Being okay with myself.

In 2007, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had struggled with it since I was 14 years old but it wasn’t until I was 19 that I was officially diagnosed and put on medication. After a few false starts, I found a combination that worked. With attention to diet, exercise and spirituality I found my life was changed forever in a good way. I could make long-term plans for myself without losing hope that four or three months down the road I would be in a deep dark depression.

Although I came to terms with the disorder, I still felt ashamed of it. I started an anonymous blog so I could write about my struggle with it without feeling exposed.

Every Ramadan, I started fasting with the intention of completing the whole month. Every Ramadan, I stopped fasting halfway, in tears because my disorder reared its ugly head with another episode. This Ramadan has been no different. People with bipolar disorder are very sensitive to changes in routine, especially sleep. Waking up at 4 a.m. and going to sleep after midnight threw me into a tailspin. I started missing more and more salah until I had fasted for two days without praying. I’ve just had to put the brakes on and get my priorities straight. Do I want to be healthy and pray on time, or fast and not pray because I’m depressed or hyper-manic?

“I wish my illness knew how great my life was so it would leave me alone.”

I saw this quote on PostSecret one day. It completely encapsulates how I feel.

I still want to try fasting a few days so I can feel a connection to my family as they fast this Ramadan. I have to take care of my health too. Reading Saba’s Ramadan Tale at Morning Wind inspired me to write this post. I’m not the only one struggling and feeling frustrated because I feel like a bad or not-good-enough Muslim.

I hope I can make up for it. I hope Allah knows I tried, and am trying. I hope it is enough.

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4 thoughts on “Being okay with myself.

  1. Sarah, my darling, I had no idea but am so honored to know and love you and proud of you for having the courage to share this deeply personal part of your life with us. May Allah continue to bless and have mercy on you.

    It’s a small world, Saba is such a sweetheart, met and stayed with her when I was in Montreal some years back.

    I often think that first being okay with ourselves is the first step toward greater happiness and acceptance. Sending love, blessings, and hugs your way.

  2. Thank you sharing your experiences Sarah. I felt very connected to you as I read each word.

    I know the feeling of watching everyone around you fasting and not being able to.

    You are never alone. I am here and mostly importantly Allah is always here .

    Stay strong my dear,

    With lots of love,

    Saba

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