Top Ugandan engineer reveals his fight with Bipolar disorder
Almost every household in Uganda has a loved one who suffers from mental illness in the form of depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoia, bipolar affective disorder and other associated illnesses.
To a very significant extent, these disorders have been pushed under the rug since they are linked with shame and stigma. This is the case even though up to 35 percent of Ugandans suffer from a mental illness.
So it is heartening when someone suffering from mental illness busts this conspiracy of secrecy by declaring his own delicate mental status from the literary rooftops.
Eng. Musinguzi Begumisa suffers from bipolar disease and in his book “In Search of Sanity: How my Bipolar Disorder transformed into a Blessing”, he describes his rollercoaster journey withalternating periodsof strong mania (high energy and activity) and severe depression (low energy and mood) (low energy and mood).
Eng. Begumisa is an experienced engineer who works with The UgandaNational Roads Authority (UNRA), recounts that when he was in high school he constantly appeared to be in and out of the clinic addressing diseases like as ulcers, headaches, fevers, sleepiness and weariness.
Although treated with what turned out to be placebos, he received no comfort.
So, being a devoted Christian, he went to God for consolation. But like a shadow shadowing his every waking minute, he couldn’t break free of these diseases which assailed him from all angles.
Feeling surrounded and under siege, he immersed himself in school activities and was elected Chairman of the Pan African Club, Secretary of the Young Christian Students, Treasurer of the German Club, Editor Sunday Special, member of the Chapel Council and the Debating Club while at St. Mary’s College, Kisubi.
Always an overachiever, he looked poised to beat his infirmities through dint of success and hard effort.
Sadly, this wasn’t to be so as he started having panic attacks and bone-chilling dreams.
To complicate things, his academic work plummeted into a canyon as he completely lost control of his life.
His first mental breakdown came while he was in Makerere University.
Failure (or what he considered to be failure) tormented him.
Especially since he remembered his uncle, who had also struggled with mental illness and had to drop out of university.
“Was it my turn to speak? “Had my fate been decided?” Musinguzi pondered this.
Dr. Margaret Mungherera, his aunt, then took him to the Midland Consultation Clinic in Mengo.
He was first administered Lithium, Carbamazepine, and Haldol there. As a result, he was diagnosed with bipolar illness.
Identifying the issue was a significant step toward alleviating and managing his sickness.
Even so, things did not instantly improve. In reality, he faced much greater difficulties.
He had to retake the course units he had failed, as well as deal with the guilt he felt as a result of being “ill.”
Despite being on medicine, he had hallucinations and a blackout as a result of his feelings of humiliation.
He then suffered a second nervous breakdown!
“I’d like to meet with President Museveni. Outside State House Nakasero, he announced, “I have a strategy to salvage the economy.” He was speaking to a group of military commanders who were not pleased.
These troops, unaware that he was insane, beat him to a pulp.
Begumisa was motivated to create the book by his difficulties.
The book details his stay at Butabika Hospital, how his religion became his compass, and how he fell in love with his wife Grace when she told him he had bipolar disorder, “It’s okay, Andrew.” I’m willing to take a chance with you. I’ve seen that you have potential.”
Those were some potent words.
Sometimes all we need is for someone to believe in us in order for us to believe in ourselves. Eng. Begumisa’s life was changed forever as a result of this.
This is a narrative about one man’s path to sanity, which is aided by love and understanding-based support networks.
Faith, family, and self-fealty are all sources of love.
Without this affection, the author’s mental condition would never have changed for the better.
Eng. Begumisa demonstrates how his illness had a negative impact on his life, including his relationships and ability to engage in society.
He also talks about how he got in touch with his feelings and views, which helped him deal with a variety of mental and stress-related symptoms he had been dealing with for a long time.
He encourages the reader to see his determination to reestablish the correct balance in his life between his religion, family, worries, and sickness, as well as how he views his role in the cosmos, throughout this beautiful book.
Inspiringly, he constantly sought God in his worst circumstances, which led to his discovering life’s meaning via a connection with Jesus Christ.
However, this wouldn’t function in isolation.
Musinguzi’s faith had to be combined with a lot of emotional and inspiring supports in order for him to be returned to health and become one of the country’s top engineers.
It’s intriguing that this man, who was previously beaten for thinking he could directly counsel President Museveni, is now officially advising him after regaining his sanity.
Anyone who reads this book will be moved and inspired.