“My dear, we never actually truly know what we are ready for. I wasn’t ready to be a mother too. But I have no regrets whatsoever about my daughter. I thank God for her daily and I wonder what my life would have been like without her. I’m married today and my husband loves her like his child. I’m yet to have another child but my husband’s love for her is strikingly beautiful.” She smiled.
“You need help, you shouldn’t allow depression dictate your life for you. You shouldn’t stay down. You mustn’t stay down. I’ll refer you to a psychiatrist and I beg you to keep your appointments with him, he’s a very good friend of mine.”
Did she just say psychiatrist?
I was not mad, why would she want to send me to a psychiatrist?
“Excuse me doctor, I’m not crazy. I don’t need the services of a psychiatrist.” I retorted.
She laughed, “The problem with our society is that we think the psychiatrist is only for the man or woman roaming in tattered clothes but that’s not true. That’s just about one percent of mental health issues. The psychiatrist is concerned with mental health and that’s a very important aspect of your well-being.”
“I’m not mentally ill.” I argued.
Yes, I had thought of killing myself but that had been it, I was not crazy. I had every reason to have considered suicide.
“My dear, you see, things like mood disorders, eating disorders, depression, insomnia, suicidal ideation all fall under mental health and they are more serious than the man you call mad who is roaming on the streets. It’s just the way you pay attention to your physical body, your mental health is important too. I need you to understand that.” She sighed.
“I need you to really understand that seeing the psychiatrist regularly and adjusting some lifestyle patterns are important.”
“What kind of patterns?”
“Well, you have to be positive, you failed your exams quite alright but it’s not the end of the world. Your classmates mocked you, take it as a challenge to do better and become a success that they would want to associate with. Forgive others, forgive yourself. Know the factors that trigger stress and anxiety for you. Control the internal stressors, adapt to the external ones.”
I was quiet. I had nothing to say as usual, had I been so stupid to think this was the end? If I had died, I was convinced now that Brenda and other classmates of mine would mock me for life. I would only be remembered as the quirky big-eyed nerd who died a failure.
“And even though I’m referring you to a psychiatrist and advising you. I’m also begging you not to let go of God the greatest physician. Have faith, patience, surrender to him. He gives true hope. He heals in ways that science cannot explain. He healed me.” She rubbed her hands on my shoulder before standing to return to her office chair.
“But doctor, if you claim God is the solution, why do I have to see the psychiatrist?” I questioned.
“Accepting God’s solution solves a lot of issues. In fact, it solves everything. I’m referring you to the psychiatrist because you’re a teenager who had suicidal thoughts and is currently expecting a baby. You need to be thoroughly looked after and monitored, especially as you prepare to have your baby. Your parents will also have to have sessions with a psychologist or if necessary a psychiatrist.”
“Why? They didn’t try to commit suicide now, so why should they?”
“Because they need help on how to pay attention to you. It’s mental health dear, and it’s important.”
“So you’re saying, Jesus is the hope and succour I need but just like I need a doctor to help me with the pregnancy and delivery, I also need a psychiatrist to help me with my mental health.”
“And Jesus is the solution that helped you.” I said, I was not sure if it was a question. I had no idea where I had gathered this confidence to ask her questions with ease.
“Yes Abike, he is the same yesterday, today and forever. He healed me, he has healed many, he can heal you. I’m sure you’d realise if you give him a chance to do that, you’d see the progress yourself while meeting with the psychiatrist.”
“Okay, I’ll see the psychiatrist.” I responded. If mental health was as important as she made it sound, then there was no point neglecting it.
“And what about the greatest physician, Jesus?” she asked.
I swallowed the saliva gathering in my throat hard. I was not sure yet. I wanted to take things slowly. One step at a time. I was still disappointed in God. I had trusted him too much and had been left helpless.
Having blind faith like the doctor suggested seemed like too much commitment.
“Well, it’s a choice you should make on your own. Think it through but trust me, you won’t regret it.” She smiled. “I wonder why the laboratory is taking forever to send across your test results. Give me a minute, let me call them.”
I watched as she spoke into the receiver, I had totally forgotten about the test. She had gotten my blood sample as soon as I had stepped into her office and had sent it to the laboratory.
The name tag on her white coat appealed to me. Onuoha had to be her last name, I wondered what the initials K.C meant. Could I become as important and relevant as she was in the near future?
I redirected my gaze to the picture frame of her and her daughter on the wall and touched my stomach. Could I be that satisfied in the near future? The doctor’s words came to mind.
Was Jesus the only one who could truly satisfy?
I thought of my exams, my family, everything. This was hard. The doctor said Jesus was the simple solution.
Could it be that simple?
To be continued.
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