As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,
Thank you for trusting us with these most delicate issues. I am so sad to hear of your depression and loss of faith, and your horrible experiences of being raped and abused as well as your multiple suicide attempts. I am truly sorry this has happened to you. While I know this does not ease your pain, sadly, there are many women worldwide who have gone through rape, abuse, torture, and many other acts of horrendous violations. Some women cannot get past what they have gone through, and others have worked through the trauma and have gone on as pioneers against abuses of women, and have helped many women such as yourself. It takes great strength and fortitude however to find that place of peace and forgiveness, so one can move on with their lives.
While you did not give the details of what, when or how long this was happening, it is evident by your questions that it carries a severe effect upon you. As you stated you were diagnosed with depression and you are on medication, I am wondering if you are still going to counseling? If not, I would suggest that you return to counseling as soon as possible and state that previous treatments did not work, and what else is there that may help. If you are in counseling, I would ask your therapist to try another approach or different medication. Additionally, I would like you to ask your therapist to screen you for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) if she has not already. Many women, who go through what you have, also suffer from PTSD. The Medical University of South Carolina states that “The National Women’s Study produced dramatic confirmation of the mental health impact of rape. The study determined comparative rates of several mental health problems among rape victims and non-victims. The study ascertained whether rape victims were more likely than non-victims to experience these devastating mental health problems. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder was the first mental health problem examined and it was found that almost one-third (31%) of all rape victims developed PTSD sometime during their lifetime.”
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder use to be associated with trauma from military combat, but now it is known that other types of trauma such as rape, abuse, witnessing a violence crime, and so forth can cause PTSD. The psychiatric symptoms related to childhood abuse include “nightmares, flashbacks, memory and concentration problems, hyper arousal, hyper vigilance, intrusive memories, avoidance, abnormal startle responses, feeling worse when reminded of trauma, nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, fragmented sense of self and identity” as well as other symptoms. (source)
While I do not know your specific symptoms sister, it is worth keeping a journal of how and what you are feeling to better surmise what is going on other than depression. I would ask you to make a daily journal of your feels, thoughts and perceptions, as well as a list of your hopes, dreams and aspirations. I ask also dear sister that in sha’ Allah you try to speak in the positive. I know it’s really hard when you’re in pain, but by speaking in the positive “I will overcome this; I am strong; this will NOT ruin my life; Allah DOES love me; I WILL get better, and so on” creates a different pattern of brain activity. It begins to “rewire” out thinking from the hopeless mode into the empowered mode. I want you to feel empowered. Yes, you have gone through experiences in which you had no power over, and you were horribly abused. However, you do not have to keep these powerless thoughts and feelings. I ask you to start to let them go, in sha’ Allah, and fill yourself with positive, self affirming thoughts. I also ask you to continue to pray to Allah (SWT) as He does love you, He does hear your prayers, He does know your pain, and He is most merciful. While you may think Allah is not listening to you or has left you, He has not sister. You may see the blessings in your life through your statement “I have a lovely family and many friends” as you described them. Many people do not have lovely family or friends. Many people have no one sister. So I implore you to use these blessings as an anchor, a stronghold and proofs that Allah does care and has provided you with these loving people in your life.
While I cannot answer your questions in a definitive way regarding why Allah (SWT) created hell, why we are born, live a hellish live, grow old and die, etc. (for answers, please check out the added hyperlinks and explore our ‘Ask about Islam’ section), I can say that Allah tests those He loves. The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was severely tested as were many of Allah’s Prophets (PBUT) and beloved servants. Perhaps, this happened to you (and others) in order that you could go out in the world and help others who have gone through similar.Only Allah (SWT) knows, however, evil does exist in this world and people often chose to hurt others as we know.
We are not robots, and we as humans have the ability to make choices. Some chose evil choices and some chose good. Your task sister is to know you are not alone, you have a wonderful circle of family and friends who love you, Allah (SWT) loves you, and you need to love yourself as well. You need to love yourself enough, to let the beautiful, wonderful, and intelligent person inside you come shining through. Yes, you were raped, yes, you were abused, yes, you went through hell and did not deserve that in this life. However, it does NOT define who you are, and revenge for the wrongs committed against you is Allah’s.
So dear sister, I ask you to try to leave the horrid past in the past in sha’ Allah. I ask you to let your beautiful self emerge, as a butterfly from a cocoon. I ask you to talk with your therapist about changing your meds, getting evaluated for PTSD and other possible coinciding disorders. I advise you to join a support group for “Women Survivors of Rape/Abuse” In sha’ Allah. Ask your therapist for a referral or look on line for groups in your area. This will give you additional support, provide you with coping skills as well as giving you an opportunity to share what happened to you and hear others’ stories and how they’ve overcome their depression and other effects of their trauma.
Also, I would like you to make a contract (written) with one of your family members who you are closest to that you will NOT attempt suicide again, EVER. Please see this link for the suicide hot line. I have confidence in you dear sister that you will take this contract very, very seriously, as you stated – you have a wonderful family and friends, and it would just devastate them if anything like that were to happen to you. Sometimes, dear sister, even though we are in morbid pain, we must think of others. As you know, but I will also mention again, suicide is a grave sin in Islam. By continuing to let the “depression, despair, loss of faith” affect you, you are in a way letting your abusers torment continue. They will NOT keep controlling your life dear sister; you WILL take control of your life back, heal, and move towards a wonderful future. In trusting Allah (SWT), you will see your blessings dear sister, but you must also take further measures to heal. This life is not easy, but once we overcome our hardships, we will find ease and more beauty in it. Pain and depression has a way of “covering up” these blessings, but they are there – we just can’t see them in the moment.
Please let us know how you are doing dear sister. You are loved, valued and precious in Allah’s sight. You are in our prayers.
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