OCD Is Flaring up Again and Affecting My Religion

04 January, 2021
Q Salamu aaykum, I have sent a question before and it did help me, but now it seems like things are getting out of hand.

I have been procrastinating so many things now that I have so many problems. I don’t know which to solve first but I will start with this one:

Last Ramadan 2019 was the best Ramadan I ever had, I tried to stop all my bad habits and be a good Muslim, at first everything was working, my OCD was not disturbing me, I visit this site almost all the time and read articles, I try to make research too.

I felt okay, but then something happened, a lot of things happened. I’m not sure what, I suddenly began to doubt everything I did.

Prayers became chores, I can’t concentrate, if I pray on time I’m too early, if I pray late I’m a lazy Muslim that doesn’t care about her afterlife,if I just pray it doesn’t matter how, God won’t accept, I’m going to hell. If I perform ablution I dread what will happen next, will I fart?(sometimes vaginal fart), will I discharge something?

I have to wash my private part before I pray, I don’t think I will ever stop doing that. And then, I can’t pray around other people, this one is getting better but I still feel weird, I don’t feel comfortable praying in other places that is not my home. I keep thinking what if I have vaginal discharge?

I can’t use the bathroom. I sometimes can’t even eat or drink in my own house if a stranger came and I didn’t like them, I sound rude but I can’t help it, I wish I wasn’t like that. I try to read the Quran everyday but I just feel empty, when I’m on my period, I don’t even feel like I’m a Muslim.

And then a pandemic started and this Ramadan was just depressing, I don’t want to admit it but I was hoping it would end fast, even though I woke up and prayed in the middle of night, I felt sad, nothing. Have I committed something horrible and forgot about it? Or am I destined to hell?

I can’t pray at school too even though 90% of the students are Muslim. If I go somewhere, I usually don’t pray until I get home and I keep thinking what if I die on the way home?

When I was young, no one in my household explained anything at the appropriate time, I’m not close with anyone not even my mom. I’m not comfortable talking to them about things like this and they avoid it too. And the way they teach us at school is chaotic.

I feel like I don’t know much about my religion,the fard and Sunnah of Salah and ablution and that’s why I feel doubtful of almost everything I do. If you have a video about prayers and fasting and ghusl please tell me the link, if there is a book that I can read please tell me where to find it.

My mood is so weird these days,I feel giddy and then I feel depressed. Thanks and God bless you all.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Please reflect back upon the Ramadan in which you were able to negate some of your symptoms of OCD and try to find what it is that you did differently and try to apply it now.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is part of the anxiety spectrum as you know. Sometimes it is more manageable than at other times. Stress exacerbates it. 

As OCD tends to flare up with stress, perhaps it is the stress of covid-19 and all the uncertainty surrounding it that has triggered you.

Please do seek out counseling as soon as possible insha’Allah to alleviate some of your symptoms.

Insha’Allah you will begin to find more peace, comfort, and confidence once you begin treatment.


As salamu alaykum sister,

It sounds like you are going through a lot mentally. I can imagine that you feel your mind is overloaded with thoughts, fears, doubts, and uncertainty. According to your question, you are having a difficult time with OCD. 

Previous Ramadan Insights

During the previous Ramadan things were very good for you regarding the symptoms of OCD. Afterwards however, things slowly began to go back to the way they were. Sister, what did you do during that Ramadan that negated or reduced the OCD?

You may want to reflect back upon Ramadan and write down things you did differently that helped subdue the intrusive thoughts, fears, and OCD behaviors. This reflection might give you some insight on how you can make little changes now to help you cope with what you are going through and get back on track.

OCD Is Flaring up Again and Affecting My Religion - About Islam

Seeking Treatment

Sister the way you are describing how you feel as well as your behaviors, it sounds like you may need to be seen for treatment. OCD is a very difficult thing to address alone. Professional treatment for OCD can be effective. It may take time and hard work on your part to overcome OCD, however the benefits are life-saving.

You do not have to live in this way of doubt and fear! You may need medication in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy (or other approach) however many do suffer from OCD and find great relief in the treatment.

Possible Outcomes

Sister, if you seek counseling and treatment for OCD, insha’Allah you will see your life change for the positive and you will not have to deal with all of these intense doubts, intrusive thoughts, fears and uncertainties.

Additionally, you will gain a deeper understanding of how OCD works and how you can deal with it. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Spirituality

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is part of the anxiety spectrum as you know. Sometimes it is more manageable than at other times. Stress exacerbates it. Sister, if you got treatment, insha’Allah your doubts and fears concerning prayers, wudu, fear of passing gas or vaginal discharge, praying in other places besides your home such as a Masjid or school, and so forth, will begin to subside. You will feel sure of your actions, decisions, and thoughts.

The Islamic things you have learned will integrate with your heart and feel natural. No, Allah is not punishing you sister. No, insha’Allah you are not going to hell for this. It is a disorder that is out of your control and Allah is most merciful. 


Check out this counseling video:


Ramadan and Covid

Sister, I understand that this Ramadan was a challenge. It was a challenge I think for most Muslims because of the covid-19. However, Allah in His in mercy did grant us another Ramadan to see and elevate spiritually.

As OCD tends to flare up with stress, perhaps it is the stress of covid-19 and all the uncertainty surrounding it that has triggered you. These are the most stressful times indeed.

Current Mood

Sister you referred to your mood these days as feeling giddy and then feeling depressed. Again, I highly recommend insha’Allah that you do seek out counseling as soon as possible to address these issues.

As we were speaking of covid-19, mental health issues are on the rise no doubt. They may be especially worse for those with pre-existing mental health disorders. 

Conclusion

Please reflect back upon the Ramadan in which you were able to negate some of your symptoms of OCD and try to find what it is that you did differently and try to apply it now. Please do seek out counseling as soon as possible insha’Allah to alleviate some of your symptoms.

Insha’Allah you will begin to find more peace, comfort, and confidence once you begin treatment. Insha’Allah you will find the following link helpful (1). While it is geared for new Muslims, it is a wonderful refresher and provides useful tips and inspirations.

Sister, please know that help is available, you can change this-you just have to be willing to take the first step.  We wish you the best.

1. https://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/living-islam/learning-resources-new-muslims/

Salam,

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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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/mental-health/how-to-overcome-my-religious-ocd/

https://aboutislam.net/family-life/your-society/muslims-likely-suffer-ocd/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/mental-health/how-to-overcome-my-addiction-ocd-and-fears/

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.