8/11/22 #SameHere Hero: Uzma Makhdoom

Today’s SameHere Hero Story: Uzma Makhdoom

Hi – my name is Uzma but I go by Uzi. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I’m 19…I’m gonna be a sophomore in college soon, and my mental health story began when I was about 6ish when I lost my first grandparent and uncle. I was too little to understand what happened or what death was, but I knew I was upset and it was hard to cope with. I was also sorta abused by the nannies growing up and a family member…and also physically and vocally hurt.

We moved to USA after all of it. We still visit family now, but don’t live there because of hate and the past. After the move I was doing better because of how much support I had.

Then, I lost my uncle and that happened when I was I think 10 or 11 and I had a hard time because I was very close to him. After that I was very closed off. I bottled everything inside and then I lost another uncle and at that point it felt like the world around me – I was losing everyone I loved and I tended not to get attached to anyone or talk about my problems because I was thinking everyone would see I’m different or crazy for talking about my problems.

When I started elementary school up until third grade I loved life and I was never bullied. I then started at a private charter school in the fourth grade and things turned for the worst. I was severely bullied and my family would apply to another charter school due to the bullying. As fifth sixth and seventh and eight grade went on the bullying was worse and I didn’t really have friends or anyone to talk to about anything…and my family would tell the school that they should pull me from the school, and they tried…but something inside me wanted to stay despite the bullying.  If I left that meant the bullies won and I was not about to let that happen. Despite all of that I had a support team and counselors who were there even if I barley talked to them.

As I was graduating the couple hours before I was on my phone and found out my grandpa passed away…and I was mad at my family for not telling me he died. After graduation I was upset and mad at the world and I was very depressed. I didn’t know why this happened to me and I didn’t wanna talk to anyone about it. I thought maybe if I kept it in, it would go away. But not surprisingly, it didn’t go away…it made it worse.

Then high school started and I thought maybe this was my fresh start and low and behold I was wrong. I was bullied all of high school for the way I looked and the way I dressed and the way I talked…and I felt so alone, but I still bottled it up inside till I got a counselor and a social worker. I would be pulled out of class either with the social worker or speech therapist or counselor up until I graduated. I would eat in my favorite teacher’s classroom because I didn’t wanna eat at all because of the bullying and even family would comment about the way I looked and I needed to lose weight.  So, I  would restrict eating, and only eat once or twice a day after high school.  Towards the end I lost two of my aunts and my grandma and that’s when things got so bad I was barley eating.  I started self sabotaging and was lost and the online bullying continued on and off.  

I finally said enough and tried to do something stupid and I said goodbye to all my friends…and my friend called the right services for me and had those services at my house. After that I got a new counselor and therapist and a psychologist and was told about some diagnoses and childhood trauma and how it had impacted me.  I was also was put on a meal plan to help me.

I’m now open with my friends and family so they can help me and I talk to them when I’m not doing my best sometimes. I journal to write it all down. Also now I’m a college freshman and yes sometimes college is lonely for me, but I try to keep myself busy like my mental health advocacy work with companies and work and sports and classes and homework and clubs and social media.

My personal life and traveling and friends and family and helping people as well are important to me and a reminder to everyone – its okay not to be okay, just not okay to stay there.  Also now that I’m in college since the college loneliness hit me, I try to distract myself and keep busy and still go to threapy and take a break when I need it.

To further help my mental health after my sophomore year I’m taking a break to pursue a big dream of mine. If anyone needs someone – needs anyone to talk to or has any questions, I’m here!

It made me feel a lot of emotions and I was overwhelmed and depressed and finally acknowledge my mental health. I got diagnosed with a lot of different things and understanding how the trauma had impacted me was so important to feeling better.

I finally got help in the fourth grade. I always got help but I didn’t really per say try in getting full help till I acknowledge it was real and started to actually TRY!

Talking about it to friends and family. Working with my therapist and keeping them  in the loop…and also weekly journaling.

I thought people would pity me or feel sorry or think differently of me…or think I’m crazy or think I’m too much to handle…but it was the complete opposite – they were supportive and understanding.

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