I’m Good Because I’m My Number One Fan

Saleha Farhad, CSU East Bay Student

As a Fijian/Indian female there has been a lot of difficulties for me to justify my career choice to my family and community. I’m Psychology major and have been looked down upon because my family members aren’t sure if my education will lead to a successful career. I started to have doubts which caused a lot of anxiety and sadness during my college years.

Mental illness is not considered as crucial as physical illness within my community. Growing up, I noticed that my family members would rather ignore and neglect issues that could potentially be solved if they seek professional help. Talking to a therapist is not considered the norm and almost looked down upon because no one wants to be labeled or put in categories. I believe every community, culture and society should accept that mental health exists and we need to be proactive in creating successful services for individuals in need. The lack of knowledge about mental health is the ultimate cause of disbelief that it exists.

We are programmed at a young age to be “normal” and socially acceptable. There are times where I had doubts myself about certain choices I’ve made in my life. My doubts, guilt, anger, anxiety and sadness caused me to withdraw from my family. I refuse to participate in family functions because answering questions relating to my education and career path frightens me. There has been several times where people in my community straight laughed in my face when I mentioned that I wanted to pursue a career in mental health. I realized that although I get a lot of negative feedback, what keeps the fire burning inside me are the mental health issues I see within the same community that laughs at me.

Depression for instance is a very common issue. My father would come home after hanging out with his friends and tell me that the majority of his friends are severely depressed and it is affecting their relationships with their family and friends. The stigma around mental health is preventing individuals from seeking help even knowingly that they are unhealthy. As of today, I realized I will continue to pursue my dreams and be a part in changing this stigma.

I am good because I seek alternative methods to keep myself feeling happy and motivated. The things that I do everyday to “stay good” would include physical activity such as hiking, running and working out at the gym. I believe releasing a lot of energy into something positive is great way to relief stress. I surround myself among friends who have the same passion and goals as me therefore I get reminded daily that I am not alone. Most importantly I’ve accepted that I am my own biggest cheerleader. I wake everyday appreciating myself for how far I have worked to achieve the goals that I had a year ago. We are humans and we all need people in our lives but one thing to remember is we can’t always depend on others to make ourselves feel satisfied, good, or sane. We have to find a place within our hearts and mind to feel special, loved, and appreciated. I am good because I am my number one fan.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Culture, Stigma


Jenee Darden is the project leader for the I'm Good Campaign. She is also Web Content and PR Specialist for the nonprofit PEERS. And she hosts the award-winning podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio which you can listen to at www.peersnet.org/radio.

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2 Comments on “I’m Good Because I’m My Number One Fan”

  1. May 15, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Saleha, you are very inspiring! Balancing personal goals/identities with those of family and culture is a difficult task that can be incredibly stressful and harmful to mental health. It’s really amazing that what brings you personal satisfaction is working for the greater good of society — even when your culture says that it’s not okay to do that. Way to honor not only yourself but humanity, too!

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