Six years and counting…

It’s been six years. The year was 2013.

Six years since I was wheeled into the operating theatre with a big smile on my face because I was finally getting rid of my colon. It represented so much more than just losing a piece of my insides though. The surgery gave me hope that things would get better. That it would be a cure of sorts. That I’d lead a normal life again. No more pain and bleeding when I went to the loo. No more urgency. I’d be able to leave the house again. I woke up with Rosie, my amazing ileostomy. We’ve had a good time together. She’s got a bit of a crappy job (excuse the pun) but she does it remarkably well Alhamdulillah! No regrets on that surgery, or the next one.

Thinking back now, that was a different version of me. Our experiences shape us into who we are. That person was optimistic that things would change… and change they did. Fast forward a couple of years to 2016 and I made the decision to leave home. I couldn’t have foreseen that. I’d been hiding the abuse from everyone around me. Even now, it’s hard to type ‘abuse’. But that’s what it was. Psychological, emotional, mental… whatever you like to call it. I was so ashamed. I thought that it must have been my fault and the abuser must be protected at all costs.

I know my family will never accept that I left home. Our culture dictates it. Unmarried women don’t live on their own. I was never very good at following the culture, my rebellious streak was always a mile wide.

Oh, I’ve been to visit a few times. I recently stayed for a few weeks. It was lovely to spend time with my mum. But it’s never enough… I’m tired of explaining that I won’t be moving back. That I can’t just ‘forget it’. That I don’t care what people say! Who CARES if they spread rumours?! Who cares if this is shameful for everyone? Strange how abuse isn’t shameful yet me deciding to remove myself from it IS.

I was full of hope when I left. I thought this moving on thing would be easy… I was soon disabused of that notion. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I thought that I’d finally be free of my mental shackles and everything would be great and I’d soon be able to stop taking my medication for PTSD/anxiety/depression. Oh, how wrong I was. Nobody had told me that healing would be brutal, and painful, and raw, and emotional. And that it takes years, not weeks. I didn’t know that I’d feel like I needed to be ripped apart before I could put myself together again. That I’d still have days and weeks when facing the world, including those who are closest to me, and love me, would be terrifying and I’d shut myself away. Because that was all supposed to disappear when I left home, right? There was no reason for me to still feel like this!

Turns out it doesn’t work like that. There’s over 20 years worth of trauma in my brain, it’s going to take time to heal from it all. I’m only just coming to that conclusion by the way. Better late than never, as they say.

My new life started out well. 2017 was one of my best years. Then my emotions caught up with me and I kept ignoring them… and ignoring them. I think you know what’s coming. I’ve been on a downward spiral with my mental health. I pushed away my nearest and dearest. I was awful. I’ve felt so guilty for feeling this way when everything was now supposed to be all unicorns and fairy dust. To top it off, my family used it as a way to try and convince me to return. ‘What’s the point of you being so far away if you still feel like this?’ I didn’t have an answer. I’m tired of defending myself. I know I hurt my mum deeply by staying away. However on the other hand, she tells me she’d be fine if I was living away due to marriage, but this isn’t acceptable! Our culture has a lot to answer for. They’ve all but said: okay. You’ve made your point now come back like a good girl.

However… I need to be selfish right now. My head is a mess and it needs sorting out.

I want to own my story. I’ve been through a heck of a lot. It’s time to stand up, work on my flaws and strengthen myself from within. I have the power to change myself inshaAllah. No one else can do that for me. Even as I’m writing this, I’m panicking. I feel so weak. My heart is beating fast and my breathing is shallow. I feel scared that things just won’t get better. That I won’t have the strength to fight this battle. I must. I really must. I’ve done it before and I can do it again. I wish it weren’t so difficult but the most worthwhile things are never easy.

I don’t think this post has a conclusion. It’s just a jumbled up rambling of my thoughts. I’m not sure if anyone will even read it but it feels good to get all this out. I’ve missed the blog. You might be seeing me again soon!

Oh, feel free to point out any typos. It’s late and I don’t want to read this back, I’ll only end up editing things out.

A time of…. joy?

Eid is a time of happiness and celebration. Me, I’m sitting here feeling emotional, frustrated and sad. So sad.

How do I even begin… I’ve stopped blogging lately because it would have meant writing about things that are difficult to express. And it would have meant exposing the horrible behaviour portrayed by those who claim to care. I’ve kept certain aspects of my life private even though it was those things which made my illness so so much worse. The stress caused more flare ups than I could handle. No more. I’m done. I need to vent and this, for now, is my outlet. I only ask that you don’t judge me too harshly.

So all those blog posts about IBD and rants about people… it’s been a few years of posting. Throughout it all I was also dealing with domestic abuse. It was mostly psychological and at times physical. Just after diagnosis in 2010 the physical abuse was the worst. The psychological abuse continued up until I left home in 2016. It’s been to date, one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. Yet I couldn’t see any other option. I tried. God knows I tried. Every suggestion I made was shot down. It was made clear that my only option was to remain in my parents’ home, probably until I die.

You see… when someone is smashing crockery and leaving it for people to walk over, knowing full well that there’s a partially sighted person in the house, it gets a bit too much to handle. When heavy objects are thrown and narrowly miss you by centimetres, it gets a bit too much. When there’s a dent in the wall where a glass of milk was thrown because food wasn’t ready in time, it gets too much. When there’s constant yelling which causes panic attacks daily, it’s too much. When you’re expected to wait and wait and wait for a lift because you’re a woman and you’re not allowed to drive… it gets too much. When you’re treated differently because of your gender, it gets too bloody much.

The worst thing is that they use Islam to justify it. How DARE they. I cannot understand nor explain how anyone can take the beautiful example of our beloved Prophet ﷺ and tarnish the name of Islam in this way. The Prophet ﷺ taught us that daughters are a mercy. That paradise is gained upon serving your mother. That a wife completes half her husband’s religion. In his last sermon, the Prophet ﷺ ordered men to be good to women.

I’ve been to visit family a few times since I left. Each time left me feeling emotional, sad, angry, depressed and anxious. Without fail. I visited out of a sense of duty to my parents. To try and keep good relations. I’m wondering now why I bothered.

With Eid being tomorrow, the emotional blackmail has started again. I’m disobedient. I refuse to follow Islam. I have no respect for my parents. Etc etc. And I’m past the point of caring. I’m spending Eid alone, which is hard enough as it is. However it’s much better than visiting family and putting up with the crap that’ll be thrown at me. The guilt tripping is wearing me down so I feel better off here, in my own home.

It would be wonderful to spend time with my cousins but that comes with a hefty price. I’m not prepared to pay that price. My wonderful cousin even sent me an Eid gift because I won’t be with them. It made me so emotional.

I don’t even know what I’m going to do tomorrow. I feel crap. Ramadhan has been an emotional rollercoaster. I moved into my new flat (yay!) which is exciting but there’s such a lot to do. The estate agents for the old place are being a pain in the butt. I miss my family so much. I wish things were better but I have no idea how to make that happen. I can’t go back like they’re telling me to. I just can’t. So I guess I’ll just carry on as I am, hoping and praying for a solution. Crying. I keep reminding myself though that this is still better than the situation I was in two years ago. It doesn’t seem to soothe my heart though.

Eid Mubarak all.

A Blessed Journey (and airport annoyances)

Hello/Assalamualaykum dear readers.

There’s just one day left until my FIFTH STOMAVERSARY inshaAllah! Yikes! Five years since little Rosie was lovingly (I’m sure!) created by Mr. Pinkney, who I think is one of the best surgeons in the world. Five years since she rose (see what I did there!) to the challenge and has been doing her job like a trooper ever since. Can’t say I envy her, it must be tiring pushing poop through every second of every day. Five years since I’ve been a Bag Lady! Five years since I joined the Permanent Tummy Poopers Club. Five years since…. that’s probably enough for now.

I had planned a celebration with my friends (HARRY POTTER THEMED whether they agreed/liked it or not) but the Almighty had a better plan, as always. Five years to the day when I promised Him I’d perform umrah if He made the op successful… here I am in Makkah Mukarramah. I’m alive and kicking so I’d say it was pretty successful! I’ve only had a couple of blockages (all my own fault lol) and Alhamdulillah just a handful of leaks. Maybe… four. Or less. That’s pretty good going Alhamdulillah!

It just goes to show that I need to have more faith in Him. When I left home in 2016, I thought that was it. I wouldn’t be able to visit this blessed city again as I need a mahram for that. Allah really does work in the most wonderful and mysterious ways. I’m here with my brother and my dad will be joining us either today or tomorrow inshaAllah.

This trip has been fraught with tests, both emotional and monetary. Before we even set off, there were delays with passports, then visas (due to my passport 🙈) then my visa was messed up… it was just one thing after another. I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t as patient as I ought to have been. I got frustrated. I was angry. I was annoyed and wanted to blame someone for these issues. It didn’t help that my anxiety was sky high because I was visiting family again. They tried, bless them, but it’s hard not to associate being back with the emotional torment I went through for years. Anyway that’s a story for another day….

Eventually we were on the flight and it mostly went without a hitch. There was a sticky moment at Frankfurt Airport when the rather ‘lovely’ security lady started tugging at my bag, and fondling it. She asked what it is and for want of a better word, I informed her that it’s a colostomy bag. I know… I have an ileostomy bag but most people don’t seem to be aware of that! I thought I’d have better luck describing it as a colostomy bag.

Well, that didn’t help in the slightest. She practically yelled ‘colostomy bag?!’ Then preceded to VERY LOUDLY ask her colleagues if they knew what it was. In front of everyone. Now, I’m not too fussed about my bag. In fact, I’m rather proud of it. But lots of people DO struggle with coming to terms with it. It would have been absolutely mortifying for such a person and could well have led to a very public breakdown. I was rather annoyed (to put it mildly) at her behaviour. It was hugely insensitive and totally inappropriate.

She carried on fondling it and I let her. I mean.. I don’t think she’d have been able to pull it off and even if she did, it would be a lot worse for her than for me! Part of me wanted her to get a good sharp shock when she realised she was fondling my poop. Teehee!

I was then taken to a side room and asked to show her the bag. Call me petty but I ensured that I lifted the flap so she could see my output (poop) in all its glory. Nothing less than she deserved. I helpfully threw in the French word for poo as I didn’t know the German one. I just assumed they’d be similar. She seemed to get the message 😉

Thereafter she decided it would be sensible to tug me here and there because I’m visually impaired. None too gently either! She only let go when my brother intervened and told her it isn’t necessary. I should have spoken up and I regret not doing so. Truth be told I was exhausted. Beyond shattered. Just didn’t have the energy.

Once we were out of her way another airport employee preceded to thank us profusely for being so patient. She said the other woman was probably stressed. Stressed or not, it doesn’t excuse her disgusting behaviour. I think I’ll be making an official complaint although goodness knows if it’ll make any difference!

Oh, that’s another thing. I completed the whole journey from Birmingham to Jeddah, with a stopover in Frankfurt, with my white cane! Feeling rather pleased with myself. It helped that I had my brother with me but I’m pretty sure I’d have managed just as well on my own. A few years ago this would have been unthinkable. It’s amazing how we can adapt and overcome. Hmmm that sounds like a slogan doesn’t it?!

Sooooo… Umrah with a bag – how goes it?! Answer: absolutely fine. I did have the really odd feeling during Tawaaf that I’m pooping in such a holy place but I quickly reminded myself that I’m not missing out on any blessings! Islam is a religion of ease and in actual fact I’m gaining MORE blessings and good deeds because I’m making the effort despite the physical pain I was feeling. Having an ostomy doesn’t prevent me from performing any acts of worship. I can manage my bag here just as well I do anywhere else.

It’s honestly no different to being at home. I’m quite adept at changing my bag wherever I am so I suppose that helps! I’ve only been here a couple of days but I honestly haven’t had any issues Alhamdulillah.

I made sure I packed all my bags and supplies in hand luggage so they wouldn’t get lost. Glad to say they remained intact. I brought 30 bags with me for 11 days… I know it’s going a bit overboard but I’d rather have too many than too few! Actually that reminds me.. I might go check if the pharmacies here stock them. Just for info’s sake and to reassure any future travellers to the Haramain.

When I arrived at my family’s house a week or so ago, events conspired to ensure that I didn’t have access to my luggage for a few hours…. hence no bags! I desperately needed to change so I sent my cousin off to the local hospital to request a couple of bags. They happily obliged and also sent along protector wipes, dry wipes and disposal bags. Excellent service. Our NHS is amazing. I dread to think what will become of it if the evil Tories have their way. Let’s face it, if they’re happy to take meals away from kids then there really is no limit to their greed and selfishness. It does worry me….. sigh. God help us.

So to celebrate my fifth stomaversary, I’ll be offering extra prayers of thanks in the Blessed City Of Makkah. Islam’s holiest Mosque. There really is no better place on earth. I can’t think of a better celebration either.

Now over to you, dear readers. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. If you’ve stuck with me despite my flaky attitude to blogging, thank you. I really don’t deserve your support however I truly appreciate it.

Also, if anyone has any specific Dua requests while I’m here, please comment or email me at

I promise I’ll write them down and make Dua in front of the Ka’bah as long as I’m able to.

I’ll end it here for now. Peace.

Aisha AKA The Gutless Ninja

A voyage of self-discovery.. 

Yes, this is going to be one of those blogs where I talk about myself but I’ll try not to make it too annoying! I won’t put too much hippy stuff in here either (although I have found meditation and mindfulness to be rather wonderful alongside other treatments!) 

I’ve struggled with blogging lately. I’m feeling a lot better Alhamdulillah and I felt I might have outgrown this blog….. fear not though dear readers. I wasn’t ready to give it up either. I won’t be writing as much as I used to about IBD, guts, blood and poop but I can still write loads of meaningless drivel, right? That doesn’t need to change. :p 

I read a few of my posts from last year and it was pretty hard going. I’m so very glad I wrote throughout the Darkness I went through. I was drowning in it. I need to be reminded from time to time to help me keep things in perspective. How things change.. finally, I’m seeing the bright light at the end of what’s been a very long tunnel. I always hoped I’d get to this stage but it was difficult to imagine actually being here. Now I’ve started getting my life in order.. I’ve discovered I’m actually pretty resilient. I know, that sounds awfully boastful but I’m told I need to be nice to myself. So here I am, being nice to myself and reflecting on a rollercoaster of a year. 

So.. resilience. Over the past few years I’ve suffered from horrendous trauma. Physical, mental, psychological, emotional.. I honestly don’t know how I coped. I was going through the motions. On the one hand my body was trying to do its best to attack, I was also dealing with the aftermath of surgeries and on the other hand the psychological hurt and abuse caused by those who claimed to love and care for me took its toll. There’s only so much someone can take, right? I’m annoyed at myself for putting up with it for so long. And believing that I was being ‘patient.’ Putting up with abuse of any kind is not patience. Patience is praying then doing what you can to change your situation. It works the same was as praying for a good job then actually going out and searching for that job. It’d be a bit pointless to spend days and days praying without putting any effort in! Not how it works. If someone genuinely can’t change their situation (e.g. Pain) that’s where forbearance and acceptance comes in.

I still feel ashamed to talk about what I’ve been through. It’s pretty crazy to think that I could be pretty open about my bowels and tales of gore yet I couldn’t (and still struggle to) talk about the underlying issues which were making my mental health so much worse. I won’t force myself, perhaps it’ll get easier with time.  

By the way, I haven’t written anything in so long my head is a jumble of words all desperate to escape. Feel free to scroll on by if this isn’t making much sense to you! I need to get a few things off my chest and writing is therapeutic. 

I think I’ve become rather intolerant of what I perceive to be fakery. I’ve scaled down my social circle to a few very close friends (who help keep me sane!) and an even smaller number of family members. (Those who are genuine. A seriously small number. Like.. five. That’s it.) Does this make me evil? Probably. I simply can’t be bothered by people and things I’m not particularly interested in. I’m choosing to focus on what makes me happy. I’ve been focusing on my mental and physical health for almost five months now. It’s a very short period of time but I’m finally getting somewhere Alhamdulillah! I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I’ve been teaching some wonderful girls. I’m looking to go back to college and university inshaAllah. I’ve made some fantastic new friends. I’m doing things for myself and discovering that Alhamdulillah.. I CAN do this! It’s an incredible feeling. So humbling. I also had my second driving lesson last week – this is HUGE for me! Alhamdulillah. I feel so blessed. I never did see myself doing so well.. I think it’s time to believe in myself. That scares me.. it shouldn’t be so hard to accept that I’ve came a long way. Maybe one day I’ll actually believe it eh?! 

All that being said, this is also a difficult time for me. I have so many emotions and thought processes to work through.. I’ve got to keep moving forward inshaAllah. Some days everything feels overwhelming and I have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and soldier on. It’s the only way. Those days are getting fewer however they do exist. I’m not expecting them to go away completely, I wouldn’t be human otherwise! 

I’ve been trying to figure out how and why people can be so cruel. How do they justify it? There’s got to be an inferiority complex there. Not that I’m a psychiatrist or anything. 😛 why else would someone want to harm others or try to make their life difficult? It baffles me. I just don’t get it. What’s the POINT of it all? Argh this makes my brain hurt! I pray that I never become one of them. 

I was sent the following poem a long time ago. It’s beautiful. I’m going to leave it here and hope it helps you as it’s helped me. ❤ 

Take care of yourself and those you care about, smile a bit more and eat delicious cake,


Aisha AKA The Gutless Ninja

Ps I’ve started replying to emails. (I know.. about time right?) 

I’m still rubbish at keeping up with social media so I’m not going to stress about that! Feel free to drop me a line at if you want to get in touch. Or you can leave a comment below. I don’t do any TV/documentary work and I’ve been rubbish at replying so apologies if you’ve contacted me about that. 

Yep.. believe it or not, I’ve had three tv offers in the past two years. I’m almost famous! *dons sunglasses* 😎  

Oh and if you find any typos/spelling mistakes do let Be know. If you find any weirdness it was always meant to be there. Ta. 

Crohn’s And Colitis Awareness Week


My name is Aisha, AKA The Gutless Ninja, and I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2010. 

Such a small sentence, right? Yet it’s a huge marker in my life. I now find myself referring to life ‘pre-diagnosis’ and ‘post-diagnosis’ and boy, do I wish I could knock some sense into the pre-diagnosis me and tell her to get a grip, enjoy every single day and NOT take the luxury of pooping for granted! 

That’s right, the luxury of pooping. Although UC is not just a pooping disease, it was one of the major symptoms. I was rushing to the bathroom up to twenty times a day, passing painful, bloody diarrhoea. Add the awful, cramping stomach pains (Carrie Grant has described them as being WORSE than childbirth) which felt as though my insides were being twisted then poked with hot knives, the constant fatigue, skin issues such as rashes, aching joints, rushing to the loo following every mouthful.. you get the average day in the life of a person diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. IBD is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells and causes inflammation. There is currently no known cause or cure. I feel like yelling this at those who claimed I was faking my illness or that it’s caused by junk food or that ‘loads of people have it and they’ve been cured!’ But I try to be a nice human being so I’ll keep quiet. 🙂 

And the absolute worst thing was that I hid my symptoms. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone that I was bleeding loads whenever I went to the toilet. We just don’t talk about poo, it’s a taboo. Especially in our south Asian culture. This is wrong on so many levels. My silence made things so much worse. If I had been diagnosed sooner, maybe my body would have accepted certain medications and the disease wouldn’t have been so severe. 

So I kept quiet and hoped that by ignoring my symptoms, they’d go away. In case you’re wondering, here’s a short list of some of the symptoms experienced by IBD patients: 

Many thanks to Girls With Guts on Facebook for the infographic above. 

Surprise surprise, my symptoms didn’t go away. They didn’t particularly like being ignored either, so things became a lot worse. I was still too ashamed to speak about it or see a doctor. 

Now, 6 years (yikes! Where has the time gone?!), countless weird and wonderful medicines (mouse juice, anyone?), numerous blood tests, X-rays, colonoscopies and two major surgeries later.. here I am. I’m missing a few bits but I don’t actually miss them. If you’re new to the blog, I’ll tell you: I no longer have my large intestine, appendix, rectum, anus or sphincter muscles. Fun, right? It’s one of the best decisions I EVER made! 

I have an ostomy. The end of my small intestine is sticking out and I attach a bag over it to collect my poop. This has presented its own challenges but right now we’re happy with each other. 

The purpose of this post is to get people talking. Don’t ignore any problems. Nothing is more important than your health. There’s NOTHING to be ashamed about if you notice any problems with your poo! And if you have friends, family or colleagues with IBD, please take a few minutes to tell them you’re there for them when they cancel plans at the last minute, or when they can’t go somewhere simply because they don’t know where the toilets are, or when they’re exhausted after taking a shower and have to rest for three hours. One of the best things any of my friends ever said to me was: ‘I’ve been reading about IBD and how it affects you. Please feel free to talk to me anytime. I may not understand what you’re going through but I’m here for you.’ I was in tears because it’s such a beautiful gesture. 

For those who’ve been following the blog.. I owe it to you to explain my absence. WordPress tells me it’s been around 6 months since I last posted.. gulp. 

I’ve had a lot of struggle with in terms of my mental health and I went into hibernation so to speak. I’ve teetered on the brink of another breakdown. Alhamdulillah, things are a LOT better now. I’ve made some major changes in my life and I’m learning to be happy again. Last month was full of smiles and for the first time in ages, I laughed until I was gasping for breath! It’s the simple things. ❤ my heart is at peace. 

I still struggle with anxiety but this time, I’m learning how to cope. I try to listen to my body when it needs to rest.. most of the time! 

I removed a major cause of stress and anxiety from my life and I request your prayers/Duas with this as it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I realised I needed to do something when I felt suffocated, drowning in darkness and on the verge of another breakdown. I didn’t think I’d survive this one. I couldn’t go back to the darkness I was in last year. The very thought was terrifying. That’s when self-preservation kicked in and I decided to do what was needed. 

Rosie is also doing well. She’s farting, whistling, gurgling and popping her way through life. 

And the most exciting bit.. I’m a Patient Advocate for Convatec! This involves speaking at patient events, giving my views on ostomy products, raising awareness and above all, working with the most fantastic team of superheroes! Take a look here and view their inspiring stories.. I’ll post more about that soon. 

Oh, I’m still reading and trying to get everyone else to read! What have you all been up to? What are you reading at the moment? Please leave a comment below and let me know! I feel I’ve been hiding from the world and it’s time to come back. If you sent any messages and emails, I’m sorry I didn’t reply. My head has been a mess and I’m just starting to tentatively engage with the world. 
Be nice, spread peace and eat cake,

The Gutless Ninja

P.S. if you could please raise awareness of IBD this week, that’d be fab. Please like my Facebook page (I’m not really active on other platforms at the moment) where I’ve shared lots of information. If it helps even ONE person then it’s worth it. ❤️

On a journey.. 

Assalamualaykum/morning, all! 

How are you all? It’s been such a long time since I’ve interacted with everyone, I’ve missed that. I hope you’ve all been well and are as happy and healthy as can be. 

I’m at an interesting phase in my life right now.. Not quite sure where I’m headed but determined to enjoy the journey! 

It’s been a rocky few weeks. My beloved grandfather passed away recently and the grief is still raw. Please remember him in your prayers. He really was a special person. He was like a father to me and we all feel his loss. 

And then my father suffered a heart attack. It was rather unexpected – he’d been having  trouble for a while but in typical bloke style, decided it was nothing and he’d be all macho. We’ve since found out that he has coronary heart disease – and he’s since decided that he’s very young and fit and of COURSE he doesn’t have to take precautions! I’ve informed him that any more of his solo shopping excursions (he’s not supposed to do any heavy lifting) will result in me calling round to all his usual shops and sharing his picture with strict instructions to call us if they see him. I’m a great daughter, aren’t I?! 😀 he told the nurses not to tell me ANYTHING about his health (even though I put myself down as his next of kin..) as I’m an ‘interfering busybody’. Got to laugh, right? I know how hospitals work and I’m determined to help him regain his health inshaAllah. 

And now to my big news.. A couple of months ago, I met an amazing lady called Helen Bracey. She is quite honestly one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met! Helen encouraged me to join her team of Advocate Superheroes, which I did. 

It’s absolutely brilliant! I’m now a Patient Advocate for Convatec. Check out this site for more info and to meet the rest of my fantastic team. Convatec have launched an innovative service called Me+ which aims to help and support those who’ve had Ostomy surgery. There’ll be of information, guidance, support and help available. I wish something like this had been around when I had had my surgery! 

So what does the life of an Advocate Superhero involve? Well, so far I’ve delivered a talk, been to Head Office where I met the rest of the team, got to see ostomy bags being made in the factory (this was SO COOL!), spoke to the brilliant scientists who come up with new ideas, and I’m currently on the train, on my way to another talk! It’s a beautiful day and I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I honestly did not think that I would be doing something so worthwhile. It’s wonderful meeting so many new people and hearing their stories. 

The nerves are settling in now, I’m about half an hour away from Kettering where the talk will take place! So in a short while I’ll be standing at the front of a room talking about myself. And poo. Yay! :p 

I’ve been thinking.. I’ve faced huge trials these few weeks. But Alhamdulillah I keep thinking that I got through the awful, awful times last year when my world was so dark and I felt as though I’d never be happy again. This was all with the help of the Almighty. Maybe, just maybe.. That was to prepare me for this. Having dealt with such raw grief, I know I can get through the pain of my grandfather’s death inshaAllah. Although this pain is more brutal, I do feel hopeful that it won’t knock me out of sync. Does that make sense? I tend to ramble quite a bit so forgive me if it doesn’t. 

Oh, I’ve saved the best news till last.. Alhamdulillah I CAN SEE!!! I was given a scleral lens for my left eye and it’s BRILLIANT. I’m ably to wear it for a couple of hours a day so I do still have my cane with me in case I need to remove the lens during that time. I also need my white cane in the evening. This is such brilliant progress, it’s given me a huge boost. 

I must stop writing here, the train is pulling into Kettering and I must gather my thoughts before the talk 🙂 

Take care everyone. 

3am Thoughts: Anxiety and stuff

Assalamualaykum/hello wonderful readers 🙂

(Here’s a link to the About Me page if you’re new to the blog.. It explains a bit about who I am and why I blog)

I have this urge to write. I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing at 3am, when I usually make very bad decisions. But this blog has been an outlet for so long and I need to get all this off my chest so this is as good a place as any.I haven’t planned this post so do forgive me for the jumbled paragraphs. I’m sure it all sounds better in my head!

I’ve been taking Sertraline for a couple of months. It’s an antidepressant and anti-anxiety drug. Also works for PTSD. I’d tried two other pills before but they gave me horrible side effects. This one is working much better Alhamdulillah. For ages, I was pretty embarrassed about this, avoided starting the medication because of the associated stigma. Then I took the plunge and actually started feeling so much better after a couple of weeks.

So how has it been? I’m mostly used to it now so I don’t notice any bad effects. At first, I was terribly drowsy and my jaw felt tightly clenched. I’m glad that’s eased, it wasn’t painful but it was really uncomfortable!
There was the usual (and probably expected) input from my family when I started these pills. They’re not seen as a good thing. Mental health isn’t widely understood. But now I think they’re coming around to the fact that the medication actually helped quite a lot. The bad dreams stopped. The panic attacks lessened. I was able to go out again.

So.. I was supposed to see my doctor in December to have the dose upped. Only I thought I was perfectly fine and there was no need. I’m smart like that. Clearly, I don’t learn. Here I am again, scared to sleep because I know I’ll have the awful nightmares. The worst thing is that the nightmares seem so real. All involving places I know well. I often wake up shaking and in tears.

And the anxiety has made a grand comeback. Yay. More panic attacks, sudden bouts of tears, feeling terrified.. It’s about as fun as it sounds. Currently, it feels like my heart is being squeezed. It’s not easy to breathe. But I’ve got to keep going, right? Because that’s what courage is.

I’m going to call my doctor on Monday and see what needs to be done. They’ll probably up the meds and offer counselling.. I’m not sure I want to go for that. It sounds like it might be helpful however my anxiety is pretty bad so I’d really struggle to talk to a stranger. The thought of it makes me feel sick with dread.

I’m listening to Qur’an everyday, focusing on the words and the meaning. I’m so blessed to be able to understand Alhamdulillah. It’s helping but this test is pretty difficult. I’m still struggling. It’s kind of hard to explain.. I know that I can’t control the way I feel (boy, that took me AGES to understand and accept!) so I try not to feel guilty. However, there’s this little voice telling me that I’m a terrible person because I really ought to be feeling better by now. There must be something really wrong with me if I’m not which quite obviously means that it’s my fault.
Confused? So am I. (Thought I’d list the weirdness in my head so I’m not the only confused one. 😀 I jest…)

On that note, I’m reminded about a conversation I had the other day. When someone is going through any form of mental illness, others will give them Duas/Surahs to read, tell them to pray harder. Which is a good thing. What gets me, however, is when it’s generally assumed that the person struggling with mental health issues must be very low in Imaan (faith). This isn’t always the case so PLEASE word your advice carefully.

If a person is still calling out to the Almighty whilst they’re in the depths of sadness and despair, when they feel hope slipping away, when they know that none besides Him can save them.. That is a beautiful thing. It shows strength and courage.

Telling someone who’s already struggling with a serious mental health issue that they just need to pray harder or do more can be highly detrimental.. It may even put them off completely. The best thing to do? Listen. Be there for them. Tell them you’ll make dua (prayer) for them. Ask how they’re feeling. In general, be supportive.
I keep reminding myself: ‘This too shall pass.’ Tests aren’t forever. There’s a reason for all of this even if I can’t see it right now. I posted this on the Facebook page earlier, I think it’s a beautiful Hadith.

SubhanAllah. I pray that Allah forgives my shortcomings.

This is really quite therapeutic.. I do feel slightly better after writing everything down. If anyone reading this is going through any hardship, please know you’re not alone. It may get worse before it gets better but you can and will get through it inshaAllah ❤

One final thing.. I’ve had a brilliant few days alhamdulillah for which I’m truly grateful. I managed to be productive and get things done. Reconnected with a few friends. Felt utterly calm. Honestly, it feels great! It had been a while. Each good day feels all the more beautiful because I know I need to cherish it. InshaAllah I’m hoping that once I get some sleep, it’ll be another fantastic day.

That’s it from me. If you want to keep up with my blog posts, pop your email into the ‘subscribe’ box on the right.

Oh and please forgive the typos (of which there’ll be many), I’m absolutely shattered and if I go back to edit now I won’t post this at all! Take care everyone. Have a great weekend 🙂