Muntaka Ahmed is a third-year student at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, and in this op-ed for her college newspaper, she talks about when she reached out to the Muslim chaplain on campus for counsel after feeling depressed and anxious. Here are some snippets from her piece:
— It felt like there was no foreseeable light at the end of my tunnel and, for the first time in my life, I began questioning the value of my very existence… I found myself lying in bed every night thinking about what would happen if I didn’t wake up the next morning.
— It was an emotional shift I wasn’t ready to acknowledge and, in an effort to minimize the amount of space I was taking up, I began to shut myself out from the people that really cared about me. I was rapidly losing touch with my friends, family, and, most importantly, my faith.
— My mental health also began impacting my involvement in the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), which was — and still is — arguably the biggest part of my life besides academics.
— …my relationship with the [Muslim] community had become strained as I have moved further away from a place of mental and spiritual stability.
— After countless meetings with Ustadh Amjad Tarsin [the Muslim Chaplain at the time]… I began to see myself turn back into the person I was before.
— Amjad and the chaplaincy had done for me what I could never have expected a regular counsellor to do, and that was taking into account my faith and religious background as factors that were conducive to my mental and spiritual health. For the first time, I felt like I was being heard and presented with solutions that I could actually use to take care of myself.