The Role of Family in Battling Depression

By Kenneth Uyi Ogbebor

The recent spate of suicide related deaths has now seen the spotlight beamed, perhaps like never before on the silent killer known as depression.

The most recent of these cases that grabbed the headlines was quite poignant. Hikmat Gbadamosi, a 100 level student of University of Port Harcourt, took her own life after a prolonged battle with depression. Her bloated corpse was discovered days after by some of her friends.

She had consumed Sniper. Described as extremely social and convivial, she was the assistant course representative for her programme in school until the time of her demise. The statistics make for grime reading. Nigeria currently ranks 15th in the world for suicides, according to the World Health Organization and with 7 million diagnosed with depression, Nigeria is by far Africa’s most depressed country.

Add to that, rising unemployment figures and a drug pandemic and it would take an obscene level of optimism not to think that the country is on the precipice.
Among the more popular cases of people who have taken their lives out of depression are hugely successful people from all walks of life who supposedly have the world at their feet.

Depression is a deadly and silent killer. That someone perceived to be happy and full of life could be so broken to the point of taking his or her own life further illustrates why the menace called depression shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The role of the family
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder. Support and care from loved ones can go a long way in one’s recovery. Family and friends are often the first line of defense in the fight against depression. That’s why it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. You may notice the problem in a depressed loved one before they do, and your influence and concern can motivate them to seek help.

Family members should flag signs such as frequent complaints about anxiety, a lack of motivation, a loss of interest in social or pleasurable activities especially in areas where they have always shown interest.

The family needs to act every bit as a family in the true sense of the word. In one 2016 study of a large group of teenagers from diverse ethnic backgrounds, results showed that teens with high levels of parental support had lower depression symptoms and lower cortisol and C-reactive protein levels – two psychological markers associated with depression – than teens with less supportive relationships.

One of the best ways of supporting a family member battling depression is by listening. Depression is very often an isolating, painful and bewildering experience. Often, people will withdraw even from those closest to them due to shame, fear of being a burden, or because they have lost their impulse to socialize and by simply providing a listening ear, you make a depressed patient feel less lonely or isolated.

While you cannot control someone else’s recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult.

Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting to your loved one. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking. The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.

Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problem—and helping them see that it can be solved—is an essential step in depression recovery. A regular doctor’s visit is actually a great option, since the doctor can rule out medical causes of depression.

If the doctor diagnoses depression, they can refer your loved one to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sometimes, this “professional” opinion makes all the difference.

The Nature and Consequences of Rape on the Victims Part 5

In the Part 4 of this write-ups, we discussed several measures for preventing rape and sexual assaults.

This aspect of the writing will be devoted to how we can address the question: Why are people engaging in rape?

Why do people engage in rape?

1. Obsessive and uncontrollable desire for sex (Sex maniac). Naturally some people are obsessed with sex. They are always having the urge to have sex irrespective the situation. They find it difficult to exercise restraint on their libido. As this desire rages on, the compulsive feeling to have sex becomes uncontrollable.

Consequently, it does not matter how they meet this desire anymore, whether legally or illegally, morally or immorally.

So where the desire cannot be met in a socially approved way, they device another means which may be rape. People in this condition will do anything to have sex.

They will use all kinds of drugs, physically attack, and blackmail against their victims to have their way. To them, the end justifies the means.

2. Sex starvation/repression. Sex is a natural feeling that comes at its own time. Many in an attempt to act holy or for some other reasons deprive themselves of sex for unduly long period. So as the urges are coming they are suppressing it.

It is good to be able to moderate sexual feelings as a way of showing self-discipline. But there is a limit to which you can continue to suppress such feeling without crisis.

A time will come when this suppressed feeling will violently find expression such that it may become uncontrollable.

That is why people who have been known to be suppressing their sexual urges ended up being involved in one sexual scandal or another.

When such violent expression of sexual desire pops up for expression they become highly and dangerously vulnerable to sexual aggression and assault. Among the people in this category are couples who are separated by long distances, clergymen and women, businessmen and women, the yet to be married men and women, divorcees, single parents, and others. In order to meet this challenge, some people have resulted to masturbation, same sex relationship and the use of sex toys. However, most of them have also admitted that all these methods are not substitutes to the real natural sex as ordained by God.

3. Inferiority complex. The problem many people have is that they cannot express their love or lust to the person they are dying for because they are afraid of being rejected or ridiculed.

They will rather look for ways and means of going about it through other means that could be immoral, illegal, threat or use of violence, use of sedatives or drugs on their target victims, hypnotism, ritual/diabolic means, and others. The challenge these people have is that because they have low self-esteem they have ruled out the possibility of toasting or wooing a woman or man who will willingly and genuinely accept them. So what they could not take peacefully they try to take violently.

4. Insanity. One funny thing about the lunatics, especially the violent ones is their obsession with sex. This is particularly the case of the male lunatics. Once they attack any female, irrespective of the age, the next thing that comes to their minds is to have sex with her. Of course there are occasional sexual attacks on men by lunatics too but this is not as common as the assaults on the women and children. So it is advisable to avoid isolated neighbourhoods where mad men usually hang around alone, whether at night or during the day.

5. Ritual. In the same way people kill others for ritual, many sexual offenders are also doing so for ritual purpose. This sounds weird and odd but that is the truth. The rituals are for different purposes depending of the person. Some are for financial breakthrough, fame, business success, among other reasons. Most of the rapes or sexual intercourse involving parents and children are ritual related.

6. Wilful desire to spread Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Some people who are infected with STDs and who are quite aware of this have been found to show intention to spread the diseases to other people instead of availing themselves of the available opportunities to treat themselves. So they try to use all available opportunities, including rape to spread the diseases to as many people as they can. This callous and wicked act will continue unabated if nothing is done to hurt it.

7. Blackmail. Some sex offenders, including rapists, are driven by the motive of using it as a tool for blackmailing to gain some undue advantages ahead of their victims in social relations process.

This may be for the purpose of extortion of money or for the purpose of compelling the victims to drop certain goal pursuits that may be in conflict with their own personal agenda.

Politicians also design, arrange and execute rape to frustrate their political opponents in the tussle for power.

8. To settle score. Some go all out to rape or set out programmed arrangement to get their victims raped to settle age old scores. They will do anything to get this done, including paying collaborators or accomplices to achieve this wicked objective. In order to drive home their points, they take pictures and make video recordings to be shared with interested parties all in the effort to humiliate their victims.

This humiliation could be very painful. Some of the victims in this circumstance often consider suicide as aftermath of this humiliating experience.

9. Peer group influence. Show me your friends and I will know who you are. Some people, especially the teenagers are lured into indulging in rape and sexual assaults by their peers. To this category of people if you can’t rape her you are a weakling and you should not be calling yourself a man.

Any member of this group that does not have an independent mind of his own may fall for this. This is why proper sex education should be encouraged at homes and in schools to prepare the mind of each child against negative influences such as this.

10. Social and mass media influence. Many of the contents in the social media, television, radio, and print media are everything but immoral. Nudity, cudlings, kisses, and romance are openly and graphically expressed as the norms. Anything short of that is seen as not trending or not in vogue. As if that is not enough, impressions are being created that it is only when you are doing this that your chances of getting Mr. Right to marry you are being enhanced. It is also believed that these practices will help the married to keep their marriages.

The challenge here is that as these media organisations are beaming these contents to their teaming audience – fans, supporters or subscribers – the information get to the right as well as to the wrong audience. And in many cases the wrong audience often abuse the information as they get stimulated and use them for wrong purposes, including rape.

The fact that the contents are coming from popular media houses tends to reinforce the belief that these are the approved ways of behaving.

11. Near absence of moral and sex education in families and schools. Many homes are left without moral and sex education. Schools are not left out too.

What this means is that there are no moral standards and effective sex education to guide the younger ones on what is good and which should be done and what is bad which should be avoided.

This encourages the children and adults in their category to go all out hunting for who to sexually assault without knowing the implication of what they are doing.

12. Captured marriage. Some societies are still involved in captured or/and forced marriage till today. This is a form of marriage system that literally encourages the groom to practically abduct a woman of his choice either singly or with the active co-operation/support of his friends. Thereafter his family will send emissaries to the abducted woman’s family informing them that their daughter has been abducted for marriage.

Usually this is greeted with some initial outcry. But after a while the noise died down and agreements are reached on how the bride wealth will be paid. Meanwhile as this process is going on, the abductee is already being violated repeatedly by the abductor who calls himself the husband.

13. Subculture of violence. There are some societies that have subculture of violence. In other words, they give open support to violence as a demonstration of strength. In such societies being able to demonstrate that you are capable of fighting and inflicting bodily harm on others is a sign that you are a strong man. Everybody will start using the person as a reference point for strength and power.

To such a person and the culture he represents, assaulting and raping a woman will only add to his recognition in the society as powerful man. In such social group, raping a woman is a norm.

14. Weak justice system. Notwithstanding our age as a nation, our justice system is still very weak, shallow and not protective enough for the victims and potential victims of rape, Imagine when a woman who has just been raped reports to the police what has just happened to her and the police is telling her it is family matter that should be resolved at home. The criminal is let off the hook by the police that should be of help.

Another factor that is responsible for weak justice with regard to rape is the conspiracy of silence. To this end, concerted pressures are mounted on the victims to remain silent about the matter for fear of stigmatization.

So the rapists and other sexual violators keep doing this and getting away with it without any consequence.