My only way was up

Every day truly is a new beginning. I myself am proof of that. There were days where I’ve not only thought of killing myself but took steps to that end. Yet here I am. Healing. Growing. Becoming.

My name is Iffat Nosheen and this is my story.

When I was married at 25, the nightmare began soon enough. I learned quickly I was solely responsible for the upbringing of my children. My husband was not only abusive but didn’t provide for us financially.

I finally took a job when my first little girl was almost three. I was blessed with another daughter and together these two treasures of mine made up my whole world.

Meanwhile my husband, having forced me by his inaction into becoming responsible for bills and groceries, involved himself in extramarital affairs. He would repent and then repeat. He took drugs and ruined other women’s lives. He stole my gold and sold it to build his own house.

I kept plodding on trying to figure out how to survive this. More importantly, how to get my children through this. I recognised my mental health was deteriorating badly. I became suicidal. After sleepless nights and moving through a fog of depression, I am pleased to say that even at this low point I knew the importance of reaching out for help. Dr. Haroon Raseed gave me medical advice and helped me clarify my thoughts.

While I was learning how to create healthy patterns of thinking, still trying to envision what to do with my marriage, true disaster struck. My younger daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Her life ended after a brief three month struggle. The cancer progressed rapidly. She spent the last forty days of her life in a vegetative state. As any mother can imagine, I was by her bedside constantly.

Her father, on the other hand, couldn’t be bothered. He was a banker and worked what he considered an arduous 9 to 5 job. He hardly spent any time with his daughter until she left this world.

It was downhill for me from there. What coping mechanism is there for a freshly bereaved mother? A year later, my heart had still not healed but there seemed to be a name for the vague health problems I had been experiencing – Multiple Sclerosis.

I had to leave my job at the school I worked at. This, of course, infuriated my husband, who had no intention of providing for me and our daughter. In fact, he was even more angry because my daughter no longer got concession on her school fees.

My doctor prescribed me bed rest. That was the final nail in the coffin for my marriage. My husband mocked me, claiming this was all an act. That I was being an attention seeker.

I took my daughter and belongings and went to my parents.

I had to resign from my job. My husband responded to this by telling me never to come back.

Best friends are a blessing. Friends are the family you make for yourself. I advise all women going through troubles at home to keep their friend circle strong. Don’t isolate yourself. True friends will give you the morale boost you need. They will knock sense into you. They’re your backbone when the world beats you down.

That’s not to say parents and siblings are anything to minimise. My family was my armour during these times. We recently went on a trip to the Pakistan-China border, and made some amazing memories that I know my daughter will cherish for the rest of her life.

My health isn’t so good these days. I had to stay in the ICU for four days. I’m out now, and researching how best to minimise the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. There is no cure for this illness. It affects the nerves and so there are some physical symptoms, as well as fatigue. More effort is required for all activities. I have heard there is some hope as my doctors are attempting further treatments. I have faith in Allah and seek His help in my difficulties. And so I hope to get back on my feet and be as fierce as ever! When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up!

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