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”