Cloverdale trauma coach Manyi Ebot with her new book “The Caged Giant.” (Grace Kennedy photo)

Cloverdale trauma coach’s first book focuses on hope and recovery

Manyi Ebot experienced her own share of trauma, and hopes her story and research can help others

Manyi Ebot was 14 years old when she had her first child. Ebot lived in Cameroon, a country that had seen her raped as a child and kicked out of her Christian school for having a baby out of wedlock.

“I was told I couldn’t go back there because of the negative influence to the other kids,” she explained, sitting in the Cloverdale Reporter’s office 17 years later. “It was a very traumatic time for me during that period.”

Ebot never saw herself as a victim (“I’m a very optimistic person,” she said), but it took her many years to work through the pain of her past. Now, living in Cloverdale and working as a trauma recovery coach, Ebot has become what she calls a “thriver” — and she’s hoping her experience will help others facing trauma through her first book, The Caged Giant.

“The most important message in this book is … that recovery is possible,” Ebot said. “I like people to realize that no matter what they have been through, they still have potential.”

“With the right resources and the right support, they can still be able to fulfill whatever dreams and visions they have.”

Ebot’s book began as a form of personal therapy, a chance for Ebot to work through the difficulties of her past. But when she decided she wanted to publish her story in a book, she realized her words might not be enough.

“If someone reads just a person’s story, you might not learn,” she explained. “I realized, no, I had to research about recovery.”

SEE ALSO: Child abuse victims may carry ‘molecular scars’ for life: UBC, Harvard study

Ebot used the story of a fictional woman named Kiki — really a combination of Ebot’s experience, and the experiences of women she had worked with — to build a foundation on which she could share a path of recovery.

“Trauma comes from diverse sources,” Ebot said, “so I wanted to bring about a story which many people can relate to. Not just me, not just an immigrant woman, but something that is open to the public.”

The character Kiki had faced genital mutilation as a child, rape from her father, the death of both parents in a car crash as a young girl, impoverishment in her home country, loneliness as an immigrant, post-partum depression at the birth of her daughters and domestic violence from her husband. She saw herself as a victim.

Over the course of Ebot’s 167-page book, published by Freisen Press this November, Ebot walks readers through Kiki’s journey of recovery. The book features chapters called “The Wiring,” “You Matter,” “Plug In,” “Re-creation,” “Release Yourself,” “What is Your Worth,” “Craving to Belong,” “The Pursuit of Happiness,” “Turning Point,” “Going Beyond” and “The Journey Continues.”

It’s all intended to help readers reach the “thrival stage” — the moment after survival, where “the person is at the position where they can see, okay, I’m not where I want to be, but I’m far from where I used to be.”

SEE ALSO: Domestic violence on the rise in Canada after 8-year decline

In The Caged Giant, the steps people take to get to that “thrival stage” come from the principles of psychosocial rehabilitation, an idea that recovery comes from self-determination and empowerment. Those steps include building healthy communities, setting boundaries, finding your purpose and finding who you are.

For Ebot, finding out who she was meant rediscovering her spiritual sense of self.

“I had that negative experience from my Christian school, (and) at the time I thought maybe I was rejected by God, because I looked at my school at that time to be a representative of God,” she said.

“I had to realize, this is not the truth.”

For Ebot, that meant going back to the Bible to find her truth. And although she said that not everyone shares her faith, they can use the same principles to take down the “lies of trauma.”

“You have to advise the person to look at the source of that belief,” Ebot said. “Where did it come from? How did I come to the position of believing that I am unworthy of love and happiness, or unworthy of a better life?

“Is that truly what you believe of yourself?”

The book isn’t intended to be the final say for people recovering from trauma; rather, Ebot hopes it can be a guide and tool for people on a journey of recovery.

“Sometimes when we look at recovery, a person might think recovery means you’ve got it all together,” Ebot said.

“Recovery is a journey. It’s like a ladder. Every step you take, you have to be grateful for it.”



grace.kennedy@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey veteran talks about the emotional side of war

Reginald Wise served in the Royal Marines in WWII

PHOTOS: White Rock marks Remembrance Day

Hundreds of people gathered Monday morning to give thanks to veterans

VIDEO: One injured in north Surrey shooting Sunday

Male victim taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries

VIDEO: Quidditch Canada’s Western Regional Championship flies into Surrey

Harry Potter-inspired event is at Hjorth Road Park

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Coquihalla drivers urged to be careful amid freezing rain alert

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

14 SeaBus cancellations, free rides for veterans from TransLink on Remembrance Day

Free rides also available for current Armed Forces members, first responders

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Most Read