Jimi hurried along the small street that led to his house. He kept looking back at the man who wore dark sunglasses with his hands in his pocket. Jimi felt certain that the man was a DSS agent, working and re1porting his movement to the FBI. When the man suddenly started running, Jimi took to his heels and sprinted past his house. He stopped at a sudden halt when the man bent to pick up a small girl who was shouting, ‘daddy’ and pecked her on the cheeks. With his suspicion not assuaged, Jimi pulled his face cap lower to cover his face, ducked his head and walked quick-paced back into his compound, which housed about 20 tenants in a face to face apartment where he shared a 2 bedroom apartment with his parents. His chest was heaving heavily from the pressure of walking so fast and his heart racing from the threat of the enemy he had just escaped. He believed that man to be on a mission to arrest him and hand him over to the FBI, so they could dispossess him of his ‘invention’. He needed to change his location and quickly too!
While he struggled to bring his key out of his pocket, he kept looking back and over his shoulder. A locked door meant that he was home alone. If not, his mom would take one look at his disheveled state and the look on his face and take him to a pastor again for another 'deliverance.' He was suspecting her too, these days she was constantly asking about and questioning his movement. Is it possible that she was doing that so she could pass the information on to the DSS?. He was still reeling from his last deliverance experience. The Pastor who was convinced that he was part of a cult from the spiritual realm has flogged him mercilessly and kept him awake in long vigils trying to cast out the demons within him. Jimi agreed that there was definitely spiritual warfare he was meant to be fighting, because the voices from God warned him and constantly alerted him of the gang up going on around him. Moreover, He didn't need the pastor to prescribe fasting to him, he had already embarked on that over the last 5months and was certain that the fasts and his midnight prayers were the reason the enemy’s mission kept failing. Just as he gained entrance into the house, he heard the voice of the holy spirit, now a constant companion, telling him his only friend in the compound, Mr Shola, was the latest instrument the devil wanted to use to usurp his glory. If not, why would he suddenly be so nosey about his recent activities and a strange number that has been calling him sounded so much like Mr Shola’s voice, who kept denying it. He now knows that no one around him is to be trusted.
Ever since he had shared in confidence with Mr Shola that he was in possession of something which could solve the troubles of the world, he has noticed the sudden change in him. 'This world is a battlefield for true believers. If one does not wage war on them too, they'll win. And they must not!' he thought to himself.
As he made to settle in for the night. He arranged the candles beside his mattress so that it would be easy for him to light them when he starts his midnight prayer session. He stretched his right leg to push aside the food his mom sent as his dinner. He had resorted since the last 3 months to stop eating at home, because the voices had forewarned him, so why would he still eat her food? His parents had been compromised and his mum had been influenced by his enemies to poison him, he wasn't about to take any chances. The betrayal was now coming from every angle, first his parents,....now Mr Shola,....he needed to be extra careful!
He made up his mind and decided not to go out the rest of this week. He felt so unsafe on the streets leading up to his compound, with the woman who sells groundnut and others constantly looking at him and talking about him. He didn’t hear the conversations about him, but he just knew they were! Sneaky people talking about a prophet on an important mission. She also had this annoying habit of greeting him loudly, who knows who she is trying to alert that he was home with her loud voice? God pass them, he thought to himself. From next week, he has decided to stop talking to everyone within and without his home and compound. He believed that he must be truly special, like other Prophets’ named in the Bible, if He has been chosen to be able to communicate with God freely and hear God’s voice too.
With all these experiences going on in Jimi's life. His mum and dad are at their wits end looking for the best possible way to help their first son, who no longer wants to talk to them, locks himself up in his room, no longer eat out of the home cooked meals, and is always awake every midnight praying in very loud tone and the content of the prayer they all found really disturbing. Initially, when his behavior changed, she always told her husband and other family members that he was fine; just going through a lot, as he hadn't been able to keep a job, having graduated from a higher institution three years ago with a Masters Degree to boot.
However, the fact that he had stopped eating or even talking to his siblings was a major sign that things are going downhill fast. How could her own son believe that she could possibly want to poison and kill him. That had informed her and her husband’s decision to take him for different deliverance sessions. But they needed another approach at this critical juncture.
Pastor Samuel requested to see her after service last Sunday but she hadn't gone as she thought he was going to suggest another deliverance session. Pastor Samuel was one of the youth pastors who had just been transferred to their church. At church the next Sunday, Pastor Samuel spoke about ''Seeking Help with the Lord in Times of Need' according to Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” He also spoke about seeking help from qualified parties when one feels like they need it. The message had deeply resonated with her…..like he was speaking to her directly.
After the service, Iya Jimi knocked at the pastor's office door and reminded him about meeting her earlier that week. He inquired about her son's health and passed a complimentary card of the Consultant psychiatrist, who had spoken to the congregation at his former church.
And thus, Jimi's journey into orthodox mental health care began. He needed to be admitted for compliance with medications prescribed and psychotherapy. He soon started getting better and gained insight into the nature of his illness which was termed Paranoid Schizophrenia characterized by the hearing voices of unseen people (auditory hallucinations), abnormal belief patterns (delusions of persecution, reference and grandeur), disrupted sleep, overreligiousity, withdrawing from social activities and unusual behavioral patterns. He was informed by his doctor Dr. Kafayah, that he would need to take the medications and attend follow up clinics for as long as she recommended to ensure continued stable mental state. His parents have declared their support to make this happen and now look forward to his discharge back home to them and his siblings.