If you’ve ever felt like you need to justify yourself when you’d need to be away or when you just need some space to bounce back, I’m with you.
Just 2 to 3 weeks ago, I had a major breakdown. The difficult part about this was that I didn’t know what triggered me to feel that way and I remember crying for 2 days straight not knowing how and when to stop. Yes, it was a bit messy with the routine at home. Yes, perhaps, I was too hard on myself. Yes, there were a lot of external factors that might had caused me to dismiss myself from the world.
I kept waking up at night, burdened with this heaviness in my chest, wishing that I could just stay at home in bed the next day and the next. I woke up feeling exhausted and having to pretend that everything was okay. Coffee didn’t work. Food was almost tasteless; I even skipped meals just because I didn’t have the appetite to eat. My mind couldn’t stop from ruminating. I wasn’t able to focus and I was struggling to get things together.
I couldn’t tell anyone and I was struggling to tell anyone because at the back of my head, I needed to justify this feeling because if I don’t, then why did I need to feel this way?
I felt like I wasn’t present; it was like I wanted to move away again. I had this tendency to escape although I couldn’t. I thought I needed to find myself again when actually in finding myself, I forgot to find Him.
It was until I talked to Him that I was able to let my feelings and thoughts flow.
Just really, honestly, genuinely talk to Him about everything.
Sometimes, when we have everything that we need at that moment in time, we tend to be complacent. When we forget that we are constantly being tested, we are not prepared. We get lazy in our du’a and we don’t put enough effort in our prayer. We don’t do extra. We simply go through the day with the minimal effort. Sometimes to a point, we’d build a wall around us, unconscious of His presence when He is Al-‘Alim (The All-Knowing).
When we don’t strengthen our within, even the slightest test would eat us inside-out.
When we don’t feed our soul enough, a test would push us away from the real purpose of why we are doing this in the first place.
When Allah loves His servant, He tests them. (Quran 29:2)
Only after talking to Him first, that I built up the courage to talk to someone. I’ve learned this the hard way. In the end, we’d make the mistake to seek help from the wrong people who would only make us feel worse than before.
Sometimes, we talk to people first thinking that they would be able to give us the answer.
But I’ve learned that this shouldn’t be the way. When we’d need to make decisions that would drastically change our lives, we are taught to pray to Him to ask for guidance and only then we’d need to seek counsel from people.
When you talk to Allah first, He sends the right kinds of people your way at the right time. Or guide your heart to approach to the right people.
When you have a sound heart, it is a lot easier to make the right call.
I’ve learned that Allah sends guidance through different means and He knows just the tools we would need not only to make ourselves feel better but even closer to Him. It could be in the form of people or place or courage to get better. Sometimes, these breakdowns are blessings in disguise—not for the sake of our eyes, but our heart.
So He sent the right person to me and I learned something again. Through out our conversation, I don’t remember a time when she was trying to make me feel better (which sounds contradictory) but instead, she asked the right questions and told me the magic sentence that we all deny that we’d like to hear more often: “You know it’s okay and human to feel this way, right?”
You don’t need people to fix you or to make you less sad or to make you unrealistically happy in a short period of time.
You just need the right people to validate your feelings without even having them to “fix it”.
You just need to be sad and face it regardless of how uncomfortable it would make you feel. You sometimes need to hear “It’s okay. Just take your time with how you’re feeling” rather than “You seem stressed. Chin up”
Ever since we were kids, we were told that sadness is not normal, as if it is evil and not human enough to be a part of us. So not being able to process this emotion healthily actually hinders us from growing.
Sometimes, when we try to “fix” people, we tend to focus the energy on us instead of the friend that we are supposed to help or at least, listen to.
We tend to be defensive, thinking that the source of the problem is from us because they’ve spent much of their time with us. So we’d jump into the conclusion that it would only make sense that they are angry, upset or sad because of what we’ve said or have done. When it could be a lot deeper than that.
We want to make them happy immediately. We want to make sure that sadness or any form of negative feelings would no longer consume them. These are unrealistic and could be the reasons why we keep going back to the past, not being able to move on from the problems that we shrugged off in the first place.
I had one of the best conversations with her and it fulfilled me in so many ways and our conversations revolved around His love and mercy. I couldn’t ask for a better help.
So, here’s what I’d like to leave you. You need to do two things when you feel like you can’t take it anymore. I am not an expert but I am just expressing this from an experience.
Essentially, praying, making lots of du’a, constantly remembering Him and the Quran are the ultimate help that you need. Sometimes, it takes longer than you would expect. You need to be patient with yourself when you’re praying to God. Sincerity doesn’t form overnight and again, that’s okay. Everything takes time. Beautiful patience takes time.
While you also must not give up on praying, you also must seek help from your friends, family member or anyone whom you’d trust. Sometimes you need someone to try to figure out the missing pieces that you need to find. Sometimes, it can go far beyond than a personal help but a professional one.
But first, you need to pray so hard so that you’ll have the courage enough to take the next step if you haven’t so that He would protect you from doubts and whispers that are crippling you from taking the next step.
Learning how to navigate your feelings, instead of justifying your feelings is a lot more productive as you are recognising these feelings are just part of being a human. When we have these ideals that everything is supposed to always be in a state of happiness, then we could simply be stagnant. And that my friend is a questionable way to live.
The best way to live is ones that is according to Him and love for Him. It’s not easy all the time, but the contentment that you’d get out of it is just… ineffable.
When you can’t take it anymore, learn to step back, reconnect with Him and pray that He’d heal you again.