True Stories:
This Book:
Story 10

The story of
Anis Shaikh

success story :
the outcome of Community Service Program| SEHER

“The story of Anis"

picture of Anis

Anis, thirty-eight year old, lives in Pune, in a basti. He stays along with his father, mother and a brother. He works as a two-wheeler mechanic. One day, he went along with his brother to see a girl for his brother’s wedding. At that time, the girl thought that Anis is the groom, and she said yes. She got to know after her marriage, that Anis’ brother is her husband. She told her husband that it was Anis whom she intended to marry.

After this instance, Anis’ brother started being suspicious towards Anis. He suspected that Anis doesn’t look at his wife in a "good way". He didn’t allow him to stay in his house. Due to these false suspicions, Anis was also exposed to physical violence by his brother.Afterwards, Anis started being alone, and he stopped talking to people around him. Eventually his brother and wife left that home and started living somewhere else.

Anis was isolated and was mumbling and giggling. He used to sleep a lot. He was verbally abusive towards his mother. He wasn’t bathing, wasn’t brushing his teeth, his clothes were soiled. He wasn’t talking to any family members nor to anyone outside.

He however continued working and kept his money in the trunk. He had a desire to get married; and that’s why he was saving his money for the wedding.

Interventions started at first with home-visit and befriending. Support counseling, individual counseling, family counseling took place. Field workers visited the place where he was working and met his boss. They started talking to his boss first. Eventually, Anis also started talking more freely to the field workers. He invited them to his home for the sessions. Sometimes, he didn’t want to do any sessions, he used to refuse and ask, 'Why do you all come here'. I don’t have any problem’ ‘Leave me alone’ ‘I am fine’ etc.

At other times he would co-operate and engaged in self care sessions. "Empathy sessions" were most helpful to him.

The sessions really helped the team working with him to see where he is coming from, understand the story of his life and experiences, up close and at a personal level, empathize with him in a way to enable us to learn, know and acknowledge why he

felt what he felt; when he asked us to go away or refused to speak to us, when he blamed his parents, when he felt he was strong enough to care for himself-

it allowed us to grow as practitioners, helped us accept his choice and decision, his right to live his life the way he wished to!

Nutrition inputs were given to the family . His father started looking a girl for him to get married. But, he didn’t respond to any. Family sessions were focused upon relationship between father and son, mother and son etc. Psycho-education, the importance of nutrition, self care, communication, relationships, etc. was done. Communication skills were strengthened. Anis’ symptoms reduced. He started saying constantly that he is doing well and changes were quite visible.

It was a long process to work with him and his family. On the one side there was constant pressure from his family to ‘fix’ him, while on the other there was a need that he should be independent, care for himself and be self sufficient- not wanting any ‘help’. He was connected to a local shop that repaired old cupboards. They gave him enough space to be with himself, focus on his work and have his quiet moments being with himself.

They focused more on the quality of his work, paid him for it and did not speak about his ‘suffering’. He enjoyed this space. This is what he wanted.

He started saving money, contributing to his house, yet making his stand very clear on maintaining boundaries.

There is much we can learn from Anis. Sometimes it is best to let people be, allow them to lead normal lives with normal people, having normal conversations. Everything does not have to be about mental illness, suffering, and recovery. Anis has his mental events, like everybody else, but its all okay within the spectrum of humanity.

This was story 10. It is a true story.

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