Impact Stories

10 Years Of Sleepless Nights

23-year-old Muhammad had been tied to a tree for more than 10 years. At the age of 13, he had become mentally ill and a danger to himself and his family. Muhammad’s brothers, Omar and Libaan, also experienced the same sudden illness at different ages.

Muhammad’s family were nomads but decided to abandon their lifestyle since the boys needed more care. So the family moved to an area closer to people for support. Life was difficult since they relied on the generosity of others to get by daily. Without proper help, the mental states of Muhammad and his brothers only worsened, with the sons, especially Muhammad, showing extreme violent tendencies. The boys also rarely slept soundly, causing the family to suffer from sleep loss as well. The only option Muhammad’s parents had was to tie all three of them to a tree, in hopes they wouldn’t hurt others or themselves. “He’s hit me over the head 5 times and I’ve had 10 stitches because of it” Muhammad’s mother recounts the struggles that she had been through while being interviewed at Adado General Hospital. “There’s nothing he won’t eat, he’ll swallow razors, needles…There’s nothing he won’t swallow or put in his stomach if he can get his hands on it or anything he won’t hit.”

Muhammad’s parents had not gotten much help with their situation because of the lack of mental care facilities in Somalia. This family is one of the many who had the choice of bringing their sons to a Health Convention that was hosted by Hayat Foundation in Adaado, in 2013. Over 100 mental patients, all in similar situations as Muhammad and his siblings were brought to the city to get aid from Dr. Habeeb, one of the few health professionals in the country with enough knowledge to help them. “We’re with Dr. Habeed, who was brought here by God.” Muhammad’s mother said, “We came yesterday and they took our hands while God was on our side” After the brothers arrived, Dr. Habeeb prescribed medication for them, and the following morning Muhammads Mother was asked about the treatment. “We normally do not have much sleep,” she said, “But because of the medication that Dr. Habeeb gave them, we could finally sleep from them.”

The image above shows Muhammad, his brothers, and his mother.