Story and pictures by CAMI EZENWA
When the Christian Men Fellowship of the Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) held its camp meeting at the weekend, one of the major highlights was a health segment that was anchored by Dr Alex Omene.
The theme was depression, and as much as the other segments of the camp were interesting, the topicality of the issue against the increasing cases of suicide in the recent, made it attract premium attention.
Interestingly, Dr Omene demonstrated a firm grip of the subject matter, and succeeded in breaking down to understandable bits, the technical jargons usually associated with that area of endeavour.
Using Numbers 6:24 as predication, he identified persistent sadness, associated with lack of interest in things one usually enjoyed as an early sign of depression.
According to him, other symptoms include anxiety, sleep loss, lack of appetite, reduced concentration, low self esteem, of depression, as well as suicidal ideas in extreme cases, are other signs.
As much as 1.5 million people in Nigeria he said, are affected by depression, a condition identified as responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths yearly.
Dr Omene added that the good side to the worrisome statistics is that depression is both preventable and treatable.
He advised that the realisation that everybody faces challenges, irrespective of age, social status or financial worth was enough tonic to stem the tide in depressive cases.
Citing John 12:24, he informed that even Jesus, the son of God was at some point sorrowful, yet, refused to give in to depression, adding that such stance from the Master should help people face challenging moments with equanimity.
Depression, he said could run in the family; it could also be as a result of constant negative thinking, hormonal changes (especially on the outset of menstrual cycle in women), long-time stay with poverty, while also, situational instances exist that could result in depression.
Management Of Depression
What then is the way out? The medical doctor advocated for the following antidotes:
- Lifestyle changes
- Right feeding
- Belief in the word of God, as some of the things that could checkmate depression.
Elaborating on the last point, he advised his listeners to keep attuned to God’s words concerning them, adding: “If God says He loves you, do not feel less loved. Some people do not even love themselves, and that is not good”, he advised.
On medical antidotes, he said there are medicines that elevate the percentage of the chemical substances that leave some people depressed advising regular medical check-up and early search for remedy.
On the danger of totally ignoring one’s body even with obvious signs of danger, Dr Omene counselled: “Listen to your body. If you do not take care of your body, the spirit could take its exit. Sometimes, you need to rest, not just when you sleep, but taking time out to relax. It helps rejuvenate your body.. Exercise also helps your mental stimulation”.
On food types, he laid emphasis on foods that have fish oil, oats, vegetables, fruits and nuts, before adding a clincher: “Don’t be a loner. And please, let me not hear somebody say there is no love in the church; in my church, there is excess love”.
A life of integrity has a way of freeing people from the pressures of creditors, he said, illustrating on how he was able to raise several millions of naira within a short period of time, simply because of the faith that the people he contacted had on him before that time.