cor ad cor loquitur

where heart speaks to heart

The foundations of faith — June 22, 2015

The foundations of faith

I just got done crying my heart out…literally. I was writing another blog post, but it was to personal to post so now it’s just sitting in my drafts.

I had a heartfelt conversation with my friend today during our “study session.” These study sessions always end up with us talking about random things. Today, it was our annoying relatives back home. I kinda just ended up spilling my heart out to her, but the best thing was she just sat there and listened. That’s what I needed the most anyway. I needed someone who would genuinely listen to my problems, maybe throw in a comment here and there. She did exactly that. She listened, empathized, and just commented occasionally. It felt really good to let off steam. But I went off a tangent again.

I wanted to write about my faith in Allah, the Arabic word for God. I could have said God, but I like clearing misconceptions people have about things.

I’ve had so many moments where I just cry before bed. They’re usually preceded by something depressing or upsetting. Every time I have that emotional breakdown, I tend to have a conversation with God. I pray to God explaining to Him, explain to Him, and ask for Him to make it better.

There was a time in eighth grade when I felt alone. I felt like I had no friends, and the friends that I did have were fake. I would cry a lot during that year. Every time I cried, I asked God for a best friend. A few years later God gave me exactly what I wanted. I wouldn’t trade my baes for anything. My college friends are also a part of this blessing.

I used to fight with my mom a lot. There came a point where I thought she hated me. I thought she hated the fact that I was born. I thought she wished that my brother was her only child. Every time I cried after our fights, I told Him how I was fed up. I asked Him to make our relationship better. Sure enough, He did. My mom compliments the littlest things now. She expresses her joy during my tiny accomplishments. Receiving that motherly love without the pain and anguish makes me happy.

Does this mean my life is perfect? No, my life is far from that. Does that mean I blame God for the small problems I have? No, the small problems are materialistic. Who cares if I don’t have enough money for the most expensive shoes and car? What matters the most is that I’m happy. I’m content with the smallest things in life.

In Islam we have a belief that pretty much says that each person receives a test from God. The test assesses faith. Each person receives the test in a different form. For example, there are poverty stricken people in Pakistan who have a rather strong faith in Allah. If you ask them about their financial situation, they’ll reply they’re content because at least they have life and maybe food and water. They’re the sweetest people you meet, and they will shower you with blessings, the best present of all.

Yes, there are some things I pray for and don’t get. But that doesn’t mean God didn’t hear me. That just means deep down inside I didn’t really want them.

Why Desis should start taking mental health seriously — June 11, 2015

Why Desis should start taking mental health seriously

The second you mention something along the lines of depression, anxiety, psychiatric, bipolar, etc (you get the point), Desi people lose their shit (excuse my language). These are actual things I’ve heard from Desi people in regards to mental health:

  • Are you calling my daughter/son psycho?
  • Psycho hogai hai (She’s become psycho)
  • Mera beta pagal nahi hai (My son is not crazy)
  • Tumhe kyun depression hai (why do you have depression?)

As you can see, mental health, in Desi culture, is never associated with something positive. People often view such mentions as threats to their pride and image. In Muslim households, parents attribute poor mental health as a sign of not being spiritual enough. “Oh you just need to pray more and be closer to Allah,” they say. But what they do not know is that in those low moments, during those darkest hours, the only being we have to turn towards is Allah. And so we pray and pray that just maybe, for once and for all, please God, cure me from this terrible disease. Since there is such a stigma associated with mental health and depression and even a mention of the word will lead to a loud “PSYCHOOOOOOO,” Desi youth never get the necessary professional help they so desperately need.

This despicable attitude towards mental health needs to stop. Mental health is a serious issue, and if Desi youth don’t have their parents to turn to when times are rough, then who will they ask for help?

Deepika Padukone, a famous celebrity in India, recently came out and told everyone about her depression. She also mentioned that people would often remark to her, “you’re so famous and rich, why would you be depressed?” (or something along the lines). That’s just the thing. Why are we equating a successful life to that of a life of happiness? You can have everything in the world, but you can still feel empty inside. You can have that smile plastered on your face, but you can still be stuck in the deepest pit. You can try to pull yourself up from it, but there will also be that lingering creature that holds you back.

India has the highest rates of depression compared to anywhere in the world. It also has one of the highest rates of suicide. Pakistan is not far behind, either. Out of the numbers of doctors that graduate from medical school, only about “0.002 [become] psychiatrists [and] 0.07 [become] psychologists (SOURCE).” That totals to about 340 psychologists in the entire country (SOURCE). The entire nation of Pakistan only has an alarming five hospitals dedicated to mental health. Overall, only 0.40% of health expenditures are spent on mental health facilities.

If you think about, South Asian teens are faced with multitudes of stress. If you’re a girl, it’s the fear of getting married off to a young age, or the fear of not getting married at all due to ridiculously high dowry demands. If you’re a boy, it’s finding a good job, so that you can take care of your family. Even if you’re foreign raised, you may not necessarily have as much stress concerning marriage, but you still have to worry about being getting good grades, going to a good college, and getting a decent job– all to make your parent’s sacrifice worth it. Who cares if you’re truly passionate about art and music? No, you major in biology, chemistry, engineering, business, etc: anything that will get you the dough after you graduate.

Youth in Pakistan face even more stress. We may think our lives are hard, but remember that shooting at the army school in Peshawar? Oh you bet those kids were scarred for life. Can you imagine the emotional trauma they suffered seeing their own teacher being burned alive in front of their eyes? Are they going to get access to mental health facilities? Or will society also call them psycho (EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH SHIT)?

Or how about those kids who constantly witness drones attacking their homes or their neighbors’ homes? They see their mother, father, and grandparents fall victim to these drones. Are you going to say they’re psycho also?

Mental health is a real issue. Now I know most of the scenarios I mentioned above may not affect everyone, but still bullying is prevalent throughout the world. I still remember being called fat, ugly, a bitch, disgusting etc in middle school. I still remember my culture being mocked by my peers. Those scars won’t ever disappear; they will always be a part of me.

So to anyone who mocks mental health and denies someone the care they need, DON’T. Act now before it’s too late. Depression leads to devastating consequences. Let go of your ignorance and just act. You don’t want to wake up one day only to see your child has resorted to cutting themselves.

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