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

Recently I tweeted about a nurse who helped me start a dialogue with myself about the origins of my low self-worth, and why I was so prone to self-harm and suicidal ideation. My self-esteem has been up and down my entire life, though I didn’t realize it until recently. Often people will tell you to not take stock in what other’s think of you, and if you’re religious, to only care what God thinks. But that’s such a challenge when… Read more

I’ll admit, my first response was to panic when I saw the news about Charlottesville. I almost let fear and paranoia completely take over my life in an unhealthy way. Thankfully I caught the errant thought processes and started an immediate routine of emergency self-care. I made sure I was eating and taking my medication properly. I’m also trying to get into a regular sleep pattern. But I’m letting myself off the hook for almost allowing my illness take over…. Read more

The hospital is the great equalizer I always say I happened into writing about mental health because of my own story, and then my advocacy ideas came about later. I often gloss over the first part, because to me it’s the least interesting chapter of how I got to where I am in my life. But I realized something recently when I was processing some feedback from one of my readers. By not telling the story fully, I’ve missed details… Read more

After my latest bipolar episode, my bedroom looked like a complete disaster. Things were everywhere, and in places they had no business being. Clothes, food, my pills… you name it. That there was a breast pump anywhere on the premises (and in one of the pics below) is ludicrous. My kids are all teenagers now. So things were strange and it was terrible. I ‘woke up’ after feeling better and was devastated. But instead of getting upset with myself, I… Read more

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