Soul Practices | The Healing Process #2
As soon as my therapist said that I had Depression, I decided that I was going to put all my cards on the table in order to get better and be no longer doomed to my condition.
What the decision implicated was that I search for what people have said about this throughout History, and so I found 3 main currents:
- First, there was the Western theory that this was a mental illness called Depression that can be the result of many life circumstances humans can go through (mainly life transitions). This current suggested therapy and pills for healing. I went to therapy and skipped the pills.
- Then there were Functional medicine practitioners who were convinced that all mental illnesses are a result of our own lifestyle choices ( including our diet, our stress level, our spirituality and our human connections). Healing for them only comes when you upgrade the quality of your lifestyle, mainly your diet. For instance, they believe that Depression is the brain being inflamed and so they suggest an anti-inflammatory diet to heal that. (and fixing my diet I did!)
- Third, there was an Islamic point of view that named the symptoms of Depression as mass (المس), which means Jinns messing up with your head. For healing that, they suggested following an intensive programme of Ruqya (more on this later). And Ruqya I did, but not the intensive type, just basic connecting with Allah and waking up in the middle of the night and bawling my eyes out you know.
Below are the practical steps I took to feed my then drained soul and bring it back to life using faith and expressing myself.
(Last week, I shared the self-care tips I used as part of my healing process, find it here)
* A Gratitude Practice:
One thing I struggled with when I came to terms with my condition was gratitude. I felt guilty for having Depression because I considered it a lack of ungratefulness on my side. I had everything I could ask for, I had things people would die to have, so in a way, I felt that I had no right to be depressed.
Furthermore, there are many things I lost to depression, from the ability to feel joy ( and I always took the ability to feel for granted), to social relationships (I simply became rude and always chose solitude over hanging out), to happiness ( after a few months, I simply settled with the fact that yes I was sad).
Losing all of that made me not only cherish everything more but it also made realize that nothing is ever really mine because I can lose it at any given time and so my job was to
- first not attach my identity to things that come and go (and everything does);
- only get fully and holy attached to Allah because He is the source of all the Power & Wisdom I needed to navigate through this life. (still working on this detachment)
- second, make the best out of what’s between hand at the present time and that is what gratitude is.
So for this one, it was mainly my mindset that shifted from taking things for granted to staying aware of their ephemerality and using them for good while they last, whether that’s health or relationships or a skill or a house or whatever it is. I knew that I needed to use all of it to be good and do good for myself and for everything that’s around me.
Plus, Gratitude is a worship we get rewarded for by an extension of blessings.
I have been going to therapy for over 6 months now. I reached out to it when the depression started affecting not only myself but also people around me as I became a dangerously irritated person that could make you feel guilty for existing within her territory. In short, I just became too much for people to handle and at the same time, I couldn’t get a hold of myself because, in the moment, it feels right to be rude and complain and dramatize.
Therapy felt like a workshop for the self where you learn to sit comfortably with the most uncomfortable questions and thoughts and emotions. I had a lot of hard assignments to make ranging from writing honest letters to people around me (without giving it to them) to emotional tracking (which improved my self-awareness) to learning how to prioritize instead of getting caught up in the details.
(let me know if you’d like to know more about the work I’ve been doing in Therapy)
In therapy, I’m also encouraged to voice out my thoughts and emotions without judging them or ridiculing them and I slowly started noticing the magical effect this has, it helps me see everything clearer and the thoughts no longer look as scary.
As my therapist says, « your voice is your power » and so voicing your mind out can give you the power to make choices instead of being a victim of your own mind.
* Ruqyah & Dua;
THIS was and still is a life savior because duh Allah is the ultimate life savior. These 2 things were mainly my escape plans for those rough nights where I would drive myself crazy with the darkest thoughts you could possibly think of.
I first downloaded a Ruqyah app (called Ruqyah) and listened to the Ruqyah every day, sometimes even twice a day and it brought so much calmness and refocus because it included some truths about life that we often get distracted from and which are essential for our peace of mind.
Secondly, I made a lot of Dua, Allah was the only thing I could really count on without being afraid of betrayal and supporting He did. if it wasn’t for that support and for that little faith that was still lingering inside of me, I have no idea what would have happened to me because in those dark times, all those dark, helpless and hopeless thoughts seem valid and there’s nothing that could cool that down beside His presence and Mercy on the weak and wavery beings that we are.
* Soul Conversations:
I’ve always been a reserved and closed-off person, finding it hard to express myself and speak my mind but recently I am discovering the magic of having « soul conversations » with people who really care and are willing to support you.
By soul conversations, I mean long, open conversations where you talk about what has been going on inside of you without the fear of being judged and disrespected.
I have also been gathering my courage to reach out to few very close people as soon as I start drowning in self-loathing and negativity and oh my God, I wish I started doing this earlier because it literally cools off my obsession with my thoughts and gets me out of my head which gives me the space to breathe and think about the same things differently.
Plus, feeling supported and accompanied in your healing journey gives you so so much strength to keep up and not settle for less than a happy and thriving life!
* Quran Listening:
Oh boy, this was a lifesaver on more than one occasion. As my depression got worse, there were nights when my mind just wouldn't stop driving me crazy with the darkest thoughts, the hollowest feelings and the worst case scenarios as it plays in loops all the things I should be worrying about. I had to sit up and shake my head as I come close to going insane, and listening to Quran was the only thing that could save me from myself and soothe my mind enough to give in to sleep.
I went weeks not being able to sleep without listening to Quran. It also saved me when a nightmare would wake me up in the middle of the night and nothing would take that fear away.
. . .
So yeah, in short, this is what I mainly did to save my soul and get back to sanity and I’m so grateful it did and that it has changed my worldview, my mindset towards life and how I view both faith and letting your thoughts out.