Questions on Mental Health

Am I Insane?

August 9, 2022


I have had weird thoughts of wanting to kill my three children. Lately, I have lost sleep trying to meticulously plan how the plan can be executed. I do not want to harm them but eliminate them because I would do not want to watch them to through pain. I wake up feeling very bad that I can have such thoughts. I was happy when I got these children and I have had great hopes of what they will become in future. What’s wrong with me, please help me.


Families are meant to be safe havens where growth, nurturance and stimulation resides and people can run to for safety. But the family today is not the safest of places with the high prevalence of homicides committed by close family members. Homicide has been on the increase in Kenya and the situation is now alarming for Kenyan families and requires concerted interventions. World Data Atlas has reported that in 2018, number of homicides for Kenya was 2,533 while the number of homicides increased from 1,200 in 2004 to 2,533 in 2018 growing at an average annual rate of 6.40%. Family premeditated homicides are as a result of domestic disputes, being cheated in deals, intimate partner agitations and land disagreements.

Lawrence Njoroge Warunge, 22 years, is a classic case of extent ruthless murders to family members can be taken. The brutal murder execution on family members including his father, mother, younger brother, adopted nephew and farmhand left Kenyans in indescribable shock. It was reported that Warunge had a frosty relationship with his father and that he felt rejected and neglected by his family. He had also reported to the nearest Police Station that his mother planned to poison him. Kiambu law courts prosecution team showed that Warunge has a history of smoking marijuana and drinking spirits and has paranoid delusions. According to the psychiatrist report Warunge had an induced psychosis which is a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality. Details emerging paint a picture of a young man who was mentally sick with psychosis and paranoiac. Warunge committed what is called familicide which entails killing close family members in quick succession, in most cases as a way of settling scores.

You mention that the thoughts you have are terrifying to you because you were thrilled when you gave birth to them but lately you have been considering murdering them because you want to save them from pain. Your narration brings out the aspect of intrusive thoughts which you are not able to put away. These thoughts are very strong denoting extremity of the condition. You wonder what is happening to you, that question is important because you are being analytical of these negative thoughts you have. Such intrusive thoughts result from trauma, extreme anger and resentment or other negative life experiences. You need a mental health assessment so that the right interventions for your condition can be administered. You ask whether you are insane and I would say the word ‘insane’ is a stigmatizing word and dehumanizes individuals who suffer mental unhealthy. Anyone can develop a mental illness and such persons should be treated with dignity.

Homicidal acts are committed for various reasons including protecting family members especially children from future pain, revenge, removing competition to some coveted benefits, helplessness or mental illnesses spurring one into action. In all situations, people who commit homicidal acts are mentally sick since their reasoning is warped. They think problems will be eliminated if they kill and hence they have a very myopic way of looking at problematic situations. They are not solution focused but problem focused because they create more problems for themselves and the survivors.

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