Sadness, loneliness, riddled with unsettling hopelessness.
The disapproving voices you took to heart never provide peace.
“No matter how hard I try, I will never succeed at being accepted for who I am.”
It’s hard moving through life when you feel undervalued by your family, friends, lovers, and peers. There’s the constant fear that you’ll never measure up to and meet their expectations.
Most days, you’d rather just stay under the covers, isolated from the world. Or the idea of having to handle so much pressure makes you panic to the point where it’s difficult to stay focused on simple, daily tasks.
You’re trapped in a cycle and feel helpless to find a way forward. Turning to unhealthy coping strategies only provides temporary relief from the pain, frustration, and unhappiness you feel.
This is a pattern you know needs to change.
You want to be seen and heard, understood.
As a person on my journey, I’ve worked with some amazing therapists and some not-so-amazing. I felt I was misunderstood and misled to a path that wasn’t carved out for me.
But, with others, I flourished and grew, empowered and hopeful of my life’s path. The connection I shared with them opened a whole new world of healing. This can happen to you.
Let go and trust the process.
It’s all about YOU.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
I take it a step further – to understand what it’s like to live in your shoes and live your life. To fully understand what it’s like to be you.
In our time together, I promise to provide my undivided attention and place your needs as a priority. I’ll listen empathetically and care genuinely. I’m enthusiastic and full of energy – I’ll be your biggest cheerleader.
And helping you become your best self.
When I don’t understand you, I’ll ask questions.
I’ll challenge you when I disagree with a decision because it’s not in your best interest.
If I think you’re in danger, I’ll do whatever I can to ensure your safety.
I’ll provide homework – if you let me. I won’t tell you what to do, but I will guide your growth and healing.
Our Commitment to Each Other
I expect that we’ll be honest with one another. If I say something that offends you, I expect you to tell me.
We can also have fun! Laughter is the best medicine – a good laugh after a good cry brings a feeling of relief and joy.
Most importantly, I’ll ensure the complete protection of your privacy. You can be confident about the security of all our work.
My name is Sarwat.
My name says a lot about who I am.
My unique name brought torture and torment in my youth, but later, it has brought me a great sense of pride and wisdom.
Though born and raised in California, I’m of Pakistani descent and understand the unique difficulties of being bi-cultural and living with two conflicting identities.
A Threefold Struggle
I struggled – not only by ethnicity and religion – but by gender.
Being a female with a weird name, striving to fit into cultural and societal norms was all but impossible.
My mother always told me I was beautiful the way I was. For all I knew, I looked like all the other fair, pretty girls whose mothers brought them sandwiches and popular chips for lunch – except my mother filled my lunchbox with a “sheesh kabob in a pita bread.”
I honestly didn’t even know that I looked “different” – until someone pointed it out.
Young in age, wise above years. I decided that I first had to accept that the voices were destroying me emotionally. The distorted self-image and insecurity had to be transformed. I chose to survive through them. Once I let go, I could originate where they came from (trauma) and accept who I am (mindfulness.) I changed what was “different” to something that was “unique.” I embraced all parts of me and was proud to be “special.”
A Change of Course
I set out to become a medical doctor. But after failing brilliantly in all my science courses, I had to change the course of my future.
Feeling lost, with no map in front of me, I sat in silence and needed a sign – a sense of direction. The timing was perfect. My family was set to complete a required pilgrimage to Mecca, the Holy Land. This was my call for the spiritual journey I was asking for.
My aunt, who has never been sick a day of her life, accompanied us.
According to my faith, if you die there, you will enter the pearly gates of heaven – guaranteed no matter your sins. My beloved aunt believed this so wholeheartedly that the second we arrived, her mind took complete power over her body. Her mind told her body to shut down, and she went into a coma.
Long story short, after a visit to the emergency room and a flight home to the States, the second she arrived, it was as if nothing had ever happened – healthy as can be.
That’s where I witnessed the power of the mind – and where you come into the story!
If you want something so badly that your life depends on it, it will happen.
I changed my major to psychology, volunteered with abused foster children and pregnant teenagers, and excelled, making my way onto the President’s list.
I had found my passion. I would help others heal through a holistic perspective, the mind, body, and soul.
A Calling Realized
I went on to earn my doctorate in psychology and spent five years obtaining my license to practice.
After working for underserved populations in community mental health and inpatient psychiatric hospitals, I flourished in a group practice for 20 years.
Using my degree focusing on multicultural community mental health, I had the honor of working with the most inspiring people in my life, people just like you.
Though society often regards the therapist as a teacher, in truth, I’m the student – learning about you and your unique situation.
Two Tragic Turns
During this time, I witnessed my father, my hero and role model, lose the battle to cancer after fighting a long fight. I saw a strong man reduced to frailty, yet his mind, heart, and soul were still out of this world.
My mother later received a diagnosis of Dementia, and I had the honor of living and caring for her until her passing. This is where I got lost.
Yes, I am a doctor, but we have weaknesses. I have a genetic predisposition to substances. I abused alcohol to numb the pain I was feeling. I used it to sleep, avoid feeling, and soldier on.
Unfortunately, this was a war I couldn’t win. I suffered the consequences of addiction, but with help, I found my way back – this time, stronger and ready to face any challenge that came my way.
I became a fighter, and I survived. You can, too.
Why am I sharing this incredibly painful, humiliating story?
Because most of you have also lived it – or something like it – and are searching for an answer, a way out.
A light that will guide you to hope, healing, a life of limitless possibilities, and a future much greater than your past.
I can help you along that journey because I’ve been where you are. Anyone can give you the textbook answers on how to solve your problems, but they’re meaningless without the context of experience.
I want to understand you. I want you to live your fullest life.
Coping skills, support systems, and self-expression.
When actually practiced, they can bring you a life worth looking forward to.
I love to run. I love to run with music. I love to express myself through music – I’m a rockstar at heart.
I love the raw, heart-wrenching, soul-searching, and mind-blowing music experience. It helps get you through your darkest and happiest times.
It gives you hope and inspiration.
We all live in a world where we are connected virtually. Alexa and Siri have a song in response when you say, “I love you,” and will read you bedtime stories. Social media (likes and dislikes) – searching for positive reinforcement any way you can get it.
But the living connections are what matter the most.
You create connections through family, friends, pets, and even the grocery store’s friendly clerk or locking eyes with someone in a crowd.
Oh, I forgot to mention my beta fish, Jaleh. I love him. Although he has a really tiny brain and lives alone, I know he hears and sees me. It’s funny how these small connections can make a world of difference.
It makes you feel alive.
My musical heroes are Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, successful rock stars who ostensibly had it all – fans, family, money, fame, and talent. However, in 2017, they both took their lives.
How could these two, who seemingly had everything, whom we all looked up to, have suffered as we do? How did we not know the magnitude of their sadness and pain?
This is where you come in again. By living a life worth living for – living by example – you’ll imprint a memory, an inspiration, like lyrics to those who love you. As corny as may sound, let’s start making music!
I welcome you.
Sit with me, talk with me, cry, and laugh with me. Together, we will begin to cope with the reality of your future. It’s your time.
You’ve been waiting for a sign, here it is…
Life is too short; don’t waste any more of your precious time.
Your life is worth living. Call me today: (626) 283-5852.