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I’m Afraid My Thoughts Come True, Please Help!

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Oct 19, 2017

Question

Many times unwanted and unexpected things come to our mind. In my case, it's about something bad about my parents' safety and health. god forbid that! But how can I control these thoughts, more importantly, can I ignore it? What should I do? Please help!

Counselor

Answer


Thoughts

In this counseling answer:

“I would also kindly suggest that each time you have these thoughts that you consciously try to stop these thoughts by either redirecting your thinking to an engaging task, doing dhkir, or by picturing a big red stop sign every time you begin to get these thoughts. It may take some time an efforts brother but with consistency, you should be able to get these thoughts under control.”


As-salamu alaykum dear brother,

I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through and the unwanted thoughts that keep coming to your mind.  Surely these are frightening thoughts as our parents are so precious to us and we love them very much.  It can be a challenge to fight off these thoughts but it can be done insha’Allah.  Firstly, it is not unusual to have these thoughts at your age.  Around the early to mid 20’s people often begin to think about not only their own mortality but those of loved ones.

The 20’s is a time period wherein one is getting anchored in their own life, independence is usually completed as well as people usually begin to view themselves and others in terms of time. Time can be in regards to attaining a solid career by a certain age, having a spouse by a certain age, staring a family and so one. With this focus on goals and time comes the realization that nothing lasts forever!

A realization often clicks in wherein we look at ourselves or our loved ones and realize-yes, to Allah we all return! While not all young people experience this, enough do as it has been discussed in mental health and development forums as well as research studies exploring the different variables surrounding this stage of life.  So in short brother, you are not alone in your thoughts and fears.

I would like to ask you though to keep a journal.  Write down how many times a day (or week) you have these thoughts.  Also, write down your responses to these thoughts. Do you immediately call your parents to see if they are okay?  Do you perform some behavior to ease the anxiety such as pacing, or tapping your fingers, counting and so on.  If so, please include it in your journal.

I would also kindly suggest that each time you have these thoughts that you consciously try to stop these thoughts by either redirecting your thinking to an engaging task, doing dhkir, or by picturing a big red stop sign every time you begin to get these thoughts. It may take some time an efforts brother but with consistency, you should be able to get these thoughts under control.

If you find through your journaling as well as through your efforts to stop these thoughts that they are in fact too numerous and too powerful to reduce/stop, you may want to consider getting evaluated for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).  Persistent and uncontrollable intrusive thoughts are sometimes caused by OCD which is related to anxiety and is treatable.  This NIH states that “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over”. Please do seek out an assessment and counseling if you feel this may be the case for you. You can find more information on anxiety and OCD on the internet.

Lastly and more importantly brother is the fact that we do all return to Allah eventually. Only Allah swt knows our time here. I would kindly suggest that you increase your study of the Qur’an, Islam in general as well as attend the Masjid as much as you can. This will help you in your fears of losing your parents or fears for your parents well being and health. As you draw closer to Allah, you will find comfort knowing that all things are in His control. As Muslims most of us don’t want to die or face calamities however as Muslims, we do look to the day when we will be with Allah as to Him is our return. This life is but a temporary test.  It states in the Qur’an  (2)

“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return”.(Qura’n 2:156 Surah Al-Baqarah)

Please seek counseling brother if you cannot control these thoughts after efforts, you are in our prayers, we wish you the best.

***

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 Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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