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How to Overcome My Addiction, OCD, and Fears?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 27, 2017

Question

My problem started when I was 8 years old. Images of nude girls came to my mind. Then I remember that I was 11 years old when I had some strange imaginations that involved nudity. I was just sitting and enjoying these thoughts. I also remember going to the washroom and washing my hands until my mum discovered it and scolded me. But I still used to do it because I thought everything is not clean and still dirty. I was 12 years old and I remember that I enjoyed the ideas of punishment and I enjoyed it if someone else punished me. I used to punish myself at 13 or 14 years old age my doing sit ups until my legs became sore. Then I remember I started masturbating. I knew nothing about what I was doing. I came to know about sex at 17 years of age. I discovered all about what I was doing at 18 years of old through the internet. I came to know that what I was doing is masturbation and it is haram. I could not find a person I can discuss my problem with because I thought no one would ever believe me because it's such a strange condition. I spent 3 years of life-fighting this addiction. I would pray for forgiveness a lot and leave it and this kept on going on and off for 3 years. In these 3 years, I would become extremely religious or sometimes depressed because I cannot discuss it with anyone and dirty obsessions would overpower me. I started looking at haraam things that specifically involved girls’ punishment. Finally, with so much effort I have left masturbation but I cannot control those thoughts. They over power me so much that even though I don't act upon them it is a great mental and physical agony. How can I just overcome these thoughts? Moreover, even though I am not sure but I think I have broken my hymen. Should I tell my future husband about these issues? I still have the cleaning obsession. I will repeatedly wash my clothes, hands, perform ablution, check things and arrange my things in specific order. I try not to do it but if I don't do it I cannot have peace of mind till I do it. I have anger issues also. Recently, I have developed death phobia and I start suffocating and cannot sleep at night. I have developed an immense fear of everything including death and grave. I don't want to go out because I think something bad will happen. If my family is going out I always start having thoughts something very bad is going to happen to them. I remain in fear all the time. I tend to over think everything and always imagine the worst is going to happen. Moreover, I have phases in which I become extremely religious that I even start praying Tahajjud or I become so bad that I even don't pray obligatory prayers. How can I become regular in prayers? I always feel Allah is angry with me that I have now developed a feeling of self-loathing. I hate myself. Please help me!

Counselor

Answer


How to Overcome My Addiction, OCD, and Fears?

In this counseling answer:

“I suggest you seek professional therapy for your ongoing issues. It will take some weeks of ongoing intervention. However, in the meantime, you can do a number of things to ease your current problems including most importantly seeking to strengthen and increase your faith, finding comfort in the remembrance of Allah (swt) as well as generally taking care of yourself and engaging in self-care.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh sister,

You have certainly been experiencing a number of different mental health issues here which are understandably becoming overwhelming for you. You began with a problem with masturbation and also seem to be exhibiting symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In recent times, you have further developed intense feelings of anxiety, particularly around death as well as strong feelings of guilt for all the thoughts and behaviors you have had both presently and in the past.

Firstly, I recommend that you seek some ongoing professional counseling and support for these issues. They have been present for such a long time that they will require a more lengthy therapeutic intervention over a course of some weeks to overcome these difficulties.

In the meantime, however, I can offer some advice and support that can help to ease your difficulties more generally.

The most important thing, to begin with, is to focus on increasing your faith. You will find that this will assist you in all the areas that you are struggling with now. It will protect you from Shaytaan’s whisperings that might be causing you to have obsessive thoughts about cleanliness, for example.

There a couple of things you can do to make this task easier.

Firstly, remember Allah (swt) in all you do, even if it is as simple as saying ‘Bismillah’ before you eat. Having Allah (swt) constantly in mind will protect you from any negative thoughts you have. It will deter you from doing any acts that are displeasing to Him as you will have Allah (swt) instantly on your mind. Your fear of His punishment should be enough to prevent you from moving forward in conducting the said act.

“If a person mentions the Name of Allah upon entering his house or eating, Satan says, addressing his followers: ‘You will find nowhere to spend the night and no dinner.’ But if he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Satan says (to his followers); ‘You have found (a place) to spend the night in, and if he does not mention the Name of Allah at the time of eating, Satan says: ‘You have found (a place) to spend the night in as well as food.” (Muslim)

You can also work on gradually build up voluntary acts of worship, such as reading the Qur’an, making dhikr, offering voluntary prayers and fasting. Rather than trying to dive straight in and do it all at once, do so in a gradual fashion so as not to become overwhelmed. If you take it slowly, building up such acts, it will come more naturally on a day to day basis. You will be less likely to completely give up altogether.

A way you can assist yourself with building on your acts of worship is to establish a routine, again, beginning slowly with less daunting tasks. For example, read the Qur’an for 15 minutes a day after Fajr. Again, this will help to build your relationship with Allah (swt). This will continue to strengthen your sense of ease in such situations where, for example, you have been experiencing high levels of anxiety. You will be continually comforted by the remembrance of Allah (swt).

“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” (Qur’an, 13:28)

Finally, regarding the spiritual side of things, mix with sisters that will remind you of Allah (swt). This will be good for both your social and spiritual well-being which will further rave a knock on effect onto your physical and psychological well-being also. This will also be an act that will contribute to nurturing a closeness to Allah (swt) that will comfort you through your testing times.

Furthermore, in addition to spiritual care, make sure you take care of yourself in other ways; eat well, exercise, and sleep well. These are crucial components to positive well-being. They will also protect you from the psychological problems that you are currently facing.

Do something that you enjoy regularly. This will serve as a means to give you a positive sense of achievement whilst also providing a distraction, particularly from any obsessive or anxious thoughts that you are having.

Overall, I suggest you seek professional therapy for your ongoing issues. It will take some weeks of ongoing intervention. However, in the meantime, you can do a number of things to ease your current problems including most importantly seeking to strengthen and increase your faith, finding comfort in the remembrance of Allah (swt) as well as generally taking care of yourself and engaging in self-care.

May Allah (swt) help you successfully through these difficult times and bring you ease in your affairs.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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