Khushbakht’s Story

When I was 21 years old, after the birth of my daughter in 2007, I went through postnatal depression. It erupted one day when everything suddenly seemed a little ambiguous to me. I could not make anything out of it. I only knew that there was something going wrong. I went home to my parents and told them about this. It was pretty obvious that I was loosing control. I was crying and confused about everything.

One day I just plugged out. I became unconscious, so my parents took me to the hospital and I was hospitalised for a month. I went through five to six sessions of electroconvulsive therapy and I got my counselling and meds. After I got discharged from the hospital, the meds were supposed to continue for six months. By the end of four months, I stopped taking them. I discontinued with the meds on my own, which was not a good idea.

After two to three years, in 2009, I went through another psychotic episode. It was pretty different from the last time. I became badly delusional, that was a prominent symptom I had. The delusions were ambiguities in my belief system. I was reading the Quran in those days and it seemed as if god was revelating those things on me as if I was the prophet. It was pretty messed up. Everything happening around me these days seemed to be happening in a symbolic way. Everything held a meaning. Sleeplessness was a symptom. I lost my appetite. This was no longer something that I could hide of others. Everyone that looked at me thought that there was something really going on with me.

My parents took me to a doctor again. He counselled me a little and gave me a heavy dosage of meds. After six months or so it got to a lower dose and that was it. Things became a little normal again. However, things erupted once more a few years later in 2011. It was of the same nature as last time, I became delusional and everything. This time the doctor diagnosed me with schizophrenia. So I went for the monthly check ups for a while, but I was not conversing well with the doctor. I was not able to open up. I think this is the reason he simply looked at me superficially and diagnosed me with schizophrenia. After that, the thing really got stuck in my mind, being schizophrenic really seemed like a big thing to me. I had never seen any schizophrenic person in real life, just in movies. It kept on haunting me. I feared that I am schizophrenic and don’t belong to the normal social set up, that there is something wrong me. Practically everything was fine, but there was something bugging me all the time.

I carried this feeling for three long years. At one point, I was feeling a little restless and started fearing the beginning of another psychotic episode. But it was still pretty controlled by then. I consulted another doctor and he could tell from being on the phone with me that I was not schizophrenic. He said that I should come visit him and he re-diagnosed with me with bipolar affective disorder. I had to get over a lot of things: It is not your personal character that is being questioned, it is not weak. It is a mental condition, which is something very different from it. So please don’t confuse both. I just went for a complete two year medication cycle. At one point, the doctor said you don’t need to be coming anymore. We are still in touch and I email him sometimes. He’s been very helpful.

But now, currently, when I look at myself, I think the worst is over for me. The couple of psychotic episodes where I became delusional, this is over now. I am a mother of two, they want me to be participating in their lives. They demand my attention, I can’t keep myself out of their lives. This has been a driving force for me. I am pretty active in their lives, making them study and being part of their activities. I have taken up a lot of hobbies that I forgot about in the past 10 years. I used to paint back in school and now I do it again – I love it a lot.

This whole experience of mine has really made everything in my life a little more thought provoking. I would not have been able to observe behaviour or nature in the way I do now, because I definitely think that now that there is this deep thing in my head which was moved up. If people can express what’s going on in a creative way, that will definitely makes things a lot easier for them. The person I am now, I would not have been if I would have not been through all that. You learn more from the hard times than from the happy moments, it gives you a strength that will last forever.