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My Mental Health Journey

Trigger Warning - Child death

It All Began In Egypt

Travelling abroad to seek knowledge was a huge experience and a stamp mark in my life. It came with many struggles but through hard work, dedication, commitment and perseverance, I managed to return back to England feeling a great sense of achievement. For the first time, I and my family were speaking and understanding the Arabic language. What touched me the most was that my youngest daughter - aged 3 at the time, could only converse in Arabic. I will always remember that on our plane journey home to England my youngest daughter was feeling exhausted and said to me in Arabic, “Ummi, I want to go home.” Egypt was her home and Arabic was her mother tongue. Wasn't that enough to make any mother feel proud?

The Stress Of It All

Arriving back to England was absolute chaos for the family. We were so unsettled and so displaced for what felt like a lifetime. Six months dragged on with many difficulties and obstacles and my stress levels hit the roof. The change from life in Egypt to life back in England affected the whole family. Six months went on to seven months and then eight but yet nothing seemed to give. We had no structure or routine in our lives anymore. It felt like my world was falling apart. What started off beautiful was meant to end beautiful but instead ended in a tragedy that words could not describe.

My Breakdown

Nearly approaching a year after our return. My worry and stress was at its peak and then what followed as a result was unimaginable beyond comprehension. I started experiencing symptoms of mental illness. Racing thoughts, hallucinations, delusions. You name it, I was experiencing it. And then one day everything spiralled out of control. I started hearing voices. Voices telling me, “if you love Allah then sacrifice your child. Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was asked to sacrifice his son.” Tragically, my youngest daughter became a victim of those voices and as a result she lost her life. Yes, dear followers, I took my daughter’s life with my own hands. I, who once loved, cared and nurtured my daughter, fell victim to mental illness which resulted in a heinous crime against the very same person who I loved so much. May Allah SubhanAllah wa Ta'ala, grant my little girl the highest level of Jannah Ameen. It was a very sad and difficult time for the whole family and for me. I only realised the severity of what took place after being detained under the Mental Health Act and given my first dose of antipsychotics.

Being Placed Under Section

I spent almost three years in a mental health hospital. This had to be the most traumatic time of my life. Not knowing anything about mental illness, i was totally numbed by the whole experience. Not only did I have to emotionally deal with the loss of my little girl, I lost my home, my husband divorced me, my other children were now living elsewhere, I was confined to four walls and my movements were totally restricted. It was like hell on earth. I had no one to turn to except Allah. I cried myself to sleep almost every night, and I often thought of suicide. The only thing that kept me going was my youngest daughter’s words to me when she used to watch me get frustrated at times. “Ummi, sabran Jameel.” Meaning “Mummy have beautiful patience.” Her words were written in gold in my heart and gave me the strength to want to live. I had to fight this illness, I had to find ways to recover, I had to face the reality that my life will never be the same again. Three years dragged by and by the end of it I was anticipating getting my freedom back. Although I wasn't sure what freedom would look like at the time, not having a husband or family to return to, not having a job or a car. All the blessings that I once used to take for granted, were stripped away from me at the blink of an eye. The day after my discharge from hospital, I left with two suitcases of belongings. That's all I had to my name after years of building a life for myself. I was alone and scared to go back out into the world of everyday life because I had absolutely nothing to live for except the memories of my little girl.

My Road To Recovery

The first year of discharge back into the real world was very tough. My new home was a studio flat, very small and dingy, far from what I was used to. I was fighting depression as I had a lot of idle time on my hands. Being absent from family and friends for almost three years, it was hard to reconnect with people. I felt I lost all my social skills. It was almost like I was a lost child trying to find my way back home. A year had lapsed and as a result of my mental health being stable, I was offered a bigger flat, somewhere I could finally call home. Only two weeks into my move, one of my daughters who was 16 at the time expressed that she wanted to move in with me and soon after that, she did. I was over the moon. Just having that everyday companionship with loved ones helped me so much in my recovery that my depression just disappeared without a trace. I slowly started to come back to life and enrolled in some courses to help me fight my idle time. I got my driving licence back and was mobile again which also helped a great deal too because I could get to see friends and family a lot more than what I had been seeing before.

I then started to think of marriage again. It wouldn't be long before my daughter who lived with me would soon leave home, so I had to prepare myself for that time as I didn't want to be alone again. I had a few meetings with potential husbands but nothing came of it. I think a lot of them were a bit scared of my illness which was understandable. Then all of a sudden when I started to lose hope in re marrying again, a brother appeared from nowhere, someone who was very understanding and compassionate towards my life. He saw me as a fighter, having to endure all that I did, but still kept going when most would just give up. We engaged in talks for a while and realised how compatible we were so without wasting any time we booked a Nikkah (wedding) date and got married Alhamdulillah. Allah works miracles because within two months of my marriage my daughter, who was now 21 also got married Mash’Allah. It's been 2 1/2 years since my marriage and I am finally settled and happy after years of hardship. I am currently now working, visiting and inspecting various mental health services throughout London to make sure that standards are being met and service users like myself are receiving adequate, quality care. It was a very tough and emotional journey getting to where I am today, but by the grace of a law I have survived the storm and I'm still alive and doing extremely well in well in life. Align knows best what tomorrow holds but with all that I have been through to date, I can honestly say that truly after hardship does come ease and Allah’s promise is true.

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