Mental Health: A Need For Awareness

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Mental health problems are on meteoric rise across the globe. I read an interesting article which identified mental health disorders as the fifth leading cause of death and disease worldwide. Interestingly, Nigeria, along with China, North Korea and Japan were the four countries mentioned to have low burden of death and disease from mental disorders.

This could be due to the fact that the average Nigerian mind races to madness (psychosis) probably inflicted on a person by haters from his or her village, when mental health is mentioned. Many fail to realise that alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, sleep issues, emotions such as anxiety and depression, levels of stress, self-harming and suicide are all linked to mental health.

As a result, very few Nigerians pay attention to their mental health. Judging with what is happening right now, one can predict that mental health issues of Nigerians, especially the youths will skyrocket in the next five to ten years. And this should be seen as a major public health concern.

Before you start critiquing this; I am yet to research on this so I have no raw data to back my claims hence this is just an opinion, observation or assertion.

Nigerian youths are faced with numerous problems in our country today. From joblessness (unemployment) through relationship/marriage problems to alcohol and drug abuse etc. And these can do serious damage to one’s mental health.

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First, parents put a lot of pressure on their kids to study and become a doctor, engineer or lawyer. Many may lack the abilities and capabilities required to reach the educational goals set by the parents and in the end, become stressed, anxious and depressed or may resort to drug abuse/alcoholism to take the pain away.

Then, if one scales through these hurdles and graduates, one enthusiastically applies for numerous jobs as many believe their job defines them and earns them respect. If unsuccessful after a long search, one may lose confidence and self-esteem.

Unemployment can take a huge toll on a fresh graduate’s pysche. The stages of unemployment are initial shock, depression and finally adjustment. Depression may cause them to isolate themselves from friends and family.

Next, the never-ending pressure on a young Nigerian lady, from family and society, to marry and have a family. Although many claim unfazed, being single may increase the risk of developing mental health problems in adulthood.

Nevertheless, ending a relationship/marriage through separation, divorce or death may also cause an increased risk of mental health disorders. Relationships are hard-work and often drains one’s emotional energy. People may be happier whilst married or in relationship but the effects on mental health once separated by death or divorce may be far worse than being single.

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It is never easy when a relationship/marriage ends. The breakup can trigger negative emotions, such as sadness, hate, disappointment and depression, which one may never recover from. The more break-ups one has, the more his/her mental health  progressively deteriorates.

Emergence of social media hasn’t helped either; it has increased comparison, cyber-bullying, restlessness, glamorization of sex, drugs and alcohol use and crowd mentality amongst the youths to appear cool. People put more pressure on themselves when they see achievements of others thereby elevating their stress levels, anxiety and depression. If they feel they are falling behind, they may make matters worse by turning to drugs or alcohol.

Mental health issues can prevent one from living his/her dream, starting a family or becoming useful to his nation. And this should be treated as a serious health scare. Mental health awareness should be made to safeguard emotional wellbeing of Nigerian youths.

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your views on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.

Love

 

Valentine’s Day (Lovers’ day) is a day set aside all over the world to celebrate the gift of love.

For me, Valentine’s Day is just another day on the calendar. You don’t have to wait till it’s valentine to show love. This brings me to the question, what is love? Love is the feeling of tender & passionate affection for another person.

From infancy to adulthood, we have had strong but transient romantic attraction for the opposite sex starting from our teachers to our fellow classmates. We often refer to these individuals as mere crush & that is what I feel love is. People have labelled me a love critic because I often say love is overrated. Don’t get it twisted, love is a beautiful thing but these are my reasons for saying love is overrated:

We as Christians are implored everyday to love our neighbours as ourselves, yet most of us are self centred & care less about others. I believe if you don’t care about your neighbours, you can’t fall in love.

Love is patient & kind: Most people nowadays are impatient & I don’t blame them. Recently, there’s this girl I was so patient with, took all her bullshit, in the end, I was “lovelorn”. People always feel superior to you when you stoop so low to take their bullshit rather they brag in front of their folks saying “that guy/girl is head over heels for me”.

Love is not jealous, boastful or proud: Our people normally say “otu onye anaghi alu nwanyi” which means a woman is married by many not just one man alone. Jealousy/over protection is one of the reasons why people break up, a friend once accused me of trying to snatch his girlfriend from him. The guy is so jealous that any chat with his girl means you are trying to woo her. That you are dating a guy/girl doesn’t mean you are supposed to be monitoring his/her every move or glued to each other. In the end, you will get tired of each other & the rest is history.

Love does not demand on its own way: Demand is another inglorious chapter of a relationship. Nobody wants a demanding/nagging fellow as a partner. In the book of proverbs of the Holy Bible, a verse says “A leech has two daughters, both named give me.” Girls are of the idea that once they are dating, it is the responsibility of the guy to take care of her needs. Don’t get me wrong, you can do anything for the one you love but the person mustn’t demand or nag for it. I know a student who gives his nagging girlfriend a monthly allowance of 5,000 from his own monthly allowance of 15,000 & he tells me, its love. “It is better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a nagging/quarrelsome wife”

Love is not irritable & it keeps no record of when it has been wronged: Misunderstandings are acid tests of a relationship, they are inevitable. They help build a “covalent” bond between couples. People often claim to be in love but when a problem ensues, you often see the guy/girl saying all sorts of ‘unbelievable’ things about their boo & this makes me irascible. When the going was good & smooth, you didn’t see all these faults but because the end is lurking, you’d tell your story to every ear that is willing to listen. The truth is that we all have flaws & it is our ability to stay together despite our respective flaws that makes us say we are in love.

Love never gives up & endures every circumstance: People love due to so many reasons such as beauty, affluence, talent, intelligence, voice, height, size, dressing as the case may be but the one million pound question remains “would you still love him/her if all these change?” Abraham Lincoln once said “Everything is in a process of change, nothing endures, and we do not seek permanence.”  Let me paint a picture, assuming you are dating your dream girl/guy & one day he or she has an accident & loses a limb or any part of his/her body, would you still love him/her? If your answer is yes, then you are in love but if you answered no, you are definitely not in love.

Love is faithful: King Solomon said it all in Proverbs 20 verse 6 “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”  Wise words from a decent man.

Love grows: Loving the opposite sex is like loving a song; the more you hear the song, the faster you learn the lyrics & fall in love with the song. The more we stay with each other, the more we cultivate love towards ourselves. For instance, from primary school to tertiary institution, I’ve found out that there must be somebody in my class that makes me trip…This is because I see & stay with the person everyday but this ‘love’ usually fades away once I move to the next class. During the time of our fathers, most of our parents didn’t know each other from Adam yet they are living in peace & harmony.

Love signs: The butterfly thingy, touching of hair & other things that have been attributed to love are all fallacy. If you doubt me, check this out…They often say butterflies in the stomach is normal when you are thinking or speaking to the “one” but this feeling is normal because we do get cold feet once in a while. I don’t believe anybody is the one and this feeling occurs almost every day when we’re nervous or eagerly anticipating something or somebody.

Love is the advanced form of infatuation: Infatuation is the act of being foolishly or irrationally in love. The above statement is so true because people do stupid & foolish things when they are in love…If you have never been foolish before, then you know not what love is.

Love doesn’t pretend: Pretence is an act of giving appearance of truth or reality to that which is false or imaginary. People especially girls get in on the act…Ah!!! Who dey broda?!!! They show false “good girl” behaviour at the conception of the relationship but when the chips are down, they show their true colours. Guys also pretend to be rich, gentle and nice, anything for the cookie. My advice, never judge a book by its cover because looks can be deceptive.

Love doesn’t listen to gossips: A line from the song “so what” by Field Mob featuring Ciara keeps going through my head. “They said that I’m this, they said that I’m that…” We often listen to our friends when they tell us things about our partners. Some of these friends of ours may have ulterior motives behind their ‘kind’ gesture. A girl’s worst enemy is her friend. A wise man once told me a story of how the best friend of his fiancée lied to him, the friend had told him that his fiancée had epilepsy so he ended his relationship with the girl and married the friend instead only for him to find out years later that the girl lied.

Love doesn’t compare: my female folks are the culprits here. Here is a dialogue between two friends:

Lisa: What did Mark buy for you on Valentine’s Day?

Jane: Mark, my knight in shining armour, bought me a new phone (Blackberry bold 5), took me to Marina Resort where we rode the speed bike and speedboat after which we retired to a romantic dinner for two at our hotel. It was so romantic. You nko, how your own dey?

Lisa: Emeka that stingy fellow, he just bought me a card, flower and a necklace…Jane your own better oh!

Girls/women often compare their boyfriends/husbands and this makes me laugh all the time. They forget that all fingers are not equal and even brothers from the same womb have different destinies. Andy Murray of Scotland said after losing to Roger Federer in the Australian tennis (grand slam) open final, “I can cry like Roger, it’s a shame I can’t play like him“. If you really love your man, quit comparing and be contented with what you have alright?

Love is a bird; she needs to fly so enjoy it while it lasts.