You are your hero – Fizza Ahmed

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“Often we take life for granted until something terrible hits upon us and we come to realize it is not always fun and games. The same thing happened with me four months ago when a nightmare totally changed my perspectives about nearly everything and everyone around.

On the night of August 13th or maybe 14th, I slept disturbed after coming across countless storied about child kidnapping. The same night I had a nightmare where the words which I could hear were as follows:
“ 6 din hain maafi ke, maang lo”

From this day onwards I kept assuming what was going to happen after 6 days and the assumptions were obviously negative. The first thought that hit my mind was “ Kahin main marnay to nahi wali?” My anxiety and stress levels continued to increase with every passing day.

Exactly a week later around 11 pm, I could feel my heart sinking and pounding fast. I felt like I was choking. Fortunately, I was sleeping in my dearest mother’s room that day. I got up and laid down with her and told her I was feeling unwell. At first she thought, I had misunderstandings with my friends or something. Restlessness continued to increase and lost my senses and woke my father up while banging the door. Although I felt guilty of doing this as he had to go for work in the morning but I felt helpless. I felt as if my soul was being detached from my body. I couldn’t breathe, chills ran down my legs and what not. My parents took me to the emergency in a hospital nearby where the on duty doctor diagnosed me with acid reflux and gave me an injection. We came back home, but I was unable to sleep.

Following this day, my thought pattern had completely changed and had a few more panic attacks where my heart rate would reach as high as 150. It revolved around death and miseries. As much as I wanted to get rid of these thoughts, the more they followed. My mind was kind of crippled, I couldn’t think about anything positive.

Days passed by and my physical symptoms such as chest pain and fast heart rate continued to increase. I was taken to a gastroenterologist and he said “symptoms to sab anxiety aur stress ke lag raye hain, exams to nahi anay walay?” I got multiple tests including thyroid, ECG, LFT’s and Kreatinine done and the results were all normal, thankfully. Not sure if it was my bad luck or what, I took medicines for acidity for almost more than a month and also changed my diet pattern according to it. I never admitted that the issue was actually ‘psychological’ and not physical. Maybe I was expecting my thoughts to go away automatically or I don’t know what the exact reason behind it was.

Each day was worse than before. I would shed tears all day out of that physical and mental pain and had almost stopped eating. Moreover, I hated going out and sitting with people because there was a great probability that I would start crying infront of them. My digestive system was badly disturbed, I felt bloated and nauseated. My legs and arms were never stable and were constantly shivering.There were also days when I would feel tingling and throbbing in my head all the time. My semester was being affected because of this little episode. Physical symptoms made my pain even worse and I kept checking on the internet the possible illnesses related to all these symptoms. I was not even excited for my birthday. I left my my family and friends wondering because I was not receiving anyone’s calls until my brother called me on my mother’s number and all I could do was cry out loud and not talk properly.

I had stopped attending classes. Most of the time in the university was either spent in the dispensary or sleeping in the class. I skipped half of my mid-terms because of my inability to study as my brain couldn’t register stuff. At times, I felt so helpless that I would randomly start crying and whispered “Allah main please theek hojaun”. I stopped doing the things which I loved before. All I wanted was good health.

While I was giving my midterm exam, my teacher noticed me with my head down on the table and asked if anything was wrong. I failed to control my emotions and started crying. I asked my dad to pick me up earlier that day so I could go home. I still remember how painful that day was and I finally confessed that

I badly need to seek mental help. Luckily, my family was supportive enough to agree with my decision and I didn’t get to hear “Psychologist ke pass to pagal jatay hain, tum koi pagal ho?” Yes, it does happen in desi societies where psychological disorders are a taboo.

It was time to get back myself back to normal and I was so sure about it. I started fighting my panic disorder and agoraphobia by taking multiple sessions with psychiatrist and psychologist both and all I asked God was good health and nothing else. I forced myself to take proper diet and rely less on medicines. I would name this four month long episode ‘Hopeless to Hopeful’. As every dark story has a bright side to and so does mine. It made me more and more grateful for every little thing and very patient and I have learned to keep 100 miles distance from negativity.

In the end note I’d like to say that depression, anxiety and stress are real and terrible and make you feel disabled. You just can’t cure it at home after it reaches a certain point. Counselling is important and so is taking a healthy diet as both complement each other. Seeking mental help is not shameful at all, its for your own good. Nothing in the world should be more important than your mental and physical health.

“I am my hero. So are you. Rise and shine every day” – (Fizza Ahmed, Lahore)

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