“About 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
4 years ago, when I was 27, I lost my job as a technician, sold the home I lived with my parents, and had my heart broken a couple of times.
At first, I thought I could cope with all these stressors. However, thinking back, I think I was in denial as I slowly started to crack.
I started to believe that everyone was plotting against me, even my family!
I believed that everyone wanted me dead - The authorities, the army, secret societies, and my neighbours. I also started thinking that there were nano-machines in the food people gave me that could transmit my thoughts.
I refused to eat for a week. I didn’t bathe, and kept quiet most of the time because I thought people could read my mind and vice versa.
This worried my mother very much and she finally decided to send me for treatment at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).
I spent a few days in the ward and was discharged on home leave. I thought it was over until I started to read the papers, watch TV and interact with people. Something still seemed odd. It seemed as if people were mocking me and talking in encoded messages.
The doctors finally put me on Olanzapine, an anti-psychotic medication.
I spent up to 41 days, still having the false belief that the whole world despised me and wanted me dead.
However, my case manager told me one day, “Nur, if you can’t prove all this is happening then it’s not true. Think about it.”
I spent the next day contemplating about it and I started to realize that I wasn’t losing my mind. I already did.
Honestly, I owe it not only to the support group and medication but to my own will to overcome it.
My advice to those reading this - Seek treatment as early as possible. Medication and support group play a part but it also takes the individual’s will to overcome it.
The first thought that came through my mind was the stigma that I have to live with. I know for a fact that being in a conservative society, the perception of me would change.
I armed myself with the knowledge of my illness and identify warning signs of my illness. In that way, I feel more empowered. I also find therapy through prayers, playing and writing music to express myself.
In the end, we can only educate the society about mental illness and hope that the society will be more aware and accepting of it.”