Mental Illness Explained: Schizophrenia

Back in October 2016, a certain headline in Pakistan blared and shook the world. A man diagnosed with schizophrenia committed a murder and was given a court order of execution. The Pakistan Supreme Court declared schizophrenia as ‘not a mental disorder’ henceforth leading to a flurry of criticism from across the globe.

This very notion by the highest court in Pakistan reflects how ignorant we are as a nation towards mental illnesses. Whether it is depression or severe schizophrenia, mental illnesses are considered imaginary in Pakistan.
However, schizophrenia is not an illness that can be taken lightly and it definitely is a mental disorder. Hate to break it to you, Supreme Court of Pakistan.

What Causes Schizophrenia?
The case percentage of schizophrenics has been rising steadily and while the root cause is a mystery, the disease is multifactorial. Genes can play a part as well as environmental factors. On a biological level, the brain of a schizophrenic is markedly different than a normal person. An imbalance in certain neurotransmitters is classic in schizophrenics.

What Happens in Schizophrenia?
Patients of this mental disorder suffer from a variety of different psychological symptoms. Hallucinations (usually auditory but sometimes visual) are a common finding in these patients. Schizophrenics are also characteristically paranoid and delusional. They are apathetic and do not engage in social activities. Some patients might also suffer from memory disorders.

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How is Schizophrenia Treated?
While no cure exists for schizophrenia, the symptoms can be lessened by both therapy and medical intervention. Antipsychotics are usually prescribed by the doctor to help relieve the severe psychological symptoms of schizophrenia.

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The sad saga of Nauman Ali Khan

Around 12 years ago, I went through a time when I was unsure of my emaan. I had questions in my mind which if articulated could be considered blasphemy. I felt guilt. I thought I’m a failure. And then I started to read the Quran and hadith books ony own trying to make sense of my being. With that came the process of listening and reading to various preachers from various sects. It seemed I was not satisfied with the interpretations of a lot of them (without intending to be disrespectful to any of them).

Then finally in 2012, I stumbled upon a lecture by Nauman Ali Khan and I just loved it. I kept listening to his lectures and soon realised that he is my favourite teacher/preacher. It’s easy to relate to him as well. He was brought up just like any of us without a religious background. His struggle that he went through in learning Arabic and Quran was inspirational. He knows what people living in non Muslim countries go through, how hard it is bring up kids in today’s era. He has this ability to make the wisdom in the text easy for us to understand. He is eloquent and speak the language that is easy for us to understand.

And thus, became my hero.

With that, I, like many other of his followers forgot that he is just a human too.

And to err is human.

So, over the weekend, I found out through a friend about the accusations that were hurled at him through someone called Omar Muzaffar who claimed to be Nauman Ali khan’s friend. Nauman Ali Khan disagrees here. Anyway, he accused khan for inappropriate behaviour with multiple women. I could not really understand what it exactly means coz that inappropriate behaviour can be anything from flirtation to rape. It also claimed that khan had confessed to several of these accusations. I read on with disbelief, my eyes were literally popping out.

On further reading, it became apparent that there was no sexual assault. That was a relief. But he was being accused of sending inappropriate pictures, messages, flirting and then bribing and threatening too! Some of them are not illegal but bribing and threatening definitely are.

Nauman Ali Khan himself has denied those allegations. He is saying that he only approached those ladies with the intent of marrying one of them with their and their family’s consent and his behaviour was never inappropriate. He only spoke with the intent of finding the right person for himself. Sounds harmless.

But now the problem is that I have read the leaked whatsapp chats. They could have easily been faked. But they might be true as well. Who knows?

One more thing that has come out of this whole scenario is that the victims have spoken up. It’s not easy to speak up about abuse. Be it by the husband, father, teacher or their boss.  Women are scared of speaking up because they are scared of being slut shamed.

I just think if nauman Ali Khan wants to prove his innocence and get back respect, he must prove in court that those pictures are photoshopped, those whatsapp messages are fake, he has never bribed anyone or threatened the team of imams on the case. He must file a case for defamation and prove it all in court. Defamation is a serious crime. But of course he will only do that if he is innocent. Otherwise we all know our society always blames women and forgives men for whatever they have done. I’m glad that he has asked for a ‘theatre free environment to investigate allegations against him.’ Let’s hope that he can clarify all the misconceptions and prove that he is innocent. I’m praying for that.

I’m very sad and disappointed but if it’s true it won’t be something new. Men in power have always abused it and women have always been the soft target. Interestingly, even if proven to be correct, most people will continue slut shaming the women rather than praising them for their bravery. It takes a lot to speak against crimes and injustice done against yourself and our society doesn’t make it any easier. Even now when we don’t even know who those women are, there are thousands of messages slut shaming them. I know it’s possible that they might not be victims and just be opportunists…..but what if it’s the other way round? They will not be given justice just because we thought that a celebrity might be victimised instead?

I have decided not to listen to his lectures for the time being… Till it all clears out. Not because I hate him or can’t stand his face anymore or don’t think he is not knowledgeable enough. I just feel I don’t respect him the way I did before. I’m not taking away all his contributions towards islam. His lectures have helped millions across the globe to come closer Islam, clear lots of their misconceptions. I’m not discouraging anyone else from listening to his lectures.

I’m neither in defence or prosecution. I don’t have any first hand knowledge but I want all this mess to be cleared up in an honourable way. Of course I don’t want to read all his messages or study his pictures if they are photoshopped or not. But I would want to know if nauman Ali Khan also abused his power or became a victim of mud slinging in a power struggle among preachers.

Singapore – From my eyes II

In the past 5 decades, Singapore has come really far. From a small island expelled from Malaysia in 1965, giving it an unwanted independence, it has become one of the world’s most successful countries in merely 52 years. If you sit and chat with the elderly, they will tell you about slums they used to live in during the earlier years of independence. Today, Singapore has the highest home ownership in the world. Almost 90% of all Singaporeans live in their own homes. A huge success on its own. It has grown from a third world country to a first world country faster than any other in the world.

Tourism is one important factor in the massive economic growth of Singapore. So a country a lot of people did not even know about in the 90s is now one of the favourite tourist spots in the world. It welcomes the fourth largest number of tourists when compared to any other city in the world. Although it has no ‘rich’ history or heritage to boast about as its a new country with no mountains, no desserts and no changing weathers through out the year, nearly every thing had to be built from scratch to attract tourists.

So if you are planning a short trip to a city in Asia, do consider Singapore.

I will be doing a series of posts with a few recommendations of must see/visit places and things to do while here in Singapore, starting with Sentosa.

Why?

Because its Sentosa 🙂

I don’t think anyone who visits Singapore leaves out Sentosa. It’s a must!

The itinerary I’m sharing with you will need to 2-3 days. You can stay at one of the hotels at Sentosa for the best experience.

You can reach sentosa in a cable car and start by paying a visit to the mythical 37 meters high majestic Merlion and see for yourself how it safeguards the shores of Singapore as the legend goes.

Then move onto the luge. They claim no one does it once and they are not wrong. We go to sentosa almost every month and we buy a 3-time ticket per visit. Its just a lot of fun.

You can then visit IFly and experience skydiving in a especially designed air tunnel while never really jumping out of an air plane. If you acrophobic like me, this is for you as you would never actually be flying too high up from the ground. 

If you are still not tired and adventurous enough, you can zip across South East Asia’s steepest zip wire, do a treetop obstacle rope course, do wall climbing or a 15 m free fall. And then you can end the day with the majestic light, laser and water show ‘Wings of Time’.

If you are travelling with kids, let the kids spend the day at Kidzania while you can have a snooze at one of the beaches or experience flow boarding at the Wave House. If that’s not enough, there is also The Butterfly and Insect Kingdom to explore the various different kinds of beautiful butterflies. And dont forget to drop by Madame Tussaud to meet your favourite celebrities. 

*The pictures are not mine, all taken from official websites of the respective attractions.

But life goes on…

Written by Kanza Naseem

Death is hard. We have lived to see people in pain, and watched them deteriorate into nothing. In the end all we are left with are memories, like deep cuts in our skin which scar so horribly, every time they are touched they bleed, seems as though the cut becomes deeper, similar to how we fall so far deep, in to water. The fear of it all takes over. Suddenly you can’t seem to breathe, somewhere, somehow we are supposed to learn that its just life, and this is the way it works. We never do, there is no time, ‘bury heads in sand, but our future’s in our hands, it means nothing, if I haven’t got you’.

A persons touch can leave you breathless. Every aching moment when they pass away makes no sense. For a while you just want everything to stop. You want to stop zhurting and feeling pain, just until everything is over, so you don’t have to deal with it. It’s natural. ‘That’s enough for now’

Everybody moves on, it be too soon for some. We like to hold on, clutch onto hope, so tightly, that we forget what people meant to others. We went slowly we took it easy, we stood still. Somehow we forget that others didn’t, they did not stop, and wait for emotion. They persevered, their grief is over, ours has just begun. We mourn what we have lost, on our own, sometimes its better this way, no body understands now. Grief meant their problems have disappeared (not), they let go to soon, we were not ready. Now we are. ‘And I’ve been knocking but no one answers
And I’ve been knocking most all the day.’

Time is a healer, we are supposed to understand, not forget. We never do, its easier to forget to get caught up, with other things, to bury ourselves with work, tasks things to accomplish, goals, a light to chase. Its all fear of some sort, how can we understand it? For it takes over everything, its seeps in to every empty crack, there is no balance, no way, or one to stop it. In summer we plant our seeds and hope to watch them prosper in to something beautiful, a sweet pear, and oozing ‘tamato’ 😉 a flower, we are consumed in their beauty. We forget come autumn they will fall, and disappear, in to the winds they blow, where they end up nobody knows, everything is meant to fade. ‘He must have been a gardener that cared a lot. Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop, Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls. We hear, we hear your name’ ♥ We are blinded by lights, which make things look easy. Feelings are not. They take over. They don’t make sense they make things difficult.

This is reality, it’s your grief, and it’s allowed; this is your life. It hurts and sometimes it’s supposed to, it bruises but somehow you have to feel it, you have to deal with it, fear is uncontrollable, but it always will be. Use your pain to come out the other side stronger and always remember someone’s watching over you.

Why she stayed?

Silicon Valley CEO abused wife for 10 years, jailed for 30 days only

Yes, you read it correctly. Only 30 days.

And what angered me more was that the judge actually asked her why she stayed for so long?

And since I have read this, I have been thinking the same, why she stayed? She was an educated, independent woman who was an engineer at Apple. She should not have tolerated this abuse even for a day. How did she let it be for 10 years?

But is it really so easy to get out of abusive relationships?

Unfortunately, no. It’s not easy at all. It’s in fact, very difficult.

Abuse is very common, a lot more than we think. In fact, we overlook it most of the times. It’s something we don’t want to talk about, scared that people might be judgemental towards us. But by doing that we also make our loved ones feel that being a victim of abuse is something to be embarrassed about. Also, if the abuse is psychological, we often don’t pay heed at all.

Abusers have one goal in mind: to take (and mainten) control over the victim. To do so, they can choose any method: fear, intimidation or guilt to make sure the victim does not ask for help or try to get out of the situation.

All abusive relationships work in a cycle: the tension build up, the explosion and the honeymoon period. The explosion is the time when the abuse actually happens and can be triggered by something very petty and the honeymoon period is the time when the abuser pretends to act sweet and tries to win over the victim again. This is also the time when although the abuser apologises for his/her behaviour but also makes sure to tell the victim that it was only the victim’s actions that forced the abuser into committing that act. Victims of abuse over time loose confidence and start believing this lie slowly and gradually that it’s their fault to be in such a situation.

One of the many reasons why Neha Rastogi decided to stay with her abusive husband Abhishek Ghattani for 10 years. Because she loved him. And because she believed him when he told her that every time he abused her, it was her mistake.

But that’s not the only reason I must say. Victims often start doubting themselves: what if I will be unable to cope? What if he really will change just like he promised me last week? And things like this only make the victim fall deeper into the abyss.

And then of course the social stigma. Since childhood, girls are bombarded with the idea of them being the damsel in distress who would be saved by their knights in shining armour. They dream of their weddings and divorce is often seen as a failure of being a good wife and/or mother.

And then finally when a victim musters all the courage to actually take action, the judge asks her, “Why did you stay for so long?”

 

Singapore – From my eyes I

Those who know me personally, know quite well that I love and respect Singapore a lot. Although I am not a citizen myself, I find myself defending Singapore every where I go and with every one I speak to.

I first visited Singapore in 1995 as a tourist and while travelling back from Singapore I made a little innocent wish of being able to visit Singapore again. I never knew that I will get married to someone 4 years later who lives in here. I moved here in 2009 after I got married and 8 years later, its become home now. Yes, I love pakistan but I respect singapore deeply.

In this post I will only speak about cultural and religious freedom that I have here.

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Singapore is a multi cultural country with people of all religions living with harmony. It’s main languages are English, Chinese, Malay Bhasa and Tamil and the citizens comprise mainly  of Chinese, Malay and Indian origin. The main religions here are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism and there people from all religions are allowed to practice their own religion in their own way as long as they do not interfere in any one else’s practices.

I have spent a chunk of my childhood in UAE and some time in UK for my studies. Although I have never really faced serious bullying in my life directed particularly towards me but I have been called ‘Bloody Paki’ and treated as an inferior muslim for being a pakistani Muslim rather than being an Arab. But a lot of people might be unaware but I’m protected by law in Singapore against such discriminations. No one can call me names due to the way I look (the color of my eyes, my hair or my height can’t be commented upon), I can roam around in shalwar kameez the whole day without being worried about someone being judgemental,  I can sue someone if their dog touches me (yes, this muslim sensitivity against dogs is highly regarded), halal food is readily available and I can even pray publicly in a park without being stared at. Also, the Muslim laws of marriage and inheritance are being looked upon by the Sharia courts of law.

And the best thing about living in Singapore is that we have lots of public holidays too: 2 each for each of the 4 main religions which also ensures that we do not have to worry about going to work on Eid day 🙂

* the beautiful picture of Sultan Masjid is not mine but taken off the Internet. Sultan Masjid might be the most famous masjid of Singapore as it’s a popular tourist destination but there are lots an lots of masjids and some of them very beautiful and majestic in terms of their architecture. The Islamic schools (medrasaa) are in abundance too masha Allah.

 

 

 

JJ. You will always be remembered.

“Beshak ankh ansoo bahati hai aur dil ghamgeen hai lekin hum zubaan sey wohi kahein gey, jis sey hamara rabb razi ho…” (Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.)

I hardly ever cry when a celebrity dies. Its been a tough year. Deaths of 3 iconic pakistanis and I have cried for all them.

Junaid Jamshed has been the most difficult to accept till now.  Its taken need so long to accept that he is no more.  That he will not be doing the 12 rabi ul awwal show tomorrow . That he will not be doing live shows during Ramadan . That we will only watch him now on old YouTube videos . That he will not be tweeting his pictures himself ever again.  And that there will never be a new nasheed from him.

I feel miserable and helpless right now but his death has reminded me once again how unpredictable life is . The person who was giving azan became merely a ‘laash ‘  an hour later. It gives me a reason to look at myself and thank Allah for the breaths that I’m taking and the chance he is giving me. . . To improve,  to forgive , to forget and become a better person .

Junaid Jamshed had always been a part of my life in one way or the other. Growing up,  I listened to his songs and did so through out my teen years.  I was still listening to humming to ‘o sanama’ When he decided to leave his lucrative music career and put away his guitar and grew his beard. I wasn’t too sure what he was trying to do and I bought his last album too,for which he made any music videos. Soon, he had released another album but this time he wasn’t singing for a mortal beloved,  his Beloved was now the immortal Allah. It didn’t take me long before I was listening to jalwa e jaana and falling in love with it.  He gave us some of most beautiful naaheeds, the words were simple but were the ones we could all relate to.

People hated him for choosing to be what he became.  I couldn’t understand why his decision was not being respected.  We don’t have to agree with someone to respect him. We can disagree and still respect each other.  However , that is not the case with us. We believe that people don’t change and hence the saying, “900 choohay kha ker billi hajj ko chali” .  So pretty much everyone had a problem with him and it seemed all his statements became controversial somehow.  He said lots of things that I don’t agree with too but of course I never ill wished him. Lots of people in Pakistan wanted to see him dead however .

And now he actually is dead.

Or is he a shaheed .

Since yesterday , my facebook news feed is filled with his old songs and I have been fighting my urge to listen to them.  No, not because I’m claiming to be very pious but because I believe it is up to us, people who claim to be his fans,  to respect his decision . He thought his singing career was a mistake and whether we agree with it or not, we must respect his decision . He didn’t want to be remembered as a singer. He wanted to be remembered as someone who chose to follow a path most people would never dare to. Lets remember him for that.  Lets remember him for the inspiration that he was and still is.

May his soul rest in peace .