Recovery Story: Japheth Otieno Obare

Author: 
Japheth Otieno Obare
Publication date: 
31 August 2017

My names are Japheth Otieno Obare and I was born and bred in Siaya County in South West Kenya. I am the third born in a family of fourteen. I had a difficult childhood and teenage years but, when I connect the dots in hindsight, I realize I must have been troubled by Schizophrenia from a young age. I did not have trouble in school with my studies though. I did well and finished my high school education in 1992.

In 1995, I have a serious mental meltdown while in Nairobi, Kenya and I was diagnosed with strong Malaria. Looking back today, I believe it was a misdiagnosis because I turned psychotic.

I became part of a missionary group in 2000 and travelled to the USA to take a seven month bible training in Madison, Wisconsin in 2002. I then had my second psychotic breakdown and was admitted at Chicago Read Mental Hospital. I was diagnosed with "brief psychotic disorder" and returned to Kenya prematurely.

I returned to the USA in 2004 to a Worship and Evangelism School in Chico, California. In 2005, I had a third psychotic breakdown and this time I got diagnosed with "paranoid schizophrenia" at a San Francisco Mental Health Clinic. I was not hearing any voices but, I admit I was paranoid. I refused to accept and chose to live in denial instead. I enrolled at San Francisco Community College for an Accounting program which I completed in May 2008. At a round this time, I started hearing voices which were quiet terrifying. I decided to return to Kenya, all the while still denying such a diagnosis and choosing to do spiritual warfare instead, something that was in line with my religious belief back then.

In 2015, I had another mild psychotic meltdown and my family who had apparently noticed a change in behaviour after my return from the USA became actively involved. This led to a second same diagnosis as the one I got in San Francisco. This led to the end of my denial. I started taking medicine but realized that where I lived, there was no support system at all. So I formed a group composed of peer, family and friends to start such a support system.