I know what it feels like to be in the dark and not see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ll never forget the day that I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in January 2017 (two mental health illnesses that I knew I had for 10 years at that point). It all started when I was well prepped for my Land law exam, I had the topics memorized word for word and was on my way to the university to sit the exam. However, 30 minutes before the exam I could feel myself feeling faint, so I went to the disabled loos and I vomited multiple times.
I then had to call the mitigation team and let them know I wouldn’t be able to sit the exam.
They told me to go to the GP, which I did do immediately that afternoon. As I was sat with my GP in her usual room, she started looking through my medical records and asked whether she could ask me a list of questions. I said yes and she asked me a specific set of questions and asked me how long each issue has been ongoing. After we went through the list, she looked me in the eyes and said “Mahjabin, you’re only 20 years old but you have had anxiety and depression for a very long time.”
Initially, I panicked and was in denial because it was not something that I wanted people to be aware of. I was very good at keeping my mental breakdowns behind closed doors. As I didn’t want my nearest and dearest seeing me suffer. I tend to put on a “happy facade” when I’m outside because I don’t want people feeling sorry for me.
People that are observant might notice that my physical appearance has changed a lot. It was first noticeable when I was 14 and in my year 10 maths class. I’ll never forget the moment that I touched my hair and massive chunks of hair just kept continuing to fall from my head. I heard the people behind me gasp, but I tried to play it off by blaming it on shampoo. When deep down, I knew that it was my stress which was causing this.
As my GP was trying to convince me in 2017 that I need to get my depression and anxiety sorted once and for all, she tried to encourage me to take anti-depressants. Which I profusely denied as I am very aware of the side effects it has. She also signed me up for counselling classes.
With the anti-depressant prescription in my hand, I made an impulse move and ripped it up and threw it in the bin. I’m a firm believer that I shouldn’t rely on medication to heal myself.
I went to one counselling class which I did not like either. The atmosphere and the way they spoke to us, it was as if I should feel sorry for myself. Personally, that is not what I believe. I need to know what the root cause of my depression is and take it from there.
I’m not going to get into the “dirty details” of where my mental health issues started (as these individuals (and there are a lot of them) don’t deserve the exposure and the hate that will follow). But what I will tell you is that my mental health destructed so much that I ended up with 3 E’s during A levels.
This would come to a shock for a lot of people if they ever heard that. However, when I started university, I knew it was a fresh start for me where no one knew me or my history. I was determined to break out of the shell that I was succumbed to for so long. I’ve also always wanted to be a teacher too and I knew that wouldn’t be possible unless I learnt to heal and give myself the love, I knew I deserved. So, I worked very hard to try and redeem myself from my A level results.
I am very proud to say that I have 3 strong degree qualifications.
Which are all diverse and within areas that I am passionate about. I am also proud to say that I have been teaching for a long time too and love my job (and hopefully the students that I teach love having me too). It was never an easy journey, but I managed to do it and I now go to sleep everyday knowing that I get to help students and make a positive impact on their lives.
The reason I am telling you this is because I want you to use me as an example that it is possible to achieve your dreams if you manage to get the root cause of the problem and learn to love yourself. I know what it feels like to be in the dark and not see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But I would like to end on a profound note. I remember in 2015, I was talking to a group of people who told me that my first and second name are very philosophical. I asked them why and they said that your first name means “light in the darkness” and your second name means “the brightest light.” They told me it was symbolic. The reason I am telling you it is profound is because I always used to tell myself there was a light at the end of the tunnel, but I didn’t know that is what my name meant until that very moment.