Time Off Everything

10:56:00 AM


Today marks 45 days without me posting anything on Instagram. A first since I’ve started Instagram many years ago. It might seem like nothing but Instagram is something that I think of and do on a daily before this especially more so when it also turns out to become a job. A job as an "influencer", a blogger, a Creative Director to my brand aere, a marketer. It is something for me. Something that can take me away from it (being an active instagrammer) must be something really serious or important as instagram affects whatever I do in terms of work. 

Before this I don't think I could ever do that when I was just too consumed with work and social media. Social media including Instagram is a big part of my job, my life too. 

I was away from Instagram for 10 days last year and it felt like it was the longest time I could ever be away from Instagram. At that time though, I was just away on social media but was still working on aere at the office and at home. When I came back from it, I wrote "BACK FROM A BREATHING SPACE" and continued to blog almost every day (working on drafts and publishing them are two different things). This wasn't anything like that. I wasn't just away from Instagram, social media in general, blog but also work in general too. aere to be more precise. For the first time since I started it 4 years ago. I have been sick and unwell before but I have continued working even to the extent when I was on bed rest during my second pregnancy.

For the past couple of months since I published that blogpost "BACK FROM A BREATHING SPACE" I was blogging actively, at least 3-4 times a week for a few months. I did all that while I travelled for work to Singapore, and then Dubai, and then London, and then Dubai again and I only stopped when I went to India. Elhan was hospitalised while I was in Dubai the first time and again when I was in  India and then he was discharged and then he was admitted again when I came back from India. 

Just before Eid this year I made the decision to finally take a time off work. It wasn't an easy decision. More so because I've been such a workaholic sometimes to the detriment of my own health. Work is almost everything to me though it shouldn't be. My own health, family, should be more of a priority. I came to realize that and I decided to take a time off, it became something necessary. Elhan was admitted 3 times during that whole busy period in less than 6 months and I didn't get to spend much time with Evren as I was busy travelling and it's the period when he needs me the most. I had my own health issues that I didn't even have the time to deal with. 

Since I've been quiet on Instagram over a month ago, a lot of people assumed I was busy with aere, as usual. Because I've always been consumed with work, aere, blogging. But truth is, I've been dealing with some health issues. I've been sick and unwell. Trying my best to get healthier as I've been neglecting my own health and been too busy with work that I haven't had time to take care of the kids even when I'm not at the office. It has been work 24/7 before I decided to take this "break".

I decided to take a time off from everything that I used to prioritise more than anything else. Work. Had to finally do it so I can focus on my kids, shift my attention to them who needs me so much at their tender age and ultimately on myself and my own personal health issues.

If I'm not healthy, how can I take care of the kids, how can I function properly at work, right? It was such a difficult decision but i finally did it. I didn't know whether it is the right decision or not at the time as it affects a lot in terms of my fashion brand, aere. Decided to give focus on my health and my kids for once.

But life works in mysterious ways. Today I'm typing this while I am lying down on my hospital bed with my left hand swollen and a needle attached to my right hand like an IV drip for them to administer the killers of pain, painkillers as they call it for the  pain that I'm experiencing right now throughout my body which also causes limited movements after a few exhausting days filled with different treatments, painkillers, patches and tests. Will be going through a new procedure and I'm pretty nervous about it though by now I should already be immune to all these kind of things already.

I asked Khubayb to bring my laptop yesterday because maybe, just maybe, this, blogging, can be a form of therapy. It used to be one for me. I tried to write after I took the 'time off'. I wasn't well so the whole of Eid month I didnt go to any open houses at all. Except for the 2/3 days in the beginning when I only met family members. The week after I went to Khubayb's company trip but I wasn't well either so there were times I'm okay but most of the time I wasn't. It was a pity because they organised the best company trip at a such gorgeous place in Redang. (Maybe I'll share the good moments that I managed to capture there, if I can bring myself to it? No promises)

That same week I started my hospital visits for my condition and it was excruciating.


I actually started to get back to blogging roughly a week or two after I started my 'time-off', around 15 days since I left Instagram. But then I could only type 2 sentences. This blog post was just staring at me. Almost every day I would sit down to draft this post, but the only thing I changed was the number of days I was away. 15 days became 20 days, then 30 days. And finally now it has been 45 days.

As I have been sick most of the time. It didn't feel like I'm resting. Didn't feel like a break. Definitely not a time off.

Not everything was bad though. My 'time-off' has been good in so many ways too : Finally taking steps taking care of my health, getting better, being able to spend time with the kids, Evren's aqiqah, my quiet anniversary dinner, finishing 2 books that I enjoy and sort of life-changing (at least on my perspective of life), started being able to go to workout classes, swimming at home, doing some photoshoots for a campaign that I did, visits by some of my best friends at home, some usrah spiritual classes that I was able to attend, Ruffedge's awesome concert, it might not seem much as it has been almost 2 months but it's a lot for me, I'm grateful for those times as it's pretty rare during this so called downtime. 

I treasure those moments. They bring me peace. Even for a bit. Especially the ones I get to spend with the kids when they are in their good moods, their smile and laughter brings me so much joy and make everything seems worthwhile. 

In fact, life was getting just a little better for me til I had to be admitted this week. I just registered a gym membership which I have been considering since early of this year last week after being unwell for so long. Went to 3 workout classes a day. Was so excited to get back into a healthier lifestyle. Started swimming again after not doing so for a long while and pap! Hospitalised for a totally different condition. 

As someone who had spent traumatic days in the hospital for more than 100 days this past 8 years, for different reasons, I can tell you this, being sick, especially being in the hospital is not something that I enjoy. 

Right at this very moment, it's a constant fight, a struggle, constant battle to not be negative about all this and just be positive. It's really difficult to say the least. I'm immune to some of the things as I've spent so many days in different hospitals before. All the flashbacks and traumas of me being in the hospital, the situation, the circumstances and all the sucky moments come rushing through as the doctors, nurses, therapists ask me questions about my health history, what I've been through, what I'm allergic to, how an allergy could cause me to faint and lose oxygen and the list goes on and on. Some things are things that I don't want to remember. And I did forget some of it till I was hospitalised again. Even without the questions I have flashbacks the past few days that I'm here in the hospital.  

It's like a flood of flashbacks.

The needles, the blood, the vomit, the pain, the noise of some machines, the painful silence, the tests, the X-Rays, MRIs, the painkillers, the buildings, the emergencies, the loneliness, the hospital beds and gowns - all trigger memories of a particularly painful past.

Flashbacks are not something you can control especially when you went though a series of traumatic events. If you've been through a trauma, you would understand.

Sometimes I feel like I have no strength left to fight this, no motivation, no drive... until I see my babies. And their innocent smile and face. They are sometimes my only drive to fight this. 

One of my small comforts would be when I get a video call from my kids, or when my husband or a family member comes to visit me even though just for a short while and even though I'm just so miserable or look miserable internally I'm actually filled with joy for that short moment, also the fact that the doctors, nurses and medical staff are doing their absolute best to do their job and try and make everything better.

I know a lot of people say that I have been so strong? So positive through out all that I went through? But, today is not one of those dayṣ I sometimes question why this is happening to me time and time again. It feels so lonely at times. It's emotionally exhausting to add on to all the physical pain, discomfort and exhaustion. 

A time off. From everything. Is what I needed. But I can't even get that, at the moment. Being in the hospital and unwell is not a time off. It's not a break and it's not resting. Being confined to your bed while watching the outside world move on without you from your phone. I don't even have a window right now beside my bed as I'm just surrounded by the hospital curtain and I'm on the other side of the room (have requested a room change).

By the way, tomorrow KLFW starts. It has been 4 years since aere first participated. We won the Best Womenswear Award the first year we joined and we participated every year... But not this year. A few months ago, my team and I presented to them what I felt was one of our best collections ever for KLFW. It also featured some surprises, some exciting collaborations, and it really was something that I was super proud of... However, as I have been unwell especially during the most crucial moments before KLFW, I had to withdraw aere's participation as I wasn't able to be there to finalise the collection, be there for the sampling for the runway and basically just be there with my team. I can't even be there through Whatsapp so much. It's sad but at this moment I knew I had to slow down because I needed to focus on my health and on my kids because I haven't putting enough for these 2 and it was just about to get even worse. Those few close to me know how I have been such a workaholic without ever taking a time off since I was a lawyer, since I started working 11 years ago.

So, I had so many things planned few months ago but nothing has gone as planned. Instead of being busy with work the past years during this time of the year (KLFW) I'm here in the hospital, alone and undergoing treatments and investigations. I don't even get to spend time with my babies now coz its not advisable for them to come to the hospital with all the diseases going around now. And the husband can only come after work and must leave by 9pm as it's a shared ward. I'm blessed to have the husband, my family and kaka to take care of the kids while I'm dealing with being warded at the hospital.

I’m in the midst of going through a difficult situation and I am in constant pain.  It's difficult for me to even move and I have been pushed around via the wheelchair. I know my posts have been more positive before this but at this moment I’m not feeling so positive. I’m simply human and I feel what I feel. I'm imperfect. Flawed. At the moment, I'm ill. I don't think it is wrong to feel how we feel while we are going through a difficult situation, right? 

I received a lot of messages, hundreds on Instagram after I shared on Instastory. Thank you for the prayers and well-wishes. May God reward you for your kindness and may your prayers that I will get well soon be answered. To those who hoped it's nothing serious, sadly it is because if not this post wouldn't have been published. I wish it isn't serious, but it is and has been. May God determine what's best.

If you are reading this, share with me the thoughts and prayers that helped you go through the hardest moments  and the darkest periods of your life. 

I really don't know what's going to happen next and everything has been really really overwhelming. But now that I am going to be stuck here for a little while, at least I can start blogging again. I can share the good and the bad that's been happening the past few months. That's a positive, right?


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  1. InsyaAllah, everything in this world happened whether you think good or bad , it actually always in the positive side and reason behind it, if not now may be later. InsyaAllah, sakit itu penghapus dosa dan tanda cintaNya pada hambaNya, pengajaran agar kita sebagai manusia berfikir nothing is in our control. Allah is the best planner. We all know this since forever , just sometimes we forget. Be strong our idol!

  2. My favourite Dua's and prayers from Qur'an surah al-Insyirah. May Allah S.w.t ease everything for u in every single steps that you take, on your daily affairs, with His endless love, guidance, and blessings, for always. ️As Allah promised in surah al Insyirah :

    أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ - 94:1
    Did We not expand for you, [O Muhammad], your breast?
    وَوَضَعْنَا عَنكَ وِزْرَكَ - 94:2
    And We removed from you your burden
    الَّذِي أَنقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ - 94:3
    Which had weighed upon your back
    وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ - 94:4
    And raised high for you your repute
    فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا - 94:5
    For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease
    إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا - 94:6
    Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease
    فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانصَبْ - 94:7
    So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]
    وَإِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ فَارْغَب - 94:8
    And to your Lord direct (alone) [your longing] turn all your intentions and hopes. Aamiin.

  3. It was 3 years ago when I heard the words I never imaged hearing..."you have cancer." With no known family history that was the first of many "rugs pulled from under me.

    I was devastated physically, emotionally and psychologically. Redha.
    Telling myself that everything happens for a reason.

    I've tried to act as normal as I could. You know what they said, fake it until you make it.

    I'm just lucky enough to have an amazing support from my husband, family and friends.
    My pillars of strength. They make me believe I can go through this.

    I may have lost an organ but I never ever lost my spirit, positive attitude and my will to see my future.

    Dear Breen, be strong! Yes, you have been sick and suffering, sure it is not easy. But again, know in your mind and believe in your heart that it is indeed better for you. For, if you bear patiently, it will be a means of expiation for your sins and a source of great reward.
    The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'There is nothing that befalls a believer, not even a thorn that pricks him, but Allah will record one good deed for him and will remove one bad deed from him.' (Muslim).

    You will be OK, Breen. You will be more than OK