Tuesday, 25 August 2015

From the eyes of anxiety

How the world is to a person with anxiety

A person with anxiety, although I'm no expert, in my opinion has a different way of seeing the world. I've come to see the world with two different sets of eyes the way the world should be seen and the way I see it. The way I see it is that anything I am meant to do but have no knowledge of or experience in, is very frightening for me. Now I'm not sure how open minded my readers are but let's try and see this from my perspective and not the way it is for you, as we all different and have different experiences in life so if you start thinking ....that's strange or that's really small it's not a big deal, let's try to remember that something small for you is bigger for someone else.

Okay and with that I'd like to talk some more. I've always been quite I'm not sure if it's called practical but let's say that. What I mean by that is anything I am told to do, I have to know exactly how to do it, often I think I have a low form of autism as I sometimes have no clue how to do basic things and have to know an exact way of how to say things or do things. Once I know how to do it, I no longer feel anxious infact I can be really confident. With academia it's always different even though I like to complete things thoroughly I can research these things, which is true for other social situations too but on the spot I cannot obviously do and that is what makes me anxious. Everything in my eyes has the worst possible outcome. Not only that but everything I do I analyse it over and over, along with the fact that I think everyone is laughing and staring at me...but I'm realising that this is really untrue I don't know why but I've always been in between being really laid back and really neurotic, that's strange right? So I'm trying to coax my laid back persona and make that more dominant. For instance in any situation what is the worst outcome? If I were at the police station trying to report something, even if I stutter, even if I get embarrassed, is that the worst? Like...I didn't die. I still managed to do it!

What I'm trying to say is, the worst outcome is all in my mind. It's not a big deal if I look stupid. Who cares what they think? I need more confidence in myself. I also need to relax and know if I try my best and I fail then at least I know I put all my effort in. I hope those that have anxiety can try and coax their laid back persona and if it's non existent try to train yourself to see the world like that. Slowly you can do it. Just start by doing it in your head when you get anxious. And to those who don't have anxiety I hope it's helped you understand anxiety better. Thanks! Wasalaam!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Coming back from sin

I don't really know what to say after writing such a personal post. Well it may not seem so personal to you as a reader but for me I've always been hesitant about talking about social anxiety. Anyhow I find that because of my somewhat neurotic personality (even though I do not seem it) i can often pinpoint solutions to problems I have, for instance how to recover from long periods of distance from religion, and yes I know how many times have I posted about this? Well a lot mainly because I'm suffering from it so I feel I can only talk about what I experience. But there has been some progress in my quest to change the direction of my journey.

In my journey in life, up until recently I had felt very distant in my religion, more distant than I have ever felt and I think that's why it's important to make this post. I'm sure many of been through this and not gotten through it, but Alhamdulilah I have and I pray everyone of you who goes through hard times does too. When I talk of hard times, I talk of the roughest journey in the harshest of weathers with minimal clothing or shelter to protect you, metaphors aside, if it gets hard I hope these steps can help.

I actually didn't know any steps per se when I used to talk in my previous posts I just wanted to discuss it, but now I feel like I do.

- when you are at the worst, the lowest soft and gentle words do not change a resilient mindset. You need harshness. Meaning scare yourself with death, there's a reason why we are reminded of death. Go visit a graveyard. Watch a lecture on death. Heck for me, however trivial it sounds I was watching a horror movie and I realised I was so scared, then I realised if I am this scared of a horror movie how can I not fear my death? If I were to die what peril would await me? Far more scary than a tv screen.
- sometimes you feel numb. Almost oblivious to the state you are in, when you are questioned about whether you want to fall into sin or not, it's almost as if you are dead soul living. That is what happens t souls that live in the way of the Dunya. You may not realise it, but you have become numb, oblivious. Sometimes someone giving you advise does not work. Sometimes nothing works. But for me I found recalling the good feeling of practising my religion, comparing it to the feeling of slacking.
- often you may find that you may not even want to change, but it may be more to d with all the distractions in your life. Do you have ipad, a phone, go out too much, engage in haram activities frequently? If so, you need to cut it. All of it. That is not to say you can't go on your iPad or phone, but you need to think, could I live without it? You should not be constantly obsessed with it, otherwise you're time is spent on the dunya and none on islam.
- you should make sure you hold no addiction to anything dunya related. I.e anything that is not beneficial in islam. This is because everything else becomes second to the addiction. For example i used to be obsessed with Korean dramas and it made me less mindful in my prayers because I was more concerned (astagfirullah) with watching the dramas, I would be less helpful because all I wanted to do was watch dramas. Pathetic right? Exactly.
- you need to make sure , in your life, that prayer is the only thing you have time for. I.e you have nothing else you need to do. The most important thing in your life is your prayer. That way your prayer would be the highest standard.

These things I feel continue the distance, all the addictions and distractions just plunge you further away, you also need to want to change obviously aswell as surrounding yourself with good company. People who make you want to do good. And even people (even if they don't know) make you feel ashamed about how you behave or lack in, this may seem bad, but it's actually good because it makes you questiom your actions and makes you want to do better.

Well obviously I'm not perfect, but these help me, everyone is different so it may not help everyone. But inshaAllah what ever works, I pray we all find out way to the straight path and remain steadfast in the deen.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The road to social anxiety

I'm kind of wondering whether there's any point in trying to explain why I haven't posted, or whether you guys are just sick of me and never even read the stuff I write nowadays, in any case I wasn't lying about a Ramadan video ...the catch is its not obviously going to be posted in Ramadan.. (Because Ramadan is over)

So the other day I was at my friends house and I was recalling all the times I had embarrassed myself and I realised that around the ages of 10-13 I was a really strange child. Like for instance when ever I would go out at the age 10 I would always wear my black long (two sizes too big for me) parka with joggers or pyjamas and my hood up with unbrushed hair. Who wouldn't be scared of me right? Well turns out most people because every time I visited the post office with my mum the man would tell me not to touch any items and he would stare at me funny. I mean it's expected right? As I grew older it got even funnier. This time I started wearing clothes but it wasn't ...normal. I remember one day I wore a bright yellow top with green 3/4 Capri shorts (that showed my hairy legs) with high heels (that did not fit me) and my hair was a mess. I looked like such a mess that every time I went out with equally unique outfits my family was embarrassed of me... They wouldn't even walk with me. I mean it made me feel like an alien but as I grew older even though my fashion got better my habits got stranger.

At the age of 13/14 I had a habit of going to the bathroom 13 times before I went to sleep not only that I had a list of words I had to say at least four times, this was all to ensure I didn't get bad dreams. It did drive me insane if that's what you were asking. I remember pulling my hair because it was so aggravating . Anyhow it was because I had horrible nightmares, I mean the nightmares where you are forcing yourself to wake up, wake up with sweats, cover yourself with the duvet till you boil kinda nightmares, I eventually found out that these OCD kinda tactics worked off and on to ward off bad dreams and that sleeping Duas were a sure fire guarantee to help me sleep.

The point I think I want to make is, looking back on myself I always felt odd. I always did strange things that made people feel embarrassed either for me or because of me, I always felt odd, left out and alienated. And even now at the age of 19 even though I dress normally no longer have nightmares or OCD habits I being as 'unique' as you might like to call it, still have many issues. From around 14/15 I started developing anti social behaviour along with social anxiety. This, I would like to say is an exaggeration however it is not. First it began as being shy and reaction from others to my shyness propelled it to extreme shyness. Truth is in my family no ones ...shy. Being the second youngest sibling there's never a quiet moment what with five independent strong young woman (inc. a 9 year old) I always got squashed to the sidelines and asked 'why are you so shy? What happened to the loud 2 year old?' I believe that as my personality was never similar to that in my household I was neglected of the right to be myself and instead made to feel self conscious and this lowered my self confidence. Introverts were unfamiliar in my family and although I understand it better now ,as a tennager it made me feel like it was wrong to be shy or quiet.

Growimg up with older sisters I always had more moments that I disliked than I liked .This was because as I explained I never felt confident enough to be myself for fear of my sisters reaction. However this was not as bad as it may seem, it is something that could have disappeared with maturity however as you may know my mum fell around last year which made things a lot worse for my confidence. I was at a loss to who I was and everything was under question. It made me scared of responsibility and I fell into denial for a while. I never felt like I had even an ounce of stress compared to my older sisters they , hands down had a lot more to deal with. I often felt pathetic to even try and have issues of my own and I found it hard to feel like I was good enough because on the one hand I wanted to run away a and be selfish, live my life, and have fun. And on the other I wanted to step up and help out. Somehow I was void of emotion during that time in my life. I didn't have a feeling to cry, this was questioned by my sisters too.. "Why doesn't she feel sad?" And I felt selfish because I couldn't even cry in the worst situation I could have imagined.

I don't think my life is sad. And I hope no one reading this thinks that. Often I felt sad and depressed for long periods of my life. But college was good as I had studying to worry about. It didn't really prepare me for duties or responsibility though. I wonder if there's a word hat means scared of responsibility? I think I became scared of it due to the sudden nature of my mums condition and the things that were expected of me later on in my life. It was selfish. That I didn't want to take them up.

But eventually I did. When people ask who cooks and I say we share it between sisters and they ask who looks after your little sister and I say we share it. They always praise me and say I'm so brave. But I hate it when people say that. Because I'm not .. In fact I'm a coward.

That cowardliness never disappeared , in fact it got worse.  Then became known as social anxiety. I found it difficult to answer the phone, for fear of talking to someone. I couldn't answer the door. Things like going out was never a problem because I was so used to it from a young age. But paying bills (if needed) or picking my sister from school became stressful and hard tasks for me. Calling up people in authoritative positions were the worst. These tasks made me so nervous I had to take time out. Once again it drove me insane. Fortunately I'm working through it, I found that the causes of these was down to self esteem and confidence. I thought I would sound stupid if I didn't know what to say or do  and that would embarrass me.  Or someone would think I'm ugly if they see me. Anywhere I wasn't sure of what I was doing or somewhere stressful that could cause tension I felt like I would do something wrong and again embarrass myself. I looked it up on he net and found similar people and their solutions. If anyone else has social anxiety I hope these tips can help you as much as it can help me.

1)  believe in yourself. That's the first thing. Everything about you, is good. Is great, the good, the bad the ugly!
2) you should never make yourself feel like you're not good enough, regardless of what anyone thinks or says, they have no right to make you feel small and you are in charge of whether you let them!
3) things that scare you need to be faced you cannot run forever.  Take little steps. If you are scared of phone calls do a practise, try it with a friend. Then when you get round to the real thing, remember it's the action not the outcome!
4) rely on God. God will always be there for you , read Duas and have faith. Pray 2 Rakats nafl for thanks and just to feel  closer to God.
5) be happy with who you are. Appreciate that you are an introvert. Accept that social anxiety is a part of you but you can solve it, don't feel down about yourself because of this.
6) do things you enjoy ( me particularly I like to go the park alone and take pictures. I like cycling by myself and sitting in tress (when I can climb them!) )

*eventhough relying on God is number 4, it is the most important. The reason why it's four is because you need the other steps to help you