You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2011 07 26Article 214759

Opinions of Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Columnist: Appiah, Gifty Andoh

My lay point of view: Mad among the sane

22nd July 2011, a morning-like afternoon and goose bumps wrapped me up me as though in the grip of an anaconda. “Too many horrific deaths within these few weeks” I thought. Indeed I have seen pictures of dead people but this time, the front page of the Ghanaian times got me sick to the stomach. There was ace Ghanaian Musician Becca, the vice president and then the pictures of a familiar looking gentleman and a white haired elderly woman lying “head-in-blood” dead! Anytime I took a quick glance, at the picture, my heart seem to shrink a little and I couldn’t help but imagine my grandmother and worry about her safety. The story was headlined “Man Hammers Grand mum to death”. It was heart breaking, frightening and emotionally frustrating.
Old people may wish a peaceful death like they say; -sleep and not wake up again. Must be a dreadful shock to awake suddenly with excruciating pain, to see a person you love only to be hit over and over again by him until you give up the ghost. This may have been the experience of the 80 year old grandmother killed by her own grandson.
Here is my case; did family members not know the mental history of Ebenezer Asirifi (the alleged killer)? If they did, why on earth was he allowed to live with an old woman alone? Just the two of them, given that he is said to have been sent to a psychiatric recently after hitting this same grandmother with a hot iron and issuing death threats to others in the neighborhood. Clearly, these were signs that this person needed help and should be watched. Typical of our nature, however, he was not.
Many are “mad”
Too many things are taken for granted and a blind eye is turned to early signs of looming disaster. If the description of madness as any form or manifestation of mental instability is anything to go by, then one can appreciate that there is likely to be many “mad” people in society; except we are too busy to pay attention.
Like the alleged killer, I believe there are many people living with emotional, spiritual, and psychological “madness” among the sane aside the visibly irrepressible men and women on our streets who can easily cause accidents by the very way they look at drivers not to talk of their road crossing skills. There are some who have become more of “legitimate” with permanent places of abode on the streets of Accra and those living in our various neighborhoods to whom we even give nicknames and share jokes with sometimes. Then there are those who we just don’t want to believe are “completely off” because not long ago, they were just fine.
It is as though, there is too much focus on how and where to get what to eat and very little focus on emotional and psychological well being. At times the whole phenomena of psychological instability is spiritualized and even then, instead of praying and seeking genuine help, whether spiritual or physical, we run after all kinds of colored oil and candle camps where the “sick” we send are chained, maltreated and returned as fit to live happily ever after. We close our eyes and stuff our ears to change in the behavior and attitudes of people near us thinking there are more serious things to worry about and forgetting that their very existence could either be harmful to us or the minutest effort we make can prolong their lives or make them better.
Look out for changes in the person near you. Observe their language, behavior and attitudes and identify their intentions, do not under any circumstances take anything for granted and extend a hand of help as much as possible when need be. Do not put so much stress on the mind and a good rest when tired is recommended. Invest in your emotional well being and that of others and surround yourself with the right people. Most importantly, seek genuine help when necessary. Do not lock up your doors tightly to be safe from robbers and forget that there is a “mad” person within who can be very funny when least expected.

Gifty Andoh Appiah (giftdot@yahoo.com)