ZIMBABWE Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Trust founder Angelica Mkorongo says young adult women suffering from OCD are more forthcoming when seeking support than men.
By HealthTimes Reporter
Zimbabwe OCD Trust is an organization providing awareness and support while destigmatizing this disease and other mental health disorders.
Mrs Mkorongo in an interview last week said it was encouraging to see these young women taking charge of their lives, seeking help before the condition gets worse.
“I’m finding that more women are coming forward than men. Men usually find it harder to admit they have problems, especially mental problems. They think that it is a sign of weakness. Our culture also does not make it easy. There is just too much stigma associated with mental disorders. Interestingly enough, the majority of people coming forward are young adults in their 20s. They have a whole life ahead of them. People suffering from OCD can stop functioning, they lose focus, low self-esteem, no confidence what so ever. That is when they start developing challenges like depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts. I’m impressed with these young ladies because they talk openly about their challenges,” she said.
She noted that a few men are coming as well. “The men coming forward are just a few but its progress. One of the issues is Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (HOCD) which is marked by excessive fear of becoming or being homosexual. The subjects often experience intrusive, unwanted mental images of homosexual behaviour. The excessive uncontrolled thoughts/doubts are very distressing and lead to compulsions in the form of checking.
Pedophilia OCD, or POCD, is a subset of OCD in which a sufferer has unwanted harmful or sexual thoughts about children. This subtype often results in panic, anguish, shame, and depression. People living with POCD have no desire to harm a child, yet they’re tormented by thoughts of doing so.The best cure for this is to acknowledge one has a problem. Seek help, a Psychiatrist or mental hospital and also a support group where people can freely talk without being judged. The support group is about how to manage these thoughts,” said the ZOCDT founder.
With the International Women’s Day commemorated yesterday, Mrs Mkorongo urged women to be vigilant and take action .“On this women’s day, I just want to encourage women that we should not wait for the government to do things for us. When I discovered I suffered from this disorder for more than 30 years without knowing what it was, I started blaming everyone, friends, family, the church, God, Government because I felt that I was let down. How come I didn’t know about this mental problem. Then I realized that playing the blame game will only make me bitter. The best thing for me is to educate those suffering so that they know they are not alone. I needed to let all the people of suffering from OCD to know that they were not bewitched or they have no evil spirits and that they are not alone.
“In the home, its women who first notice if the behavior in a child has changed or is different. These days where alcohol abuse is rife, they can quickly see the change in a child’s behavior. Be quick to do something about it. Let’s not wait until things have really gone bad. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain. We do not have enough of a neurotransmitter substance called Serotonin. Why should we be ashamed to talk about it? If you think of it, if a leg has a problem, and one can go to the doctor and get treated, people with bad eyesight get treated. Why shouldn’t the brain get sick.
“There is nothing embarrassing about mental disorders nothing to be ashamed of. We should not delay getting help for someone showing signs of a mental challenge. The longer we take the more difficult it will be to convince him/her. And if untreated, one can go deep into depression, they will refuse help and it can be hell living with some of these mental issues. I’m urging women to help each other, talk about issues affecting us as women, as mothers, as leaders. she said. “
I would like to acknowledge these supportive ladies, who have cheered me on and still are, Hope Makwara, Mecrina Mparidzi, Gloria Chimuka, Dr Ruvimbo Manyonga-Matingo, and Pauline Kamangira. We rise by helping others. Mental Health is just as important as physical health.LETS TALK ABOUT IT”
For more information, please visit www.zimbabweocdtrust.org