Mental Health and Islam
The fact of the matter is that anything that’s associated with mental health is still very much a taboo topic in most Muslim households and is something very few Muslim families will deal with in a healthy and appropriate manner.
Call it lack of correct knowledge, ignorance, anticipated shame or just misunderstanding the obvious, but depression, anxiety, personality disorders, schizophrenia and eating disorders, the list is pretty endless, are all very much taken as unnecessary burdens and degrading labels upon the family and usually the correct help is taken at a monumentally slow pace and certain emotions are often neglected.
This is pathetic given the fact that Islam places a major, major emphasis on maintaining one’s own health and wellbeing, not just physical, but also mental and spiritual. Our society is still, to this day, plagued with a dark cloud of ignorance and a far more active dialogue needs to be initiated within the Muslim community about mental health because the truth is, many of our own parents still view any unhealthy shift in one’s consciousness as culturally scandalous and would rather not accept that yes, their child isn’t necessary just “having a bad mood”.
No one chooses to become mentally ill, just as no one chooses to become physically ill. Yes certain choices and predispositions can perhaps induce certain states but for the most part, illness of any sort is not necessarily the fault of the sufferer. If anyone falls ills, their sins may be expiated to some extent, Allah knows best.
There is no shame whatsoever in getting the correct professional help that one needs. There is no embarrassment in talking to someone about your emotions. There is nothing degrading about accepting that you or someone you know may be suffering from a chronic mental illness. There is no harm done whatsoever in embracing the fact that you can pave your way back to a healthy state of mind and begin living your life again.
The only way we’re going to challenge these cultural norms is if we actively talk about the problem that’s becoming more and more evident in our own homes and cities. If you know of a friend or family member that is pushing the idea that they may need to see a professional but their family is disregarding their claims as a flamboyant attempt to get some much needed attention, then make an effort to talk to someone you trust and somehow show those people that maybe something other than nothing can be done, maybe this really is something serious, maybe you really can help stop something in its early stages from progressing into something detrimental.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking help and more people need to be okay with that. We have to talk about this stuff.
just got home from performing my dream role in my last high school show. and then going to a cast pool party. i haven’t been to a pool party since i was about 10, so i feel like i just had a ~teenaged experience~. on the way home, we listened to regina spektor and one of the people i was driving home whispered, “i feel infinite.” it’s been a good day.
I’d ask you how you’ve been but I already know the answer. We have the kind of friendship where we don’t talk everyday because we choose to live our lives separate from each other. But it doesn’t matter. It’s okay. You know that I’m a call away in times that you need a friend and I know that it goes both ways.
Last night you called and you said that you needed someone to talk to. I know you’re troubled before you even called me. I know because I know you. You asked if I’ve ever witnessed a suicide and I said fuck you. I know that it’s back. The sadness, the loneliness that used to consume you. I can see how much you wanna tell me about your pain and what’s it about but you can’t and it pains me even more. I wasn’t able to breathe a word to help you because I don’t know how to. Simply because I suffer the same sickness.
I’m with a virus called sadness and it’s eating me alive. I don’t know where I got it and I don’t think it’d help if I do. If I knew the cure then I’d be living an excessively different life now. But I don’t and it didn’t bother me because I am my sickness and my sickness is me. My sadness and I are one and it never bothered me. Until now.
I wish I knew the cure. I wish I could take away your pain. I wish I’m there to make you feel loved. But all I can do is understand. I hope you see that I’m here to understand. I hope you see that if my wishes do come true then my ability to understand will be taken away. So quit thinking about taking your life away because we don’t know what’s on the other side and I won’t be there to join you in your pain. Don’t take away your life because if you do, you’re taking a part of me with you.
And I know that if I tell you that there are a million things in this world that’s worth living for, it would only make you feel shittier. But I say this with sincerity and I say this because it’s the truth. You’re one of the few reasons why I choose to hold on to this life. You’re one of the few reasons why I choose to breathe another lungful. I say you’re one of the few things that I’m living for. I’m here to make you feel that you’re not alone after all.