AI Insights

Overcoming Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Applying my Experiences in a Real-World Project

December 23, 2022

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Read the brave story of Anam from Pakistan who was struggling with Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) after her dad was in a critical health condition. She had to prepare for entrance exams while taking care of her siblings for several months.

It is truly amazing how many inspiring individuals have applied to our collaborative AI projects. We are honored to share Anam’s story.  Anam has had a great impact on us, Omdena collaborators, as we learned a lot by speaking and listening to her. She was a part of our AI challenge of building a machine-learning model for PTSD assessment.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a global problem that affects millions of people. Thirty-two Omdena collaborators prototyped a machine learning-driven chatbot for PTSD assessment in war and refugee zones. The unique aspect of the project was that the team started without access to a data set, but through collaborative efforts, the community found sources with suitable patient data sets.

Anam’s Story

In 2019, I was a computer science student at the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Pakistan. Before that, I was a pre-medical student. Then I switched a lot of majors. In Pakistan after studying biology, you can either become a doctor or a dentist. I wanted to do research, but there weren’t many options. Finally, I decided to switch to computer science, and for that, I had to study mathematics before college. I took a gap year to learn math so that I was eligible to apply to an engineering university.

It was very hard to convince my parents to let me study maths because they thought that being a doctor would be a better choice for me. They finally agreed, and I started studying maths. Then I had to complete two years of the syllabus, but I had only one year. Right after the beginning of my study, my dad got appendicitis, and we went to remove it, but it ended up in a worse situation.

I know many people go through a lot of obstacles, and this is nothing compared to most of them. When my parents were in the hospital, I was looking after my siblings; I had to tell them what was happening.

At the same time, I also had to focus on my studies. Even though there were a lot of people who did support us. At these times, you really find out who is actually there for you and who isn’t. And a lot of people backed out. My friends would be telling me; I should be with my dad instead of even worrying about my studies. To avoid talks like these, I was studying secretly. So after four months of being in the hospital and staying with my relatives, we could finally come home. We were ecstatic! I remember my mom telling me she wanted to go out in the streets and shout for joy.

We came back home. It was all fine, and I did my math exams after covering two years’ worth of syllabus in about four months under extreme stress.

I came back after my last exam, ready to prepare for my college entrance tests, and something odd happened. I fell sick out of the blue. I had nausea 24/7. I couldn’t eat or drink. I would vomit if I tried, and I started to lose weight.

My parents took me to multiple doctors thinking that my stomach was upset. Months went by, but we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Later, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety from the incident with my dad.

The fear had gotten stronger, and now I had severe anxiety accompanied by recurring panic attacks. The fear that I might lose my parents kept me up all night. Whenever one of them left the house, I would call them repeatedly to check up on them. I never turned my phone on silent while I was in class. On the other hand, I was always fearing a call with bad news.

My entrance test results finally came. I was accepted into one of the top CS universities in Pakistan.

My recovery continued, and later I felt great because I have never been able to share my story publicly before. I have always been told to keep it quiet as if talking about mental health problems is some sort of taboo. From my personal experience, I have realized that talking about it helps us get better. I hope I encourage people to speak up and share their stories.


Anam Sajid is a game developer. She is a graduate of FAST NUCES with a degree in Computer Science. She was awarded a position on the Dean’s List in 2016 [A dean’s list is an academic award, or distinction, used to recognize the highest level scholarship demonstrated by students in a college or university].

Her final year project for her bachelor’s was a VR simulation. It was a way for scientists to visualize protein and drug molecules in a virtual 3D environment to find appropriate drug targets on proteins.

Also, she was awarded as an IGDA Foundation scholar in 2020. In the same year, her game Trying to Fly was featured in the Global Game Jam.

Anam is still passionate about combing her computing knowledge with medical research to help the medicine industry prosper and provide better solutions to people.

Ready to test your skills?

If you’re interested in collaborating, apply to join an Omdena project at:

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