Sorry I took a hiatus

Salaam everyone! How are you all doing?

I apologize I took a bit of a hiatus, and to be honest, I may be taking another one because I am starting my 1-yr Master’s program!! I am beyond excited. I am taking classes like Medical Neuroscience, and another one studying neuronal development/ development of the nervous system. Subhanallah, I really am praying that this will be good for me, but something about it… I just feel in my bones that it is going to be useful no matter what I go into in the future. Just understanding how the brain works and what we know so far… well that can really take you places. Also, the world we are living in today, the brain is the one structure of our body that we barely understand still. It is an immensely large, and complex structure that I only hope in my lifetime we can begin to make progress in. With that said, it makes it helpful in the sense that I am getting a head start on some unknown territory, so I can be one of the experts in the future, which essentially makes me an asset. Yayyy! Haha anyways, I am planning to post my therapy session notes again with yall on Monday, but just thought I would get on here to explain myself.

To all of you today, I just want to leave you with some thoughts though to help you through your day. Whoever you are, wherever you are, Be kind to yourself. I am proud of you. You are here, and that’s enough for right now. Don’t beat yourself up about something you did or didn’t do. Its in the past, and right now, I want you to celebrate your wins. I want you to remember to love yourself. I don’t care how cheesy it is because it is important. Your feelings, your mental health, is IMPORTANT. And You. Matter. ❤

The Gift of Giving: An idea

I really love the action idea of this post especially. I believe the last part of the sentence, Omar Suleiman is beautifully recognizing the Palestinian people and their severely difficult plight. He is reminding us not to forget. Because this is an issue we all need to continue to stand up for until the oppressors back down.

However, I think an additional take away from the activity idea in this post, is to remember that our celebration (Eid-ul-Adha) is about giving, and in reality that is truly what makes us happy; when we are there for each other and others are there for us. The activity reminds us to be giving instead of greedy. It reminds us that we should appreciate God for what He has given us, and simultaneously recognize that anything we have in this world is not truly ours, rather it is an amana (a trust) from Allah. It is all Allah’s money and we are simply travelers, trading it around.

So in that sense, would it not make sense for a servant to share Allah’s money with the rest of His creation? Especially when we were fortunate enough to be born in the place and state that we were born in?…While we could very well have been born as the poor orphan refugee who was separated from his mother at the border, or we could’ve been the young girl carrying 2 tons of water on her head in a valley because her village cannot afford to build running water systems.

Giving is a reminder that whatever we have, we did not obtain it simply by our own efforts. It is a combination of efforts but also Allah (swt)’s mercy and generosity that we arrive at where we are. Also, being able to humble yourself before The One Allah (swt) is so pleasing to Him, it makes Him happy to see an obedient servant, and in the end He ends up giving us more! So it is kind of a win-win situation if you think about it.

In fact, the very act of Prophet Ibrahim (as) thousands of years ago, was an act of service and sacrifice for his one and only Allah. He was willing to go as far as to give up his precious child for Allah because he recognized that even this child could not have been conceived or brought to life without the help of Allah (swt). He recognized how important, precious, and what a life line Allah swt was to his life, and he showed that in the most apparent way possible.

So in the same way, we want to teach our children to give, always give. Giving never decreases wealth. Live in this world as a traveler who knows that anything he/she has in this world will not go with him to the grave, except for the deeds he’s done, the hearts he has touched, and the sadaqal jariyah he/she has given.

I hope you find this to be both a beautiful reflection and a beautiful idea inshallah. Jazakallah to my brother and sister Omar Suleiman, and “@huumiiii” for sharing and allowing me to see this, alhamdulillah!

Mental Health: A poem

Ok, I have to admit, I am not normally this brooding. But a session with my therapist today, paired with my monthly hormonal rollercoaster of emotions (girls, you know what I am talking about), led me to discuss some feelings I have, and have had in the past, about me taking medication. There was crying involved. But we got through the session and now I’m here.

In looking back, I realized I went through a crazy loop of feelings (like the ones down below) for a long time before I finally felt like I was starting to climb out of the well of my mental health journey. “Finally” referring to only 1 year ago, which in the grand scheme of having MDD for 14+ years, is relatively recent. Only now do I feel like I can explain it to people, and have a minor grasp of it myself so I can share and teach it to others. However before that, I was in the dark a lot. I was so confused and unable to seek guidance from anyone because none of us understood it! Neither in science, nor in society, and most definitely not my very Indian family. So to put a long story short, apologies for the brooding of the poem, but give it a read. Maybe it can be enlightening in some odd sort of way.


Alone.

In a well.

Capable of seeing the sky but unable to touch the clouds.


The illness of the brain, its a silent sort of pain.

Like the way weeds gingerly dry out a flower bed, while none is the wiser.

Or the way a dying sun is masked by a cloudy day.

Its still happening. Its still painful. Its still there…


Its lingering. Reckless. And messing with my head.

Making me think I’m weak for not “getting over it.”

Convincing me there’s something wrong with me.

Constantly causing me to wonder if other people can see it.

Can you see it? Can you see the “crazy” in me? Am I hiding it well?


I’m told its mostly attributed to trauma.

That the way I look at others and am constantly aware of others’ feelings and comforts,

its not a trait of compassion but rather a result of trauma,

From constantly being told not to cry,

Constantly having the rug pulled from under me with no stable rock to hold onto,

nor any idea of when it might come. Or when it might end.

So? I’m on constant alert, 24/7, walls up.

Guards up…Trust down.



Constantly. Constantly, constantly, constantly.

What good is the word for anyway except to emphasize the incident and make it sound worse.

“Constantly catastrophizing” she told me.

Don’t use words like “always”, or “never.”

“Its too dramatic.” she says.


Well, I can’t argue with that.

I am in fact writing a poem right now and I can’t think of anything more dramatic.

But in the context of “dramatic,” I encourage you to look at the word a little differently.

Change dramatic for empathetic.

Now what’s it look like?


Imagine that you’re in her shoes.

The girl dealing with an illness she doesn’t understand and neither does anyone else.

A lab rat to the medications that have no promise of success

Except through trial and error.

Trying to explain it to other’s while trying to understand it herself.


Imagine for however many times a day you think to yourself:

“Why is she so lazy?”

how many more times must she be wondering the same thing,

And yet feel like she has no control in fixing it the way you can do so easily.


Mental health.

The thoughts of the mind.

It’s not a shared experience.

So? You have to believe…


Believe! Believe her when she says “constant”

and imagine it being constant.

Believe her when she says “physical pain!”

and imagine the physical pain.


Put on a shoe that doesn’t fit,

and wonder how far she must’ve walked in it,

In the discomfort.

How must it feel to not be able to identify the problem,

And still yet, instead be wrongly identified as the problem itself by others.


All I ask is for empathy.

For a little bit of empathy.

To recognize that while you may be able to touch the sky

Some other’s cannot.


While you are making strides on pedestals in the clouds

Some others are:

“Alone.

At the bottom of a well.

Capable of seeing the sky, but unable to touch the clouds.”


~Sakeenah Tahir (The Warrior Within)

Daily Journals from my 2018 DC Trip (with Lena)

June 30th, 2018- Day 1 of Trip

Today we saw the most beautiful indescribable hills as we drove through Pennsylvania. It just left me at a loss for words. The mountains kept climbing higher and higher, and wherever we looked it was covered with lush green trees. In some instances we were on a bridge and the trees grew up, beyond the bridge. Additionally, as we drove up and through the mountains, there would be graded rocks on either side of the road. They were every shade and color- from orangey red to beige to even purple, like a plum maroon color. It was so beautiful Subhanallah, Allahuakbar, May Allah (swt) continue to spread peace and beauty, Ameen. The rest of the day was spent driving until we arrived in DC. I forgot to mention that we spent about 15 minutes taking photos for Henry’s Instagram. It honestly works though because he likes good photos and being in them for his Instagram account. Meanwhile, I like taking the photos and being behind the camera. I like to be able to direct the person in the photo in order to make it the best photo, and to capture the most amount of beauty in one photo.

  • A note on this:
    • As I read the last portion of this note I realize the slight sarcastic or sassy remark with which I describe taking photos for my brother. In all honesty though, instead of focusing on the fact that I might’ve been a teensy tiny bit annoyed of taking my brother’s photos, the reality is that I had fun! Who knows though, maybe things are just rosier the longer time passes. I am thankful to note that the Sakeenah from today is hopefully far less judgemental of her brother and what he does compared to the Sakeenah of 2018. I think I had not let go of the fact that my brother was growing into his own person, and that version was not necessarily going to be someone I agreed with on everything. But learning to respect who he is, Exactly as he is, without the desire to want to change him, was a lesson that brought me so much more relief, and a lesson worth learning.

July 2nd, 2018- Day 3 of Trip

Today’s morning was filled with a peaceful calm that comes with a full house, good food, and beautiful sunlight. Lena read a book on the newly made takhat (that Azlan uncle made), the elders told us stories about India. I played with the cats and they are so adorable and bring so much joy. I went out with Dan uncle, Amir mamoo, and Henry, just to the local pharmacy, but it was nice to get out of the house. All 4 of us along with Lena then played an intense game of “Overcooked.” I felt a little ignored every now then as I was teased a little but it was such a petty thing. Tbh I don’t know how to react when people make fun of you. Do you get defensive and argue back? Do you just accept it? Do you laugh it off? At this point, I just awkwardly say sorry and then the person feels bad. I know the best way is to come up with some snyde, witty remark or retort to give back but I just cannot think of anything.

If anything, my verbage/ use of language is much more flowery than it is quick-witted. Anyways, I have dedicated too much space to a petty thing such as this.

Next, we all went to the boardwalk/National Harbor. The views were breathtaking! I think “the capital wheel” is the tallest ferris wheel I’ve ever been on! It was wonderful. (I remember this. We were standing in the summer heat of the night, and when we went up in the Ferris Wheel we could see all of DC before us, glittering in the glory of highway lights and head lights.) We also ate at a seafood place where I got to hear about Lena’s dorming situation and connect. We got ice cream and took photos.

  • What I can’t forget:
    • The look of the street lights on the water and how they glimmered and shined upon the black moving surface (aka the water lol).

July 7th, 2018- Saturday, Trip Back Home

Today we are on our way back from the D.C. trip. Alhamdulillah, Allah swt truly never deprives us because He really put barakah in this trip. Everyone got along, we felt closer to each other, and most importantly, I feel like I got closer to Allah (swt) from it. (Excuse the handwriting, I am in a car). My “Sophia” auntie, I noticed, is very punctual with her prayers, subhanallah. Not just fajr, but every salah she makes sure to make it a priority, and she never misses fajr from what I can see. May Allah (swt) continue to put barakah in her salah. Ameen.

Anywho, seeing that made me realize, I want need to get better at making my salah a priority. I think another reason her salah is so well (I would now have replaced this word with “impeccable”)is because of how good she is to her parents. She serves them and is obedient and I see how Azlan uncle gives his duas for her. So I want to make my salah a priority and treat my parents (BOTH) with the utmost respect and obedience. I realize it will be hard because of my ego, but no victory came about without a fight. So I will give it my best and inshallah, Allah (swt) can help me with the rest.

I later made a little diagram that I called the OPP Project (face palm lol you adorable little 21 year old Sakeenah you) in order to be more patient and obedient to my parents. I will save myself from the mild embarrassment of having to write out the little diagram and just the project in general LOL. But I thought in the spirit of honoring authenticity and preservation, I should at least mention that I wrote it. Mention my embarrassing little thoughts, alas.

7/7/2018- Saturday, Trip Back Home (A Separate Post)

Today I saw a beautiful valley with homes and these large, overpowering, and tall hills/mountains surrounding the valley. The mountains were blanketed with trees and the background was a clear blue sky. Allahuakbar, subhanallah, how glorious is Allah (swt).

The End. 🙂

————————————

It’s interesting reading this 3 years later and looking at my thought patterns. If I’m being honest, I wish I could say I have “changed soo much” 3 years later, but unfortunately I think I am still the same. Some people say its a sign of a soft heart but on the other side it could just be a sign of weakness- (that I don’t know how to return with a sassy remark when people try to make fun of me.) And then other times its not either of those and I’m just super sensitive.

As I reflect now though, I can say, it is difficult for someone who has been gas-lighted by her father all her life to discern when I am just “being too sensitive” or when the anger and hurt that I am feeling is worthy and validated, or aka not too petty.

Of course, I’m told by my therapist that your feelings can never be invalidated so that’s a whole ‘nother story.

In either case, I wanted to record this to remember the DC trip. Plus I liked a lot of the wording I used to described the landscapes of Pennsylvania in these pieces. I hope you can enjoy whatever wisdom (or lack thereof) my 21 year old self could share! 🙂

Below are a few photos from the trip. In looking over them I realized I forgot a lot! Like the seafood place for Amir’s birthday, and the boat trip with Nani and Nanaba, and the restaurant at the business park where I first tried Poke at, and it was delicious.

The Dignity of the Elderly

"When I get older and have my own house, I want to organize little baskets under each sink that have- feminine products, baby diapers, as well as elderly diapers in every bathroom in my house. This is so that if anyone has an accident or should need something for whatever reason, they can easily help themselves without compromising their dignity."

As my grandfather gets older, I am repeatedly reminded of how lucky I am to be working in an ER that frequently sees patients his age. Every day I see at least a dozen elderly patients in their 60s, 70s, or 80s that come in for various reasons. Diabetes ulcer sores, bed sores, a trip and fall in their driveway, leg swelling, possible CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) due to leg swelling, rheumatoid arthritis, heart attack, End Stage Renal Disease, and the list goes on.

You may be wondering how on earth this may be a blessing other than to be reminded of how much it seems to suck to age, however I see it as a blessing in that I get to see the perspective of the elderly from multiple people’s perspectives. My grandfather is an Indian immigrant and he rarely shares personal stuff with anyone in his family and neither does my grandmother. But what they cannot or do not share with me, I am able to receive from some of our patients.

For instance, I never realized how truly painful rheumatoid arthritis was until I saw patients in the ER who would come in due to severe, throbbing pain in their left hand due to rheumatoid arthritis. The patient had been diagnosed only a few months prior and yet she was in so much pain. She described how difficult it was to do literally anything with her left hand. I remember standing there and realizing that my Nani (maternal grandmother) was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis over 8 or 9 years ago! And to make matters worse, my Nani’s arthritis spreads throughout all 4 extremities- both her hands, her legs, her elbows, her knees, etc, etc.

I honestly felt so terrible that my Nani had been going through this pain for so long and never once said anything. She would say “Allah!” every now and then when she would bend down to pick something up, but my family and I never thought much of it. Until now, when I suddenly realized what rheumatoid arthritis really meant. After that, I vowed to help my Nani as much as I could. Whenever there is a point in time that I can prevent her from having to pick up things or move her joints, I try my best to help out. So in this way, the job is blessing.

I am also able to see many of the common and preventable situations that elderly people, who live on their own, may find themselves in, such as a trip and fall (very common), DVT’s secondary to prolonged sitting, leg swelling, etc. When I learn about these, I try my best to do whatever I can to help (inshallah) prevent my grandparents from also experiencing these same situations.

For example, both my grandparents have Diabetes. So I try to make sure they frequently check their feet for possible infections regularly (alhamdulillah for wudu am I right?). I now see possible fall risks like phone cords laying about, and rugs, or small steps more easily, and thus work to try and remove the risk if possible.

This all brings me to the main point I listed above, and that is the dignity of the elderly. I realized many of our older patient’s in their 80s tend to have incontinence. Not due to any disease (alhamdulillah) or syndrome, but simply due to old age. These poor elderly people can barely even clean themselves and they usually live in nursing homes where they are not evaluated frequently.

These patients usually have to wear a diaper to help with incontinence. And unfortunately because they have difficulty washing themselves, their diaper is usually filled with feces when we open it. I feel so bad for them, how uncomfortable that must be to have to deal with something like this in your old age. When you’re a baby its fine and no one judges you, but when you are older, many times its a reason for people to look upon you with more disdain or lack of respect.

I am a big proponent of respecting your elders, so when I saw this, I realized that my own grandparents may go through this one day. And perhaps they may have an accident in their clothes that they then have to cover up and change, and also have to deal with their soiled clothes. It’s embarrassing and awkward having to leave a bathroom in someone else’s house with your clothes in hand, or just not fully protected and to then have to go to your suitcase, or purse to find the bathroom product you may need.

I think: If my grandfather were this person, I would not want him to have to go through such an uncomfortable situation. I would love it if someone just had these amenities in every bathroom, so if my grandfather did have a situation, he could quickly and easily clean himself up without anyone being the wiser. It dignifies him.

And for someone who literally did so much for me as a kid, (he literally cleaned my brother’s poop off of a door once because my brother had smeared it there) I feel like that is the least I could do- for him, and any other elderly people that step into my house.

Higher Purpose

This video…. just calmed me down in a way I’ve rarely been calmed before 😌😌


Now don’t get me wrong. I am in no way diminishing nor removing therapy, medication or other forms of mental health treatments from the equation, but at the end of the day my higher purpose is this☝🏽⬆️. And all the rest of it- medication, therapy, etc. is simply a means by which Allah has given me to treat myself and return to Him, humbled by my difficulty, and grateful for my higher purpose at the end of the day. This simple piece of knowledge always brings me to a much more peaceful place than anything else. Subhanallah. Alhamdulillah.img_1771