The First One to Leave

After the last twelve weeks, you would think I would be better at goodbyes, but no, this one was difficult. Jane was the first to graduate out of our Intensive Outpatient Program at the DBT Center of Houston. As clinical as it sounds, the program is more like a college course where a group of us came together to learn skills that would help us to better navigate life, including mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance.

If I’m being honest, my first impression of Jane was “why the fuck is she even here…?” She appeared to me to be the opposite of everything a psych patient should look like. She was smart, successful, and organized in a way that I’d never been, but it was as this thought crossed my mind that I learned one of the first lessons of DBT: you can not assume what another person is thinking or feeling

As we covered this chapter, I felt ashamed. Here I was, parading as an influencer, telling others to de-stigmatize mental health, yet I was judging what a psych patient should look like.

This notion continued to be challenged as more and more people were added to our group. We were all different but the same in the sense that we were trying to better our lives, and we were in it together—like a band of misfits hidden in a creaky, white house in the Heights, which had become our safe space. Or rather, we’d become a safe space for each other, and now, it was time to say goodbye.

But it wasn’t goodbye for good. It was more like “see you later.” And as Jane left, I knew she would be okay. She now had the skills to face whatever awaited her in the real world, and soon, I would too.

As I’ve Gotten Older…

I’ve started to tell people how much I love them more often.

Family, friends, even strangers…

It’s not that I’m not sincere with those words or that I throw them around frivolously.

I mean it.

I have so much love to give. We all do, and I truly believe love to be the most powerful energy in the world.

Imagine what life would like for us all if we gave a little more of it—to ourselves and to each other.


I went to visit my grandmother’s grave yesterday.

Right beside it is my uncles grave, and as I stood there, one of my husband’s closest friends was being buried directly across from them.

I would have never expected this.

There were decades of differences between them all, yet here they were—laid to rest hardly a few feet from one another.

Before 2020, I’d never visited a cemetery. I was afraid to, but the last few years have changed me.

They’ve changed us all, I think.

The pandemic was a reminder of our mortality, and now, with the flooding in Pakistan, we’ve been reminded of the dangers of climate change.

The world is changing quickly. I don’t know what the future holds for me (or for any of us, really), but I hope I’m able to leave the world a better place than before.

It Frustrates Me When…

…People only share the good in their life on social media, 

Especially “influencers” 

Thus creating an unrealistic standard for what life is supposed to look like 

There are too many people struggling with mental health because of this 

They’re comparing themselves constantly to the highlight reels of others

Not realizing what they’re seeing is a facade

I’d like to challenge more people to share the truth.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of every day, 

Despite the judgment. 

I remember when I first began to share stories from my life on social media. 

The loudest critics were those that I considered my closest friends

And the kindest were those I’d never met before, 

Strangers online. 

I drowned out all the noise, and focused on one thing: 

Sharing my truth, 

And I’ll continue to do this till the day I die. 

How Are You Really Doing?

Today, someone asked me how I was really doing.

I’m not sure why that made me pause. I suppose it’s because I’m so used to being asked “how are you” in more of a I-don’t-actually-give-AF manner, but this time was different. It felt like a loaded question.

How was I really doing?

I talk about mental health a lot online, but when was the last time I truly checked in with myself?

If I’m being honest—with myself, with you—life has been like a fog lately. A thick, grey fog.

I can’t seem to clear the cloud in my mind. I can’t seem to do much of anything, really. My to-do list is growing longer and longer, but the items remain unchecked.

Am I lazy?

Or am I burnt out?

Is it something else entirely?

You might scoff if I mention that I have ADHD. I didn’t have it as a child. It appeared in my mid-twenties and has only worsened with age.

“She’s always trying to come up with new problems for attention,” you might say. “Along with her BPD, anxiety, insomnia…”

I’d argue then that mental health issues are more interrelated than we might realize, and here is where the real problem comes in.

I can take a pill for my BPD, and it helps. But if I take a pill for my ADHD, it makes my BPD worse, which makes everything worse…

There is no quick fix.

This time, I must get to the source of the fog if I hope to clear it, but every time I try, I get distracted.

A Pakistani-American Mother’s POV on “Gentle Parenting”

We are knee-deep in the trenches of potty training.

Lily is a sweet but stubborn three-year-old girl that has no problem using the potty at school, but when she’s home, she wants a pull-up.

And she wants mom to change it…

I thought maybe I wasn’t being firm enough, so yesterday, I wrestled her for half an hour to get her to sit on the potty.

Spoiler Alert: Nothing Happened

I stepped away for a minute to grab my phone, and by the time I’d returned, my child had hopped off the potty and peed all over the kitchen floor.

I was livid.

I began to yell and called my husband to help clean her up.

While he bathed her, I stepped aside to collect myself and clean the kitchen floor. I felt like a failure as a mother. How could her teacher get her to use the potty but not me? What was I doing wrong?

Once I’d cleaned the mess, I returned to the bathroom where my daughter was shaking and crying hysterically.

I didn’t raise my voice often, so she didn’t know how to react when I did.

That’s when I realized that my child was scared… of me…

My husband looked at her and looked at me, and said, “Do better, because this is not okay.”

And I agreed with him. It took me seeing my daughter shaking and crying in the bathroom to finally understand that I am my child’s safe space.

She feels safe making mistakes with me, and if I’m not gentle, that will change. She will start to lie and hide as I did, and I won’t be able to be there to be her rock. Instead, I’ll be a barrier to her, and that’s the last thing that I want.

More importantly, that’s the last thing that she needs.

I apologized to her multiple times at bedtime. I even held her against my chest and played with her hair until she fell asleep, but I still felt like shit.

I’d messed up.

I am, however, giving myself grace as I hope you all will, and I’m committing to doing better.

I’m committing to gentle parenting.