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Fahema is a young South Asian woman who has been battling bipolar disorder, an eating disorder and PTSD. Fahema first began the journey of seeking help when she was 16/17; the doctor prescribed her antidepressants and told her that she had depression. However, when her mental health began to decline, she was admitted to a mental health unit where she was told that she had anorexia. Fahema began anorexia therapy for almost a year before this was doctors told her that she had been misdiagnosed as being depressed; her antidepressants were stopped, and she was given a new diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. She went on to receive therapy sessions for her BPD diagnosis which was again discontinued due to another misdiagnosis. At the age of 21, Fahema finally received the correct diagnosis of Bipolar disorder; 5 years later. When asked about her support system, Fahema stated that upon hearing about her mental health struggles, her manager put in place provisions to support her, including therapy/counselling to help manage her PTSD and the creation of a medical passport which shows her needs and provides assistance at work. The majority of Fahema’s support comes from her husband of 3 years; she states that he’s very aware of her mood changes and triggers and that she can completely confide in him about anything. Fahema stated her South Asian background has negatively impacted her mental health; the South Asian community often make mental health a villainous thing; silencing your feelings so you feel as if you cannot talk about it. Fahema’s family were unaccepting of her mental health struggles and made her have an exorcism which didn’t resolve her problems; they told her that she was feeling like this because she wasn’t praying enough. Fahema expresses how her South Asian background has made her believe that Mental Health issues were not real; she thought that people are just weak until she began to experience them herself. Fahema believes that the South Asian community can improve their response to mental health by saying recognise it is a real thing that impacts people, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. She also suggested gatherings where people openly speak about their experiences because this will help people realise, we do not need to support, not shun those that need help.
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