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Normal-ish: Normalising Conversations around Mental Health was an event that aimed to do just that. Making talking about mental health in Muslim spaces, normal…ish.

This event was proudly sponsored by Xcessories by Asma and Alda’s Crafts.

When the team started working on this event earlier on in the year, the original plan was to do a classic workshop or lecture on the Islamic Perspective on Mental Health. However, after a few days, we all came to the agreement that we want to flip the narrative. Whilst conversations around Islam and Mental Health are great, and still needed – we wanted to invite an audience that wanted to hear about hope, growth, success.

We had real people, with lived experiences, who manifested and relished in their faith whilst talking about their journeys and allowed us focus on what someone can gain from their mental health, what they can learn, and what they have won.

Root25 was the perfect venue for such an event. It was warm and fit our theme perfectly. Delicious drinks flowed from the cafe bar all evening, with incredible handmade snacks and sweet treats to add to the ambiance, it was really a comfortable Home of Restless Beings.

We kicked off the evening with Faisal Hussain (ADHD Visualised) who told us about his experience of growing up with combined-type ADHD and Dyspraxia, which he only discovered in the last couple of years. He provided us with a window into his world; as a young boy in a school system that just didn’t understand his needs or talents, and shared with us his behaviours and thought patterns throughout life. His growth story was captivating, and was encapsulated by his words, “Being high functioning, my ADHD and answers were masked and were not diagnosed. 12 years of adversity or a decade of growth?”. Faisal goes into more detail on an unmissable episode of our Mindful Muslim Podcast (#39).

Faisal was followed by our very own, Warisa Hussain, who shared her personal experiences and intimate poetry for the first time in front of an audience, and made a stamp on the hearts of many. Warisa shared her experiences of being engaged to a narcissist who psychologically abused her and how it lead to her developing PTSD. She told us she was re-traumatised when she had a horrifying accident and doctors told her she may never be able to walk again. Her poetry was so eloquent and we are honoured to have been the first hosts!

“He sends gifts, often disguised as calamities, They tried to break me physically and mentally, but guess what? Someone went to therapy!”

After a short break announcing The Mindful Box winner, our proud sponsor – Yasmin from Alda’s Craft told us her personal story of why she chose to sponsor this event and how her business came about. Yasmin told us about her cultural challenges and harrowing experiences as she filed for a divorce from her husband and how that impacted her mental health. As a single mother, with a small business, who supported our values, it was an honour to have her as our sponsor.

Adam Afghan then took the stage where he shared with us his story of OCD and healing. Adam brought home the message of how important it is for men to talk about their mental health and more importantly rely on those around you, talk with them and seek support. Adam shared where his journey with OCD started, and how “through therapy he gained a toolkit to deal with OCD”. He placed great emphasis on how the Quran is “a literal healing” and materialised how “trials and tribulations come in waves”. Our podcast episode with Adam Afghan (#21) is also one to be watched!

Spoken Word artist, Annotate performed “Descent into Madness” which quite an evoking performance. It did not hide the dark side that comes with experiencing mental health issues and the array of thoughts and feelings one may experience. Raw and moving, he performed with passion and as there were heads nodding around the room, eyes closing, and smiles of relief spread across people’s faces, it was palpable to see how Annotate’s performance touched the minds of many.

“The weight of the world on my shoulders, if I hide my emotions, they would deem me a soldier.”

The night ended with Maghrib, but the buzz continued as the audience got to have the chance to speak 1-1 with some of our speakers, wind down, finish their snacks + drinks and browse our shop products that were available to purchase. It was a brilliant event, with a clear demand for more, Alhamdulillah!

Did you attend Normalish? We would love to hear your feedback! You can watch our highlights on Instagram, make sure you follow us on all socials and are signed up to our newsletter so you can keep an eye out for when the next event is!

We’re hoping to repeat Normalish in the winter – let us know what kind of speakers/growth stories you would like to hear and see!

Meanha Begum

Meanha Begum is currently studying a degree in Islamic Psychology where she has been given the blessing to explore her passions, Islam and Psychology. She relishes in the insight of an Islamic perspective to incorporate into psychology, to help those who have never been given a chance that every devout muslim, and non muslim deserves. Which is why she considers Inspirited Minds to be a huge blessing in her life. She has been brought up in a heavy western environment, where Islam was once far from her reach, but through trials and tribulations, she has managed to come out stronger and closer to Allah than ever before. It's simply her experiences, ideas, and open nature that pushes her towards wanting to help others out of their vulnerable places, through their journey, and into happiness, with tranquil souls.

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