On being our brother’s keeper II
Last week we looked at the complications of the world, some of the major causes of how we are all now struggling to stay afloat, from internet to parenting and peer pressure. If a good friend of mine has 2,000 followers, I am going to become fairly upset and pressured as well as feeling intimidated. So I am going to try and spike my figures by doing something bizarrely insane to get past her to may be 2,200 to prove a point.
This is millennial kingdom where narcissism with a healthy dose of self-entitlement is going on. This is also where capitalism and commercialization take over from humanity. Big companies encourage people to shoot a colleague, bite off an ear, attempt suicide, steal for the buzz, be a drug dealer online and say so publicly for followers. Number of followers determines your popularity and this ultimately leads to advertising on your platform.
There are too many online millionaires and not all of them are healthy. Some thrive on dirt, others thrive on sleaze and others thrive on hurting other people to get along. Some types of reality TV is hurting us all. It’s okay to sleep with each other like dogs on heat on live Television; it’s okay to learn to destroy, backbite and destroy another’s self-esteem; it’s okay to confess your infidelity, it’s all okay.
Not only is it just entertainment but it’s all about big money for those on the show, for television executives and also for the networks. The advertisers get tax rebates and their products get a spike in sales and popularity. Everybody wins big except the vulnerable persons in society, the impressionable kid, the already depressed guy or woman, ordinary folks. It is from some of these programs that we feel like we have achieved nothing, we begin to think of crooked new ways to make money and the winner takes all in the games do not help the other participants who have lost. The race to take over our minds has only just begun.
How does a culturally oriented society deal with this dog eat dog mentality which is considered in other circles as big business? Exactly what have the winners done to earn all these money. The reward for sleeping with each other? But then that is a story for another day. What shall we do to keep an eye on each other, to reduce depression, to help each other, to reduce sadness and reduce violence and suicide?Blasé as it may sound, talking, listening, getting psychological and psychiatric care, managing anxiety disorders and taking them seriously among friends and family is key.
The other day, I met a young lady who had everything going for her, a great job, a good family and good looks. At the hotel lobby, she seemed out of sorts and all I said was are you alright? She began to wail uncontrollably at the side lobby where I took her. All was not well. She was anxiety-ridden and felt she had disappointed her family by not doing well at her Masters course and her office had spent a lot of money. She was practically falling apart. But I could tell she had deeper issues that needed attention so I asked her to seek the help of a counsellor. I do not live in Lagos so I made some recommendations and I have been in touch with her.
Being a burden-bearer is not easy, being a caregiver is hard and our psychologists and psychiatrists are struggling with so many patients. We do not have enough of them. About one million persons to one psychiatrist as statistics go. Staggering! Talking to a family member who has issues can go a long way, listening is such an important tool. Of course you cannot go around listening to everyone’s problem, you cannot even do so, even if you wanted to, it is humanly impossible. But you can address a family member today who seems to be struggling and listen and talk them out of their hole or refer them to a counsellor. We used to think counselling was for white people only. This is not true. That mentally ill person you see on the street could have been rescued if he/she got help on time. Remember no one is immune from mental health issues. It can happen to anyone.
I congratulate Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, my friend and sister who is doing such an incredible job on mental health issues from movies to newspaper columns (The Guardian and other papers) and Gloria Ogundipe who is also active in the Punch Newspapers in a weekly Sunday column called Mental Health issues. I salute all my friends who are psychiatrists or Psychologists and all their colleagues. It is not easy. Everyone should benefit from their knowledge and experience. Valuable and eye-opening.
I read in the papers two weeks ago that a young 25-year-old Nigerian man committed suicide on account of the European league and a bet. He lost the bet and had to give out his motorcycle to the winner of the bet as agreed. That was the source of his livelihood. Before long, the sadness of losing the bet and his source of income overwhelmed him and he took his own life. We all know that there might have been deeper issues and perhaps he was already on the fringe of a mental breakdown. Let us keep our eyes and ears open to assist another. Be our brother’s keeper, for the death of one diminishes us all and a healthy society is for our collective benefit. Enough said.
N.B I would like to hear from you. Please send emails to an alternative email: abu_eugenia@ yahoo.com) The symbol between my name and surname is underscore. I look forward to your mails.
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