Religion, Mental Illness and Happiness

What do all three have in common? They’ve made me who I am today.

   Born and brought up as a Muslim, it was an engraved idea that doubting your faith was unacceptable. You were born privileged and for that you should be grateful.
Three years ago however, dangerous thoughts began seeping into my mind.
    What if my family were wrong? What even makes Islam the correct religion? Does God even exist? These questions plagued my mind for hours every day, doubt after doubt until I was desperate to address them. I can not gather into words how painful it was to have your entire belief system come crashing down.
   Whether I was studying, eating or socializing with friends, these thoughts were continuously on my mind.What started off as questions and doubts that most of us experience turned into a distressing  and crippling obsession.
    I turned to my parents for support but unfortunately they did not help at all. According to them I was possessed and this was a test from God; all I could do was pray.
   Oh I prayed all right. I’d spend on average of about 5 hours praying every day in hopes that this overwhelming period would end. I begged God to fix me, to guide me and to make me a better person.
      Becoming a good person turned into another obsession I had to deal with. Simply sighing in front of my parents would make me break down in tears and apologize.  Eventually the distress of these doubts and obsessions brought long with them forced me into considering drastic measures in order to end my pain.
    Thankfully though, after lots of research into and rationalizing, one and a half years later that very odd phase that I now know to be OCD, came to a gradual end.
My pain was not in vain.
    Those one and a half awful years taught me a very important thing; being religious and devout do not make you problem free.
    I eventually stopped practicing Islam and I am now an agnostic and much more comfortable that way. I still question my goals and beliefs, but that’s okay.
Its important to question your beliefs, because they can shape who you are and what type of life you are going to lead 🙂

Ramadan; A Bulimic’s Nightmare

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Born and raised into a conservative Muslim family, fasting has become second nature. Perhaps that’s why when I felt the need need to compensate for a binge I automatically chose to fast, and therefore developed non-purging bulimia?
Lets just clarify one thing first; I am not a Muslim. Unbeknownst to my family, I left Islam 7 months ago. Telling them means disappointing them as well as constantly getting preached at, none of which I want to deal with, hence my obligation to fast.
I am terrified beyond words.
As someone with a restricting and overeating disorder, Ramadan is a nightmare. I’m worried that 18 hours with no food or water will lead to a binge and eventually weight gain. Not only that but I will most likely have to go to the mosque, where we pray, break our fasts (on greasy, calorie ridden curries) and socialize.
I’m not sure if I can cope with the feelings of guilt, hypocrisy and unease but I don’t really have a choice.
I honestly wish I was a normal person who’d never developed an eating disorder or decided to extensively question their faith.

Overwhelming Desires

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   Every now and again, this darkness comes over me, leaving me broken and hollow. An abyss I’ve come to recognize as mental illness.
I have had eating disorders since the age of 10, most recently bulimia, which is what I want to talk about for now. Bulimia began tearing my life apart about a year ago, and aside from some short term episodes of recovery, its decided to stay.
It started off with a very innocent idea- losing weight healthily. After years of disordered eating habits I vowed to never starve or purge again, particularly after my brothers anorexia hospitalization. That vow was short lived.
The frustration of losing weight slowly became unbearable, and an all too familiar, overwhelming, desire returned. The desire to be thin. To be more attractive. To disappear…
Little did I know that this was the start of my descent into a very dark, hellish place that would make me lose my friends, family and a year of my academic life.
After restricting my food intake for nearly a month and a half , a dangerous thought crept into my mind; if I can lose this much weight by eating small amounts, how much weight can I lose if I…stopped eating completely?
At first I didn’t eat for a day. The amount of pride, happiness and excitement I felt was indescribable and I just had to to it again. Overtime I noticed that a certain urge was developing. This was an urge to eat. An urge that would create unbearable tension in every part of my body, make my heart race and sometimes even leave me in tears after fighting it. Soon enough, I gave in. And my overwhelming desire to lose weight had a new opponent; an overwhelming desire to eat. It was then that the monster I know as bulimia was created.
My experience with Bulimia is not a typical one. It did not involve spending hours vomiting down a toilet. I had a non purging form of bulimia where after an episode of binge eating I would engage in fasting for long periods of time. It wasn’t long before a black blanket of despair, depression and self hatred settled over me, nearly stifling me to death.

(Literally, I tried ending my life.)

Re-visiting The Past

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Ever since I can remember my life has been a series of mental and emotional difficulty. Sparing you the details, I am a suicide attempt survivor.
Life has never really been easy for me. It isn’t easy for anyone I guess, but lets just say I have had far more than my fair share.
Bullied through primary and most of secondary school, my self esteem has always been non existent. I am a little odd I guess. My weird obsession with cleanliness and a severe noise sensitivity have made me not only slowly isolate myself from potential friends, but even my family. Its a lonely life, which most of the time I do not mind. But there is a certain degree of loneliness that eventually creates a gaping whole inside you, making you wonder if you’ll always be this way. It will lead you to ask questions such as ‘ am I ever going to get married?’ ‘Am I ever going to have children?’ and most importantly ‘Do I even want those things?’, which right now the answer to is ‘Nope!’.
These years of solitude have led me to embrace this gaping whole, to accept my isolation, and be totally okay with it.
I may not want any face-to-face time, but I do occasionally wish I had some support and comfort at times of distress. Hence, I have created this blog.
I really hope someone, anyone, out there can relate to what I write.