“Caregiving is not easy. It consumes time, energy and financial resources. It sucks out strength and determination. It turns simple ideas of efficacy and hope into big question marks. It can amplify anguish and desperation. It can divide the self. It can bring out family conflicts.
It can separate out those who care from those who can’t or won’t handle it. It is very difficult. It is also far more complex, uncertain, and unbounded than professional medical and nursing models suggest.” These were the sentiments of Madam Asha during a community engagement exercise in Isiolo. Imagine raising your children in an upright manner, taking them through school and ensuring that they uphold their cultural beliefs and one day waking up to reality that all the three boys who were once normal are now mentally ill as a result of drug and substance use.
It was at that point that I recognized that it was beyond the realms of my capacity to be able to deal with, or make sense of what was happening. And I thought, ‘This is really bizarre, this is beyond my control, this is something I don’t have a grip on. What the hell is going on here!’ I actually thought I was perhaps losing my mind. It was really scary for everyone. Worse still, was when my husband deserted me for another woman citing that he couldn’t stay with a cursed family. It was like they all stood down from it and it was more like Asha just stood up and it’s like, ‘Well am either going to be here to help, or otherwise am just going to stand back and bicker amongst each other and nothing’s going to get done’. I was scared because I didn’t know what was going on.