One of the core beliefs of Islam is that nothing is inherently or purely evil in the grand scheme of things. In the bigger picture, there is something good that comes out, no matter how bad we perceive the thing to be. The examples of this are many. Take for instance a person who missed their flight. We might see that to be bad, but then later on the news, they found out that airplane crashed in the ocean. Or there is a drought in a 3rd world country, and people are dying. But then the world finds out about it and puts together efforts to try to feed the starving people. And countries from all around the world join in. A greater good came out of it. A third example, Martin Luther King was assassinated, which is bad. But because of that, his message was eternalized, and he has been recorded in history books as one of the most influential men to make change in the U.S. A day has been commemorated after him. Good coming from bad.
So what then is so good about an anxiety disorder? I myself as a long time sufferer, would be the first to say it is bad. It makes life hard to live, and not enjoyable at all, you can’t do things like you normally would be able to. You feel pretty lousy most of the day, etc….
But nevertheless, there is a lot of good that comes out of it. Overall, it is good. I will try to list some reasons here, to help those suffering think a little more positively about their condition.
1. Forced Opportunity to Improve Yourself
Notice that I say “forced.” Generally, people will not change their habits or ways of thinking as they get older. Humans by their nature are not comfortable with change, and prefer to stagnate. But someone with an anxiety disorder, because of their beliefs and thinking patterns, are feeling so awful that they cannot continue to live life in a normal manner. So they have no choice but to evaluate themselves, and to get to the bottom of it. They may realize that they have unhealthy cognitive habits, and therefore are forced to change them to get a “normal” life back again. So they have to go through therapy, figure out how to change their beliefs and thoughts, and then they come back to life with an even greater zeal and purpose than before things got tough. If you ask people who recovered from anxiety disorder, they will tell you that they are thankful for the disorder, because it gave them an opportunity to improve themselves, something they would not have done, had they not been overstressed and anxious.
2. Develop positive thinking
Most people who suffer from an anxiety disorder have some sort of negative thinking patterns. They generally don’t look at things positively. But as an anxiety disorder sufferer, there is no choice but to start changing the way you think, and to look at things you have always looked at in a positive light. Positive thinking skills have to be developed to get out of the anxiety disorder, and when you come out of it, you will be a positive person who has able to live life with that much more zeal and enthusiasm.
3. Making your intentions sincere
Anxiety disorders come with an overemotionally stimulated brain. The anxious person can experience major mood swings, loads of emotional imbalance, excess fear, and frustration, etc. The fear center of the brain is overstimulated, and the rational part is suppressed. With this circumstance, someone who is trying to do things for the sake of God can see a little more clearly why they are doing things. They feel more anxiety in certain instances, and they learn that they may be doing things out of fear, and not rather for the sake of their Lord. So they can survey those things that are done from fear and anxiety, and change it to a sincere intention for their Lord.
4. Freeing your dependence on others.
Also with this, is the issue of depending on things. There may be something your heart is depending on which is fueling your anxiety. And rather than depending on the Creator, you depend on that created object for your well-being. Like for example, someone whose heart depends on their boss in their job for their livelihood. If the boss is angry at them, they start panicking that they will get fired and then not have any money. So they start doing things just to make their boss happy. And their life becomes focused on doing what will protect them from making their boss upset. But if the person realized that their boss is a creation, under God’s control, and that God controls their sustenance and provides for them, they won’t feel so attached to the reactions of their boss. And thus the anxiety goes down.
5. Understanding yourself better
One part of anxiety disorder recovery is CBT. In CBT you have to examine the situations that are fueling the anxiety. In the beginning, the sufferer may not even know what they are thinking or believing that is fueling their anxiety. They just feel anxious. But after careful introspection through time, they start to see those beliefs that are causing the anxiety, or the thought messages that are running to fuel the anxiety. So this careful introspection helps you to understand yourself better, to understand what motivates you and what you belief.
6. Realizing the Power of Belief
Anxiety sufferers have unhealthy, inaccurate beliefs about themselves or their surroundings. For example, a person may believe that all dogs will harm them. They are forced to change their beliefs to recover. Changing a belief is no easy task. Most people who develop their beliefs at an early age will not change them. It simply is something very difficult to do. When you recover from anxiety disorder, you will have changed your beliefs to what is better and more accurate. And then your life becomes so much better because of what you now believe. And then you learn that simply what you believe makes a big difference in your life. It changes your whole life circumstances, your interactions, and much more. Thus, power of belief is realized and utilized.
There are more benefits of course, but these are some that came to my mind.