Shattered Illusions-How Mental Health Affects our Families

Shattered Illusions-How Mental Health Affects our Families

When I was younger, I never thought that we would be a family with people who suffer from mental disorders. We were always laughing, joking around and having a good time. We would argue and fight like any other family and we were very high accomplishing people. Everyone thought we were the perfect family, and at times, so did I.
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I was wrong, as was everyone else. There is no such thing as the perfect family. There are good days, and there are bad days, but recently our bad days have been increasing. A few years ago, we found out that Ahmad, my brother, had depression, PTSD, body dysmorphia, suicidality and 2 more I can’t even remember. Our perfect world shattered, and I thought we couldn’t be as strong as before.

I was wrong, again, after he became more aware of his the mental health and became a Peer Support Specialist. We saw the changes in him, and those changes became a part of the entire family. We started asking about each other more, trying to support in a proper way, and stopped perceiving mental disorders as weakness. It took time, but I must say, we have all changed, we have all grown!

Once I saw the great effects of mental health on our family and how lack of knowledge almost destroyed us, I wanted to spread this awareness in the Jordanian community, so I started organizing events when Ahmad would come to Jordan. A group of the students who attended the events from my university told me they wanted to help, and supported me to reach for something higher than just random events, so together we started a mental health awareness campaign called “Can We Talk?”. 

I was amazed by the energy they had, and in each event we had more students coming and asking to join our team! My heart would soar every time I heard the words of: “I want to help, can I join your team?” 

Now with over 20 organizing members, we have held 4 great events since March and are still getting started! Our campaign will go on until September and I am so excited to see the amazing things that we will accomplish together. This is just one example of how Life in My Days has been helping start conversations, even here in Jordan. 

I just want to say thank you, thank you  Esraa’ Abdo, Haya Karameh, Mohammad Dqour, Anas Mourad, Wahib Zehlawi, Yahia Ameen, Salameh Habashneh, Hanin Saleh, Wasan Al-Sharieh, Aya Shatii, Arwa Alsultani, Sarah Alhadid, Sarah Alrafaiah, Yasmeen mansour, Asma’ Kilani, Bayan Nidal, Laith Shlash and Faris Shammas for believing in me when I was doubtful, for supporting me to keep giving and making this campaign work and to making this campaign a primary part of my life. You are not just a team for me, you all are so much more!

And of course the one who I want to thank the most is my brother, Ahmad, for showing me the strength he has, despite all the mental illnesses he had and is still living with. For giving me the opportunity of becoming a Board Member of the Life in my Days family and to always helping me grow more and more.

Last but not least, thank you Nada Abojaradeh for helping me design the posters and putting up with me annoying you all the time!

We are just getting started so be prepared to see everything we have up our sleeves in the next couple of months! Prepare to be amazed!!!

Do you have someone with mental health illness in your family? Maybe even yourself? How does this effect the family? Join the discussion in the comments, below.

Ala Abojaradeh is a second year medical student and an active member in the International Federation Medical Students Association. She hopes to one day be a doctor that truly represents humanity, treating people as humans before they are patients

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