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A while ago, but I probably hit a record low for my low mood meter. I felt the most dehabilitating depression I have ever experienced today. This was in the morning, after suffeirng with dehabilitating despair feelings from last night that was completely messing up my salah and prayers. Despair left right and center, feeling like crying all day.
I had a few hours of sleep last night, from the despair, and on the bed, read something from Quran that made me feel rejected, and so upset. It was disturbing, to feel such a terrible reaction inside me. But for some reason, I felt so angry, and resentful that I felt I was being rejected by Allah. Man oh man what a terrible feeling to feel rejected all my life. And then after trying to come closer and closer to God, I reach such a low where I’m feeling this same rejection when reading Quran? ???? ????? .
I prayed with a bit of normalcy, and the depression hit me full force. Who could I turn to if I felt rejected when reading the book of my Creator? Talk about feeling so terribly stuck and trapped. I was experiencing such severe feelings of pain, and anxiety, and feeling heart beating like Rodney King, even while reading Quran.
I used all my energy to try to get myself up and out the door. In this mode, I was pretty much ready to throw in the towel when it came to islamic studies. So demotivated. But I had a tafseer exam to study for, and I plowed through it. Man oh man, severe amounts of emotional anxieties and problems when reading, it was indescribable, and I was reading at a snails pace because of how I was feeling. Life didn’t seem like it was going to go on at that rate.
Well I went into “shaitan dismissal mode” where I knew I was getting additional emotional botheration from shaitan, where i simple let it float by, disbelieving in it, knowing the shaitanic source, and knowing that it will go down with time of ignoring and riding the tidal waves out.
At the gym, I noticed the severe emotions and thoughts died down a bit, and this dying down continued to the evening where I felt things were just much more calmer, both emotionally and cognitively.
Now to the empowerment. I was feeling resentment in my maghrib and isha prayers, because of the stress and anxiety that I had in the religion. In particular, there was this resentment feeling that i had in feeling forced to roll down my shirt before the salah because I heard people telling me that you should pray without rolling your sleeves up. So I felt the burden and still did it. But the resentment was there churning in Salah, and then afterwards I had some bad resentment towards Allah about doing that. And I wanted to understand why, because I will take a heart that has no resentment to Allah anyday over doing some “rituals” that keep my heart feeling resentful.
I examined it in light of what I have been experiencing, namely that my issues are coming from my past, in particular from my mom, and not at all from Allah or Islam. That separation is still tough to do, and alot of times I don’t separate. The way I behave and react has become a part of me, all based on my early life experiences.
With the rolling up the sleeve example, examining the resentment, I reflected deeply about what I was feeling, and why I was feeling it. And here’s what I came up with, that released resentment.
I used to feel obliged to do things with my appearance or behaviors, or things that I say, or emotions that I express, all to avoid my mom’s disapproval. Just so she would approve of me, so I would be “acceptable.” At the time, I felt it only made sense to do those things, so that she wouldn’t have problems with me. And that’s how any 3 year old would rationalize, the way I see it.
This reaction, became my world view. That is how I saw myself dealing with pretty much anybody, as my mom’s interactions set the stage for me to interact with the world.
Now fast forward 30 years later, and we see me doing essentially the same thing. I feel obliged to roll down my shirt so I can be approved of by the higher authority. That is the hidden pain that developed resentment. It’s in the intent I always had, of doing it so I wouldn’t be disapproved of or rejected. And doing ibadah because you feel that you are at risk of being not approved of as a human being is not a good idea, and will build resentment in your heart towards Allah, especially if you have always been doing that all your life.
So this idea and realization made me see in my heart the hidden injustices committed in my relationship with my mom, albeit unintentional. It’s important to see your parents in a good light, but for us with these emotional issues, it is even more important to realize the source of your pain, and to recognize the truth as the truth. When you productively dig in your heart and past, and find the roots of your pain and anxiety, it truly is an empowering and motivating sign of progress.
This day has ended with me feeling much more normal, with mind and feeling emotions all more normalized and better. I’m not better, but with whatever shaitan influences I have, things can change drastically in a very short period of time.