Friday, February 23, 2007

Below is an anonymous comment left under my post on mental health titled "Broken Walls". I thought it better to post it. The consequences of a breakdown in mental health are far-reaching and the strain on the family of the afflicted is a heavy one.

I grew up in a happy large middle class family.
When I was a child,I remember that I would ask my mother why God allowed some people to be mentally unwell.

I had never had any close contact with a mental breakdown until I turned 28 and my older brother turned 30 and began to act strange.

It started with him suspecting that his girlfriend and siblings were attacking him spiritually. Then he sough solace in church.

Atthis point I thought he was being spiritual, and that he had found God but I learnt later that spiritual fanatism is one of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

My brother had his first breakdown in 2004 and had two other break downs intermittently over the next 18months.

I come from a middle class, very enviable family. And in my worst nightmare I would never have forseen such a trial for my brother and for our family.

I have not been faced with anything more frightening. In fact in the face of life threatening circumstances, I laugh because I feel that nothing is worse than seeing a loved one in torment and not being able to do very much about it.

My brother is stable now, but I find myself worrying. What if he decided to stop taking his medication? What if we fail to watch him closely enough.What if?

I have no other anxieties, no other needs than to be assured that my brother will continue to be well.

Unfortunately pshychiatric treatment is not an exact science. And even the medication he is taking have unpleasant side effects.

Wole, what you did with your neighbour is very commendable. But you must take to heart that God made us all with different strengths. The burden you have for people is a gift and a curse. It is what drives you and what gives you fulfillment. Not everyone has this gift, this burden and you must understand that.

5 comments:

Omohemi Benson said...

What causes Schizophrenia?
I know you r not a doc,Laspapi.

The author's ending note caught my attention

Wole, what you did with your neighbour is very commendable. But you must take to heart that God made us all with different strengths. The burden you have for people is a gift and a curse. It is what drives you and what gives you fulfillment. Not everyone has this gift, this burden and you must understand that.

Without being judgemental,I don't exactly understand what the author means?

Laspapi please educate me.

laspapi said...

Here goes, omohemi.

Schizophrenia can be genetic, a malfunctioning in the brain's wiring. I'm not certain if it's hereditary.

The author was replying my musing on why "Femi's" younger brother stood by and watched his kin become destitute on the streets of Lagos.
This was the "strength" that I had, the ability to act and not just wish something good to happen to Femi.
By the way, that line struck a note with me, as I understood the writer's intent. Sometimes its a "curse" not to be able to walk past situations like that as others do. You're sometimes forced to take on extra responsibilities that cause hardship and inconvenience. Like Jesus said "If it is your will, let this cup pass over me. Nevertheless, not my will..."

Anonymous said...

Schizophrenia has a 10 percent worldwide incidence.There's a 10 percent possibility of passing it from parent to child.There have been lots of advancements in Psychiatry but unfortunately,like in all other areas,Nigeria is rather slow in picking them up due to lack of Government support. It's almost unheard of to see raving 'mad' people on the streets of the western world like you do in Nigeria because the System sponges them up and starts effective treatment early. Apart from providing treatment Nigeria also needs general education regarding mental illness. As a psychiatric practitioner in the US the situation in Nigeria really bothers me and I'm trying to network with other Nigerian Psychiatrists in diaspora to see what can be done but it's a really hard and huge undertaking..doesn't mean it can't be done though. God help us all

Omohemi Benson said...

Thank you.

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

This is a world I know nothing of... I'll read up on it and ask questions later