Schizophrenia is a complicated disease. It takes a considerable time to recover. I have never heard of it before. Though I have watched the Hollywood movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ before my diagnosis, but I never bothered to know the name/pronunciation or nature of the disease. It was primarily my interest in Nobel prizes. It took almost 2 years to understand and accept the disease. The recovery was not rapid either. I tried to read books but it appeared to me that I was reading words. The comprehension was very low. I would boot the computer, see the monitor and could not make out what to do. The main concerns were the nature of the disease itself and future itself. Will I be ever able to overcome it? Gradually I tried to regroup my self around my interests. These are 3 main points which proved to be vital in my recovery.
I think Linux is/was my first love as described in this blog post. My admission in hospital put a break in it. I was admitted for too long, about a year. There was no counseling at all by the psychiatrists. My path to recovery was my own struggle with the considerable help from my family. I forgot about many commands, steps and tricks about Linux. Though I had it installed but I rarely used it. I was a regular reader of Linux Weekly News, but my admission put a break of about a year. I was unaware of recent developments. I bought the DVD of Fedora 7 and gradually refreshing my skills. It was the first distribution I installed after my diagnosis. Gradually I have ‘another’ interest besides my illness and future prospects.
As discussed, I had difficulty in reading and comprehending books. I started feeling that I would not be able to learn new things. Comprehension was low but I kept trying. Programming was one of my strong points. We learned FORTRAN in our studies. I did my project in Visual Basic. I had not used them for a while, so I had forgotten about them. I had saved some notes on C programming by my project adviser Omar Bashir that can be found here. I decided to learn C using these notes. The notes are beautifully written. As I started reading, I was able to comprehend and understand them well. This gave me confidence that I could understand new things and the disease can be managed.
My third ingredient is related to internet usage. I had kept the usage of internet to my interests mainly Linux, science history and engineering. I was a fan of mit opencourseware. But I was slow to adopt the other sides of the internet, the world of free books and torrents. I started categorizing and saving my data since my days in Army. It had a very few books. My younger brother, Yasir introduced me to a giant folder that contained a lot of math books and tutorials. He has collected them from one of his friends. This started my quest for free books. I started searching the internet for sites dedicated to books. The 4 main sites that I used were rapidshare, gigapedia, ebookshare and freebookspot. The first 3 have been closed. From these I have learned a lot.
These were not the only factors in my recovery. They proved to be crucial. The thing which is/was above all, was the support of my family specially my parents.