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After Hardship Comes Ease - Samara Ahmed

After Hardship Comes Ease - Samara Ahmed

Issue 76 January 2011

After suffering from depression and experiencing suicidal feelings,  Samara Ahmed* was finally diagnosed with a life threatening brain disorder after an unexpected seizure. A successful operation resulted in her completely turning her life around.

 

I was supposed to be happy at 19. I had so much going for me, great family and friends and I was studying my dream course at university. Yet I was depressed, and when people asked me why, I just didn’t know.

 It started with sneaking out for walks on the beach just to be alone.  I used to be very calm, but then small things began to anger me, and I shouted at anyone who said something I didn’t like. Home should’ve been my safe haven but I couldn’t stand it. When my GP said I was fine, I retreated even more into myself.   

 As the depression worsened, I became an expert liar, saying I was stressed from work when angry, or that I was with friends when I was actually alone. Everything I used to love like cooking or going to beautiful places just made me feel numb. The scores of different medications were useless, and though I used to be spiritual, even prayer and reading the Qur’an felt pointless. I stopped, and completely lost my connection with God.

 I slowly slipped out of reality into my own dark thoughts, and began self-harming. I would smash glasses to cut myself, or dig my nails into my skin until it bled. It didn’t hurt - I needed to punish myself for not being the perfect daughter, sister and friend. And in punishing myself, I felt better and a sense of relief.

 One night, I sneaked out for a long walk, trying to get away from everything. But I had forgotten my medication, so returned home to find my parents crying.  As they held me, I knew they’d be better off without me. I went up to my room and emptied all my medication onto the floor to overdose, but my mum walked in screaming and shaking me. It was the lowest point I’d ever reached. 

 After this I tried counselling and everything I could think of to make myself feel better, but nothing helped. I just felt like I was drowning in a sea of black, I was suffocating and couldn’t reach the surface.

 A few days later, I had my seizure. I woke up with wet clothes, a bloodied face, a broken nose and a black eye. I told everyone I fell off the bed, but a couple of days later, I collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. After two weeks of various tests, I was eventually diagnosed with a very rare brain disorder, intracranial vascular malformation. I was told if I didn’t have surgery, I could die at any time.  I remember the moment so clearly, and that was when I woke up and saw the blessings in my life. I didn’t want to die anymore. I wanted to live.  I had to change but more importantly, I wanted to change.

 Feeling immensely guilty and desperate, I prayed for the first time since my depression, and totally broke down in du’a. And in this darkest hour when I really begged for God’s help, my prayers were answered. I looked up to the sky, asking God to show me a verse that would help me, and as I opened the Qur’an, I saw the parable of light (24:35) – which has since been my favourite verse. An overwhelming sense of peace rushed through me. It was the turning point, where I finally realised whom I could trust and rely on for everything and anything.

 The operation went much better than expected. I was 21 when I walked out of hospital, thinking I can finally start afresh after two years of anguish. My family were standing waiting for me with a massive banner and balloons, smiling and giving me hope. It’s a memory I will cherish forever. 

 I slowly started becoming closer to God by praying more, reading about the blessed Prophet, and going to weekly circles. This time I really listened, because every word brought me back to God, and my heart began to soften. I started volunteering, feeling strong that I could help other people. Along the way, I met incredible friends who told me the things I needed to hear, and helped me when I was not strong enough to ask.

 I’ve completely changed now. Looking back, I’m glad I went through it all, because I realise no matter what tests I’ve had or will be put through, it’s my qadr (God’s decree), and what matters is my attitude. I’ve learnt that no matter what I’ve done or how bad I am, I can never let go of my connection with God. I know that when I need His help, even if it takes longer than I want, I have to keep on praying, because He will always answer my prayers in His way.

 

* names have been changed

 

 

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