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I discovered my wife’s mental health issue during her first pregnancy -Husband

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As Nigeria today joins global community to mark the 2021 World Mental Health Day, businessman Enitan Lawal, whose wife is mentally challenged, shares his challenges and frustrations

Mr. Enitan Lawal, a 46-year-old indigene of Ogun State, has been married to his 43-year-old wife for over 18 years now.

The marriage, which is blessed with three children, has not been a rosy one for Lawal, owing to the state of his wife’s mental health.

The businessman got to know that his wife is mentally challenged few months after their marriage when she became pregnant and the disorder started manifesting.

Since then, according to the father of three, life has not been easy for both of them, considering the stigma and discrimination that they face daily from members of the public, whom, he said, often show ridicule rather than empathy and support.

Sharing his experience with PUNCH HealthWise, Lawal said that although he got to know that mental disorder runs in his wife’s family, no amount of humiliation or stigma by members of the public will make him abandon his wife because of her condition.

COVID-19 worsened my wife’s mental illness

“We got married 18 years ago. When we got married, I didn’t know that she hada mental health disorder until she became pregnant. It manifested during her pregnancy and after her delivery. That was how I got to know and I started asking questions to know the cause.

“Infact, the sickness comes up each time she is pregnant. Later, one of her family members called me and told me that mental disorder runs in their family.

“Since then, she has been on medication but managing her has not been easy.

“But there was a time about 10 years ago that her condition degenerated and she was rushed to and admitted at the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

“After some months of intense treatment, she became better and stable and was able to live a normal life again. But in 2020, her condition relapsed and degenerated badly because of the disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Her drugs finished and we were unable to get drugs for her on time as a result of the lockdown. That worsened her condition,” Lawal said.

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