Article #3: Why is mental health so misunderstood?

5.9.17 | 6.9.17

Mental health is an interesting topic. I find that its so hard for the person going through their own mental health journey to talk about their mental health. If I’m being honest, it’s partly society, kin and few other factors. I want to personally tell you what happens when someone you deeply care about doesn’t understand your mental health, and how I reacted to connotations along the lines of ungrateful.

Before I get into the article I would like to properly introduce myself, as always.
My name is Fatma, I am a 22 year old woc who has had clinical depression for 2 years or so now, and like most with mental health I took my time denying it as I researched what being depressed meant in every way shape and/or form. This means what it looked and felt like, but honestly mostly anything that would explain how I was feeling internally at such a mass intensity. I sat with the intensity for years before getting professional help. I am also an INFJ-P, daughter, friend, sister, self-care, mental health creative writer and possibly other sub headings that I can’t think of at the moment.

A couple of days or a week ago I told a friend of 8+ years about getting an interview for David Jones that I had applied for months ago. I told her that I won’t be going to the interview because we both know what happened when I worked in the sales industry not so long ago prier to this email, and it has now become a trigger I told her. I was expecting for her as my friend to see where I’m trying to come from with my situation.

To my confusion she was so shocked, and said that I’m acting along the lines of ungrateful and I looked her dead in the eyes and said

“what’s the point of me going to an interview that triggers me mentally. I don’t think its about being ungrateful. I’m trying to take care of my mental health and myself.”

And immediately she said “..I mean it’s up to you.” like I had a choice. I’m not trying to talk ill of her nor the situation, but after this conversation I started really thinking about what it is about depression that is so hard to understand. Also because I don’t talk about it with anyone other than my psych,  I’ve learnt to not expect others to understand depression. So to be fair I don’t blame her.

I didn’t know this then, but when she said that my mind almost tucked away what she had said and it was like what she had said was still being properly processed in my mind so that I could think about it clearly in my own time. In the moment although I was immediately internally irritated for a split second but not angry, because lord knows being an INFJ-P type it takes me time to react properly to situations most every time. I wanted to properly understand why she would say something like that to me knowing very well my situation and that she is a very close friend of mine. So before I could even react emotionally my body and my mind were unconsciously protecting me from my emotions knowing very well this was not usually how I would react.

From that day on I had started to get really depressed and each day it just got worse. I was frustratingly trying to unpack why on my own for an exhausting month. Then with my psychologist, we unpacked how I was feeling piecing together what was going on inside my head to figure out the trigger was mentioned by a friend, and my mental health was still reacting to the words said. In that moment, I was so shocked I couldn’t help but break down and everything I held back just overflowed out of me.

Even though I said I was done crying from others words, understanding that this is not what they really mean because to others, they don’t know how mental health functions in the body so for them its usually not that they really mean it, but rather they don’t understand its intensity and manifestation of their choice of words while talking to someone who is ageing through mental health.

What I would really want to challenge is why is it that we aren’t actively talking about mental health.

What are we so scared of?

We as a race don’t understand how it completely works, and for the person who is going through this internal battle all they do is everything they can to help themselves.

I strongly believe talking about mental health is so important. It may be uncomfortable for some however, this is only because as a society we get to decide what is of importance and mental health is without a doubt one of those justices.

Think about it like this. When we are in pain what’s the first thing as human beings we do as the kin, we listen, want to comfort and we want to help. So, why is it that when someone is going through mental health the same thing isn’t practiced? We all want to do what we can to make the people we love and care about around us feel accepted and trusted, mental health is no different.

 

Thank You.
Fatma Hussein

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Poetry: Melody of Being Animate

30.8.17 | Temporary 

Been circling the idea of temporary, a moment so intense it almost feels like its going to last, how do these moments decide their own, are we able to see it coming, how much should we invent into their moment to know if it lasts, if there’s a real chance, sometimes we can’t tell and all the uncanny match up and by then we’ve done too much, such an intense feeling, of not wanting to let go, of not wanting to let go even though they are a bad habit, how long are we allowed to stay this deluded, the dreamer in me is always played for a fool, the calculated oasis in me says you knew how this was going to end, to not trust the body is to play yourself, to play with your feelings, but it is not your fault, as human beings what are we supposed to do when we desire, an intensity so strong we dwell so deep, we didn’t even realize it was this bad until they stopped trying-, I’ve been circling the idea of temporary, moments so intense its going to last, moments decided their own, able to see it coming, we invest into their moment, there’s a real chance, all the uncanny, an intense feeling, wanting to let go, they are a bad habit, allowed to stay, the dreamer in me, the calculated oasis says this was going to end, trust the body, your feelings, its not your fault, human beings, we desire, intensity so strong, realized it was this bad, they stopped trying, been circling temporary, moments so intense, this fear grows.

Article #2: “..about how creativity and poetry helped your depression.”

I’d like to start with a sentence I always remind myself.
“Without failure, how do you expect to succeed?”

Being in my early 20’s I am learning courage to take on opportunities with clinical depression being so present in my daily lifestyle. At the age of 10 I was learning how to be an expressive person for myself through poetry. I remember writing poems when I was at my most vulnerable, I learnt to be creative with my words in a sense of being able to be as expressive as I wanted without being judged, because what I wrote was for my eyes only. These words were my comfort and truth.

When I started my very first blog in June 16th 2015 it was also another stepping milestone for me. This platform was where I escaped in order to be heard and understood by my body mentally, emotionally and physically. Poetry taught me to never underestimate the power of a platform for your self care and your own voice. This is how self revelations and taboo considered revolutions are started.

Being a poet, listening to poetry and having a friend that is also a poet who is going through mental health is one of the ways that is helping me the most. Being able to connect with somebody at such an intimate and personal level with my poetry, telling my story about something that is considered so taboo especially in the black community, I truly believe in awareness and taking the right self-care and love for yourself first. For me this has naturally inspired my confidence when I am feeling really depressed. I’m still learning to notice some of my symptoms and being a poet as well as being creative, I’m teaching myself to never apologies for my mental health, ever.

The way I see it, creativity and poetry have helped me positively progress my mental health. I would defiantly say it has taught me how to be patient with it’s intensity at my own pace. Educated me to use my own words, to reach out, as well as tell the world about my mental health journey. This was a huge deal for me, I am generally a very private person.

To crown how much I’ve grown through creativity and poetry it goes hand in hand. To me, being creative means being able to express yourself in a way that is true to you, and poetry is a form of art, another platform to express your creativity. I strongly believe everyone’s story is as powerful as their vulnerable narrative.

Thank You.
Fatma Hussein

Article #1: My name is Fatma, I am a 22 year old from Melbourne, Australia. Here is my story.

Hi, my name is Fatma, I’m a 22 going 23 this year. I am a sister, daughter, activist, blogger, fashion intrigued, clinically depressed, self-care, mental health creative writer who lives in Melbourne. Here is my story.

I was born and grew up in Kenya Nairobi, with both my parents one older sister, my younger sister and my baby brother. In 2002 we moved to Melbourne Australia. When I was 10 years old I was a shy kid that didn’t talk much and had one friend who I was with for a short time but after a while we drifted apart most of it is a blur which I honestly believe is a suppressing of my memory. When I was 10, it was the first time I had ever tried to kill myself, it was also around this age I had started writing, but to me it was just a way to express my feelings because I didn’t talk much or at all. I was bullied by one girl who up to this day will never forget her full name, and from here on out my life started to really take a toll on me mentally without me consciously realizing nor understanding. I started to feel as though I was just existing rather than living.

When I was in year 7, my mental health really plummeted. If you asked me about this year I literally have very little memory of it. I only remember finally having a group of friends in school, and being able to slowly talk and laugh but even up to this day I can’t remember if it was coping or compensating for my lack of visibility and isolation through out my primary school years and daily life from school and home. I also become more suicidal, and my family knew nothing of this. My routine at home consisted of me going to school, and living in my bedroom.

When I was in year 8 this is when I met my best friend who is still my friend up to today. She helped me with getting my confidence little by little, and slowly I grew into the person I am today. I am always very grateful to her, she has given me so much I can’t ever put it into words. Even with my personality starting to show I was still very caught up in my head and had all these unexplained emotions. But I figured everyone felt this way and that I would grow out of it as I get older.

I didn’t. As I got older, until I was 20 I was having recurring panic attacks mostly at night that I didn’t even know what was happening at the time, then after a while I realized something might be wrong. So it was this whole year that I started researching how I felt emotionally, physically and mentally to find out I might have major depression. I was in so much denial for a whole year and a half and this made my mental health worse. At this point, I had no motivation to do anything, even more suicidal, easily irritated, didn’t eat well, and shut everyone out.

Since then, I have made a blog for my creative writing, performed my first ever three poems on stage in Melbourne Afrocentric, made great friends, starting to network with beautiful creative souls in Melbourne, much closer with my sisters and brother, seeing a professional, and I am much more able to communicate my feelings now; And in the works of creating my brand for the organic skin care market.

My mental health is something I truly struggle with everyday, but it is also something I pride my time and care in. I am still learning about it and learning to take good care of it and my body in three cycles (emotionally, physically and mentally), to be much kinder to myself and know that my depression does not define me, it assists in molding me into a better person each day. Even when the really bad days make it feel like it can’t get any better, even so, this, is when I know I am the most creative.

Thank You.

Fatma Hussein

 

Poetry: Melody of Being Animate

7.6.17
Hurting.

What do you do when you can physically feel your body ashing its bones from the inside, you know this feeling too often always uninvited and doesn’t leave until it has made sure you have tried dying at least once, when you have this illness, that likes to eat your body from the deepest parts of its pain and you don’t understand where it found the courage to find it without letting you know first, this illness, likes to keep secrets and never tell this body how to fix its accidents, leaves the body feeling like it is ready to die from its own failure of not being able to locate its demise, how do you sit with something that is trying to kill you slowly, when you’re suffering on your own you are almost forced to witness a death right before your eyes without love knowing you were even there, without family knowing how much it hurts because this kind of pain doesn’t just come with broken bones crunched to dust taken by the empty in this shell of a beautiful body, its so much harder to breathe when you’re not sure if the air you’re breathing is worth living, I was 10 when I first wanted to take my own breath, not long after attempting to see what it would look like to show my mother what it feels like to bleed her words, I imagined flooding this room with all my pain to maybe understand how this body was feeling, to feel better, to stop the pain, I just wanted it all to stop, I didn’t understand why it was coming for me in this kind of cold and loving way, I was 20 when I realized that the words I wrote down were a ransom from this illness, this body is being held hostage, and the heart is barley fighting to stay alive, how to rescue yourself internally when you can’t even save yourself in your living reality, what kind of jaded mood stays for this long, I was 21 when I asked for help, wanted someone to come help me because I didn’t know how to do it first, I was so confused about how this illness attacks this body the way the word enemy comes to the tip of my tongue telling this body words that aren’t true, weakening the heart to confuse abuse for love, you are no hero when this illness comes to surface and claws at every single part of this good body, this bleeding heart, the ache, of numbing the body in a whole is to forget you’re even existing, that you’re alive, this illness likes to drag my body to its absolute and watch it scramble to get back up, and all the heart can do is tighten at the bodies attempt, scared this illness will come for it next, the souls are no where to be found, I am left to save this body alone, just me, who can save this body but me, I am the only one vacant every breath you’re not here when the body has whispered how many times it has given up, and how the heart weeps a flood of pain, you can’t feel this feeling to this intensity don’t sit there and tell me you understand help me, tell me you can help me, that its all going to be okay, that it doesn’t have to be like this, tell me I will get better, that I don’t have to live with this illness bruising this body enough to call them part of this body, I don’t want these wounds, you hear people talk about selflove and how they have not found it, people like me, have not found self love they talk about it like its so close, like its almost in their hands, where, help me find it, I need to find it, Im so scared that one day my body will have enough the heart will be silenced and mute to its own pain and this illness will convince the body to go to sleep forever, a solution, maybe, how do you fix yourself from the inside with an illness bearing teeth at each attempt you can not win this way, help me

Poetry: Melody of Being Animate

Give me time, I will carefully give concluded mental diagnosis of not only myself but try n give the ways in which this mind operates, I’ll show you how quickly you can, turn noose into faucet that is, designed in your own identity, break free of these connecting feelings n watch how quickly your mind has chosen to befriend its own shadow, the stigma behind this healing is that its always going to show you its teeth, it feels like there is no escape when your mind is in constant battle with reality, its never easy to ease its reality back to sane, its not okay that we push aside moods in order to get on with reality, sometimes these good deeds do not go unpunished, this healing resonates the feeling of demise quicker that it can manifest healing, on most days it feels like mute, like don’t tell anyone, like don’t speak, like, you’re not worthy, like, worthy had anything it owed you anyway, given this state, given this healing, these words don’t understand their caution, its unwittingly exhausting listening to this mind as your body sits in silence, don’t move.

Poetry: Melody of Being Animate

Mood: “…prompt, probe at this like it was an infectious demise, unsure unsteady, hearts beats, his heart beat matched to your mood, his super power, not easily seen very, confused, mislead, calculated I want, their heart beat, can only give what is in my bodies gauge, I am not allowed to give more than this body has demanded, mood, love lies, sometimes, at ease, health fix, health, mental, mentality, heart beats, he doesn’t know how capable of you yet, willing to give your heart beat to show how much you care, his words are sweet perfection in this body, playful remedy to this mind, I want him.”

Poetry: Melody of Being Animate

Lost and found, a lot of this mind’s confusion infectious dwell n this is not who I am, since when did you wake to believe what you have for yourself, understand that you can win, don’t like to get caught up in its noose, you can’t escape so easily anymore, we can’t go chasing people n expect them to fill this constant void, a missing identity, its been a while its been, months, reminded me about all the low turns that they, are better, survival is what life feels like n jagged edges accompany inevitably, wondering why I expect other’s who fill my love n, overflow this body with love that, they are all reason for this body, that without their existence self love is non existent, why do I greed their compassion to rescue me so much it, makes me question what self love means, n I’m I able to, attain its demeanor, precluded my own misconception of self loves bound only to rely solely on their body, their affection, to teach me, n not my own.

Poetry: Melody of Being Animate

17.04.17

Innocence: “..not weak, submissive shy, kind n gentle, all this, n much more, I miss the days where I could hear carefree whispered into the winter breeze, when spring bloomed with hope, sharing all our secrets to mother earth n, choosing to indulge ourselves in her beauty, I missed this, I missed being able to not give so much thought to dreams, enough to give it pardon free it’s possibilities n, not be scared of its what if’s wanted to be, the one who proves that dreams are worth never letting go that, when you feel defeated by it’s impossible alure this is, why its important to illustrate why you dream in the first place, being a dreamer n having a dream are two different innocences, dreamers are forever mesmerized by reason, for reaching the sky n, asking why the stars they see shine so bright, it’s finding answers when you have been told impossible, dream is, as simple as what you want it to be, I miss the days we talked about how fast we could glimce innocence in truth, rather bind to its opposite trait, not enough innocence, there’s, too much malice that fumbles without our own optimism, it blinding, catch this meditation, n…”

Poetry: Melody of Being Animate

21.03.17
I feel sick everywhere…

“..I usually sit with it, wait for the body to re group itself into a somewhat functioning grab my feelings n leave manner, its hard to describe this feeling when its this raw, it feels a lot like the worst possible series of emotions as you drive shards of glasses into the body to help mute the pain, to help silence the unwanted, the confusing, the anger, the compassionate, the sympathetic, the critic, the failure, the unknown, its so easy to eject into this mess, but even harder to eject yourself out of its tight arms, you’ll watch her eyes turn this glaring red as she cries for the unexplained anxiety, her depression is something she can not come to terms with n still refuses to use its correct name, sometimes I am forced to explain to her that its okay that you’re surviving this illness each day, its okay that loyalties s comes n goes, I will always be there to help you guide yourself back to this kin, take my hand n never let go, we are in this together, we have always been in this together, you’re allowed to cry n do nothing, you’re allowed to cry n not know why, to cry n cry some more we all want you to heal, we are all always here with you, for you, you’re never alone I want you to please remember that, we have always been in this together, I know you feel betrayed when you can’t be while you experience opportunities, that you’re forced to feel what you don’t resonate on the outside but what the body wants you to feel, sorry that you have to force your happy, n flaunt this feeling until you feel they don’t feel uncomfortable until they don’t know, seduce their eyes until they stop guessing, trauma has a excruciating way of choosing to visit this body, will give you all its bagged emotion, unreasonable without you opening the door for them they will come uninvited n because you’re not the kind to confront its despair you will allow it to stay n do its damage sometimes longer than it needs then excuse yourself out of its company as you ran out the back door n promise that you’re never coming back, you’ll cry n cry once you realize that you ran away from trauma yet again just when healing has come through your doors to rescue you from trauma’s resilience but by then….”