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by Putri Surya

putri.jpgI’ve been pretty much battling with anxiety and depression most of my life for various reasons. However, the reason I’ve realized that possibly made my mental health quite difficult to bare was the fact that my parents in the beginning weren’t all that supportive. I assumed because I was honest and upfront with them about my issues, it would be easier to overcome them. I definitely thought wrong.

My parents are practicing Muslims who believed my mental illness was just all in my head and if I was closer to God, it would all just go away. With them constantly telling me that at the age of 13, I had no idea how to even deal with these issues I had. I would read the Quran and pray as they suggested, but it just made me more angry at God because I felt like I wasn’t making any progress. I also felt immense pressure like I had to get better in order for my parents to be fulfilled in their faith. It was like I was a prisoner in my own thoughts and I wasn’t allowed to feel how I needed to feel.

Although they did take me to see some psychiatrists and therapists, the doctors I saw weren’t the best and my parents still refused to let the doctors prescribe me any medication. My parents kept arguing that if I just prayed more often and really believe in the scripture, I would be a lot better. That did not motivate me into getting better help or even keep seeking any help.

As things started to escalade in high school on to college, I fortunately found a support system of amazing friends that made me realize that everything I was feeling were valid. They also helped me build the courage to confront my parents about my mental health and really admit to them that I needed help.

After some blood, sweat and tears, my parents came to their senses and took me to a therapist that I ended up really enjoying. He helped me get down to the nitty gritty of my issues and made me feel so validated. It was extremely liberating to be able to express every emotion completely guilt free with no judgement. My therapist discussed with my parents the process in which would help me get better and that included me being on medication. Though with some hesitation, my parents ended up agreeing that that was the best plan for me.

Even though my parents, especially my dad still thinks having a strong faith is the best solution to mental illness, their open mind literally saved my life. Anxiety and depression is still something I have to battle everyday, but the patience and understanding of everyone around me has made it a lot easier.

Day by day, I motivate myself to take steps into getting out of my comfort zone in order to improve my mental health. I have also grown an appreciation for my parents’ patience. It is difficult to have lived a life in another country with a certain mindset then to raise a child who thinks the complete opposite. So, do take the time and thank those who have supported you in your journey to better mental health because it’s definitely not always the smoothest journey.


IMG_7707_29-06-2018-22-42-48.jpgPutri Surya is currently a student at the University of Maryland studying Mass Communications while occasionally recording her podcast, Yellowtales. 

Disorder

Comments

I appreciated your comments very much. As a born again Christian I often run into the same issue, people tell me to read the Bible and pray more, and that I must not be trusting God enough. Now I have to deal with anxiety and guilt that it is all my fault. It is especially frustrating because I do read through the Bible every year, pray everyday and attend worship services weekly along with a ladies bible Study.

My parents are more or less the same, I'm a christian and they think that I'm not playing enough or don't have a good enough relationship with God. They my anxiety isn't as serious. I can't hold a job, I feel pressured when where I get a new job cause feel pressured to learn it fast enough. I either quite after being called named cause of panic attacks or get fired. My parents don't get that I need they support I feel so guilty when I'm around them thinking what they thinking of me, lazy, stupid, unless. So I can relate to your story well. Cried at night and still think of suicide. I stopped therapy cause my parents didn't see any difference in my life they said. So I'm looking for hope on the Internet. That's how desperate I've become.

Vishal I completely understand your situation and compiling battles. Although I (think) I'm somewhat older than you (64) I can relate because I've had these issues all my life as well. I am a born again Christian and reccomend that you stay on that course. Along w medication, therapy, and prayer you will begin to see changes. I am ALWAYS open to communicating w you but as you know I struggle daily as well. Try to find the right meds cause they will use you as a Guinea pig till they find something. After all these years I am taking Remeron at night (small dose) but its given me a spark of hope. Zoloft and clonazapam REALLY help but they are strict on the klonopin. I dont know why but they do not like the benzo drugs. But they WORK! Email me:
Bobbydetore@att.net

God bless you, you have friends dealing w this terrible disease...believe me!! ♥️🙏

Vishal,

I hope you are doing better, friend. I grew up pretty outgoing, then when junior high school started, I began to feel very uneasy and awkward. Then in my first few girlfriends, I repeated the same pattern: anything they did or said that didn't directly relate or result in them giving attention to me, I would fall apart with worry and obsession. I could not understand it. I was having tremendously strong emotional reactions that I definitely didn't want. Why couldn't I be cool, calm and rational like my friend, Tim? My last serious relationship nearly killed me because I had the same irrational strong anxiety and was too afraid to tell her. I was too afraid and shamed to tell anyone of these feelings. I ended up losing her and she's married and gone. I spent several dark depressed years, it was very bad. Long-story-short, I still suffer the anxiety, some days better than others, but I have found that reaching out to safe people relieves much of the burden. People care. Anyone who doesn't, they are not worth sharing your soul with. Do Not let their non-compassionate judgments rule your life. Find the people who care. I hope perhaps you can find a professional counselor. I am doing this now myself, because I am exhausted with being so anxious all the time. I would believe that your parents love you but they are trapped by their own small-mindedness and lack of compassionate understanding. My parents tried to stop me from getting a counselor when I was young - apparently they were afraid they would look bad or something, I don't know. But be as kind to yourself as you can. You are worth it. Friend - Jeff

Hey Vishal, it’s 2019 now,I hope your doing better? I’m also a Christian and battle with anxiety everyday.It seems me and you have some things in common.I also get anxiety attacks during work, and cannot hold a job.I just wanted to let you know that their are others like you out there.So you are not alone.Let me know how you are doing

Hi Neuroticism. How are you doing? I've been reading the DARE book by Barry McDonagh. He is someone who had anxiety and he has overcome it. I've been applying the tips in his book and it's helping massively. More calmness, palpitations have lessened. Starting to feel more myself. I practise meditation daily (guided with an app) and this helps and exercise - running 20 minutes every other day.

Thank you for sharing your story - it really resonated with me. My parents are very strict Muslims whose first response to my suicidal thoughts was to remind me that I would go to hell if I attempted it and succeeded. Since age 12, I've been fighting this fight alone. Things are improving and I have a good therapist by my side, but it's hard to encounter resistance and a lack of support from your own parents. It's extremely damaging to feel guilt about your condition because of too-strong religious conviction. I'm glad things are better now for you. Our stories, I hope, will make for a more understanding and supportive generation of Muslim parents.

Thanks for sharing your story. This cycle of God healing anxiety away, has unfortunately perpetuated more anxiety in my life. My irrational fears have made me feel as though I am doing something wrong and therefore not worthy of God's healing power, hence the debilitating anxiety. Hearing stories like yours, reminds me that I am not alone.

I had anxiety -- multiple panic attacks -- and suicidal ideation. It was all due to PARAthyroid disease -- a simple surgery cured me. I get very frustrated when people think anxiety is always a spiritual issue.

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