"To get through my daily routines while struggling with anxiety and nightmares, I kept pretending I was okay. Yet I felt invisible and believed that not even my loved ones really knew who I was. Despite having it all together, the pressures of work, life and unresolved past issues eventually bubbled to the surface in 2014. And I was diagnosed with severe depression.
My self-doubt, anxiety and wanting to give up were linked to physical and emotional abuse in my childhood. I continued carrying my past baggage and unhealthy defence mechanisms that ended up affecting my relationships and outlook on life. It’s been a long road of learning, relearning and unlearning. It’s deeply exhausting, frustrating and it breaks you. But I’m still on it. Even when you’re fighting with yourself, you need to know that you’re needed, loved, deserving enough and have a place in this world.
Although my husband may never fully understand what I’m going through, he would tell me not to worry about things beyond my control. He breaks down the processes when I get overwhelmed, so I can make the best decisions for myself. He’s a hand that’s always there. Sometimes, I let him lead. Sometimes, he lets me hold his hand while I navigate on my own. At other times, we hold hands and walk together.
In 2015, I started a small community called ‘Asha & Co’ to support women going through recovery from mental illnesses and abuse. We make art, learn new skills, cook, eat and have meaningful conversations. I’m there to listen, be their friend, direct them to professional help if they are willing and occasionally accompany them for visits. It’s been liberating and humbling to be able to support others, which has helped me in my own journey of recovery."
- Asha Adnan, Asha & Co Founder, was clinically diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Manic Depressive Disorder. She is seen here with her husband Azman.