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People with mental illness can have a perfectly normal life

DR BOIMA

HEALTH ISSUES

 

Just the other day my friend staying in Australia was telling me about the story of this amazing woman who lost 10 years of her life to schizophrenia, only to bounce back and get her PhD. We then discussed about how the attitude towards mental illness differs vastly between the first and third worlds.

How mental illness in Africa is surrounded by all these myths that are of pessimistic nature, destructive and of utmost disrespect towards the sufferers. How the sufferers themselves just shut down, stop trying and give up on life.

Studying for my medical degree in the first world opened my eyes to the fact that you can have a schizophrenic person sitting next to you in the train but until they share it with you, you would not have an idea; you can have a doctor battling bipolar disorder and still be able to perform his/her duties normally; you can have a university lecturer living with major depression and coping just perfectly fine.

Just like with many other chronic illnesses, psychiatric conditions have their times of relapse and remission. No single person is permanently mentally unstable. Today, with a variety of specialists, programs, and newer and better medications most individuals with mental illness can be in remission for longer periods of time and even recover fully and lead productive lives.

Gone are the days when they had to be spending most of their time roaming the streets unkempt, or locked away in mental institutions.

It is safe for people who have recovered from mental illness to work high-level jobs, hold important or responsible positions just like everyone else, depending on their own abilities, experience and motivation.

Most people who have recovered from mental illness are rational and intelligent, and it is certainly possible to have an intelligent conversation with them. Even individuals who are actively mentally ill have been shown to be rational in many ways.

They may suffer from certain delusions or act disturbed at times, but in calmer moments they will probably be able to discuss many things reasonably and sensibly. This is the same logic that Psychiatrists use to interact with their patients and get most of the information that may be helpful in working up the diagnosis and an effective management plan.

Most of us are paranoid and totally scared of people living with mental illness that we would not even dare come near them. Research has shown that majority of people living with mental illnesses are not violent.

In the cases when violence does occur, the incidence typically results from the same reasons as with the general public such as feeling threatened or excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs. However, some mentally ill patients can be impulsive and unpredictable during their active illness.

But once they have recovered, most of them are consistent in their behavior and rarely present surprises to those who know or work with them. People should learn about the mentally challenged person and deal with him/her on the basis of their knowledge. Every mentally ill patient should be treated as an individual.

Another misconception that we hold is that if a person has been mentally ill for a long time their chances of recovery are close to impossible. This is not true because some may be ill for many years before they finally receive effective treatment or their condition improves for other reasons. Once the turnaround occurs, these individuals may remain well for the rest of their lives.

There is so much hope in mentally ill and mentally recovered people and the way we act towards them can make all the difference in their lives. Effective treatment, hard work, and good motivation are of limited value when well-functioning, hard-working, motivated former patients are refused employment, housing, and other opportunities because of false beliefs and stereotypes.

No one deserves to live with the stigma associated with a mental illness. The important thing that we need to do as a society is be more compassionate, more informed, more caring and more supportive of those with mental illness (both current and previous). Support, be it from family, friends, and colleagues forms a huge aspect in the management of most of the mental illnesses.

Learn more about Alice’s story on the link below, a lady who lost a decade of her life to schizophrenia and the inspiration of this week’s article.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rethink-mental-illness/schizophrenia-story_b_8269596.html

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TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch

14th October 2022

On Saturday 29 October 2022 (11:00- 15:00) Bash Connektor will be presenting their 1st TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch which will be hosted by Basadi’Bash’Masimolole. Tatso. A Setswana word. Taste  .Tatso / ta-tso/. verb.

The Brunch will be held at Myhomecafe by Mogobane Dam and tickets are selling at P650 per person. Only 50 tickets available and sold through pre-booking. The value of the offering will be a brunch meal + bottomless mimosas + connekting conversations that matter with leading women in corporate and entrepreneurship. This is an inspirational / empowerment connekting session for Women.

Bash Connektor is a Marketing Company with a twist founded in March 2022 by Basadi Bash Masimolole who has 15 years plus Marketing Experience. The INTENT of Bash Connektor is to Link People, Experiences, and Brands. The K instead of C is INTENTIONAL. We are all about contributing towards AMPLIFYING brand and country messages through curating experiential offerings and connekting conversations that matter, said Basadi Masimolole.

With a sponsor or funding, Basadi Masimolole’s ultimate goal is to have visual podcasts and empowerment connektor sessions at villages as part of cultural tourism and contributing towards the Botswana Government’s Rural Areas Development Program (RADP).

Individuals interested in purchasing the limited number tickets or Brands interested in participating on the TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch through sponsorships/ brand placement opportunities can reach Basadi’Bash’Masimolole on +267 7140 6660 / masimololebasadi@gmail.com / Bash Connektor Facebook page.

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