What is schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that can put the patient in critical condition. It is a disease in which a person faces painful, irritable, and unusual types of hallucinations, delusions, unnatural, rough, repetitively, or disorganized thoughts.
If not treated well schizophrenia can completely change the person’s life. It can drop the quality of a patient’s life from 100 to 0. Early treatment plays a crucial role in treatment as it reduces the risks of serious long-term complications. In this article, I will share the schizophrenia story of my friend who was suffered from this disease. (1)
Numbers of schizophrenia patients around the world
According to schizophrenia is affecting almost 20 million earth inhabitants (humans). Schizophrenia is part of the top 15 disability causes in humans. Moreover, suicide rates of schizophrenic patients are also very high as compared to other patients who are suffering from other major illnesses. (2)
As it, schizophrenia required lifelong treatment so the financial burden on patients and their relatives is also very high.
Living with schizophrenia
Here in this article, I will explain some information about my friend Samuel who had suffered from this disease. He writes about all the suffering and pain that he gets from schizophrenia.
He asked me to publish his details to the public. He just wants to tell other peoples who are suffering from this disease that there is hope. He has survived the schizophrenia and now he is living a good quality of life.
Except for Samuel, all other character’s names are fake as we care about people’s privacy. Here is the struggle of my friend and his “living with schizophrenia story”.
Story of Samuel and schizophrenia
Samuel’s story is not ordinary. According to him, he lives in a bad and harsh environment. His father raised him with very abusive manners.
In school, he was also treated badly by teachers due to his religion. He belongs to minorities in his country. School and house environment both put a lot of stress on his mind. Perhaps these were also some reasons for his illness but what happened with him during his university days was more horrible. It is a flop story of Samuel that concludes the worst types of results.
Samuel told me that he start taking fitness classes so he can defend himself from his father and other people. Due to some good health and fitness, the people’s abusive behavior towards him starts declining. He says very few peoples try to do some bad business with me after he gains some pounds of muscles.
I also want to tell you that Samuel’s body weight was just 55 kg and he gains 30 kg more by improving his food and exercise routine. He also beat his father few times due to his harsh behavior towards Samuel and his mother. He says he never feels the relief that he gets from improving his health and fitness level.
After graduating he gets admission to a university. His father’s behavior was always bad but he never ignores his children financially. He provides them a good education. That is why Samuel gets education opportunities in good education institutes.
In his university, there was a very free environment for students like heavy modern type. Girls and boys were very free with each other in his university. Usage of the “Date or Dating” word was very common.
Samuel told that he likes women from an early age. That is why he started flirting with girls and fell in love with a beautiful girl named “Meesha”. That is where he makes a big mistake and his health fell from heights to asphalt.
Samuel told me that even on the first day he tried to date some girls. He flirts with them and gets some attention from a few of them. As he was in good shape that is why girls start giving him company. Samuel was one of the fit boys in his university and that was also the reason for his popularity in girls. A girl from his class “Samina” becomes his friend.
Samuel told me he only likes beautiful girls and Samina lacks these qualities that was why he doesn’t get romantic with her. He only considers her a friend and a sister. But that girl’s intentions towards him were not the same. She played an important and stubborn role in triggering the schizophrenia symptoms of Samuel according to him.
There was also another girl in his university class. One of them was “Meesha” she was very beautiful and Samuel starts taking interest in her. He starts talking with her occasionally. Soon she also starts liking Samuel’s behavior and starts considering him a good friend.
After some time both start liking each other but neither of them was aware of each other feelings. Samuel was frightened of getting rejected due to his association with a different religion. Meesha was from a modern Muslim family and Samuel grew up in a Christian family.
As time passed their relationship becomes stronger. They talk and make jokes with each other during their free time. One day senior students come to their class and start flirting with girls and Samuel’s lover was also included in those girls.
That is where Samuel’s tension rise because the girl he loves was giving some extraordinary attention to a certain member of the senior class and Samuel, does not like that at all. He asked Samina for help.
Samina was a good personality girl but she was a stubborn personality-based girl. She starts liking Samuel from the first day of the class. But she never shows her feeling towards him. Moreover, her religion and Samuel’s religion were also the same, and only she was aware of it.
According to Samuel when he left the university his class fellow friend told him that Samina had seen him in a church where Samuel usually goes to pray.
Samina was a very intelligent girl and that is why she spends a lot of time judging and checking the personality of Samuel. That time when Samuel asked her for help Samina was fully in love with him. She hesitate when Samuel asked her to keep that senior member away from meesha. But after some struggle and by promising her for shopping she accepts his help request.
Meesha was beautiful but her brain capability was limited as compared to samina. She also produces some good feelings towards Samuel but she was not in the hurry.
Meesha was a modern girl and was not too religious. She likes the friendship of girls and boys both. Samuel’s problem was that he does not understand the Meesha at all. Whenever a boy meets with Meesha he thinks that boy is flirting with Meesha and she is also taking interest in that guy. He also quarrels with some boys due to that reason. He told me he was getting a lot of stress after falling in love with Meesha.
As an intelligent girl, Samina starts helping Samuel in her own ways. She successfully disconnects the friendship of Meesha with the senior boy by making a fake relationship with that person.
The main bad thing Samina does was that she started bringing more senior class members along with her fake lover in Samuel’s class. When they saw beautiful Meesha almost all of them start flirting with her.
The first day when Samina bring those boys into the class Samuel’s look was completely changed. After coming from the university Samuel does not even change his clothes and even he does not eat anything. He says he thought 6 hours straight after putting himself under the blanket.
His parents were also terrified by his behavior but they think he has some common cold or illness. These straight 6 hours of stressful thinking trigger the first few symptoms of schizophrenia according to him.
He told me that he was frightened from losing the Meesha who was giving a lot of her attention to those boys. That night Samuel feels the first symptom of schizophrenia which according to him was a voice during his night sleep. He does not give proper attention to that unusual thing. Samuel told me his behavior becomes unusually aggressive during his days at the university.
“I was just ready to even compete with an elephant,” he told me. Perhaps this aggression was also associated with the symptoms of his incoming schizophrenia disease. His behavior towards others becomes very harsh which was very unnatural. Her mother was away from him during this tense relationship between Samuel and his university class members.
He says she might save him from that ugly stress if she lives with him. Samuel’s mother was away from him at that time, she was living in her hometown after some feud with Samuel’s father. My friend was living with his father at that time and his relations with his father were not good.
When Meesha starts giving her attention to more boys, Samuel told Samina that he wants to marry Meesha and he needs her (Samina) to send her proposal to Meesha. Samina was stunned and she told him it is not possible. She tried to convince him that Meesha is Muslim and he is Christian.
She told him the people of this country only marry in their religions. Samuel told her that the Meesha family is not too religious and their relatives have done some marriages in other religions. Anyhow according to Samuel samina makes a promise to deliver the message to Meesha. (Note: Samuel was not aware of samina religion as her ‘name’ was used by peoples of both religions)
One day after university time Samuel received the message from Samina in which she told him that she has talked with Meesha and meesha has said she will talk with him tomorrow during the class. The next day when Samuel reached the university he saw a completely unusual behavior of his classmates. The main reason for that was Samina told everyone that Samuel has bad intentions towards Meesha and she also shows some fake WhatsApp messages to Meesha in which Samuel’s image was shown as a rapist.
Meesha starts hating him after that and she also reports him to the head in charge of the university. But due to lack of true evidence, Samuel was not expelled by the university. He was given some harsh warnings and his name was put on the list of bad students. That horrible day in Samuel’s life brings a stressed bomb that explodes in his brain. Samuel told me that he never feels that type of stress in his life past.
After that day his relationship broke with most of his university friends. Teachers also start hating him. Some of his class teachers start insulting him during the class lectures. These things add more pain and stress to his life. At that time he starts facing hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thoughts. He starts fearing for his and family members’ life without any reason.
Due to his bad health, his mom comes back to his son and she forces him to leave the university after knowing what happened in the university. Samuel says tension and stress after falling in serious love with a girl put him in the grave of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia symptoms of Samuel
I have studied the symptoms of schizophrenia and the majority were the same that Samuel told me. According to him delusions and fear for life were the main troubling symptoms of his schizophrenia. Here are some details about his symptoms. These symptoms are described just as he told me:
- Voices while thinking and sleeping. Before the diagnosis, he considers these voices as a guide that God provides him. He also starts considering him a God messenger
- He starts believing that peoples want to kill him and every person in this world wants his head as a trophy
- He says during his illness he feels like if he died, judgment day will come
- He started believing that his mother wants to kill him and she was also the reason for his unsuccessful relationship. He told me that during his normal healthy life he never had that type of feelings towards her mother as he usually loves her more than any person in the world
- He starts liking his father’s attitude and behavior. This was one of the most unusual things that his family members notes. Because his relations with his father were very bad.
- He also starts feeling that Samina still wants him and she will do anything for him
- He also starts getting the voices of Samina in his head during the night. He told me those voices were terrible they were like yelling. One of those voices was “marry me or I am going to kill all of your family members”
- Due to these voices, he starts losing his consciousness during the night. And his body starts shaking and trembling whenever he thinks about Samina
- He starts getting sounds of the gunshots during the night and voices in his head start telling him that the samina group is killing the Meesha group
- He mostly faces the symptoms during the night but after some days he starts getting these symptoms even in the day
- He also starts seeing his teachers and friends shaped peoples on the roads who looks like they were chasing him where ever he goes
- According to him, his situation becomes very critical that day when his mother takes him to her own house. That night he was about to die and no one helped him as his mother was alone helpless during that situation. He told me that his mother also not slept that night she was just praying to God for his son all night
Samuel Struggle for Treatment
After that night when Samuel’s condition becomes critical, his mother takes him to a well-reputed doctor who was a general physician. He told his mother that it is nothing but some symptoms of depression and anxiety. He prescribed him some medicines. After taking these medicines Samuel’s health improves. As these were antidepressants which improves some of the schizophrenic symptoms.
Sad thing was that nobody from his university makes contact with him about his health situation
Samuel explained to me that after taking those prescribed medicines his condition improve but his health starts returning to its bad condition after few hours as those medications start losing their effectiveness.
That thing makes him take a high dosage of medicines even on the empty stomach. He told me he has taken a lot of medicines even in the early morning time when all were sleeping and he was taking those dosages.
Due to bad results associated with drug addiction his mother takes him to another doctor who told her that it is a psychiatrist issue and he also recommends a psychiatrist who treats that type of patient very well. The main problem was that Samuel’s parents and his family members were not able to understand his illness. They were not aware of the psychiatry-related illness.
Most people in Pakistan where Samuel is living usually do not get treatment for mental issues. Most peoples treat these illnesses by marrying the patient.
These illiterate acts usually make the patient and his partner’s life hell and personally I have seen many peoples in Pakistan who behave just like mental patients but they are getting zero treatment.
His parents make an appointment with a famous psychiatrist after getting a warning from a general physician who told them that Samuel is in a critical mental situation and needs psychiatric treatment as soon as possible.
The psychiatrist they met was very smart and intelligent. He first listens to the whole story of Samuel from his parents then he talks with Samuel and he quickly understands that he is schizophrenic.
The doctor prescribed “risperidone” for Samuel. Risperidone is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
After diagnosing and prescribing medicine doctor told his parents that “genetics, environment, and stress can trigger the schizophrenia. Maybe he has become a schizophrenic patient due to heavy stress putting incidents. Now he needs proper attention and care. Give him the medicine daily in the evening as there are chances for his recovery“.
Post diagnosis struggle with schizophrenia
Samuel’s symptoms were not washed away during the first four weeks after his diagnosis. He says some of his symptoms were improved but he also added that due to risperidone he starts feeling troublesome pain in his head. He says he feels that pain for 24 hours straight 3 weeks.
He was going to do suicide due to that pain but her mother forcibly stopped him. Samuel also suffered from severe insomnia during his early treatment time. Due to high pain in the head, he cried a lot near his mother. Her mother has never seen that type of condition and she was terrified for his son’s health.
The doctor told Samuel’s parents that the medicine needs time for results. After 4 weeks his symptoms of schizophrenia start improving and his head pain also goes away.
According to Samuel, his urine becomes smelly and bubbly after the diagnosis maybe that was due to risperidone. After a long pain, Samuel feels some relief due to authentic diagnosis and treatment.
Side effects of the medicine
The doctor has already told Samuel’s mom that her son may get some side effects from the risperidone but its benefits have more importance as compared to bad effects. The psychiatrist also advised her to never skip his dosage without the doctor’s advice.
Here are some side effects that Samuel has mentioned:
- Weight gain from 85 kg to 100 kg in few months
- Fatigue, always tired body
- Insomnia that was treated afterward with some other medicines
- Loss of sexual feelings
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of strength
- Loss of muscles
- Loss of stamina
Current situation of Samuel
Samuel’s condition has improved a lot with time. Now he is living a good life with his mom. Doctors had told Samuel’s parents that the side effects of his medicines will lose strength after few years as Samuel’s body will adapt itself to the medicine and he needs to take the medicine for the rest of his life.
It was true that after 2 years of successful treatment now Samuel is not feeling noticeable side effects from the prescribed medicine for schizophrenia. He is now living a healthy life and his body weight has also returned to his original shape.
He does not say much about giving some message to others the only thing he says is that” Don’t make your trust blind and always give your priority to yourself and your family”.
Article was reviewed on 17 july 2021