Fortune News | Aug 24,2019
Dec 19 , 2020
By Eden Sahle
Sometimes our social systems have a slanted negative view of others that injures them almost beyond repair. Unfortunately, contributing to this are usually the family members of the very people who should do the nurturing and protecting.
A victim of such social scarring is a tutor I had in high school.
When my father came to know him, he was a nervous man struggling to overcome setbacks in his life. His parents had suddenly gotten divorced. Shortly after, his father remarried. Hurt by this and unable to focus, he was fired from his job at Addis Abeba University. As he was desperately looking to support himself, my father offered him a job as my tutor.
He accepted, and we met daily after school. He was brilliant. I enjoyed solving math and physics puzzles with him.
Even then, it was clear that his sadness was eating him alive. It was obvious to anyone but him. He did not just refuse help but also thought he was proving his worth to his family. He spoke about the verbal abuse he gets from them, how they saw him as a failure and a burden. He did not have friends and family that he could count on. He hated himself, his life.
His mental and physical health was deteriorating before our eyes. His situation affected his everyday life, influencing how he responded to stress, how he made decisions and how he interacted with others. He lost his sense of purpose in life. Eventually, a year after he started working as my tutor, he stopped coming. We checked with his family; they told us he stopped living with them and that they do not know his whereabouts.
Over a decade and a half later - a few weeks ago - I saw him sitting on the streets, talking loudly and crying heavily. I could not believe my eyes. The respectful, intelligent young man who came to my home daily to help me excel academically now sleeps on the streets. His worn-out clothes were covered with dirt, and the plastic bottle he had with him reeked of alcohol. That reserved and calm man now slurs at passersby in Bole.
I approached and greeted him. He gazed at me for long without saying anything; then he quickly ran away. That was the last I have seen of him.
The alcohol abuse made sense. Substance abuse is linked to chronic stress and poverty. Lack of proper parental support, risk awareness, healthcare and community organisations lead to alternative stress coping mechanisms that do more damage – it was how he had slipped through the cracks.
Substance abuse can have a devastating impact on health, family and society. The consequence leads to a distorted psychological, physical and mental well-being of the user. From decreased self-esteem to social isolation to serious physical injuries, drugs and alcohol are significant health hazards. The immediate effects here can potentially be remedied when substance abuse stops, but the mental and social trauma can be permanent.
In life, some level of trauma is unavoidable for everyone. We all get hurt one way or another, although the intensity may significantly differ. It is also the case that the age at which a person experiences trauma influences how big of an impact it will have on them. Trauma experienced early in life has a bigger chance of causing problems throughout a person's life. The younger the victim, the more devastating outcome the crisis brings.
Mentally unwell people are not mentally and physically ready to support themselves in the social systems “normal” people have erected. This is a reflection of the fact that, while people with disorders such as schizophrenia are not less normal or abled, they will inevitably have a hard time coping with the prevailing social environment.
In Ethiopia, there is very little understanding of this. As a result, parents provide little emotional support to their children, as many are in great financial and emotional distress themselves. But it does not mean families and society at large should neglect its responsibility.
Solving the problem from its source is vital. It starts with parents, who themselves should be provided with support in the form of civic organisations and government institutions.
PUBLISHED ON Dec 19,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1077]
Fortune News | Aug 24,2019
Radar | Mar 27,2021
Radar | Aug 06,2022
Sunday with Eden | Jul 03,2021
Radar | Oct 31,2022
Obituary | May 11,2019
Verbatim | Apr 06,2019
Covid-19 | Oct 13,2020
Viewpoints | Aug 27,2022
International Stories | Apr 07,2020
Photo Gallery | 82374 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 74513 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fineline | 58332 Views | Oct 03,2020
Fortune News | 58178 Views | Jul 18,2020
Commentaries | Nov 25,2023
Life Matters |
My Opinion | Nov 25,2023
Sunday with Eden | Nov 18,2023
Agenda | Nov 25,2023
Editorial | Nov 25,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Nov 25 , 2023
Ethiopia's quest to develop a functioning capital market is a demanding yet not unach...
Nov 18 , 2023
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has made a fervent call for landlocked Ethiopia to ga...
Nov 11 , 2023
In November last year, a ray of hope pierced the gloomy skies of Ethiopia as the Pret...
Nov 4 , 2023
In the corridors of economic policy-making, a quote often attributed to Albert Einste...
Nov 25 , 2023
Awash International Bank (AIB) posted a striking surge in net profits, reaching 6.9 b...
Nov 25 , 2023 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
A new regulatory measure Djibouti's customs officials enforced led to importers being...
Nov 25 , 2023 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
Minister of Health Lia Tadesse (MD) has displayed her ambition of rolling out a three...
Nov 25 , 2023 . By DAWIT LIDETA
A year after the cessation of hostilities agreement was signed between the Tigray People's Liberation Front(TPLF) and the Federal government...
Or see contact page