Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

God is not all you need when you have a problem.

Warning: I discuss mental illness and briefly mention suicide in this post.

I get really upset when people tell others to only talk with God about their problems. "Don't talk to others - they don't care. Just tell God everything. Talk to God. God is all you need."

Look, I'm not discounting the psychological value of talking out your problems to a higher power or even your cat - Dave got to listen to a teary few minutes last night - but telling people to never talk with other humans about their problems is dangerous.

I'm mentally ill. Quite often - especially when I've got no active outside input - it's really, really hard for me to distinguish between reality and what I've convinced myself is going on.

Pay a friend to draw me something, but they haven't after a month or so? I will freak. The fuck. Out. I will convince myself that they don't like me, that they forgot, that they don't care, that everyone else is more important to them than me, that me asking them about it will be seen as needy and pushy and ungrateful. I will learn later that they've got an art queue and haven't gotten to my piece yet, and feel like shit for jumping to conclusions, but my point is, active outside input about your problems - especially your mental and emotional problems - is important for your mental health.

Not just for the mentally ill, either. Your brain will trick you into thinking the worst - or the best, which will cause you the worst - because your brain is evil. People need constant feedback on everything they do. Not always active feedback, but feedback. Communication from others. This is how we flesh out and exchange ideas. This is how you tell when someone on the bus doesn't want to interact with you. This is how you let people know that You Are Not Ok And You Need Help. Keeping things bottled up is so detrimental to your health.*

I inadvertently take things to the extreme, but look, active outside input about my problems prevented me from needing to be hospitalized recently. I'm not discounting God in this - I thank God for putting those people in my life to help me through my issues. But I would quite possibly be on the verge of suicide right now (and certainly in the hospital as a suicide risk) if I'd only talked with God - because God does not talk back. God does not sit with you until three in the morning and comfort you, tell you you're not a terrible person, that yes, you made mistakes, but you didn't deserve the abuse you received in return. God doesn't provide a stable voice when you're in a crisis. God is not physically or verbally there.

And that's what you need when you're having issues. You need people to be able to ground you in reality, to hold your hand no matter how metaphorically, to stroke your hair and let you soak their shirt in tears, to tell you that you're worth something - that you're worth a lot.

I can't call God up in the middle of the night and hear Their voice. I can't text God, or PM God, or hug God, or get real-time feedback from God on my thoughts, emotions, and actions.

But God has given me living, breathing, present people to do that in Their stead. And that should never be discounted or diminished.

*This may not always apply. People with anxiety will often find it more stressful to talk about their problems that not - but keeping problems bottled up is still bad for you. Even one trusted person to talk with about them helps.