In need of a hug.

>> Saturday, August 18, 2012

 

I'm a 17 year old Muslim girl living in the west. I've been depressed since I was 10 or 11. I have a really bad past. I was born in a Muslim family alhumdulillah so I was always a Muslimah. Lately I've been starting to lose hope in life because my life is just so messed up! I can't even concentrate on salah anymore astugfirallah, but I am so troubled and stressed out. I am trying to recover my depression but everything/everyone always seems to bring me down. No one seems to understand. My parents expect me to be happy and don't understand why I'm upset all the time. I told them I was depressed once but they didn't understand so I stopped sharing my feelings with them. The truth is that my parents don't really like me. I've always been so much less than everyone else. I don't have any friends even though I tried so many times! Most of my friends seem to not want to be around me. I feel so alone all the time I've been spending more and more time in my room, isolating myself from the rest of the world. I've isolated myself from my family, my friends, etc etc. I literally only come out of my room just to eat and drink which is pathetic, I know that. But my parents aren't the most nicest people ever. My dad is sexually abusive towards him so I'm terrified to be around him! My mom is more verbally abusive and always tries to bring me down, which she successfully does. I have NO LIFE and I understand that. I want to change that. I hate it when my mom keeps telling me, ""All you do is stay up in your room all day. You have no friends, no relationships with anyone, nothing. What is the point of you living then? You are worthless! You don't benefit anyone."" It's true, I'm very useless. I'm 17 and I don't even know how to cook, do laundry, and other household chores like that. Also my studies aren't that good either. Looking over my life, I didn't really do anything during my childhood. I literally just stay in, study, and go on the computer for like 6 hours per day. It's because I'm depressed, so I live my life on the computer and not in real life. But today I want to change that. I want to become a totally new person. I want to become a better Muslimah. I hope it's not too late to change especially since I'm already 17. I don't find any trouble in changing myself but I find so much trouble in the fact that the past will always try to catch up to me. It's so hurting to be constantly reminded of my past. Two days ago, I made up my mind to change but all of a sudden, my little sister seemed to ruin that by bringing up my past. She told our relatives, ""All she does is spend the whole day in her room and on her computer. She has no life and no friends. She spends a lonely life."" I felt so bad after she said that. She ruined the rest of the day for me. :( I hate being reminded of the fact that I have no life. I want her to stop mentioning that! When my little sister said that, I felt like screaming inside. I'm so stressed right now and panicking. I have one month left to fix myself. Next month, one of my mom's friends' son is coming over (he's a couple of years older than me). I live in America and he lives in his country. We've met and been acquainted with each other for a few times before. I actually really like him. I never thought I'd develop feelings for him but alas, I couldn't help myself. He's so pious and very kind to me - he's the only man on this earth who respects me. I really love him! But the thing is - he's the opposite of me. He has a lot of good friends, is respected among the Muslim ummah, is a very devouted Muslim brother, etc. I really want him to like me back so I'll change for his sake. But I'm so terrified that he won't like me back because of who I am. I'm a no-life, talentless, depressed, ugly girl. He's the opposite of that. I know this will be competition considering many girls are after him. :( They're all beautiful, etc.I want to get married when I'm 18, I don't know why. But I know I must change myself, so I will. But the past will come up in one way or the other, I just know it! I want Allah to conceal my past from him. I lose my motivation to become a better person because of a terrible fear of my past. :( I hate myself and I want to commit suicide so badly. I want this Muslim brother because we're good friends. Whenever I'm upset, I can go up to him and ask him to help. He always cheers me up and makes me feel better. In fact, he makes me feel like the most special girl on earth. He may like me back but I know for the wrong reasons. He doesn't know who I really am. He doesn't know how my parents abuse me, how I have no life, how no one (except him) wants to be my friend, how I feel suicidal and depressed every day, how I just don't want to exist anymore. I struggle with my faith and with my life. I want to run away from the past and kept it hidden but I'm terrified it may come back to haunt me! I spend nights crying over myself.I know I'm 17 so I'm really sorry that I sound really babyish right now. I just felt the need to vent to someone and when I found your blog, I decided to email you as the last hope. I feel so guilty. :( Please help me! How can I fix myself and move on? A Young Muslimah


Dearest A Young Muslimah,


First of all, you don't sound babyish at all!! Instead, you sound like somebody who has been hurt a lot, who is need of a shoulder to cry on and a sisterly hug =) Your email is so sincere..I have so much I want to talk to you about that I'm not sure this email is going to be coherent. It's going to be somewhat jumbled, but I hope it makes a little bit of sense :)

So let's start :) 

You know what I was thinking when I was reading your email? 

I was thinking that maybe you are really loved by Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala :)



Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials." 

 Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that."  
The prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The greatness of the reward is tied to the greatness of the trial. When Allah loves a people, He puts them to the trial. Whoever is acceptant of it will have Allah's acceptance and whoever is displeased and unacceptant with it will gain Allah's displeasure." [At-Tirmidhi Kitab At-Tauhid]

 You could be someone GREAT in the sight of Allah :)

The truth is that what you described- the "old you"- doesn't sound like a bad person to me. You were never useless or worthless. You were abused and hurt. You were trying to "survive" and your defense mechanism was to stay in your room and protect yourself from getting hurt again. You searched for an escape from the pain you were going through and the only escape you found was in the form of your computer.

So, stop "hating yourself" and being so hard on yourself. Look back at that little girl who had no one to talk to-who felt that her mother was against her- who never knew when her father would touch her- and understand that she did what she could. She was trying to cope with her life and the depression she was going through and didn't know any other way but to lock herself up in her room'.

Once you can accept that truth, that you were simply trying to cope with your life, you can move on. You can sit down and think: "Now, how can I cope with my problems? How should I deal with my mother when she verbally abuses me? How do I deal with depression? How do I...etc."" 

I really want to stress this part: you can't be better if you've already given up on yourself. You say you want to change but at the end of your letter, you make it sound like it's hopeless.

It's not.

Every single day is a NEW day for you. It is a new chance. Things CAN turn around. They WILL, inshaallah.



 But before we take a look at "how" to change your life around, let's stop for a moment and really analyze WHY you want to be better. I understand that you like this guy and that maybe he likes you. But hunny, I worry about him being the "reason" you want to change. 


 What happens if it turns out he likes you as his sister and not thinking of you as a wife? Will that make you go back to being depressed? Will that make you go back to your room? 

You see, cupcake, living the life you want means making the decision yourself that you are worthy of that life and that you care enough about yourself to live that life. You have to make a decision that you are someone special. Your happiness should not depend on someone else's 'opinion' of you. 

You have to actively want to be better for your own sake...and you have to be committed to it whether or not this guy will like you.

Okay, well how are we going to start the process of becoming the " new you"? 

1. Attitude:  Like we keep saying, believe in yourself. Write down good qualities you have. 
-Write this sentence somewhere: I am worthy of being loved. I am someone special. I matter….. 
-Sit down and think about something that you do really well- it could even be how much of an expert you are with computers. 
-I want you to begin your mornings by saying "Bismillah. Today, I am by Allah's permission going to have a great day.

2. Talk to a Counselor/ 
You've gone through a lot and you mention being depressed since you were 10. I can tell by your letter that you're not just talking about some 'sad days' but something more. There are chances you're dealing with depression as a clinical condition... 
What you need to do is FIND OUT where you are right now.  In order to properly cope with depression, you need to know exactly where you stand....

That's why, I think you should take the 2 tests below: 
http://www.queendom.com/tests/access_page/index.htm?idRegTest=1123



See how you score. 

If your results indicate that you are suffering from severe depression or even mild depression, you should try seeking some professional help. It's not fair to you to try to handle it all by yourself. The way I see it is this, I have to wear glasses in order to see correctly. Sometimes we need a little help :) 

If you can, try talking to your school/ university counselor. It's even possible to talk to some teacher that you really trust or sending in a letter to a website such as Kid's Health. You can even call a hotline: http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/hotline.htm

You can also try joining forums with support groups. Most Muslim forums have a counseling section, but you can also try other ones for like depression, 'family help', 'mental health': 

The important thing is that you have somebody else with you that can help you identify and talk through your feelings and see things differently and not so negatively. I know that you the thought of 'opening up' to an outsider probably makes you feel guilty or like you would be betraying your family....But actually, you aren't. It's not like you're going around and randomly telling people your problems-instead, you are seeking help and support to help yourself and your family.


Other things to do to help you with the depression: 

 * Exercise daily! Get your body pumping....Exercise releases chemicals that makes your body feel happy.  I know that when you're going through depression, you probably don’t even want to get out of bed- but try to enlist the help of a friend/exercising buddy. If you’re thinking, “Why bother,” try reading this: http://www.mcmanweb.com/exercise.html

*  Eat good foods! Food can really affect our mood. Try to stock up on fruits and veggies. Read more about good foods here: http://www.foodforthebrain.org/content.asp?id_Content=1713 

* Sleep well


3.  About your father sexually abusing you: what I'm worried about is this is still going on?!! This is not acceptable. Your father can not do this to you. Don't think for a second that it's okay for him to do this. It's not. It's a crime!!! And that definitely includes in Islam, too. It's completely HARAAM. It has got to stop. Have you thought of talking to the local Imam?  Would your mother believe you? What about an uncle (your mother's brother, because chances are your dad's brother won't believe it). It may seem very hard to talk to an outsider about it, but he needs to know that he can't do this to you and get way it. It's also for his own benefit to get the "help" and hopefully the treatment he needs. 



4.  Work on meeting new friends/ improving your friendships.

Keep an open mind. Try finding a course or club you can join to meet new people, be it cooking, sports, languages or even knitting!  Being around people who share the same interests as you is bound to make your day a little more cheerful and help you make great friends. 


Go to the masjid on Friday prayers and get to know the sisters there.

 It can be awkward sometimes when you want to start talking to someone, but you don't know what to say. Well, my advice to you, to first: Say Salaam. And mean it. Actually feel like you do want peace to be upon this person. SMILE at the person=)

Bring Eid goodies and strike up a conversation with somebody after tomorrow!! :) 
Compliment a sister's shoes at school/ university.Say something as simple as "I'm so not ready for this test...". "Oh, I read that book. It's awesome". "Any chance we're going to have a free period today?" 

Remember: Everyone's got some problem/ something that bothers them....and most people wish they could talk about their problems with others. So be willing to listen to others...and help others. 

As for the friends you already "have" but they don't feel like hanging out with you, try and analyze why that could be. Do you think that maybe you could be honest with them and tell them that you were going through "depression" and are trying to get through it, now? 

5. Have a talk with your family: talk to them about how you are trying to change and appreciate their HELP in this. You can say that at breakfast time/ lunch time/ whatever..And then, talk to your sister one on one and your mother and so forth. Tell your sister that you are sincerely trying to change and that you don't really appreciate her telling the whole family that you have no life/ etc. You just need some support in your change :)


6. When your mother verbally abuses you remind yourself that a person's words are not FACTS or a reflection of you. 

Verbal abuse is a reflection of your mother's parenting skills/ and the mental state she is in. (By that, I literally mean the current mental conditions she’s going through)  

Maybe your mother is really stressed out- people who are stressed tend to get angry fast. Maybe she’s got a lot of worries on his mind…or she’s really anxious. Maybe she was raised that way with her parents verbally abusing her and doesn’t know how to address her problems and pinpoint her anger correctly. Maybe she's really worried about you but doesn't know how to help you, and thinks that she's encouraging you to be better by putting you down.

Whatever it is, when your mother says those things, bounce her words OFF. 
And ask yourself a few questions:
  • 1.      Do you really need to ‘hear this’?
  • 2.      If you respond to her anger at that exact moment, will she even ‘hear you’? If she’s just ranting, chances are, she won’t even listen to anything you have to say. So….
  • 3.      Do you have to stay in that room? 
  • 4.      Is there a simple solution/ compromise that can be reached?
  • 5.      Does calling a rose by any other name change the rose? If I call a rose ‘garbage’, does that change the rose/ or its essence? Do his cuss words change you? (NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE).
If you feel that she's constantly verbally abusing you, you can leave the negative environment by going out to the public library/ taking a walk around the block/ going to a park/ whatever. That will give you a chance to leave the negative environment but at the same time, she won't be able to say that you're stuck in your room all the time.

7.  Make Dua and Turn to Allah. 

Who has been watching you all this time? Who hears your cry without tears even falling? 

You are actually never alone, sweets.Through out all of your life, there has been One on your side, only a prayer away.

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. (2:186) 

He's the Most Perfect One who can actually change our lives for us! All we got to do, is ask....thank, and talk to Him! Make dua to Him. Read the Qur'an. Get to know His Attributes better. 



8. Take a look at resources for depression, improving faith, finding happiness
I definitely recommed Yasmin Mogahed: http://www.youtube.com/YasminMogahedOnline

And our previous posts:



WEll sister, I know that this was jumbled but I hope it helps you a bit. I really hope the other sisters can also share their advice. If you have been through abuse, please let us know what helped you come out of it and what you wish somebody had told you? 

I really pray that things get better for you. May Allah grant you the peace and happiness you are looking for....May He lighten your load and make the coming days full of happiness and smiles. 
Lots of love, 
Little Auntie

P.S. I REALLY hate to say this but sis, remember that in Islam, there really isn't such a thing as girls and guys being friends. Think about it. You didn't mean to but ended up falling in love with this guy. wouldn't you be crushed if he doesn't feel the same way? That's why in Islam girl and guy relationships should be professional. You should never be alone, either with a non-marahm. You also have to remember that Shaytan wants both of you to get distracted from Allah and you can never know what plans he's got up his sleeves. 


6 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

seekingpatience,  August 18, 2012 at 6:03 AM  

This is great response, mashallah.

All I can say is that no matter how 'messed up' we seem to be and no matter how deep in sorrow our life is, it can change bi ithnillah. We shouldn't give up. Instead we should constantly make Dua, try our best to change, and never lose hope in AllahSWT's mercy and power. He is able to do anything and that includes guiding us!

And another thing, everyone has baggage that makes them feel insecure! All of us are battling with something or another. Once you realize that, then you feel more at ease, and know that you're not weaker than others or that there is something wrong with you while everyone is strong. Trust me, the grass is always greener on the other side but the truth is that all of us are being tested. Someone's test may seem minor to you, and it may be for you, but to them, it is to their capacity. And that's why don't feel bad when someone belittles your struggles, sister, because they may not understand. But don't believe them and think you are weak or messed up for having that problem.

And I love that you said you wanted to stop letting your past make you feel worthless and change your present for a brighter future. And it's sad, I know that sometimes those close to you remind you of your past in an unkind way, but inshaallah it won't last. People change their minds, and with time, everything will fall into place. And they will more or less accept the "new" you.

Much <3
Wassalam

Anonymous,  August 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM  

assalamu alaykum, wanted to know how do I ask a question? couldn't find a button.

jnana August 18, 2012 at 1:52 PM  

That was a very helpful response
A Young Muslimah, I pray that you find the strength to cope with everything <3

Little Auntie August 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM  

Seekingpatience: ma'shaallah, a very good point about everyone having their own baggage. Nobody is perfect and the truth is that no matter how amazing this guy is, he has his own flaws, past, and issues to deal with :)
Anonymous, we have a contact page but I remove it when we've received enough questions. If you've gone through the database, but still can't find what you're looking for, you're welcome to email dearlitteauntie@gmail.com. However, we may take some time to get back to you.

Jnana, Ameen.
Let's all try and keep all our sisters in our duas.

Sister,  September 1, 2012 at 3:48 AM  

Assalamo Alaykom, sisters. Where can I send my e-mails? I hope, you will be able to see this.

Little Auntie September 1, 2012 at 4:26 AM  

^Sister, we actually have a contact form, but we remove it when we've received all the questions that we can handle. Right now, we're a little swamped and behind on questions...do you think you could wait for when we put up the form again?

If not, you can send an email to dearlitteauntie@gmail.com. We do have to get to the emails that were sent in first, though :)

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
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