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Losing your mind

Of course, you have all heard of this disease. And you've seen people suffering with it… on TV. But do you really know what schizophrenia is? I must say that this was quite an interesting question I asked myself, so I decided to share the answers I found, with you. Most probably because I learnt that the best time to figure out if someone is suffering from this disease is in adolescence. Schizophrenia is a disorder that causes its victims to suffer from problems with their thought processes. These lead to hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and unusual speech or behaviour. It's a life-long illness that may require treatment for the rest of one's life. It has equal chances of affecting males and females, and symptoms usually arise during adolescence. People with schizophrenia often suffer following experiences:

  • hearing voices not heard by others
  • believing that others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or conspiring against them
  • hallucinations or delusions
Living in a world distorted by hallucinations and delusions tends to make people with schizophrenia feel frightened, anxious and confused. Now just imagine a life where you are forced to miss out on career opportunities, stable relationships and friendships, and you are constantly bothered by voices and delusions. And as very few people understand this illness and shun the company of schizophrenics, sufferers often feel isolated and stigmatised, and may be reluctant or unable to talk about their illness. They may become isolated and fearful of the world around them. As a result, they often become withdrawn. Schizophrenia thus also affects the behaviour of those suffering. Typical behavioral disorders are:
  • aloofness or being withdrawn
  • appearing detached or preoccupied with things that may not be real
  • being immobile for hours, uttering sounds, being completely rigid
  • relentless urge to move or having to do things and not being able to sit still
  • being wide-awake, extremely vigilant and alert.
These unusual behaviors can make other people feel uncomfortable and sometimes even scare them. In fact, it is a very common belief that schizophrenics are dangerous. Now, while this may be true for when the patient is going through acute phases of the disease, mostly they themselves are the victims of violence and crime. In fact, environmental factors, social isolation or stress, injury to the head as well as traumatic experiences can lead to the development of this disease. Of course, that is not the only cause of schizophrenia. Research shows that schizophrenia is an illness of the brain, involving anomalies in the processing and transferring of information in the brain. In fact, diagnosis may reveal that schizophrenics have cavities in their brains, or they may even have different number or distribution of brain cells. In fact, even some of their brain nerve cells may be malfunctioning. The disease may also be genetic, i.e., it may be passed on during pregnancy, or even simply through the parent DNA. It is however, 100% untrue that poor parenting or lack of will power may cause the disease. Contrary to popular belief, people with schizophrenia do not have 'split personalities'. Schizophrenia involves a split mind and split mental activities, which may be the reason for the confusion. Split personalities, on the other hand, fall under the category of disease of Multiple Personality Syndrome (MPS), and it is a psychiatric disorder that causes a personality to split into sub-personalities. This disorder is mainly brought about by the sufferer facing an extremely traumatic experience, such as sexual abuse. During the experience, the person becomes dissociated from the experience, becomes 'not there', and an alter personality takes over the pain. For every traumatic experience an “alter” is created. These alters have separate memories and have no knowledge of the adjacent personalities and hence, the victims normally suffer from regular periods of amnesia. MPS is thus one of the most severe forms of defense mechanisms used to cope with extremely traumatic experiences. It is not merely a mental disorder like schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is not caused by the abuse of drugs, medication or alcohol, although the symptoms of abuse may be similar to those of the disease. However, schizophrenics are known to be addicts as the drugs relieve much of their mental stress. The most common form of abuse among schizophrenics is nicotine dependence because of smoking. Sufferers may also turn to marijuana, cocaine or alcohol for comfort. As I said before, schizophrenia is a lifelong disease, with no permanent treatment, although symptoms can be subdued by proper medication. However, these medications may have side effects such as weight gain, or may not cope with the patient's body. Despite the availability of new medication with less severe and fewer side effects, only one person in five 'recovers' from the illness, and one in ten people with schizophrenia commits suicide. Schizophrenia is thus distressing for everyone involved. Patients clearly suffer from great disruption to their lives. Families and friends will also be seriously affected and distressed because of the effects schizophrenia has on their relative and the burden of caring for their beloved one. Coping with the symptoms of schizophrenia can be especially difficult for relatives and friends who remember their beloved one before s/he became ill. Treatment for the disease is highly specialized and is rarely found. The patient requires constant long-term diagnosis, which may not be available. Hence, even in today's world, schizophrenics are still left at the mercy of their disrupted minds, with no possible recovery in sight.
By Ferzeen Anis

Interview: Minister Banglish

Yep, you all know him, the man with the spiked gelled hair, the somewhat drooping moustache, wearing them overlarge suits that make him look like an overblown stick man. We all know him, after all we all watched him on TV tackling journalists with his own unique mixture of languages. This is his interview.

Sitting in Minister's Banglish's office is our brave but somewhat stupid reporter, waiting for the famed politician to arrive, which Banglish promptly does not do. After a considerable amount of time waiting and sweating, the Minister finally arrives in all his trademark regalia. Thus it begins…

Reporter (extending his hand for a shake): Sir, first of all how are you?
Banglish (shake our reporter's hand…only he seems reluctant to let go): Ami fine thank you.
Reporter: I see, so let's begin. There are a lot of problems floating around in the air what with the elections ahead, any thoughts on the matter, sir? (Our reporter has to keep yapping 'sirs' every now and then. You can never tell with politicians, they might just hold a grudge).
Banglish: Na, ami worried na. After all, ami janni I will win.
Reporter (somewhat bewildered takes some time to decipher what the hell the dude just said): Ahh… Um, how do you know you will win?
Banglish: Ami knows it! The jonota cannot resist amake. I will jitbo. And you forgot to say sir.
Reporter (getting more and more confused because of the use of two languages): Eh… Sorry 'sir', right. Now, what are your feelings about the opposition making all these comments about the corruption in your party? Sir?
Banglish: They are talking mithah! There is no durrnitti! We are all angels.
Reporter (totally befuddled): Angels? Anyway, recently a few of your party members have left your party and started their own, what are your comments on that?
Banglish: Eh! Quitters! Tader kotha listen not!
Reporter (getting increasingly edgy): Okay… You have to give up your position before the elections, how do you feel about that?
Banglish (somewhat sadly): Ami not like it. I like being called a montri. I don't like being called a shabek montri ….and oh; you forgot to say sir…again.
Reporter (quickly): Sorry 'sir'. Recently, there was news of there being a case against you in the news; can you tell me something about that?
Banglish: Case? Koon case? (Frantically looks under his desk, then quickly gets back up again and tries to regain his composure) Oh, oi case. That is a minor matter. Shomosha na. (Beckons our reporter closer, then in a whisper) Ah... no more questions about cases from now on ok.
Reporter (apprehensively): Ok, no problem. What are your thoughts on the price spiral in the month of Ramadan?
Banglish: Jinisher daam asholey onek beshi. I should do something about it.
Reporter: I see. What are your comments on the load shedding taking place all over the city?
Banglish: What load shedding? Amar bashai current jai na. I haven't heard you say sir for a while now though.
Reporter (running out of questions just springs whatever's in his head): Right sorry 'sir'. What's with the gelled spiky hair?
Banglish: Are gel na. It is shorishar tel. That's why it glitters so much. Ami janni na, are spikes still the new in thing? Chul ki boro korbo? What do you think? Maybe I should dye it golapi? Eh?
Reporter (got no idea what to say, mostly because he sports a really crappy hair-do and has no opinion on style): Um… What are your tastes in music?
Banglish: Umm… Momtaz, her songs are so soulful and she so shundor! Ami take onek like kori!
Reporter: Ugh… And what's your favorite video game?
Banglish: Eh…Pokemon?
Reporter: Ew…And how is shotru?
Banglish: Shotru's fine. Ami ajkei tar shate meet korlam. He says that desher onek shomosha so he's gone underground.
Reporter (surprised): I see, so you've found him then. I guess that's it. It was nice meeting you sir.
Banglish (gets up and puts a hand on the guys shoulder as a form of goodbye, only the hand stays there for that much bit longer to send up all the wrong thoughts): It was ok! Ami really like kori interview giving. It is good for the publicity.

Our brave reporter does all he can to not just run out of the room. The only problem is that he seems to have picked up the disease of speaking in two languages at once from Banglish which caused a lot of problem when tried to give in his interview.

By Tareq Adnan

Overcoming the fear

When I was getting near my 18th Birthday I came across a few preaching about the voluntary blood donation program. I supported the effort, I was really impressed about the way one can help other people, help the humanity through his blood.

But the fear kept haunting me every time I tried to make some move in this humanitarian effort. I tried to make myself prepared for achieving the feat for magnanimity but my mind will never come across the dismay I had about the needles.

Then came the big day. I was chatting with my friends, there came an old man pleading for a bag blood to
salvage his son life. As we checked out it was my group.

At first I somehow manage to escape of donating a bag of blood to the poor old man. When we said we could not help him, disappointment and the fear of losing his young son was all over his face. Few moments later I found out that old man was running to everybody begging for their mercy to save his child, but fortune never smiled over him as he was rejected again and again.

Timidity can be seen in eyes as the hope of his son's life was becoming a distant dream. Then I ask to myself, “Dear, this man in his old age praying to everyone to save his son's life and you are standing here, kept watching this distress act doing nothing, while you know you can save the man.

All you need to do is to overcome the quivering about the needles.

Someday you might found yourself in such circumstance.” I made myself ready to have a go, to place my body in front of the metal piece readily to help out the poor old man. When I approached him and told him about my willingness,
I saw the delight and relief in his face.

His eyes restored the hope of his son that was long gone. When the procedure of donating blood finally came, I was ready to have the agony that haunted me for so long. But to my surprise there was simply no pain, no suffering that kept me away from this noble duty to the greatness of mankind.

Now I am a regular blood donor, serving with loyalty to the greatness of humanity, far away from the trembling that I had in the past.

And for the people who are so afraid about the way to serve the mankind, I have only this to say that you fear is costing someone's life, shattering happiness of a family. Your fear is resisting you from relishing the prospect of fostering generosity in human race. The world is pleading you to overcome this fear.



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