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Amaka Obi: Not Every Problem is Spiritual! Sometimes You Just Need Counselling

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Becky (not real name) will be 38 in June. She is your regular Lagos girl with a good job, a good car and a great circle of friends. She is the life of the party wherever she goes, bringing sunshine into every room – no matter how bleak.
But Becky is well known for one not-so-great thing – her inexplicable and very sudden mood swings.
One minute she is laughing, cracking jokes and having a great time with friends, and then, BAM sudden silence. She becomes so moody, so downcast, and so forlorn looking that everyone around becomes very uncomfortable, and that’s usually the end of that gathering.

Becky herself can’t say why she falls into this mood at these times. She knows when it is starting, she feels it coming, but she is powerless to stop it.

Becky isn’t married; not for lack of suitors. She has had many great relationships, but once it starts getting serious or getting physical, she clams up so badly and gets so irritated. She finds a way to mess up the relationship.

This happens every single time!

Her ex-boyfriends attest to the fact that she is a great girl – loving, caring, kind. However, all of them say one thing “Something is wrong with her. She acts possessed sometimes. I can’t figure her out”

Becky has heard “you are possessed” from so many people, she has actually started believing it. She has gone for deliverance sessions in a number of churches, yet nothing changes.

She has even been told by several pastors that she has a spirit husband who is very jealous and who doesn’t want her getting too involved with any man. That, that is why he causes her to destroy her great relationships, especially when it starts getting physical.

Becky is distraught because she really wants to get married. She has always dreamt of having a family – a loving husband and 2 children.

At almost 38, that dream is fast fading away. She is getting desperate. Then one day on Instagram, one of the people she follows put out a post about “breaking away from your past that is causing you to self-sabotage”. Becky knows for a fact that she has been on a self-sabotaging spree for most of her adult life but she has no idea why. She can’t recall anything from her past that would’ve caused this. But she decided to just go see what this person means.

She booked the session with the person on Instagram (who turned out to be a licensed psychotherapist).
The 1st session went almost without event (in Becky’s mind) hence her surprise when the therapist asked her to come again, free of charge for a 2nd session. She couldn’t understand why.

She went anyway. This 2nd session was more eventful. The therapist had asked her lots of questions during the 1st session and had noticed a pattern. He suspected something which he needed to investigate further, hence the 2nd session. During this session, he took her on a mind journey down memory lane, he kept asking questions and walking her back, until suddenly, Becky burst into tears.

A memory came flooding back to her. A memory she had repressed all these years. She remembered it as clear as day.
Becky, at 9 years old was raped by her 16 year old cousin. This guy was her closest cousin. He was closer to her than even her own brothers. He took her along everywhere and fought her battles for her. So, she couldn’t understand why he would hurt her. She told no one and after a while, she forgot. Almost as if it never happened. She completely buried it in her mind.

But she didn’t REALLY forget. Her body remembered. This was why she always got moody whenever she was in a gathering and someone or something reminded her of that event. That’s why she broke off every relationship that came too close. That’s why she couldn’t bring herself to get physical with anyone.

She cried and cried and cried. The session had to end there.

Now, Becky knows the root of her problem and she is determined to face it and deal with it. She wants to go on to have the life she truly desires. And she will! Because she doesn’t have a spirit husband. No, she does not. She only has unresolved issues from her past, haunting her present and threatening to swallow her future.

Not every problem is spiritual. Talking to a professional counselor and/or therapist can help open your eyes more.
As we pray to God and seek His face concerning our challenges, let us also seek the face of trained professionals to help us navigate these challenges.

Always remember, there is a professional for every of life’s challenge – psychological, physical health, marital issues, behavioral anomalies, relational issues, parenting challenges etc.

Let’s use these professionals more often. Seeing a counsellor does not mean you’re weak; it simply means you’re smart enough to recognize the issue and sensible enough to want to fix it. You don’t need to wait for that crushing issue before you talk to one too.

Let’s start on a journey to breaking the stigma attached to seeking professional help when we need it so we can raise a nation of all round well citizens. If you have any issues you’d like to me, reach out to me via my details below and I’d be happy to talk to you.

Photo Credit: © Andrii Kobryn | Dreamstime.com

Amaka Obi is a family Life counselor, relationship counselor, wife, mother and talk show host. She is an ardent lover and advocate of women. Founder - Wivesroundtable She is passionate about providing women with resources, tools and information to help them be their best possible selves. Her vision is to raise a community of totally well and wholesome women who will actively pursue happiness and fulfillment in every area of their lives. You can follow her on Instagram - @amakaobi_, Facebook – Nwamaka Obi, Twitter - @amakaobi_ www.wivesroundtable.com.ngFor easy and on-the-go access to these professionals, please visit www.wivesroundtable.com.ng to see a list of seasoned professionals as well as their different competencies. Or send an email to [email protected]. Do yourself some good, speak to one today!

16 Comments

  1. anonymous

    March 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Are psychological problems hereditary. I’m asking due to a personal experience. My God sister battled major depression (she slit her wrists). Her mother decided that it was spiritual, as some of her mum’s cousins had run mad like that. Infact, they said one just stopped wearing inner wears, then she started mumbling to herself before killing herself. The mum’s sister also suffered major mood swings. But my God father insisted on taking his daughter to a hospital despite my God mother’s refusal (my God sister was beautiful, intelligent, had everything going for her). At the hospital, it was discovered that she was low on certain hormones. I remember Cortisol being one of them. In less than one year, my God sister was fine. She didn’t need therapy, she needed drugs. Is it possible that the family is naturally low on those hormones, so that they can watch the unborn generation and check for those hormones in time.

    As per the marriage ish, I know a girl who isn’t married because she looks like a prostitute. We’ve told her once but she insisted we were jealous of her. (Maybe it was the context sha; she said guys always run after her and we told her it’s cos she looks like a whore. I actually called her a low hanging fruit. God forgive me but it was the truth; we even went as far as analyzing the toasters each of us had; while the others had guys who wanted committed relationships, her toasters were either married, in relationships or people who were just learning to ask ladies out. The correct guys she met just enjoyed talking to her and asked someone out later. We told her she was easy, like a game you always won so you played to re-assure yourself not one to be taken seriously. We told her guys came to her to get their ego boost when the ladies they wanted were tough but she refused untill years later when a guy told her to her face. ‘You know you look like a kept woman; it’s difficult to take you seriously. Me I didn’t say anything cos I was already married by then).

    I know another one who is unmarried because she carries herself in a scattered manner, people call her a free spirit but she lacks decorum. I once told her to look at the women of the men she admired and ask herself if she fit the profile.

    The challenge with these ladies is not who they were but that they wanted men who were not their match. The 1st wanted the tush, private educated kids and I told her those guys have decided the kind of girls they would marry early on; she needed to give the Igbo businessmen toasters a chance but she refused. The second also had the same challenge.

    I grew up upper middle class, my father lost his wealth and my class dropped. Toasters always said ‘it’s difficult to place you, you act tush and street at the same time’ I didn’t bother with marriage untill I sorted out my childhood issues and became the woman the men I loved wanted.

    The favor and spiritual aspect of marriage can also not be overlooked.

    • Frida

      March 12, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      Some forms of Mental illness are hereditary. A positive family history makes one more predisposed to having mental illness.

    • californiabawlar

      March 12, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      Is there a pill for a nasty self-righteous attitude? Asking for a friend… Shhhheeessh! Girl, you should have just stopped after the mental illness gist.

    • John

      March 13, 2018 at 8:08 am

      @anon The table you are shaking has delusional femtards on it

    • Smh

      March 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      I read the sad mental health story and empathized. I wasn’t expecting the low self esteemed bizzare rant at the end. Seems this mental health thing in your family also affects you. I think you should also visit the doctor and get help. Be blessed

  2. bruno

    March 12, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    ” Not every problem is spiritual.”

    dear writer what ur indirectly saying is there are some problems that are actually spiritual. pls can u give us an example of a spiritual problem.

    nigerians u better open ur damn eyes. there is nothing like spiritual problem. this is how fraudulent nigerian pastors make their money. I repeat there is no such thing as a spiritual problem.

  3. Mama

    March 12, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Becky sounds like a typical case of bipolar disorder in my humble opinion. They can go from manic with happiness to depressed in the twinkle of an eye. The problem with us in Nigeria is that admitting to any psychological issues means you are mad. And madness is not a good thing. In fact madness in your family is not a good thing not to talk of you. People investigate madness in families before they marry and it can break up unions. This stigma is the reason we dont seek the help a lot of us need.

  4. Kehinde

    March 12, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I’m glad that a lot of issues like these are coming to light. Our mental health is vital and just as important as our physical health. I hope the other Becky’s out there would reach out and get the help they need to move on.

  5. Presh

    March 12, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Please sound it loud , so my brothers in the east can hear

  6. Omotayo

    March 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    This is brilliantly written Amaka. I once thought we didn’t need all this “oyinbo” things. We are a “suffering and smiling” kind of people. That view is so wrong! In fact it’s this type of thinking that’s allowed us degenerate to this level. We DO need help. A lot of people are going through so much and don’t even know why. Thank you for this reminder.

  7. Blessing

    March 12, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    This sounds so familiar, I had to get a resolute point with myself and decided no more….

    The spiritual houses does not even make it easy for the victim, their words were powerful suggestions that complicates matters for the individual concerned and the person begins to suspect herself (lol) When really there is nothing of such.

    The prayer and fasting process leaves you more depressed because it is a big torture, going for days without eating another level is eating food with no salt or oil. I just knew it was madness because the process does not represent the loving God I serve.

    I met a therapist too who helped me trace my anger and where my fears came from, now I am a bundle of joy and peace.

  8. Missmo

    March 12, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Mehn. Psychological issues are real. They are not necessarily spiritual. Most of thsi issues develop from a lot of factors like chronic stress, and negative mindset. SOme mindsets are so negative due to past experiences, and upbringing, and you just never know how bad it is till you really end up in a really bad state. I had one of these episodes last year. I got overwhelmed by all the wrong things going on in my life. 28 year old female, frustrated on a graduate program abroad, jobless, and battling chronic Ulcer and GERD. I didnt even know when anxiety crept in. progressed into depression, insomnia, emergency ER calls, and everyday swallowing numerous pills. No I wasnt mad. But at a time, I became confused. I would scream from sleep, and have panic attacks. I was always afraid to go out cos i thought something bad would happen to me, I prayed. Maybe at some point it was nt working cos I was praying out of fear. DUnno.

    I realised I was battling chronic anxiety disorder when i would be discharged from the ER room and docs would say everything seems fine from their end. I spoke to my pastor and rather than pray for me, we ended up having repeated counselling sessions. Believe me, i actually started to feel better. Today I am better and stronger . I realised how much damage fear, anxiety, worrying and negative mindsets affected me and caused physical symptoms that were scary.
    Anxiety and Depression are evil monsters. and yes, they are spiritual because it affects your mind and soul.

  9. OA

    March 12, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    I once heard a pastor preach on Matthew 19:12 and I had a better understanding of the source of problems. I am not relating this verse to getting married or not, rather it is cited as a broad generalization as regards problems. This verse has a superficial meaning, as in it addresses the statement just before it, however, there appears to be a deeper meaning. “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” You can check out other translations. The long and short of the sermon that day was that: 1)Some problems are spiritual as in they start from when a person is in their mother’s womb; 2)Some problems are caused by fellow humans (wicked people); 3)Some are by our own doing. I’m just saying what the pastor preached oh, I am not saying he is right oh, just take it as you wish. I was particularly drawn to the fact that the verse states that the problem may begin while the person is in their mother’s womb; note it does not say before their mother’s womb. Reason is according to the Bible, God knew us before we were formed and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I.e. before we entered the womb, we were perfect, however, once we enter the womb, we become contaminated with flesh/sin, etc.

    • Frida

      March 12, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      Pls Mathew 19:12 has nothing to do with spiritual problems. It is what it is.. Giving reasons why some people will not be fit for marriage.

  10. Sumbizzle

    March 12, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Hmmm great write up. I use to be in dis category. Giving meaning to everything that happens in my life. Am so thankful i have come to realize that nothing means nothing except the meaning u give to it.
    As humans we read meanings to everything that we have become a meaning machine. Rather than think of the cause of the issue, get curious and pay attention..
    In beckys case it was simply a past experience which most of us has. Rather than forgive ourselfs and deal with the shadow effect. We decide to live with our shadow which covers us with clay and act like we got it all together.
    To everyone out there who is still living in d past, its time you forgive urself and reach out to professionals for help

  11. OA

    March 13, 2018 at 2:27 am

    @Frida. That’s why I said take it the way you wish and as stated above, it has a superficial meaning and a deeper meaning just as many other verses in the Bible. When it was broken down to me, it made sense and is quite simple — problems can be spiritual, fellow man-made, or brought upon oneself by one’s own actions/inactions. I appreciate your input though.

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