Guest: Karima Jaffer
Karima voices what it has been like to be caught in a system she believes has failed her by giving her a false mental health diagnosis leading to a life altering narrative, combined with the difficulties that come along with her identity as an ethnically mixed Muslim woman of colour. She shares details about feeling like the odd one out growing up, being bullied not just with appearance but also in her line of thinking and expression. She openly discusses the experience of her first psychosis induced mania episode which she had not been equipped to handle, later bringing her true diagnoses forward of bipolar 1 and borderline personality disorders. She describes the experience of shame and associated feelings that lingered, cognitive impairments that she has suffered because of these episodes, losing people important to her, and lacking a sense of belonging. Karima expresses that throughout the journey, whatever strife she has encountered, she is grateful for her diagnoses and now has a new perspective on life. The journey has taught her to write, reflect, and know the importance of cherishing herself. Her key message to the listeners is that: when you want to speak, do it, express your emotions; use your emotions as signals to communicate with yourself and others; you get to choose who is on your team, and you need to be on your own team.
Guest Bio: Karima is an innovator and spark builder, and knowledge enthusiast. She is completing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW). She has been inspired to pursue this field because of personal experiences with inequity regarding her family who have dealt with ageism and classism. Prior to the MSW, Karima worked in the business sector as a business strategist. Her roles encompassed areas of human resources, finance, and project coordination. She enjoyed the mentorship opportunities that she gained allowing her to see and experience various leadership styles across numerous settings. Her passion for social justice has inspired her to initiate projects in the areas of mental health education, financial literacy, and female youth empowerment.
Outside of her professional experiences, Karima is a caregiver to an elderly father who has early-onset dementia and is the only family member fluent in English. During her free time, Karima volunteers in the community, explores with her friends, and engages in artistic modalities, such as visual art, poetry, music and writing her own blog. A fun fact about Karima is that she is an avid amazon shopper!
Passionate about: Stella’s Place — a community held close to her heart, a community where she feels she belongs and a former board of director: stellasplace.ca