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  • Bola Kwame

Schizophrenia Was My Greatest Teacher




This is my schizophrenia story…


It was a time when certain personal, family and emotional problems developed that I did not know how to handle. Many things happened that caused me to end up having a psychotic break and I was admitted to a psychiatric clinic; I went through a long and difficult recovery. I spent a year without being able to concentrate or read, or study, and with constant hyperactivity that did not leave me peace or quiet for even a moment.





At times it was unbearable. All I did was hold on and smoke. I walked all the time and tried to sleep and get through the day. The medication was not working as expected and I could not feel better. Luckily, my family helped me to have willpower and to continue despite everything, to go for a little walk or some activity to distract me.


“You can get through this!” They urged.

Better days

A friend of the family offered me a job. She held out a big warm hand to me. I will never forget that feeling, ever. Because without being fully recovered she let me work from her house. My mood was very volatile and I had a hard time staying still. I smoked all the time as if to calm my anxiety. It was a nice change despite everything because I became friends with the whole family and I was able to start to resume my professional activity little by little. I will always be grateful to them for giving me that opportunity.





New beginnings

After that, I was able to slowly resume my studies, and I finished my degree. I was still not well, but my determination and willpower allowed me to finish. Although without having a clear picture, but already being better and more stable, a friend told me that a vacancy had been opened to start working in a ministry. I did various tests, psychological tests (I was honest and open about my diagnosis), technical interviews, political debate, etc., and finally, by some miracle to me, I went to work, still in treatment.


I moved to live alone in an apartment. I was super happy to have “overcome” my problems, with psychological support, and with many projects again; I trusted that I was already fine. But again, with very high self-demand in the work / professional field, and with another love disaster, I had another psychotic break (although this time with less intensity but everything was very confusing for me again). I was hospitalized. The psychological support was not enough to avoid this crisis.


Looking for the light at the end of it all

The recovery to stability took about six years. There was a period when I suffered a lot at work. Because there was a lot of noise, a lot of people, and a lot of cars on the street, I felt like they were chasing me all the time.


I had imposter syndrome because I couldn’t concentrate well at work and I felt that they paid me for nothing, that I could not rebuild my life, etc. Luckily, my treatment started to take effect and I started to feel good.





From that moment until now I do what I like. I got married and lead a normal life, always taking care of myself, taking medication, and trying to talk about problems as they arise.


My doctors took a long time to come up with the correct dosage and medication; it finally allowed me to feel secure and stable, and to be able to study & work, without having worries or “parasitic” thoughts (those awful thoughts that would haunt me without being able to deactivate them).


Diagnosis

Years later I learned that my diagnosis was a type of Schizophrenia, Undifferentiated Schizophrenia. They did not tell me at the time so as not to worry me and I did not like to find out about it (I also have my prejudices). Although if I had to put a title or label to what happened to me, I would put “emotional imbalance aggravated by the pressure of life problems, which led to an alternative reality of denial generated by my brain.”


For the things that I could not accept in my life, I was inventing a parallel reality and I was believing it. When the two realities overlapped, my brain was destabilized. Well, it was all very confusing and now I see it a bit from a distance, trying to draw conclusions or positive experiences for other people who may be suffering similar things.


What did I learn from the disease?


I learned to improve myself, and not compete with anyone. What others do or do not do is their problem. Now I don’t seek approval from anyone, as far as I am aware. I stopped comparing myself to others and lamenting my bad luck, and started working for myself and doing the things I want and make me happy.





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