I have been going through solipsism for more than a month now. It’s become difficult for me to concentrate on anything else. It's really making me uncomfortable. I feel so bad. It feels like what I am thinking is not real, but then the next moment it looks real, every question that my mind asks has an answer in the context of solipsism and my mind further becomes hazy and confused.
I don’t know what to do, please help me, thank you.
In this counseling answer:
• Are you indulging in reading a lot of philosophical books or watching philosophical material? You need to ensure that you find the root of these thoughts.
• For you to understand and realize that there are other people who have issues in their lives and there are those who try to fix these issues, I suggest that you find a hospital where you can either shadow a doctor or volunteer. This way you will see in person the physical health issues and the doctors who are trying hard to eliminate these problems.
• Whenever we are bothered by thoughts, we must try not to house them in our minds for too long. This is only attainable when we house productivity in our minds and execute actions which are worthwhile. Fill your day with volunteering, praying, working out/exercising, doing homework, spending time with family and friends, and reading.
Assalamu Alaikum dear brother,
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation.
Always remember this:
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”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
First and foremost, I highly advise you to visit a psychologist with your parents. Whenever you are unable to handle certain thoughts and they are disrupting your regular activities and peace of mind, you need to seek help. If your self-effort is not yielding any results, a professional’s intervention is a necessity.
Although I can give you advice and steps to follow in order to reduce the mental stress resulting from your mental health condition, only a local psychologist will be able to monitor your stress levels and help you recover much faster. In addition, you need to see a professional who has spent many years of their lives for the purpose of helping those in need. You need to trust them and visit them as soon as possible.
In addition, you should visit a therapist. Dear brother, please do not fall prey to stigmatization regarding mental health conditions. Sometimes, when we stigmatize and do not act upon it earlier, things go down the hill without ever returning to normalcy. Therefore, it is better to seek help and be cautious as soon as possible.
What is the source of these thoughts?
Solipsism is defined as:
“The view that “I am the only mind which exists,” or “My mental states are the only mental states.” However, the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust might truly come to believe in either of these propositions without thereby being a solipsist. Solipsism is, therefore, more properly regarded as the doctrine that, in principle, “existence” means for me my existence and that of my mental states.
Existence is everything that I experience — physical objects, other people, events and processes — anything that would commonly be regarded as a constituent of the space and time in which I coexist with others and is necessarily construed by me as part of the content of my consciousness.
For the solipsist, it is not merely the case that he believes that his thoughts, experiences, and emotions are, as a matter of contingent fact, the only thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Rather, the solipsist can attach no meaning to the supposition that there could be thoughts, experiences, and emotions other than his own. In short, the true solipsist understands the word “pain,” for example, to mean “my pain.” He cannot accordingly conceive how this word is to be applied in any sense other than this exclusively egocentric one.”
Solipsism is not yet defined as a mental disorder. Therefore, it means that perhaps it is the result of overthinking certain realities of life or being unaware of the realities of others’ lives. Whatever the case may be, these thoughts can be successfully prevented. These thoughts are a result of highly philosophical thinking. Too much thinking which is unguided and not monitored is unhealthy.
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I understand that sometimes thoughts do not come to us purposefully, but sometimes it is something that is triggering them such thoughts and feelings. Are you indulging in reading a lot of philosophical books or watching philosophical material? You need to ensure that you find the root of these thoughts.
Combat your thoughts by a change of environment
Dear brother, thoughts are sometimes recurring and there is absolutely no way to eliminate them. I understand that you are in control of your mind, but sometimes if you are solitude and perhaps surrounded by negative or quiet people, there will be no change in your thoughts.
One of the most recurrent feelings defining solipsism is the inability to realize that there are other people who are also capable of having thoughts and that they are also real. Sometimes when we are not aware of other people, we tend to grow to consider only our own selves and lose sight of others.
Put aside your viewpoint and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.
For you to understand and realize that there are other people who have issues in their lives and there are those who try to fix these issues, I suggest that you find a hospital where you can either shadow a doctor or volunteer. This way you will see in person the physical health issues and the doctors who are trying hard to eliminate these problems.
Likewise, visit orphanages with some donations and see the children who are living a life deprived of love of parents. In my opinion, visiting these places will make you realize that the world is much bigger than you are, and there are those going through difficulties and finding solutions and peace in what they are blessed with.
Try giving gifts to homeless shelters and examine their feelings and how it resonates within you. Feed others and give gifts to loved ones. Do you feel their happiness? Do you feel their satisfaction? Spending your time doing these things which will enlighten your heart and liven it up.
Importance of Prayer: Finding Purpose
Dear brother, as a Muslim, it is necessary that we try to combat as many confusing and evil thoughts as possible by constant remembrance of Allah SWT paired with our efforts to physically change ourselves.
In the Quran, Allah SWT says, “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (51: 56)
Allah SWT says in the Quran, “…Do good to others as I have done good to you…” (Quran 28: 77)
The Prophet SAW said, “Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.” (Tirmidhi)
This is a clear sign from Allah that we must do our part in this world to help others. And for this very purpose, Allah SWT has blessed us with various skills.
In the Quran, Allah SWT says, “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” (2: 152)
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’” (14: 7)
Develop a passion for an increase in productivity
You are currently 17 years old, and perhaps will be starting university in a year or so. What are your passions? What do you plan to pursue? What are your dreams?
For you to find your professional goal, you need to find yourself a passion. A passion that will not only render you satisfied but also occupy your mind and prevent you from thinking such thoughts which are disrupting your peace of mind.
But the question arises, how do I find out what exactly I am passionate about? How do I know? Remember, your passion should answer these three questions:
- What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?
- What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?
- What would I spend my time doing if I had a complete financial abundance to do anything?
Therefore, once you find an activity which successfully fits the three requirements above, invest time and increase productivity towards it.
Follow a strict schedule
Dear brother, whenever we are bothered by thoughts, we must try not to house them in our minds for too long. This is only attainable when we house productivity in our minds and execute actions which are worthwhile. Fill your day with volunteering, praying, working out/exercising, doing homework, spending time with family and friends, and reading.
I hope that once you are able to implement such things in your life, other unnecessary and preoccupying thoughts and feelings that were manifesting themselves in your mind will begin to dissipate and you will be able to house much more positive feelings.
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.