Tag: mental health

Mental Health & Marriage

Mental Health & Marriage

So what does one normally do when they deal with mental health issues and end up married? Obviously build up walls, close your darkness away, bottles things up until you can’t handle it anymore and then breakdown in front of your partner over something completely irrelevant making them feel like they’re not doing enough. Right?

Men’s Mental Health

There is still a huge stigma surrounding mental health. Mental health can feel like a taboo subject for men living in Dubai yet 77% of men report experiencing mental health symptoms. Mental health symptoms can often be ignored and only addressed once they become unmanageable. 

How to Support a Friend with their Mental Health?

Research has shown that 42% of university students experience serious emotional or mental health problems with 26% of these students having a current mental health diagnosis. However, 78% of students report hiding the symptoms from those around them due to fear or stigmatisation. Providing a supportive environment for your friends to be open and honest about their mental health is an important step to help them to seek treatment and improve their mental health.

How to have these conversations?

Ask open questions: Open questions such as ‘What can I do to support you with that?’ give more scope for conversation and are more likely to encourage your friend to open up about their concerns.

Closed questions such as ‘Are you going to have any carbs with that?’ invite closed answers i.e. yes or no. Open questions can sound gentler and less direct.

Try to be supportive and understanding when you ask questions. ‘Why’ questions can feel quite aggressive sometimes. For instance, asking ‘What is it about this situation that’s worrying you?’ might seem less intimidating than ‘Why are you doing that?’

Practice reflective listening: This can be helpful both in communicating that you’ve really heard what your friend is trying to say, and in reflecting back emotions that your friend might not even be aware of.
So use phrases such as:
‘It sounds as if…’
• ‘It seems that…’
• ‘What I understand is that…’
• ‘So it’s almost as if…’

Read more


  • Educate yourself about mental health
  • Know your own boundaries
  • Let your friends know you are there for them
  • Learn where to signpost your friends if their mental health worsens
  • Encourage them to seek help
  • Respond with empathy and listen to how they feel
    • Don’t minimise their feelings or experiences  
  • Ask how you can help them
  • Inform others if your worried about the safety of your friend
  • Look out for risk factors
  • Remember to look after yourself and your own mental health
    • Get support if you need it

How to Deal with Exam Stress?

Exam season can be difficult. Most people dread exam season and the pressure it brings with its tedious hours of revision, last-minute panics, and anxiety-inducing post-exam chats with friends. It is normal to feel a bit worried about exams and achieving the grades you would 

How to Practice Mindfulness?

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of one’s physical, mental, and emotional condition in a specific moment with ourselves and our environment. It is non- reactive experience where you accept and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without 

Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse

Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse

July 5, 2022

At least 1 in 16 people have been affected by someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD.) This does not include people who have toxic and narcissistic personality traits or the ones who have not been diagnosed.

Narcissistic abuse has become a reason why many women and men seek professional help.

Being consistently manipulated and undermined can cause someone to feel trapped and become a shadow of the person they once were.

Having experienced narcissistic abuse myself, I understand the impact of it and how it prevents us from living the life we want and deserve.

Over the years I have helped many clients to evaluate their relationships, recognise and heal from narcissistic abuse.

What is it?

Narcissistic abuse refers to the emotional, physical, sexual, or financial forms of abuse that a narcissist inflicts on others. It is a pattern of highs and lows in which the narcissist confuses their partner through manipulation and premeditated behaviours aimed at making their partner question themselves.

Narcissistic abuse can range from mild putdowns to severe, life-threatening violence.

Narcissist – the Charmer

Meeting a narcissist often feels exhilarating and like a dream come true.

Everyone around you seems to like them, they always know how to act and what to say. They put you on a pedestal and shower you with love, gifts and undivided attention.

This goes on for a while… perhaps weeks even months….

Narcissist is on his best behaviour until he realises that you are IN…

Signs of narcissistic abuse

The relationship starts to feel weird; you know something is off but you cannot put your finger on it. The magic is gone, and you are desperately trying to hold on to the memories and feelings you used to have when you first met and hope that somehow it will come back.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you may frequently feel angry, confused, or neglected. Keep in mind that narcissistic abuse isn’t always easy to detect. You may feel that you are being overly sensitive and insecure. Narcissists will trivialise and belittle your emotions. It becomes impossible for you to feel seen and validated. Instead you will consistently hear backhanded compliments, put downs, or accusations.

You might even question your own reality and wonder if you’re making this up and you are the “crazy one.” Narcissists may convince you that you are imagining things or deny that certain events happened.

You find yourself constantly walking on eggshells. You are always vigilant and your life is dominated with attempts to appease the abusive partner. You constantly play scenarios in your head, predicting how your partner will react and you often fear saying the wrong thing. Because you are so afraid of their disapproval, you train yourself to avoid confrontation, withdraw or even become mute. After trying all possible ways to save the relationship and get through to your partner, you feel so helpless and frustrated. Every time you feel or show rage, you automatically feel guilty and once again attempt to rescue the situation at the cost of your own peace and sanity. You apologise for things you have not done. In the process you lose your dignity and self respect.

This relationship feels like a drug. You know it is not good for you, but you are so addicted that you cannot stop.

It is impossible to have a reasonable conversation with a narcissist. Somehow your partner always feels right and justified in what they are doing. They may even apologise for their part, however the way they do does not feel authentic or heartfelt. It may sound something like – “You shouldn’t have taken it this way” or “I did that but what you did was much worse”.

Sometimes, when a narcissist feels that you have reached your boiling point and you are ready to walk away, they may offer to attend therapy or even show up with an engagement ring.

Having what you always wanted and hoped for, may feel encouraging at first. You may feel like the relationship is on the right track. Unfortunately, most of the time, the honeymoon phase does not last very long. As soon as narcissist has your attention, they lose interest and revert to the old ways.

One of the indicatives of a narcissistic abuse is control. The need to feel in control equals safety and feeling significant.

When the need for control is jeopardised, narcissists may react in extreme ways to restore their position. This can include threats, intimidations, or punishment. Even though they are the ones who are the perpetrators they will make themselves look like a victim and you – the bad guy.

To maintain the position of power, narcissists may monitor you, ask you lots of questions, ask you where you are going, who you message, who you spend your time with. They restrict your privacy and slowly remove your support system. They may also isolate you from their family and friends which can leave you feeling insignificant.

In the area of intimacy and closeness, narcissists knows what you need and how you would like to be treated and romanced. They will however find a way to withhold the affection from you. They may pretend they forgot about your birthday, refuse to have a heart-to-heart conversations, avoid holding hands or making love. They will make you feel like you do not deserve it unless you correct your behaviour and make it up to them.

Throughout the relationship you feel rejected and abandoned but you still desperately try to appear more attractive to your partner and earn their love and respect. All that is making you feel empty and worthless, but every time your family and friends ask you about how you and your partner doing, you make it sound like things are just fine.

You hope that if you try hard enough, you will be able to change them. The truth is that narcissist is unable to feel empathy or view people as whole beings with needs and feelings. Instead, they usually perceive them as objects. Unless they undergo long-term treatment, they may never improve.

Walking away

Falling in love with a narcissist is easy to do but walking away is not. Especially, after having your self-esteem destroyed.
Recovering from this toxic relationship takes time because, after such a relationship, everyone seems threatening. The manipulation of such a partnership has likely isolated victims from a support system that could help in recovery, so it is essential to revisit the past to understand better how to heal and regain your power back.
You may benefit from attending a support group or talking to a therapist.
Recovering from narcissistic abuse often entails re-examining your self-esteem and self-worth. How do you feel about yourself? How firm are your boundaries with yourself and others? Do you feel worthy and lovable?

In therapy, I help my clients explore why and how they got into these toxic relationships. This often involves exploring childhood wounds and people-pleasing tendencies. A good sign that the person is healing is when the trust in self and trust in others is restored.

Apart from therapy, I always encourage to implement more self-care in your daily routine. Take time to rest, eat well, and exercise.
I have seen many people recovering from narcissistic abuse and building healthy and loving relationships. This can be you if you only decide to give yourself and love another try.

Ania Lidia

As a qualified counsellor and a life coach for many years, I have helped people heal from past trauma, overcome low selfesteem, anxiety, depression. 
Having survived narcissistic abuse myself, over the last 8 years I carried out extensive research which allowed me to develop a bespoke coaching programme called Relationship Ready. This programme helped many clients to evaluate their existing relationships, break toxic patterns, recover from abuse and built healthy & fulfilling relationships. 

Ania can be reached at:

Email- info@lifecoachindubai.com

Instagram- @anialidiacoaching


Ania Lidia
Managing Expectations: A Simpler Way of Life

Managing Expectations: A Simpler Way of Life

Definition of expectations: you are expected to show up to work dressed, not naked.
Let’s look at this analogy for what it is, without any hidden connotations. This is a simple outcome that is considered an appropriate action within society.
I personally have a love-hate relationship with this term. Known as the number one initiator to stress, this term has an even more comprehensive level of misunderstanding and destruction attached to it.

Mental Health Disruptions During COVID-19

Mental Health Disruptions During COVID-19

Mental health disruptions are one of the biggest concerns for people during this time. It refers to the changes in mood, thought patterns, and even the way individual views themselves. People are thinking of ways to stay healthy and how to avoid getting sick, but many forget to take care of their mental health as well. Mental health disruption can occur in several ways during COVID-19.

Grief Beyond Tears

Grief Beyond Tears

Nov 1, 2021

Grief in recent times

If you’ve read about grief or loss at some point in your life, you must’ve heard about the classic 5 stages which end with the last stage being acceptance. While drafting this article, I questioned how simplistic this view of grief has been illustrated as and how the road to acceptance can rarely be categorized as stages that are linear. Grief is messy and ugly, without any timelines on when it may finally feel less painful. During this pandemic, the cumulative grief that people have withheld is so vast that almost each individual is familiar with the feeling of loss. Whether it’s the loss of identity, occupation, livelihood, health and the worst, your loved ones, this pandemic certainly took something integral away from each and every one of us.

In a recent study, it has been concluded that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its direct and collateral damage, depression in the US has risen by a factor of 3. It has been noted that among individuals ages 18-35, 43% of surveyed adults have found themselves ‘highly lonely’ due to the restrictive and socially distanced lifestyle that the pandemic brought on the world. What this really makes me wonder is that, although now working towards a new phase post-COVID-19, we certainly have a lot of long-term mental health effects of coronavirus that we need to cater to. This begins with shedding light on one of the most prevalent ones: Grief and Loss.

Why and what do we grieve?

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” — Leo Tolstoy

Love is one of the strongest and human emotions one can feel. This love is not of only one kind; it can be for a person, for an experience, for an occupation, for a phase or even role in your life. When we lose anything that we once loved so greatly, we feel a hollow sense of emptiness and in essence a sudden loss of purpose too. As humans, we try to avoid thinking of all circumstances that could result in hurt or pain, therefore we are completely unprepared for such losses. And honestly, there is no preparation for loss; you can’t quantify how much something means to you until it has completely left your life. This loss translates into grief.

Grief has many textbook literal definitions but the one that I like the most is this: ‘Grief is really just love. All the love you have that has no place to go’. We grieve the loss of a part of our life because we can’t feel that emotion or experience in the same way again. We miss it and we want to experience it the way we used to again. This sometimes awakens other emotions of remorse and guilt for not having done enough to celebrate at the time. But ultimately, it is still just grief. Sometimes it’s not the tangible or physical loss that we crave, sometimes it’s the fear that with enough time, we might not recollect as much as we want to as nature takes its course; for time does not heal all wounds but does make the scars fade away.

Growing through Grief

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

One would hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel when we talk about dealing with loss. It’s not to say that light doesn’t exist in the process of grieving, but this light tends to be one which is flickering and unreliable. Grief is not condition that you remain in or leave entirely. It is something you grow with and potentially discover many tumultuous meanings of life through as well. Grief does not have a clear beginning or a definitive end to it. Sometimes your loss can be replaced with positive things but grief still remains. And that’s okay. Our loss is as unique as our individual self and so is our grieving process. Like other mental health issues, we can never assume how one is processing their individual battle. For some people, grief is messy and an emotional whirlwind, but for some it looks like a highly productive, socially active life with a seemingly ‘happy’ demeanor.

You learn a lot about savoring life and being a grounded person once you come to terms with your loss. It’s never an easy process but you certainly grow with it. It teaches you something that no one can possibly ever, and equips you with the understanding of impermanence which is a concept needed for life. For where there is love and desire, there will always be room for grief and disappointment.


John Drake, The Psychological Trauma Of Covid-19, Forbes


Essentials on Surviving, Coping and Healing- Raymee Grief Center.

Manahil Ijaz

An expat in Dubai who loves engaging with diverse people and having honest conversations about life, through her blog- Egoiste Life. As a passionate artist, Manahil spends most of her weekends writing about the world, reading poetry and creating adventurous memories with the people she loves.

Manahil can be reached at:

Email- egoistethoughts@gmail.com

IG- @egoistelife

Website- egoistelife.com

Manahil Ijaz
The Inner Child

The Inner Child

As a child, our gratification system is so simple that happiness seems like it’s right around the corner. Happiness is a feeling which is destined, not craved. It is abundantly available from several resources and very few things or people have the power of taking it away from you.