I am in no place to personally give advice on mental health ;however, as a resilient sufferer I believe I have the privilege to do so. People may perceive me as a successful young person, 22 years old, who is roving in the areas of success and devoted to progress; I see myself as a complete failure.
It is not appropriate to characterize juggling two professions, a multi-national non-profit organization operated by 50+ highly educated individuals, my research projects, caring for my immigrant family, and planning or even attending high-profile events abroad as "failure," yet melancholy aka depression makes people feel that way. You become uneasy as a result.
I’m going to talk about it openly. I don't feel guilty or terrified, nor am I humiliated or ashamed, I live with anxiety and depression. Mental health struggles are real.
All I want to do at times is go somewhere where no one will recognize me, a location where I can only give and receive love. A haven where, the moment I tell someone about my depression, they can't damage me by saying, "But you don't appear depressed!" or, "You don't seem sad, you're still successful!".
I've been losing interest in and pleasure from once-enjoyed pursuits like writing over the past two years or so, and my hunger has also altered as I've gained weight without dieting. Nevertheless I’ve accomplished a lot despite feeling useless at times along the way.
I've been dealing with a lot of physical health issues lately, which is exhausting on its own and has made me feel more burdened than ever. I'm going to take care of myself right now. I'll put an end to any projects that can sap my energies and find tranquility so that I can get back on track faster than before. I'll first refuel and replenish myself. An empty cup cannot be used to pour.
You probably see a good number of posts where I'm in front of my computer, like the one connected to this blog. This is because I find comfort in front of that screen; it's where I express myself in my own words; it's where I tend to tune out the outside world and connect with like-minded people at AID Lebanon.
A message of support that I wish was given to me:
I am aware that things can be challenging right now. You can feel helpless, depressed, lonesome, or isolated. But there is cause for optimism. Usually, we do. Mental illness makes us oblivious to this fact. You could believe that no one could possibly comprehend what you're going through. But many others do since they have also experienced it. I can.
I've suffered from mental illness for a very long time. I am aware of the difficulties. I am also aware that rehabilitation is possible and that therapy may be effective. You might have to face a few things head-on first. You don't add to the load. Your family won't abandon you. Your disease is not your fault. Nothing you did or said caused it. We all occasionally experience mental illness.
We are kind, compassionate individuals. It is true, no less so than for everyone else. You also have guts and bravery. You have a lot of admirers. Being proud of your daily struggle with mental illness is admirable. This is a success. You must have confidence in your strength. You do. You might have overcome your mental disease stronger than most.
Better days are ahead of us.
Just remember that despite your hardships, you are still capable of accomplishing everything you set your mind to. It might take longer, but you can do it.
I remain Nehme Gerges Melhem, a self-assured adult of 22 years old who has achieved a remarkable amount in such a short time and at such a young age, a kind and committed future doctor.
Nehme Gerges Melhem
President and Chief Executive Officer
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