I want my life back

The fifth of October, 2019. I’m still awake since yesterday. Only one year has passed since my graduation from college. It feels like a long long time ago!.. It’s 4:30 AM, I should be sleeping, but instead I’m binge-blogging. It’s a way for me to be away from Facebook.

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I’ve been using Facebook since 2008. In this year I was graduating high school. After graduating I traveled to another city to study Engineering. I was living in a dorm, so I had no TV, and no smartphones or internet. My only connection to the outside world was going to a near cyber cafe and opening Facebook. At that time began my addiction to Facebook. There’s something very relaxing about writing and posting!

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Now I’m taking it to WordPress, it gives me the posting feature, but with much less of the noise in the background. I can write where no one is following me. Where I just talk to myself, about myself!

The first year at college went great, I got myself a couple of As and Bs, and was very proud of myself.. I only got one F at the Physics B course. I was going to specialize in Mechatronics Engineering. I’ve always wanted to be great at something special! Mechatronics department sounded like something a few people knew of at the time. I wanted to be great, that’s all. I was 16 when I chose this field. How is a 16 years old supposed to choose what he wants to do with life?! I wonder about that now.. There something inherently wrong with a world that expects teenagers to find their specialty at age 16 or 17. You might find a kid this age who has found his or her passion in life, but is it the average, or is the world forcing kids to take huge decisions about life at an early age?

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For me it was hard to choose, but that wasn’t the problem, I enjoyed Engineering and I could’ve easily passed my exams, maybe with an F here and an F there, but I’d have finished it. It was due to major depression that I gradually became numb! So numb that I didn’t want to go to college anymore! I tried to fight it, but it just got the best of me! I didn’t learn that I had depression until 2010 probably; two years after graduating high school, and three years before dropping out of college. It was a painful experience.. painful and frustrating; especially that my depression was just like having diabetes; it’s just a chronic condition, there’s nothing I can do about it except to cope!

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I remember the day I walked to my therapist, and I didn’t know yet what was wrong with me, and she told me that what I had was “depressive tendencies”, it was such a nice word for the severe level of depression that I discovered I had! Depression is one of the hardest illnesses to beat! It was a long, long road, and I’m still fighting.

The problem with the depression was trying to find a meaning to all of it; you feel that it’s completely pointless, this sickness that is robbing you of your life one day at a time! You keep watching the days as they flow away from you, day after day! The days then turn to weeks and the weeks turn to months and the months to years, the more time passes by, the more you feel stuck in this condition, stuck in this place.

Given_Up_Linkin_Park

It’s especially sad when you find people taking waking up in the morning with energy for granted, when you absolutely have zero energy to do anything. Depression interferes with your reward/motivation mechanism, you stop feeling the motivation to do, or the pleasure from doing, absolutely anything.

definition-anhedonia

I reach a point where I’m just extremely angry at God for doing that to me, I lose my belief in religion and in god and become like a nihilist atheist with no sense of purpose or meaning.

At a point in 2016, I took a decision not to make any change in my ideology and philosophy anymore; because it was all stemming from the depression, and the depression wasn’t real. It was real in a sense that I felt it, but in the way it made me see the world through it’s extremely dark glasses it was a distortion of reality, and a very unhelpful one!

Here I defined my main battle: Overcoming, or coping with, the depression. It wasn’t about philosophy or religion anymore, it wasn’t about abstract thoughts about morality, ethics, meaning and purpose. It was my own inner experience, I decided to use a tool from psychology instead of philosophy: cognitive behavioral techniques.

It took me many years after my life has been destroyed back and forth time after time after time to get up again, for the billionth time, to try to start all over again.

I traced back my depression to 11 years old, so now it has been 17 years. I want to overcome it. And that’s my main goal.

I want my life back, and I will get it.

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What is CBT?

Here I try to write about CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy using sources from Youtube and a book.

CBT is one of the most effective treatments for things like anxiety disorders, depression disorders, bipolar depression, ADHD… and a lot of other problems.

It’s about understanding yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, learning how to get unstuck with your thoughts, developing skills to help yourself manage difficult emotions and also help you be in the situations that you want to be in.

CBT is transparent and goal oriented; it’s not ambiguous and it focuses on the present and developing skills that help you get unstuck. It’s an active treatment, with homework and activities between session and session.

CBT is short-term, and it is a therapy that psychologists have monitored and showed that it statistically improves the lives of patients. CBT believes that it isn’t so much what happened to us through life, but it’s how we think about what’s happened to us in life. Not the life event itself, but my thoughts about it.

As a patient of depression and social anxiety I first came across the word CBT in a book called Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness” by Gillian Butler. Up until this day I didn’t know that there was something called social anxiety, I had it, but I didn’t know it had a name.

At the beginning of the book it gives us an overview of what CBT is:

“Over the past two or three decades, there has been something of a revolution in the field of psychological treatment. Freud and his followers had a major impact on the way in which psychological therapy was conceptualized, and psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy dominated the field for the first half of this century. So, long-term treatments were offered which were designed to uncover the childhood roots of personal problems – offered, that is, to those who could afford it. There was some attempt by a few health service practitioners with a public conscience to modify this form of treatment (by, for example, offering short-term treatment or group therapy), but the demand for help was so great that this had little impact. Also, whilst numerous case histories can be found of people who are convinced that psychotherapy did help them, practitioners of this form of therapy showed remarkably little interest in demonstrating that what they were offering their patients was, in fact, helpful.

As a reaction to the exclusivity of psychodynamic therapies and the slender evidence for its usefulness, in the 1950s and 1960s a set of techniques was developed, broadly collectively termed ‘behavior therapy’. These techniques shared two basic features. First, they aimed to remove symptoms (such as anxiety) by dealing with those symptoms themselves, rather than their deep seated underlying historical causes. Second, they were techniques, loosely related to what laboratory psychologists were finding out about the mechanisms of learning, which were formulated in testable terms. Indeed, practitioners of behavior therapy were committed to using techniques of proven value or, at worst, of a form which could potentially be put to the test. The area where these techniques proved of most value was in the treatment of anxiety disorders, especially specific phobias (such as fear of animals or heights) and agoraphobia, both notoriously difficult to treat using conventional psychotherapies.

After an initial flush of enthusiasm, discontent with behavior therapy grew. There were a number of reasons for this, an important one of which was the fact that behavior therapy did not deal with the internal thoughts which were so obviously central to the distress that patients were experiencing. In this context, the fact that behavior therapy proved so inadequate when it came to the treatment of depression highlighted the need for major revision. In the late 1960s and early 1970s a treatment was developed specifically for depression called ‘cognitive therapy’. The pioneer in this enterprise was an American psychiatrist, Professor Aaron T. Beck, who developed a theory of depression which emphasized the importance of people’s depressed styles of thinking, He also specified a new form of therapy. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Beck’s work has changed the nature of psychotherapy, not just for depression but for a range of psychological problems.

In recent years the cognitive techniques introduced by Beck have been merged with the techniques developed earlier by the behavior therapists to produce a body of theory and practice which has come to be known as ‘cognitive behavior therapy’. There are two main reasons why this form of treatment has come to be so important within the field of psychotherapy. First, cognitive therapy for depression, as originally described by Beck and developed by his successors, has been subjected to the strictest scientific testing; and it has been found to be a highly successful treatment for a significant proportion of cases of depression. Not only has it proved to be as effective as the best alternative treatments (except in the most severe cases, where medication is required), but some studies suggest that people treated successfully with cognitive behavior therapy are less likely to experience a later recurrence of their depression than people treated successfully with other forms of therapy (such as antidepressant medication). Second, it has become clear that specific patterns of thinking are associated with a range of psychological problems and that treatments which deal with these styles of thinking are highly effective. So, specific cognitive behavioral treatments have been developed for anxiety disorder, specific phobias and social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and hypochondriasis (health anxiety), as well as for other conditions such as compulsive gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, and eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Indeed, cognitive behavioral techniques have a wide application beyond the narrow categories of psychological disorders: they have been applied effectively, for example, to helping people with low self-esteem and those with marital difficulties.”

In A Conversation with Aaron T. Beck he describes the process with which he came to develop cognitive behavior therapy.

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تيل ليندمان

 تيل ليندمان المولود عام 1963 في الرابع من يناير، هو مغني وكاتب أغاني وملحن في فريق الميتال والهارد روك رامشتاين.

Buchmesse

ابتدأت في الاستماع الى رامشتاين في العام الماضي، كجزء من استمتاعي بموسيقى الميتال بشكل عام. لنفهم السبب في أن موسيقى رامشتاين مميزة جدا علينا أوّلا أن نفهم تعبير موسيقي وهو الريف.

Riff:

noun
a short repeated phrase in popular music and jazz, typically used as an introduction or refrain in a song.
“a brilliant guitar riff”
أي أنّه مقطع صغير مُعاد، أو مقطوعة موسيقية مُكرّرة.

تمتلك رامشتاين مجموعة من أكثر الريفات المميّزة والتي تعلق في ذهنك لأسابيع وأسابيع؛ حتّى بالمقارنة بفرق الميتال الأخرى فهم مُميّزون جدا.

Rammstein – Bück dich (Official Audio)

السبب الثاني لتميز رامشتاين هو الصورة التي يقدّمون نفسهم بها، فمن اشعال النيران في أعضاء الفريق على المسرح الى استعراض أدوات جنسية تسببت في دخولهم السجن في مرّة، لا يمكن أن تنسى فيديو كليب أو حفلة لرامشتاين:

Rammstein Bück Dich live explicit

كبير جدا
صغير جدا
الحجم يفرق على كل حال
كبير جدا
صغير جدا
يمكنه أن يكون أكبر قليلاً
مرسيدس بنز والأوتوبان
أسافر وحدي في البلد الغريب
الرحلة الرحلة، متعة السواقة
أريد أن أستمتع لا أن أقع في الحب
فقط قليلا…
مجرد عاهرة!
أنتِ تملكين مِهبلاً
أنا أملك قضيباً
فما المشكلة؟
فلنفعلها بسرعة
خذيني الآن قبل أن يفوت الوقت
الحياة قصيرة، لا يمكنني الانتظار
خذيني الآن، ألا ترين؟
لا يمكنني الحصول على الجنس في ألمانيا!
قصير جدا
طويل جدا
لا يهم، حجمٌ واحد يسع الكل
كبيرٌ جدا، صغيرٌ جدا
الحاجز عليه أن يُفتح!
أيتها المرأة الجميلة، أنتِ تريدين المزيد
بلتزكريج مع السلاح اللحميّ
الكحول في الرأس، أيتها العروس الجميل
ضعي السجق في المخلل الملفوف!

قد يعتقد المستمع أو المشاهد لرامشتاين للمرّة الأولى أنّها فرقة تسعى لاحداث الضجيج واصدار محتوى لا معنى له، وسيكون هذا الشخص أبعد ما يكون عن الحقيقة.

 خلف هذه الموسيقى الصاخبة والكلمات الصادمة والمشاهد العنيفة، رامشتاين هي احدى تلك الفرق، التي لا تخشى التساؤلات والموضوعات المهمة؛ تستخدم رامشتاين أسلوب الرمز والسخرية والتهكم والازدراء في كلماتهم وأدائهم، وهم قليلو الظهور جدّا في اللقاءات التلفزيونية، ويرفضون شرح المقصود من فنهم في هذه اللقاءات، ما يفتح الباب لجميع التفسيرات الظاهرية والمتعمقة للنص.

 

فمثلا نجد على موقع جينياس، الموقع المعني بشرح كلمات الأغاني، أن حتى معجبي رامشتاين المخلصين لم يجدوا مناصاً من الاختلاف في معنى أغنية “بوسي” أو مِهبَل، فرآها هذا بمعناها المباشر؛ أنّها تحتفي بالجنس، بينما قدم آخر تفسيراً أكثر عُمقاً بُناءً على الفيديو كليب؛ قائلاً فيما معناه: “… يستخدم تيل أسلوب التهكم، كما في أغنية “أمريكا” التي تبدو أنها مديح لأمريكا، بينما في الحقيقة هي ازدراء للنموذج الاقتصادي السام، مطاعم الفاست فود، وعمالة الأطفال في دول العالم الثالث.

في فيديو “بوسي” يصور نوادي التعري، الدعارة وصناعة البورن. وأيضاً يتضمن فتاة تُحضر الى غرفة الأوتيل في حقيبة سفر! فمن الواضح أن الأغنية تشير الى معاملة المرأة في صناعة الدعارة والأفلام الاباحية في ألمانيا. حتى أنا أرى هذا المعنى رغم أنّي أبعد ما أكون عن النسوية…. “

https://genius.com/Rammstein-pussy-lyrics

استخدام فرقة الميتال الألمانية رامشتاين للغتهم الأم في أغلب أغانيهم يجعل للاستماع لأغانيهم متعة أكبر، فالألمانية لغة عنيفة الملافظ، بالنسبة لغير المتحدث بها. وهي تليق جدّا بموسيقى الميتال الصاخبة.

Rammstein – Rosenrot (Official Video)

رأت فتاةً وردة صغيرة
أزهرت هناك في مرتفعات مضيئة
سألت حبيبها
اذا كان يمكنه أن يحضرها لها
هي تريدها وهذا حسن
هكذا كان وهكذا دائما سيكون
هي تريدها وهذا هو العُرف
أيّما أرادت أُعطيت
آبارٌ عميقة يجب أن تُحفَر
اذا أردت ماءً نقيا
حمراء-وردة .. آهٍ حمراء-وردة
الماء العميق لا يجري بهدوء
يصعد الفتى الجبل في عذاب
هو لا يهتمُ حقّا بالمشهد
فقط الوردة الصغيرة في عقله
يحضرها الى حبيبته
هي تريدها وهذا حسن
هكذا كان وهكذا دائما سيكون
هي تريدها وهذا هو العُرف
أيّما أرادت أُعطيت
آبارٌ عميقة يجب أن تُحفَر
اذا أردت ماءً نقيا
حمراء-وردة .. آهٍ حمراء-وردة
الماء العميق لا يجري بهدوء
عند جزمته، ينكسر حجرا
لا يريد أن يكون على الحافة مزيداً من الوقت
وصرخةٌ تُعلمُ الجميع
أن الاثنين يسقطان الى الأرض
هي تريدها وهذا حسن
هكذا كان وهكذا دائما سيكون
هي تريدها وهذا هو العُرف
أيّما أرادت أُعطيت
آبارٌ عميقة يجب أن تُحفَر
اذا أردت ماءً نقيا
حمراء-وردة .. آهٍ حمراء-وردة
الماء العميق لا يجري بهدوء
* * *
روزِن-روت أو حمراء-وردة هي أول أغنية أسمعها لرامشتاين .. الفيديو مثير للغاية، والموسيقى شديدة الغموض والظلامية، روزِن-روت  هي أغنية من ألبوم رامشتاين الخامس من عام 2005 المُعنوَن بنفس الاسم، تتكلم الأغنية عن الأفعال العبثية التي يقوم بها الناس باسم الحب، والتي قد تنتهي بالموت!
   الأغنية مقتبسة من قصيدة جوته المسماة “وردة صغيرة في الحقل” أو هيدِنـروزلين منشورة عام 1799 وتم تحويلها الى معزوفة.

Heidenröslein

Rammstein – Amerika (Official Video)

يُمكننا الكلام لساعات عن رامشتاين.. فهم بحرٌ واسع.. وأتمنّى أن أكون قد شددتك قليلاً للخوض في غمار هذه التجربة الموسيقية الشديدة.

I just love University life! (Small journal)

Second day at college; I’m remembering myself 11 years ago when I was just 17 straight outta high school, at my first year at Engineering school. I feel blessed that after 11 years I’m experiencing the same emotions and vibes again. Having the opportunity for higher education is a blessing that I should be thankful about, a lot of people around the world don’t get that chance. Being in an educational environment stimulates your brain and gets you all excited about learning new things. Being a student is very fun, especially if you’re both interested and good at the subjects.

As I sayed before I’m studying translation. Today I had two lectures, one is ‘Reading’ (English) and the other is ‘Arabic Grammar’. I’m very good at both so I was excited about the lectures. I even raised my hands a couple of times to answer some questions and that gave me a boost of confidence.

I never imagined myself as someone who would be interested in humanistic studies. Back in high school I thought I was all about the Math and the Science. Now I’m back to school a different person, very excited about humanities and social sciences.

I guess this field of translation would feed both my hunger to knowledge and my love for the English language.

I stayed in England for 6 years in my early childhood and it was the best childhood one can have, I have a great respect for the west and western nations, I love Europe and North America, so being able to study in English is a blessing for me.

Hopefully this semester would turn out to be a good one. I’m grateful anyway to be able to be back to school again.

Till we meet again, dear journal!

~ M.

10 Years Today

10 years ago I was this 18 year old kid, at his second year at college studying Engineering.

My first year went well, and I decided to specialize in Mechatronics.

I was so excited for this relatively new specialisation, I’d become an Engineer like my father who has a Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering from a British university and my uncle who is a Mechanical Engineer working in Canada.

I was very good at Maths and Physics and I always thought I’d become an Engineer. I had no knowledge or interest at the time in the social sciences or philosophy. I was all about the Maths and the Physics.

I lived in a city called Tenth of Ramadan City which is an industrial city near Cairo. It is 437.9 km away from my hometown. I lived in a dorm where I made so many good friends and went a technological institute there.

Hossam Nada Photography

I was happy, away from my small, boring hometown, living a new adventure. I was optimistic about the future. And living in a city northern Egypt gave me the chance to meet people from all over the country (Suez, Al Sharqia, Mansoura, Alexandria, Cairo, Menofia, Port Said, Sohag, Al Gharbia and other places). It also gave me the chance to hang out in Cairo (the capital city) every now and then.

It was my first time living on my own away from home, I was getting good grades, making new friends at the dorm and at college, and things were just going great.

But in the dark, an old friend of mine was slowly creeping on me. I never really knew his name, but I’ve felt his presence since I was 11 years old; his name was depression.

It was with me since my teenage years, but this year, the second year at college, it took a toll on me. And I started 10 years in hell.

I don’t know the reason I’m depressed or why in this specific time did it become crippling, all I know is that I have it for some reason or another.

Depression is a chronic illness that might keep recurring for your entire life, for me, it never even goes away.

I’m remembering that to remind myself of how far I’ve come, and how much I had to bare with.

I’m a hero for being alive, a hero for being back to school, and a hero for being open about my mental illness.

All I want to say is that hope is there. I might write about this period of my life someday, but I’m not ready now.

If you are suffering from mental illness, I’m living proof that it is possible to survive. I know all about being in the darkest of places in your mind.

Let’s reach out today and keep pushing forward.

Let’s end the stigma and keep fighting.

Being a person with mental illness is being a hero ❤

Thank you for reading.

~ M.

I want to stop oversleeping

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One of the potential symptoms of depression is oversleeping. While many people with depression report insomnia, about 15% suffer with oversleeping.

People with long sleep durations are more likely to have persistent depression or anxiety symptoms.

Some research shows that irregularities in the body’s sleep clock may play a role in depressive symptoms, and returning sleep to a healthy pattern is often a focus of treatment.

People with major depression, also known as clinical depression, show disrupted circadian rhythms across brain regions.

Research also links longer sleep habits with:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased inflammation
  • Increased pain
  • Impaired fertility
  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Higher risk of stroke
  • Higher all-cause mortality

According to the National Sleep Foundation we need 7 – 9 hours of sleep in a 24 hour cycle.

How to prevent oversleeping:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight upon awakening. Consider leaving the drapes or blinds open at night. That morning sunlight will help you to wake up.
  • Avoid excessive naps especially after 4 PM. These may make it more difficult to fall asleep and result in oversleeping. The same goes for excessive caffeine and blue light exposure close to bedtime.
  • Determine your wake time, based on your schedule.
  • Get up at the same time everyday, including weekends.
  • Put your alarm clock across the room. When it rings, get up.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night, within about 1/2 hour range.
  • Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of rising. People who eat breakfast are more likely to wake with energy and habitually eating breakfast increases metabolism (and promotes better sleep at night).
  • Drift off to sleep thinking of something – even small – that you’re looking forward to the next day.
  • Get consistent sunlight.

Continue reading “I want to stop oversleeping”

Reminders for a socially anxious mind

  • Remember that people are mostly centred around themselves, they each have their own insecurities about how they look and how they act, and they all have their own lives with all the problems and drama that come with them. So they are not that focused on you.
  • Each and everyone of those people probably has some degree of social anxieties. They fear humiliation and making fools out of themselves, and they fear not being accepted just like you.
  • Don’t ever call yourself awkward or weird or an outcast, you are a human being and you are worthy of respect and acceptance, and you are part of the larger society.
  • Complete this sentence and try to generate as many answers as possible: “I need to accept myself; because….”
  • Complete this sentence and try to generate as many answers as possible: “I need to stop comparing myself to others; because….”
  • When you’re talking to someone and your mind wanders remind yourself that they are probably focused on their own business and not judging you in their minds and return to your focus again.
  • Gradually expose yourself to your fears; if you are afraid of beautiful girls, instead of avoiding them when they are in your way try staying where you are for a minute or two, it’s okay, keep taking action.
  • Imagine if someone else was in your place, would you think they were awkward? What would they be doing if they are in your same situation?
  • Every person has his or her way of communicating, it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to be special, you don’t need to conform to deserve acceptance and respect.
  • Notice and be mindful of unhelpful thoughts, if you’re thinking “they must all hate me and think I’m a loser”, be aware that this is just a thought, not reality. They are probably thinking a thousand different things.
  • Be compassionate to others. Try to see them with an eye of love not fear.
  • Be compassionate with yourself and practice self love.

Illustration courtesy of Rachel Idzerda

I need to accept myself; because I deserve acceptance and love.

I need to accept myself to stop resisting my life situation and start working with it.

I need to accept myself; because that is the first step towards healing.

I need to stop comparing myself to others; because I’m hurting myself.

I need to stop comparing myself to others; because it’s an unhelpful thought.

I need to stop comparing myself to others; because it’s causing me depression.


With love ~ M

My first lecture at the translation program.. It went well! :)

Today is my first day at college. I wake up at 7:30, I feel so sleepy and wish to go back to bed. I consider to continue sleeping and skip the lecture, my anxious mind starts working, it’s telling me that I can’t commit to another four years at college, maybe it was a bad idea, “You’re too old!”, my mind tells me.

After going back and forth with my mind I finally take a brave step and decide to go. Whatever happens, I will show up! In the end, it’s all about showing up and taking action.

I wash my face quickly and brush my teeth, put whatever cloths that I find in my face on. There’s no time, the lecture begins at 8:00 AM. I walk out the door and go down the stairs, grab a taxi and go to college, it’s nice that I live in a small town, college is a 10 minute drive from home.

I arrive at college and I tell the security that I’m with the translation program. I haven’t received an ID, yet. I search for Hall 20, I ask a couple of students standing and they point at the lecture hall: “It’s right there, take a right!”, they tell me.

I find a girl drinking coffee, I remember that I haven’t had coffee this morning, I make sure that the professor hadn’t arrived, yet, and I go to the cafeteria to grab a cup of coffee. “One Coffee-Mix, please!”, I ask the guy. “Yes, sir, how many spoons of sugar?”, “Three, please!”, I answer. “Seven pounds!”, he tells me while handing me the cup. I pay him and thank him.

I go back to stand in front of the lecture hall, there’re all these beautiful young women standing in front of it. My social anxiety kicks in and tells me they are staring at me, of course they weren’t, it’s just a negative automatic thought. I feel socially anxious and take my cup of coffee and drink it away from the rest of the group, but with my eyes on the lecture hall.

The professor shows up, all the students get in except me. I continue drinking my coffee and get really anxious when it’s time to enter the lecture room. “Oh my God! I’m so old! I look awkward!”, I tell myself. I take a breath, and take the step: I enter the room.

I walk to the back of the room, in the front the girls were setting, and in the last two rows the boys were setting. I go to the last row with some eyes looking at me checking out the new student in class. “It’s okay.”, I tell myself, “we’re still in the beginning of the semester and students are changing groups, so it’s expected that new students would show up.”

I set down, and the professor asks us to work in couples, I set next to the guy near me on the bench and he welcomes me and lets me look in his papers. The class is vocabulary building class, we open the papers and start doing some exercises. I start reading and answering with my new colleague. We finish the exercises together and the professor starts asking us to raise our hands so that we would do the exercises together.

At first my social anxiety is high, “Can I participate?”, I ask myself. After hesitating for about 10 or 20 minutes I finally raise my hand. I answer two questions correctly. I feel good about myself; first because I broke my fear of speaking in the presence of others, and secondly because I answered correctly.

The lecture finally ends, I ask a colleague to make me a copy of the papers they are using for the exercises, he promises me to bring it next Sunday, “It will cost 50 pounds”, he says, “but don’t worry about the money now.”, I thank him and give him only 40 pounds because that’s all I had on me, he tells me that it’s not necessary, and that he doesn’t worry about the money, but I insist.

I go out, and a rush of dopamine hits me; “I made it!”, I went to my first lecture, in spite of my mind telling me otherwise.

I feel proud, decide to complete with group “D” since they look friendly, and walk back home.

On my way I grab a cigarette, and light it as a way of celebrating my victory. Today is my first day in my new phase of my life as a translator.

I reach home quickly and climb the stairs, and here I am writing this.

It was a good beginning of a good year, hopefully! 🙂

~ M

Words to myself (positive self-talk)

With depression our minds tend to send us negative messages about ourselves.

Here I’ll try to write a love letter to myself, I will try to learn how to love myself.

Dear M,

Thank you for baring with me through the hard years. Thank you for being with me through the years I spent in bed crippled by the depression. You are beautiful and brave. I’m sorry for all the harsh things I said to you. You are not a loser, you are courageous and trying your best to get better ❤

Thank you for all the time you spent reading about Psychology and seeking help from therapists. Thank you for being brave and not giving in to the stigma of mental illness. Thank you for being honest and open about your mental illness with your friends and family ❤

Thank you for facing your fears and joining volunteer work, although the social anxiety told you not to do it. Thank you for being able to get a university degree with all the trouble you had at home and in your relationships ❤

You are loved and cherished, I believe in you, you are smart, capable and special ❤

With love ~ M


Positive self-talk can be a powerful tool in dealing with depression, try it yourself, write yourself a love letter today and every day start by reading it out loud. It’s not silly, it’s you and you deserve love from yourself 🌺

Do men have to be strong all the time?

In the movies they portray the standard male as being all macho and masculine, all confident and assertive, and probably a lot of women believe that this is how a man should be.

But I beg to differ; I don’t believe in a standard role for each gender, I don’t believe that there’s a one-fits-all stereotype for how femininity or masculinity should look like.

The masculine image in the cinema doesn’t have a problem with a man being an a**-hole to others, cursing and being dominant, taking matters in his own hands. I don’t believe that this is always a good thing. It portrays aggression as the core definition of manhood.

I’m a man and I tell you we come in all shapes and sizes, we are different just as fingerprints, it’s okay to be a quiet man, it’s okay to be sensitive and gentle, it’s okay to have your weaknesses, insecurities and imperfections.

Nothing is cool about a violent man, nothing is cool about a man cat-calling every single woman he meets on the street.

I just wanted to say that because I get confused by girls who like and approve of this stereotype, then they complain about their men being abusive and controlling! 🤷‍♂️

Being brave is not being afraid to talk about your feelings, being courageous could mean not being afraid to face your mental and psychological problems.

Men feel, men cry, men feel lonely, men are just human.

How about we advocate for a new image; the man that tells the truth, the man who emphasizes with others, the man who’s humble, the man who doesn’t curse and talk about sex all the time.

Let’s allow ourselves to feel what’s there to be felt, to own our weaknesses and imperfections, let’s make this earth a better place for men, and women too.

I hope I was able to get my thoughts across.