Alamzeb grew up in Pakistan where he was an air force pilot. After coming to Canada, he raised a family while working a variety of jobs. Work-related health issues and marital conflict led to financial insecurity and depression. With the help of DMHS and other supports, Alamzeb has been able to restore his health and confidence. Here is his story.
After my family moved from Pakistan to Canada, my life dramatically changed. In Pakistan, we had enjoyed a privileged position as an armed forces family. Here, we lived in basement apartments and worked odd jobs. But through the struggle, we raised our children and gradually found good jobs – life was good.
I worked in pharmaceutical manufacturing and, eventually, exposure to workplace hazards caused me significant health problems and forced me onto WSIB. My family’s financial situation worsened – we couldn’t pay our bills. We were literally in the dark after our hydro was disconnected. As my family’s main provider, I felt disgraced and fell into a deep depression with severe anxiety.
At this point, when I was very sick, my family doctor referred me to psychiatric support. Through my psychiatrist, I was connected with DMHS’ Crisis Services program. Their support and advocacy helped me get to the point where I was actively engaged in life again. I began career retraining.
I was managing my life well – working hard, raising successful children. However, my marriage broke down, leading ultimately to a separation from my wife, which caused me to relapse into depression. My friends told me they were worried I was going to commit suicide – they were calling me every few hours to check in. I was crying continuously. I had no hope and felt my life was shattered. I didn’t want to live.
Having worked with DMHS Crisis Services in the past, I reached out to them now again for support. They helped me stabilize things, including finding decent housing, and they referred me to ongoing service through DMHS Community Support.
I believe now that two things saved my life: one is the medication I was prescribed and other is the connection to DMHS. The meds restored my sleep and reduced my anxiety. The help from DMHS went “beyond the line of duty.” I established a close and trusting relationship with my case manager – I saw him almost like a brother. I had lost everything and now I had a sense of belonging and of support. When my case manager wasn’t there, I knew that Crisis Services were available and had my back.
At times I wanted to depend on my case manager to do things for me, but he encouraged me to do things on my own – I gradually regained my confidence in managing my own life. His genuine, caring support at times brought tears to my eyes – I compare his support for me to a person in a critical condition getting oxygen. It gave me back my life.
I’m now in subsidized housing – I’ve literally come out of the basement. I’m going to the gym and enjoying life. DMHS’ advocacy was decisive in getting me to this point. I can say that I made the right decision in coming to this great country that provides such high quality health support.