Written By Zunzika T. Okpo
Gede Foundation held another round of Mental Health Camps, one on Saturday, April 22nd and the other on Monday, April 24th, 2017 in Mpape and Mararaba, respectively.
As always, there were new, and older cases that came for follow-up. Perhaps the most satisfying, was a case, that most of our regular readers would be familiar with, of the lady that was chained to a pole in a church for over a year. The lady in question is now doing a lot better and in medical terms, she now ‘stable’ and was able to narrate her story from her own point of view. She claimed that when she was pregnant, 4 years ago, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure. She was overthinking everything as things were not going well for her and her husband. When it was time for her to have her baby, she was in labour for over a week and throughout this time, she kept hearing voices telling her to leave. She stayed, however, and was able to deliver her baby. After she was discharged, everything went back to normal and she was caring for her newborn. When the baby was a few weeks old, she started getting upset at every little thing. One day, when the baby was 3 months old, she had a fight with her husband, got so angry that she left the house. After she left, she walked for such a long distance that she did not know where she was anymore. All she had with her were the clothes on her back and a handbag containing some money. As she could not find her way home, she ended up sleeping on the streets for sometime. Everything looked confusing to her. She did not know anywhere or anything. She eventually began to beg until she had a moment of lucidity and asked for directions to her house. She had apparently been away home for over a week. She was dirty, disheveled and had her lost her bag, save for the clothes she was wearing. When she eventually got home, her husband asked her to escort him to a church. She obliged. Little did she know that she was going to be chained to a pole for a very long time. That was where she had been from the time her child was 3 months old till he turned 3 this year. Right now, through the BasicNeeds livelihoods support part of the project, she was given money to buy a sewing machine and is back to being a fashion designer. She seems determined to advocate for herself and others, to stay in the support group and to adhere to her medication.
From the new cases, there was a 56 year old woman who talks to herself and has visual and auditory hallucinations. She has been a patient of a behavioural unit for over 30 years but relapses regularly which renders her unstable. She also tends to wander off. Another lady in her 20s has disorientation, usually sudden and lasts over a week. At the time the Psychiatrist saw her, she presented with poor memory and could not even recall where she was serving her NYSC (National Youth Service Corps). She has a form of epilepsy which is characterised by sudden disorientation instead of a series of seizures. An elderly lady, in her 80s, has had wandering tendencies, poor memory, poor sleep and unresponsive to people for over 30 years. She laughs to herself, and also talks to herself. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and placed on medication. Interestingly, an 11 year old also presented with the same complaints and has been this way for 2 years.
A man in his 70s started forgetting things and became very aggressive about 10 years ago. This behaviour continued, coupled with visual hallucinations and wandering tendencies.
It is encouraging to note that the message is getting across; support groups have been formed for our older users and even the new ones. They can support themselves emotionally, financially, if need be and in any way they see fit.
Please come back for more updates on our work in the field!