“Turmoil”, Ink and oil pastel, 2015-2019
In 2008, I started experiencing debilitating physical pain. My search for a compassionate and open-minded healthcare professional who could guide me to the right specialist proved to be a daunting task. Sadly, instead of finding understanding, I encountered judgment.
A medical team hastily concluded that my pain was psychosomatic and prescribed antidepressants as a solution. However, over the course of a year and a half, not only did my physical pain intensify, but the medication also took a toll on my mental well-being. It left me emotionally detached, unable to laugh or cry. The vibrant colors of life faded away, leaving everything tasteless and unenjoyable. It felt as if I was being held captive by chemicals that robbed me of my true self, preventing me from fully engaging with the world. I became a stranger to myself, the inability to express my emotions tearing me apart.
This series stands as a testament to a challenging period in my life, where I placed my trust in doctors who led me astray with their swift judgments. It took me a decade of relentless struggles to discover the truth: an untreated Lyme disease and, later on, the presence of a malignant cancerous tumor.
Through this series, my intention is to give voice to the buried expressions and emotions I experienced while on the wrong medication. I am still here today because I have reclaimed the ability to feel once again. However, I cannot help but reflect on the role that my identity as a Middle Eastern immigrant, a childfree woman, played in my difficult journey. It seems that these aspects of my being may have influenced the biases that tainted my encounters with various healthcare practitioners.