On to my first post for this week
John and Mary (not their real names) are well known to me. They have been married for 15 years (as I learnt on that day) and have three children. They are by all standards what you
would call a happy couple. When Mary came to see me that Monday about a month ago her face was disfigured and she could not stop crying.
Mary: I can't stand this man anymore
Me: Tell me more about this man…
Mary: Its John… (Silence…then she starts crying)
Me: (Silence….as I wait for her to cry. It takes about 5 minutes and she goes silent)… (She looks up and I signal her to continue…)
Mary: Do you see all these scratch marks on my face and neck? And the blood clot on my cheek?
Me: Yes, I can see them….
Mary: Can you imagine this was done by the man who calls himself my husband and the father of my children? (She cries some more….as I remain silent). I now move closer to her while still giving her, her space. I let her cry, and let her be.
Me: Tell me more about it…
Mary: This happened yesterday. (I nod to encourage her to continue). On the said day I was to have a coffee date with Mary, however, this did not happen as she went out for a date with
John. He beat her on their way back from the date.
For the next 1hour Mary takes me through her 15year journey in marriage. The number of times she’s thought of quitting marriage are uncountable, but John has always had a way of
making up to her. Once when she threatened to leave, he threatened to kill their children and commit suicide, out of fear, she stuck. She claims he’s the most caring, loving and romantic partner when he is in a good mood. He is the beast when he’s in a bad mood. The problem is, his moods are quite unpredictable Does the story of Mary and John sound familiar?
My assessment….John could be having Bipolar disorder. I ask Mary to take John to a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to- day tasks. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotion, changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and unusual behaviors. These distinct periods are called “mood episodes.” Mood episodes are drastically different from the moods and behaviors that are typical for the person. Extreme changes in energy, activity, and sleep go along with mood episodes.
Sometimes a mood episode includes symptoms of both manic and depressive symptoms. This is called an episode with mixed features. People experiencing an episode with mixed features
may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless, while at the same time feeling extremely energized. Bipolar disorder can be present even when mood swings are less extreme. Some bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to other illnesses, which can make it hard for a doctor to make a diagnosis. In addition, many people have bipolar disorder along with another illness such as anxiety disorder, substance abuse, or an eating disorder. People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.
"Wacha niKwambie Uzima."
May 2017 – Afya nzuri, maisha nzuri.
Focus on physical and mental wellness.
© Lucy Ngari, Counseling Psychologist
This article is to be used as an information guide for indepth information and professional advice please seek the services of a registered mental health expert.