Everyone has particular dates that stick out on the calender. It might be a child’s birthday, the worldly departure of a loved on, a graduation, a successful business inauguration, and many examples alike. For me one of them will always be:
18th April 2016
How can I forget the time and date
That changed the course of my fate
When I had no idea there was a thing called chronic illness. I knew many people who were ill with the same condition for years but I wasn’t aware such an illness was specifically termed chronic. I didn’t know certain types can be life-long, whereas others go into remission & relapse. We thought it was a short term issue.
The Dr didn’t explain much and based on a partially correct diagnosis, he expected everything to normalize after a few weeks of treatment and insisted I return to living like before. Whereas in spite of trying to do so, my condition deteriorated, much to his denial.
Days and weeks passed by in a state of opaque. Once the pain and excessive upper body sweats were continuing longer than expected, I realised this was going to be a lengthy road with no simple solution.
Night after night I turned and tossed from one side of the bed to the other riddled by variable types of uncontrollable pain. Family members prayed, while the slow and melodious renditions of Qaari Abdul Baasit Abdus-Samad رحمه الله remained my companion and distraction.
One night in a desperate search for uplifting audios, I stumbled across a 5 part audio series titled:
The wisdom behind sickness.
Sabr (patience) and hope for those in test and trials
– By Ml Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه رحمة واسعة
After listening to each part repeatedly, the initial confusion washed away. A strange sense of complete inner calmness found home in my heart.
(If anyone wants to listen, please feel free to message / email and I’ll gladly forward it to you)
Prior to that, my first thoughts were: “but I’m too young and how is it possible to become dependant on your parents at an age where it should be the other way around”
Firstly, to process the question of how and why this is happening? I had to understand the above.
People who haven’t experienced a life altering event cannot comprehend the stages of acceptance involved.
For instance, even when it comes to being called a hypochondriac, the quickest and most upsetting response to receive is:
“Get over it”
“You have to accept and move on etc”
When engaging in a dialogue with someone who has underwent trauma, remember, at first their emotions will be messy and all the over the place. They need time, validation, and support with consent on how to work through the transformation gradually. Ask when they are ready because the mind often needs space.
There’s no once off stringent rule:
“Accept your fate and be happy with your creator” – because this doesn’t kick in automatically by immediate instinct. A process of work is involved and this process will be different for everyone. Some take longer and others quicker. We have to broaden our mental capacity and view the whole person when supporting / sharing encouragement.
Alhamdulillah I was afforded the opportunity of having undertaken various spiritual and faith instilling travels locally and abroad. The lessons gained during these travels enabled quicker acceptance and satisfaction with my fate.
It will be terrifying to learn; life as you knew it – might be or might never be the same again. Once this phase is won, the adaption towards a new normal begins.I will never be who I was, nor do I want to be who I was.
People often approach me with questions such as:
Keeping in place the belief in Qadar – decree of a matter and predestination. Do you encounter random thoughts of what ifs like:
“What if I didn’t have those concussions that lead to migraines and thereafter the wrong trial medicine prescribed manifesting into Dysautonomia?”
Occasionally, I wonder out of curiosity – what greater harm awaited me along the way of being healthy and was then removed by means of these illnesses. Although, I cannot refute it being the most grueling journey one has to undergo.
If you have been following posts and updates consistently, or been at my side throughout the lows and highs, illness or even life in its entirety is not easy. Some experiences inflict permanent scars that you will perhaps carry along to your grave. Defamation is part of the package and will continue until the moment your lungs release their last force of air and give in to their expiry date.
However, I derive solace from the stories of the prophets (peace be upon them all.) They were scoffed and ridiculed for propagating and fulfilling their mission. Our fight cannot be equated to theirs but many similarities are found. Their life battles and lessons are narrated for our hearts to become strengthened.
Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, the most honorable of them all, was taunted “a madman, a sorcerer, a liar”, and more.
So now I learnt to let those matters be. It’s not always our responsibility to change people’s mindsets and faulty opinions. Some will only hear what they want to hear.
Yet apart from the physical pain and mental torment, if I were given an option to wind time back to the place and person I was 5 years ago, I will not. Please do not interpret my words wrong. This does not imply we are self-complacent and do not strive for optimal wellness because no one chooses to stay ill. It refers towards my vision of life prior to Dysautonomia where I obviously had a lesser degree of personal development compared to the present.
This answer might sound insane. But fundamentally, we are all different. A rare illness has perhaps given me a rare perspective. You are bound to miss or yearn for certain things from your past life. Speaking for myself, I won’t trade the newer version of me for the older one.
Suffering molds you into a more prudent, compassionate, understanding, and tolerant person.
Pain and gratitude can coexist.
Despite the physical and mental toll illness has undeniably placed upon me, each period of difficulty was later followed by miraculous forms of ease.
Relationships, surroundings, few trips, the seemingly little things, and my overall outlook at the canvas of life Alhamdulillah.
Through suffering, the purest forms of love also emerge!
Chronically ill single girls are often met with pitiable glances. We receive comments such as:
“Oh shame you can’t get married now”
“Don’t tell anyone you sick because you won’t be able to get married afterwards”
Everyone is entitled to do as they please and I respect their decision. But I wont hide my illness for this one reason. If someone wants you in their life, they will accept you – illness and all. No exclusion made.
Each person has blemishes. No individual is flawless because perfection is only attributed to the creator. So if my destiny does not conform to society’s criteria of good, I am not devalued, nor do I let anyone make me feel ashamed or apologetic for being different and rare.
You do not ‘have to be here or there‘ to create an impact in the world. Some of our callings have been set and destined on the course of being single and ill, while others are steered to fulfill the purpose of their existence by means of a spouse and kids.
Someone’s calling might be to travel the world, while another’s may be from the confines of their home. Our creator is fully aware of each individuals strengths and thereby positions us accordingly.
Via the appropriate channels of support, one can exploit resources and doors of possibility will open along with having a ‘disability’
Traverse the unending opportunity of self discovery.
Asian cultures have girls idealise marriage to a purpose distracting extent where some admit growing up – TO get married – forgetting all the self work required in between.
We need to learn and know ourselves in order to learn and understand another. You cannot accept and overlook your partners innate imperfections if you do not love and accept yourself as you have been created. Self work is of utmost importance. If this one life-sustaining ingredient is missing and a girl steps into a relationship with a large amount of unsolved insecurities, god forbid, people attest to the reality of many such marriages having flopped.
Note: This is not a general or biased rule and does not make every woman blame worthy for a failed marriage. Some cases the men are at fault. Others where both were not compatible.
Above all, hope is not ruined by an illness or disability. Each culture is different, but I’ve observed chronically ill girls move onto marrying guys with willpower. The type of men who made a concerted effort and were ready for anything in order to keep a woman in their life with no ulterior motives such as prestige or affluence etc. Men who see your inner worth beyond any external or internal ailment.
Few of several examples are: @freyliving, @karalafrance, and @fight_to_breathe took it to the extent of arranging their wedding ceremony in hospital! Pipes and canunulas included. Now imagine this spectacular scenario lol?!
Aaliya and I concur with the following belief: a man who is being reserved and meant for you, will find you – sickness or not.
Even if no one is meant to be or no was meant to be as yet, Alhamdulillah I am an individual who thrives in company and solitude equally. So being compelled to silent for longer periods of time due to cardiopulmonary issues didn’t pose a lengthy challenge…
Four years of chronic illness have elapsed, but I don’t see myself deprived
After navigating through a chartless transition, I adapted and thrived
Even though my adventures play out on a different, smaller scale
Restricted activities but deep value attached to the breaths I exhale
Here comes the fifth year; grateful for rare kindred spirits and solitude
Both these bounties keep the fight grounded in a state of fortitude
My words are an expression entwined by the unsounded language of silence
When the buzz around stills, hearts retreat and nurture in his presence…
Tasneem Basha 👇