2 years and a lifetime ago… News

2 years and a lifetime ago…

2 years and a lifetime ago…

Jad is a tailor who has a passion for sewing happy moments. He is also known in his neighborhood in Aleppo for his beautifully tailored wedding dresses.

He had never imagined that he would leave Syria, his dear homeland. But after his house was bombarded, he had to escape to save his family. He was obliged to leave behind the life he built there. He flew to Lebanon, wishing he could tailor his life events, regardless of the atrocity of the context.

He first settled in the South of Lebanon, as his surroundings told him that he might have better opportunities there.  As the days went by, he realized that it won’t be as easy as he imagined. Soon, the dream of restarting his life turned to a nightmare. He was badly treated at work and some people would take advantage of him only because he was a refugee. He was no longer able to be the dad, the husband and the tailor he was before. He felt he had lost his dignity.

Each day, he made a wish: to fall asleep and never wake up again.

His surroundings started convincing him that he is controlled by demons and that he is “crazy”. He felt he was a visitor in his own house. His dark thoughts controlled and conspired against him.

He used to tailor white dresses, he loved happy moments, but he now felt that he was preparing his own funeral. He tried to commit suicide, his wife saved him in the nick of time and she sought help from his parents who were living in the Bekaa valley. They asked them to move and live with them. He was no longer able to work. His thoughts weighed so heavy on his conscience that he could hardly breathe.

When he arrived to the Bekaa, he was a stranger to himself wandering in unknown roads. The places had no name nor meaning for him. His family decided to take him to a neurologist. He prescribed him medications that made his case worse. Everyone was worried about him, until a neighbor referred him to one of the Primary Healthcare Centers where Médecins du Monde (MdM) operates in. His neighbor knew that Jad needed Mental Health support, as he also passed through a similar situation. Mental Health was a blurry term for Jad and his family. In their belief, a man should be always mentally strong but they were ready to do anything to make him feel better.

When he arrived to the center, an MdM case manager listened to his story, she referred him quickly to an MdM psychotherapist, as it was clear that he needed urgent support. He was diagnosed with severe depression and was given information about the condition and treatment options. He was then referred to a psychiatrist who advised him to go to hospital for intensive support. He stayed there for ten days receiving quality care. After finishing this part of the treatment, he went back home, where he would continue to be supported by the case manager, and the psychiatrist. This is when he started to remember who he was. He remembered that he was Jad who loved living.

The Case Manager visited him several times to make sure he knew what happened and helped him get back on track with his family. Jad’s own words “I want a better life” illustrated what kept him going forward.

His wife and children played a crucial role in lifting his spirits, they stood strongly next to him. Little by little, the roads of Bekaa started to have their own identity, his growing hope made the days less blurry. He understood the importance of taking care of his Mental Health, and finally said: “I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel… My faith grew stronger, I became free with my own thoughts. Having someone showing me what I am going through, helping me find ways to see differently, and listening to me without labeling me helped me breathe again… 2 years has passed since this dark period ended… and it feels like 2 years and a lifetime ago…”