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I was born in the sweltering heat of Indian
summers on June 1983. I had a happy childhood, being raised in a joint family,
and a huge family for that matter with eleven cousins on each side, all
closely knit together. I have a twin sister and we were in the same school
and the same class throughout. She always scored better than me, and I was
constantly encouraged to beat her record. My grades started improving from
7th grade and I was in the top five of the class by the time I reached 9th
grade. At this point of time, I was getting close to a girl in my class
and we used to talk on the phone daily for hours after school. I had no
other close friends. By the time the academic session started ending, I
abruptly and incoherently refused to talk to that girl. There was a constant
voice in my head telling me that "mission accomplished". I was
fourteen and a half then.
My friend circle changed to those with the best minds in the class, with great academic as well as fun record. But gradually I had stopped talking much, stopped smiling. My grades started plummeting. My friends supported me throughout; trying to make me talk out my problem, but the constant voices telling me that people were after me made things inconsolable. Every moment was a nightmare. My parents were trying to bring me down to this nothingness where I was alive and yet not able to live, like the dead and yet not able to die. They wouldn't let me live and wouldn't let me die either, peacefully. There were those who were trying to bring us down, and I was the only one who could save the world, I was the only one who knew it, I was the only one who saw the Truth. I was having angry sessions sitting with my father almost every day, where I used to sit still, not moving for if I moved they would read my mind, they would know that I know what they are here for. I ran away from home in the 11th grade roaming in the city trying to find a refuge from my mission, planning to kill myself, coming back after two days after which my parents took me to a psychologist who was no help at all. I failed my 11th grade and gave re-tests. I failed the re-tests but with the help of my aunt cleared the re-re-tests after two months. I had stopped talking to my dad, with the only time I did was when fighting with him. I had taken up science stream with computer as a subject, since I wanted to do computer engineering. During this time I also loved a girl in my class, and we communicated non-verbally through actions and reactions. I was the only one who could read them, and I had to protect her, had to keep myself alive for her because they would try to bring her down too. I never spoke with her, never confessed my love towards her.
I tried to commit suicide several times during this time, of which no one knew about, and which failed always because all the knives in my house were not sharp at all. I had to kill myself now, before the voices reduced me to the nothingness. They were trying to break me, bring me down and I wouldn't allow that to happen. My friends used to leave me alone as I wanted to be, getting a few hours of sleep in the class that I never got at night. I would lie in a fetal position at night, crying, unable to move, unable to speak, afraid. All this time, music was my strength. Iron Maiden and Metallica communicated directly with me to show me the way, to give me the strength. And others could not see this. I never gave my 12th finals, and repeated 12th grade again. But now I never attended the class and sat in the library all the time. The librarian was really sweet and supportive. I would listen to Godsmack and Disturbed the whole day on my mp3 player, and read old Readers Digest large editions. The voices were still telling me to kill myself, with whom I fought all the time to justify my life, justify my fight, justify my strength. I ran away from home again, this time demanding a separate place to live from my family. My uncle had come from Canada and he said that he would help me out. There were two months left before my final exams and I had yet to touch my books. I was still not talking with my family. My uncle never found out a place for me to live separately. I ran away to my aunt's place, from where I was brought back by my parents, who were furious at my behavior, scolding me, abusing me all the time.
The next day I shut myself in the bathroom and tried again to commit suicide. My mom and sister who were at home at that time, finally managed to break down the door after realizing that I had been inside for two hours and took me to a hospital where they tried to empty my stomach as they believed I had drunk a bottle of shampoo too. I was unconscious for a day, blue all over. A few days later I was taken to a psychiatrist who was unsure of my diagnoses but put me on 2mg of risperidone. I showed immediate improvement but still wasn't relaxed (I wasn't talking to anyone, including the doctor). The dosage was upped to 4mg and my uncle tried to convince my school Principal to let me give my finals, and I finally managed to clear my 12th grade.
I was told that I had a bit of stress. I still needed a separate place to live in. I got admission in computer engineering and lived in the hostel for a year with my voices gradually coming to a complete halt in the beginning, but by the end of which I had become depressed and started hearing the voices again. At this point of time, I checked for risperidone on the net and found out and confirmed with my doctor about schizophrenia. I started researching on it on the net and started realizing my past, the voices, the hallucinations, and the delusions
I'm now living happily with my family at home and studying in the 2nd
year of engineering. I will be giving the few exams that I hadn't cleared
last semester due to the relapse. And I will be volunteering as a counselor
near my place in India where mental illness is still considered taboo
and not accepted by the society, and where the estimated 8.5 million schizophrenics
living in small localities and villages are not aware of the disease and
living tortured lives.