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Distressed by Living in My Inner World

Questioner

F

Reply Date

Feb 08, 2018

Question

As-salamu Aleikom. I am that kind of a person who focuses on the inner world more than the outer world. I am a very introvert person, and this thing is present in me for many years but now it has started disturbing me a lot. 2 years ago, I faced a very bad incident due to my evil friend's company, but after that Allah guided me and helped me to return to His path. I’ve become a better person and a better Muslim. But after 6-7 months of that incident, I started facing a lot of troubles. I started to think that I am a very big sinner and that maybe Allah will not forgive me for what I have done. Depression took away my confidence, self-reliance, self-esteem and left me with doubts and worries. I am good at studies but lack social and communication skills and confidence; I am very bad at public speaking and expressing my ideas. I cannot trust anybody now because so many people betrayed me whom I used to trust a lot. I have good company now. My friends are very religious, but they are far better than many others and their company is not harming me at all. I don't understand why I live so much in my inner-world. I do a lot of self-talk and I am always smiling while sitting alone because I am indulged in day-dreaming. I am afraid of these habits because I don't want myself to be diagnosed with any psychological disorder. When I am alone, I start day-dreaming. I learn things from dramas and films and start thinking that this thing is happening to me or others. When I do something, I think that a person (any person whom I love, I hate, I want to meet) is watching me doing this thing. I don't know this happens to only me or with any other person, too. And I am so much stressed out because I think people around me are insulting Allah (like the songs they are listening to). Please help me overcome these problems which are distorting reality and forcing me to live in an inner world full of tensions, doubts, sorrows. Please help me focus on the external world, overcome my evaluation apprehension, social anxiety, social phobia and the problem that I think a particular person is watching me doing something which feels good.

Counselor

Answer


Distressed by Living in My Inner World

In this counseling answer:

“I ask you, dear sister, to try to get over the fear of being diagnosed with a psychological illness. We, as humans, go through all sorts of illnesses throughout our lives; however, Allah provided us with those who are trained to help.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your heartfelt questions. I want to say firstly that all of us as human beings suffer from a psychological disorder at some points in our lives. We are human and prone to these issues, just as we also get diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and so on. It is nothing to be ashamed of!

The mind, body and spirit are intricately one. When one part of this triage is ill, the others may suffer. So I ask you dear sister not to look at a psychological illness with shame, but look at it as you would look at anything else that needs healing and address it in sha’ Allah.

While reading your question, there were some inconsistencies. For instance, you stated ‘ I cannot trust anybody now because so many people betrayed me whom I used to trust a lot. I have good company now’. This leads me to believe that you have been betrayed in the past by people or a person, and you have trust issues. Your stating you have good company now leads me to think that either you are comfortable with your friends now, or you are conflicted in your thinking; not sure if you can trust them.

Also, when you are describing your daydreaming and how you feel it is happening to you as well as your thoughts may be indicative of a possible delusional type disorder (mixed type) as delusions are false believes or impressions that are firmly held, even though reality contradicts them.

Further, Psychology Today describes ‘Non-bizarre delusions as delusional thoughts reflecting situations that occur in real life—with duration of one month or longer, functioning and behavior are not markedly impaired, nor odd or bizarre, aside from delusions, duration of any mood symptoms accompanying delusional symptoms has been brief in comparison to duration of delusion, disorder is not caused directly by use of substances or medical condition, onset can vary from adolescence to late adulthood but tends to appear later in life.’

While I cannot diagnose you, and you were rather limited in your discussion of other symptoms, I highly suggest that you seek mental health counseling as soon as possible. While you may be functioning well in your academic and social life as far as having friends, your daydreaming, thinking people are watching you; sitting, engaging in self-talk, smiling, are symptoms which need to be assessed by a professional.

You also mentioned a “bad incident” that happened to you which caused problems in your life such as depression, distancing from Allah and social awkwardness. While you did not disclose what had happened, it is my feeling that this event may have triggered these seemingly delusional type thinking patterns.

You also stated you live in an “inner world” rather than an external one. I am not clear if this has gotten worse since the incidence or has remained the same. In any event, I encourage you, dear sister, to seek professional intervention. Allah gave us options and people in order that we may help each other, as we all need help at some points in our lives. By you engaging in ongoing therapy, you are helping yourself to heal, which in sha’ Allah, will, in turn, help you serve Allah better. Allah does love us and is most forgiving. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He is most merciful and loves to forgive.

Lastly, while I cannot diagnose you, based on what you described, you may be suffering from some sort of delusional disorder. However, you will not know unless you seek intervention. I encourage you to do so, as it seems you are suffering greatly from these thoughts and feelings. As you are young, it is a benefit to resolve these issues now, so you can live an enjoyable and productive life without these concerns or fears.

Additionally, I ask you, dear sister, to try to get over the fear of being diagnosed with a psychological illness. As I stated, we as humans go through all sorts of illnesses throughout our lives; however, Allah provided us with those who are trained to help.

I also encourage you to engage in stress reduction techniques. Make du’aa’ to Allah to grant you ease and keep your five daily prayers. Read Qur’an for comfort and know that Allah does love you. Please let us know how you are doing sister, and if you need anything, we are here for you.

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 Aisha Mohammad

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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