About six months ago, I was suffering from severe depression and an eating disorder. I was absolutely convinced that I was worthless and that no one would ever love me unless I reached some unattainable goal of a tiny, malnourished, and unhealthy body. All the light seemed to be gone from the world. I had no hope of ever recovering from the disorder. As my issues worsened I became suicidal. I felt like I deserved to die, and that no one would care when that happened. I was fighting with my parents who could see my condition deteriorating day by day. I began to fail in school. All in all, nothing in my life was positive.
Then one day I was sitting in a class, barely paying attention when I heard one of my fellow students begin talking. He was doing a presentation on Islam. He spoke very briefly on the basic principles of Islam, barely scratching the surface of a beautiful Religion I would come to know as close as my family. But with that little bit of information, I was fascinated. That very day I began reading the Qur’an and researching and everything I could find out about Islam. I was amazed at the devotion of a whole people to one All Mighty God whom they called Allah.
There is a feeling that you get when you know you are doing something right. A sort of swelling, happiness that seems to fill you up from head to toe. That is what I felt when I began to study Islam. The happiness was foreign to me as I had been in a state of depression for nearly two years. When you live in the dark, the light may hurt your eyes but it is light nonetheless.
Something that amazed me was that Muslim women covered themselves. Now, that may seem like something rather silly or obvious but to me it was extraordinary. I lived in a state of obsession with being thin. And yet, in the world I saw that there were women who wore loose clothing, and covered their hair. They were gorgeous, but In a way that did not promote the western idea that a girl who is so skinny that her bones stick out and has nearly every inch of skin showing is an ideal of beauty that every woman should strive for. No, these woman were a kind of beautiful that was natural, not plastered on like the woman seen on billboards everywhere. And then I realized something, these women were what I ought to aspire to not deathly thin models.
I learned how to pray, and began to pray regularly. It didn’t happen overnight, but through my learning I became a believer. I came to know that Allah The Beneficent, The Merciful, had a plan for me. I realized that there was more to life than counting calories and crying all of the time. I knew again that there was light and beauty in the world, in all of His creations.
All of these things, inspired me to want to get better. So, I began the long and hard road of recovery. It’s not like people assume. My discovery of Islam may have brought a ray of light in, but I still had to get out of the dark place I was in.
It has been a long and slow journey, which I am still on but all throughout there has been one constant thing. The Worship of Allah.
I can now say with all conviction that without Islam and the support of my family I would most likely be dead.
I am still recovering, and it takes bravery on my part every day to wake up in the morning and tell myself that I am beautiful and that I deserve food and happiness.
When you are in the darkest of places, when you feel like there is nothing left, turn to Allah. That is the message I have to the world.