There are so many reasons I haven’t posted in almost a year. The main one being, I was really wrapped up in studying. The centre I was attending was quite serious, and I really enjoyed it at first. I passed 4 levels, each one 6 weeks with a lot of hard work and some tears. I really did learn a lot, about Arabic of course, among other things. I struggled with the early mornings, and 3 young children with a serious work load. When I reached the fourth level though, I really began to struggle. I changed many things, determined to continue, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. Before Ramadan, I gave in, realizing this pace was burning me out and took a time out. I didn’t want to give up, but I still felt after all this I wasn’t able to express myself easily in the language, or easily read Arabic texts. This, combined with my exhaustion at the pace required, forced me to decide to change centres after Eid, to find more balance, continue to study, but at a place which will better equip its students with tabeer, that is, more language, and less rules and grammar.
Another thing, to be honest, is that I have been under construction myself, in a manner of speaking, and every time I opened a page to write, I immediately shut it down again, thinking I shouldn’t write that in public, or that I simply didn’t want to open up to anyone. I’ve really closed myself off to people, as I’ve been struggling so deeply, and couldn’t find the support I thought I needed. I still find myself in that place, I guess but there are other issues which have compelled me to write again.
When I used to write and document my journey as a new wife, muhajirah, and muslimah struggling to make my way in this crazy city and life, coping with a strange culture and infertility, I found great strength and clarity in the writing process. I forced myself to see the positive side of things and not complain endlessly.. to find joy in the journey, so to speak. It helped me through difficult times, and also opened up the possibility for others to ask advice or support.
One thing that has been a dark shadow in my experiences is this disease I have called hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My body isn’t recognizing the thyroid as a part of me, and attacks it. After time, you require synthetic thyroid hormone to stabilize your symptoms and the vast majority of doctors will end their treatment there. They look at your numbers and adjust your dose but they never address the autoimmune condition. I have had this for over 15 years, and been relatively stable on medication but since before my youngest was born I cannot seem to get it under control. When I increase the meds, its too much. When I decrease it, it is not enough. I am fluctuating between hyper and hypo thyroid symptoms like a bloody yo yo. In this time, I started reading about what it actually means to have an autoimmune condition and a huge bell went off, let me tell you. I began to really understand – through facebook support groups and holistic health sites – so many things I have been feeling for the past decade. Mainly, the aches and pains, sensitivity to temperature, easily fatigued, muscle cramps and irritability or depressive and anxiety episodes. Anyhow, I still haven’t found a doctor who can really help other than increase or decrease the medicine according to my lab results, but the awareness has brought some ease as I no longer push myself to do more than I am capable and I allow myself – in fact, I push myself to be more easy going in all areas. For example, in studying, this means I cannot cope with a lot of extra stress. So, I mold my life around routines and stability. I force myself to eat well, sleep early, and just let go of things I cannot control. It is not easy, but it is important to my ability to cope. There is so much more, but I suppose we will see how it unfolds and I find my way through it.
The last thing I wanted to mention was that I have also been struggling with what I once called a ” high needs child,” and have been avoiding seeking a diagnosis if he may actually be a “special needs child”. Not because of shame, but because he is developmentally and intellectually normal as far as I can tell, and yet there are some red flags in his behavior that resemble more than someone with high needs. Secondly, because I believe psychological assessment is highly subjective, and that no matter what psychologists try to say, at the end of the day it is experience.and opinions that guide them to a certain diagnosis. I myself have been labelled with various things as a young adult, and it wasn’t clear really what was wrong with me. And yet, 75 per cent of what I used to feel has all but disappeared today. So that, combined with a bachelors in psychology have me a little wary of other so-called professional opinions. And yet, his behaviors have pushed me to a point where I wouldn’t mind some professional opinions that might aid us in seeking paths for our son that are beneficial to his future development. I’d like some input basically, even though I am never convinced of the diagnosis I feel it can still offer some insight I guess. Perhaps, just an experience to add to our experiences that may or may not help. It is strange, I do believe that psychology is very important but I dislike very much what modern doctors and medicine has done to it. Very little in psychology is scientific I guess… most of it is personal, subjective and experimental. I do believe that things like autism and schizophrenia are real. But there is just so much that isn’t in your head, that can’t be measured and is treated with ineffective and dangerous drugs. And that is in the developed countries so one can only imagine how it is in the Middle East or Africa!
But alas, I will try. I always try. Especially for my son, who very clearly is suffering and I would like some support from somewhere and pray I’m guided to some insight and support for his sake.
And these very personal issues are what I have been occupied with, but have come to a point where I no longer can stay up in my own mind and thoughts. I’m not sure if my experience can help anyone else… but I do believe it can help give me some clarity and peace of mind as well.
Until next time friends. Peace.