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I’m Unable to Concentrate on My Studies



Reply Date

Sep 12, 2017


I am 23 and have completed my education recently. Since the day I began my B.S, my father has advised me to make obtaining CSS competitive exams of Pakistan and having an office job my goal. In the beginning, I had no plans for CSS, yet I changed my mind to go for it after my graduation. I intended to devote my entire year of 2016 to my CSS studies preparation. However, 80% of my mind has been divided over unnecessary thoughts, feelings, and fears. I had had a friendship with a guy since the first semester. In the beginning, I felt he really cared for me. I am a person who remained deprived of her family love, but with this guy, my expectations were met. With time, his ignoring behavior really disturbed my mind. Now, he left me all alone. Secondly, my home issues distracted my mind as well. I am unable to concentrate although I really want to concentrate on my CSS studies. Internally, I feel disturbed all the time. At night, most of the time, I cry to Allah. During day time, with the help of sleeping pills, I try to get some sleep. I am really confused what to do, I was always considered to be a creative and accelerated learner, but since February, my performance has been declined to zero level. I haven't covered even one subject for it. Only four months are left for my CSS exam. What should I do? Please help me. I really need counseling these days. All the time I feel worthless.



I'm Really Worried About My Future

In this counseling answer:

“Overcoming your possible mental health obstacles and feelings of low self-esteem should be one of your first priories right now. Also, seek help from a career counselor and decide what YOU want to do in your life…”

As-Salamu ‘Alaukum sister,

Thank you for writing us with your concerns. I am sorry to hear you are going through such anxiety. Alhamdulillah, you recognize that you feel disturbed and distraught. Realizing how we feel and acknowledging it is the first step towards healing.

While you mentioned your father wanted you to “obtain CSS competitive exams of Pakistan and have an office job”, you never mentioned if that is what you wanted to do. What do you want to do, sister? That is one question you should ask yourself. Do you want to study something different?

Often times, we cause ourselves unnecessary grief, anxiety, and confusion by doing things that others want us to do, not what we truly want. This is especially true regarding a career because we will most likely be doing this job for most of our lives. It should be something we are excited about and interested in. While I understand you may want to please your father, you are an adult now, and your career choices should be something you find joy in, not despair.

A career counselor may be able to offer you advice and direction in finding out what it is you truly wanted to do (as you initially said) and help you on that path. Please do consider this if the career your father has chosen for you is not one you would have wanted for yourself.

If the case is that you are truly interested in CSS studies, then you need to, in sha’ Allah, try to separate your study life from your “emotional” life. It is natural to want to feel loved, feel attached, and get married. Most humans crave that; it is how Allah (swt) made us! However, if this guy ignores you, it is not a reflection of you, but rather it is a reflection of him and his bad manners. I would try, in sha‘ Allah, to forget him as it is maybe a sign that Allah (swt) has someone better for you. You will have to be patient to see who Allah (swt) brings to you. Allah (swt) in His mercy will close a door we wish to be open – if it is harmful to us. Allah (swt) knows best.

Also, you stated that you prayed to Allah (swt) concerning your feelings and distractions. While it is sometimes hard to accept these sorts of things, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, we must stand on faith that Allah (swt) has closed this door, but, in sha’ Allah, another one will open in which Allah (swt) brings you something better.

Sister, if home life is a distraction, go to the library with a friend. Try to engage yourself in activities at the university as well as at the mosque to relieve some of your anxiety, refocus your mind, and find some joy. In sha’ Allah, get some counseling for your emotional issues of unnecessary thoughts, feelings, and fears as soon as possible. See if your family doctor or your university can provide these services.

Often times, when one is depressed, has a racing mind, is fearful, or has anxiety, they cannot function properly. They need the help of a good counselor to re-balance. Overcoming your possible mental health obstacles and feelings of low self-esteem should be one of your first priories right now. Not only will you begin to feel better, but you will be able to study with much ease, in sha’ Allah. Mental health issues and inability to focus does not magically go away; we must take the needed steps to get to the root problem, develop solutions and learn coping skills. Your counselor may even determine after an assessment that you need medication for a short time.

I would also kindly suggest that instead of sleeping pills (which are not good for you), you engage in stress reduction and relaxation techniques. There are many effective ones such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and exercising, to name a few. An internet search should bring up some good ones.

So, dear sister, I encourage you to focus on getting counseling, continue drawing closer to Allah (swt) through prayer, dhikr, reading Qur’an, and making du’aa’. As time allows, socialize with other sisters, engage in new hobbies for fun, stress-free time and begin to prepare yourself for your upcoming tests. After they are over, in sha’ Allah, you can take the next steps in determining what it is you would truly like to do in life.

Please let us know how you are doing. You are in our prayers.



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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