I Wish to Live in Isolation

16 May, 2020
Q Assalamualaikum,

I have been sick for almost 5 years and can no longer work. Doctors are still not sure what is wrong with me.

I try to stay spiritual and discuss/teach Islam to my kids actively, but I am getting more and more upset by my condition. The pain and fatigue make prayers difficult and my vision is blurry, so I have a hard time reading Quran. My brain is slower; I do not understand videos all the time.

All I feel like doing is just being alone and isolating myself. I'm short tempered with the kids and all my thoughts are negative. I've pulled myself out of similar slumps, but it's never been this bad.

In Ramadan, I did not fast. Keeping up with the schedule for my kids and husband is too difficult. I just don’t know what to do; please advise me.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Request tests for estrogen levels, adrenal hormones to rule out adrenal fatigue, sleep apnea, as well as depression.

Ensure that your sleeping is adequate and refreshing.

Keep your prayers.

Make an appointment with a counselor for an assessment.

Check out your area to see if there are any support groups for women with chronic fatigue syndrome.


As Salam Alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us. I am sorry to hear about your health issues. It must be so difficult trying to maintain a family and life when you’re not feeling well. Fatigue is such a common problem these days, especially among women.

We live a very fast-paced life with many responsibilities. Not knowing what exactly is wrong can only add to the feelings of despair. May Allah grant you healing and ease.

Ruling out other Causes

Sister, I am not sure what tests the doctors have done. I would kindly suggest, if they have not tested these areas already, to request tests for estrogen levels, adrenal hormones to rule out adrenal fatigue, sleep apnea, as well as depression.

I Wish to Live in Isolation - About Islam

As you said that you have pulled yourself out of similar slumps before, I am wondering if your fatigue is related to depression. You may wish to take the depression inventory to rule out depression.

Also, you may wish to keep a sleep log to ensure that your sleeping is adequate and refreshing. If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, or if it’s not quality sleep, it can result in extreme fatigue, irritability, and brain fog during the day.

If you find that you are not sleeping very well at night, you may wish to bring this up to your doctor if you have not already. As you are 45 years old, I’m not sure if you have started early menopause or not. This is also a consideration.

Trying to Function when Feeling Fatigued

Sister, when we are feeling ill, in pain, or tired, is only natural that we cannot function the way we normally would; this includes praying. As Allah is most merciful, He understands, and He knows that we are suffering.

I ask that you try to keep your prayers however, even if it is praying while sitting in a chair, it is still making a prayer. By making your prayers or attempting to, Allah sees your efforts and blesses you.

I will kindly suggest, sister, that you make an appointment with a counselor for an assessment, as it could be that you are depressed. Depression will make you feel this way. It’ll make you feel irritable, fatigued, as well as cause foggy thinking, pain in your body, and other symptoms.

The pain in the body comes from tension. When we are stressed out and or depressed, we can subconsciously tense muscles, causing overtime pain. For example, when you’re driving, consciously focus on your hands and relax them. You’ll be surprised to find out how tightly you’re gripping the wheel.


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Overtime and tensing up may lead to painful conditions. It is much like sleeping on your neck the wrong way all night and waking up with a neck ache.

I am not a doctor, so I don’t know if there are any valid reasons for you to consider in terms of illness. However, I thought that I would mention them just in case some parts were overlooked.

Second Opinions

I do mention that if you are not making progress with a diagnosis from your doctor, please consider getting a second opinion. You may even wish to see a holistic health practitioner (doctor) or see one who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine.

These traditional ways of diagnosing disease, disorders and imbalances are often very successful. Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, Tai Chi, Herbal medicines, cupping, etc. often produce powerful healing.

Nutrition, Exercise and Stress Management

Sister, I would kindly ask you to in shaa’ Allah take an inventory of your stress levels. You may find that adding a stress reduction technique may help with some of your symptoms.  Progressive muscle relaxation may be beneficial for your pain and deep breathing may help with foggy thinking as it oxygenizes our body better.

There are many more techniques, dear sister, and I encourage you to look online for ones that would be personally useful to you in shaa’ Allah.

Examine your diet. There may be some hidden allergies you have to foods (i.e. gluten) which you are not aware of yet. Please speak to your doctor about this as well. Ensure that you are eating plenty of fresh veggies, fruits, protein and drinking lots of water for hydration.

As you are tired, I understand you may not feel like exercising, however, if you can commit to maybe 10 minutes a day to start out, you may find energy levels increasing. The more we move around and build muscle, the quicker our bodies begin to rebuild strength and stamina.

Please do however consult with your physician about these tips before starting a wellness plan.

Lastly, check out your area to see if there are any support groups for women with chronic fatigue syndrome. While you are not diagnosed with that, a group may provide support, coping tips, and other health suggestions.

Seeking Allah

Sister, I know that it is hard to focus and function in everyday life when one is sick. However, dedicating some time every day for just you and Allah will greatly strengthen your resolve in shaa’ Allah as well as provide many blessings.

Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Read Qur’an, do dhkzir, talk to Allah about how you feel and make duaa (supplication) for recovery. Not only will this be your time for spiritual renewal, but it will also be a time for healing as Allah is our ultimate healer and He waits for His servants to come to Him when in need.

Allah loves you, sister, and doesn’t want to see you suffer. Allah is most merciful. Please do continue to seek Allah.

Conclusion

Sister, I am praying that a diagnosis is made soon and that it is a rather simple issue to treat. As stated, your symptoms are sadly a bit common in many women, especially when stress levels and responsibility in life are high. 

In addition to ruling out depression by seeing a counselor, I would highly recommend that you do indeed get a second opinion regarding your health. Please try the advised tips, dear sister, and let us know how you are doing.

You are in our prayers.

salam,

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.