Fighting the internal battle – Tools to maintain your mental well-beingDecember 13, 2018 in Blog, Lifestyle
Let me begin by explaining my motivation for writing this paper.
There aren’t many resources to help us manage our mental well being from an islamic perspective.
My intention here is for anyone, muslim or non-muslim to read the series of reminders in this paper, which will inshAllah help anyone out of any mental suffering and help bring some tranquility onto their outlook.
I have given methods I have found through reading and seeking knowledge in this area.
May Allah make this paper to be of use for people, and bring us closer to him.
I suffer with mental health issues, which have brought me to very low points, even the point of seriously considering suicide. I suffer with OCD, anxiety and fall into depression.
The reason for me telling you this, is that the readers who suffer with mental health issues, remember there are others out there who are suffering too, and fighting very similar battles.
For the most part, our minds and bodies tell us when something is wrong. We feel pain, we feel bad, something is out of the ordinary. We want this pain or harm to subside so we can feel our normal selves again, but how do we do this? We seek help, we seek assistance and we seek to remove the harm.
It was narrated from ‘Ubadah bin Samit that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) ruled:
“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm”
Don’t Suffer In Silence.
If you had cancer, diabetes, a broken rib, would you ignore it? So why ignore the mental harm which has been inflicted upon you, ignoring it will only increase the harm, and cause it to grow.
I ask you my brothers and sisters, if you don’t care for yourself, your own well-being, who will?
The Company You Keep
As I mentioned previously, there are many people suffering with similar hardships as you. This is why I urge you to open up, the ones who are close to you will empathise with this pain, as they have suffered similar hardship.
In this there is a form of therapy, talking to friends, and people who care about you about how you are feeling. Letting it out in this way will make you feel better, instead of bottling up inside.
I myself have found this to bring me some tranquility, consequently it is a blessing to be surrounded by people who remind you of Allah, and these people can be a great support to you.
It’s as simple as just chatting to a friend or family member about how you’re feeling, it may be hard at first, but it will make you feel better. I myself try to have regular chats about the hardships I’m going through with my close friends, and it eases my mind.
So be a true friend,
Check on the friends who laugh,
Check on the friends who are sad,
Check on the friends who you don’t speak to much,
Check on each other, just giving someone your time, can light up the darkness they are in.
“It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The Muslim is the brother of his fellow Muslim; he does not wrong him or let him down. The one who meets the needs of his brother, Allah will meet his needs. Whoever relieves a Muslim of distress, Allah will relieve him of distress on the Day of Resurrection.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2442) and Muslim (2580)
Note: An important factor here is that mental health is unique to each person, what I feel is causing me distress, may not cause you distress, and vice versa. Consequently, try and apply the advice in this paper to the distress you face, and inshAllah it will ease the pain.
There are instances where the mental anguish is affecting your everyday life, work and at home. We must go and seek help through our doctors & therapists. Ignoring and pushing it to the back of your mind will not ease the pain, we must be brave and tackle it head on.
Seeking therapy probably saved my life. Without it, I most likely would have fallen into a spiral and the storm in my mind may have been too much for me to cope with. I know there are so many in this position.
If the pain you are suffering is disrupting your life, see your doctor, contact a therapist and start the process of fixing your health. You cannot put a price tag on our health.
“There are two gifts of which many people are unmindful about, good health and leisure.”
Sahih al–Bukhari 6049
Repel Anxiety and Depression
When you feel depression, anxiety or any mental strain taking over, remember this supplication.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said,
Whoever is afflicted with grief or anxiety, then he should pray with these words,
‘Oh Allāh, certainly I am your slave, the son of your male slave and the son of your female slave. My forehead is in Your Hand. Your Judgment upon me is assured and Your Decree concerning me is just. I ask You by every Name that you have named Yourself with, revealed in Your Book, taught any one of Your creation or kept unto Yourself in the knowledge of the unseen that is with You, to make the Qurān the spring of my heart, and the light of my chest, the banisher of my sadness and the reliever of my Distress.’
اللِّهُمَّ إنِّي عَبْدُكَ ، ابْنُ عَبْدِكَ ، ابْنُ أَمَتِكَ ، نَاصِيَتِي بِيَدِكَ ، مَاضِ فِيَّ حُكْمُكَ ، عَدْلٌ فِيَّ قَضَاؤُكَ ، أَسْأَلُكَ بِكُلِّ اسْمٍ هُوَ لَكَ ، سَمَّيْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَكَ ، أَوْ أنْزَلْتَهُ فِي كِتَاَبِكَ ، أَوْ عَلَّمْتَهُ أَحَدًا مِنْ خَلْقِكَ ، أَوِاسْتَأْثَرْتَ بِهِ فِي عِلْمِ الْغَيْبِ عِنْدَكَ ، أنْ تَجْعَلَ الْقُرْآنَ رَبِيعَ قَلْبِي ، وَ نُورَ صَدْرِي ، وَ جَلاءَ حُزْنِي ، وَ ذَهَابَ هَمِّي
Musnad Imām Ahmad #3712 Shu’ayb al-Arnaūt (d. 1437 AH)
Practical Steps of Fighting the Battle
Tawakul and Hope
Ibn al-Qayyim explains something beautiful about hope,
“Fear and hope [in God] are like two wings of a bird that are used to fly.”
Ibn al-Qayyim, Madārij as-Sālikīn , vol. 1, p. 517
If you don’t have hope I.E the counterpart of your wing, can you fly? No, you’ll crash. This demonstrates how crucial hope is.
‘Hope allows a person to transcend the current situation and live for a better future. Thus, when our backs are against the wall and we feel alone in our fight, we realize that the person who has no one else has Allāh.’
Dr Aid al-Qarni, Don’t be Sad
Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do.
“Your only escape is to believe in preordainment, since whatever has been decreed must inevitably take place. Not subterfuge, or artifice can protect you from it”
Dr Aid al-Qarni, Don’t be Sad
Whatever has happened was meant to happen, and what ever is going to happen, it will happen. So why worry? You’re story has already been written, and your the hero of your story.
“Young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of Allah and he will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find him before you.
“If you ask, ask from Allah. If you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that if the nations gathered together to benefit you, they will not benefit you unless Allah has decreed it for you. And if the nations gathered together to harm you, they will not harm you unless Allah has decreed it for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried”.
To conclude this section, remember this when worrying about the past, or the future.
“Let the days bring what they may,
And be contented when a decree has come to pass,
When the execution of it comes in a land of some Nation,
Neither earth nor sky can prevent it”
The Natural Antidepressants
6 methods have helped me stay on track with maintaining my mental wellbeing, these aren’t a sure way to help the way you’re feeling, but it worked for me.
Accepting qadr, the divine decree. Whatever has happened, has happened, and it was always meant to happen.
Being around loved ones, feeling the warmth of love around the people who care about you.
Quran, reciting and pouring your heart into reciting. If you don’t know how, take lessons. Even in the learning there is tranquility.
Hope, hardship is not constant. Life changes, everything changes. You won’t feel how you do forever, and have the hope it WILL be better.
Being active. Even when it’s hard, get out of bed and do something. This could be a sport, going to the gym, or just going for a walk. These small actions over time help tremendously.
Keeping a diary. This is something that I feel everyone should do, sometimes our thoughts are a mess, and the storm in our mind is taking over. Writing how you feel, just the writing down is very therapeutic, and will give you a sense of tranquility and ability to process your thoughts better.
For My Brothers
You are strong, you are brave, never forget this.
Even though there is a battle nobody can see within your mind, and you still battle the trials that everyone can see, does this not in itself define strength?
What isn’t brave, is being afraid to let people know you are fighting this internal battle.
Opening up how you feel doesn’t diminish how much of a man you are, it shows true strength and character. Embracing emotion is something natural and something you should not hold back.
When you are suffering my brothers, know that there are many suffering just like you. Opening up your mind, your heart and expressing how you feel, will not only lessen the burden of the hardship you are facing, but make it easier manage.
You are never alone, and as the saying goes “The night is darkest, just before the dawn”
So put your trust in the one who commands the dawn, sun, sky and the stars.
And when you are sad, lonely, worried or frightened, remember this ayah.
A True Happy Ending
The struggle, hardships, trials, and the constant climb to the top of the mountain is tough, but we forget, the top of the mountain isn’t in this life.
We try to attain true happiness, and that feeling of “I’ve finally made it”, but where ever you look, there is no top of the mountain in this world.
That true happy ending is jannah, where there is no pain, the true top of the mountain. Through all the hardship and trials, reaching the top will be worth it.
May Allah grant us all the true happy ending.