Millions of children are growing up in the chaos of war. Relief organizations rush to send aid in the form of urgent food, medicine, and shelter, but so often neglected is a less obvious form of relief. With war, comes unimaginable psychological trauma that is harder to see and thus, easier to miss.
For Kamar, a 24-year-old Syrian mother of two, an Islamic Relief psychosocial support program did nothing less than save her life. She managed to escape Syria alive, but like so many refugees, everything she had previously lived for had been shattered. She was taken hold of by severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Major Depression Disorder (MDD) that almost led her to take her own life.
“I felt sorrow for myself,” she said, “suffering alone with no pity or assistance with two children. I tried several times to kill myself or to kill my own children to put an end to this miserable life.”
After her home in Aleppo was bombed, she made a dangerous journey to escape. Passing through a sea of dead bodies, she witnessed her father being murdered in front of her as she held her young daughter Doha close, covering her eyes. Her husband had gone missing, and she spent six months searching for safety.
They finally were able to leave Syria and settle in Lebanon where Kamar was reunited with her husband. But the road she had traversed to get there had broken her spirit. Her psychological state was severely damaged, rendering her incapable of providing the loving, safe home her children so desperately needed after surviving war. Instead, she became prone to anger tantrums and physical abuse.
Islamic Relief intervened with 11 sessions of psychotherapy to address the war trauma she was experiencing. Through a combination of therapy and temporary medication, she was able to overcome her trauma by 95%. She regained control of her anxiety and developed relaxation techniques.
“The psychotherapist was highly supportive and friendly. My anger toward my family is still there, but at lower frequency. Of course, I will say that the sessions were very positive for me,” she said.
Now, Kamar hugs her children and is able to give them the affection they need. Now, they too can begin to heal.