In my third year as a student of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, I took two courses in psychology. My teacher was the erudite Prof. Peter Omoluabi. Taking those two foundation courses in psychology, I came to appreciate that many afflictions hitherto assumed to be spiritual attack, particularly in traditional African setting like ours and which pushed many to enslave themselves under some so-called men of God, fake spiritualists and herbalists, not following the right course of clinical or medical diagnosis, are simply depression. Money is wasted; relationships are strained as the innocent are wrongly accused of being behind the predicaments of victims of depression whose situation is often compounded by the way and manner friends, colleagues in office and family members, nuclear or extended, treat the depressed.
Eventually, the victims may be lost in the process of exorcising the ‘demons’ oppressing them. When the victims should be positively assisted, worst punishments are often inflicted on them; when such should be supported, they are estranged from their loved ones; when they should be given hope, they are labelled as mentally deranged by those around them. As their situation deteriorates, they are abandoned to die silently or allowed to snap and burst on the street. We now call them mad men and women to run away from, when we should have prevented them from becoming our embarrassment. They may also choose to end it all in grotesque circumstance of plunge into the lagoon, self-poisoning or hanging from the ceiling fan hook.