Path to Recovery

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As I discussed in previous post that I somewhat self diagnosed my disease. The initial feelings were of both hope and despair. Initially I was very disturbed. The 2006 was very depressed year for me. The initial ray of hope was the life of Nobel Prize winner John F Nash. I read his interview from the net. The thing that disturbed me was that he took about 30 years to recover. Moreover he did not do much creative work after his illness. Anyhow there was a hope. My path to recovery was rapid.

I was officially discharged from Army in December 2006. Firstly I realized that I would not be able to do further study. I started looking for a suitable job. Employment is a major problem in Pakistan. I was unable to find a suitable job according to my qualification. I even applied for a lower level job. I had to face the additional stigma of severe mental illness.

As I discussed that I was finding it difficult to read books initially. I realized that I have to read books in any case. I picked a Calculus textbook and started reading it. I was not doing any exercises and reading it like a novel. I would rate my comprehension to be about 40%. However it gave me the required confidence. The year 2007 was spent in finding a suitable job. In early 2008 I decided that I had to do further study for a job and rehabilitation. I gave an NTS (a local GRE exam) and qualified.

I was hoping to do MS in Computer engineering. My second option was software engineering. The classes were scheduled to start in September 2008. I started reading the pre requisites. Firstly I learned the C programming language from wonderful lecture notes of my project adviser Omar Bashir. I am sharing the notes as someone may find them helpful.

1 Introduction to Computers and Programming
2 Introduction to C
3 Fundamental Data Types
4 Flow of Control
5 Functions
6 Arrays and Strings

Notes are bit outdated as you will find screen-shots of Windows 3.1. Then I learned some C++ programming as well. I was doing it on my own and I was doing exercises as well. I also read about digital design and computer architecture and did Verilog programming. Thing were going smoothly. After joining the classes I read a paper on spherical trigonometry and navigational calculations in a conference. This was the high point of my recovery. You can find the paper here.

I also turned to my faith. I started offering my daily prayers, usually 3. This gave me a peace of mind. It helped in streamlining my thoughts. My father who was not a religious man per se started offering some of the day prayers. My untimely and severe disease had shaken him badly. My family, especially my parents, supported me fully in this difficult time.

I took my medicines regularly. It is difficult for me to describe the effect of medicines. I think they worked in background. It was more of self arguments and self counseling that was responsible for my recovery. I had a major relapse in 2009, mainly due to three big hallucinations. I thought that I may have the disease, even then I was special.

Schizophrenia is a terrible illness. It plays various tricks with its victims. It can be managed successfully with the help of medication and support. It is difficult to set time-frame of recovery. It may take years. There is always a hope for recovery. Never loose hope

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