Hope you’ve been well. A big thank you to you and everyone who made the coaching sessions possible.
Before the sessions I was feeling depressed, trapped, and hopeless. I felt as though I have exhausted all my efforts working with what skills I had and I wanted to do something about it and needed help. Also, I was in a state of paranoia about being found out as an Atheist because I felt like I could not contain my anger and newly developed hatred toward religion.
For a Saudi ex-muslim woman inside Saudi Arabia, life is not much different out of the faith than within the faith, unless you’re privileged enough to have access to places where expats or royals practice their freedoms within the country. You have to fake religiosity in front of your community and family. For me, I was barely able to get my parents to accept that I no longer want to wear the niqab (veil). If I wanted to take the hijab off altogether, I don’t think they would ever accept it. Every Saudi ex-Muslim woman that I know (through social media) fakes being Muslim and could never dare to admit atheism to family members.
Since our sessions I am in a much better place. My circumstances have changed, so now I am not in the same environment that I was in when I started getting coaching. Now I have more control over my time, and I have more space away from my family. I am now busy with studying again and I have developed new online friendships that I keep contact with everyday. I feel like my mental health has improved. My thoughts now are focused on future plans toward more independence.
Through the sessions I have learned more how to better communicate and empathize with my parents (Transactional Analysis). I was also encouraged to make ex-Muslim friends, which pushed me to do so. I have joined social media groups for Arab Atheists and we talk and share news/memes/books daily, which helps me feel less lonely.
What I liked best about the sessions was being able to speak without fear or judgement. I also liked learning about Transactional Analysis.
Thank you for everything. It was a pleasure to work with you.
M.A. Saudi Arabia