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
Updated: May 25, 2021
I would like to thank Yasmine and everyone else who made the coaching I received possible. It was really a great experience. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in providing feedback. I have tried my best to explain my experience below but I think sometime words are not enough to explain these feelings and experiences.
Before starting my coaching sessions, I was in a state of chaos and could not see any possibilities. It was like everything was impossible and I’d already lost a number of good friends, so I was totally devastated and frustrated. This affected my physical and mental health badly. I was suffering from the issues of breathlessness, mood swings and Blood pressure problems. A feeling of loneliness and depression.
Digging deep inside me was a sense that there was no hope for the future. I was so afraid of reaching out to people and making conversations, afraid of rejection and ostracism, due to my atheism and religious disbelief. I was feeling hopeless about ever meeting a partner and was worried about my future.
After completing my sessions I felt motivation and encouragement. The coaching allowed me to find and accept possibilities, explore opportunities, overcoming my fears and practice self-acceptance. I am now motivated to approach life in a different way.
I discovered that there were a number of things that I was hiding from myself and struggling to understand, I avoided discussing them, not even with myself. But now I’ve understood that life is not limited, one can be anything one wants and everything is possible as long as the person is willing to put in the work and do what is needed.
The most impacting things that was constantly haunting me was acceptance by others and what I’ve learned is that I cannot control people and I should also understand that not everyone will appreciate me for what I am, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am imperfect. One needs to get out of the shell of limiting beliefs and fears, to explore and experience the beauty of life.
These sessions have helped me to improve my mental strength and health and that has positively impacted my physical health.
My therapist equipped me with some cognitive tools that I’m continuing to use everyday and it really brings a smile through my face. A wonderful feeling, like enjoying a sunset from the rooftop top of a high building.
For me the best thing about these sessions are:
Constantly helped me to understand my inner self and overcoming my fears and weaknesses.
To understand the possibilities that I can achieve.
To explore and expand my social circle and know more people.
Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible.
Ms Unjum, India
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
I'm very thankful and grateful that I was directed to the coaching sessions, it really changed my life and my perspective. My mentality was that I had no control over how I felt and that I was screwed from the start and would never be able to get over it. But taking these sessions one by one, every week, with the various techniques we used helped me look back into myself and my emotions. It helped me get over the anxiety and paranoia of how damaged I felt because of my circumstances.
I was also able to make goals and achieve them, such as finding and joining a community of people who share and understand my experiences. I'm still following all the instructions and points guided to me during these sessions and they still help me in relieving the negative emotions in me.
I tended to overthink and feel overwhelmed with things that happen in my life and I guess I let myself get so used to the stress and anxiety that I became unable to go on with my life.
Ever since I started doing the cognitive techniques I started feeling more relaxed and more focused on my daily tasks and activities rather than stressing over them.
Reflecting on what can go right in my near and far future really impacts me positively.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen.
HY, United Arab Emirates
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
I wanted to say thank you to you and everyone who contributed to making the coaching sessions happened. The sessions were very good and I couldn’t have asked for more in all honestly.
Before our sessions started I was in constant fear of failure suffering heavily from anxiety and depression and having many regrets about my life.
Life as an Atheist in Egypt is still pretty hard and sometimes it seems as though there’s little hope but now I can see that there is still hope. The sessions helped me to gain confidence again and to open up and start speaking to people. They helped me to not be afraid of failure and to go after my dreams again. Speaking to you every week helped to encourage me to connect with other people and to open up to them. Reconnecting with people was the biggest benefit I received from the sessions and it reduced my feelings of isolation.
Thank you to you and the team and everyone who contributed.
Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Before I started my coaching sessions, I felt defeated. I felt like all my hard work was for nothing, and no matter what I achieved in life it wouldn’t mean as much because I wouldn’t have my parent’s validation. I had always judged my life through the perspective of my parent’s happiness, but through my coaching sessions I realized that because my parents were unhappy with their own lives they could never be happy with me.
I used the meditative techniques that my coach thought me in times of stress and anxiety. I attempt to find time at least once a day to step away from my work and practice it. I do feel that my brain has stopped defaulting to “doom and gloom”.
In my conversions with my coach I have realized that I should learn to accept my parents the way they are, because then only can I learn to work with them. I must stop making excuses for their toxic behavior and not be passive with them.
I have slowly started to feel optimistic and self-reliant again. I have started to feel that my parents don’t have such a strong hold on me emotionally anymore. I have the ability to understand behavior (Parents’ perspective) but not excuse it.
My life won’t be spent trying to meet unrealistic expectation for a moving goal post.
My physical health is also better, as a lot of my anxiety would manifest in lack of appetite.
I feel overall positive about the future.
I have learned to emotionally not get embroiled with my parents and draw boundaries. I have also learned how to express myself freely, keeping in mind the difference between “progressive conversations” and “defensive conversations”. I don’t let guilt eat me alive any longer, because I understand that this has very little to do with me and everything to do with who they are.
I feel emotionally equipped to have healthy relationships in the future, and recognize toxic patterns.
I think my coach was perfect and I felt that he had an insight that other therapists have lacked. He was always willing to listen through and talk through things. He never dismissed my feelings, and recognized cultural problems that are common in South Asian households.
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Thank you for your help, it was really something I needed, I saw good results in only 6 weeks which is incredible.
Before the sessions I felt that I was hopeless and I was giving up, my anxiety was winning and I didn't do anything to fix that and even the smallest problems made me feel like a total loser.
Today I started to see the cup half full.
I have the tools to fight negative thoughts. I feel happier and stronger and I can see myself having a better life in the future which wasn't the case before. I'm planning to join a gym soon and I focus on having a good diet. I'm mentally stable and it's affecting my physical health in a really good way.
Now I have the courage to improve myself, deal with life and I’m no longer having the loser mentality. I can control my emotions and I keep trying even when I have bad days.
Thanks to the coaching I developed a positive way of thinking and I figured out what was exactly wrong in my life. I want to fix myself, become the best version of myself and remove depressive thoughts from my life.
I developed the will to fight for my happiness, I’m able to see life clearer.
I was lost because I didn't know what was exactly wrong with me and thanks to the coaching, I know what caused my depression/anxiety and I can finally work on solving these problems.
I was excited to do the session every week and talk with you. The sessions were literally mind blowing because of the reactions I had doing the exercises. It was also entertaining and I didn't feel time passing.
It was a pleasure talking to you and I’m really glad and lucky for getting your help. I wish you the best. Thank you to you and everyone at free hearts free minds for making this happen.
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
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.
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Before embarking on the coaching sessions, I was in a weird space of self-destructive behaviour and self-blame; I was working on fully isolation myself from everything. My relationship with my family was at the peak of chaos; life was nothing but a grey blank page. This seemed to be the overall situation of each chapter of my life. Mentally I think I was depressed, a form of depression at least. I was also physically weak due to stopping the gym and this was due to not having enough mental strength to do anything.
After the 6 coaching sessions I can clearly say that I'm more open to life and feel fresh. I’m doing my best to engage with my family more and get to understand them from a different perspective; the ways that we explored in our sessions. I have got back to the gym already and that has made me feel even better. I can say that now I have a spark of hope.
The sessions helped me to understand how powerful it is in life to develop your own understanding and to be coachable. I would love to learn more about the techniques you used in the sessions, they were amazing to say the least and I found them very beneficial.
I loved the feeling that there was someone who would listen and understand what I was going through. To have someone there each week who was willing to be there and guide you a bit through this grey tunnel during this time in my life. It means a lot to feel that there are some good people around, people who are actually willing to be there for you.
I can't thank you and all the people who have made the coaching possible enough. Thank you to you and all of them.