PETALING JAYA, Sept 4 — Watching a loved one struggle with their mental health can often leave those around them feeling helpless and defeated.
Malaysian banker Najmi Nawawi faced such a dilemma after his wife was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder four years ago.
The couple's love and perseverance however helped them to bear the weight of the affliction together.
Najmi wants to encourage people not to give up on family or friends who are battling mental illness by narrating his wife’s experience with depression and anxiety on Facebook.
In a now viral post, Najmi talks about the challenges he and his wife, known as Husna faced, from learning about the importance of medication and proper treatment to hearing cruel assumptions from people who saw Husna’s illnesses as divine punishment for not being religious enough.
The father-of-two added that it still brings tears to his eyes recalling tough moments from those four years, including a time where one of Husna's panic attacks resulted in her losing her judgment and attempting to stab him with a key.
More than 20,000 people have since shared Najmi’s post with several users opening up about their own experiences of dealing with mental illness in the comments.
Despite the many hurdles, Najmi and Husna are bravely facing the battle against depression and anxiety as an army of two.
He hopes to destigmatise the topic of mental health by sharing Husna's experience with Malaysians and educating people on the right way to help someone going through depression.
“A sense of responsibility drove me to share the story. If everyone kept quiet and treated (depression) like a shameful disease, this problem won’t be solved.
“Someone needs to speak up. Hopefully, I am doing the right thing,” Najmi said when contacted by Malay Mail.
He also encouraged people to look out for silent cries for help, adding that depression could easily be hidden behind a smile.
“Do not stop supporting your loved ones. They are really in need of your help.
“Just listen to their voices even when they’re not heard.”
If you are under mental distress, please contact the Befrienders at 03-7956-8145/8144, or email [email protected]. For more details on Befrienders helplines in other states, visit www.befrienders.org.my.