Oblivious to stares, Mr X walked down the median of the Ikorodu expressway wearing torn clothes. His hair was noticeably dirty and he could be seen talking to himself.
Like many such cases, some people looked at him saying, "see that mad man over there (ę wo were)". Others felt sorry for him and wondered why his family were not giving him needed care.
Over the years, a lot of people have come to wrongly equate mental illness with madness (mania). Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth which is: mental illness has different forms and is not restricted to "madness". Mood disorders; eating disorders; schizophrenia; bipolar disorder; anxiety disorders and more are some of the forms of mental illness.
In order to protect yourself and those close to you, you need to know the warning signs of mental illness, which includes:
- Recent social withdrawal.
- An unusual drop in functioning, especially at school and work.
- Development of problems with concentration, memory, or logical thought and irrational speech.
- Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, and smells
- Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity; apathy.
- A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality.
- Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.
- Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervousness.
- Uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
- Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or deterioration in personal hygiene.
- Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings or “mood swings.”
Remember early detection can help reduce the severity of mental illness so please be vigilant!