So, here’s the thing with mental health. It’s never really discussed in our media. See, in Egyptian TV shows and movies, we only see mentally ill people when they’re used as props to show just how “scary” psych wards and other facilities are like or they’re used as comparisons to the characters who say they’re “not crazy”.
But this Ramadan, something different happened. We finally got a few characters that shed a light on mental health — both in terms of disorders and trauma. And the best thing is? The representations aren’t entirely negative or overdone.
Zizi from Khaly Balak Min Zizi
We can’t start a list like this without talking about Zizi, can we? One of the best things about Khaly Balak Min Zizi is that going to therapy isn’t seen as something shameful and we discover Zizi’s inner troubles as we go on. See, Zizi didn’t just have undiagnosed ADHD.
She also had a lot of rage issues that stemmed out of staggering childhood trauma. And it’s about time we discussed various disorders, like ADHD, and trauma in a lens that is this unjudgmental.
Hana from Le3bet Newton
Although you may not have noticed it, a few people have pinned down Hana from Le3bet Newton as having Borderline Personality Disorder. And what’s BPD? Well, it’s a personality disorder that’s characterized by intense emotions, fluctuating moods, impulsiveness and an unstable sense of self.
Reading this, you might easily find similarities with Hana’s character, right?
Nelly from Khaly Balak Min Zizi
Yes, Nelly makes the list too because while she’s neurotypical at first glance (read: isn’t mentally ill), she does have an excessive fear of flying…but that all comes from the fear of abandonment she developed way back in her childhood.
And, sure, Nelly’s fear of abandonment doesn’t make her forget to live her life but it does stunt it because she’s constantly scared about everyone leaving her or getting too attached to people. It even gets to a point where it looks like the abandonment issues might be intergenerational, with Nelly’s mother and one of Nelly’s sons hating to be alone and commenting on how “everyone always leaves”.
Tamara from Harb Ahleya
Watching the first few episodes from Harb Ahleya, you definitely had one question on your mind. And that is — just why is Tamara acting the way she acts? What happened to her? And, well, it’s really obvious, don’t you think?
This is yet another case of childhood trauma that led to A LOT of abandonment issues. Because Tamara was abandoned by her mom (and raised by an evil dad who never let her forget it), she hated seeing anyone be happy, loved, or in a committed, stable relationship because that wasn’t something she had.
Mo’nes from Le3bet Newton
Bet this is the last person you expected to see on this list, right? But here he is and, you know what? Mo’nes may not show it but he does have a lot of childhood trauma because he feels abandoned by his mother (yes, there’s A LOT of these stories this Ramadan).
But instead of lashing out like Tamara or burying it in like Nelly, Mo’nes does something else. He takes it upon himself to “fix” women who seem to be treading a dangerous line or leading lives he himself doesn’t approve of. In a way, if he couldn’t “save” his mother, then he could definitely save the other women. And this, of course, leads us to him marrying Sarah, a former drug addict, and Hana, who looks especially like his mother. Yikes.