Mental health is a subject not discussed enough in Nigeria. Factors including Religious, cultural, and financial restraints make it almost impossible to have a conversation starter about the condition highly prevalent in the West African country.
According to a report by Al Jazeera, “One in four Nigerians suffers from mental illness, but help is hampered by tight budgets and a lack of skilled staff”.
Thankfully, the advent of social media has acculturated us to the West, easing in the thought that social factors, as well as culture and religion, exacerbate mental health problems in society. People who live with mental deficiencies such as anxiety and depression often feel they are alone. But the point of curating this piece is to highlight successful people who also suffer from such conditions.
Below are 5 Nigerian celebrities who have suffered mental health related issues:
Nollywood actress, Toyin Abraham has her story from good to bad and then good. Shortly after the crash of her second marriage to actor, Adeniyi Johnson in 2015, Toyin recounted how she fell into a depression that made her think of taking her life at the time till she resorted to drugs. In an interview with media man, Chude Jideonwo, Toyin recounted the gloomy days she suffered a mental breakdown. See her story below
“At some time in my life my manager had to get me a counsellor because I was depressed but lived in denial. I was not happy and very scared of life. “It was that bad that I thought of swimming or jumping from the third mainland bridge and hoping someone will save me.
“I confided in people and they used it against me, I had fear of the unknown, my thought filled with negative things. “It was hard for me to trust people then because the people I had around me didn’t know how to keep things secret. “I am from a Christian home but had to avoid them because I started smoking cigarettes. “I detached myself from my family because I thought I was going to die soon and didn’t want them to miss me.”
Toyin, however, took charge of her life after she got a new manager and a counsellor and has since continued blossom in her acting career
“I had to change everybody around me, had a different mentality to rediscover myself. “When you’re depressed you don’t know what you’re capable of doing, Immediately I overcame all of that, I redesigned my life to be my best version. “I got over my fears with the help of my manager and counsellor. You have to go through fire to have the finest things,” the actress concluded.
US based Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie shocked the world after she opened up on her strughles with mental health related issues.
The award-winning writer and public speaker shared with Guardian saying:
“Sometimes it begins with a pimple. A large shiny spot appears on my forehead. Or it begins with a feeling of heaviness, and I long to wear only loose-fitting clothes. Then my mood plunges, my lower back aches, my insides turn liquid. Stomach cramps come in spasms so painful I sometimes cry out. I lose interest in the things I care about. My family become unbearable, my friends become strangers with dark intentions, and cashiers and waiters seem unforgivably rude.
“I am strong. Everyone who knows me thinks so. So why can’t I just brush that feeling aside? I can’t. And it is this, the “cantness”, the starkness of my inability to control it, that clarifies for me my own condition. I look at the doctor and I accept the name of a condition that has been familiar to me for as long as I can remember. Depression. Depression is not sadness. It is powerlessness. It is helplessness. It is both to suffer and to be unable to console yourself.”
Wilson Oruma – Victim of A cruel Society
Story of a celebrated footballer who amassed wealth throughout his notable career and got defrauded of over a huge part of his wealth.
Per Vanguard, Willson Oruma was supposed to have a quiet retirement life but fell into the wrong hands, purportedly in a ‘house of God’ after being introduced to fake oil moguls by a supposed ‘man of God’.
The former Super Eagles player reportedly lost N1.3bn to the con men and could not withstand the attendant psychological pressure. In the 2018 report, Oruma had been in a rehabilitation home for three years, battling insanity. How cruel?
The Abuja-based actress has never shied away from the fact that she suffers from chronic anxiety. Tonto Dikeh has publicly admitted to being depressed since 2013.
Thankfully, she had the resources to seek professional help and has been seeing a therapist. She’s gone on to develop thick skin towards trolls who never stop making bad remarks against her personae and brand.
Per reports by popular Instagram blogger, Gistlover, Nigerian actress, Genevieve Nnaji is a psychotic patient in a US mental facility.
The actress got fans worried after deleting her Instagram posts and unfollowing everyone else. Shortly after Gistlover’s reveal, a video of Genevieve painting was shared on her Instagram status, leaving fans in a state of limbo.
Always Remember that you are not alone and you can find credible resources on the internet to help manage mental health related issues.