“Bimpe has been super excited for the past two weeks. Everyone thought she would react differently but we were all happy she seemed to handle the issue with grace. She and Kehinde dated for three years before he popped the question about 6 months ago. It was a beautiful dinner with only a few friends at Radisson Blu Hotel in Victoria Island. Mum loved Kehinde – who wouldn’t? He was a very cultured, handsome engineer and he was quick to help us out at home when we needed help. We were already looking forward to the introduction ceremony between his family and ours when Bimpe discovered that he had a newborn baby with someone he always called his cousin.
We were surprised when instead of being all gloomy and sad, she was quite happy. She even became very friendly and more outspoken a few days after they officially broke up. Mum and I were trying to console her but it seemed like we were crying more than the bereaved. She said she had faith in God and knew that everything happened for a reason. We are all Christians but Bimpe never took faith and God seriously. Anyway, it was refreshing that she took solace from God, or so we thought. After a few more days, she started praying a lot, praying loud, praying into the night. It seemed awkward but if this was her way of dealing with the situation, we were fine with it, considering the fact that others might have resorted to alcohol or partying. She started giving alms to beggars, something she never did before. All these new found habits were odd but largely normal. After all, is praying a bad thing? Is giving alms strange?
We only became worried when she did not sleep for 3 days in a row. She claimed God had called her into the ministry and had given her supernatural powers. Bimpe actually emptied her bank account without our knowledge and shared among the beggars at the gate of our estate! She now only wore bright colours – like red from top to bottom, with bright red lipstick. Yesterday, her friends at work brought her home. Bimpe said she saw a vision and told her boss at work that she was the right person for his job. She told her boss that he had a turtle in his tummy that was directing the affairs of his life. Her co-workers tried to calm her down and get her out of the office. My sister became violent and even slapped her boss! That was when we knew that we had a problem on our hands. A friend described this hospital to us.”
This is the story of Bimpe Goncalves as told by her sister Dewunmi. The story might resonate with you. Maybe you know someone with a familiar story who might have suffered a heartbreak. Or maybe they lost a loved one or failed an exam. For some, there might not have been any obvious predisposing factor. Sometimes, one can sense that there is a difference in a friend’s behaviour even though it may not even be as full blown as Bimpe’s case.
The sickness described above is called Mania. It is one-half of a common psychiatric mood disorder called Bipolar Affective Disorder or Bipolar Disorder for short. The other half is Major Depression. So, Mania and Depression are at the opposite sides of the pole of Bipolar Disorder. In actual practice, most people who have Mania are said to have Bipolar Disorder with the current episode being Mania, because the person might have had depression in the past which was not identified.
What are the symptoms of Mania?
- Elevated mood and sometimes, irritable mood
- Increased energy
- Reduced need for sleep
- Fight of ideas
- Infectious jocularity, that is, overfamiliarity
- Flamboyant colourful dressing
- Exaggerated idea of self-importance
- Inflated self-esteem/Grandiosity
A diagnosis of Mania is made when there is an obvious change in behaviour and this goes on for more than a week such that there is a significant disturbance in the person’s normal routine, affecting either work, school or social life. It affects approximately 1% of the general population and is very treatable. Many times people do not recognise psychiatric diseases until the person starts to tear clothes and beat up innocent people. It does not have to get to that stage. Mental illnesses have a better prognosis when detected early.
So, this is Bimpe’s first episode and her relatives did well to take her to a hospital. Thank God that they did not think it was the evil neighbour in the village that was afflicting her; neither did they take her to a church for beating or a herbalist for head washing. The family recognised that she was sick and in need of a psychiatrist. They did not ostracise or stigmatise her, rather, they provided support for her. And when it is time to go home, they will be happy they made the right decision. Do you know any close friend or family exhibiting the above symptoms? Stop the stigma and help the person get help.
Do you have questions on Mania or any other psychiatric illness? Do not hesitate to reach out if you do.
About The Author
“Tiwatayo Lasebikan (code name “Dr Lash”) is a medical doctor with training and experience in psychiatry, psychology and counselling. His goal is to help people lead emotionally and mentally healthier lives.
“In Your Mind” is where Dr Lash uses his experience to help people dealing with mental health and other emotional issues. Dr Lash has recognised that there’s a dearth of information on the importance of mental health and he shall use this medium to educate us about mental health issues and how our attitudes, behaviours and thinking affect our emotional well-being.
Dr Lash offers a range of online mental health and counselling services which include relationship counselling, self-esteem and confidence building, stress management, career and work-related counselling, critical events management amongst others. Dr Lash can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @LashSupport.”