An Internship Reflection

Just ended my internship at an organisation focused on helping people with mental illness and their family members. Albeit a short one, it was beneficial and meaningful alhamdulillah. Just thought I’d share a part of my reflection (:

I would say the most joyful moments here would be when I was able to connect with clients, even though it was just one client for that one day. It would not have happened had I stayed in my comfort zone and just choose to mingle with people I am already comfortable with. Through learning their stories, I am reminded of the strength of the human spirit. People face all kinds of struggles in life and some are being chosen for the test on their mental health. They are strong because they choose the path of recovery, self-betterment, and courage every single day and this touched and inspired me deeply. Some live every day to support their loved ones and themselves, while resilient and patient.

I will never forget the woman who is taking care of her mother in law with dementia, while her daughter has a mental health condition and her husband has a life-threatening illness. Some are fortunate to have supportive family members while some are making by with what they have on their own, keeping hope for a better tomorrow.

On the other hand, there were also clients whom I had seen in quite dire states and I cannot help but feel overwhelmed. I learned that as much as we want to help others, we need to also understand that action ultimately comes from them and we are simply a means. We need to learn to detach when necessary.

I also learned to never underestimate the value of helping others. What we do may seem small but if done with sincerity and an open heart, it would do wonders and be significant to those whom we are serving.

Another important lesson that I learned would be to be kind to everyone and to withhold judgment. What we see on the exterior may just be a facade as we may not be aware of the struggles and pain that people have gone through or are going through. This points to why we should never judge someone based on our assumptions and perhaps flawed perception. Until we are in their shoes and learn about them would we truly understand where they are coming from.

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Let’s #self-care.

I’d like to share something that I’ve been practising for quite a while now that helped me to be much calmer, lighter and less anxious.

I learnt this from a hypnotherapist who does mindfulness sessions at the psychiatric rehabilitation centre where I’m currently interning at. She shared that every day we should spend some time just looking out, at the trees or the skies, and do a quick exercise. And I was reminded of the grouding technique that I came across on Pinterest and so this is what I did. (You may skip this part to the exercise below or feel free to read through 😁)

[While walking to the MRT or the centre I would just take a few minutes to focus on my senses and consciously let in all the stimuli. So I will pay attention to what I can see-the trees, the color of the shirt the person in front of me is wearing, the color of the car on the nearby road etc. What I can hear- the cars, motorcycles, birds chirping, construction sounds etc. What I can feel- the fresh air, the warmth of the sun, etc. It’s said that one of the things this exercise helps with is anxiety. It makes sense because you are re-directing your focus outward rather than inward to all your sometimes negative and unproductive thoughts. Takes only a few minutes of your day, will be well worth it so do try!]

Okay back to the exercise. So she shared that we should repeat these statements on a daily basis. What you can do prior to this(which I also do) is to take a few deep breaths first. Focus on your breathing. Then while maintaining your sight on what is in front of you, say these:

1. Thank you Allah for granting me perfect eyesight.
2. I am able to see Your creations with clarity.
3. I see the good in every thing, every situation and every person. (I will also make dua here that He makes it easy for me to do just that.)

Say it from the bottom of your heart, feel your heart swell with gratitude as you say it. And smile. You will feel lighter, calmer and more focused. Just a small daily exercise that can bring about great changes in your days and your mood insyaAllah 😊 So let’s self-care 💪

And we all ache.

Sadness has not left me
Took some words to bring forth an understanding
Intertwined with memories
To finally understand the root cause of the long-time misery

Don’t ignore the things that trigger you. Your thoughts and emotions. If you’ve always wondered why, there is a reason why. Why you tend to behave a certain way, why this particular habit you can’t seem to shake. You need to first identify and tackle it head on. For no one but yourself. Sit down with yourself. Away from everything. Listen close. It may take time but take your time. When you feel that things start to make sense you might have just cried. It’s hard. But it’s a blessing, to understand. Self-awareness is a gift. Yet it can get pretty tough when you’re too hard on yourself.

If you’re struggling with healing from trauma, forgiveness, attachments, self-worth, loneliness, the author of this blog is with you too. Even if you don’t identify with the struggles above, you aren’t alone too. We all need to know this, that we’re not alone. What’s done is done and we can’t undo the past. What’s important now is our intention and commitment in identifying the broken parts, undergo the healing process and continued mission of learning about and bettering ourselves and making peace by finding the wisdom behind it. There’s wisdom behind every pain. Please don’t ignore yours. You ARE important. So choose yourself.

In our journey of healing and growing, support is vital. Find a trusted friend or family member but if that’s hard do consider counselling. It might just be what you need to help you see things clearer. Our minds can be our greatest enemy especially when we’re down. And please remember, you will not be tested with more than you can shoulder. Remember that you matter and you are absolutely worthy of every ounce of goodness and love.

An article that you may want to read, and that which is part of the inspiration behind this blog entry is here.

Little Victories 

Yesterday night was the last lesson for the term before exams and we had the choice to either turn up and prepare for a group presentation or do an individual assignment as a replacement. Earlier I told myself I’d come and when a friend said she didn’t want to because she said she hated presenting, stage fright and all that I managed to motivate to come. For the record I never liked speaking in front of a group and I’d avoid it at all costs. But deep down I knew I had to learn to face my fears and this was one aspect of myself that I wanted to improve on.

And so earlier today when I got to know through an email by our lecturer that the groups were gonna be randomly assigned, I shrinked. Not only would I have to deal with the presentation but the thought of working with other classmates with whom I might have never spoken to spells the word dread in caps in my mind. Shucks. Then I told my friend I suddenly felt like doing the individual assignment. I expected her response afterwards of course haha. What irony is this Syiidah. I can imagine her saying “You were the one who motivated me and now you’re chickening out”. And then she reminded me of our main intention which is to overcome our fear by purposely choosing and putting ourselves through such situations so we can learn. We won’t be perfect of course but that’s not the purpose. The purpose is to choose to be brave when we can sit comfortably by the sidelines. The purpose is to learn through the process and grow. I’ve none to impress but rather to do my best. And she also reminded me that once I’ve set on a decision, I should put my trust in Allah. Ahh I’m so grateful for her alhamdulillah.

Another thing is that this episode reminded me to keep reminding myself to always work towards the person I envision myself to be. I love watching and observing confident, poised and eloquent people and I kinda want to be like them too. In my own kind of way biidhnillah.

And so the night ended and I did present. I’m glad I did. There’s definitely more that I can work on but I take comfort in the fact that I chose growth and progress for myself today. I will get what I intend for insyaAllah one day but I gotta take steps towards it. I was reminded of the fact that a week ago I actually did a group presentation too at another place so if I could do it then I definitely can do this one. So don’t belittle yourself, ever. Don’t bother about others, you know yourself better and this is your own journey. Whatever little progress IS a progress. At the end of the day, the choice is ours. So may we keep on choosing courage, keep on choosing growth, keep on choosing progress.

An October Weekend & Reminders 

Had a pretty packed weekend. And some reminders and reflections, may it be of benefit!

Empower yourself with knowledge. Seek knowledge and always be learning even if you may have to travel a little bit far. Renew your intentions. At the same time, remind yourself that it’s always adab first before knowledge. Keep a check on yourself and your heart. Istighfar always for our sins are so plenty we’ve no time to criticise or judge others.

Get a hold of yourself when you start to think ill of someone.
By the way, I’m not sure if you know about this peeling gel in the market. It gets rid of your dead skin cells, whiteheads etc. I recently used it and it’s so good. Your face would feel so so clean afterwards and I can’t help but think, if only it is this easy to cleanse our hearts eh 💔 Guess this is our jihad then. Our ongoing struggle and fight to continously cleanse our hearts and better our character.

People will disappoint you, time and time again. Plans will not go as planned. Don’t dwell on it. It may be that you dislike it but it’s good for you. Move on.

Nothing is quite as attractive as a passionate person. Someone may be average-looking to the majority but I personally find that if he or she speaks and exudes positivity and love through what he or she does and believe in, that’s truly beautiful. Through a mental health training I attended yesterday, I saw some really passionate, knowledgeable and sincere doctor, counsellors, caregivers. So much love/passion/enthusiasm, so much life. Inspiring alhamdulillah.

Wanted to attend a talk on manners by al-Maghrib but I only got to know about it on the event day so it was too late. The day after, a dear friend shared with me her notes! How did she know?? Allah knows. And Allah send these beautiful souls. Allah suprises us in beautiful ways, we just have to notice..

What you focus on, expands.

If you’re reading this, may Allah swt ease your affairs and may you have a blessed week ahead 🙂

You know how you look at some people and think to yourself this one just has it all together. You can’t help to think, she/he is so fine/so smart/so kind/so pretty/so fortunate/so mashaAllah and the list goes on, what could possibly go wrong in his/her life? She/he seems so well-off how could she be in a position of pain or to even talk about pain? For one, perception. What they show builds your perception. And what you don’t actually see? So much.

Second, you’re not the only going through some pain/struggle. Other people are too. Even ‘them’. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. So don’t feel bad about yourself. Or don’t feel bad about yourself for not being “brave” or “vulnerable” enough to share your pain/story on social media etc. What may be easy for some may be challenging for you. And vice versa. So don’t put yourself down by undermining yourself or whatever you’re going through. The pain you feel is VALID. Your struggles are VALID. Even if no one knows them. Coz you’ve got Allah. We’ve got Allah.

At the same time, learn to share with worthy others.
Remember, you don’t have to share with everyone to feel validated or to feel Heard. Some share with their best friends but for me I’ve no particular ‘best friend’ because I don’t believe in that term. I do have a couple of close/good/special friends I can trust insyaAllah. And may I always remember that. That I do matter. I am worthy of much love. And you are, too. 🌹💕

Don’t Wait to Be Grateful!

Such is the reminder pertinent to myself as of today.

I was reading an article about 3 habits that will change your life and I’m glad I’m already practising one of it now that is, journaling. 
The app that I’m currently using is the Gratitude Journal App and it has been a tremendous tool! The interface is such that when you type in words/sentences of things you’re grateful for, you then need to click a “Yes, I am grateful” button below to save it. I like it as it kinda reinforces the value of gratitude in users. 

I try to do it at least once every day, usually at night before I sleep. In a way, I try to sleep with a grateful heart. It is so much comforting really, than going to sleep with an empty or distressed heart or weeping eyes. Honestly though, some days are harder. Some days I’m just glad I got through work, some days I’m just glad nothing ‘bad’ happened. Some days I just feel so ‘meh’ – like there’s nothing to be grateful for. But know that there is. Even if you can just think of one, or even if you think it’s not significant. If it’s so bad, look at others below you in terms of their living conditions and quality of life. Even if you don’t feel that gratitude in your heart coz we all have our days, helps to just bear in mind and tell yourself that there are some things out there, bigger than myself that are truly good. 

This week I havn’t been updating my gratitude journal app daily as I reached most nights too tired, too late at night to write etc. 

So I found myself entering things into the app past 6pm today and the golden reminder for me is that, don’t wait till night time to set aside time to be grateful for all the day’s happenings. This is because I don’t always have the luxury of time or the energy to it. So when I do get some quiet time to myself, I need to make it a point to pen down the things I want to be grateful to Allah swt for. 
Being grateful doesn’t cause the struggles, worries, negative vibes to disappear into thin air. It is still there. It is up to me, which one I choose to focus on. Focus on your blessings, or your deficiencies? Plus, heard of a super-great bonus from the One who gifts us with all these blessings? Yes. He promised that when we are grateful, He gives us more.  And Allah swt gives in His often subtle ways 🙂 
May Allah swt make us ever-grateful, and in us doing so, we attain His Love.