Tag Archives: Mental Wellbeing

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

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Sometimes in the mist of it…


Sometimes in the mist of it

A soul may be searching

But not know how to seek

Sometimes in the mist of it

A heart may be hurting

But not know how to heal

Sometimes in the mist of it

A hug may be needed

But none knows how to ask/give

Sometimes in the mist of it

Empathy may be needed

Even if not fully appreciated

Sometimes in the mist of it

We want out of that mist

We need help

We want to scream

But the voice is stuck

The stare and tears

The silence and ramblings

The actions and reactions

Oh sometimes in the mist of it

Lots of patience, love and empathy

Can actually clear the mist

(c) Marie Abanga

WMHD_bannerP.S: Ahead of World Mental Health Day Tomorrow under the theme: Mental Health at the workplace.

Near 9 years later, I finally get the honour and grand style opportunity to show my supervisor at that time how much I appreciate her empathy when I lost my daughter the day after she was born. She was the only person I can remember from my office who called, visited and followed up how best she could in the aftermath. (2 others came along with her on that visit but that was that – I don’t hold it against anybody anyway) She understood when I’ll call the office so in tears not able to come to work. She once chastised me when I visited her and looked like whatever, to go upstairs and sleep (I must have slept 5 hours that day at her home). I can never forget. So if you ever read this, know that the whole world now knows how much I appreciate.

Photo Therapy: My Journey


marie-the-baby

 

 

Marie June 1991
1991 that famous year: A whole chapter in my first memoir

 

 

 

Dare to look at your pictures and picture your journey. Listen to yourself and talk to yourself. Give yourself permission to deal and heal. The new you will attract new views. It took me such a while and many twists and challenging turns, I dared and fared, I cried out and cried in, I wrote and told and now I have found a balance…I embrace a few many causes and do what I like, love and need. I have been named Phenomenal, me who was once labelled Radical. I am… and I am going to let my light shine all the way and that’s Okay

IMG-20170721-WA0001

Happy weekend to us all

 

Introducing Marie Abanga the Lawyer


 

She was called to the Cameroon Bar Association first as a pupil lawyer in 2008 and then sworn in as a Barrister and Sollicitor before the Supreme Court of Cameroon on the 11th of May 2011.

In the meantime, she has been through thick and thin, and although she is not making light of what Kay Redfield Jamison has been through, she herself has had an unqiet mind. Indeed, all her professional prowess didn’t stop her from getting so depressed in 2009 and picking up a knife to attempt suicide while five months pregnant.

Marie Abanga has developed and been guided by a 3D principle: Determination, Discipline and Dedication. A legal practice she at one point almost gave up on, is now being massively revived begining with the building of a website worth every weight in gold.

Please join me in applauding this brave woman, single mother of 3 boys, mulitple award blogger and soulful author, business consultant, personal and mental wellbeing coach of substance, lecturer, lawyer Co-Founder and CEO of Inspiring Positive Actions Now Ltdstaunch advocate for women’s empowerment and victims of domestic abuse, and a philantrophist par excellence: Some call her simply Phenomenal Marie and she is bent on letting her little light shine all the way

 

p.s: I hope my journey inspires someone out there. It is possible to be and do so much and yet to suffer such tough times and mental tribulations. Morever, being at this stage doesn’t mean tough times wouldn’t come again. It means to me that I have to believe in myself even more, be my own best friend and champion, self love, self care and many more selfies,  and trust myself to seek for help when I need it and above all just be me, saying it as it is. Marie Abanga the lawyer definitely makes Marie Abanga the personal and mental wellbeing coach proud. She is my first and best friend till death do us part and I love her to the moon and back. Thank you lawyer in me for persevering even when I didn’t think it was worth it anymore

I don’t need eyes to see…


I don’t need eyes to see;

I don’t need eyes to see the pain in you!

I don’t need hands to touch;

I don’t need hands to touch the scar in you!

I don’t need ears to hear;

I don’t need ears to hear the scream you scream within!

I don’t need a mouth to taste;

I don’t need a mouth to taste all what you’ve been fed by life;

Dear … I just need you to trust;

I just need you to trust…that I feel YOU…

To trust that I don’t really need eyes to see…

(C) Marie Abanga 2017

Dedicated to the memory of Gabriel and to my 4 sons

P.S: The above poem is an apt summary of my week. Was wondering what or how to write all I have had in me/dealt with this week – another thrilling one with lots of love and lows…and the poetic inspiration came in as I walked to and fro the market. I so love it … Actually, it is a soul search and summary from me to ME, me to YOU, me to THEM, said with love, encouragement, some supplication and yes some defiance… I miss you Gaby, I didn’t know as much nor did so much back then, but I promise you I will do so much henceforth till my own time is up…

Sometimes you’ve got to treat yourself to something


It may be ice cream like I had last friday sharing the moment with my son and budy Alain, or it may be something else…

Life is fleeting there is no doubt about that. One moment you are here and the next moment you are nought but memory.  You can’t afford to not enjoy yourself in the meantime. I know some of us are workaholics, and making time for a treat or indulging say in ice cream when ever mindful of our health and weight, may be a tough one to go for…

I am so grateful through my twists and turns I have come to a point of balance. Work and Play (reading and writing, dancing and singing can be play no problem), serious and joker, calorie counter and not so mindful etc…

It is important for our holistic wellbeing that we treat ourselves to something sometimes… Seriously if we don’t, life will still treat us to dust someday…

For the sake of treating myself this something also, I decided since last Tuesday to spend the rest of the week in Buea, working and playing from there ( I have to sadly return to Douala this afternoon, I have missed Ella and my home). I came with Alain and the other two musketeers are on vacation at their Dad’s… 

I attended a networking event sane tuesday evening and expanded my networks, I spent a whole day with my dearest Donna in the seaside resort of Limbe, on Friday,  I also attended two beautiful events yesterday Saturday and even got a beautiful attestation of participation…

Alain on his part accompanied me sometimes, but other times he had his own stuffs to do. He lived with a mentor and I elsewhere. That arrangement was also treating myself to some space away from him and letting him have his own experiences away from me…

It is VIP for our mental health and I am ever grateful for all these opportunities. Talking about being grateful these couple of days, I got that awesome piece of art from Donna I shared yesterday, I got featured among the 11 most sought after young speakers (http://www.celbmdafrica.org/2017/07/23/11-highly-sought-after-young-trainers-speakers-in-cameroon/) and trainers in Cameroon, and  I got the following from Alain –  I know he means that:

I actually loved washing their feet until even last year lol

Happy Sunday therefore to us and remember to sometimes treat yourself to something…

Another of Donna’s wonders

P.S: I developed Stye but the swollen eye ain’t going to spoil my mood no matter the iritarion lol (no picture for now who knows if that’s virtually contagious right?)

See who’s back: What a blogging break…


blogging break you said
That was what I thought I needed

What a blogging break I brokered: Am glad to be back!!!

If I have learnt one thing during this blogging break, it is that I really love blogging and the break was not effective.

Primo, I wrote three updates when I had bragged of a month free of blogging. Ha, who was I deceiving? ME it turns out;

Secondly, I didn’t even open the book I was hoping to finish writing during this break. Ha again, who was I deceiving? ME once more;

Thirdly, did I read as much as planned? I bow my head to look at my feet and whisper loudly NO – blogs I follow and 3 or so books and social media fake news etc don’t fill my reading reservoir sorry Marie try harder;

So dear world, I admit I may have brokered a bad blogging break. Indeed, I had hoped to take away to ‘blogging birb’ of thrice weekly and turn that period to reading and writing ‘beck’. I didn’t get any close to achieving that and I realize that although the break from regular blogging did usher in some small mental release, I didn’t really need it. To be honest, I kept counting the days the ‘officially announced’ blogging break will be over and I kept writing down stuffs I would have been excited to blog about.

My evaluating this blogging break is the same way I have for some years now been able to candidly evaluate myself and stuffs in my life. It is the same way I encourage my clients and those I mentor and coach to evaluate their too.

Not wanting to write a long post today on my ‘official first day of new blogging term’, I will conclude with a few updates:

Event flyer

  1. I did continue building my business (s) and am gradually seeing a big picture. I am taking a diploma on CBT to focus on being a personal and mental wellbeing coach of substance ( hardly any in my whole country);

  2. I am working on officially setting up my law firm; another big leap of faith, sometimes collaboration is not for you;

    Gaby
    recently on vaccation in the village
  3. Today my last son Gaby turns 8 and yes he will forever remind me of miracles. His conception was one and he kicked me from the womb when my desperation was its peak and I was holding a knife to my heart. I can never forget that. Coincidentally, I am coaching today on Developing a positive attitude and I am full of positivity and gratitude for life especially on this day. Eight bonus years of living with so much gratitude and I am authentically ME inside out… To God be the Glory Great Things He has Done…

  4. It was therefore a bitter sweet break overall, and there were some moments of ocean breeze and village life – but also some stress inducing and charged moments… life happens

  5. My one resolution with regards to blogging is that no more pressure on myself to maintain any blogging routine, my mental wellbeing is primordial and this is also living my mental health advocacy

Happy Sunday to us all and thank you my e-family

thank you
am so full of Gratitude

And so was Gaby a few minutes ago

My Mental Health Awareness Month Wrap up…


IMG-20170518-WA0011

Truth be told, I have been looking forward to this day when I take a break from ‘trying in near vain’ every week day, to raise awareness on Mental Health on my blog. I am sure if someone types Mental Health in Africa on google my name will pop up. Well, to that extent, I will be very happy because that is also the visibility of this ‘shameful thing’ I am talking about. You know, yes we all have minds, yes we will like for them to function at their optimum, but no please don’t tell us that is the same as mental health. Only those who are mentally ill should be concerned by any mental health ‘stuffs’ and could it not be some of their fault that their minds flew away so ‘cuckoo’ ? If I am looking, doing and feeling great why should I be talking about the reverse right ?

The above are equally musings I have had throughout this month. I mean I can be qualified as one who is looking, doing and feeling great. Let’s face it, just look at (some of) my profile pictures, media gallery, write ups (except in the mental health category of course) and em what I sometimes say I feel – what should be my business talking and near nagging about such an ‘ackward subject’ as if the world does not have enough global warming threats and political turmoils to deal with ? Even if some members of the British royalty and American pop star Gaga – through some known celebrities and not so known wanabees are talking about bringing heads together to advocate for more compassion and love, self care and awareness of mental health issues, do you think you could ever join any of those ranks or gain any attention ?

This month, I have indeed made it my business to blog every week day about mental health. It is important for me that I write and keep writing because I love writing, it is like a lifeline (So much theraphy for me). The second thing is, you never know there may be one person you save on any day with your write up. I have ‘nagged’ some friends including my favourite Granny of 78 good years, sending her questions and making her write nearly 2000 words for my blog for free. I did this because I wanted to nag the blogosphere and the entire world my own little way this month of May. I was not the only one doing this, I discovered several others were doing similar projects and I contributed a write up to some of them. I had the honour to be featured in a local magazine published in the big USA, that was huge as far as my efforts to raise mental health awareness was concerned.

Behind the scenes, I kept learning and sharing, teaching my children more and more, being more vulnerable with my friends and families about my own challenges with Anxiety and mood disorders, my minor eating disorder and so on. I shared more and more copies of my brother’s journey with strangers as faraway as Dakar – Senegal where I attended the 3rd African Congress on Epilepsy, one of those neurological conditions which is so easily correlated to mental problems. This relationship was actually studied at the congress and one of the main causes of their ‘unhealthy relationship’ was STIGMA. Ah that big, dreaded and dreary word – you know… ‘No I don’t hate them but No I don’t want nothing to with them’.

My research and curiosity with mental health/illness has led me to read many books, developed friendships with those ‘society’ has shunned/stigmatized and considered either posessed or obsessed, and watch documentaries and movies like the incredible ‘Out of the Darkness’ staring the phenomenal actress/singer Diana Ross. I had to watch other movies by Diana Ross to see if she put in her all like that in other movies. I learnt so much from this movie, how a sister could turn her back on you when you got that ‘schizophrenia label’, how the man who was courting you would drop you like a rotten banana once you told him of your ‘label’, how even your own child would sleep barricaded from the inside because she’s been told you could strangle her before regretting it. Good for her her mum stood by her to the end, that’s what mums are for – at least the majority who themselves are not having mental health issues are living up to their God given vocation.

Therefore, while I formally take a break from writing daily about mental health, well am just spreading awareness platforms. I have recently taken a big leap of faith and co-founded a company called Inspiring Positive Actions Now Limited whose maiden event was last Sunday, and one of the main poles of this platform is Mental Health Advocacy.

Thank you all who read/liked/commented or even sighed at any of my posts this month, I am grateful for the opportunity to live and do my own mite to impact the society I live in. Take care of your mental health, the gateway to your holistic wellbeing trust this much…

If you are moved and generous with a like, please like our facebook page right @inspiringpositveactionsnow Thank you very much

Questions to an Author: Martha Graham-Waldon P2


ask-the-author-answers-edition

Hello world, let’s continue from where we stopped yesterday, click here if you didn’t read that – Martha’s been a very deep soul journey

5. So overall, how have you been coping this far?

Writing my memoir helped me reconcile myself to my past and it has helped me to live more fully in the present. I have connected with so many people who have had similar experiences and now I am a speaker for NAMI giving presentations in high school on mental health and suicide prevention. All of that has been tremendously rewarding.

3) The Writing

  1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?

The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok offered encouragement to me to tell my story. It is about her experiences living with a mother with mental illness. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is another exemplary memoir that will soon be made into a movie.

  1. Did you have a writing mentor?

I utilized methods taught by Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Meyers of the National Association of Memoir Writers http://namw.org/ to sort through my writing and create a scaffolding and timeline of important turning points in my life. Studying the memoir writing genre connected me with a vibrant writing community online and in real life.

  1. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?

I called one of the last chapters in my book “The Hardest Chapter”. I suppose you will need to read the book in order to find out why that is.

  1. Which was your favourite chapter to write and why?

My favourite parts of the book are the chapters in Part One called “The Magic” because as I wrote these chapters I was able to escape back into the memories of a mostly happy childhood.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and if yes, what was it?

I learned that I am not alone in my experience. Writing my memoir was a very healing and cathartic experience and it has been gratifying to be able to help others through their healing process as well.

How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?

It took me about seven years to write the book and find a publisher. Once I signed the contract, it took another 13 months for it to actually appear in print.

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially on challenging subjects like mental health?

Study the memoir writing genre and connect with the memoir writing community. I took memoir writing courses offered through the public library and online. Read as many memoirs as you can. All these things will help you find your own voice. Don’t get discouraged and try to write a little each day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Early treatment and diagnosis are important so you should seek professional help if you suspect you or a family member is experiencing a mental health crisis.

  1. Any other writing projects, blogging etc?

I am currently writing a novella, my first attempt at fiction. I don’t blog regularly but I admire those that do!

  1. Where can your memoir be found?

On Amazon, through Barnes & Noble, Kobo; my publisher Black Opal Books, and Scribd. Here are the links:

Amazonbarnes & Noble: Kobo: Black Opal Books: scribd:

Thank you very much Martha for answering our questions. We hope to stay informed of any updates with your projects.

About Martha

Martha Graham-Waldon is a writer, mental health advocate and armchair activist who resides in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with her family and a menagerie of pets. Her articles have been published locally, internationally and online. She is a winner of the 2015 Women’s Memoirs contest for a vignette based on her memoir in the anthology Tales of our Lives. Her memoir Nothing Like Normal—Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia was published by Black Opal Books and is available on Amazon. In addition to writing, Martha loves travel, the outdoors, Jazzercise and music.

My Nest: My Bed: & I


my small room in Belgium
My Nest and Bed in Belgium

Hello World, now that I no longer live in Belgium, I feel comfortable sharing my nest and bed in the final months I spent there. And nope, I didn’t make that room up to take a picture, that’s how I love my nest and bed to be made up to the pin. Indeed, the day I wrote a plea for strength to leave the bed, I was lying on that bed you see there.

I loved that nest of mine so much, it was pretty much the first and only one I got to have all to myself in Belgium – I could finally make it as comfy and nesty as I like for the sake of my hollistic wellbeing. I am not only a very time conscious person, but I love organization, tidyness, cleanliness you name it… I think I already blogged about my small cleaning venture before travelling out. I shared some surfaces with two flat mates like the kitchen, loo and living room, and I didn’t end up minding they abandoned the cleaning to me when they discovered I loved doing that. At least I go to eat free Indian and Senegalese food every now and then.

And so, here is why I write about my nest and bed today. I want to advocate from personal experience that the state of your nest and bed often reflect the state of your mind. May being Mental health awareness month, I am raising awareness anyway comes to my mind.

I am almost addicted to a made up nest and bed, to the extent that I’ll not step out of my room in the morning even to go for sports, without making up my bed and space. This space can be the tiny one I had out there, the other homes I lived in before there, the two bedroom home I currently live in with my musketeers, or even a palace I may end up in who knows right? and – those musketeers already know their mama by now – gladly two out of three like neatness and tidiness too. To me, where I retreat to and call my home, and where I lay me down my head to rest( given that sleep and I have a peculiar relationship), I just like thinking of it throughout the day and seeing it so well kept and ready for my return – smelling so comfy with some candles and potpouri and all. I mean next to my bed or bedroom, two other favourite places in any nest I have are the Loo and the kitchen…

I know there are some people who don’t care about such trivalities which could instead add further pressure to a perfectionist gauge, I can only envy them their care free selves. I haven’t been able to try leaving my nest and bed un made – make a psychologist will explain why to me someday…

And you my gentle readers and followers, anyone ever had such thoughts about their nest and bed?

Take care of your mental health, you must not have a mental illness to feel concerned about your mental health. A good mental health means you can think straight about pretty much anything and so it is as serious as the sprain in your knee.