“It is all his fault, it is all his fault” cried Oluchi in a psychiatric hospital “He suppressed me, I could not breath, I could not fly, I could not even laugh. L am finished doctor; Look at what I’ve become” She was very bitter and angry against the one who did that to her.
Oluchi had always been a very timid girl. She rarely spoke to people around her. Her interactions with her neighbours, class mates and with the people around her were very poor. As an extremely inroverted lady, she was inward turning. She loved to focus more on her internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation. Infact she would rather die than speak up her mind. What could be the cause of Oluchi’s laid-back behaviour.
Since Oluchi was a kid, she was always indoors. She was rarely seen Outside except to go to the farm or to fetch water where she always went alone at a time in the day different from the one the other village girls headed to the stream. Even at home Oluchi was very different from all the others. She rarely spoke and communicated with them.
Oluchi was very laid-back. She did not mingle herself with the people around her. Being the only girl in a family of many boys, this lady was always by herself doing her things. She would never get involved with any party or annual celebrations in the village like the new moon festival, harvest season and all the rest. Think about anything that usually get the attention of and gather young ladies together and count Oluchi out of the show. No one could claim knowing Oluchi personally. Infact many of her immediate neighbours did not know she existed. Some knew that her dad’s kids were boys only. When she was seen Outside, those who knew who she were could not approach, greet or address her; She was lonely.
The only person who thought she knew who Oluchi personally was her mother; Mrs Nkem. She was the only Person her only daughter talked to and even laughed with. Mrs Nkem gave a good training to her daughter, she insured that she raised a perfect lady. When Oluchi became a teenager, her mom will constantly talk with her, explain certain things to her like the changes on her body that are the growing of her breasts, the monthly flow of her menses and many other “Just us Girls” topics like motherhood etc. Mrs Nkem was very nice and caring. A fair, beautiful and an introverted lady with a great soul. She was very protective and Loving. Oluchi exaggerated her mother’s beauty and introverted personality. Her husband Mr Nkem on the other hand was completely different from her.
He Believed in and practised Authoritarian parenting. He had very high expectations for his children, he did not care about having any feedback and responsiveness from his kids about the manner in which they were raised just like a normal parent will do. He was all about the exercise of power. Think of the authoritarian parent as a drill sergeant. Do it now, or else! The drill sergeant tries to get his way through threats and coercion. This description fits exactly the way in which he raised his boys and his only girl Oluchi.
Most of the time he punished mistakes harshly, and offered little or no explanation for his numerous rules and punishments. One evening he tremendously flogged his wife because she did not put pepper in his soup that day. There are many other things he prohibitted. He would not permit his Children to laugh, talk or even play in his presence, not even outside with neighbours and friends. In fact, Oluchi grew up not knowing what it means to play. The whole village knew him for that. No one could touch him and be left untouched. He was Compared to a lion; always ready to roar. He was an intimidating husband, father and neighbour. He was the “do it now and without delay” type. Once he said something, he expected that to be done instantly.
His parenting style was connected to a number of negative outcomes for his children especially for Oluchi his only daughter. She constantly had social difficulties, low self-esteem and poor self-control. This will come to bright day light in her life when she will move to the city to futher her studies at university.
One morning, Oluchi woke up and the first thing she learned was that she was going to town to futher her studies in a biggest university. She had just succeeded in having her advanced level in arts with bright Colours. Infact she had no choice than to pass the way she did because her dad was on her neck. Her dad had already pay for everything including her accomodating facilities. He wanted Her to study law to become a lawyer.
It was totally and completely against her will, her dreams and her choice. If she had a choice she would never leave her village and their home, she was never willing to leave her mother’s kitchen to an unknown world. She always dreamt about being a fashion designer, that had nothing to do with what her dad had in thought for her. That was the worst day of all her life. She was very sad. She wished she were never born. The mountain before her was too huge to be crushed.
Before leaving the following day, her dad warned her saying “Make sure you become what I want you to become; Work hard, stay away from boys and Make me proud….. Don’t dare to disgrace me. ” While Oluchi left, her mother sobbed. Her tears could fill containers. She knew her daughter was going to hell.
Starting university was starting a new life. When students leave home for university, they embark on a new journey, one that of self-reliance and self-discovery, which largely shapes up their outlook on life in the longer run. That was the case of Oluchi. She was embarking in a journey where she was the only one in her world.
The upbringing of her dad did not favour her at all she faced numerous challenges she was not prepared for. She was constantly struggling to find herself, find her place, find a voice in a completely different environment far from home. She found difficulties adjusting to her new life. she got a culture shock because of how different things were compared to what she knew at home. For example, the ways in which girls dressed that was not what she saw and knew in her village, their alluring feminity and the indicencies in relationships with the opposit sex all frustrated her.
Since it was her first time being away from home, homesickness stroke her very hard. She deeply missed her mother and she was afraid of what her father was thinking concerning her. At that time, technology had not yet evolved and communicating with her familly was a whole difficult and complicated procedure she was relunctant to start.
Finding friends or social interactions was totally new to her. She did not know that she could see more that 10 persons a day. Moreover, she had to mamage with a room mate that was her complete opposite. Linda grew in a totally different environment compared to that of Oluchi. She (Linda) had many friends including boys, she dressed indicently and kept late hours. Her (Linda’s) attitude started influencing Oluchi negatively, but her greatest challenge and fear was to disappoint her dad. Every time she thought about decieving her father, she fell sick.
While on campus, her natural beauty and quieteness attracted many of her male classmates and lecturers towards her. The more she rejected their advances, the more their numbers increased and this exposed her to emotional and physical instability. Oluchi could not give in to them because she was afraid of her father every time she remembered his words ‘make sure you don’t follow boys’. Most of the time she was moked by her class mates because this her attitude. They said she was sluggish and childish.
First semester was almost due and as the exams were approaching, Oluchi’s priority was to study extremly hard because she feared her dad’s reaction if she failled. Morning and night, the poor lady studied hard she could not sleep because she always remembered that she had to make her dad proud. ‘terror should not visit me at the end of the year’ was her slogan. ‘terror’ here was her dad. This exposed her to insomnia and fatigue. Infact, every time she thought about her dad, she was stressed-filled and sad because he was her biggest phobia and fear.
Every time Oluchi was studing, Linda will be attending parties, night clubs and other extra-curricular activities. Each time Linda saw her studying, she would just laugh and pass. Oluchi not knowing why Linda will always laugh studied harder because she knew she was not supposed to bring disgrace to her dad.
One day as she was studying on campus, Linda told her that one of her lecturers wanted her in his office that day. The quiet, timid and naive girl headed without wasting time. Once there, the lectrer asked certain personal information about her which she gave without existation. “do you know you are very beautiful, why are you over stressing yourself with work? Here you do not stress when you are as beautiful as you are, make sure you use what you have to get what you want easily.” When he finished saying these to the young lady, she was confused because she understood nothing from what was said.
First semester results were out every body was eager to see how they performed. Students floaded the dash board for their results. Oluchi drastically failed and was terrified. She failled in all her UVs. That night her tears could fill rivers. She was downcast and terrified. She thought about the solitude, the sleepless nights, the cramings and earnest studying. She cried bitterly and thought about what will happen to her when her dad sees her results. She sobbed and cursed the day she was born. She was in deep trouble. What pained her most was that Linda was amongst the top students even though she never studied but, was the chief party attender.
When Linda saw Oluchi crying, she felt sorry for her and comforted her with the fact that she could make it with the ressit. The ressit was due and her results were not different. She failled all her UVs. She could not understand how she failled that bad. Oluchi was so downcast that she fell sick. She spend the whole school break in bed, she was crushed. Before lectures resumed she recieved a letter from her dad;
“ Oluchi I don’t know how you are coping without me but make sure you do not forget what i told you.. do not disgrace your old father, stay away from boys and study hard make me proud. I send you some money spend it wisely……”
The poor girl’s situation worsen after reading her dad’s words because she knew her life was threatned. She knew what would happen to her if she replied to the letter. She was ignorant of her mother’s and sibblibgs wellbeing and her father did not bother mentionning it in the letter. More to that, the girl had no true friend to plead her case not even Linda who was busy taking care of her numerous boy friends. What comforted her was the little money she recieved from her dad.
During the second semester, Oluchi got different outfits, makeup and shoes. She changed her whole appareals and madeup her mind to change her strategy on campus. She stopped being the quiet innocent girl every body threathened and laughed, At least she did her best with books but that did not favour her. Instead it put her in deep trouble especially with her dad’s expectations which she turned down. Now she was going to “use what she has to get what she wants without stress” she became very close to Linda. Linda introduced her to a terrible group of students. They were often in parties and never studied. Despite the fact that she was still afraid when she thought about her dad, she knew she could not make it with books. By that time, the mindset that backed her actions was the fact that to her, her dad cared-less about her being rather he cared more on what he wanted her to do.
One day she went to a gala with linda. The occasion was organised by their department. That night, she was suprised by what she saw, the place was flocked with lecturers who were flirting with their students. She knew it was not a good place for her. That night she was very uncomfortable. She tried calling Linda who was minding her (Linda’s) personal and private businesses. She contemplated on going back to her appartment but she feared the way her friend’s were going to mock and laugh at her the following day.
As she was quietly sitted, a man stood before her. He was tall, dark, slim and gentle. He had a deep voice with well shaved hairs. She found him very attractive and handsome. When she looked keenly she noticed that it was one of her lecturers. Oluchi was scared the more but he put her in a position of confidence. He listened to her as she opened up and told him all that happened to her during the first semester. She opened up to him and was exposed to vulnerability.
One thing led to the other and she found herself naked in his bed the following morning. Not knowing how that happened to her, she remembered that she was with her lecturer last night and was very tired and sleepy but did not know what happened next. So sad she sobbed bitterly as she saw how she decieved, betrayed and disgraced her dad.
Itall happened on a weekend. That Monday when she got on campus, every body knew what happened to her. She saw indecent pictures hers on the main wall of their department and everybody started laughing when they saw her. Some called her names; prostitute, sidechick etc.. she was destroyed. A story came out saying that she was the campus greatest prostitute and other shocking things. All that was a trap set to her by Linda who was very jealous of how beautiful, intelligent and hard working she were. When she saw all that she fainted and was rushed to a hospital in town.
When she regained consciousness, she started running all over shouting and screaming “I am finished” it was the beginning of madness. Her mental health was lost. She was transferred to a psychiatric hospital where her situation was not improving. Time passed but there was no amelioration in Oluchi’s mental condition. The worst is that nobody cared about her not even Linda who pretended to be her friend all these while. Infact, the Lecuturer who turned to be their class master was Linda’s boy friend. He was also the one who once called Oluchi to his office all this in a quest to lure her into having an affair with her. Knowing that she will never give in to his erotic advances, Linda used him to destroy the bright future she(Oluchi) had by attacking her marks of both the exams.
Oluchi was very lucky that at last she was been taken care of by psychiatric students who were on intenship in the hospital where she was admitted. The supervisor of the team of trainnees was one of her dad’s aquaintances who was a psychiatric doctor and had seen her once when he visited them in the village. He decided to use her as a case study for his team’s project. On futher notice, he informed her dad of her present condition.
When Oluchi saw her dad in the hospital she started shouting and screaming “It is all his fault, it is all his fault” cried Oluchi in a psychiatric hospital “He suppressed me, I could not breath, I could not fly, I could not even laugh. I am finished doctor; Look at what I’ve become”. She was really mad against her father. She was not willing to see him. Infact she cursed the gods for giving her a ‘beast’ as a dad.
Mr Nkem not understanding what was happening to his daughter almost burst out in anger like a lion ready to roar but decided to hold back himself. He feared people’s reaction. The only thought that went through his mind was what happened to the investment he made in his daughter’s education. Trying to understand the screamings and the shoutings, asked the doctor for some explanations.
According to experts, a person is anxious because he is afraid that he might fail and so he fails because he is anxious. This anxienty can lead to insomnia, fatigue, stress and eventually depression who damages one’s mental health and lead to his or her eventual maddness. That is exactly what happened to Oluchi the doctor explained. She was afraid of her dad’s reaction if she failled to succeed in an environmemt and in a society trying to cope with a series she knew nothing about. The way she was raised did not favour any form of social integration and that is why she could not adapt and deal with the pressure of a perversed society different from home.
The doctor any ways reassured Mr Nkem telling him that there is always a solution to every problem and that the solution to his daughter’s depression could only come from him. He had to deal differently with her buy boosting her selfworth with words of affirmation, replacing the fear and anxiety she had every time she was with or thought about him with love, kindness and gentleness. He had to end the frustrations, beatings and negative words. He equally had to build friendship with her and make her feel confident around him and about the fact that she could make it in life. Mr Nkem was also adviced to discuss certain issues with her daughter and stop with his authoritarian parenting. He had to let Oluchi tell him what she really wanted to do with her life. What she love what were her intrests in life. He had to partner with her in discovering her purpose. Making desicions for her without her consent was hilarious and had to be worked upon. The doctor was of a real blessing to the Nkem’s familly because the ideology and the mindset of the head of that familly was in a transformation process thus, bringing deliverance to the familly as a whole.
Oluchi was kept in observation for several months. The recovery process was sparked up by her dad’s presence around her and she discovered another side of her dad whom she had never seen before. She saw how caring, loving and gentle he could be. He will ask for forgiveness, he will discuss freely with her and even laugh. Oluchi saw her dad feeding her, washing her clothes, calling her mom who was in the village to discuss with her and will laugh in the course of their conversations. Her dad did things she never thought he could do. The Lion became the Lamb. She therefore understood that her dad was a gentle soul whose personality was being transformed by his background. As a kid, his mother died early and was raised by a step mother who molested him throughout and had no where to run, nobody could defend him , not even his absentee alcoholic father. This experienced modeled the man he was and he thought that raising his children to be strong and fearless was the best method he could use not knowing that the result was very drastic especially for his daughter. Oluchi had to forgive her dad and that is where her recovery process reached its peak.
Despite the fact that Oluchi lose that year, she fully recovered from her depression and went back to her village. The atmospher in their home and neighbourhood was completely different. Every body was happy to see her, the people could laugh, play and visit the neighbours around without any restrictions from Mr Nkem. Oluchi could live and fly without being blocked in a cage. She made friends for the first time, and her true extroverted personality came to brought day light as she could address certain issues of life freely to people around her, her fears and inferiority complex were of the past.
The following year, she was admitted in a fashion designing school where she did what she loved and that flowed naturally. He became the greatest designer of her village’s traditionnal outfits in the whole country and was the CEO of many designing companies in her country. Her people especially her dad was very proud of her. She chaired many conferences where she talked about her personal experience and empowered youths to face their fears and deal with depression. Every body who knew Oluchi was glad to be part of her life changing experience.
Thank you for reading!
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