Two and a half years ago I had a brain disease. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it really hasn’t been that long. I was diagnosed with something called “ANTI NMDA RECEPTOR ENCEPHALITIS.” It’s basically when NMDA receptors are attacking the brain and your body can’t fight it off so to simply put it, my brain was literally on fire. I dealt with severe depression years prior, but going through this disease was something I was completely blindsided by. I think every person in my life was taken back by it.
I was just the person you would have never thought something that extreme could happen to.
I erased a lot of stuff during that time from my memory. Overcoming the disease wasn’t the hard part, but putting my life back together seemed like a never-ending challenge. In my head, I was aware of what I wanted to say or doing things I was used to, such as driving, but when it came time to actually move, I couldn’t do it.
A lot of different hospitals and home therapies went into helping me recover and support from family and friends, but a lot of overcoming had to do with this personal battle I faced with myself every single day. I was determined not to be the person everyone felt sorry for. I knew regardless of how better I got, I’d still receive sympathy, but I wasn’t gonna let the disease define me.
It happened to me, it’s not who I am. I constantly remembered God in everything. I cried to him a lot when I did. I believe he is the sole reason I had the strength to never give up. I still overcome the disease even now when I don’t have it. There are reminders of it around me, but I also have to remind myself I’m not Aleena Ahmed the girl who was on life support at one point, I’m Aleena Ahmed the girl who gives 110% effort regarding anything.