“The whole flight home after I was told to get on a plane with no further explanation, I thought, 'Ok, parents pass away, we know dad’s health wasn’t great, just breathe…' After I landed and got in the car, my dad was there with my cousins who picked me up and I thought “Ok, is it my mom? My grandmother? Ok breathe, breathe.” Until they told me it was my little brother, and I stopped breathing. Trauma hits you in a different way with news like that. My physical, emotional, mental and spiritual responses somehow shut down in the middle of the incontrollable sobbing.
Fast forward seven years, I still hadn’t worked up the courage to ask them for the full story of what happened to him. Being from a culture that doesn’t exactly encourage talk, especially about grief and all that is mental health, it’s not a surprise, right? I had moved back home at that point, and on my way to work, I heard about the Quebec mosque shooting on the radio. I broke down in tears driving on the highway. When I got to work, I was in a full-on panic attack, and they sent me to the nurse and consequently to counselling and therapy. Only when I opened up in therapy about the grief, shame and everything else, did I start to see the light again. I am now coaching and hoping to help and reach as many young women as possible to get that message out: Mental health issues and therapy are not a taboo! My career, purpose and zest for life aligned after going through all of that. There is light at the end of tunnel and I am eternally grateful for all the help I received to get me here.” Lama Younes, Career Coach