In 2010, Souad arrived in Québec with her husband and two children. Shortly after their arrival, her husband returned to Algeria, leaving his family in their adoptive country. Without her bearings and without a job, Souad found herself alone with her children, eight and ten. She was afraid and felt as though her hands were tied, which created stress and anxiety in her life. She no longer recognized herself. Three months go by and Souad sees her doctor and receives a diagnosis of depression. Mental illness is taboo in her culture, but she was relieved to be able to put a diagnosis to what she felt. The medication prescribed to Souad unfortunately didn’t make her feel better. Internet searches lead her to a local community services centre, where she meets a social worker who helps her understand her problems and find tools to cope. Knowing someone was listening was a good start for Souad’s recovery.
Souad learned about a cross-cultural pediatric clinic, the Clinique pédiatrique transculturelle. Its mission is to give a voice to children from other countries and their families in the psychotherapy process. A multidisciplinary team meets with the mother and her children from time to time to better explain the illness and its effects. The family is relieved, and Souad now receives encouragement from her loved ones. Souad has participated in workshops, which help her be more active and prove to herself that she is not defined by her illness.
In 2014, Souad joyfully learned that she was expecting a third child and the birth of her baby temporarily distracted her from her dark thoughts. With the invaluable support of her family, she felt better and better. Her medication also keeps her more balanced emotionally. Some of Souad’s days are still dark. During those days, she listens to herself and rests, knowing it will pass. With help and a lot of faith in her abilities, she discovers that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.