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I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder, What Should I Do?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Jul 13, 2017

Question

Hi, I'm sorry to bother but I truly want to seek advice from someone Muslim and a good source. I'm making my way into high school at the same school I have been in for the past two years. At first, I had a very solid group of friends and ones who seemed to be nice. We went out and ate at restaurants and shopped together and had all sorts of fun that friends have. (Before I explain my question and situation, I have to say that I am very prone to mood swings and I am a very emotional person. I highly suspect myself to be Bipolar II but I can't reach out to anyone as it's culturally not really accepted and I would rather seek help in religion. It causes me to feel sad one second and extremely energetic the next. I feel content with friends at one second and want to be left alone the next. It's not something I can not control and it's led to relationships being ruined). In the middle of the second year at this school, a few of my friends started (sort of) indirectly promising me good friendship and convincing me that our friendship group was split in half. I was manipulated and eventually, it led to me and three of my closest friends in that group to have a fight that led to them separating from the group. After a long time of fighting, all reconciled but we definitely aren't as close anymore. At first, I was fine and grateful that the friends I ended up keeping were nice. But then, those manipulative friends started to change and act badly towards me. They excluded me and shunned me, often purposely. I couldn't end my friendship with them as well because I already lost my three best friends and I couldn't find myself friendless. Although the situation is mellow now, with me being neutral to everyone, I feel guilt every day. The cause of the fight with my three ex-best friends was me and my bipolar tendencies. I overreacted and even though I talk with them now, I still feel guilty every day. The guilt I feel is heart-wrenching and causes me to cry and reflect on the past too much to the point of falling into a deep depression that has affected me for the past 5 months. However, even with this guilt and depression, I find myself ecstatic at random points, most likely due to the possible bipolar tendencies. I don't know how to get rid of this paralyzing guilt because it's not something occasional. It's constant every day and I can't talk to anyone about it. Also, feeling this guilt and sadness has often caused me to neglect religion at the time because I feel as if I have no energy to do anything, mainly pray, which I know is a sin (but I have been trying to improve). Please give me the best advice you can because I really am desperate to leave the self-loathing and guilt and sadness behind to benefit myself and my relationship to Allah. I truly apologize for the long message. Jazakallah

Counselor

Answer


Bipolar Disorder

 In this counseling answer:

The questioner is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. The counselor advises her to speak to professionals who will be able to provide ongoing help, to help you manage your symptoms. It might also be recommended to take medication to manage some of her symptoms, even if just on a short term basis. However, at the same time, there are also many successful non-medicinal treatments for bipolar also. Online support groups may also provide the kind of support she needs right now in confidentiality, giving her the chance to talk to others who go through or have gone through the same.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi  wa barakatuh sister,

From what you describe it certainly does sound like you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Whilst I cannot make a formal diagnosis, I would strongly recommend that you do seek help for this. I understand that culturally disorders such as bipolar are not accepted,  or very much frowned upon, however, this is simply due to cultural misconceptions about what these disorders are or what they are caused by.

It is unfortunate that such stigma exists regarding these issues because as you can see it is having such a profound effect on your fail life effecting both your friendships and most importantly, your Deen it is for these reasons that I would encourage you to seek further help. If you find it difficult to seek face to face assistance due to the potential for family and friends to find out, you might look online for ongoing counseling or even support groups.

This gives you the forum to speak to professionals who will be able to provide ongoing help, to help you manage your symptoms. Do be aware, however, that sometimes, it might also be recommended to take medication to manage some of your symptoms, even if just on a short term basis. However, at the same time, there are also many successful non-medicinal treatments for bipolar also.

Online support groups may also provide the kind of support you need right now in confidentiality, giving you the chance to talk to others who go through or have gone through the same. They will be well placed to advise you based on their own experience.

In the meantime there are some other things you can try to ease your situation.

*Don’t neglect your physical health. Ensure you get enough exercise, eat well and get sufficient sleep each night. Ensuring you are regular in your prayers will help to establish a healthy routine.

*Continue with your obligatory duties – pray 5 times a day and the gradually build into your routine more Islamic activities, even if it is to just to read the Qu’ran for 5 minutes a day, to begin with. This is a routine you can build up gradually, spending more time on these things as you progress, rather than diving right in and doing too much at once.

*Identify your triggers. If there is any particular scenario that you know intensifies your emotions, then avoid these situations. Keeping a daily mood diary can assist you with this as you are visually able to monitor your mood changes and clearly identify in which situations your mood is up or down.

*Take up a hobby. Hobbies can be a great way to focus your energy into something positive, achieving new things and connecting with new people. Taking up a volunteering opportunity might be a good idea here too, as Islamically you will find it very rewarding to know that you are pleasing Allah, which will serve the indirect purpose of also bringing you closer to your Deen again

*Set aside time for yourself each day. Use this time to use relaxation techniques, or do something that you enjoy, that makes you feel happy.

Integrating these things into your life will give you the confidence that you have the necessary skills to cope with difficulties and you will feel more equipped to deal with any difficulties should they arise. However,  as I said, also do not neglect to get some extra support also due to the big impact that your symptoms seem to be having on your daily life also.

May Allah bring you ease in overcoming these difficulties and give you the strength and patience to overcome your problems.

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

 




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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