IRAQI-KUR­DIS­TAN PSY­CHOL­O­GIST

ELLE (Australia) - - Agenda - MIRNA, 24

I dis­cov­ered Elise­care, a health­care and med­i­cal­train­ing as­so­ci­a­tion, while I was still in my home town of Duhok, Iraq. I ap­plied for a job as a psy­chol­o­gist and have been with the team in Mo­sul for more than a year. There are so many peo­ple suf­fer­ing at the hands of ISIS, and what struck me was the fear I saw in the women’s eyes as they es­caped ISIS ter­ri­tory. I felt the need to reach out and help those who had been dis­placed. I don’t have a day-to-day rou­tine – ev­ery day I have some­thing new to do. I head to Elise­care and my team and I go to the lo­ca­tions of the in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple. I al­ways start my day with a big smile be­cause it makes me feel better, and I hope it makes my pa­tients feel a lit­tle better as well. I see 10 women on av­er­age a day. When I fin­ish, I go back to Duhok to have lunch at home, then con­tinue with train­ings on dif­fer­ent sub­jects, end­ing the day with din­ner with my fam­ily.

See­ing women who were kid­napped by ISIS is really dif­fi­cult. Usu­ally if they’re re­leased, it means the rest of their fam­ily did not make it out, or worse, were killed. I try to help these women to not con­sider sui­cide. In se­vere cases, they’re sent to a hos­pi­tal, or oth­er­wise they’re of­fered med­i­ca­tion to help man­age their daily lives. We try to de­crease the dosage to avoid de­pen­dence, and work through their trauma with coun­selling. Noth­ing makes me hap­pier than to see these women smile once I’m able to help them. See­ing that I’ve helped a woman who was suf­fer­ing from a psy­cho­log­i­cal ill­ness or trauma is deeply grat­i­fy­ing.

I try to leave my work at work. I like to or­gan­ise my ac­tiv­i­ties so I can really fo­cus on things I need to do and dis­con­nect a lit­tle. I love hav­ing time for my­self, singing, do­ing sports, hav­ing pic­nics with fam­ily. Hav­ing a strong con­nec­tion with my friends is also im­por­tant.

Western­ers don’t fully un­der­stand the true na­ture of the trauma suf­fered by lo­cals here. In com­par­i­son, they have fewer prob­lems, es­pe­cially when a mother see­ing her child killed be­comes com­mon­place.

If my mis­sion ends, I would greatly miss my work and my pa­tients. I have a strong de­sire to treat peo­ple in need, so I would love to open up my own prac­tice. I’m con­tin­u­ing my ed­u­ca­tion, study­ing psy­chother­apy and trauma, work­ing to­wards a masters de­gree in or­der to help sur­vivors of ISIS through ther­apy, not med­i­ca­tion.

“Noth­ing makes me hap­pier than to see these women smile once I’m able to help them”

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