Souad Saidj

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 didn’t know what to do. She felt as though her hands were tied, which created a lot of stress and anxiety in her life. She no longer recognized herself. Three months went by, and Souad decided to see her doctor. She was diagnosed with depression. Although mental illness is taboo in her culture, 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, and she was crying a lot. Internet searches led her to a local community service centre, where she met a social worker who helped her understand her problems and find tools to cope. Knowing someone was listening was a good start for Souad’s recovery. She wasn’t in the best shape, but she felt that she had made some progress.

Souad’s children felt guilty about her depression. 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. She 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 learned that she was expecting a third child, which brought her great happiness. 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 mentally. A while ago, Souad went back to school. She feels at peace with herself, she is moving forward, and she is happy. In January of 2020, Souad’s husband was finally able to join her and their family in Canada. After a ten-year wait, Souad feels she is finally able to live normally, like any other couple in love.