The word “MAD” is a descriptive term for aberrant or strikingly deviant behavior.
Such behavior might be positively or negatively distinguishable from other expected behaviors within the context of reference.
Exhibiting a “Mad” or “Crazy” behavior isn’t necessarily due to mental illness. It is possible for an individual to be mentally ill but not exhibiting “Mad” behavior. It is also possible for an individual to be exhibiting a behavior that is unequivocally “Mad” or “crazy” within the context of reference without suffering from a mental illness. Bad behavior is not absolutely synonymous with mental illness while behaving in a mutually acceptable way is not absolutely synonymous with having no diagnosable mental illness.
The case of Seese, the fisherman of Masiwawu
There was once a very skillful fisherman in the village of Masiwawu. His name was Seese. He was considered by all members of the village to be mentally ill. Seese’s forefathers were fishermen, hence the deep secrets of fishing were handed down to him effortlessly. He was born into it. Before the age of seven, he had been traveling the seas with his father. His ability to use all means to catch quality fish was recognized before he started wearing a beard. He could use nets, fishing lines, harpoons, spears; just about anything that could catch fish of any size.
Sadly, his father died when he was 19 years old. Two years after his father’s death, he lost his mother. By then, he was still unmarried. His father died a fisherman in active service, leaving him with a massive fishing empire and lots of treasures in gold and precious stones. Three years after his mothers’ demise, he shut down the fishing business, sold off everything he had, and gave all to charity. He then began a fixed daily routine that was strange to all. He wakes up every morning by 5 am, rides his donkey to the riverside, and spends not more than 3 hours fishing with his fishing line. During this time, he catches enough fish to meet his needs for the day. He then spends the greater part of the day roasting the fish and trading it off for other kinds of stuff he might need to enjoy himself for the day; food, wine fruits, and vegetables. The entire village concluded that he was Mad!
One day, a news reporter heard about Seese in the city. He decided to visit the village and interview this skillful fisherman who became “mentally ill” after losing his parents. He rode into the village on his motorbike. Stopping at the village market, he asked one of the traders how he could locate Seese, “the skillful fisherman of Masiwawu”. The young woman looked at him keenly, her eyes roving over him and his motorcycle. She was obviously wondering what in the world would bring someone from the city, down to Masiwawu in search of their “neglected fisherman”?
She shrugged, making bodily movements and hand-clapping gestures signifying her interest in dissociating herself from the outcomes of his excursion. She then pointed the reporter in the direction of the road leading to the riverside, and the tree where Seese spends most time of the day lazing and wasting away his skills and potentials. He decided to ask if she had any information that might help his course.
“My sister, do you know anything about Mr. Seese?” She looked puzzled by his question. “Yes of course; who doesn’t in this village”, she said. “I am a reporter from the city”, he said.” I am writing a story on the village of Masiwawu and its legendary fishermen”. He added. The young woman looked at him; a look which seems to say “what has that got to do with me?” he then explained what he heard about the skillful fisherman of Masiwawu and his mental illness which had brought down an entire fishing empire. The lady laughed at him, seemingly amused by his fairy tale. “It is a lie”, she said. “The young man is just rich and lazy”. “he is so lazy and irresponsible that he doesn’t even want the commitment of marriage”, the trader added. “It’s men like him that make hardworking women like us remain single and searching”, she said dejectedly. The reporter thanked her and continued on his motorbike down the road that leads to the riverside. He pondered over what she said and ruminated on some questions:
1) Was this man really mentally deranged?
2) How much madness did he have in him?
3) Could the lady’s opinion be true?
To be continued next week!
What are your own thoughts about “Madness” and Mental illness”?
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Stay safe and sane; help others do the same.