One of the most difficult aspects to deal with when having anxiety disorder is whether I “believe” in Islam properly or not. Of course this may not be everybody’s problem who is suffering from anxiety problems, but for sure it is devastating when are facing it.
Why do we feel we don’t believe properly? I mean we pray 5 times a day, do the requirements, etc. Why is it then we have this pathological doubt that we believe? This paranoia of not believing is something that keeps us stressed out and feeling awful. Even though we make so much du’a to perfect our iman, we still feel this way. And the fact that we feel this way makes our despair increase in Allah’s willingness to help us. And then if you fall too deep into the despair trap, man oh man, you will truly notice a severe severe drop in your iman that is REAL. (I strongly suggest that you don’t try it at home)
Now for the explanation, with any anxiety disorder (be it, GAD, PSTD, OCD, PHOBIAS, SAD, ETC.) changes have been made to our brains and the way it functions due to the sustained among of stress on our nervous system for so many years. The rational areas of our brain are subdued, and are not functioning well. The emotional part of the brain is overreacting and is much more stronger and overstimulated. As a result, we experience so many heightened emotions, and we have emotional mood swings, and we have very difficult time remembering things that we used to remember easily. We have the “tip of the tongue phenomenon“. It’s why we experiences these strange feelings of depersonalization and derealization, where we don’t know what we believe anymore, where we are more confused about what we felt confident about before, where we have so much indecisiveness and inability to make clear cut decisions.
I had a decent day yesterday with iman and learning how to plow through this anxiety disorder, when I had the most recent “crisis” with my iman. My CBT was using my heart to question, “how is it I’m worthless if I have a Rabb?” And I was doing well until isha prayer, where I had the doubt come in, “what if you don’t have a Rabb.” I reactively hated this idea and wanted to bury it inside me and not think about such a thing. But the truth was, it bothered me. It bothered me for several hours afterwards, and I woke up this morning not having a good fajr prayer. “Why would this shamanic whisper bother me so much?” I think. “I’ve had so many positive experiences with the Quran even today, and I’ve seen so many evidences about the proof of Islam,” I ponder. But it still bothered me. It still needed exploration.
It turns out, the main reason why it bothers me is that it poses the question, “Do I even believe?” And my hesitation with this doubt made me feel that my iman is very fickle and not solid. But going deeper, I realized that this event makes me worthless and unacceptable. Why? I am unacceptable. That is why my iman is weak. That is why shaitan is stronger than me. That is why I don’t believe properly. These are true emotion inside me. How do I know? Because I feel the connection inside to my heart. I feel hurt emotions of unacceptance. It is my true self, who I rejected long ago, resurfacing. I feel my eyes getting watery. I feel relief and anxiety is removed when connecting with myself.
I will eventually have to realize that keeping on despairing and stressing about my iman will keep me stressed out and my brain overstimulated and misfiring, and will always decrease my iman because of the despair that fills the heart and makes your iman plummet down to the dirt.