It’s 5pm and I’m walking through the door of my studio apartment, I close the curtains and go to sleep. I wake up at around 1am, order some pizza and surf the net for a few hours then go back to sleep until it’s time to wake up for work. When I get to work I hardly say a word to anyone, “Good Morning” was where most conversations began and ended.

Every weekend I would drive to my parents’ home. I wouldn’t go out, I did my best to avoid people, for me this was out of character as I was someone who loved meeting people and attending events. I just felt myself sinking deeper into a space where I felt lonelier as each day passed by. I felt sad all the time and got more and more comfortable in that state of sadness.

Then I met my wife, for some reason she saw the happy person behind the sadness and my life changed forever. Being with her brought back love, fun and purpose in my life. Was I going through depression? I don’t know, would things have gotten worse for me if I hadn’t met her? Possibly.What I do know is that I didn’t talk to anyone about my feelings because in my part of the world we don’t talk about our mental state or challenges we are facing emotionally, and that has to stop.

I look forward to sharing my journey representing the Al Jalila Foundation as a fellow of the The Carter Center’s mental health journalism program founded by Mrs. Rosalynn Carter. Over this coming year I will be covering issues surrounding mental health in the Arab world, but more importantly through these stories I hope to continue to share a message that whatever it is you are going through, whatever challenges you are facing in your life, you don’t have to face them alone, there is always someone who can help you, there is always someone who loves you.