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Broken dream

MISBAH HAQANI

Four years ago something drove me to have a dream. And  I started off on a journey of pursuing it — single-mindedly.

 But, I did not know, this dream was going to consume me.

At a tender age of 16, I started to burden myself with this pricey dream. I wanted to be a doctor. I began to imagine myself as a doctor — moving around in hospital wards, examining patients, writing prescriptions. This thought of being a doctor gave me a cloud nine feeling. I thought it was just a shot away. Nothing could stop me from realising this dream.

I was completely possessed by the dream of being a doctor. I googled every medicine I found at home. I wanted to know the details — composition, what it is used for, side-effects, everything.  I downloaded all medical apps used by doctors.  I devoured books on medical science like a ravenous monster. I didn’t understand what I was doing. I just had a one-point purpose in life—to be a doctor. The passion was so intense that I lost the balance of my mind. The fixation of being a doctor drove all logic and realistic thinking out of me. 

My passion was slowly taking a dangerous form. It was gradually turning me into a maniac. The mania was pushing me into a situation where the unreal looked like the real; daydreaming replaced realism. The more I fantasised, the more possible it looked. And the more possible it looked, the more euphoric it made me. Imagining myself wearing a white coat with a stethoscope thrown casually around my shoulders made me crazy. I almost thought I was already a doctor. At least, in my imagination.

 I was convinced beyond any doubt that all this could happen. The opposite of it never occurred to me. My mind had already shut that possibility out.

My ecstasy slowly changed into something else. I could feel the symptoms. I googled to understand these symptoms. From what I read on line, it was a clear cut case of anxiety disorder. It was killing me from within, without any apparent injury. It was devastating.

I felt as if every moment was taking my life away — bit by bit. Waking up every morning with a physical and psychological heaviness and having to face myself was something I couldn’t handle.

What people around me was rather insensitive. “We understand what you are going through, but overcome it.” Advices and comments like these made me feel worse. To counsel is so easy, but to stand inside that whirlwind of mental agony is quite a different thing.

Sometimes, I would console myself by thinking of all the great people who had anxiety disorders, like Einstein.

These consolations didn’t help, and things became worse for me. And for my family too.

In the daytime I was stricken by an unending anxiety. In the night I was tormented by nightmares. I would wake up in the middle of the night and shout for my mum. She would come and sleep by my side.

This cycle went on for quite some time. My parents got worried.

And so, it was decided that I needed a psychiatrist.

Sitting in the clinic of a psychiatrist with people staring at me to find out what had turned such a young, pretty girl into a mentally disordered patient was the strangest feeling I have ever had. Stranger things were yet to come though.

 The doctor put me on medication with regular check-ups.

A new sense began to dawn on me. I began to realize what life actually meant, what being on earth meant. “Had I forgotten the feeling of actual wellbeing?” I asked myself.

 Earlier I knew something was wrong with me, but now I knew how grave it was.

This realisation made me feel better. For once, I thought I was asking myself the right questions, and getting the right answers. Things started to ease up and I felt relaxed.

Time passed and I was good. I still wanted to become a doctor. But it was as if the obsession phase had been covered by a thin curtain with my dream still shining behind it. To me everything was okay now.

 But in this apparent stage of calm, there was yet another devastating phase of mental agony in store for me.

 The symptoms reoccurred and I relapsed into another cycle of anxiety. This time it was far worse.

I was taken to almost all the psychiatrists of the valley.

 My family stood by my side. Sقo did my friends. Both were a huge support — a cushion I could lean back upon in those traumatizing times. They deserve a special word of gratitude.

I lurched forward like a bird with broken wings who tries to find its nest in the dark.

Finally, the day came — the day of the entrance test to the medical college. The college of my dreams was only an hour and an exam away. I cannot explain the feeling of that hour I spent in the hall; maybe because I myself couldn’t understand it.

 Inside the exam hall I felt as if time had ceased, the day didn’t seem to end.

When I got back home, I did not want to check the answer key. But then, I could not hide from the results.

Then, the results were out. It was a nightmare. The sky was falling on me. My dream was crashing on me. My hands were empty. I did not cry because tears could not cool down my agony. I felt as though a hole was being drilled in my heart.

The world seemed to have ended. It was the climax of my story, my long cherished dream. I thought of killing myself. But then, maybe I wasn’t coward enough, or brave enough.

 I have passed that phase and lived through it. Now when I look back I realize that having come out of all that is a victory. I feel like a superhero.

 I do realise there is something else reserved for me. I am happy with whatever I have now. I go to the college every day and actively take part in studies and all other activities. I have made a gang of lovely friends.

There are no nightmares now, but nothing can make up for my broken dream — of wearing a white coat, slinging a stetho around my neck, examining patients, writing their prescription and seeing them get well. That doctor still lives in my dream, my broken dream.

  • Title: Broken dream
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