• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ignorance is the enemy

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Things were going very well for Danielle and the past 6 months had been the best time of her life. She had just been discharged from the drug rehabilitation centre after being an in-patient for 3 months of intensive therapy. Her parents actually had not known what was going on until the beautiful visitor literally changed their lives.

She had gone back faithfully for her routine check-ups at The Renewal Place, a serene rehabilitation centre, and her parents had gone with her each time because they were all in it together. At the same time that she had been admitted because of her drug addiction, her parents underwent therapy for their childhood traumas, which had been a big cause of her drug addiction in the first place.

Danielle had grown up in the typical Nigerian middle-class home as the first of three siblings, whom she attended public school with. While her siblings had excelled academically, she could barely read a word. It was such a confusion for her teachers because she was easily one of the brightest children in class until it came to reading. As her academic performance took a downhill turn, the beatings she routinely received at home for being a dull student got worse.

Her parents did not believe the report from her teachers that she might actually have problems reading, they concluded that she was being a truant. The most frequently used phrase she heard from her parents was, “there must be something wrong with you.” Her parents also didn’t leave room for her or her siblings to communicate with them, so there was no way she could explain to them that she understood more by listening when the lessons were going on.

Her frustration led her to start skipping classes and that was when she started hanging out with the ‘friends’ who introduced her to drugs. She wanted relief from the pain from the frequent beating she was receiving at home, and this new group seemed to understand her. They said their parents also saw them as misfits, and frequently reminded them that there was something wrong with them. Using drugs had been a good escape route for Danielle and it’d made her time at home more bearable.

Her parents didn’t pay attention to her anyway, being the flawed child until that fateful day her father came home with the beautiful stranger. It was divine providence because that happened to be the first time she overdosed on the drugs. As her father called them out to greet the visitor, Danielle collapsed right in front of everyone. The stranger turned out to be the Manager of The Renewal Place, who immediately recognised the signs and had her rushed to the centre.

When she came to, she saw her mother seated by her bed with eyes swollen from crying. Looking at the calendar clock by her bedside she realised that the last time she had been awake was 4 days ago. It didn’t take her long to realise that she was in a hospital of some sort, and she instantly knew that since she didn’t die, her parents were surely going to kill her when she left this place

Danielle had her first interaction with the beautiful stranger, whom she later learnt was called Aunty Angela 3 weeks after she was admitted. Her parents were still being nice to her, which was really weird and made her hopeful that they were going to let her live after all.

One of the first things she’d heard from Aunty Angela which her parents had also started telling her was, ‘there is nothing wrong with you.’ Apparently, she had been an undiagnosed dyslexic (difficulty in reading) and her parents had had no idea because they thought she had been lying. It had made them feel terrible that their parenting style had almost cost their daughter her life. Because she felt unheard, she had turned to the wrong company and drugs to help her cope.

They’d started therapy to deal with their own childhood trauma while Danielle had been enrolled in a learning programme alongside the drug rehabilitation therapy. She made a very quick recovery to the delight of her parents. Indeed, there was nothing wrong with their child; ignorance was the enemy.