I shouted with all the terror I could afford to put in my voice, and it must have had the desired effect, because Bassey quickly locked his door. But I was thinking “not too fast, you are not getting away”, so after a short run and a flying kick, Bassey’s door came crashing down and I faced him…….
Few months earlier
I had just graduated from university of Ilorin, Kwara state, Nigeria and I had to do my National Youth Service Corps, incidentally I was posted to Imo State, Eastern Nigeria. My university lifestyle was mostly an unserious one, I had dabbled into drugs and had very bad grades and finally in my fifth year (I was doing a four year course, Chemistry) I was admitted in the Federal NeuroPsychiayric Hospital, yaba Lagos and was diagnosed with a mental illness that I never really paid attention to because I really didn’t believe there was something wrong with me. That was the year 2011, around March , till May. I stayed for 2 months. I graduated in 2012 and now fast forward to 2013 when I started my service to the fatherland, I had stopped using my meds because they had a bad side effect in that I could not always think and I slept most of the time plus my body just shakes sometimes. I didn’t like these side effects so I dumped the meds, my rationale was that I didn’t do drugs anymore so I didn’t need the meds.
How wrong I was!
So Bassey was a fellow Corper and he was my neighbour, we shared the bath and kitchen but had different rooms. Oh my he was one of a kind. He was always quick to tell me that he was a frat boy and tell me stories of how he and his frat members always beat up lecturers in school and other things and I think he did and said all these in a bid to scare me and sometimes he liked to always act bossy and tried to tell me what to do. But I’m not that easy a nut to crack myself, so I just always dismissed his threats. But slowly he was starting to get on my nerves and I remember vividly the first time I would give him a warning. Being that we were both serving with the police headquarters there In owerri, we had been given the rooms we were in and there was a police hospital just near our apartments where we usually watch soccer matches and that year was the year that Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations. We had gone there to watch a match but unfortunately it wasn’t shown and we had to go back to the apartments. On our way he was just a few paces ahead of me and by the time I got to the back door to the kitchen we usually used as entrance, Bassey had locked the door from inside, thereafter he and his girlfriend (can’t quite remember her name) went to have a shower while I was kept waiting outside. After taking his time he came and opened the door and there and there I had warned him, I told him I didn’t want to fight.
All this time I had stopped using my meds for more than four months and the symptoms had started to come back, I remember vividly planning an escape route in case someone came to kill me, in this case the most probable person was Bassey and his group of frat boys that came occasionally to the apartment, I was already having persecutory delusions, and then I also fancied myself a detective, I thought I was a secret agent on a secret mission, I can’t fully explain the feeling and it’s hard to get, but after my first psychotic episode that got me hospitalized in 2011 I had already made up my mind that nothing this world offered will ever frighten me anymore, so in my mind Bassey and his cronies wanted to kill me but I was not scared, I was just anxious about how this was going to play out. So this fateful day I have my girlfriend and her friend with me in my room and then Bassey and his frat boys were just outside my window, and I must have been hallucinating because all I heard from the voices outside my window was “let’s kill him, na him dey inside house ba”? “Mey we end am”, now the only problem I saw with this event were the two girls in my room and how they were going to go unscathed and I’m sure by this time they must have been alarmed at my behaviour but none of them said anything. Should I say Luck came my way because it suddenly became very cloudy and a storm was imminent so the guys outside my window quickly went away and Bassey was left alone. My thought at that time was I needed to act, how dare this guy come to my window with his mates and threaten me to kill me?
So I went outside and shouted his name with all the terror I could afford to put in my voice and I’m sure it felt like the storm too.
After breaking down his door I pounded the living daylight out of this guy, his girlfriend came to his rescue and bit me in the back and for the first time in my life, I raised a hand against a woman, I had decked her a backhand slap, and before long other corpers came and separated us.
I could easily have had a dead body on my neck just because I stopped using my meds. And I noticed a trend, when I’m going through my psychotic episodes my anger is always directed at people whom I seem to be at loggerheads with at the time, but they I’m sure will be wondering what they did wrong to warrant all this anger. The experience of psychosis is always so intense for me that…….
……Anyway Bassey reported me to the police and I was asked to tell the story, which I did according to how he had been looking for my trouble and all, before long my parents were called and they came to my rescue, but before they came I still did somethings that I find very hard even now to say, because they cause me such embarrassment when I remember it.
Naturally I was taken back to the hospital where I was able to recuperate and start my life over. This Illness is so powerful and intense sometimes I don’t know what to make of it, but I won’t give up, I’ll continue to try and get better and part of that is finally knowing that it’s Schizophrenia that’s disturbing me, I only discovered that after my recent psychotic episode this year 2017. And part of this getting well is me coming public with it, in order that I will constantly remind myself to always use my meds and tell people not to use drugs anymore.
You don’t always know what you have until you lose it. I would kill right now for good mental health!!!!