Tag Archives: Mental Wellbeing

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

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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

Let me go bury My MC and then look forward to a vacation…


My MC‘s burial is this weekend, wake keep tonight and burial 30th – I am probably going to be there by the time this scheduled post goes up. It’s gonna be a brief one…

I will take a break from blogging for 2 weeks hopefully from July 9-23 , to rest and recuperate (ain’t ever easy I know) and next week is flamed up starting actually on Thursday July 5th with Barakah’s event before I move on to Yaounde for the Leading Ladies Conference.

It was barely 1 month ago that I went by night trip to MC their village to visit my dad… The real relationship being that dad an orphan had been adopted by this Angel when he was just 11/12 in a city he knew no one in and was yet to learn French. It had been 2 decades I hadn’t been there because Grand pere (MC’s dad) died in 2009 when I just had Gaby… In short, all these make for at least two more posts…

For now, see you hopefully next month for a couple of days lol

It’s been one half of a year indeed – hmm, let me just bury My MC and see how it goes with the mini break and co

Have a great weekend everyone and till then – one love – do take care of yourselves and take a break when you have to, cause life can be tough and roller coaster…

Traveling for me takes mental and physical preparation: And you?


Hi all, first solo travel in 2018. I cherish traveling alone because I can read and sleep and do just as I want without feeling obliged to talk with anyone. I know aome good conversation could be struck up with a seat mate and even contact made, but on this particular trip not me oh lol!

Taveling used to be fun when I was a kid. I loved going around with my dad and asking all the questions in the world inspite being told to just shut up like my siblings and leave him to drive in peace. He still remembers to this date lol!

However, when we moved to Yaounde from Douala when I was in Grade 4, everything changed. That was a major traveling for me because it was not a to and fro. I was leaving all my bearings behind, and not happy dad hadn’t even told me of this move when he got the news from his job. I was really something to even think of that right? It is ‘not expected of good African children’ period!

Although my anxiety at traveling has gotten better and I no longer pack months or weeks in advance (up to 2015 that was me), I still love to be ready mentally and physically at least 3 days in advanve. Any on the spur trips even if fun, or not consented to, throw my psychologically off balance a while. I can’t even imagine what I’ll do if I in any last minute packing for example, left behing an item or piece of luggage lol!

Well, for now, am boarded for Yaounde again for an overnight trip. Am hoping for the best of moments and know the boys will try their best. I am reading Peace Pilgrim and well wrapped up for the AC in this dang so called VIP bus lol!

And you gentle readers and followers, what is your preferred traveling mantra? Plan and Prepare; or Up and Go?

Let’s talk about cooking and eating: My story


img_20180211_104512397366818.jpg
In any type of Kitchen I am ok to go; that’s the joy of being an area girl

I love that picture very much because it represents so much to me. I am cooking no doubt, but I am cooking in a some what difficult condition. Yet, am doing it with love. That is the whole line of my story at least with cooking.

From my earliest recollection of cooking for my dolly, (mud puddings and iced tea with mint leaves plugged straight from the trees lol) I loved the whole process. I got lost in the art of it all and I had fun taking myself so seriously and vital – dolly was going to stay hungry unless I cooked for her. The mockery and shun offs I got from home at the time when I offered to cook for all, only motivated me to want to cook better lol.

I also knew cooking food was more nutritional than buying food because both parents told us so. Above all, my late mami mami loved cooking, and cooking so deli, I just fell in love with cooking.

I cooked for us siblings when mum left, and for near two years when living in a single bedroom with my late brother in our father’s villa, I smuggled a kerosene cooking stove, and some food every now and then, to cook for us in that room turned home for us. You can all imagine this was traumatic but I was grateful to be able to cook for my brother who was ere so fragile and could not stand not eating like I could, much to the annoyance of step mother.

When I got married, I will cook and make little salads and deserts as often as I could. I did it with love, but oh how it started piercing my soul when hubby stopped eating what I cooked for all sorts of reasons.

Today, I am in a very good place mentally and all, and I still cook with all that love. Indeed in Belgium, my little private restaurant was baptized merry tables. Ah I wish I could a restaurant out here for real as a retirement venture maybe? Hmm, I got them talents and ideas in abundance no joke..

belgium-2014
Not so skinny here though

But now, what about eating? Hmm, I was a skinny child growing up, play in lieu of food was an ideal bargain I tried all the time. But then, I used to be forced to finish my plate so I managed to share it with the table, ground my hair, dress you name it lol

When living with my brother in that our room/cell if you may, eating was not my priority. Not knowing when next provisions would come or the chance to sneak out, jump over the fence with broken bottles and go smuggle them in, meant that I had to hoard or eat carefully. You can imagine eating lost all significance to me. Maybe only later resurfaced as a coping mechanism?

Exactly, that’s what eating became to me for half of my marital life. I started eating in abundance, topping all the yummy I cooked with ice creams and other delis from the bakery etc

i-used-to-be-this-fat-april-2010
Not so genuine smile and weight not appreciated one bit, but helas what can I tell you? on my way to 115

When I hit 115kgs, I knew enough was enough. Breathing indeed became a problem and I had to do something.

I got so angry with myself and the world, I stopped eating period. I hid behing dry fasting from 6-6, to reduce my eating to an apple and a gladd of hot cocoa at night. Needless to say anorexia surfaced and near thrived for 18months until mum threatened then pleaded…

Today, at 77kgs, and with the real and free and lovely me now present, I eat for nourishment and out of love too. Love for me, my body, my children, my family, my guardian angel. I also keep cooking for all with love, conscious too of the effects on my physical wellbeing especially with my RA diagnosis and sometimes very painful reality…when I can’t even lift my hand.

In conclusion, I am especially grateful for all those STILL who eat what I cook with love like my boys, and to all those who understand my pull to their kitchens or loo when I visit them hahaha. Maybe I’ll also take up professional cooking on retirement?

Dear all, while wishing you a happy weekend, may I encourage you to think about why you cook or eat…and to be grateful to be able to do either or both…

It ain’t every other day you are interviewed by the VOA & some musings…


Marie
Just reviving an old picture where I look like am to be interviewed by the VOA hahaha

A full plate for me alone today

Hello world, it’s Friday yuppie. I have a full day today. Sports, work until noon and the school with Gaby for their Youth Week Karoake. Last year he went with David who was still in primary, but they won some stuffs and were distracted and most were stolen. Gaby was near inconsolable and blamed me. “Mama if only you had made time to come like other parents did…”. This year, David is already in Secondary school and will be going to theirs with Alain; ha he even said he’ll bring pancakes for his class (he does great ones here and has most of his stuffs ready – his aunt gave him lots of flour, he saved for milk and sugar, I offer eggs and oil lol). I am going to work now but will be back by 1 pm because I just have to go with Gaby to his school oh…

VOA means business with Marie Abanga lol

That golly news aside, here is the big big one I have. I was interviewed by the VOA as in Voice of America yesterday Thursday February 8th at 4.30 pm. Is this news or what? I was found via online research (bravo girl keep doing all you do, you never know who is reading). They were so nice and grateful I made the time to be interviewed (ha indeed right?), and they say I’ll be contacted soon for the TV filming – hahaha oh somebody see my how far. in a special slang I shared with my brother Gabriel, we would have said I am riding high…

BBC is sorry after all dear Marie Abanga

The goofy news (as in mildly ludicrous) is that, I got courteously ‘rejected’ by BBC Africa for a filming. They had been referred to me by some person out there while they sought persons with ‘hidden illnesses/mental health stories etc’ for a documentary. The got in touch with me via facebook, email and whatsapp ha, put me on line with their director even, got the better of my story, even asking questions and taking notes, ha again, then silence for some days then baam ‘rejection’. That happened yesterday on my way back home. Had I not just finished the VOA interview, I would have honestly cried. Fortunately I hadn’t told anyone about it other than mum who was excited of course. I felt a pinch of low, rejection no matter how parceled always hurts some ego. I was like, how dare they who approached me in the first place and not the other way round? Then I started laughing…what would you advice a client you CBT Therapist? and I laughed some more

OK lovely e-family,  have a laugh-ful weekend hohoho

No longer playing pretend


 

 

If at 3 I knew no better than play pretend

By 9 I knew fully well I played pretend

But put 3 and 9 together

At 39 I definitely can’t continue

Playing pretend like I don’t know

It’s now far past my age and circumstance

I mean if I keep playing pretend now

Can you imagine if 93 meets me here

What a rigmarole and sheer ridicule

like I learnt nothing from life all along

Nope I now know better

for my sanity and hollistic wellbeing

I need to stop any play or semblance of

Say it as it is, do it as I say, love it as it comes

learn and love and live full cycle

Playing Pretend was just a game

I can’t turn that into reality

That will mean wearing a smile and towing the line

The unconventional in me cries fowl

Hence am no longer playing pretend

Behind the Scenes


I watched them set their tools up

In horror because it was a prima

I have heard tales of behind the scenes

How some faces were poked and poked

Brows pulled and pulled

And all shades of colours

Tried on your scary face

Hoping to turn you

Into maybe another masquerade

And I relunctantly sat

And prayed and prayed

That they be quick and quick

For it was never my thing

To go behind any scenes

Makeup for me was once a fun time

Trying out myself to test my know-how

The mildest was my most cherished

But I despised the time and risks

So I gave it up all

Preferred to admire on others

Who took the time and love to sit down

This time my sibling begged

A family portrait of all girls

Makeup would enhance she said

Finally I did give in


And chuckled at all the fuss

how most scary or pretty I looked or felt

All the dynamics and gymnastics

Going on behind the scenes

3 good hours of turn left and right

And we got the portraits of our life

P.s: A thrilling life indeed I got. Finally ‘trapped’ by Anyi Asonganyi aka Ozi International/my cousin and best young makeup artist in Cameroon 2017, and there we go for a family portrait. Mum and my elder sister got what we call ‘one kind’ and that was cool. I braved it and was proud of myself – my brother’s banner in the background made it all so wonderful for me. Never say never nor make light of any one’s occupation

Dynamics & Gymnastics


To be forewarned is to be forearmed!!!

Dear old or new friend

I need to let you in

To the dynamics & gymnastics

That troll your friend

And can make/mar her life

To be forewarned is to be forearmed!!!

Dear old or new friend

The dynamics & gymnastics

Are from external & internal

Forces I can & can’t control

Maybe you heard about dem words

Used in physics or logic

Schools or sports

Think of a body & mind 

In their place

Then imagine how they go

Dynamics & gymnastics

This way & that way

Peace & please

Act up or shut up

To be forewarned is to be forearmed


P.s: poem written at 1.20 am – been thrashing aroumd simce 11:11 pm. Ome of those nights where dynamics & gymnastics are in place. Trolling me around. But am braving this because I have braved some before. I can at least identify some issues and will see my therapist during the day before I go to mum’s ahead of granny’s fumeral.

Scheduling this poem just because the respite I think is in the writing it and not the clicking publish

Wishing us all the best 

Another soulful review of my 4th Memoir: What is the Worst Case Scenario…


WCS by Genero
Foto courtesy of the reviewer

WHAT IS THE WORST CASE SCENARIO?

This is a fearful thought and is a question that lingers in every sub-conscious in the face of an impending uncertainty and danger.

Marie Abanga, Poet and senior Jurist, has dared to approach this question directly in her 103 paged book:

‘WHAT IS THE WORST CASE SCENARIO?’

She alone dares to fight the fear within by approaching this fear from different fronts

1. The fear of Staying
2. The fear of Leaving
3. The fear of Losing
4. The Fear of Failing
5. The fear of Being Loved
6. The fear of Loving
7. The fear of Stigma
8. The fear of Advocating
9. The fear of Dying

Marie is every other woman, a mother, daughter, sister, lover and friend. Her style and choice of words are unique and she uses her real life situations together with empirical evidence to attest to the fact that this fear is real. She insists on using the first person singular, I, just to let us, her readers know what one could actually mean when they say they have lived a life of constant fear.

In the same Memoir, she writes several deep letters to persons you might want to know of, talks about her adventures around the world. She propels courage to her readers by citing and bringing out the quotatioins of almost all the renowned big names you might know – John Wooden, Jack Canfield, Coco Chanel, Robert F. Kennedy, Janet Fitch and twenty five others.

Mental challenges are for real and they don’t discriminate. No one chooses such challenges and just the FEAR of being labelled or ‘discovered’ to be having them, can actually drive someone outright ‘crazy’.

The mental Health Activist, is conscious of what many others might be painfully and silently going through, and she will do all in her capacity to increase awareness about the importance of mental health, to enable the already affected find strength in whatever remains.

Ever since I got this book, my office work has been a nice ride. Nkwain John Paul Sam aka Genero, Douala Cameroon