Message from the President

Assalamualaikum,

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Hope everyone is in the best of health and imaan, Inshaa Allah.
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Reflecting on how fast our lives passes by us. Are we ready to face Allah, have we done enough, are we thankful enough, have we understood the purpose of this life, the reason for the challenges and the test and especially the reason for this illness. These are the things that go through my mind always. And Ustaz constantly reminds us about the hikmah behind every test, every challenge, every difficulty and every calamity that Allah inflicts upon us. Inshaa Allah if we understand the end, everything will make sense.
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Pn. Anita Abu Bakar,

President of Mental Illness Awareness & Support Association (MIASA).

I know a lot of times, when we struggle, we can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Often enough, we blame ourselves and the illness feels like a weakness and a punishment from God for whatever reason and sometimes it can also make us question our faith and ask why would God – the Most Merciful and Loving – make me go through such suffering. Not only that, because it is such a stigmatized illness, it makes it worse when we feel that even the society doesn’t understand and rejects people like us. Hence, patients continue to be discriminated especially at the workplace because of how the society perceives mental health disorder. Instead of reaching out and helping, many not only judge but start labeling patients as being crazy, retarded, unstable and dangerous. This is the brutal truth of what is happening till today.

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And for me, coming from a person that has gone through the struggle with the illness, I’ve realized in my journey, the hikmah behind it all Alhamdulillah. This illness has indeed made me a better person. I now know that Allah has so much love for us, HE never wants us to go astray and in order to save us HE must test us so that we in turn, ask from HIM and rely only on HIM. I now feel the pain of others, it becomes easier to lend a helping hand, I have patience when I listen to the struggle of others and I do not judge but learn to always understand. I am still far from perfect of course, but this is progress and I am forever thankful for this illness that brought me back to Allah SWT, Alhamdulillah I am truly blessed.

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And Alhamdulillah, for this opportunity, being able to share parts of my journey here through MIASA, in hopes that it will help others but more importantly, to let others know that there is hope and that you can recover Inshaa Allah. I know that at the very beginning of the journey, is the hardest and it is the most crucial actually. It will set the tone of the whole recovery process. Hence, it is important to be on the right track from the very beginning. But of course, you can still be on the right track despite going through a rocky path from the start. This is all part of the test.
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I remember where it was really hard in the beginning when I was battling the illness, and I hit rock bottom a few times before my recovery really kicked off. I really didn’t know of anyone who had the illness, nor did I have much knowledge on mental illness at all. How I came about going public with my illness was very much inspired by this, my own experience of feeling completely lost, confused and alone. I am forever thankful that Dr Hazli and Ustaz Mohd Noor Deros were kind enough, to agree in being part of this effort and championing such a cause when they themselves have never gone through the illness – which really amazes me. It is because they understand, they would like to make a difference for people like us and it is people like them that really always make that difference. The much needed hope for humanity and the much needed change. Only through seeking knowledge and implementing the knowledge will change begin. We must always walk the talk.

“Only through seeking knowledge and implementing the knowledge will change begin.”

The struggle and the fight that we go through every single day, just to make it through the day is what keeps us going. We must continue to focus on the positivity and progress always. I really hope that this is where a person like me comes in. By sharing what I went though, from my struggles, my fears, how I felt and my whole journey to my recovery will give you that jump start needed, calmness that is required and expedite your understanding of the illness and struggles which hopefully eases your recovery process. Because really, we need that guidance, trust and belief that it will get better and that we can recover Inshaa Allah. Hope matters.
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This message is about advise. What would be my advise to patients and carers when it comes to mental illness. I begin by saying, I’m no expert. I leave it to Dr Hazli and Ustaz for that. But I would like to convey a message of hope to everyone out there.
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Those of you that are having symptoms – I categorize the followings as symptoms: over worrying, overly stressed, can’t stop thinking about certain things, palpitation, difficulty breathing at times, having an uneasy feeling in your tummy, having a stiff neck and shoulders; independently that means it doesn’t happen altogether – these are all symptoms that you can snap out of and please do because when it becomes a full-blown illness, it’s not easy. Please don’t sweat the small stuff, please do only what you can. What you can’t, please leave it to Allah, we must all learn to rely on Allah, to understand that not everything we want, we can achieve or is even good for us, but most importantly that we all need help. There’s no such thing as a super human. Please ask for help if and when you need it. Take it from me. I learned it the hard way. There is a reason why we live in pairs, in a family, in a community. We are not here in this dunya to live alone. Seek for help and when someone asks for help, please lend a helping hand. Sometimes, because of how everything is, we have become so individualistic that we have forgotten how to help, we no longer care and this must change and it must start from us, as Allah says HE will not change a condition of a person until we change what is in ourselves. Indeed, we are all a work in progress.

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Also, for those struggling with the illness, I hope that you will take a moment to listen to our Journey to Recovery podcast. I know it’s hard, and I know that you’re tired and feel sad and frustrated sometimes, but you guys are warriors, I know you can go through this and I know you will make it to the finish line. Sometimes we just need that someone to push us, someone to guide us, someone to shed some light, someone to understand and be there for us to finally make that quantum leap Inshaa Allah. The hard times will pass with understanding, perseverance, true stamina and having total reliance on Allah. Continue to fight and know that the rewards are waiting Inshaa Allah.
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To all the carers out there, I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you for taking care of your loved ones. I know it’s hard, I know you don’t understand and wish and pray that things get better soon, I know you struggle and need your support too. I hope that Allah grants you patience, peace, show you a way out from your struggles and reward you Jannatul Firdaus for this. The patient needs you, this is not only a test for them, but a test for you too. I hope that we understand the hikmah behind Allah’s every test Inshaa Allah Ameen.
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And for the rest of you over there, thank you so much for visiting our website. I truly hope that you too benefited from it and will continue to reach out to others. People like you always make the difference for people like us. Thank you for all the support and thank you for caring. I hope that everyone can support  MIASA, where we hope that finally the voices of the patients will be heard, that they finally feel a sense of belonging and that patients and carers find the support they need through our various programmes and support initiatives Inshaa Allah. Please make du’a for us, and we will do the same. May this cause finally be heard and the much needed change happens Inshaa Allah.
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Till then, take care everyone. Signing off here.

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Assalamualaikum.