Our Mistakes on Victims of Depression

Abdulwarees Solanke, FCIPDM

Director, Media & Strategic Communications, MPAC Nigeria.
18th June 2019, Lagos

Feeling blue

The growing incidence of suicide in the country over situations of hopelessness or helplessness is indicative of the collapse of safety net that once was a hallmark of our socio-cultural system. This anomie is best classed as an emotional health issue especially depression.

Unfortunately, Emotional health is hardly taken so serious in many cultures.or generally misunderstood, the occurrence of which leaves many casualties in its trail or needless wastage of scarce resources on victims.

Where we are supposed to understand the victims, we show indifference. Where we are supposed to deal with it in creative ways to lift them out of the blues of this emotion, we resort to those who exploit the situation, ripping off victim’s families.

When we are supposed to show them love; we alienate them or cut off from them. When we are supposed to cheer and encourage them or give them hope and assistance, we snigger, backbite and humiliate victims in our attitude towards them, calling them inconsistent, lazy, unambitious or careless.

Yet, depression is a most debilitating and demobilising condition that enslaves or leaves victim powerless even over their own fates in life, faithless, embittered, self judgemental, withdrawn, melancholic, colourless, disorganized and self abandoning to tides and storms of life, the extreme of which is becoming suicidal.

Mostly the depressed person lacks the capacity to love, to enjoy life. They can’t be animated by any interest nor do they have the appetite to the best cuisines which they used to enjoy in their normal or good times or mood. It is a mood disorder.

They lose appreciation for fashion and beauty nor do they think of their health and hygiene. Often too, they lose consciousness of time, indeed procrastinating and disinterested. They just waste by the day, wishing for death, waiting to die.

So it always requires that loved ones and associates of the depressed travel into the depth of the ocean of their blues where tides are sweeping over them to bring them back to life.

The irony is antidepressant chemotherapy or drugs is difficult to sustain because while many are expensive, some with devastating side effects.

The best way to deal with the depressed is love, patience and understanding and perhaps must have travelled his path, pass and past before so you could relate with his feelings because often, you hear them say, you don’t understand. Or, I’m tired. You have to tell them how you were in their shoes or plight and how you came out.

Ehn ehn, you too? They may unconsciously tell you. You have to be able to connect with their past and their present and open to them a vast vista of hope and recovery, a new life, a promising future.

What they need is a helping hand; like a toddler, to guide them through the tough times and strong buffeting tides of life.

So when someone near you is in a financial mess, don’t make a mess of him again. Offer succour when his or her marriage is complex, or when his or her children are failing, his or career is floundering or business crashing, he or she is childless or battling with miscarriages or is visited with all kinds of disasters, even recurrence of deaths in the family, we should provide them shoulders to lean on, steadfast in standing by them in their trying times.

Is the present anomic social system helpful? No. We must return to the authentic communalistic way of life of our past when everybody is his brother’s keeper and the problem of one is the problem of all.

This modern culture is anomic, alienating many people and aggravating depression in people because the value system is patently a hedonistic manifesting in show off or boasting and pride. It makes the underprivileged sick and depressed.

Samson Orija, my colleague in VON shared a post on our department platform which affords me another opportunity to share knowledge on things one has read in books and had written to guide others from slipping into depression.

It’s better not to experience it than to be dealing with it because it’s too complex and time and resources consuming.

Many who came out of it have to start life all over again because it eats up whatever one might have accumulated before. They often need to have A FRESH START in life: a new relationship or love, new life, new job, new environment.


Abdulwarees Solanke

Abdulwarees, a 2007 Commonwealth Broadcasting Association scholar in Public Policy at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam is Assistant Director of Strategic Planning & Corporate Development at Voice of Nigeria, Ikoyi Lagos and Director, Media & Strategic Communications, Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC Nigeria.


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