SHE SHE SHE: Plight of mentally imbalanced women

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Cry of a mentally imbalance woman, walking barefooted in the street, half naked, eating from the trash bins, murmuring and laughing to herself, a tiny place on the ground without a roof over my head with no blanket to cover my body, mosquitoes feasting on my body every night, while men without conscience making use of my pride every night and going scot-free.

Then, I begin to wonder what I am in the society for even the trash is better than me, because the trash get attention once in a while, and I am neglected and isolated from the sound minds, for I am no good for anybody.

Life can never be predictable. Life is indeed a crazy ride and nothing is guaranteed. Every human being in this world is born capable, but it is life that determines what you would be as you grow up from one stage to another.

Every human being deserves to be happy, independent, healthy, strong, powerful, rich, respected, loved and cared for.

Those who believe in God would tell you that God destined everything that happened to them.

Life is fair to some and cruel to others, but whatever happens, we should accept it and move forward, and those we live with should try their best to support us to make the problem easier for us to handle.

We have lots of mentally imbalanced women in the country. These women are seen loitering about in the street and murmuring about.

We may not know or understand what they are saying, because we do not have their time. Even those that are related to these women run away from them when they see them.

Men that are mentally OK, rape some of these women on a daily basis. As a result of being victims of rape, some of them even become pregnant and their babies taken away from them, because they are not well to nurse a child - a child of a mentally stable man who raped this woman.

I begin to imagine what it feels like to be rejected by people you loved so much, and you are so desperate to live with just because you are mentally imbalanced.

How helpless they feel being raped on a daily basis by mentally stable men, who should be there to protect them, show them love and care for them.

From afar, I can see them walking bare footed, half-naked, talking and laughing to themselves, while people they loved care less about them.

To them they are living in a world of fantasy. At night, they struggle to fit in a tiny place without a roof over their head, a blanket to cover them, a pillow to lay their head on and no comfortable bed for them to sleep on.

The mosquitoes would be feasting on their body, and a greedy man from nowhere would come and rape them, while their people are lying comfortably in their homes.

The society did not see them as theirs; for them there is no justice and their rapists go free. Why is our society being so brutal toward these women? What crime did they commit for them to be isolated?

These are young beautiful women, who wish nothing more than being in their own marital houses with their husbands, children and relatives.

These are women who need our love, support, and care both morally and financially.

A woman who is mentally imbalanced does not mean that she is going to die or she is going to spread it to other people, if she lives with them.

Even HIV/AIDS does not spread from one person to another just because the infected person lives with other people.

On my visit to Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital, it was a different world for the mentally imbalanced living there.

A world where the only language they speak is oneness, sharing and caring. It is the right environment for the mentally imbalanced women to live in with their fellow women and men, to interact among one another and share the butut they have.

At Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital, everyone belongs and everyone is fit to share just one stick of cigarette.

At Tanka Tanka, I came to believe that no matter what happens to you in life, life is still worthy of living as portrayed by these women.

At Tanka Tanka, I came to know that even in the midst of trouble, you can let go off everything you have, but never let go off of your smile; you should always keep smiling.

At Tanka Tanka, I met a mentally imbalanced woman dressed in a long beautiful overall African dress. When I saw her, I thought she was working there as a nurse, but I was wrong. This woman happened to be one of the patients admitted there.

When I approached her and greeted her, she greeted me back and asked if she can take a look at the picture on my phone screen.

After looking at the picture, she said to me: “Don’t ever let him go, he is handsome.” I laughed, and said truly Tanka Tanka is the safest and the best environment for our mentally imbalanced women.

Even as a patient this woman has a heart to love, and a mind that can tell and point at where love is. Another woman greeted and prayed for me, and her words are more matured than that of a mentally stable person.

These are women who are given a home at Tanka Tanka so that it would be easier for them to get treatment, and be normal again.

The way the society neglects them; if there was no place for them like at Tanka Tanka, they would not be able to communicate like normal people.

Our society should know that every home in The Gambia can be like Tanka Tanka, because no matter how busy we are, we as a society can give one or two hours attention to each mentally imbalanced woman within our area, and give her the support and care she needs.

Being in the midst of these mentally imbalanced women at Tanka Tanka, one would understand that life is to be valued and a human being should not be thrown away, just because he/she is sick.

No one owns sickness and everyone can be sick someday, whether we like it or not. What is more disheartening is the fact that all those patients at Tanka Tanka came from a family or society, but the question is how many of them are being visited by their family members?

The staff and authorities at Tanka Tanka are doing their best to support the patients whichever way possible, but how about the society whose relatives are the ones being admitted as patients.

Buy a bag of rice, oil, onions, meat or any other foodstuff and take it to them. When they pray for you, you would never lack in this world, because God himself is going to reward you for feeding those who are helpless.

You can also take one hour out of your precious time to visit them, and you would never regret it. When you are in the midst of the mentally imbalanced patients at Tanka Tanka, they would give you hope; their words are filled with wisdom, and they would put a smile on your face.

They would make you understand that the problems of life can be solved with a smile and not tears.

Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital is molding the ones you neglected and lost hope in into beautiful women and gentlemen, and the only thing we need to do as people is to give them support, by providing them with foodstuff and other needs.

Are you a relative to one of the mentally imbalanced women roaming the streets? Please take them off the streets; they belong to a home, so give it to them so that they could be normal again.

These women have a right to a home just like any other woman in a home. 

Author: Halimatou Ceesay