My Journey With Mental Health [Part One]

We live in a society where women are hushed and discouraged from talking about their personal experiences and torment…but here is one woman’s story to help those who need it most.

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We live in a society where women are hushed and discouraged from talking about their personal experiences and torment…but here is one woman’s story to help those who need it most.

This is probably one of the hardest topics for me to write about for a number of reasons.

  • Primarily because I have struggled with it for so long in silence and solitude.
  • We live in a society where women are hushed and discouraged from talking about their personal experiences and torment.
  • I had been convinced by some people that my feelings and thoughts are worthless.
  • To sit with ones feelings is the most difficult thing to do, because it means you are at your most vulnerable.

I’d like to give you a little bit of a background about myself before I get started. I come from a single parent family. My parents separated over 12 years ago which I remember every detail of all too well.

So for 12 years or so I’ve had a relatively small family – my elder brother, his wife and 4 young children, my elder sister and my 2 twin younger brothers. No cousins, no aunts, uncles or grandparents. Life’s circumstances have made us extremely close knitted which I am grateful to God for.

Growing up, I found solace in experimenting with different phases. I went through what some would say the ‘rebellious’ phase experimenting throughout my early teen years with – piercings, extravagant hair colours, musical instruments and going through a rather embarrassing ‘punk rock’ chapter which I’m sure my sister will enjoy talking about!

I also used a lot of my time focussing on sports and learning languages. Thinking back, I guess I was trying to shift my focus from the negative memories of ‘home’ by keeping myself as occupied as possible, physically and mentally.

When I was at University, I noticed I became increasingly anxious to the point where it would stop me from doing a lot of simple things, such as getting up from my chair in the library and walking by myself to go to the loo. A simple meaningless task that was made incredibly difficult due to my own mind making me feel like I’m not in control.

DISCLAIMER: For those of you who suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks the next paragraph may be a little too close to home and triggering.

I can feel my heartbeat increasing rapidly. I try and focus my eyes on something, anything to regain control. There’s a weight that inhabits my chest. Like a lock in my throat, making it hard to breath. A little less air gets through and I can feel the swelling tears in my eyes as they drip quietly onto my lap. I breath heavily as I lift my head a little higher and tilt it back as though I’m desperately trying to keep my head above water.

The panic seeps in. I’m alone in a room full of people. My tears keep falling, my heart beat keeps increasing, i’m underwater. I’m drowning. I must be, because my lungs, they’re not working, I can’t breathe. I gasp for air, I have to. Please breath, please breath! I internally scream at myself, but my mind is no longer connected to my body. A separate entity. A vessel is all I am, as I continue to fall inwards. I’m not in control. I’m sweating, my hands are shaking. I need to get out.

Students come to my aid, they’re touching me, asking me if I’m okay. I see them, I feel them, but I can’t move. I feel trapped, I can’t move. I’m not in control. I keep gasping for air.

My first panic attack…

Fast forward to when I embarked on the next chapter of my life – marriage. Little did I know it would also be the worst chapter of my life. I stayed with my in-laws for the first 1 year and 7 months of my marriage.

A lot of people tend to laugh when I give them such a precise duration of my time there. But how can I not, it was the most emotionally and mentally challenging time of my life where my mental health was at its lowest.

A lot of the problems that occurred during this time unfortunately, were primarily between me and the women in my husbands family – MIL and SIL’s. My nature was/is very quiet and reserved towards people I’m not familiar with which is quite common with a lot of people I’m sure? Once I get to know someone I’m naturally very bubbly and friendly.

I treat everyone like they are family to me and maybe that’s where I’m slightly naïve. I’m not naturally loud, ‘gobby’, sly or bitchy. In fact I don’t know how to be any of those things. In retrospect I wish I was, as it would have saved me a great deal of torment.

The problems started off with the ‘usual’ comments from my MIL and SIL’s – about my quiet nature which I have no control over so it seemed pretty strange that they disliked this quality in me. Marriage is a daunting experience for everyone and needless to say, I was extremely nervous being in a houseful of people who I don’t know and being so far from home.

I hoped that they would show even the slightest bit of understanding towards this because they had 2 daughters of their own, but they didn’t. It seemed like they had made their mind up about me from the outset and had no intention of trying to get to know me. My husband’s family and my family are both from different areas in Pakistan. My family are from the city Lahore and my husbands family are from a village near/in Mirpur.

I had always heard stories about how different some ‘Mirpuri’s’ are to some ‘Lahori’s’ but I always believed that it’s a case to case basis (NAIVE SAFURA AT IT AGAIN) I never realised how big of a culture difference there would be, let alone the difference in mentalities. I tried hard to fit in and get to know the people I’m living with, but every attempt was challenged with digs, smirks, glares and complaints by the women.

It didn’t take long for the atmosphere in the house to become hostile. My husband tried to talk to them about their hostile nature and lack of effort, but this just made things worse. Every time he tried to speak in my favour, it would fuel them to dislike me more.

It didn’t make any sense, as my SIL’s would try very hard to be like me and copy the way I looked, dressed, my quirks and hobbies etc which I found flattering but extremely odd…because they would still dislike me. My MIL would encourage her daughters’ loathing behaviour and snigger at me. It felt like all three of them were playing a game, a game that I didn’t want to be part of.

They continued to complain about me to my husband over menial things which my husband allowed them to do. Naturally In response to those complaints, I would tell my husband how I felt. But little did I know, me talking about my feelings was frowned upon even in our marriage. I just kept my head down and tried to busy myself with work and cooking for his family.

In addition to the complaints, his family developed a new habit of holding family meetings about me late at night. It’s 11:30pm, my husband and I are getting ready for bed. His family summon him downstairs and close the living room door. These meetings would include my FIL, MIL, SIL’s and husband.

The meetings would last approximately 2 hours and the agenda would be what they disliked about me and my family (and they really really disliked my family.) His family would command my husband to relay the conversation to me and “handle it”. He would sheepishly come upstairs and tell me everything they disliked about me.

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong anywhere, no matter how hard you try and force your way in, there’s just no place for you there. That’s how I felt. I felt like I was the only one who was trying to make a place for myself in that house with his family. But they didn’t want me there.

I first brushed it under the carpet as I assumed things would get better. I kept thinking of new ideas and new ways I could try and make effort that would bring us all together. But his family were takers, never givers. So they took the good that I would do and always expect more, as soon as I stopped giving, they would complain and hold their regular meetings.

Without fail, month after month something would happen. His younger sisters started to disrespect me and his parents and him would expect me to continue bending over backwards for them. My position in the house was made very clear – as a female who has come into their family, my only responsibilities were to cater for the family and keep silent.

They disliked my family’s background very much. They believed that people who hail from the city don’t have the same family values as them, as we don’t have a ‘baradari’ system and are selfish people. They also disliked the fact that my mother was a single mother and always saw me and my family as ‘less than’. They treated the marriage as if they were doing me a favour by taking me from a small home.

My husband later confirmed that they do take this generational battle between Lahori’s and Mirpuri’s very personally and most likely are trying to show me my place. I felt like I was constantly being punished just because of my family’s background. Every time I spoke about my family, visited my family, one of their extended family members would complement my clothing or anything that I owned, even my cooking, I was met with piercing glares from my MIL and SIL’s.

My MIL’s comments became more and more hurtful. His father and grandfathers’ glares became increasingly uncomfortable. And my husbands behaviour became more and more unjust. The feeling of fear began to grow in me. I was afraid of being in that house.

I couldn’t go anywhere alone and I became extremely reliant on my husband to stay by my side which I didn’t realise at the time he would use against me in the years to come…I had nobody in that house who liked me or wanted me there. After many conversations with my husband, it transpired that his parents were never 100% happy with our union (which wasn’t a shock, as their behaviour showcased this from the outset)

As time went on, I continued being analysed by all family members. Every action, every sentence that came out of my mouth, how loudly I greet them with ‘Salaam’, which direction I look at when they enter the room, how I react to unjust behaviour, was analysed so deeply and discussed with my husband who would then point fingers at me for not doing better…being better. It was a toxic cycle that I was stuck in. A cycle that was diminishing my self-esteem and my mental state.

The women began to disregard me completely. It was as though I didn’t exist. I was a ghost. I would talk to them and they would have their backs turned to me and not respond. Like an idiot, I would continue trying to talk to them until my husband would tell me to stop speaking. As soon as I would enter the living room, one by one they would exit the room and go into their second living area, leaving me and my husband alone. Their attempts at making me feel small were succeeding.

The moment my husband and I would pull up into the drive after work, I would take a deep breath and pray to God for patience. Just enough patience to just get through the rest of the evening. I was on edge every second, constantly over analysing my own behaviour, the way I sit, stand and talk to ensure that they wouldn’t find some menial fault in me. It felt like I was stepping onto a battlefield every single day. His family and him vs me.

It’s sad to admit, but breaking down became a daily occurrence. I would beg my husband to remove me from this situation and to get a small flat, anywhere other than here for my mental peace. I was really struggling. I wasn’t myself anymore and my own family began to notice a drastic change in my behaviour and personality.

My husband continued to watch me suffer. He would blame me for struggling and expect me to continue tolerating more. It all became the norm. He was blind to his family’s wrongdoings and also blind to my suffering.

He, along with his family, began to label me as being ‘mentally unstable’. They would use that statement often to mock me. I would weep myself to sleep every night. I became increasingly home sick and my breakdowns would trigger my panic attacks.

My SIL’s and MIL continued to complain about me and he would proceed to point fingers at me. The very thought of going back to that house after work would trigger me to have another panic attack. It became so regular that It became necessary to run into the toilets at work to cry and try to regain some self-control.

One day, I was working through my lunch as usual. I received a text from my husband informing me that his sisters had text him a long paragraph reminding him how they are sick and tired of having me in the house. That I’m the cause of the tense atmosphere, I should grow up and that I’m mentally unstable. I put down my phone and brushed it off.

Not at my desk, not here. Please not here. Deep breath, it’s okay, you’re okay. Get through work and we will handle it later.” I kept repeating to myself. 5 minutes went by. I could feel my eyes swelling with tears as I finished my report.

“Please Safura, you can do this, take a deep breath. Just keep breathing.” I reassured myself.

I was losing control. I could feel my heart beat increasing rapidly. I tried to keep my focus but there’s an exploding in my chest. I need to get up and get out but I can’t move. I’m frozen. I’m under water again. I can’t breath. I manage to turn around and one of my colleagues makes eye contact with me. I quietly whisper ‘help’ to her as I fight back tears. She takes me to a separate room and lets me breakdown until I’ve managed to gather myself.

She told me that a few colleagues have noticed a drastic change in my behaviour, I seemed distant and always upset. I told her everything. She suggests that I speak with the senior partner who is a dear friend of hers and also gives the best advice. He enters the room and I tell him everything.

The first thing he said was “Your husband is not a man. You’re in a dark place and you need to get some help. If he is not willing to help you when you’re this low, there is something wrong. I’m going to recommend you some councillors, you must take care of your mental state, because it is so easy to slip off the road and fall so deep into a hole where you feel like you can’t get out…” 

I decided that enough was enough. It was clear that I was alone in this and my husband had no intention of helping me. I needed to find my inner strength and stand up for myself. When we returned to his house, I spoke with my MIL.

I opened up to her in hope that she would understand as a mother, what a daughter may be feeling. I explained how their behaviour was having an impact on me mentally. I really thought that she may understand as she has two daughters of her own, but boy was I wrong. She looked at me in disgust and had no interest in hearing what I had to say. Soon, her two daughters stormed downstairs and in front of me.

“What” One of them bellowed.

“I want you both to understand one thing. If you have anything to say about me, whether they’re insults, complaints or whatever, say them right now so we can deal with them. I don’t want to have your brother come up to me during work hours showing me your pathetic attempts at turning him against me. Do you understand?” I said firmly.

Both sisters’ mouths dropped opened in dismay as I stood up for myself for the very first time. I felt a small sense of accomplishment in that moment.

Thinking back, it was my own fault for remaining silent for so long as a sign of respect towards them. I allowed them to do and say whatever they wanted and left the situation in the hands of a male who was incapable of ever being fair and just because he had never been taught how to.

After this talk, things got worse…his mother and sisters found a new sense of pride upon learning of how their behaviour was affecting me. The toxic cycle continued and I was drained in every sense of the word. I began to have extremely negative thoughts about harming myself and running away. I kept a diary of all my thoughts, no matter how negative.

My husband was fully aware about me documenting the decline in my mental health, about me wanting to run away and harming myself. He knew exactly how I was feeling because I found it a necessity to talk to him about it and make him aware of how low I was…because in all honesty I didn’t trust myself with my thoughts anymore. But he didn’t do anything to help me. I mean, how could he?

To help me, he would have to address the issues in that house which would mean confrontation with his family and of course he wasn’t going to question them. I used to think it was because he was afraid of his family, but little did I know he had the same mentality as them.

One day, my MIL had another talk with her son. She waited for me to leave the room. As soon as I did, she closed the door and continued with her whisperings against me. My husband came upstairs slowly, closed the door behind him and just stared at me with an expression that read ‘I’m sorry, I cant help you.’ He told me that his mother was talking about me again and that she was emotionally blackmailing him.

I was fuming. I said Bismillah, went downstairs into the living room where my MIL was sat on the head chair and closed the door.

“So, did he tell you about the talk then.” She said with a smug grin.

“Yes, he did. But I’m here so you can tell me directly. What is the actual issue here?”

My MIL proceeded to tell me how there’s notable tension between me and her daughters and I need to make more effort in the house with everyone. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I reminded my MIL with clear examples when I have put myself out there only to be dismissed by her and her daughters time after time. She grinned and said “oh, well I don’t have anything to say to that.”

Her daughters came storming into the room and glared at me. Wallahi, the attitude these two girls carried was unbelievable. Like a broken record, I repeated the same things again – about how the tension in the house and their behaviour is taking a toll on my mental health, how its affecting my work and how it’s affecting my marriage.

Once again, they denied having done or said anything that may have contributed to me feeling such a way. My husband and his family did not like the fact that I was standing up for myself yet again. The conversation became heated very quickly. In the end, I went upstairs to our room.

My husband came upstairs behind me and slammed the door shut in anger. For the first time, he yelled at me and said that he would kick me to the kerb. I felt broken. I was in an extremely low place. I wanted to run away, from all of them. I had another panic attack that night. It was the 7th one that week. It was one of the worst nights I had in that house. I cried myself to sleep yet again…praying to God to give me strength to continue.

The next day, my husband was dropping me off to work as usual. I was in the same mental state as I was in last night. The odd thing was, he was acting completely normal as though nothing happened. I burst into tears. It was his distance and emotional disconnection with me that I never seemed to understand.

How can my husband be so far from me after seeing me suffer every single day? What more needs to happen for him to realise that I cannot tolerate living with his family any longer?

“I can’t do this anymore. Please, I cannot go into work today. I’m not mentally there, I can’t focus, I can’t stop crying, I’m going to end up breaking down at my desk and humiliating myself again. I need to go home to my family.” I pleaded.

He stared blankly at the road. Emotionless.

Just go into work, we’ll talk about it after.” He said eerily.

I got out of the car and took a deep breath. I tried really hard to brush it off and walk into work. I was outside my building and stopped. I started crying. I can’t be here, not like this, I thought to myself. I turned around and walked. I kept walking until I feet took me to a local café. I sat alone in a corner and let myself break down. I couldn’t stop myself anymore.

I called my brothers wife and broke down to her on the phone. I told her everything that happened. I told her that I need to come home. I don’t trust anyone here anymore and I don’t trust myself anymore. She told me to come home immediately.

I was on the train home. I had none of my belongings with me other than the clothes I was wearing. I remember sinking into my seat in exhaustion. Not physically, but mentally I was drained. I gazed out of the window until my eyes focussed on an insignificant spec of dirt. I zoned out into a place of nothingness for a while. I felt at peace for a moment. I hadn’t felt that in a long time.

I received a text from my husband. As I stared down at my phone at his name, a sense of fear grew within me. I switched off my phone, wiped my tears and tried to zone out to find peace again.

By the end of the day, my husband had reported me as a missing person to the police. The police eventually visited me in my family’s home and spoke to me alone. I broke down to them and told them every single thing.

They told me that this is classed as bullying and urged me to seek counselling. They took down the names of his family members and told me to stay with my family until I’m ready to go back.

I switched my phone back on and my husband called me…I didn’t want to answer but I did. “How dare you. Did you not think about me and how this will look at all.” He said in disgust.

I couldn’t believe it. That’s the first thing he decided to say to me? He came to pick me up that night, my mother and elder brother sat him down and spoke to him with such love and understanding despite everything. I wanted them to shout at him, I wanted them to threaten him, to shake him up so that he treats me better.

But they spoke to him like he was their own son in hope he would respond better to their approach. My mother sent me off with him in trust that he would take care of me and not allow this to happen again. He promised and my family and I naively believed him.

We pulled up outside his family’s home again. I hesitated. Every ounce of my being did not want to be here. I did not want to go back into that house with those people, not again. I didn’t trust my husband and I didn’t trust his family. I took one step forward and stepped back again. I stood still for a moment and prayed to God to give me strength and to keep me safe. I took a deep breath and stepped inside the house. By me stepping back into that house, It felt like I was accepting everything that they had done to me. I was afraid.

From the moment of my return, things were worse than before. The toxic cycle continued. My husband didn’t do anything differently to make me feel comfortable or safe and his family had completely stopped talking to me from the moment I returned. I was petrified being in this house with these people because I knew the affect it would have on me and I did not want to allow myself to get that low again.

My FIL returned from his 3 weeks in Pakistan and I wanted to talk to him. We sat down to talk, my husband, me, my MIL and FIL.

“I know everything that happened and I’m telling you, you should not have done this.” He said sternly.

I knew this would be another difficult conversation, but I still explained everything that happened. I told him how bad my mental state had gotten due to everything and he started laughing at me.

This mental stuff is all made up. We never had any of this mental stuff in our time. You only feel like this because you’re weak. So you have to stop being weak.” 

My MIL sat back in her chair and tried to hide her smirk.

I didn’t have the energy to discuss or take this conversation any further, so I just put my head down and listened.

1 year and 7 months later, we moved out. I wanted to believe that we moved out to make it easier for me, but that wasn’t the case. We moved out because my husband finally landed his dream job in London.

I had always supported his career goals from the outset as any wife would, I’m sure. I also considered it a blessing in disguise. Yes, I really really could have done with moving out way sooner so that we could salvage even the slightest bit of relationship with his family, but Allah knows best.

The third night in our new flat in London, my SIL’s and MIL did what they do best – find something to complain about me to my husband. My husband did what he does best, point fingers at me. The cycle started again. Little did I know, this was just the beginning.

My husband became increasingly distant from me due to his family’s regular whisperings. It no longer felt like we were a married couple. It felt like I was nothing but his roommate, just there to financially assist his dream of living in London.

During the course of the 9 months we were living there, he would reject every attempt of me trying to have any ‘relations’ with him. He preferred watching YouTube videos to Star Wars theories instead. Yes, I said Star Wars theories… Needless to say, my self-esteem dropped and I would feel really horrible about myself. I would cry myself to sleep due to the constant rejection as he continued watching his videos. It was deeply troubling.

I held such a negative view about myself…It just didn’t make any sense to me. I mean, I worked out a lot, I took care of myself and I adorned myself in items of clothing that he would like. I did everything for him because I wanted to. He was always my number one priority, but I was still being dismissed as though I am nothing.

I built up the courage to talk about this issue with him, because it was a serious issue for me. I wanted to know if it was me, if there was anything I could do to make him…more attracted to me? He would just grin and say “What did you think. That all men think about is this?” 

6 months later after much discussion, planning and the “chore” of having relations with one another, I was pregnant Alhamdulillah. But my husband wasn’t happy. I was extremely disheartened because we had discussed this for a long time.

I only did it because you wanted to.” He said.

I was in a state of shock. I didn’t know whether to be angry or laugh. Was I hearing this correctly? Was he just doing me a ‘favour’ by getting me pregnant? Did I have a gun to his head? What I felt in that moment was utterly indescribable.

His attitude towards the pregnancy ended up reflecting onto me. I received little to no support from him physically, emotionally and mentally. He would snigger at me and make comments which would make me feel like I’m less than and incapable of being a mother. Instead of being my support and strength in my time of need, he was the only person who placed that self-doubt in me.

I started showing when I was around 4 months and that’s when I began to feel and look more pregnant – Fatigue, shortness of breath and changes to my body. I had a heightened sense of uncertainty and anxiety during this time and I could feel myself falling back into old habits of feeling disgusted with myself. All I could focus on was my partner’s detachment and disinterest.

Seeing my bump grow became more and more difficult because there was just so much negativity between my partner and I. Without even realising I ended up mentally rejecting my pregnancy, because it was a clear burden to my partner and as a result, began to feel like a burden to me to the point where I started thinking it would be best if I miscarried…Subhanallah, may God forgive me…

To go through that, whilst feeling incredibly lonely in my marriage is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

As I was getting further along in my pregnancy, I began to struggle living in London. We lived in a flat which had 4 flights of stairs and no lift and it took me 45mins everyday to get to work which was becoming really difficult to keep up especially amongst the hustle bustle on the platforms and tubes. I’m rather ‘small’ in stature, so it was a nightmare for me and terrible for my anxiety on a normal day, let alone during pregnancy.

There were times I would get pushed around when alone and would have to just sit on a bench and just wait up to an hour until the platforms had quietened down so I can get on. I had no family or support in London and we discussed relocation to somewhere neutral between both families so that I can get some help, I won’t feel alone and so that our baby can grow up with closer links to both families.

I suggested Manchester which was directly in-between my family and his family. His job allowed him to work remotely, therefore there was literally no issue for him to relocate anywhere. But as usual, I wasn’t important enough in his life for him to even consider, so he dismissed my feelings, my concerns and mainly my struggles and blamed me for making his life difficult. He told me that I should just get on with it as the women in his family have and that it is the job of the female to follow the husband, not the other way around.

I reminded him that my reasons for relocating are positive for everyone, including his family and I could really do with the help. We were both on extremely different pages. I didn’t want to believe that he was selfish but I needed to think carefully for the sake of my health and our baby.

He began to insist that it’s essential for me to return to work as soon as possible after giving birth and he became increasingly interested and concerned about my maternity pay. God kept showing me his true colours, yet I kept choosing to ignore the signs. We went round and round in circles. I would sit down with him every 2 weeks to discuss our issues so that we can work through them and become stronger as a couple, but he didn’t want to. Our discussions became so common that even I got sick of my own voice. I didn’t know what else to do. I felt trapped and lonely. Why was I here?

I was torn between holding onto what he promised and accepting the reality of him not being able to deliver. I only ever wanted him to be a fair and just man. I wanted nothing more, but all I got in return was blame for expecting too much. I couldn’t allow my mind to take me back where it once was. I couldn’t allow myself to fall so deep back into the hole where I would want to run away and harm myself. I was going to be a mother and that was the biggest blessing for me, whether he saw it or not.

We went to visit my family for the weekend, we discussed the suggestion of relocation to which he made over 100 excuses against. Needless to say, we ended up falling out.

My elder brother asked us both one simple question. “Is there a way you two can work this out where divorce is not an option.” 

“If I stay silent and allow him to continue doing what he wants to do, that is the only way we will stay married. We wont be happy, but we’ll stay married.” I replied.

“Yeah, what she said” my husband laughed.

I looked at him in disgust. I couldn’t believe it. I was desperate for peace. Just a moment of peace. Yet a part of me wanted to continue sacrificing myself for him. I hated that part of me. Familiarity. That’s what it was. He is what I knew and I wasn’t strong enough to leave. The uncertainty of what would follow after frightened me.

“Everything his family put me through, I’m still not over it. It affected me so much to the point where I don’t trust him. He let those things happen to me. He let them treat me like that!” I cried..

“You didn’t just lose her now, it seems like you lost her along the way…” my brother said with a heavy heart.

We went back to London and I told him I want a divorce. It was the hardest decision I had to make but I felt certain.

That week, he tried to be present emotionally for me and I appreciated it greatly. That’s all I ever wanted from him. We had an okay week Alhamdulillah. I had my first scan which I really hoped and prayed would soften his heart towards me after seeing our baby for the first time. I’m not sure if it did or didn’t. All I can do is judge him on his actions which are to follow… After a surprisingly okay week, I went to stay with my family for 2 weeks.

My husband reluctantly visited his family to tell them of the pregnancy and the possible relocation to Manchester. I prayed constantly for God to give me a sign, to give me clarity and guidance on what I should do. I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen next.

His parents gave him an ultimatum. An ultimatum to choose between them or me. I remember when he told me this. I was frozen. This can’t be real… I was in a state of utter shock. It was as though the world around me was closing in but I still had so much faith in myself. My decision became more and more clear to me. The path I was going to take would be the most difficult path I will ever take, but I believed with every ounce of me that God was with me…

To be continued…

I’ve had a rollercoaster of emotions writing this piece. I’ve had to tap into all the negative memories and it’s been extremely difficult to sit with those very feelings that I try to put behind me. But one thing I have learnt is how important it is to sit with your feelings.

I know there’s a lot of people out there who go through similar if not worse situations and it affects everyone differently. I have remained silent for so long but I won’t anymore. It is important that women feel strong enough to speak. We have always had a voice and I’m beginning to find that strength in me and realise that I have value regardless of whether others see it or not.

It is a long road ahead of me but I’m healing slowly. All I can say is that you will have bad days and you will have okay days. Focus on having okay days because that is a huge achievement. No one else will ever be able to protect your mental health other than you. You owe it to yourself to remain healthy so do it for you.

This article was originally published on Safura’s blog, found here.