'Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light...' Dylan Thomas
Hello, greetings, salam. Thank you for visiting my site. Who am I? I would describe myself as a proud British Muslim, survivor of psychological trauma/torture, mental health campaigner and researcher. I'm also a doctor working in frontline psychiatry for the National Health Service at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. I hold academic posts as Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research in association with Cambridge University and Academic Clinical Fellow in General Adult Psychiatry at King's College London. In recognition of my research and scholarly outputs and my services to public engagement and education (I have lectured to over 75,000 people in 19 countries on five continents worldwide) I was appointed Visiting Professor of Academic Psychiatry at the Carrick Institute for Graduate Studies in Cape Canaveral, USA.
As for my 'journey' so far, I was born in Belfast and raised in Dublin and England before moving to Lebanon where I spent my formative years. Though the country was ravaged by a brutal and bloody civil war, some of the happiest memories in my life were created during this period. Unfortunately the catastrophic consequences of conflict were far-reaching and I was forced to leave my family behind me at 17 years of age. I returned to the UK and started off as a janitor cleaning floors on minimum wage for 70 hours a week to sustain myself. Re-adjusting to the British culture (against a backdrop of Islamophobia and violent extremism (this was around the time of the horrific London 07/07 suicide bombings and there was a spike in anti-Muslim hate crime)) was challenging however these experiences provided me with a precious insight into what life is like for those who are less fortunate (despite being in full-time employment I still managed to secure the grades necessary to matriculate into medical school which was literally a dream come true and my ticket to a better life).
I developed a debilitating episode of psychological distress whilst in medical school that was triggered by the 2006 Lebanon War. I was rendered impoverished and hopeless and was castigated, derided and ostracized by the community that I once belonged to. I will never, ever forget these experiences of human suffering and struggling which continue to shape my core values and worldview. I gradually recovered, resumed my studies with renewed resilience, drive and determination and qualified from medical school in 2011.
My life experiences inspired me to strive for excellence and I was fortunate to receive the 2013 Royal College of Psychiatrists Foundation Doctor of the Year and the 2018 Royal College of Psychiatrists Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year awards which mark the highest level of achievement in psychiatry in the UK. I was also a Finalist for the 2015 and 2017 Royal College of Psychiatrists Psychiatric Communicator of the Year Award in recognition of my services to public engagement and education.
I am passionate about promoting peaceful co-existence and challenging mental health stigma and Islamophobia. I also have an interest in widening participation into medical school and promoting 'parity of esteem' between physical health and mental health. I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to advocate for people who have mental health issues and to receive recognition for my services.
Well, enough from me for now. Thank you for making it this far and please don't hesitate to contact me for further information or if you wish to share your own story of survival with me for we must, after all, stand together in solidarity and collectively normalize mental illness as we do physical illness. To conclude with the inspirational words of Dr Adam Hill from his poignant paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine:
'When I embraced my vulnerability and came out proud with my mental illness, many others also wanted to be heard, enough of us to start a cultural revolution...'