During difficult times I was informed that I had it all; that I lacked nothing. I was told that I needed to pull myself together. Day after day I would sink deeper and deeper into emotional dysregulating strategies such as binge drinking and smoking. My life has been a double since my teen years: a mask worn to present a perfect façade and hidden layers of struggle down under. I am a child of an alcoholic, from whom I was abused during the absence of their sober conscious. Inevitably it led me to hate alcohol, yet despite this determination to antagonize the liquid, I would eventually find it in a glass between my palms.

Nayla's Story

Everyone always informed me that I had it all: the friends; the family. I don’t know where my sickness originated from – or when it started. Though, I think that my surroundings e.g. people I hung out with affected me most alongside my mother who tends to use a negative tone when informing me that I’m very emotional; that my spirit is too soft. I believe anything people say. I’ve been on medication for more than 7 years, finally stopping 3 weeks ago. Doing that made me feel like I’m ready to walk the Earth, medicine-free, like any other person.

W.H.’s Story

During the most joyful of moments, I would get negative intrusive thoughts; thoughts that are very vile. I would be sitting in a very peaceful area somewhere in the mountains, but my mind would be far from there. I’d continuously think of minor details that happened on a certain day, analyzing them and concluding with a river of ‘what-ifs’. The time duration would be as vast as an entire evening. Think. Feel. Control. Fear. Repeat. That would be the cycle in short. Family would pass to see the nature of how things are, but it only would make feel worse.

Mira’s story

We are brought up to always be strong hence eclipse any sign of weakness; we are brought up to believe that emotions should be controlled and that depression is taboo. What society doesn’t understand is that depression could effectively make a human being dysfunctional. I would lose interest in everything, anything, and everyone around me. I quit my job, locking myself away from social interaction; I lost the incentive to live. All this guided me through a phase of anorexia.

Ghida’s story

Patients with a manic-depressive illness may opt to not take the pills needed due to the common notion that there isn’t anything wrong with them to start with. A reason to this could be due to the flawed opinion(s) of medication, resulting with a unique perspective – in which it could metaphorically be translated as a garden of weakness. Moreover, one may feel robbed of their identity and/or character.

Ahmad’s Story

I have been living with bipolar disorder for almost 25 years. In the beginning it felt like a condensed earthquake; I was mentally destroyed and my family were shocked. Though, thanks to their patience and social support – including my co-workers, I survived. I got married and now have two beautiful children. In addition to this, I am a writer. I’ve written two poetry books and 3 novels, with a 4th in the oven. The positive side of bipolar disorder, in my experience, includes leading a healthy life with understanding surroundings who I will always be thankful for.

Z.K.’s Story

Having developed an eating disorder along with a severe case of self-harm, my social anxiety and level of depression piled up. I found difficulty hiding them as more and more people began to realize and notice the mutual factor of ‘instability’ between those struggles. Dark thoughts emerged at one point, leading me to question the worthiness of life as a whole. Thanks to a generous friend, I was referred to a psychologist whom nonetheless assisted in created a turning point in my life.

M’s Story

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Tell us your story

We have had brave and remarkable people come out and tell their stories of their struggles with the difficulties they have faced due to mental illness. The stigma of mental illness can only be overcome if we talk about it. By sharing your story of the struggles you have faced, you are breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness. We want people to know they are not alone, we are all in this together and through our community we can accept and help each other. Help us talk about it, share your story.

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