will be picking you up iin New Hampshireon Wednesday, tomorrow. I will be online for hte next half hour or so, and can be online tomorrowif I am able in the morning. I will try. SOrry to inform you that I cannot speak again which is why I refused the calls., NO one would tell you that for me… Love, Pam” Nothing added or substracted from her mail.

In Sum
One of my mantra in life is that I try to walk by Faith as much as possible. Some say Love is blind? For me, my Trust is. Maybe my intuition leads me too, right? Hardly have I been mistaken. I  have known sometimes when it’s not going to turn out right. I’ll visit Pammy where she currently is, voice or no voice. I’ll stay alone in her apartment and care for it the best I can, I’ll also consider my intended 4 days there as a retreat. Visiting Pammy is not only visiting a friend, but it makes me feel like I were visiting my own brother. Thank you Pammy for inviting me to the US…
Posted in Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

I Knew this Anxiety and Nervousness was coming…


Hello world,

Yesterday as I travelled to Boston, I wanted to do a little cherry post on PhilaPlush and PhilaPower as I felt about Philadephia. I tried to take a few pictures for that, and to first map out the structure and content in my head. Yet I just couldn’t get it straight. Alas that post may be for some other time if any at all.

It’s raining now in my head and I just have to be patient

I have to start by telling my gentle readers to be gentle with my blog this week or don’t click on any of my posts this week. I feel it coming, the anxiety and nervousness and I am not pretending to be strong or snap over or out of it… I am letting it rain in my head, maybe flow out through my eyes and maybe hole myself in some. I’ll just try not to let the rain ruin it all for me. Yes, I had a cool weekend and a calm bus trip to Boston.

Nimbus Cloud build up in my head

  1. I attend a gala on Saturday which finishes at 4.30 am and am kindly driven back home by 5 am. I shower and try to sleep but phone calls and messages etc wouldn’t let me be. It is sometimes very hard for people to understand you can’t always be the one they ‘know or think’ you are or should be;
  2. And yet I have to be in the Bus at 11 am at a station an hour’s drive away from where I live. I had negligently bought a ticket to depart from Baltimore MD, without checking with whoever on the ground, how close or far away it was from wherever I was hoping to live. I knew I was sure gonna be in MD and just thought that well it was all in MD. So, the fact  that I can’t get there on my own by public transportation because that will  take 3.30 hours, that I have to negotiate for a ride and get same from a sweet friend who has just worked himself out before and during the the weekend to make the events a success, that I just can’t sleep straight or comfortable on that 9 hours bus ride to Boston, all these build ups for the nimbus cloud in my head.

Trying to Smile and be Brave

Those are Gaby's shorts I have on
Those are Gaby’s shorts I have on

This picture was taken in Wetchester County in the State of NY wherever that is… well during a bus stop so we could get some food etc. I know I look and feel drenched. My left eye is swollen and I just want more coffee (I took some before leaving Hyatsville MD and although I know that was maybe not going to help me sleep, I didn’t think I was going to sleep anyway). Well I took a frappucino instead which I think is better especially in my circumstance.

I am going to try to brave the next two days out here. But I am going to be very patient and kind with my self. I don’t care who thinks I should be over this by now or that I could try harder. Some pain is simply put, Black Pain. I am not trying to live up to anyone’s expectations right now but mine, and am expecting real emotional moments. I started by having a crapy night and getting out of bed at 5 am this morning, and finally deciding to start writing instead of just watching the rain fall so hard in my head. I wanted to go out for a walk (yes the urge is to walk the 1 hour to and fro to Gaby’s last abode), but I changed my mind and decided to write all this down first, and also wait to greet my kind hosts when they wake up. I sure will go to that apartment and to my Brother’s table (he told me he went there often).

Let it flow to let it go

I once watched a movie where this phrase was often used. Now I’ll remind myself of this throughout my Boston stay. Whatever the emotions and all, I’ll try my best to let it flow to let it go. I can’t and wouldn’t pretend. If I don’t want to hold any ‘pleasant discussions’, I wouldn’t. If I don’t want to visit or be visited by any ‘family’ out here, I wouldn’t. This is also why I play hard and make the best of my ‘happy’ moments and meetings with people like Marilyn, Sherry and Richie. Hmm, yesterday I sat next to none other but a monk – ziplock that mouth of yours which fortunately was not even in the mood for chit chat. I could at least take this picture from the top seat I had paid to reserve and was already beating myself for wasting that reservation:

At least reserving that top front seat wasn't all in vain
At least reserving that top front seat wasn’t all in vain

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

A Glimpse into my cycling moods…


Finding that strength isn't ever easy to say the least...
Finding that strength isn’t ever easy to say the least…

Hello world, my week is not starting off as planned, and sometimes I think of my life as a shop. I once sold in a shop my mum owned at some point, and I remember opening the shop each morning not knowing which type of customers I was going to have to deal with that day. There are different types of customers as you all know, and customer relations is a feat of its own.

My Personal Shop this weekend

It was a weekend with lots of travelling and interludes. I was in Spain since Wednesday for a workshop, and yes I registered a big appointment from an initial disappointment. On Saturday morning, we left the village of Onati for an hour and plus bus ride to the city of Bilbao, ahead of our flights back. The morning was already taking off on a deep low, because my first son was graduating from primary (elementary) school, and my current status as a Transcontinetal Mother hit me hard. I am glad my dearest mum attended his ceremony and kept me up to date on whatsapp. I’ll never be grateful enough to my best heroine and Prodigal Mother. I cried some, but they were more for joy – em mixed to be honest. Luckily I had some friends to be chatting with along the line and I must thank especially June my Jamaican Heroine for being available on whatsapp that whole morning.

The trip back to Brussels took at least 8 good hours because take off for Madrid was at noon, stop over 1 hour, then late departure, then arrival in Brussels at 6 pm. My dear Ss Hero was at the airport to pick me up. Simply touching! I was doing much better by then, better enough to accept an invitation to finally go and check out Brussels By Night!!!

Crying as hard as I Danced

After two hours of serious dancing, I knew my body and feet had kept enough score. I had to leave. Although impulse and compulsion are still ‘gears in my ‘life’s car’, ‘invisible tags on my personal shop window’, I am learning to read the ‘writings on the wall’. However, back home, payback started early. My feet were sort of swollen and a foot bath was imperative.

Feet Bath; Pay back time
Feet Bath; Pay back time

Sunday saw me groggy and I fought myself out of bed and limped around doing what had to be done, including packing and laundry. The weather didn’t help, it rained cats and whoever… I couldn’t even go to my friend’s. There was at least very good news too, my friend Pammy who had lost her voice over two months ago, started talking again and I heard her on phone. Then I got a call from someone I was expecting something from. I was told it wasn’t going to be. I first tried not to cry. Talked with another friend who just happened to call me shortly thereafter. He cheered me on. But his cheer just swelled my pain. The tears started pouring like the rain outside. I wish I could do a head bath this time around!!! When my friend asked why I was crying so hard, hell I didn’t know!!!

Coping

This is how my moods can cycle in one single day. At least I have come to inevitably realize the power of self motivation and the value of true friends. I started trying to motivate myself, considering myself one of the clients I could be coaching. I also reached out that late to my Ss Hero, and fortunately he wasn’t mad at me for skyping that late. We spoke for a good 45 minutes and I felt much better. The headaches didn’t go, but I knew with some sleep no matter how minimal, they would. I have tried tranquillizers and anti-depressants and Heaven and mum know how terrible I look and feel after taking them pills. I am so grateful I am not at that level anymore and hope not to get there.

And so to you my friends with such cycles

I know my cycles may be nothing to write about in the eyes of some of my other ‘shaggy’ friends. I know for some of them, it’s plain  “rapid and uncontrolled full swing”. At least I can truly empathize. Please, try to work out a rescue plan and coping strategy before the “electrical haywire”. Remember the few friends you may have be it on or offline. Reach out for help. There is no shame in needing help. Cry, write, sing, pray, read, paint, even dance if you can. Just try something while counting your breathing to at least 100… I am doing just that and I write as it flows with no mask on…, TAKING IT ONE MOMENT AT A TIME BECAUSE AT LEAST AM ALIVE…

Posted in Marie's Garden

I am a Transcontinental Mother…


BTS_Cover

I am a Transcontinental Mother
What do you think this is?
Who dares brand herself one?
Tell me how you go about this?
Can you suckle a baby as such?
Can you soothe some tears?
Tell me how you can clean a bruise?
Nor attend any events?
For goodness sake, what kind of specie is this?
I will dare console, mothering is one big feat
A feat with such guilt
Guilt at not being a mother
Guilt at becoming a mother
Guilt at not being a good mother
And yet, I have come to realize mothering with love, even from across the ocean, is possible
I admit I had to flee for a while to realize that
But in the meantime, I am giving transcontinental mothering my best shot
and oh how glad I am, that soon and very soon a transcontinental mother I’ll be no more!!!
P.S This poem is my heartfelt way of rounding up what I consider mother’s month. Mother’s day is celebrated on different dates accross the globe, and in my country Cameroon it’s on the last sunday of May. One of the chapters of my recently published memoirs, is on Finding Strength as a Transcontinental Mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all once more!!! I hope my three musketeers here below, come to one day truly empathize with their mummy! My first son graduated from Primary School yesterday and all I could do was cry tears of joy and sadness!!!

For them I thrive amidst my challenges
For them I thrive amidst my challenges

My own boy!
My own boy!