10+ Suicide Attempts But Still Alive

25 September, 2016
Q Salam. I know that in Islam suicide is the greatest sin, but what if one has attempted suicide and still lived through it? Is that a sin? I feel very guilty. I have attempted it in the act of desperation to get out of the pain I was going through by overdosing. Although it had minimal impact on me, somehow I felt better after knowing that the pain was going to go away soon, but then after that guilt came in. I have done this cycle for more than 10 times and no one knew about it. It’s a non-stop ongoing cycle of sadness and suicidal thoughts that seems to cease and come back and I’m unable to control it. I know I should seek help for it, but I feel stubborn. I have thoughts like "I’m okay now I don't need to" and "seeking help from Him is the best" and "you don't have the funds to support this!!" Also, I have gone for professional help and the experience still brings me nightmares till today. The person used the Qur'an to mock me. Is it really selfish of me to not seek help? And is it necessarily better to seek help from a person who is a Muslim? I’m lost as to what to do. Is suicide attempt a sin? Have I gone off the path of being a Muslim? Most of all, should I tell my family? I don't want to break their hearts. What should I really do? :'(

Answer

Answer:

As-Salam ‘Alaikum dear friend,

Working through our ambivalence, our conflicting emotions about whether we want to be alive or we prefer to leave existence is often a very high mountain to climb. There are so many existential questions to answer. We know in our soul that we are on this earth for a purpose. And although we are here for the purpose of fulfilling the will of God (swt), it is not difficult to wonder why it is so painful sometimes.

Thoughts of escaping the work, the pain, the hardship of life with the imagined belief that we will somehow find relief if we don’t have to wake up to it the next day often bring a sense of guilt to us precisely because we realize that we are here for only one purpose and that is to fulfill the will of G0d (swt). Deep inside us we know that it s simply wrong to quit. There are other human beings that will hurt if we leave abruptly like that, and our work will be undone.

It sounds to me as if you have some very good and important reasons for living. Your family is important to you. You can sense they need you. It is possible that your suicidal thoughts occur when you are overwhelmed or very tired, but that if you wait long enough for these thoughts to pass, you will realize that you do want to live, even with the pain that you are experiencing.

Although we cannot escape pain, we can work through it, and oftentimes we find that this process of healing our wounds and our pain actually prepares us for the purpose that Allah (swt) has for us. It is a long journey and requires effort and work. But this, indeed, is the work that we are meant to do for the sake of Allah (swt) and humanity as well as for our friends, our families, and all of our loved ones.

Our own trauma and our own woundedness are connected to the trauma and woundedness of all of humanity. We are all connected. What affects you affects me even even though I am on the other side of the world, and we may never meet in person. This is the underlying unity of all things and is that nature of Allah (swt) in all things. Thus, if you heal one level of hurt that is within you, in essence you heal the world and all of its inhabitants.

Instead of judging yourself as good or bad, right or wrong, generous and kind or selfish, ask yourself what it is that you really, really, deep down want to do with your life. The amazing is that the answer is the same for each and every human being once all of the layers of ego are removed – that is, we want to please Allah (swt). We want to give life to the world, to humanity, to the cosmos; however, you conceive that which is from Allah (swt) and the fulfillment of Allah (swt).

Once you realize this and you perceive your own life as a very important thread within the tapestry, the creation of Allah (swt), and how without this unique thread the entire tapestry would not exist, you will touch upon the indwelling passion of life itself within your heart of heart, the keeper of your soul.

I am so sorry to hear your story of professional help that you received. No human being should ever, ever be mocked. Your feelings are real; they are important. Allah (swt) created you a perfect and pure being, most valuable and precious. I honor you, and I pray that when you work with your next therapist, that therapist will honor you also.

If you seek help from a legitimate psychologist or psychiatrist, I do not believe that you will be treated so badly. You will have a safe place to explore your pain so that you know you will survive it. This way, you can work through it and heal. As I mentioned, the process isn’t easy, but it is your life work and the world and the whole of humanity will benefit if you do this work.

There really is no escaping. Life does not end just because you find a way to leave this corporeal body. You will still exist, and you will then have this violent act to deal with. It is the love and mercy of Allah (swt) that you are with us today so that you can change course and complete your purpose for being with is in corporeal form on this earth. We need you.

As you may understand already, I am not able to provide the type of clinical services that you need through aboutislam.net. But I beg you, for my sake, for my neighbor’s sake, for the sake of humanity, for the sake of your family, and all that you love, please seek professional face to face help where you can feel safe enough to work through your deepest issues.

Your life brings the light of love to this Earth. We need you. Please pray to Allah (swt) for the support that you need so that you can complete your mission. We are in this together, and we affect each other.

With that said, please write back to me and name three people that are in your life and you feel safe with. Three people you can call and talk to about your feelings of suicide. If you cannot name three people, name two; if you can only name one, then name one. It is ok to just say, my friend here, or my sister; you can remain anonymous.

If your friend is aboutislam.net, then name aboutislam.net. Now you at least have two friends, Allah (swt) and aboutislam.net. Let’s explore the other people in your life you may also have who would be there for you to talk to should you have suicidal thoughts.

Please, consider working with a psychiatrist who can provide you with medication so that while you are working through the most painful and difficult issues, you can also have some relief. Proper diagnoses will also help you a lot. With an accurate diagnosis and appropriate clinical interventions, you will be able to manage your moods and also your thoughts. You will sleep better and you will likely feel better in general. If you get this level of relief, it will be easier for you to work through your issues.

I have provided a lengthy response. You may feel that I have not adequately answered your questions. However, I encourage you to stay away from thoughts and questions and pondering that lead to judgmental conclusions. What I can say is that I pray that you do get help for yourself now and without hesitation. Please let us know how that goes. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Salam,

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About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.