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The woes of a stricken nation with the invisible pain of MDD, By Ngozi Bell


Shadows darken her path every day, she is laden with her pain – she cries incessantly and laughs with intention. So many seem to surround her, yet she feels alone as she stands resolute, seemingly indominable. Yet deep inside she crumbles.

This is the perplexing paradox in the pain of depression, whether as an individual or a nation. Today we will examine the tenets of a nation depressed not by choice but by circumstances.

The condition of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is so devastating yet sometimes so hard to diagnose and treat, but generally according to research exhibits these symptoms.

Complications MDD:

  • Feeling low or having an “empty” mood most of the time
  • Feeling irritable, anxious, or restless
  • Feeling worthless or hating oneself
  • Feeling guilty, helpless, or hopeless
  • Feeling tired and not having any energy
  • Having no interest in anything
  • Avoiding activities and responsibilities
  • Having difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Slowing down of physical activity, speech, and thinking or increased agitation and irritability
  • Having difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Experiencing a change in appetite, which can lead to weight gain or weight loss
  • Experiencing unexplained physical aches and pains, such as headaches, stomach cramps, or body pain, that don’t go away despite being treated
  • Talking or thinking about death or suicide

So how do these play out in the life of a nation? In this piece we will examine each complication (some as consolidations) and identify the national equivalence:

Feeling low or having an empty mood: Economic Depression, Lack of reckoning with other nations, these nations are not invited to world issues. No G7, G8, G12 or G20 access, not part of the teams that discuss the big global issues. A nation largely regarded as irrelevant to the formation of the strategies that advance the globe but instead only considered as a recipient to the most rudimentary help.

Feeling irritable, anxious or restless: The inability to secure COVID vaccines made many non-producing nations nervous. Without the intervention of the US, some nations ravished by Ebola would have been further depreciated. Many wait with bated breath to receive medicines, financial aid, loans from others. In many cases nations that used to look like them, try China, India, Singapore – nations once regarded as one of the world’s poorest now power brokers. The left behind countries spend their strategy sessions anxious about the terms they might be served for the help they seek.

Feeling worthless or hating oneself: Their citizens are disrespected and sometimes despised. Many times, they are hardly able to intervene on behalf of their citizens when issues arise. Their embassies and international offices are unable to solve problems meaningfully. Their nations are described in derogatory terms like “shithole” by even pathetic leaders, sometimes publicly. They bark with no bite on the international level, shame fills them, and hope seems to withdraw.

Feeling tired not having any energy, having no interest in anything: The nation has no new initiatives, no strategies that address the circumstances it finds itself. It has no viable options to grow wealth, create development and commerce. It coasts wasting or trapping, its natural resources in the hands of a few, though capable of so much more. National poverty looms!

Avoiding activities and responsibilities, having difficulty concentrating and making decisions: National leaders abandon their duties and cannot stay on any key initiatives. One might observe that the minister of an agency might not be seen for months. He or she might travel incessantly on trips that are hardly attributable to the day to day of the country’s needs. Leaders are unable to articulate what policies they would proffer or how they will advance key initiatives or regulations. Country feels ungoverned and the  people are confused, many times representatives are “not on seat”, at times for months on end.

Slowing down of physical activity, speech, and thinking or increased agitation and irritability and having difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much: Very little comes out of the nation. Rumours abound, some say the leader might have taken ill or died, there is no one “in front”. There are no major speeches, no major activities, people are afraid because it feels like there is no overarching protection and the tension persists. Terror and terrorists abound with no counter force. The citizens are fearful they crouch down managing in ways that they can, many utterly devastated, wondering if they will make it, yet persevering all the while.

Experiencing a change in appetite, which can lead to weight gain or weight loss. Experiencing unexplained physical aches and pains, such as headaches, stomach cramps, or body pain, that don’t go away despite being treated: The nation’s desires are topsy turvy, there is no clear path to leverage its human resources. Sometimes they trade on the diversity of the human capital but without adequate funding, the leaders revert to their failed places, their national appetite fixated on what was. The only desired and dependable resource, the one thing that enriched their gluttonous appetite. Their national weight fluctuating like wind in a storm. Lean times characterised not by lack but a slowing down on the demand for their “hardly developed” natural resource and times of bloating characterised by the direct opposite. Their wealth management a schizophrenic past time of great wealth and equally great poverty except in both seasons, majority of the citizens  stay hurt – in perpetual states of pains and illness due to an economy that has no consideration for its own

Talking or thinking about death or suicide: The people start rioting, fighting and ethnic clashes abound. Some groups want out, calls for secession abound, many believing that the nation is just about dead. Citizens no longer care; they believe they have given so much for a nation that is incapable of caring for them. Fatigued, they stagger away, those who can leave, the die-hard optimists give up exhausted in thought and activism. Governments clamp down and without passion the nation cracks. Death is imminent without intervention. The only question that exists now is “what next?”

A nation can be depressed and exhibit the many symptoms like individuals. Finding and fixing it will bring health back; examine yours and ask if all is well, we owe it to the nations.

About Ngozi Bell

Take a listen to this podcast Say It Skillfully® OUR VOICES – Ngozi & Okezue Bell, Carpe Diem! Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (voiceamerica.com)

Inspiration, Hard Work, Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother A.C.Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, iOT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work

experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder of a number of a number of enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (https://anchor.fm/stemstocksstews-podcast).

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