Bipolar Affective Disorder
After five years of passing away of my bipolar son at the prime age of 32, I am struggling today whether to share his life leading up to the fateful day of 4 May 2007 when he took his own life or keep it confidential and off the record. The feeling of guilty conscience and remorse I have has never let me go. Why I am writing this to admit my guilt of ignorance then? One and one reason alone; there may be thousands of parents like me, there may same number of children like my son, so if I can be a reason to bring a change some where in any corner of the world I must. I must join those brave men and women who are confronted with this disease in any form helping the needy.
It is essential to say a few words at this point about ‘Moody’ his alias. His name was Nasir Mahmood. Between father and son we exchanged many letters. He wrote a total of 22 poems. His writing skills made a 360 degrees turn and something about the quality of his thought and expression surprised me even. It was so sudden that for some time I thought it was not his original work. Till few months after I knew it was. What caused this change? More on this later. With the benefit of hind sight I can now identify changes which I noticed some I ignored till now. In his last email half an hour before he died exactly between my flight from Accra, Ghana to Monrovia on my way back from leave. He died. I felt something strange, I felt restless during my flight. I knew when I landed and opened cell phone that he had taken his life. The connection was lost during the flight. I do not know what are rules of ‘Squidoo’ for me to reproduce his last letter and poems which I have taken off from the net every where. I will though quote from his writings to give the reader some idea what was going through his mind.
I would leave this section with a quote from his last letter Death in life is one thing that everyone tries to avoid but it is inevitable. It is only a matter of how long we live. In my case I have to fight these spirits and had to live this life for a shorter span by giving it up for the sake of freedom in the next one. Now I will tell you where I went wrong Another quote from a passage, I have no regrets about life other than this that I have put you and our family in a difficult position in front of your friends and relatives. You see Agha everyone has to die eventually only in my case it is a little sooner. You must consider that there is happiness for me in the next life because I have suffered to much as it is. When I walked in to the library of Australian National University in Australia all the famous people on the shelves are dead.
The first change which I noticed in my son Moody was in 2004. He was not a child who was fond of reading or writing. His written expression was not noteworthy. I always wanted my kids to read books but they never did. Then one day Moody told me that he had bought few books and was enjoying reading them. He was not a fictional reader. He was doing a job in Lahore about 375 KM away from us, used to visit us once or twice in a month. He had done his Masters in Business Administration. Played Golf his new found love for the game; would swing and swing for hours and would proudly tell me that he was driving the ball over 300 Meters. Day in and out it was only golf. He went crazy for the game. Bought expensive golf clubs. Always selected the best things for himself no matter what the price tag was. This lasted for some time till he started reading books. Then like he was reading hours and hours and finished book after book. Then came another brain wave. He wanted to go to Germany for study in a German University. I told him without German Language it was a no go. I never thought that he would learn German. He perfected his language skills to an extent that he read and memorized Shakespeare’s Hamlet in German.He got me by complete surprise, something I never expected will happen. As parents we some times fail so badly to know our children. He would buy very expensive clothes. He would spit polish his shoes and shine them to an extent you could see your face in the toe. Started learning to type and perfected it to some 70 words per minute. Book reading kept on increasing in pace and his selection of books did make me happy. Little I knew he was going into an amazing metamorphosis. Never picked up anything unusual about all his activities. I was rather happy mostly the reading part of it. Then one day we had a disagreement on his choice of University abroad which was beyond my means. There was no way I could afford it. He tore all his forms and left home. We did not speak for a month till I decided to visit Lahore and took him to an Italian restaurant. The idea was to mend our differences. I succeeded. Then he wrote his first poem which he emailed me and titled it “An Eve of Poultry and Profusion.” I could not believe it was Moody who wrote it. I enjoyed the following stanzas ” To ounce and pound the chick of Tuscans, In the glistening lights of hub and hotel, an ode to jaw and jibe, for just the jubilant and joyful. A Father! God be wi’ you Sir! ” He started reading books at high pace. His selections included, Nietzsche, Kant, Plato, Whitman, Aristotle, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Ataturk, almost all books by Bertrand Russell his most favourite of all writers was Bertrand. Others included Edward Said, Rumi, Khalil Gibran and many more. In 2005 I was employed by United nations in Liberia and could afford his studies abroad now. As part of his enrollment he failed in his first attempt of IELTS Examination. In a letter he wrote he said I watched FINDING FORRESTER the other day and Sean Connery being a writer teaches his student not to think when writing anything. Only when rewriting it. I never read my books deliberately, he said. Never shopped for them with an intentive certitude rather they just found me. Why they came to me is something I understand, because I needed them, but where they will take me from here only time can tell, he wrote. He wrote many poems, 22 in all to be precise. The titles were very meaningful and had deep logic embedded in each verse. Some times very difficult for me to decipher what was going on in his mind. He chose subjects like, Fate, Judgement, Reason, Silence, Air, Time, Citizen, Eye, Truth, Temperament, Wisdom, Life, to name a few.
He would say, “There are no hard and fast rules in life any more. I have started on with Plato and in next month and half will angulate more on Philosophy. My most favourite happy hobby. Reading without writing is effortless he said and wrote extensively to me in form of letters describing what he was thinking. ‘I find’, he wrote, ‘the handwritten matter to be more fluid, fun and invigorating_the expression ability.’ I never knew that he was interacting with some other people whom I could not find neither wanted to pry when he wrote that that he has been dissipating emails around and assuredly he said, ‘must have estranged people with my sift erratic attitude and empathy in this sudden whole heartedness.’
He wrote me that I will be getting lengthy emails from him. “In retrospect” he said, ” please don’t try to position me in any club Like Fascists, Socialists, Liturgics, or Democrats because no system is right. I am only the poet of God or you can call me Captain Packard of the Enterprise is more like it.” Ending that para he wrote, ” I know Mom gets worried of me landing in a lunatic asylum.”
Moody did finally secure his admission in Australian National University. His selection as intimated by the Australian High Commission was made purely on his Letter of Motivation to join ANU. It was and excellent written abstract three-fourth of a page. Then it all started to happen in Australia. Moody would write pages and pages about accounting which made no sense to me why he was telling me all that. I did not stop him. Then the change started happening and I could notice something was not well. Few lines from his various letters:
You must know that some of the things I started apprehending during my final lectures of e-commerce. In that the lecturer was indirectly addressing through slides with words such as “the double edged sword, it is no longer a secret, the person who carried this information had a tattoo on his head and that his head is clean shaven”. Each time he would look at me while addressing them. I was becoming convinced of my teacher’s words being real because the first night that I had spent in Canberra, in the morning when I woke up there was a big deep dip on my head. I wore the cap all day because it seemed that part of skull had gone down.
In the last few years I think that I have been reading books to seek refuge for being dissatisfied with the life I had before I started reading. The book reading before going to Australia was like a medicine for me that did not let me fall. I started believing in books so much that it felt that as if not reading despite that I had a semester to look forward was beyond my control.
I have not been honest to everyone. I have also been withholding information for quite a while because I wanted to be certain of what I am experiencing.
I do not think if I still have the precise words to explain or anyone would comprehend this explanation but I am giving it a try. The night I wrote to you about my reverences for prophets and Sufism I witnessed something out of the life ordinary. Not long ago I read a Persian treatise on Sufism in which there was a reference to expansion and contraction of the heart. I would also like you to bear in mind that I am not a Sufi because I cannot attain their levels of piety and mortifications. Anyhow, what I mean to tell you is that during that early morning in Australia after I had sent you the email that I have mentioned above, I was abducted by a spirit and still am. I withheld this because I was estranged of his existence.
I started experiencing tapping on my arms, shoulders, feet, legs and sometimes my thumb or other fingers would flicker momentarily especially when I am writing. Every muscle of my body responds. Even right now I am experiencing this writing to you. But gradually he has started to become more resilient. He communicates with me through words spoken on TV, while I am reading, when I am writing my office work, during conversations with people. I can’t even begin to explain you how difficult living has become when someone is being distracted after every few seconds and is corrected each time.
Imagine as if someone grabs me from behind my neck and moves it around to look at certain objects, as he desires me. I try to not move and stay still but I cannot do that because he strangles me by the neck. If I could feel his hand then I can move it away because it is physically possible.
My life is living hell in every true sense of my sentences. He is living and acknowledging my thoughts. The sort of thoughts those are mute. No shrink in the world can help me and no medicine can cure it. I know you are ladened with family engagements and work in Liberia.
I have enough to write but it is difficult for me to do so right now. I have shared enough I guess. I know my lapses but it is too late for me but sharing it with all of you may not be. Some where someone needs help, so lets not fail and help him or her.
Thank you for your patience.
Moody’s one of the last quotes in letters he wrote
Up from Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate
And many knots unravel’d by the Road
But not the Master-Knot of Human Fate.
hamshi5433 2 years ago
I read every word you wrote on this page and had tears in my eyes as i was reading it. I am deeply sorry that this has happened to your son. I believe in god and because i believe in god, i know evil spirits exists all around us too. I have had some nasty experiences in the past but recovered from them with the help of my lord Jesus Christ. I know you must be going through a real hard time, but please stay strong. I will pray for your son and for you. As I was reading this page, my mind was imagining and picturing the situations and its like I was feeling some of the pain, discomfort and fear that he was going through. To me, what your son went through is something more than Bipolar disease and science. Its hard to explain by words but only those who`ve experienced it know how real it is. God bless you.
anonymous 2 years ago
Terry,I can feel wat you must be going thru typing all this in your quiet study,Boots perched on the sofa and the Nth movie of the day on the screen.Thanks for sharing all this. Greaat servis to the world and the parents. May Allah bless Moodie. Regards
anonymous 2 years ago
Thank you for sharing your story. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995 and am just now having the courage to confront it. My parents labeled me “moody” too…as if I was trying to be. I received that label as a teenager-which made it seem as though my moodiness was due to my normal hormonal changes. Bipolar Disorder is hard to diagnose during that age, but as it get progressively worse, it becomes easier. I must say, if it wasn’t for the Grace of God I would not be here. It is through my Faith that I am able to fight my own tendencies to leave this life. At this point in my life I fight it on most days. But I am educated and mindful enough to let it pass…or talk to a friend I’ve been blessed with. I confronted my mother with this disorder. I showed her my medical records. I am not sure if she’s able to process this. I mean, all those years of yelling at me and ridiculing me to just do something about my moodiness and other symptoms. All the pain of punishment I suffered for things that were not intentional on my part. But I must recognize my part in this. I was diagnosed at the age of 19. And I chose to dismiss it. I lived 17 more years in confusion and hell and I didn’t have to. Education is key. It was something I, and I believe my family is afraid of. In my culture, anything dealing with a mental disorder is taboo. A figment of our imagination even. Thank you for sharing. I would pass it on to my mother, but I’m not sure she would be able to accept this. Her narcissism would tell her that I am “attacking” her.
But thank you.
anonymous 2 years ago
Dear Bilafond, Thanks so much for your comment. I already took a look at your link and all I can say is that your son was a great person and a very tanlented one. Sometimes it is hard to accept, to have peace when things like this magnitude happen, but we also need to remind ourselves that there are people who come to this world only to remind us how to be happy. I think your son did a great job with this no matter how the circunstances turned out. This work of yours will for sure help several others, me included. We need people like you on this world. Thanks so much!
SusanDeppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USALevel 7 Commenter
This must have been very difficult to write, but I hope it was therapeutic for you. Surely this will touch others and perhaps even save lives as people recognize the patterns from Moody’s life that they see in a loved one or even in themselves. Thank you so much for sharing. My heart goes out to you.
bossypants 2 years ago from America’s Dairyland
You are generous to share your experiences, despite the pain it must have caused to relive this in writing. Your son sounds like an amazing man and I’m sorry for your loss. You may never know how many others will see something familiar in your writing and be able to avert a tragedy.
darciefrench lm 2 years ago
I have bipolar and my heart goes out to you and your family.
Charlino99 2 years ago from USALevel 1 Commenter
Thank you for sharing your experience. Living with one who is bipolar is like living with Forest Gump’s box of chocolates. From day to day, no one ever knows what they are going to get. The symptoms of this disease are difficult to recognize, especially when the bipolar loved one is very intelligent. May your brave tribute help others recognize some of the symptoms of this complex disease.
anonymous 2 years ago
Tahir, we all can visualize your state. It requires a herculean effort to come out of such a state and share your inner feelings so openly. I commend you for this but while you are at it please do keep adding more content……..it may benefit others.
anonymous 2 years ago
Remembering Moody is always a painful experience but it is enlightening at the same time. Anybody, who ever met this young genius can never forget him. I have been following his thought provoking talks and writings through his father who has always been sharing some of them with me. I shall always feel honored and proud of the trust, confidence and sincerity of my very intimate, caring and loving friend Tahir who always kept me posted even on very personal matters like ailment of his son Moody. I wish if I could be of any help to him.
Apart from this new chapter he has opened, I have to commend and salute the courage with which he faced this biggest shock of his and our’s life. Years have passed but I still remember that longest and most tiring walk of my life when I was walking behind the Janaza of Moody in Army Graveyard, Rawalpindi. I recall Pasha, Naeem, Nadeem, Mehboob, OQ, Jingo, Liaqat Toor and all others from our course-mates. Those few steps were so heavy that the tiredness still exists. I recall Tahir walking shoulder to shoulder with me. He was like a moving ROCK. Fully composed and dignified. My honest opinion is that nobody other than Tahir could show that courage, Tawwakal and contentment on Allah’s wish.
As Moody used to say, Every one has to leave this world. We all have to join him, some of us ( General Sadaqat) who were present on the funeral of Moody have already joined Moody and we are on our way.
It is an irony that non of us could be of any help to Tahir who is now trying to help so many others suffering from this agony of Bipoler Disorder.
May Allah be with you Tahir and reward you for this in form of Sabr for you, your family and above all Peace for Moody in the heavens.
anonymous 2 years ago
I am not sure but someone said âwounds heal -up but scars remain.â This may be true in other circumstances but not when the loss is of one to whom you brought to this world, nourished, saw them growing, interacted, took care of their material and spiritual needs, smiled at their silly moves, words, and expressions, and agonized at anything small that happened to them. But loss of a child and that also at his prime age is no small happening. It is the worst that can happen to parents. It leaves behind so many memories, so many thoughts, and so many inner-pains. My heart goes for both of Moodyâs parents.
I read Punjabi sufi poetry when I have time and again I am not sure who said this but the words beautifully translate the feelings of the parents: âPuttar Maray nain bullday, banwain ho kay maran fakirâ ( one could never forget the death of a son/children even if they die as destitute). I know Moody was not a destitute, but he was a fakir (a thinker) in philosophical terms.
I never met Moody but his poetry tells a lot about him. What a fine young man, what a fine literary jewel, and what a fine passionate human person he was. I wish, I had met him and learned from his metamorphic and thought-provoking ideas, but jewels always disappear in the dust and one spends their life in finding them.
Rest in peace Son! May your parents, siblings, and all of their friends and relatives have the courage to bear the loss of your untimely departure.
anonymous 2 years ago
@bilafond lm: Dear Tahir, I know it is difficult to come over such tragedy but remember it was will of ALLAH. Nexus stands with you firmly and will always be there to support you
anonymous 2 years ago
Tahir loss of a Moody a talented hand some boy who left the family at prime age is a Living Tragedy which will never diminish.you have faced it with courage and very courageous of you that you are sharing your sorrows with a mission to help needy and especially those who are unaware of this disease and there nearer and dearer one are suffering.May Allah be with you and family and showers his blessings.
anonymous 2 years ago
While with you, at your residence for some time, in April/May 2011 I could not pick up courage to talk about your son Nasir Mahmood and probably intentionally avoided this topic. I reminisced about my family and the hard times we faced, also what went on when we entered the professional life/career. I am happy that you have opened your heart and shared the dilemma you faced during those critical days. I am confident that many, around the world, will benefit from your experience. Tahir, you are the dearest friend of mine; only time & distance have come between us. May Allah be with you.