So following my last post I realize I scared some of you. I had quite a few messages on Instagram recommending medications and different things to try and help. As kind as those messages were, I thought I should do a follow-up post because my last one is very dark and it sounds like I am ungrateful to Allah (God) for my issues.
I just need to clarify that I wrote that post in the midst of a panic attack. When I am experiencing panic I cannot think rationally. It is a fact that the rational part of your brain switches off during a panic attack and your reptile brain – the small portion of the brain in charge of fight-or-flight mode – switches on. It is out of my control. So yes, my last post was dark and hopeless, but that is what a panic attack/disorder is. I wasn’t about to romanticize mental illness. I wanted to give those people who cannot put into words how they are feeling, a voice.
What I realized…
That being said, I also want to talk about the lessons I learnt from having anxiety. Before I do, I want to mention that I do, in fact, go to therapy and I am on medication. I strongly believe in seeking help when it is needed. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It doesn’t mean you should be ashamed. In fact, it takes a lot of courage to say “I cannot do this on my own” and seeking professional help. Think of it like this; would you leave your hand alone if it was broken, not seeing to it at all? No. You’d go to a professional to treat it. Same with mental illness.
Your mind needs to heal. Seeking help will be of great benefit; at least it was to me. I want to let all of you with this condition know that Allah never lets anything happen without a reason. Allah says in Suratul Baqarah “I will not burden a soul with more than it can bear”. Allah also says in Suratul Inshiraah “Indeed, after difficulty, there is relief”. So, dear readers, if you are in a bad, dark place, know that it is not the end. Your Lord promises you relief, not once but twice. So how can we be ungrateful? Which brings me to my next point – thankfulness.
It was not always easy…
I am thankful to Allah for all of the struggles I went through. Were they easy? No. Did I sometimes wish I didn’t have to deal with them? Most definitely. Did I sometimes feel angry at the world because I felt I was suffering alone? Definitely! I am human after all. But I always remembered, in the back of my mind, that there were people out there struggling with way more than I could ever imagine or handle. I am thankful to Allah for all of the other blessings in my life, which I often overlook because I focus too much on my anxiety. I often need to remind myself that a glass half – or not even half, quarter – empty will still quench thirst. That’s a weird analogy. Bare with me. What I am trying to say is, be thankful for the things you do have and remind yourself every once in a while to count your blessings.
But it was not without benefit
The pro’s of my anxiety: My anxiety taught me so much. It taught me never-ending compassion. It taught me to help others when they are in a dark place because I know how engulfing those dark places can be. It taught me so much about myself. For example, I really am strong. If you told me a few years ago I would go through the things I did and still be okay I would never have believed you. Never. But Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) I did make it through. On days when I have things to do but all I really want to do is lay in bed and cry, I get up and do what needs to be done. I fight, every single day, and it is all because Allah gives me the strength to do so. I learnt that family will often be the only ones who are by your side when you’re feeling hopeless and alone.
What I have learnt…
I learnt that it is okay to let go of people who bring negativity into your life. I learnt that it is okay to put yourself first sometimes and to be selfish with regards to your “space”. I learnt that it’s okay to say no and to be picky with who you get close to. I learnt that asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak or less of a person. I learnt that friends who are very close and dear to you will sometimes break your heart, but it’s not your fault. I learnt that blaming yourself for everything wrong in your life doesn’t help and that being kind to others helps you heal. I learnt that if you talk to Allah it lifts the heaviness off your heart, but that it’s okay to be scared. I learnt that I am strong. I learnt so many things. Things I don’t think I would have learnt if I didn’t have an anxiety disorder.
So you see, these were lessons Allah wanted me to learn. Yes, some of them were learnt in a difficult time but that is life. Not all things are easy. Not all things can be handed to you on a platter, no matter how much you want it to be. And that’s okay.