EMMANUEL EBOUE: ILLUSTRATING DEPRESSION AS A SILENT KILLER - Soul 2 Soul Mates Blog

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1/14/2018

EMMANUEL EBOUE: ILLUSTRATING DEPRESSION AS A SILENT KILLER

EMMANUEL EBOUE: ILLUSTRATING DEPRESSION AS A SILENT KILLER
In my third year as a student of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, I took two courses in psychology. My
teacher was the erudite Prof. Peter Omoluabi. Taking those two foundation courses in psychology, I came to appreciate that many afflictions hitherto assumed to be spiritual attack, particularly in traditional African setting like ours and which pushed many to enslave themselves under some so-called men of God, fake spiritualists and herbalists, not following the right course of clinical or medical diagnosis, are simply depression. Money is wasted; relationships are strained as the innocent are wrongly accused of being behind the predicaments of victims of depression whose situation is often compounded by the way and manner friends, colleagues in office and family members, nuclear or extended, treat the depressed.
Eventually, the victims may be lost in the process of exorcising the ‘demons’ oppressing them. When the victims should be positively assisted, worst punishments are often inflicted on them; when such should be supported, they are estranged from their loved ones; when they should be given hope, they are labelled as mentally deranged by those around them. As their situation deteriorates, they are abandoned to die silently or allowed to snap and burst on the street. We now call them mad men and women to run away from, when we should have prevented them from becoming our embarrassment. They may also choose to end it all in grotesque circumstance of plunge into the lagoon, self-poisoning or hanging from the ceiling fan hook.

As a young editor in the early 2000 (Deputy Editor, The Monitor on Sunday) when I controlled many pages of the defunct Ibadan-based newspaper, published by the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao, I felt concerned that mental health issues were hardly featured in the newspapers. As I took special interest in this aspect of health, having read quite some family health literature from the bookshelves of my brother-in-law, Alhaji Ariyayo Azeez, a prominent Ibadan-based broadcaster who retired from the services of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State few years ago and died on Christmas day few weeks ago, I resolved to make a difference in health feature on the pages of The Monitor on Sunday. I sought out an expert at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. I found one in Professor. Yinka Omigbodun who I conscripted to be our columnist on the Mental Health Page introduced in The Monitor. Every week, I ‘troubled’ Prof to ensure that the column does not fail. She did not disappoint in her flawless treatment of various aspects of mental health.
As I was the editor or the chief proof reader of that page, I digested every bit of her thoughts on mental health I was most benefitted. I also began acquiring some literatures on mental health. Listening to Prozaic was one of the books I purchased on the book stands.

I had had some collections on diets and emotional issues. I took especially to Prof. Omigbodun’s analysis of the causes or predisposing factors of depression; I was sensitive to her advice in her columns on how to relate with persons living with depression; I followed her warnings on lifestyles that can lead to depression. From her weekly essays I learnt to take life easy. The lessons from Omigbodun were very invaluable to me on how not be depressed by the vicissitudes of life or how to recover wholesomely from losses.
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