Clinical depression is no death sentence


A Mental illness is not a death sentence. Clinical depression can only last that long. Joe is 38 and is ok with the world knowing he has been struggling with his mental health for 4 years and lost touch recently. But, #thereishope. I received him at the Integration Clinic Bonamousadi Douala Cameroon yesterday and he was hospitalised for a closer follow up and holistic treatment approach.

Ekema is a peer diagnosed with Schizophrenia 25 years ago and living with me since June 2018. He is doing so well now and is
working at the Hope for the Abused and Battered center currently running from home. He came to visit Joe and reassure him all will be well. Visit us at http://www.hope4abusedbattered.com

After Joe took a bath (hadn’t had one for days prior)

#notostigma
#mentalhealthiswealth
#mentalillness
#BetheHope
#Iamfreedomnlove

Advertisements

Love therapy in the midst of it all


Love therapy is the best I found to work with the rape victims who come to my centre. My center is called Home of Hope & Healing, run by the association Hope for the Abused and Battered. This therapy works hundred times more than sympathy or empathy therapy, or any other therapies I learnt in school. I ask very few of any questions, I just love and tap into my spirit’s bidding. How else do you reach out to a freightened 9 years old who was sexually abused and raped when she was 8? And what of the 23 years old who was sexually abused from the age of 8-11 and raped from the age of 11-18? Worst of all both atrocities by relatives who had ‘ward’ over them? I am so grateful for the way the Lord is using me to #makeitmatter and #MakeitMemorable for these girls. #itispossible someone, #letGodandLovelead #letitflow #youdeservehappiness so always cherish an #attitudeofgratitude Georgi and Courage make me so proud of the goodness of the Lord in my life Amen

If you can donate to my Gofundme Campaign to open a centre, here is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/MarieAH4AB

Book Review: Psych Meds made Simple by Ashley Peterson


Psych Meds by Ashley

It’s been a long while I reviewed a book on my blog, but I have been reading many without being bitten by the ‘review me’ bug lol. Ashley’s book has gotten the ‘review me’ bug biting my fingers again. The book is simply one I had to read and make as many as notes as possible, the total being 65 highlighted notes. It is on the basis of these that I review this very important book mental health users and carers would do well to read.

The goal of the book is very clear as follows: The goal of this book is to demystify psychiatric medications and give people living with mental illness, as well as those who support us, the knowledge to make the best possible decisions when it comes to medication.

With the above in mind, I read the book as the project manager I am. I recall with some loathing truth be told, when I spent nearly 2 years taking medications including psychiatric ones, without ever trying to acquire any knowledge which could help me make the best possible decisions for myself. Had I known will always be the last in class because we hardly even think of them when starting a lesson.

Well, with psychiatric medications, you seriously don’t want take your health or those you care for, for granted. Mental illness (I live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), is for real and yet, you are not an invalid who can’t decide for themselves unless totally sedated or so psychotic enough to care any more. Ashley’s book is focused on the most common types of psychiatric medications: antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti psychotics, anti anxiety medications, and stimulants, and yet she is adamant in asserting that: “The notion that medications produce some artificial form of wellness is simply absurd. What I gather from reading the book all through therefore is that, she did all the research including using her own self as a case study, to give her readers and the mental illness community at large, a good base of knowledgeable material to get and keep the conversation going. Recovery from a mental illness is possible if the right combination of medications and holistic treatment protocol are found. Trust me I know it may be hard, it is even daunting reading about the different side effects of the several of the medications.

I learned so much, and I honestly marvel at the depth of the research into technical and not cool products such as medications. I learned for example that it is better to take a cocktail of medications at reduced dosage, than only one at a high dose whose side effects may be devastating. I was also thrilled to learn about the relationship between inflammation and depression, and so much in the book kept getting me highlight wow. I could now understand some about the side effects I experienced, as well as those my brother who lived with bipolar disorder did.

The book is not boring to read especially because she uses words we can easily understand, and above all her own story as a case study. I appreciate her authenticity and vulnerability, and support her overall aim of fighting stigma surrounding mental illness and psychiatric medications. I follow her blog Mental Health at Home, and will recommend both her book and blog to everyone.

Thank you so much Ashley my heroine for writing such a long over due book. In my country, there is still such a pervasive culture of the doctor knows best, and the patient is just supposed to take them medication. Now, some patients and carers can start asking real questions while requesting for medication adjustments and re-adjustments.

About the Author

Ashley Peterson writes one of my favorite blogs, Mental Health at Home. For her 40th birthday last week, she was kind enough to offer her new book, Psych Meds Made Simple for free!

Ashley is a former pharmacist and currently works as a mental health nurse. I admire that she writes from a professional perspective and from a personal stance, as she lives with mental illness.

I really recommend this reference guide to anyone who takes psychotropic medication, has a loved one who does, or who works in the mental health field (counselors, social workers, healthcare providers, etc. – I am a psychotherapist and could refer clients to this book now of course hahahah)

You can find Psych Meds Made Simple for a very reasonable price on Amazon.

Child Sexual Abuse: Today Georgi, who next???


Sexual abuse of our children and young girls in Cameroon is becoming a call for concern.

It was barely a month ago that we learned of the case of 10 years old Marie Fortune who had been viciously and consistently raped by her aunt’s husband, leading to her death barely 10 days after being admitted in the hospital.

Child abuse so glaring to a faultLast Friday 15th, we saw a picture on Facebook of a heavily pregnant 11 years old, and before we could reach out to the source to investigate and do some further advocacy, we received the following distress whatsapp chat from another victim [15/03, 12:25] Georgi: Bonjour Madame

[15/03, 12:26] Georgi: J’aimerais que vous prenez le temps de lire ce document

[15/03, 12:26] Georgi: J’ai besoin d’aide et je pense que vous pouvez m’aider à avancer dans ma vie

[15/03, 12:27] Georgi: Mais je vous supplie de le lire jusqu’à la fin

[15/03, 12:27] Georgi: C’est long je sais. Mais j’ai essayer d’être brève du mieux que je pouvais

[15/03, 12:28] Georgi: J’ai eu votre contact via un site internet après une longue recherche sur le net

[15/03, 12:28] Georgi: SVP ne me rejeter pas

[15/03, 12:54] .Marie A. Abanga: Salut Georgina, je vais la lire et revenir vers vous ok? Non je ne vous rejete pas.

She reached out in French and anyone who doesn’t understand French can kindly google translate same. She was pleading with me to read the 4 page story she sent me, and not to reject her. She concluded by saying she desperately needed all the help she could get because she wasn’t working/earning any income. I actually received her at my home(which serves as the temporal offices and center of the association Hope for the Abused and the Battered) that same evening at 5 pm, and we had a soulful hour and a half together.

We need to help Georgi find safer accommodation because where she moved to is still just as taxing although no more sexual abuse. The stigma, insults and control is taking a toll on the now 23 years old Goergi.

We also wish to help her to do a thorough medical check up because she still has pelvic pains and can’t afford to go to the hospital. Our Founder (that is myself – a certified CBT Therapist and Psychologist), is offering free psycho-therapeutic sessions to Georgi for as long as she needs these.

No donation is insignificant.  By Grace, the H4AB mental health care support center and safe halfway haven for victims like Georgi will be opened. Visit our website to know more about us, and to contact us directly to join or support our work. God bless us all. Thank you in advance as you donate and or share our campaign Georgi’s story in full and in French: could be read on our facebook page right here.

Follow this link to donate please: https://www.gofundme.com/MarieAH4AB

Commemorating not just a day, but an entire week in honour of my womanhood


I chose the word commemorate instead of celebrate for different reasons.

I want to talk about how I made the International Women’s day 2019 memorable for myself and others. To begin with, the theme for this year was significant from two perspectives. #BalanceforBetter makes me think of two types of balances. The balance we women have or should strive to have with ourselves and with other sisters, and the balance of between the genders. All these balance for me are for the better.

I started going on air as early as the 4th of March as a guest on the Catholic radio and TV broadcasting media house called Veritas – the truth will set you free. You see, I am already a household name in my country especially in my community – and I am often invited to talk about pertinent societal issues like abuse and  of all forms, mostly drawing from my personal experiences. The candour with which I share make them invite me 3 times a year at least. I love going there too. I commemoration of my womanhood and my journey so far, I had a very authentic and even vulnerable 1 hour with the host.

The next day 5th of March I was on another platform called LTM TV where I was talking specifically about the sexual abuse of girls and women – the focus was on the vicious and consistent rape of 10 years old Fortune who had died on the 25th of February from complications. My advocacy was that if we didn’t put an end to such sexual abuse especially of young girl and babies even, where was society going to have the kind of women it needed? I mean strong, resilient, hardworking and even God fearing women.

The very next day at 10 am I accompanied my mum and a panel of ladies to a daily show called in the House. The topic was the Challenges of female entrepreneurship and leadership. That too was so beautiful. The advocacy here was that we women had to stand up and push on. We had to keep hustling for our own financial independence, while asking assertively for a seat on the table – or better still draw up our own table like Meghan Markel Duchess of Sussex once advocated in a speech at the UN Women.

Thursday the 7th of March I went on air twice. At midday I did a Facebook live video to celebrate a very enterprising World Pulse sister here by name Agnes Kuoh. She has a foundation called Agui Foundation which trains women to be self reliant by doing a lot of stuffs they needed at home, and why could also be sold to gain some financial independence. She and I have met and bonded and I really appreciate her. I had already been on TV the prior week talking once more about female entrepreneurship using her example. AT 6 pm the evening, mum and I along with 3 other dynamic young ladies once more made up a panel to discuss a re-strategy of the IWD concept especially in our country which had infamously become renowned for excesses in drinking and debauchery of some women on the 8th of March. My mum seized the opportunity to announce the launch of her coaching and mentoring program.

Thursday 8th of March D Day proper, over 15 ladies were convened at my mum’s Diversity Management and Consulting Ltd firm for the launch of the ” Coach a girl to thrive program’. We had over an hour of training from her and fruitful discussions by all present. We ended the day with a little office cocktail, while I sat down soon thereafter to do a live video calling on women celebrate themselves and one another not only on that day but always. We women had to learn to be a sister’s sister and be there for one another like Michelle Obama famously encouraged.

Celebration is not the appropriate word for me when we think of what is going on in my country in the two English speaking regions of my country. A civil unrest poorly managed has left hundreds dead, some hundreds exiled, and many more hundreds internally displaced. To commemorate is defined as to serve as a memorial or reminder of; to honor the memory of by some observance of a day set aside by the international community for women to do the most they can to say “Look at us, we deserve to be noticed too, and we are here to stay, stop abusing us and relegating us to the back seat”.

The other days of that symbolic week were spent doing live videos on other aspects of our womanhood in my capacity as a survivor of Domestic Abuse, as founder of the association Hope for the Abused and Battered, as a psychotherapist and above all as a Christian. I equally participated to the best I could to activities organized by my church for the women – these took place on Saturday and Sunday 9th and 10th March. I can only be honest to say I have never commemorated any IWD as passionately, purposefully and holistically as I did this one. I am most grateful to the universe for the energy and opportunities.

The only way I can celebrate my womanhood is to renew my pledge for a better girlhood and womanhood


 

Some things happen in your society which affect you to the core even if you are not ‘related’ to the victims or parties concerned. An incident like that which happened last month in my country Cameroon, I mean in my city of Douala even, concerned a vicious rape and consistent defilement of a girl child for two years. The 10 year old girl finally gave up the ghost in hospital after two years of rape by her aunt’s husband, after developing waist trauma and cancer.

Yes, she is a girl, and not even my daughter some may say. But nope, she would have been a woman tomorrow, and she could have been my daughter. Our collective society is traumatized by such a despicable act, and this got me really thinking. I asked myself this: “Are you going to join other women to celebrate the international women’s day on the 8th of March this year under the theme #BalanceforBetter, when little girls women of tomorrow cannot even feel safe in their own homes? Where can any balance for better be seen here? I mean how many more rapes do we need to record in our communities before realizing how unbalancing it has all become? I was and I am still recovering from the shock of that act. I decided to make the following pledge to that baby girl:

Fortune I pledge

1) That I personally intend to seek an audience with Social Affairs and Justice Ministers, and work in collaboration with any other associations picking this case up;

2) That even if no one is joining me, I will do my best before leaving the rest to God;

3) That I wouldn’t worry about the resources to do what has to be done because I know God knows it all;

4) That I refuse to feel any stigma or entertain any stigma or naysayers on my way to seek Social Justice for your spirit, and all the others like you going through such unfathomable ordeals regardless of their age;

5) That in God I trust so that He will finish what He has started in and through me;

6) That the association Hope for the Abused and Battered which I founded last year, whose 3rd focus area is being the hope for children victims of abuse (especially sexual abuse), will champion your cause and those of the many others like you with all its energy;

7) That I make this pledge in all Faith, Hope and Charity. May God be my Helper for all times Amen

It was only then I felt like I am really living up to my womanhood, and that I could celebrate the freedom and opportunity I had to be such a fierce advocate for the abused and battered women not only in my community but in my country and the world at large. I think of countries where young girls and women don’t even dare to dream, they know that all what they can aspire to is become housewives the earlier the safer. I think of a documentary I once watched entitled; “India the worst place to be a woman”, and how grateful I was not to have been born there. I wonder which balance can be spoken of there and when it could ever get better.

There are several ways to celebrate our womanhood especially on the day the international community sets aside for that – 8th of March; let’s make it a celebration of impact and not just one of colourful fabric wearing and merry making as has been the tradition in my country for a long while now.

I am not saying merry making and fabric wearing are not good, I got my own fabric already stitched courtesy of my mum this very day. However, she knows I don’t do merry making on that day, I prefer participating in symposiums and media events to talk about female entrepreneurship, leadership and all other many issues hindering any real #BalanceforBetter; there is hope nevertheless, and I want to be the hope because I saw hope myself.

All about Hope

Comments 

Comment *

When a 10 year old is consistently and viciously raped for two years before she dies…


At H4AB, It’s all about Hope: Hope for Children Victims of Rape: The case of Fortune RIP

Hope for Children victims of sexual abuse because this is the worst form of childhood abuse we can ever imagine (26.02.19)

Fortune: Just 10 years old but her life was hanging on the drip. Viciously raped over and over by her aunt’s husband. She rested in the Lord yesterday 25.02.19 at around 2 pm. May she rest in but may her rapist know no peace.

Family matter it may be said, but the law is clear. This innocent child had been raped for 2 years consistently and viciously by one who was supposed to be her guardian.

Some legal colleagues and my humble self had been brainstorming how to take up the case pro bono. We had tried to make contact with her family and finally got to visit them in the hospital last week.

It was but normal that the first visit just be a familiarisation one, while we bring up the need to prosecute in our next visit. A visit which sadly wouldn’t take place.

Please all, let’s just say no once and for all to any suppression of information; and victimisation of victims all over again.

We parents and guardians can’t afford to continue pretending it’s ‘family matter’ and not good to expose perpetrators.

Imagine how much physical and psychological damage such attitudes cost the victims all the way into adulthood. Adverse childhood experiences is for real, and Fortune’s spirit is silently crying for Justice from the grave. The law on Rape in my country also leaves a lot to be desired.

Kindly help us draw public outrage and intervention by the Ministers of Justice and Social Affairs by signing and sharing our petition. We really appreciate: http://chng.it/Gn4F7bNH