Feels and needles

A strange discovery : when I feel anxious it’s not the feeling that’s the anxiety, it’s just an impression of the anxiety in my mind. To put it another way, feeling the pain of being pricked with a needle doesn’t mean actual needles penetrate the skin, flows through the blood and into the brain.

It’s such an odd discovery and it’s taking me longer than usual to make the differentiation because for all my life I was under the impression that my feelings were the needles. To think that my feelings are neutral and that it’s possible to detach from focusing on the pain is like I’m being told the sky is red and not blue.

You see, I’ve created an entire life around the belief that my sensitivity is why I seem to suffer more than those who aren’t as sensitive. Naturally, I thought if I could be impervious to my feelings and dissociate from them then the pain would stop yes? Through sour experiences I learnt that the pain was signaling to me that I’m not in the right place or space and turning that warning signal off made me vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation and injury by those lacking empathy and conscience. It put me at the mercy of those with no mercy.

Beam me up Scotty

I don’t know how to live with this kind of pain crowding my body. It feels like there’s no room for me to investigate, as if I’m just pushing up against the sore places, making things worse by my curiosity. As if understanding amplifies the pain and exacerbates the suffering. As if the darkness of repression is a safe house.

But that safe house is where hope dies, so now what? Did I just dig my own grave by believing that the best way to deal with pain is to keep it out of mind?

Seeking protection

This duaa really helps to ground me during an anxiety attack or trauma flashback. The duaa is found in Bukhari and Muslim. [ detailed explanation and sources in Arabic]

اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ، وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ، وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْتُ، وَبِكَ خَاصَمْتُ. اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِعِزَّتِكَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ أَنْ تُضِلَّنِي، أَنْتَ الْحَيُّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ، وَالْجِنُّ وَالْإِنْسُ يَمُوتُونَ

Allaahumma laka aslamtu, wa bika aamantu, wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu, wa ileyka anabtu, wa bika khaasamtu. Allaahumma inni a’ udu bi’izzatika laa ilaaha illaa anta an tudhillani, antal hayyul-ladi laa yamoot, wal jinnu wal insu yamutoon

O Allaah! I have submitted to You, and believed in You, and put my trust in You and constantly turn to You in repentance, and I struggle in Your way. O Allaah! I seek refuge with Your Might, there is no god but You, from straying from the right path. You are the Ever Living who never dies, while jinn and human beings will die.

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