I was at my lowest having mental breakdowns almost every night for the last 2 years, I was constantly thinking of death and how I am useless and not worth living. I was very harsh on myself, blaming myself for other people's actions.
I was abused and sexually assaulted and I thought it was my fault and I deserved it. I had so much pain from traumas that I was not aware of. I was deeply hurt and I couldn't, with all my strength, lift myself up.
After the sessions w FHFM I am much better, I can comfort myself and navigate my feelings better, I amended a lot of the harsh words that I used to label myself with. I am much kinder now to myself, I can recognize that so many things happened or still happening that are out of my control I don't have to take its heavy weight on my shoulders.
I am working on building my self-esteem and for the first time in my life I am working on establishing a healthily daily routine.
my mental health is a work in progress and now I have the main keys/skills to keep myself in relatively good state.
I actually made goals in the future that I am looking forward to achieve!
The most rewarding moment was when I recognized that my abuse and sexual assault was not my fault, all the hatred towards myself is gone.
And the most challenging was to be kinder, be less critical to myself and put my needs first.
I would like to add that my therapist made me feel safe and they made sure to make me feel heard and understood, they were supportive and kind, I am truly thankful that I had the chance.
When I first started my sessions I had panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, nightmares, and felt emotional pain.
My feeling about life was too confused, I was blaming myself for being raped, and that I faced sexual assault. My mental health was so bad, I was having nightmares about my rapist, and my friends assaulting me, that nightmare was repeating several times a day, and I was so afraid of everyone.
Now I feel that I'm more confident, and stopped blaming myself, as I know it wasn't my fault for being raped or abused.
I feel that life is so much worthy to live and have fun of each part, and moment of it.. as I feel that I have to fight for my life. My therapist sessions helped me to replace suicidal thoughts with surviving thoughts. So instead of thinking about killing myself, now I know that I have to own my life and fight for it, I MUST LIVE, and STOP BLAMING MYSELF for being raped, or for being a lesbian, now I feel that I'm comfortable than ever, and I have that image in my head "that I live in a safe place and feel peaceful;", that helps me to keep going and stay positive, and never give up on my life.
The most challenging part, when my therapist told me that "You won't live like that forever" I thought she just saying motivating words, I was depressed back then, but I realized that she was right already because now I'm trying to get away out of my country, and applied for a visa, job, life out there.... etc. She was right, I won't live in that situation forever and I hope when I get a job with a good salary, so I can continue my sessions with her, because she was really good, and helped me a lot.
The headspace I was in was conflicted, I was feeling helpless about having a normal social life and was feeling alienated overall, I was in tunnel vision where I couldn't see the bigger picture where I can be both an ex-Muslim and fulfilled emotionally and socially.
The sessions helped me see the bigger picture where I can be myself and at the same time connect with people knowing that it's only skin deep and that doesn't invalidate my stance on religion or my environment or any other views I have, I don't overthink my situation as an ex-Muslim and I don't feel like a hypocrite or ashamed anymore because I know myself and I'm hopeful that things will get better.
The most rewarding part for me was being able to voice my concerns out loud and get to hear how they sound from a new perspective but also have an understanding eager ear to listen, Ayesha was brilliant and helped me get over a lot of the fears I had.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Free Hearts Free Minds for providing me with free therapy sessions during a very dark time in my life.
I really needed to talk, and for someone to listen to me without judgement and to talk to me with a voice of reason as that is something I was missing in my life. I was shunned by my community and I was fighting for my life and for my livelihood. I was fighting against powers that held so much authority and things seemed very dark at that time. Yet, I never asked for help. I never wanted help. But I was missing to feel like a human again.
And that's what therapy has provided for me. I was able to express my feelings, share what goes through my mind without having people trying to take advantage of my low points or to try and influence my decisions or point of view. I encourage each and everyone to seek therapy as it could be the catalyst for positive change or at least help you to put your life experiences into perspective. Again, a big thanks to Free Hearts Free Minds, and please keep up the good work!
Updated: May 25, 2021
I want to thank Yasmine Mohamed and everyone contributed through efforts or donations to the Free Hearts, Free Minds campaign .
As a beneficiary of this campaign i can never express how much am grateful for all the compassionate hearts that helped to make this happen.
For people like me in the middle east and the islamic world in general Mental / life coaching support is a serious tabu that can have negative consequences to people's lives , and especially for us who Chose to free yourself from Religion after critically evaluating it , the thing which resulted in huge social isolation some of us lost touch with their families and the other can't simply trust anyone with what going on in their life and their minds .
For that reason we thank you for your kindness and support , thanks to all the beautiful hearts that are willing to help unknown people from across the globe , people who you might never know , people whose voices might never be heard , but with with your compassion you managed to make their days a little bit less darker and hope a little bit clearer .
1. Before you started your coaching sessions what space were you in? How were you feeling about life, what emotions were you experiencing, what type of thoughts were you having, how was your mental and physical health?
I remember when i saw yasmine post on facebook regarding this campaign i was thrilled , this campaign couldn't have come in a better time , i been going through a very devastating period of life , all the strength i had was draining and the trauma of 27 years of abuse and resistance took a huge troll on my happiness and personality the thing which was very threatening to my future and my chances of survival .
I was feeling lost with a foggy cloud of depression blocking my thoughts and my thinking , it always affected my self worth and self esteem the thing which caused my anxiety to increase and affect my everyday life , it also affected my physical health the thing which i can see in IBS , Headache and lack of energy attacks .
2. Now that you have completed your coaching what space are you in? How are you feeling about life, what emotions do you experience, what type of thoughts are you having, how is your mental and physical health?
The coaching session were extremely beneficial to me , after the sessions i felt more in control of my life after i started to feel that i lost control and began to give up .
The sessions with Jimmy helped me to hold on into hope again and reminded me of my worth and my strength ,
i became more educated in term of my emotions and my behavior patterns , the thing which helped a lot whenever i remind myself to pause and react based on what i need to achieve not on how i feel about it .
I regained my hope in humanity and in life , by learning the tools on how to function and receive the best experience possible .
As i feel positive improvement in my happiness and satisfaction level i noticed a similar improvement in my physical health for example my energy level and IBS attacks .
3. What has changed and what strengths can you see that you have developed or enhanced from the experience?
- i noticed huge improvement in my self confidence and anxiety , i was in breaking point and the help came at the right time .
I learned to understand myself better and be aware of my emotions and what motivate my reaction patterns the thing which help me learn how to improve those reactions in order to receive the best reactions from others and minimize any consequences
Although am more aware of my emotions now i became more accepting to them and started to acknowledge them while i used to deny or escape them , my aim became to educate myself on how to deal with them and express them in the best way to receive the best consequences to them.
I learned the importance of not jumping to conclusion when it come to people , to give people the benefit of the doubt or even if not that i need to learn how to adapt to people regardless of my thoughts of them .
I learned how important it is to remind myself to dare to go out of my comfort zone if i really want to make any change in my life , Jimmy always reminded me that I can't learn without trying especially when it come to socializing or changing patterns of behaviour .
I learned tools that i can use to separate myself from negativity and to connect more to my expressive side and start to prosecute my passions.
Be aware of my thoughts and look into positive opportunity in every situation and not submit to depression or stress.
4. What more would you have liked in your coaching sessions, how could they have been improved?
I don't think this can be any better. My therapist extremely helpful and understanding throughout my sessions i don't think i been an easy client , although i tried my best to be clear , honest and sincere but it been very difficult on the personal level to not fall back to old habits and safety zones , throughout my personal struggle Jimmy’s guidance and patience helped a lot in making my view more clear and directing me to the healing bath .
5. What did you like best about your coaching sessions?
I sincerely appreciated how my therapist was able to understand what I meant throughout my emotional break out I was worried that I might not be clear yet he was able to understand and identify the core source of my problem and provide suggestions that help me understand better and learn how to work in improving my self .
I honestly appreciate how he provided suggestions to educate me better about personalities and human reactions , the thing which can help a lot with my lack of experience .
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
When I started the sessions I was in an angry place where I hated the way my life was going, skipping on my friends and family, and I just felt I wanted to be alone.
During the sessions I realised my mistakes in communication, and I also started realising others mistakes when communicating with me. I think I understand the social aspect of life better now. I am spending more time with my family, and highly performing at my job.
All this was not obvious on the first day after the sessions were completed. The time I waited before I sent this feedback, allowed me to see the results of how my life is improving with my improved social communication skills. I now have daily company in my trip to work, my life at work is enhanced and more opportunities appeared.
Much of the stress in my life is significantly reduced.
I will miss the sessions as this was a space for me to talk more about myself and focus on my growth and development.
Thank you to you and Yasmine and everyone else who contributed to the Free Hearts, Free Minds project for this great opportunity.
Kamal, Middle East