Past Suicide Attempts Still Affect My Life

25 August, 2019
Q I’m thankful for your reply. I have another problem which I would like to share with you. Three times in my life, it happened that I took a large number of medicines: once when I was 13, then when I was 15 and once when I was 17.

I was going through depression and felt that it was the right thing to do. I’ve regretted doing that and now I know that Allah (SWT) does not allow such kind of acts. I’ve repented and prayed to Allah to forgive me and to protect me from the dangerous effects of those medicines.

Alhumdullilah, I actually feel that they never affected me, although I’ve had health problems since I was around 13 and when I took them the second time, I got very sick. I had to go to the hospital for a stomach wash and had a panic attack once. Sometimes, even today, it happens that I suddenly start feeling weak, my tummy feels so empty and my body so lifeless, and for a minute I feel like I’m going to die or I’m near to death; but then a minute later I am perfectly fine.

I don’t know why I am having these feelings. I’m unable to consult any doctor or specialist, that’s why I’m writing to you. Thank you.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• I highly suggest you seek out counseling in your area to address your issues as well as having someone whom you can confide in.

• Remember, if we take or attempt to take our own life (suicide), we are trying to perform a function that belongs to God (swt).

• I cannot find a suicide prevention hotline in your country, I ask you sister, in sha’ Allah, to make a contract with yourself and another person whom you trust, stating that you will never try to harm yourself again. I ask that you take this very seriously as you are, of course, making this contract before Allah (swt), as Allah (swt) is All Seeing, All-Knowing.

• Try to plan your day so that you have time for yourself.

• Stay in prayer, do dhkir (remembrance of Allah), make du’aa’, and do good deeds.

• Try relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization and other techniques.


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for writing. I’m sorry to hear of your past suicide attempts with medicine. I can image sister that you must have been very sad and feel quite hopeless to try to do such a thing, not once, but three times. I hope you got counseling after your attempts.

Sister, you stated you cannot seek a doctor or counselor now, and I am wondering why? It would be so helpful to you, especially as you have a history of suicide attempts as well as depression and now a possible panic disorder. I highly suggest you seek out counseling in your area to address your issues as well as having someone whom you can confide in. While you did not state why you are depressed or anything about friends or family, my advice at this point would be to talk to your mom about these feelings and ask her to help you get therapy.

Yes, dear sister, as you know, suicide is a grave sin. Man cannot put himself in the place of God (swt). That is, there are some functions which only God (swt) is permitted to do. Life is given to each person for a purpose, God’s (swt) purpose. We are here on earth to fulfill that purpose. Are we free to decide when our purpose is finished and we should die? No! This is known only to God (swt). If we take or attempt to take our own life (suicide), we are trying to perform a function that belongs to God (swt).

And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” (Qur’an 4:29) 

As we can see, my dear sister, we should not seek to go above Allah (swt) who is the giver and taker of life. No matter how bad we feel, we do not have that authority or right. I ask that if you draw close to Allah (swt) and make du’aa’ that He (swt) grant you ease and heal you from your mental and physical ailments.

The symptoms you are describing “tummy feels so empty and my body so lifeless, and for a minute I feel like I’m going to die or I’m near to death, but then a minute later I am perfectly fine” are, in fact, part of the symptoms of anxiety or panic disorder. Anxiety disorder presents with varied symptoms. Some symptoms may include numbness and tingling of hands or feet, heavy feeling chest, feelings of inability to breath, feelings of panic or fear, restlessness, and feeling as if you are going to die.

Panic disorder is different from the normal fear and anxiety reactions to stressful events in our lives. Panic disorder is a condition that comes without reason or warning. Symptoms include sudden attacks of fear, nervousness, sweating and a racing heart.  The fear response is out of proportion to the situation which often is not threatening. There can also be feelings of “unrealness” or disconnection with self. These are only a few of the symptoms which may occur; anxiety and panic can manifest in many forms.

While you did not say what you have been sick with from age 13, I am wondering, are you seeing a doctor for this medical condition, and if so, can this doctor refer you to a mental health professional?

As I cannot find a suicide prevention hotline in your country, I ask you sister, in sha’ Allah, to make a contract with yourself and another person whom you trust, stating that you will never try to harm yourself again. I ask that you take this very seriously as you are, of course, making this contract before Allah (swt), as Allah (swt) is All Seeing, All-Knowing.


Check out this counseling video:


I also suggest you try to plan your day so that you have time for yourself. This is so important to do as we need to have a balance in life. This means socializing with friends, helping the family at home, studying or working, eating healthy foods, getting good rest & exercise, studying Qur’an and attending Masjid for prayers among other things. When we have balance, our sense of self-esteem, accomplishments, and self-worth are naturally enhanced.

Sister, I urge you to stay in prayer, do dhkir (remembrance of Allah), make du’aa’, and do good deeds. Doing good deeds is a way of focusing on the needs of others and not focusing so much on ourselves. When we do good deeds and help others, and do acts of charity, it takes our minds off of ourselves and places it on someone or something that needs help or assistance. Helping others and doing charity work from the heart, in sha’ Allah, balances one’s perception of self and as purifies our hearts and minds. It is an act of charity and kindness, and there are many blessings in helping others. When we focus on Allah (swt), things get better as He is Most Merciful. Also, when we do dhikr and pray, it is a form of relaxation and meditation praising the Most High.

Also sister, in sha’ Allah, try relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization and other techniques in the link I have provided. Often times, when we take time out to de-stress, it can have positive effects on any anxiety or panic we may be feeling. In fact, if you can learn to master a few of the techniques, you can implement them when you begin to feel anxious or feel a panic attack is coming. In time, you will, in sha’ Allah, be in control of your emotions rather than letting them control you.

Please let us know how you are doing dear sister. We do care and you are in our prayers.

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

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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.