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Anxiety & Self-Harm: How to Feel Better without Hurting Yourself

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

May 16, 2017

Question

A salamu alaikum. I am a 15-year-old Muslim girl. I am currently in a huge dilemma because I have been going through mental health issues and lately they've been at the worst point they've ever been. I have been diagnosed with severe social anxiety and I am taking antidepressants and medication for the anxiety. I also see a therapist. However, nothing seems to work. My anxiety just isn't getting better, people at school mock me for it. The anxiety is so bad I get made fun of and have almost no friends. I have been engaging in haram behavior like self-harm to cope, I know it's bad but I just despise myself so much. I feel like a joke in this world and that I don't deserve to live, everybody hates me and Allah (swt) must really hate me. The panic is so bad I have no idea what to do. Please help me....

Counselor

Answer


Anxiety & Self-Harm: How to Feel Better without Hurting Yourself

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,

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

I would like to start off by telling you that Allah (swt) certainly does not hate you. If anything, He (swt) loves you more than you can even imagine.

The Prophet (swt) said,

“If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts them with trials.” (Bukhari)

Therefore, please do not despair. Allah (swt) wants to test your sincerity. By giving you a certain hardship, Allah (swt) makes you a better Muslim today than you were yesterday.

You must also remember that in the Quran, Allah (swt) tells us that with everything difficulty, there is ease. (Quran 94: 5-6)

People who mock you and insult do not understand the reality. You are certainly not a joke. The ones who are troubled in this world are the ones who are closer to Allah (swt). Their trials and tribulations make them realize Allah’s (swt) presence. In addition, their sins are also being erased.

You also need to forget about what others are assuming about you. Their opinions and their thoughts do not matter. What matters is your relationship with Allah (swt).

The Prophet (saw) said,

“Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience”. (Bukhari)

And

 “…Then the believer who suffered the most hardship and trouble will be brought and it will be said: ‘Dip him once in Paradise.’ So he will be dipped in it and it will be said to him: ‘O so-and-so, have you ever suffered any hardship or trouble?’ He will say: ‘I have never suffered any hardship or trouble.’” (Ibn Majah)

This hadith sheds light on the fact that those who face hardships in this life will be granted Paradise, and once they get “dipped” in Paradise, they will forget all the hardships and the troubles they have endured in this world. This world is temporary. Sad days do not last long, and neither do happy days. However, if you are constantly thinking about Allah (swt) and remembering Him, you will always feel happy.

Allah (swt) advises us in the Quran,

“And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life…” (20: 124)

Do not ever turn away from remembering Allah (swt). Constantly occupy your mind and thoughts with Allah’s (swt) beautiful names.

Please, do not resolve into doing self-harm. It is not liked by Allah (swt). It is a sign of your lack of belief in Allah’s (swt) omnipotence. You must realize that Allah (swt) is capable of doing anything and everything.

Have you pondered why do you self-harm? What pleasure is there in harming yourself? Rather than self-harming you could try self-fixing. How about exercising or going for a run when all these thoughts overwhelm you? How about going for a swimming session, or enrolling yourself in sports? How about watching TV or talking to a friend to leave your self-harming thoughts behind? What about reading a novel? Painting, sketching, and the list goes on.

Sometimes, we get negative thoughts and feel down and blue because we have not occupied our minds. And as we all know, an empty mind is the home of the devil.

Dear sister, nothing seems to work because you are not letting anything work. Neither medication nor visiting a therapist will work if you do not try to change your mindset. Your mind is in your control. You need to steer it in the right direction. You need to feed it positivity and optimism. You cannot drive it in the wrong direction and hope for it to land in the right destination.

For example, when you drive a car, you cannot expect to go to a mall located on the east side of the neighborhood when you are driving towards the west headed towards a local dumpster. In addition, you cannot eat a cheesecake and chocolates day in and day out and expect to lose weight; you need to eat clean and work out!

The same principles apply to our mind. We need to steer it in the right direction AND we need to feed it the right things. You need to feed your mind with positive and hopeful thoughts. You need to be confident. You need to tell yourself that nothing will harm you. You need to tell yourself that Allah (swt) is there for you.

In addition, perhaps nothing seems to work because you have not really realized the root of your social anxiety. Have you ever discussed with your therapist what initially caused you to become socially anxious? Sometimes, if we understand the root cause of a situation, we can learn to overcome it by learning how to handle it and how to respond to it.

In addition, please ask for Allah’s (swt) forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is not necessarily for those who have sinned, nor does it imply that you are or were a sinner. In fact, the Prophet (saw) used to ask for Allah’s (swt) forgiveness about 75-100 times daily.

The Prophet (saw) advised us that,

“If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” (Abu Dawid)

I am certain, in sha’ Allah, that if you learn to grow more positive and have more faith in Allah (swt) and continue to strengthen your relationship with Allah (swt), your worries will subside.

I hope my answer provided you the guidance you were looking for.

***

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 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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