I am a Final year LLB student at a UK University and I am suffering from OCD. Nevertheless, I am taking counselling, but when exams come, I start to get panic attacks and my OCD symptoms get worse. Alhamdulillah, I have been getting support from my University.
This Friday I had my final exam and I was 20 minutes late. At the time I hadn’t finished revising, and I thought revising at home would be better as I tend to get nervous when I am at university.
However, my train got late and had to take taxi to reach the exam hall. I worked so hard for it, and even though I knew it well, I couldn’t finish my questions.
I broke down in the exam room as I was not allowed the extra time. I was crying continuously, and the invigilators made note of my condition and they said they will pass my matter to the relevant people.
Whenever I finish my exams, I always regret that I should have written more and get obsessed with that module even though I know that I can’t change anything.
It takes me a while to be able to shift my focus and prepare for my other exams. I prayed a lot and I went against my parents’ decision and came to London to pursue my education.
Therefore, I always panic, thinking that I will disappoint them. This incident has really depressed me, so much so that I even took extra tuition and counseling so that I could be prepared for the exams.
I spent more than £2000 and I am in debt right now. My dad has already spent a lot of money on me, and I feel so bad for him.
He is not well as he had heart operation 3 years ago and is physically weak.
I think I am becoming a burden for him though he never says anything like that. Despite having been regularly praying, and with every difficulty, I pray extra so that Allah can relieve my sadness.
I am going through such difficulties. I sometimes wonder why it must be me. I think people who go to better universities and get better grades are much happier and I am nothing compared to them.
Seeing them doing well makes me very sad. I am scared that my relatives’ friends will laugh at me by saying that I study a lot but am still average.
If I don’t get better grades, I will not be able to go to a better university for my postgraduate. Moreover, my illness brought me closer and want to seek more knowledge on Islam. Therefore, I want to go to a better university to learn more about my religion.
I have 67% in Islamic Law, which is a good grade according to UK standard, but I think I am not doing enough justice to my knowledge.
I am doing everything I can. If I want to become an Islamic scholar, I must get a good grade, therefore I think getting average grades will not allow me to pursue my dreams. I just wonder why life is tough, why me?
I think I am the saddest and most depressed person in the world. I wanted to commit suicide but my belief in Allah doesn’t permit me to do so. I am just a failure.
In this counseling answer:
Please do not overthink. Simply erase a thought by replacing with a completely different and important thought.
You are not focused on what it is that you are trying to achieve, and you lack a vision. How do you see yourself? What is the purpose of getting a law degree?
Leave the past in the past.
Read and reflect on the last chapter of the Quran. It will boost your concentration.
Assalamu alaikum dear brother,
Firstly, dear brother, know that everyone in life has problems. That amazing professor you met who graduated with honors and works a dream job? Well, chances are he struggled much more than you can imagine growing up.
Saw a happy family? You are unaware of what goes on when that “happy” family is home when no one else is there. You don’t know the issues and the troubles they are undergoing.
See an excellent student? It could be that a student is not happy at home or has health issues. Life is a package of the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly, the happy and the sad, the healthy and the sick. We are bound to be touched by an event of each kind.
Dealing with OCD
Dear brother, I am happy to hear that you are seeking professional services for dealing with OCD. However, let me tell you something: please do not overthink. Simply erase a thought by replacing with a completely different and important thought.
For example, worried that you did not properly answer the question on your exam an hour ago, forget about it! Start thinking about something completely different? What about the dinner for tonight? What are you going to eat? Something gourmet or simple?
This will make your stress related to doing badly on a question decrease, and instead, make your thoughts less uncontrollable. You need to train yourself. Write down a thought, and write down why you need to dwell on it forever? Can you change your past? No, but you can change your thoughts.
In addition, work out your fear. Why do you fear public places? What is wrong with studying on campus? Why do fear it? Write all your thoughts down. Do those thoughts seem less scary when on paper? Somethings seem scary when left inside, but not so when on paper or when verbally communicated with others.
Therefore, block all your thoughts with these two words: Focus and vision.
Focus and Vision
When I read your question, I see that you are very keen on working hard and making your parents proud and being successful. However, I feel that you haven’t defined what success is for you yet.
You are feeling unaccomplished when you see those around you and are distracted. Dear brother, observing the success of others is a distraction and will steer us away from being successful for our own good.
You are not focused on what it is that you are trying to achieve, and you lack a vision. How do you see yourself? What is the purpose of getting a law degree? Are you one of those who wish to devote their lives to pleasing Allah and paving a way for eternal happiness?
Or are you one of those who simply want to attain a degree for the sake of fame and title? Those are two different things and cannot be equated. Although the same degree is sought, the intentions behind it vastly differ.
Check out this counseling video:
Therefore, the right intention should be there when you hope to achieve anything in life. You cannot start a real future until you leave the past behind. Forget it. It is gone, and only praying and working for the future will not let a bad affect us.
I suggest that you make a large of these quotes and frame them on the wall above your desk or your bed and observe them every single night and morning.
In addition, you mentioned that you want to study Islam. Again, dear brother, write answers to the following questions and keep reading them until one day you become what you desire.
- What are my values?
- What profession do I imagine myself in?
- Can I imagine myself not being a (doctor, lawyer, professor, researcher, engineer, journalist etc.)?
- What can I do using my education for Allah?
- Do I know what it means to be a (doctor, lawyer, professor, researcher, engineer, journalist etc.)?
The past shapes us: Helps us evaluate ourselves
Dear brother, step one is forgetting the one test you did not write to your full potential. It is done and gone. You are no longer in control. What you can control is your future. Ask these questions to yourself:
Why did you not write it to your full potential?
Were you there on time? Try getting to the campus an hour before class to eliminate feelings of anxiousness and stress. When you arrive relatively early, you will be at ease and you can always review on campus.
How did you study for it?
When did you start studying?
Did you pay complete attention in class?
Were you ever distracted during your study sessions?
Dear brother, answer these questions honestly and truthfully and make changes to your next study routine.
Read and reflect on the 30th chapter of the Quran
Dear brother, I highly suggest that you start reading and deeply reflecting on the last juz’ (chapter) of the Quran, starting with Surah Naba’ . Read it in the early morning. Understand the meanings and watch lectures about it and about all the others in the 30th chapter of the Quran.
Believe me, I have experienced an increase in focus and lack of distraction when I started the above routine in just a few days. I started ignoring people’s negative comments. Started giving more importance to my own studies and vision in life.
And started realizing that what I am working for should be for the pleasure of Allah, not for other’s respect or disrespect for me.
Dear brother, I am certain that following the above steps and reimagining your future will change your present for a better future.
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.