Musings With Olulana: Management Of Withdrawal Symptoms – Bereavement Group Therapy!

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Right now, on social media it is apparent that many Nigerians who supported a second term for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan are in varying stages of withdrawal from the disambiguation of "a reality" they were certain was about to swamp Nigeria! Very, very slowly some are coming to terms with the fact that a new era has come to stay in Nigeria and there is nothing they can do about it for four years at least even if they refer to Muhammadu Buhari as "your President," the "President of the North," or with some other derisive labels. Self delusion is extremely hard to dispel.
 
Sympathy should be the emotional response shown towards them by those of us who were not blinded by the bright lights and bling of GEJ's administration. There is a need for Bereavement Group Therapy in this situation and all of us should take part in it. There needs to be a control group. Those who are ecstatic at the presence of Buhari in Aso Rock!
 
First of all, let us dispel a few myths about the grieving process.
 
The pain will go away faster if it is ignored: Nah! You need to face up to reality. It hurts to see Buhari in the office Jonathan used to occupy. It is alright dear people. You need to face that and deal with it. The earlier, the better.
 
If you do not cry, you are not feeling the pain: Wailing is a sure sign of underlying pain but so also is uncomfortable silence! Wailing Wailers are just more expressive. Do not ignore the Silent Complainers! Think of dormant volcanos. Men do cry! Social media bears this out today. So many tears staining very many posts.
 
A show of strength is very important during grief: Bravado abounds in many articles and comments these days from people who are bemoaning the presence of the "Tall Man from Daura" in Aso Rock. All na "shakara oloje" as Fela, "abami eda" sang. Show of force!
 
It takes about a year to get back to some sense of normalcy: Not in this particular case. 2019 is the earliest date this grief will end for some!
 
The Five Stages Of Grief
 
"1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up." (Also, the re-election loss of a favorite son or "hero")
 
1. Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.” (That election was rigged)
 
2. Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?” (America is behind it,  Oil Blocks, Born to rule syndrome? Those Yoruba slaves of the North enabled this)
 
The other three are not yet manifesting. Just wait for them to show up.
 
3. Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
 
4 . Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
 
5. Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
 
The SHOCK and DISBELIEF at Muhammadu Buhari's election win led to SADNESS from a feeling of GUILT over not doing enough for Goodluck Jonathan which has generated ANGER now displayed without much restraint  which is really covering up a FEAR that they were wrong and is manifesting in PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS such as premature criticism and illogical expectations.
 
Those are common symptoms of grief. Now on to the therapy part.
 
Get support: Join a social media forum where you can vent with abandon. Stay away from beer parlor excursions. Hangover problems ensue. Oh? You are way ahead of me in that? Well done then.
 
Take care of yourself: Face and express your feelings. Do not let others tell you how you feel and do not even tell yourself that either. Let it flow freely. You are already doing that with your vituperation? Alright.
 
Plan ahead for triggers of grief: Note those "Lying Liars" who get under your skin which makes you wail and be ready for them. Use those illogical comments to respond in kind. Ah, you are already masters of the art? Great!
 
Make sure your physical health is taken care of: You are not missing any meals over Buhari? Nothing spoil then. Carry on go jare!
 
Complicated grief
 
"The sadness of losing someone you love never goes away completely, but it shouldn’t remain center stage. If the pain of the loss is so constant and severe that it keeps you from resuming your life, you may be suffering from a condition known ascomplicated grief. Complicated grief is like being stuck in an intense state of mourning. You may have trouble accepting the "death" (or election loss) long after it has occurred or be so preoccupied with the person who died (got booted out of office) that it disrupts your daily routine and undermines your other relationships." (Friends who support Buhari become enemies overnight)
 
Symptoms of complicated grief include:
 
Intense longing and yearning for the days of GEJ
 
 Intrusive thoughts or images of your hero 
 
Denial of the election loss or sense of disbelief
 
Imagining that your loved one is the president 
 
Searching for the person in familiar places such as thinking monitoring elections in other nations is the same as being president of one. 
 
Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one. Focusing on Canada's Trudeau and Kenya's Kenyatta 
 
Extreme anger or bitterness over the loss as observed on your Facebook posts 
Feeling that life is empty or meaningless. Nigeria is a zoo.
 
These are all symptoms of withdrawal. Much like the way addicts react to a sudden deprivation of their drug of choice. Many of the symptoms they exhibit are similar to those of grief and therapy is needed to help them get over it. I know that it is very difficult to have Goodluck Ebele Jonathan out of many people's system so it is exactly the same.
 
Fortunately, social media forums offer an excellent source and setting for Bereavement Group Therapy. I will continue to meet you there.
 
For those who will say or write that "Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is gone, so do not refer to him any more," you need to use that advice yourself as part of your therapy and also gave reality that he will always be a part of Nigeria's history and so must be a part of the national discussion from time to time. He continues to be very relevant.
 
Nigeria will be great again!
 
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