I am a Kurdish-Iraqi citizen, born in Iran as a refugee. The place where we lived in Iran was called “Ordogahe Sonqor,” which was near Kermanshah, and there were more than 500 families gathered and living in the area as refugees. There was a school for us where we were mixed with Persian students. I had never realized that we were refugees – I had thought we had gone to Iran on our own – until one day, when I was nine and half years old, one of my classmates asked me, “Why don’t you Kurdish people go back home?”
This led me to stop and ask myself the same question, “Why don’t we go back home?” One day, I asked my family this and they replied: “We will leave as soon as it is possible.” They told me the sad story about how we immigrated to Iran as refugees due to the chemical gas attack that happened in my city and killed more than 5,000 people and injured 7,000 people and more…they had hated us it seemed!
I had a lot of friends in Iran, so when it was time to leave Iran, in late 2004 when I was ten years old, it was a shock. We moved back to Kurdistan-Iraq where I had no friends and the environment was totally new for me. I started school in the city of Halabja and I could not even write in the Kurdish language! I felt quite alone and it took me so long to make new friends. I spent most of my time at home, no hangouts or anything like that.
My family noticed that I might have social phobia (social anxiety disorder) and I did indeed! It was getting worse day by day. I was totally hopeless about life and wanted death so badly. I visited doctors but it was useless.
So I decided to read books, psychological books and books that motivate readers to succeed. One of the books I read – How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – had a great impact on me. I started following the rules and applying them practically.
I entered university, kept reading those books and I could see some progress within myself already during the first year of my college study. In the second year, I made lots of new friends and I managed to do some activities, such as making a weekly magazine for students as well as a club to share ideas, and creating a charity box for bankrupt students. I had improved so much, getting rid of the social phobia and seeing the world differently. Also, I was able to be the second top-ranked student at my college and became a member of some organizations, working as an activist and involved in most of the events and conferences in the area.
I tell this story in order to show that it doesn’t matter what you are suffering from or addicted to right now, because once you decide to change the route you struggle with, it will determine your future and the whole universe will support you. As Barak Obama once said: “Change is never easy, but always possible!”