Akua had big dreams and aspirations. According to her, nothing was impossible to achieve once you put your mind to it and work hard. Her plan was to finish Senior High School with straight A’s, go to medical school, become a doctor, help people, and start a family by the age of 28. But as we all know, life doesn’t always go according to plan. She neither got straight A’s nor admission to medical school even though she studied and worked very hard. Her dream school offered her psychology. She was sad and down but she said to herself, “this is not so bad, all I have to do is to get good grades and apply for post-graduate medicine. I can even go ahead to do psychiatry and i’ll have an upper hand because of my background in psychology” but life struck again, and she failed miserably. Her grades were not good enough and she finished the university with a very poor FGPA. She still had hope that she would be admitted as a post graduate to medical school so she kept applying. She failed to consider other options because this was her dream and not fulfilling it would mean she had failed in life. All schools in Ghana rejected her application because she did not have a good enough GPA, but she told herself, “I’m good enough to be a doctor, Ghana doesn’t deserve me”. She spent the next 5 years of her life applying for scholarships to schools in Canada, Ukraine, China, U.K and U.S.A. Again all the schools she applied for rejected her. She was 28, had no job, she hadn’t started a family as planned, she didn’t even have a boyfriend to begin with and she wasn’t a doctor either. That’s when it hit her and her world came tumbling down.
She would read the same page over and over only to realize she had no memory at all of what she had just read. Her mind had turned on her; it mocked her for her foolish plans. She couldn’t concentrate, she no longer found anything interesting, enjoyable or worthwhile. She thought to herself, “I am going to die someday, what difference does anything make”. She was totally exhausted and could hardly pull herself out of bed in the mornings. It took her twice as long to walk anywhere. She wore the same clothes over and over again because making a decision on what to wear was too much of an effort for her, she dreaded talking to people and avoided her friends as much as possible, virtually inert with a dead heart and a brain as cold as clay.
DEPRESSION: is a feeling of severe despondency and dejection. SYMPTOMS: people with depression lose interest in everything and feel no emotions when they try to do something enjoyable. Depression may be characterized by changes in one’s appetite, sleep pattern and activity levels. People with depression have what we call psychomotor retardation, that is, they walk more slowly and quietly. They also have more accidents because they cannot react more quickly to avoid them, they lack energy, they experience chronic fatigue and they also have psychomotor agitation which is when one fidgets and moves around aimlessly. Their thoughts are filled with guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness and suicide. In severe cases, they lose touch with reality and experience delusions and hallucinations.
CAUSES: it can be caused by a genetic predisposition, an increase or decrease in some neurotransmitters, a functional and structural abnormality of the brain, endocrine factors, irrational thought patterns, childhood trauma, it can also be learned environmental factors such as the death of a loved one or joblessness can also cause depression and gender and ethnic differences can also influence depression.
MentalMondays by Akwama.