in Real Health Stories
By Naail Ali Published on 06/10/2019

Living with Schizophrenia: I'm not possessed

A rare disease in the Maldives, it is still not properly diagnosed in our society. This leads to poor methods of treatment and more stress and worrying to the patients and their families.
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Naail Ali

Published on: 06/10/2019

Mental Health Schizophrenia
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Schizophrenia is a disease that isn’t really heard of in the Maldives or rather even seen in our society in large numbers. The symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, trouble concentrating and movement disorders.

The following is an interview with an inspiring individual who has taken a step to educate the mass on his experience living with schizophrenia. Any and all statements belong to the individual whom will not be identified as per request.

What does schizophrenic mean to you?

Well it's a really difficult question to answer. I've been schizophrenic as far as I can remember. The line between what’s schizophrenic and what’s "normal" is a muddy one for me.

But I guess comparatively it’s the way I interact with my senses. Especially sight. It's best described as what a person on hallucinogenic drugs would experience. Sometimes it’s figures I can see and sometimes it's voices I hear. I get confused easily as well.

It sounds horrific to the average person but when you live with it day in and day out it sorts of becomes part of you.  

How does it effect your daily life?

It doesn't really affect my daily life per say. I'm able to perform my daily tasks as much as anyone, with a bit less emotion.

It’s hard for me to socialize because when people hear me speak it sounds rather flat. There were hiccups along the way though. Mostly with my dating life. People think I am possessed so I was isolated.

During my time as a young adult I struggled quite a lot with accepting the fact that I have schizophrenia. It was mostly because people around me fueled this fear in me that my “condition” is one of dark voodoo or something. You can imagine a teenager going through puberty with all that transpiring in the background.

On the bright side if you will, no one really had the courage to mess with the kid who sees ghosts, so I wasn’t really bullied.

What kind of treatment have you gone through if any?

As you could probably guess coming from the islands I was first treated with an array of traditional medicine. With jars on jars of different varieties of concoctions my grandmother used to make. She used to be the unofficial doctor of the island.

The next was of course exorcism. I’m really not sure if that’s what I should call it but that would be the best way I could describe it.  

It was fortunate that my parents finally agreed to treat it as an actual physical condition. We flew to Male’ back in the 90s from my native island Fonadhoo. I was diagnosed in IGMH and given a series of medicine. Remembering back, I think the thing that brought me peace was really the fact that I chose to step back and take control of myself.

Would you choose to not have schizophrenia if it was possible?

I wouldn’t know really. It’s sort of similar to a person born blind, they wouldn’t know what sight is. Because they’ve never experienced it. Therefore, I would choose what’s familiar to me. Like everyone else I’m more scared of the unknown.

Where do you see yourself in the coming 5 years?

It’s hard to say. I’m working in the council right now. Set to be married within a year. Most probably content with a loving wife and a family of my own in my wonderful world of “illusions”.

Viewers discretion: The content within the above article and all statements involved does not reflect the views of or the author. Any and all statements are directly derived from the person of interest. 

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