Nigeria: Championing Care for Depressed People

4 August 2021

Rebecca Ejifoma reports that for Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, who is the medical director and psychiatrist-in-chief at Pinnacle Medical Services, a foremost psychology and mental health clinic prominent in the application of innovative clinical approaches, her debut psychological novel titled Deep Expression, is targeted at directing patience and care to depressed people, thus accelerating their swift recovery

Deep Expression, a debut psychological novel by celebrity shrink, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, is quintessential for today's world of social media, increased unemployment, youth restiveness, mass hysteria, and global health tussle. This book disciplines readers to be patient, understanding, and supportive to depressed people for swift recovery.

With much precision, the author, popularly known as Dr. May, enlightens readers about depression, its symptoms, effects, and solutions while weaving it around the 21st century lifestyle of an active youth. She uses familiar words like Instagram, Tik Tok, photoshoots, and comments among others to interact with the mind of the reader.

The novel details the life of Brenda, an enthusiastic teenager, through whose charmingly exuberant gaze readers can feel the woe of a depressed person in the society. In one second, Brenda has her life at her fingertips -- creating a community of followers on Instagram through daily posting of her Tik Tok videos -- until a fatal auto crash falls her world apart. And her centre can no longer hold.

Now the writer clarifies that depression is not sadness, not a choice, personality trait, anxiety disorder, or mood swings. She delicately describes it as an illness that chooses its victims. Hence, it requires treatment, patience, compassion, and empathy towards sufferers.

For the multiple award winning mental health physician, advocate and coach, it has become evident how depression is synonymous with deep pressure on one's reasoning. It causes persistent gloom, deeper and more intense melancholy, haplessness, worthlessness, crippling, and emotionally damaging.

Deep Expression exposes the list of people who are prone to depression - everyone. And when an individual like Brenda is depressed, his or her world gets entangled. That world includes her loved ones, families and friends, career, and other daily activities that once cheered her. This, over time, melts down productivity for those affected.

Now according to the author, who has over 20 years experience as a mental health physician, the level of depression in today's world seems to be on the surge. Just like Brenda, so many young Nigerians have become strangers to themselves from who they used to be.

Consequently, the book, a perfect stream of consciousness, expresses worries over the sudden rise in cases of depression. Hence, she backs up the case of Brenda with data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating that about 350 million people are depressed globally. This makes depression the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. "It is that serious," Dr. May chips in.

Brenda, like the other 350 million victims, was no longer the jolly good fellow she used to be. Her new companion became zero appetite for excitement, constant guilt, rhetorical questions, low self-esteem, and isolation. Brenda's family did everything positive to help her weather the storm. However, her friends were quite the opposite.

Through Brenda's friends, Instagram followers and neighbours' ridicules, you could feel reality staring you in the face. While in a dire strait, many social media users today have turned into trolls. They find pleasure in making derogatory, negative, and dispiriting comments on posts to school or slam.

Truly, many people make statements they have no interpretation of. You must have heard a few godawful phrases made to those bereaved: "It is fate; what will happen will happen". "It has happened; it has happened", "God gives and God takes", "A time to be born and a time to die", "Stop crying" and the list goes on and on. But Dr. May does not reconcile to this unpleasant idea, as they are capable of hurting, in this case, a depressed person.

For the sufferers of depression, the novel prescribes that they consciously summon strength, resilience. The author goes ahead to list a self-check questionnaire for depression. They are: Do I have difficulty processing my feelings? Do I have intense feelings of guilt, helplessness, and worthlessness?

An excerpt: "Do you experience insomnia, hypersomnia, lack of concentration, anger, restlessness? Are you accommodating suicidal thoughts and thinking of the best technique to end it all? Have these symptoms occurred continuously for two weeks or more?",

For the author, if you answered those questions honestly and got three yeses, the next step is to see a therapist. "It doesn't mean you have depression. But you are in a sensitive stage."

Dr. May is the Medical Director and Psychiatrist-In-Chief at Pinnacle Medical Services, a foremost psychology and mental health clinic prominent in the application of innovative clinical approaches in the management and treatment of a wide range of psychological, emotional, and behavioral related disorders.

She is a trained and certified Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist from Albert Ellis Institute, New York, USA. She is also a certified Trauma Counsellor and Neurofeedback Practitioner.

Dr. May has wide experience in psycho-therapeutic techniques and has perfected her skills whilst in private practice and whilst working for a variety of organizations. She is a recognised radio and television guest Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist. She also contributes to articles published in magazines and newspapers.

She is the only Nigerian with the 14Ps Physician, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Practitioner (NLP, BFB, NFB), Public Speaker, Published Author, Producer (movies), Proficient Coach, Parent, Philanthropist, People oriented, Public Health Advocate and Passionate about God and life."

Dr. May has got much of an ace up her sleeve for mental health in the country. Her driving force is to live, and learn. And ultimately, she is out to impact generations positively, with Deep Expression taking the lead.

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