Updated: Jan 12
A whole of shortcomings but God has been faithful. A whole lot of stories to share. Why don’t I select just one of this and fill your morning. Just relax in your seats and read, comment, like and share the post to benefit other readers.
Buckle up and pull out your pens as you begin to scribble these words on the tablets of your mind, becoming adept at identifying some of these mental disorders and further referring them to a health care professional for adequate treatment.
Current location is Consulting Room 3. In walks a middle aged woman aged 40 years, who looked like she was in her prime 50. She was in a respectable blue dress garnished with jewelry adorned from her neck to her feet. My brain then smirks “Your work is going to be easy today”
I motion to the woman to take her seat, as I introduced myself “Dr Ntim” and pull out my pen ready to delve into her life. She hands me the referral form still smiling. I said "this smile could ran a marathon if it had the legs!" at the back of my head and continued. The referral form reads “She has had suicidal intentions for the past 11 years which is associated with a persistent low mood".
You might have realized I have used a lot of low mood in my post recently emphasizing the importance of mood in regulating our daily activities. You hanging out with friends? Mood. You going to the club with friends? Mood. You texting that girl day and night? Moooooood!
Your mood is defined as a pervasive and sustained feeling that influences your behavior and colors your perception about your world. The positive and negative feelings you experience are as a result of your mood.
A variety of adjectives are used to describe mood including depressed, sad, empty, melancholic, distressed, irritable, disconsolate, elated, euphoric, manic, and gleeful.
Back to her story, a 20 year old woman, the first born of her siblings; only girls, had recently gained admission into the university. Demonstrating an optimistic outlook to life, oblivion of the dark side started lurking ahead. Her future marriage was poised and ready to be in shambles..
So she enters university and joins a church fellowship which has its auspices located in the centre of the school. Just to make navigation easier, she finds a classmate who also doubles up as a church member to attend church together and study together, even into the deep hours of the night. Killing two birds with a stone!
One night, it happened suddenly!
She was raped as she spent a night at his flat with the intention of attending a joint church service the next day.
The blame game starts! Who caused what? She then begins to blame her naivety and vulnerability on the poor upbringing of her mother and an absent father, who made her vulnerable to the schemes of men. I sounded like I was going to write a verse in the Bible. Hallelujah!
She skipped her paper the next two days, affording her the luxury of a trail in her results. Her mood was dampened as relentless uncontrollable tears flew from the side of her eyes even when she was smiling.
In order to cope with her terrible experience, she decided to skip lectures and isolate herself from people. She could go on several days without eating or talking to anyone; crying every time with constant sobs of worthlessness and hopelessness. Subconsciously, she changed! Changed from her usual outgoing self to a very quiet person.
To make matters worse, she could not go a day, without sleeping terribly at night because persistent flashbacks and nightmares of preceding events flooded her mind. Her day was marked by extreme tiredness and boredom.
Her mood improved significantly after battling with these symptoms for about a month after different sessions with a clinical psychologist. She had wavered in her decision to seek professional help because of the stigma associated with mental health. But she experienced results!
Fast forward, she completes school with divine intervention! However the job market frowns at her and hits her hard with reality! She could not simply hitch a white collared job because she had an average degree, a few connections and little money.
She resorted to meagre and unskilled jobs to support herself by selling clothes as a hawker.
Unfortunately, she was lured and raped again in her line of duty!
She began to have a strong aversion for men and decided not to date any man again, that an arraigned marriage had to be organized for her about 12 years later, to her dismay.
This marriage was full of ups and downs, riffs and ruffs, and extra marital affairs for which she decided to call it a halt.
She decided to see a clinical psychologist when she began exploring options for taking her own life which included the ingestion of a large bottle of DDT (a chemical used in fishing) and slitting her wrist using a knife. However, she changed her mind when she was advised to visit the clinical psychologist once again, from where she was further referred to see a psychiatrist for expert management.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a term that denotes an intense, prolonged, and sometimes delayed reaction to an intensely stressful event. Examples of extreme stressors that may cause this disorder are natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, man-made calamities such as major
fires and serious transport accidents, or the circumstances of war, and rape or serious physical assault on the person.
The clinical features of PTSD can be divided into three groups. The most characteristic symptoms are Re-experiencing (also called intrusion). This include flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and intrusive images or other sensory impressions from the event.
Avoidance, evidenced by difficulty in recalling stressful events at will, avoidance of reminders of the events, a feeling of detachment, and inability to feel emotion (‘numbing’).
Hyperarousal, demonstrated by persistent anxiety, insomnia, and poor concentration. Maladaptive coping responses may occur, including persistent aggressive behaviour, the excessive use of alcohol or drugs, and deliberate self-harm and suicide.
Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning. It would be paramount you see a psychiatrist for evaluation and optimal treatment.
Psychological treatments are generally preferred in the treatment of PTSD, although drugs play a role in individuals presenting with significant comorbid depression or where psychological approaches are not beneficial.
Get help for PTSD because it is a highly treated disease and stay away from stigma.
Thanks for reading.