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I Hate My Body

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 15, 2017

Question

I’ve been depressed for over 7 years. I have social anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and I still struggle with anorexia. I lost nearly all my friends. I don’t know where to go from here. I’ve tried almost everything, medication, therapy, group therapy, inpatient, outpatient, meditation, I could go on. I want to live, but I don’t feel alive, everyday is the same. I hate my body, and I can’t see anyone ever loving me, or me being happy. I can’t talk about this at all, people either tell me that I’m being whiny or attention-seeking or that other people have it worse. That only makes me feel worse. I’ve had a few therapists before, but none of them helped at all. I don’t even want to reach out for help anymore. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying so hard, I graduated, I got a job and my license, but I still feel so hopeless. I just want to get better, please is there anything that could help?

Counselor

Answer


I Hate My Body

Answer:

As-Salamu ’Alaikum sister,

Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to suggest a solution to your current situation.

You have sought help from all the possible means such as medication, therapy, meditation; however, none of these treatments have worked. Unfortunately, nothing will work if your own perception of life does not change. From what you have described, I strongly believe that the ultimate reason for all your problems is your lack of gratitude and happiness. Before anything external can positively impact you, you need to change yourself from within.

Douglas Adams, a famous English writer, once said, “Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”

Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, my dear sister, are completely in your control. They are only a manifestation of our thoughts. If you do not guide your perception and control such thoughts, they will drive and control you.

To overcome the sense of hopelessness you feel, you need to focus on what you have and all you want will eventually come your way. You need to practice gratitude.

According to Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, gratitude improves psychological health and increases happiness and reduces depression. It also enhances empathy and reduces aggression.

In today’s time and era, increasingly amount of people are succumbing to the myth that happiness needs to be earned, and it is only achievable when absolutely everything is perfect. This mindset is detrimental to the mental, physical, and spiritual health of an individual.

In your case, you seem to be equating happiness and a fulfilled life with a certain body image. However, happiness is not getting everything you want, but rather finding happiness in all that you have. The Prophet (saw) said,

“Whosoever begins the day feeling family security and good health; and possessing provision for his day is as though he possesed the whole world.” (Tirmidhi)

There are millions of people suffering in the world, some from terminal diseases, poverty, loss of loved ones, injustice, starvation, and the list goes on. May Allah (swt) have mercy on all those suffering.

Therefore, dear sister, be happy with what you have. Allah (swt) has blessed us with more than we could have ever asked for. All we need to do is appreciate and be patient.

In addition, you need to reconnect with at least some of the friends who you have lost in the past. According to research, social isolation is as dangerous as smoking. So, dear sister, start by reconnecting with some of the close friends you have lost connection with. You must occupy your mind with something beneficial, otherwise, such thoughts will persist.

The most important thing you need to do next is to assess the connection that you have with Allah (swt). Happiness cannot be truly sought if we do not make submit ourselves to Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28)

True sadness and despair tend to deviate us from believing in the power of Allah (swt). So, remember Allah (swt) often. Your degree of happiness depends on your level of connection with Allah (swt). So, if you feel that your body image is taking you away from happiness, making you feel embarrassed, call unto Him and tell Him of your worries, and seek guidance from Him.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (2:153)

Dear sister, there are certain supplications that you can make to Allah (swt). Please watch this video and read this article.

Also, Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

“Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing.” (58:1)

Lastly, belief is the greatest cure. No amount of counselling or coping techniques can compare to a strong belief in Allah (swt). Pessimism, and especially hopelessness is a sign of a weak belief in Allah (swt). If there is a sound belief in a loving Allah (swt), then there is constant optimism.

You are drowning yourself in overly negative thoughts. What are your dreams and aspirations? You are still very young sister, you have a beautiful life ahead of you, in sha’ Allah. What would you like to be one day? Dream big, sister! Do not fall prey to such thoughts. Ultimately, you are the one who needs to change your own mind.

I hope my answer will benefit you and make you feel more hopeful of the future and will encourage you to strive for the best. I wish you all the best, and may Allah (swt) ease all your affairs.

Salam,

***

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About Madiha Sadaf

Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.

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