Almost 10 years ago, HAA locked himself in his room and refused to eat, sleep or speak to anyone because he was hearing voices.
He dropped out of school and was forcibly admitted to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City by his mother to be treated for schizophrenia.
Now 38, the Emirati has finished high school and is getting married next month. He attributes his wellness to therapy and attending a day centre for four months.
"The medication has helped the voices stop but still I couldn't approach anyone, let alone a woman," he said.
At the day centre, he learnt how to interact with women and took computer and English courses.
"My bride-to-be was sceptical about marrying me," he said. "I told her I had nothing to hide and that all people take medication.
" A mental disability should not carry a stigma."
* Shireena Abdullah