Danis journey

On the 24th May after 5 gruelling weeks in a hospital that dismissed all our concerns, Dani was transferred to a specialist hospital. I remember my phone ringing , i just woke up from my nap and my dad was on the phone. I knew something was wrong just by the way he said my name. He said ‘Dani’s got cancer’ and i just remember feeling like i was going to die. I remember the feeling of dread. My dad told me not to worry and that it was curable and he had a good chance, but those words meant nothing to me. There was still the chance he wouldnt make it. I remember my dad saying some other things to comfort me but all i would say is ok. My mouth was talking for me, i knew he was saying something but i remember it feeling like background noise and all i could hear was my heart pounding in my chest. Dani has a rare form of leukaemia called Burkitt lymphoma leukaemia.

I cant remember much else from that day. But my anxiety had gotten so bad i was shaking and vomiting all day so i wasnt allowed to see my brother because i had to appear strong and normal infront of him. I wasnt allowed to cry or drown in my depression, i was straight away told to be strong for my brother. I had no choice but to smile. I didnt want dani finding out he had cancer. Dani had a tube put in his chest for his treatment. I remember coming home and crying myself to sleep every night. Dani was starting to wonder why he had tubes in his chest and why he was being put to sleep for lumbar punctures. So we were advised to tell him. I made the decision to tell him he had leukaemia, i remember breaking the news to him and i remember how well he took it. But dani didnt know leukaemia is blood cancer. Had i told him that he would automatically link cancer to death. I told him he had some bad cells in him which needed to be removed so his good cells could repair his body. Over the next 2 weeks dani had intensive chemotherapy and lumbar punctures every 2 days. It was the hardest thing in the world. I wish it wouldve been me. I remember begging and crying asking why god , why him. Hes just an innocent child. I lost all my faith that week. I would cry till my eyes hurt.

His hair started to fall out and his mouth would bleed, he stopped being able to eat so he had to have an NG tube put into his nose. I remember seeing his hair fall out in clumps. He would sleep for days at a time and was vomiting if he was awake. He stopped being able to walk or go to the bathroom, or even lift his head up off the bed. I watched my brother deteriorate infront of my eyes. Every time i slept at that hospital i remember watching him go to sleep and checking him every now and again to make sure he was still breathing. Dani didnt talk for a week, he was in so much pain. He would get fevers where he would shake uncontrollably.

His sickness got so bad that the other end of the NG tube came out from his stomach through his mouth. He was so scared but he would tell me he was ok. I remember him saying im ok im ok , while the nurse pulled the tube out back from his nose. He never complained, he just took all the pain life threw at him. So far he has months of chemo left before we even find out that the treatments working. But this is Danis journey so far. Danis favourite superhero is batman.. little does he know, hes the bravest superhero ive ever known.

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The Terror’s of Cyberspace (A South-Asian Woman’s Perspective).

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Image subject to copyright: David Cowles for Fast company

For as long as social media has existed, women have been targeted to abuse and rape threats often by the opposite sex. It is hard enough being a woman with a voice on the internet, but being a Pakistani woman is a slightly different experience. Pakistani women’s experiences of online abuse differ due to the lack of support from family and the community. Being harassed on social media is a heartbreaking experience but its worse when you feel like you’re on your own.

My parents would always tell me to never post my pictures online because they were afraid that they would be misused or that i would be stalked. They were worried about what people would think if my images were to get into the wrong hands. My cultures social taboo’s and stigmas were making it hard for me to have a voice and presence on the internet. Although my parents themselves would never victim blame, they were afraid that the community would make that judgement and that life would become even harder for me. At first i myself was too scared to post my images online and to speak my mind. But the time came for me to start my Masters in Journalism and i knew i had to build an online presence in order for me to be able to do my work. How hard would it have been for me to find potential interviewee’s for my stories had i not had my profile picture up, had i not had a set number of followers or even a presence online. Nobody in their right minds would agree to be interviewed by some random from the internet with a non existing profile picture or any sort of biography. I know i definitely wouldn’t.

So as i was nearing the end of my Bachelors degree, i started building my profile so that i would be able to do any social media research with ease. I began researching to see if i was the only one facing this problem. I thought i just had strict Pakistani parents who did not understand social media the way that i did. To my surprise i found some research by the DRF on how Pakistani women were afraid to post their pictures online out of fear of misuse. Although honour killings are the extreme end of the spectrum, Qandeel Baloch’s example still remains imminent. Qandeel Baloch was a social media celebrity and actress. Her death was the result of an honour killing at the hands of her brother. Qandeel Baloch not only got a lot of love online but also a lot of hate. Her brother asphyxiated her in her sleep because he argued that she was tarnishing the family’s honour. It is due to these notions of honour that women are afraid of speaking out about online abuse.  A number of Pakistani women’s deaths have links to social media. Therefore it is important to explore this link and to see if anything can be done to prevent it.

Pakistani women are afraid of reporting their abuse and seeking help due to these notions of honour that exist within the south asian community. I myself have been subject to a lot of online abuse and even threats, i myself have had my images misused. It is important to raise awareness around this issue to ensure Pakistani women are able to ask for help before things get out of hand. Pakistani women should not have to silence themselves in fear of victim blaming and judgement. They should be able to freely express themselves on the internet. They should be able to ask for help when they need it. We cannot just ‘log off’. Threats online can easily transfer to threats in real life. We should not have to suffer alone.

I’am no longer afraid of what people might think, i’m no longer afraid of trolls, death threats or vile insults. I have the support of my parents although it did not come easy and now i live for me and not peoples opinion. I couldn’t be happier.

The issue of online harassment is close to my heart so i decided to focus my final masters project around it. I want to raise awareness because although there is some research on the issue, there is very little. So i would appreciate any personal stories and experiences. I would be more than happy to anonymise names.

My contact details are below.

Email: Sana.Mahmood@mail.bcu.ac.uk

Instagram: @_AnaSana

Thank you for reading.

Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be. -Wayne Dyer

We’ve all been there. We have all planned the way we want our lives to be one day. We’ve all thought we’d still have those people in our lives, the ones who left. Mourning for people who are still alive is achingly painful. We become so engulfed in these thoughts about them, these fantasies, so much that we begin to place people on pedestals. We see them as how we want them to be, not how they are. We see things the way we’ve trained our minds to. The brain is so complex that it can be your worst enemy when you lose someone. So train your brain. Change your mind set. Because, why? Why do we need to plan ahead? Have you ever found that the moments you plan dont actually go according to plan, and the ones you do not plan are some of the best moments of your life. The spontaneous ones. So save yourself from the heart ache. Breathe. Stop thinking about one day. Stop thinking about what was. You cannot change it. Think about today. Learn to love your own company. Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. Some people are alone but they are happy.

When you are left, dont ask for closure, dont think about why. Be grateful because you dodged that bullet. Think about all the ways in which you have been wronged, put them down on paper. The more you write them and the more you read them, the easier it will get for you to not just remember the good times, the fantasies. But it will imprint the negative events leading up to your situation into your brain. Which is the reality of it and not what you thought it was. Do this, it will help you heal. If you’re on the other end of betrayal and heartache, make a list of the pro’s and con’s of that person. Whether it be a friend or a lover. Your list will most definitely have more con’s. Think about it. Let it sink in. Is that what you want your life to be? You deserve more than just to settle. You deserve it all.

Im more active on instagram if anyone wants to follow me that would be great!

Instagram:_anasana

Thank you for breaking my heart.

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Dear you,

I’am writing this to thank you. Thank you for breaking my heart, for giving up on me again and again. Each time you did it hurt a little less. The first few times caused me unspeakable amounts of hurt but if you hadnt done that… i would’ve never realised how broken our relationship really was. I was so focused on making things work with you i destroyed myself. We both know great relationships only come from two people working together at the hardest of times. Through the pain you have caused me i have found people in my life who have constantly been there, no matter how much of a mess i was, no matter how unlovable, hurt or low i would feel. They loved me anyway. You caused me unspeakable unspeakable amounts of pain. Pain that i would have never caused you. Infact if i could take all your pain away from you.  I would take it away. That is how much i once loved you. But if there is a god up there watching, seeing my hurt. You will too  experience this. One day you will be far too invested in someone and they will turn around and throw you away.

If you hadnt left me, i would have just been settling. After all, who wants to be with someone who views their relationship as something disposable. A man who thinks so little of you they’d rather not have you in their lives. Thank you for leaving me crying all those times you didnt turn up, all those messages you didnt return, all those nights i came after you and you ran-away and left me begging you to come back. Thank you for ignoring me and for disrespecting me. The truth is even though you didnt speak to me, i got so many messages through your silence alone.  Words are cheap, its actions that speak to you. Thank you for making me aware of the qualities i dont want in a man and the qualities i do.  I cant guarantee i wont hurt again but if there’s one thing i did learn from our relationship is to never get too invested too quick, in someone who’s far less invested in you. So Thank you for making me cautious, for making me stronger. For loving me even just for a moment. For the good memories and the bad. I dont wish you ill, but i dont wish you the best. I want you to someday experience what i’ve experienced. I want you to think of me and remember the ways in which you dragged my heart through the mud. You were so focused on protecting yourself, you didnt realise you hurt me in the process. Thank you for helping me let go of a relationship that was over a long time ago, a relationship that no longer involved respect or mutual understanding, communication or mutual love and forgiveness. 

But now when i pass you by, i will be too numb to feel a thing and i will look right through you like what we shared didnt exist. Cause after all, if it had existed in the way that i thought. You would have never left. The man that i loved no longer exists, i look at you and its not the same. I’am embarrassed by how little effort it took for you to make me stay, to come back all those times you’d leave. I was so desperate for you to love me, i was grateful for the mere scrap of effort you’d sometimes make. For months i thought, i dont know and im not sure were words that meant what they said but they didnt. I dont know means NO. ‘I dont know means please do the dirty work for me because i dont want to hurt your feelings more than i already have’. I will not let you call me to ease your guilt, I will not let you in again. We Were once stuck in an unhealthy pattern of misery. We would be happy, things would be good for a while and then you’d start acting weird, distant.. and i would freak. Eventually you would reveal that you no longer thought things were going to work. I would beg, i would plead and then you would plead sorry and we’d be back at it again. Thank you for showing me what i dont want the man i marry to be like. I have mourned the loss of people before and now i will mourn the loss of you. But i will be stronger. Thank you.

Thank you for breaking my heart over and over.

This is my closure.

Sincerely,

Me.

Breakup Buddy

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If you’re reading this chances are you’re

A) Going through a breakup

B) About to breakup

C) Just stalking my blog, in which case, carry on.

I know you must feel like you’re dying right now but the good news is theres light at the end of the tunnel. Sometime’s people change, sometimes things dont end up the way you wish they would. If you’re feeling like your ex, or other half doesnt love you. Chances are they probably dont. When someone loves you they do everything in their power to show you. This is something both you the reader and I the writer, know. Yes it sucks, it sucks to always feel like your’e second best. Just because the person you’re inlove with now doesnt see your worth, doesnt mean you’re not the special sparkly flower that you are. You are a badass. One day somebody will come along and love you the way you deserve to be loved. But you’re never going to experience that if you’re still hungover somebody who’s not giving you what you deserve.

“Even with all the mayonnaise in the world, you cant make salad out of chicken shit, Feel free to apply that wisdom to your bad relationship”.

A while ago i ordered a book called, “its Called a Breakup because its Broken” , yes the title is pretty self explanatory.

Its not just any old book, its the funniest book ive read in a long time, and here are some quotes to cheer you up and shed light on the situation you’re experiencing.

“Wasting time in a relationship that blows is just that — wasted time”.

If you’ve been treated like crap and you ended the relationship and are now sitting there wondering why he didnt come after you, or why he didnt care. Chances are ‘he broke up with you months ago and let you do the dirty work’. Yes we’ve all been through it. “Its a weird passive aggressive trick men have perfected for centuries. Chances are he didnt want to hurt your feelings, so he behaved in a way that would make you breakup with him. I call this the Backhanded Breakup”. Women may ofcourse too do this.

Also stop checking his or her social media. Because the next thing you know you’re going to end up outside his or her house with your binoculars, like me. Just kidding, im not that crazy.. or maybe iam.

“What did heartbroken people do before phones? Come home and stare at the mailbox?” If he wanted to be with you, he’d text you and he’d call you to let you know. Checking your phone isnt going to make him magically want to call you and start crying about how sorry he is. It wont even make him stand outside your house and serenade you. This is real life not a movie. Put down your phone, and be the badass that you are. Occupy your time with something thats worth your time.

“Its and odd thing to think about but try imagining that your breakup is a disease. If you were told that you had a serious yet curable disease, would you go get hammered on a regular basis? Eat two bags of oreos? Chain-smoke, pop pills, get stoned or f*ck around? NO YOU WOULDNT. You would take great care of yourself and cut all the unhealthy things out of your life”.

“Awesome thought: Your new boyfriend isnt standing outside your ex-boyfriends apartment building, so you shouldnt be either”.

 

 

All quotes used belong entirely to authors Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola Behrendt.

Image sourced from http://www.Irishtimes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethics matter in flower shops.

Who would think that people are cautious about where they get their flowers simply because of where they are exported from. According to a local flower shop owner people are less likely to buy flowers imported from Israel. The owner also has to be as ethical and as fair as he can be in importing his flowers and therefore claims to do his research before ensuring that the environment in which the flowers grew took care of its workers as well as the flowers themselves. The beautiful multi coloured flowers which he sells need to be injected with some sort of dye while they are still little buds. Doing this at home would of course shorten the plants life but these flowers last up to 3 weeks. The owner  has also planted flowers around the train station as well as having his own stand. I know where im going whenever i need flowers!

 

Nail Polish for 35p?

I was looking around in Superdrug the other day and spotted the ‘B’ range. I’m not sure if it was on offer or if it was the actual price of the nail polish but either way its a bargain right. I only picked up one to try it just incase the quality was rubbish and all. After trying it i was pleasantly surprised! I will definitely be going back to try the rest of the colours. It does however require a couple of coats.  This is the shade 027 innocence, incase anyone wants to try it.

Sleep Paralysis: What Does Science Say?

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So here it is, the first time I ever go public about something that has been driving me insane for years. This is something I’ve had to battle ever since I was a little girl, something that made me feel like I was going crazy at one point. I’d like to share my experiences for those of you who are out there suffering from the same ‘nightmare’. From as far as I remember my sleep paralysis started when I was 11.

 

I have so many questions but not enough answers. After experiencing sleep paralysis more frequently I decided to do my own research upon it. Before I go into that id like to share some short episodes of sleep paralysis that I experienced.

 

It is so utterly confusing to explain because whenever I’ve gotten sleep paralysis I have never remembered going to sleep at all. One minute id be lying there with my eyes open feeling like I was being watched and then id suddenly become paralysed. During these episodes I could not talk or move. Well recently when I turned 19 my sleep paralysis had gotten worse and worse. During the year 2015 id rearranged my room, placing my bed beside my wardrobe mirror. Which meant that I could see myself sleeping. One night I was lying in my bed when I realised I was paralysed. During this episode I heard machinery, metal chains being pulled, almost as if I was in some sort of factory. There was a very loud ringing in my ears and I could feel my head in pain. Since my eyes were the only thing I could move, i caught sight of myself in my wardrobe mirror. Behind my bed where the headboard is I very clearly remember seeing a very tall, thin shadow. This looked like it was hitting something off of my head, the shadow looked like it was almost sort of vibrating. Once I managed to snap out of this episode I had a migraine the entire day. Sometimes whilst experiencing sleep paralysis id feel hands on my stomach, warm hands, I would hear laughing sometimes. Sometimes id even see my sister walk in and out of my room. However the more frequently this happened I realised that this was not my sister at all. I would see my sister facing the other way and never see her face. What’s even more baffling is that I would be able to distinguish whether these ‘shadow people’ or ‘demons’ were female or male. Even though sometimes I didn’t see anyone in my room I still felt like I was being watched, like there was someone in my room.

 

So after doing my own little bit of research, I found that science explains a person is waking up while the body is still asleep. So the REM overlaps the stages of waking up. The body is usually shut off whilst a person is sleeping, this is so that we do not act out our dreams…. Because that would be dangerous. Science does not know why this itself happens. Science explains that because we feel as if there is a presence in the room, we make it a reality due to the fear we experience. Which is basically saying that a hallucination is caused by a hallucination. Makes no sense does it? But where does this fear of a person/ demon being in the room come from in the first place? It has to come from somewhere. A theory is that when a person wakes up paralysed they get scared which activates the threat activated vigilant system. For example if you heard something scary you would be on high alert until you determine whether there is an actual threat or not. However what about those who feel a presence in the room first and then get paralysed?

 

“Scientists using neuroimaging techniques saw that the amygdala (part of the brain) was activated with people having sleep paralysis. They reasoned that this area of the brain was essentially malfunctioning during sleep paralysis. They theorised that the threat activated vigilant system is not able to find a real threat so it creates one. That is the felt presence which would cause the other hallucination.”

-Stopping Sleep Paralysis

They made this claim just by knowing that the amygdala was active during sleep paralysis. However they don’t know whether the feeling of a presence in the room is what comes first or as a result of the first hallucination. Like I said, there may be a real threat in the room which causes this part of the brain to become active. If fear is what causes these hallucinations then what about those who say that they experienced sleep paralysis only after they heard or felt someone in the room. Also what causes people all around the world to see the same ‘shadow people’. I don’t know about you but all this is baffling. What about those who have out of body experiences?

 

There are so many theories out there however we can never be certain of what Is right or wrong. Everything I have mentioned in this article is merely a theory. Scientists until this day do not know what the sole cause of sleep paralysis is. If you’re experiencing this phenomena I will leave some links below which will help you to better understand the situations.

 

Channel 4 Documentary : The entity is also worth a watch, available on Youtube.

 

The Shadow People is a movie made about sleep paralysis and again is just all built from theory however very interesting.

 

There is a book available on sleep paralysis in the link below

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Paralysis-What-How-Stop-ebook/dp/B00IKIMKIO?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0