“3aib” – stigmatizing mental illness.

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So I was out with a friend last Sunday night and I was struck by the intensity of our conversation. What started out as a long deep talk, turned into what he called an “Exorcism”.

No, we went really deep. We both seemed to open up about things that were never even heard by our own ears. It seemed like we both had a lot to say about our individual thoughts that had been kept bottled up for quite some time.

And that got me thinking: why is therapy still stigmatized? In a society that has grown drastically on a social and mental level, out mental well-being is still a topic that must be brushed under the carpet.

But how is that any different from going to see a GP? Why are we as a society of Arabs made to feel guilty and self-loathing for matters beyond our control? In simpler terms, why is it bad to seek help?

I don’t like the term “mental illness”, I’d rather call it an obstacle or a blockage. Some obstacles are bigger than others but as human beings with brains and intuition, we surely have the standard toolbox necessary to deal with them:

 

Communication.

 

We don’t realize just how simple it is to deal with such tumultuous problems. It’s easier said than done but I believe that that is the hardest part. It might get more difficult before it gets much easier, but don’t you think that it’ll be all worth it in the long-run?

All these social restrictions of keeping everything in and not displaying how you truly feel and think about certain areas in your life and the world that surrounds you only adds more stress to you that we our society has turned to alternative methods deemed unhealthy for the human psyche to deal with their internal struggles.

If you feel like going to a therapist, don’t let social stigma stop you. You have an innate right to take care of yourself feeling sorry for yourself is not going to do it.

 

You’ll thank yourself 5 years from now.

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Lunatic

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I’m a lunatic in all its senses- I’m insane, and I’m obsessed with the moon

The moon is everywhere- the skyscrapers of cities, the reflection of rivers, and the eyes of beasts in jungles. It changes every single day, and it is with those phases that our dear Luna exudes its eternally shifting energies into our lives.

Think about it: our cells are made up of water, our bodies 70% of water; so if the moon can affect the high and low of the tides of the seas, why can’t it affect the tides of our minds and hearts?

It is socially ever-changing. When we were kids, we would think of cheese. As we grew older, we started using it as a metaphor for the one we love. In religion, it is a miracle. In science, it is an unapologetic force.

To me, it’s just pretty damn awesome.

If I had a superpower…

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If you asked me what superpower I’d want to have, it would be flying. A bit like Mary Poppins, probably not as flamboyant.

No more weekend getaways to Rome or London (which are literally a couple of hours away from Malta).

I won’t hear the ringing of church bells banging in my head every hour or so.

No more sleepless nights caused by hunger, and getting up from my bed to go to the kitchen, only to find it devoid of anything edible. During those nights, at around 1AM, I’d head down the hill towards the marina where a Turkish restaurant stayed open until 3:30AM every single day. Yes, I know the image in your head looks compelling, but trust me, it’s not that glamorous.

But honestly, I just miss the independence and liberty one feels from having their own place to sleep in.

I miss the lightness and intensity at the same time.

I miss being a gypsy.

Locomotion

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ImageIt’s a really cool thing actually. Whenever you get bored or wired from someplace you’ve been staying at for a while, you have somewhere else you can return to anytime you wanted.

I’m not talking about your home and your friend’s house. Nah, I mean between countries.

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Everything changes. Food, people, religion, language, what makes you go “yum”, how sunny it is, and whether you have to walk or borrow your mom’s car. You get the best of both worlds when you live on two different continents. These two countries are Kuwait (where I belong) and Malta (where I live). The anticipation shared between the Kuwaitis in Malta as Christmas approaches can’t be described without exaggerating how much we miss our Kuwaiti food. While we do enjoy our Maltese Pastizzis and Spaghetti Bolognese when we’re abroad, hands down there is NOTHING that can beat a good plate of Machboos (spiced rice and chicken) Murabyan (shrimps the Kuwaiti way) and the oh so guilty pleasure of a few Gaimat (sweet round dumplings). And here I am, back home, typing out this blog post and literally surrounded by all these pleasures of life.

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But then again, we spend at least 2/3 of our life in little Malta, so we do miss our tiny lovely island! The thing with Malta is that there is so much to do, yet it’s not well advertised. If you love adventure, then Malta in the summer is for you. There’s scuba-diving, skydiving, abseiling, rock-climbing, surfing, parachuting, horse-riding, shooting, and of course- the sea! I bet you won’t find any sea that is bluer, cleaner and makes you really want to have a quick swim in than the Blue Lagoon in Comino.

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I think I have the best of both worlds, by having amazing friends on both sides of the world, by doing lots of activities in Malta other than my course (forgot to mention, I study there!), be able to travel easily since we have a strategic spot in Europe, and go back home to K-Town for a change to get our chores off our backs, relax, hang out with our buddies and exchange funny, and sometimes inappropriate, stories over a cup of Karak.

I’m glad I study abroad!

Viva Kuwait!

Viva Malta!