It took us all day to get from Deer Park to Brooklyn. My eldest brother had referred us to an exorcist. My brother-in-law who was driving us there had to make a couple of stops before we could get there. My mother and sister were coming along for the ride as well.

Imam Nazirullah opened the door to his basement office not too far from Nassau County and a little North of the Belt Parkway. He was of Bangladeshi descent, didn’t speak much English, and had a mean look on his face. There were about a dozen children running around, possibly on a break from their after school Quran class, in the room next door, peaking in at us while we sat down. Dusk was approaching that late February afternoon as the office door remained open. There was a desk to the right, three chairs, and a single bed to the left.

My brother-in-law opted to come in later as he feared the exorcist might sense Jinns in him. My sister was extremely skeptical, my mother was confident we needed to do this after my first psychotic episode from the previous month, and I didn’t have much control over anything.

Imam Nazirullah gave me a pink tablet to hold in my left hand. Clutching it tightly with my arm raised forward I didn’t understand what this was about. The pink tablet started to itch, then I felt a burning sensation. I told the Imam about it- he remained quiet. After about five minutes he asked me to give him the tablet. He felt it and handed it to my sister to his right. “Bahoth jabardast huwa was hai,” he said in Urdu, meaning I’ve got something superb, implying black magic. He proceeded to his desk and started writing on a cloth, referring back and fourth to an old manual.

I looked towards my sister, this wasn’t right, I thought, knowing that she would agree. He was putting together a Taa’veez, an Amulet that I would wear around my neck. This is shirk! …(associating a partner to God, an unforgivable sin) I thought myself. Once he was done, he continued writing on a second piece. My brother-in-law had come in at this point and sat down on the bed. I questioned myself why the bed was there.
He continued by instructing my mother to go to the corner store and have them put one of the pieces into a locket. I was to wear that for the rest of my life for my protection. The second part was that I was to apply sesame seed oil, with the other cloth inside the bottle, daily for the next 21 days on my entire body prior to taking a shower.

My sister asked him one question before we left, “Is there anything wrong with this?” He didn’t respond and gave a look to my mother. My mother said thank you to the Imam and walked out the door. We didn’t have much of a choice as the directions were given to us as to how to proceed.

On the way to the car, my mother quarreled with my sister. “He’s doing this for a good cause… He didn’t even ask for money… He’s living such a simple life… He must know something… Did you see his kids?” And so on. We were all in denial.
My sister and I stayed quiet in the car while the Amulet was being made in the store, both of us waiting for someone to start the conversation. My sister broke out “This is crazy, why would someone do this to you?” I was in denial and didn’t have an answer. “You know some people do this out of jealousy, I don’t think even hell accepts them, they do it because of envy… We have enemies and we don’t even know who! You haven’t even done anything to anyone. This isn’t the right way to approach this. You can’t fight magic with magic.” I stayed quiet while my sister continued ranting. She stopped when my mother came back.

We all stayed quiet on the way home.

A few weeks had passed and I had missed my follow up appointment with the psychiatrist. I was continuing with the ritual of oiling myself and then taking a shower, however my prescriptions for Haldol and Klonopin had ended. After a couple of days I was very alert. Everyone started complimenting me about how confident I had become again. I started talking a lot differently, started setting goals, went on a couple of interviews, got more social, and got the job as store manager at Express. I would start training the week after.

Everyone thought the spiritual healing was working.

And then I relapsed.

During the relapse I lost the Amulet.

March of 2013 I was at Brunswick Hall, psychiatric center in Amityville, New York.

The Exorcist had failed.