What messages bombard you daily? Are you even aware of the subliminal programming that shapes your thoughts, actions, and beliefs? Do you think you’re immune to outside influences or do you recognize your weaker points and Achilles heels in the media blitz of things? I know for me, when I see an ad for something savory on tv or online, I’ve already decided how and when this item will become a part of my life; usually by lunchtime. I’m impulsive… Read more

The conversation around mental health in the Muslim community has come a long way from when I first received my diagnosis. No longer are people questioning my need to take mood stabilizers and the like. Some people from my community even help me remember to take my medicine on time or when I exhibit symptoms. I now feel comfortable sharing humorous stories about some of my episodes. And I don’t often hear criticisms about what is assumed to be Western… Read more

“I have to get all the termites off me!” I screamed wildly to my landlady when she came to check on me in the shower. I was scrubbing various body parts with a scrub brush, soap, bleach and peroxide. I had been in my bathroom for at least an hour, furiously attacking invisible bugs trying to worm their way into my body. I’d used the shower upstairs for 30 minutes prior to this. Looking back, I remember having fits in… Read more

WORLD BIPOLAR DAY I had my first bipolar breakdown in the classroom where I was teaching in College Park, Maryland. I knew something was wrong, when I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs in the classroom again. I saw the tiny faces of my students staring back at me, full of bewilderment, and I was crushed. I’d done it again. I decided to change the subject and get myself together. We started discussing with their parents did… Read more

Learning to cope with loss while living with multiple mental health conditions TW//Suicidality, Substance use disorder. Substance misuse mention. Death. I recently learned that my mom’s friend passed away from cancer. This was someone that both of my parents have known since before I was born. She was a lifelong member of my aunt’s church and one of her closest confidants. Though we weren’t intimately connected ourselves, I considered her a dear family friend. Whenever someone dies, especially from the… Read more

My first bout with suicidal feelings was in high school. I remember sitting in my dark basement one night and wishing I could suddenly disappear forever. I was afraid to take my own life though, because my dad had always taught me that a person of faith didn’t have the right to place themselves in the Creator’s position and choose life or death. Yet I desperately wanted to die. My soul was in complete agony. I couldn’t see a way… Read more

On life with a taboo illness Suicide Prevention Month is almost at a close. I wanted to talk about how this month and this issue has impacted me to highlight the challenges of living with mental illness in a highly stigmatized community. Suicide is a taboo subject amongst Muslims. If you mention the topic of suicide to many, the response is often the same. “Suicide is haram (forbidden).” And the conversation ends there. Some may go further and share a… Read more

I am the granddaughter of a southern Methodist minister. I used to love traveling down to Augusta, Georgia with my family in the summer to hear my grandfather preach in his small church when I was younger. My mom used to keep audio files of his sermons in a box on a shelf in our family room at home. We’d listen to his fiery lectures and I’d take in his passion and love for the lord even as a child;… Read more

I’m admitting to myself I have a real problem with food. I’ve been on a binge cycle for a while now. I’m not sure what triggered it this time. But I think it’s a combination of things. I’m under a lot of stress in my personal life, and in the wake of everything that’s happening in our country. I’m also on a new medication for my bipolar issues. And finally, I’ve been sick most of the summer. Between constant migraines… Read more

The nature of hiding my true self I needed to be social. I needed to be the ‘me’ that’s acceptable in the company of others. I did want to go out as the real me. To interact with people in a genuine fashion for a change. But now that I’m home, away from all the noise… I’m realizing I wore my mask again today. It’s the one that hides how I feel from others. The one that smiles when I… Read more

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