ANGELICA Mkorongo, founder of a recently formed organisation called Zimbabwe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Foundation will be travelling to the United States of America for an International Annual OCD conference where she presents on Zimbabwe’s experiences about this condition.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The 26th annual OCD Conference informs and empowers the OCD community by bringing together health professionals, researchers, individuals with OCD, and their loved ones, with the goal of educating all attendees about the latest treatments, research, and practice in OCD and related disorders.
The conference running from July 19 to 21, 2019 will be held in Austin Texas. With Zimbabweans having little or no knowledge of this mental disorder, through scrounging for support groups beyond the Zimbabwean borders, Mukorongo says she got to share her experiences with the international community.
“It was through joining other people across the globe trying to know what other organisations are doing. Trying to form support groups. How we can help other Zimbabweans. So I was invited to give a talk on challenges of people suffering from OCDs in Zimbabwe. Its in two weeks that’s when I am supposed to go if I manage to get all the funding I am looking for,” she said.
She intends to tackle OCDs through bridging the information gap in Zimbabwe.
“The organisation is about raising awareness on OCD as not so many people know what it is. Or when I got sick, I didn’t even know what is going on. So people need to know that this is a mental disorder. It is a treatable disorder. It might not be completely treated but its treatable. And its not just people who are sick. But it’s everyone. The families, Zimbabwe as a whole because if I can recognize that your behavior is funny unless I can say let’s go somewhere and see a psychiatrist. And as well stigma, people don’t want to go and see a psychiatrist,” said Mukorongo.
Mukorongo said Zimbabweans need to understand its not their fault for presenting symptoms of this mental disorder.
“It’s not your fault. Right now people are saying you are so brave talking about this. I don’t see it that way. It’s not my fault that I suffer from a mental disorder. So why should I hide it? Why shouldn’t I help other people who are suffering the same problem but they are too shy to come out and talk about it. So we want awareness, we want to translate even books, the literature about OCD to shona Ndebele and whatever.
“We want to establish support groups where people can sit and talk about issues because having this disorder with no one to talk to it is something else. You need someone to talk to. You need someone that understands. People who know what you are talking about,” she said.
She said Zimbabwe’s economic, social and political pressures leave people vulnerable to OCDs.
“I joined international organisations. It is a universal disorder. Whereas here I have been told maSalala munonetsa. It is a universal disorder. According to the World Health Organisation, 1, 2 percent of a population suffer from OCD.
“And in Zimbabwe that number could be up because of psychological trauma that Zimbabweans suffer from. Those economic issues. Imagine you go home, you don’t have food, you don’t have anything. Imagine the Idai, the rapes, even those people who had their homes demolished. We can all start suffering from this. We need people to be aware,” said Mukorongo.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which time people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.