Tag Archives: special

Day Eleven: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY ELEVEN: Be A Therapist For A Day

 

I’m writing this while being held at gunpoint.

Can I just take a moment before I depart this world to applaud moms who have more than two kids at home….
Seriously, HOW do you do it? Especially single moms like me. No really, HOW?!

My son is sitting right next to me, sending me texts and voice notes on ‘Whatsapp’ while talking to me. And I have to respond to both conversations at the same time or I’m in BIG trouble! And on the other side is my daughter, who had just handed me a revision sheet for me to test her before her final exam tomorrow.
I’m only one person, so how does that work?
Is there some kind of class I missed in high school and that’s why I don’t know this stuff? Loool

 

Even though I’m a very private person, I’ve been told my blog writings can sometimes get ‘too personal’.
Perhaps that’s true….
I guess even the most tight-lipped people will let something slip, because as much as they struggle to stay reserved, they’re human, with a built innate need to be understood. Our ego stands up and nudges us to deny it, but it doesn’t change the fact that we all have a constant crave for our feelings to be validated, no matter how trivial or dramatic they may seem. Sometimes we just need to talk, not to seek solutions or sympathy, but to hear our minds’ inner thoughts and see that we’re not alone, there are people out there who can relate, you know?

Except another part of human nature dictates the exact opposite. We think no one will understand. We think no one else has problems or pain or a ‘plate full of tears’. We can be so self absorbed that we only see our merits and look at other people’s faults, even when it comes to the closest people to our hearts.

Our problems are magnified (coz we are so up close against them with our cheeks squashed into the closed window) and so we fail to notice the rest of the world’s problems, yet insist we’re compassionate people, who live to serve others.

Once the ego stands up, it completely blocks our view of how others might feel..

We expect them to be there for us ALL the time, no matter what they’re going through, yet give ourselves excuses when we can’t do the same..
No wonder some of us end up alone, because a relationship based on ‘always taking’ or ‘always giving’ doesn’t stand a chance..

Does all the above sound a little bit too familiar?
Did it hit home yet?
I know, I would never admit it either, not even to myself loool

Now men might not relate to this very much, but women will totally get it, coz our relationships with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers are what matter to us the most. Once any emotional connection is threatened (especially if it’s a close one) we go a little bit insane.

We TRANSFORM loool.

We turn into creatures we barely recognize; professional blamers, psycho maniacs, stalkers, naggers, private investigators, and bitter hatemongers. We stone wall and shut people out, or just hibernate and disappear into thin air.

And when we’re finally alone, and especially when we realize our relationship with ourselves is devoid of peace and harmony, too, that’s when depression hits hard…

We collapse..

We lose the ability to help ourselves
And that’s when we need help the most..
That’s when we need real ‘empathy’….

You know, sympathy is the easiest thing in the world. You can watch a movie and cry buckets when the noble dad dies, or see a picture of a Syrian refugee and feel your heart ache.
It’s easy because you’re in your comfort zone, safe and detached.
It’s getting down to your knees, and actually feeling that person, that’s the hard part.
It’s putting yourself in their place and realizing the only difference between you and them is a twist of ‘preordained destiny’, the same Divine will that put them there could have easily put YOU in their spot.

We just want to feel like someone understands what we’re going through…
We just want ONE genuine person who won’t run or get defensive, or start lecturing us or emotionally abusing us more when we’re drowning and need help..
For God’s sake…
Be that ONE..

Beginners Level:

It’s time for you to step in.
Someone in your circle has gone through this cycle, hit rock bottom and is now in a dark hole they can’t get out of.
Someone in your circle is sad or depressed and needs to talk,
And you know it!
You just don’t know that you know it loool
Be a therapist for that person today. Just call and ask how they’re doing and mean it.
Listen and let them talk it out…
And you can sue me if you don’t get multiple rewards for this beautiful act of consideration loool.

Advanced Level:

Depressed people are stuck. They can’t get out. They’re not enjoying the suffering and emotional torture, trust me.
They just can’t help but feel down.
So don’t try to give them solutions like ‘let’s go for a run’ or ‘just read Qur’an and you’ll feel better’. No! Coz they really can’t do it.

All they need is for you to empathize. Listen and try to understand and keep following up with as many sad people as you can handle. Keep knocking their doors till they get up and open it for you.

Show them there are still good, caring people in this world…
Maybe just knowing this might be enough for some of them

Special Level:

This one is for my regular and ‘anonymous’ clients
I usually take Ramadan off, but here’s a green card to contact or email me this week (till Saturday) if you guys really wanna talk.
It would be my pleasure to be your online therapist (and hopefully help if Allah will allow it).

You never know…
Sometimes a total stranger can do what a soul mate can’t..

Here’s my email:

lillysmohsen@gmail.com

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone
All my best,

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

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Published On Productive Muslim
22nd August, 2015
This is the original version

Please Stop Pretending And Just Face It!
There’s Nothing ‘Special’ About Special Needs!

Me and Sino

Trouble lurked on the horizon….

Not only was the cute little girl crying at the top of her lungs; she was wearing a RED T-shirt! Those were all the triggers my son needed to attack her….
And even though I’m known to have the memory of a gold fish, and this one incident happened many years ago, I still remember it vividly…

It was supposed to be a beautiful day. We were at the playground and I had that extra sense of triumph of having everything under control. No sandboxes in sight. Check. My baby girl’s milk bottle was tinted because my son can’t stand looking at milk or any other white liquid. Check. We were sitting in the sun as far away as possible from babies and loud families. Check. My son was wearing Velcro shoes, all-cotton clothing with tags all cut out and he never had any sugar, fruits or ketchup, so according to my calculations, the chances of him acting up were pretty low that day.

I was miserably wrong…

Even though it was a split second, it all happened in slow motion.

I was holding my son’s hand and carrying my baby girl in the other arm. The sounds of the cries echoed in my ears and I saw the look on my son’s face change. I quickly put my baby in her stroller as I felt his jaws clench and his little hand squirming away from my tight grip. He ran like a tiger towards the innocent cute girl and I knocked over a chair trying to catch up with him. I finally grabbed him from his shirt before he reached the girl, whom at this point had stopped crying from the shock of what was about to happen, yet still had forgotten her mouth and eyes wide open. Her mom started screaming which aggravated my son even more as he took out his anger on me. He slapped me hard on the face, swearing all kinds of obscenities then kicked me in the stomach. Amidst the chaos I motioned to the mom to take her girl and walk away, hardly missing the dirty look she gave me.

“Some women are just not allowed to be mothers!” I heard her tell her friends who also turned around to stare me down.

I bolted my son with my arms only to find another woman tapping me on the back and handing me my screaming daughter.
“You really shouldn’t leave your baby unattended” She said with disgust. “It’s not her fault you can’t control your son!”

I thanked her with an inaudible whisper before deciding to never return to the playground again. My tears rolled down all the way home, not even feeling the pain of my son’s teeth digging into my skin. Biting at that time was one of the few skills he used to calm himself down.

I mustered all my energy to get through the tantrums and breaking of stuff, guarding my daughter’s life from my son’s sudden unexpected blows till bedtime. Then I sat alone in the corner, just staring at the wall in utter silence, too drained to cry….

After all, it was supposed to be a beautiful day….

Today I come undone…

I’m not a writer or a psychologist or the ‘happy girl’ most people know me as. Today I’m just a defeated mother who is tired of pretending she’s strong enough to handle this challenge. Today I only want to sit with moms like me, who are tired of listening to people say “God gave you a ‘special’ child because you’re a special mom”, or “You’re blessed with a rare gift”. I want to hug the moms holding back their tears and screams as they watch their disabled children struggle through life, rejected, ridiculed and shunned by a society they can’t possibly fit in. I want to pause this roller coaster of emotions everyone thinks we are gifted and lucky to be on. Today I stand on solid ground holding hands with my own kind, and I ask with all honesty…
How does a mother of a normal child feel when she hears he’s being bullied at school? How would you feel if your child is never invited to birthday parties or family gatherings? If your friends are scared of your little son or daughter? If doctors tell you your child will never be able to go to college or work or drive or get married? We all know it’s in Allah’s hands in the end, but how would you feel hearing it…?

Perhaps people think raising a child with special needs is a gift… But how can a gift give you so much pain? How can a blessing break your heart…?

Denial Drags Us Down

With a wide spectrum of disorders ranging from ADHD to Autism and Down Syndrome, every child is different and no ‘one solid advice’ will cut it. Medications have catastrophic side effects and some disorders have no known cures yet. I remember after two weeks of constant testing, how uncomfortable the neurosurgeon was when he said, “You need to come to terms with your son’s reality. Sugarcoating the truth will only set you up for a huge disappointment. Therapy can help him cope but no one can heal him completely.”

“God can heal my son. Miracles happen every day!” I replied with conviction.

And so I held on to my faith. I still put him in mainstream schools, got him shadow teachers and demanded he gets the academic education he deserved. Denial was the only tool I had at my disposal until the powers of it ran out. I prayed for miracles but nothing changed. I stayed up night after night asking Allah for help, my tears flowing non-stop as I begged and pleaded and supplicated for a solution….

“Mommy, what are you doing?” My son asked one day.
“I’m talking to Allah, asking Him for help with something.” I said, wiping my tears.
“I want to talk to Allah, too” My son said. “I want to ask Him not to make you sad anymore.”

“Allah loves us so much and He is so Kind! Do you really think He would want to make anyone sad?” I asked.

Hearing myself say those words, hypocrisy stared back at me with a smirk. If I was so sure of Allah’s love, which I am, then why was I sitting here feeling sorry for myself like I’m being punished for something I didn’t do? Why was I trying to convince Allah that I have unwavering faith and then break down when He tests it?

“I will tell Him I don’t want a sad mom!” My son interrupted my thoughts. “Give me Allah’s phone number!”

My son’s innocence replaced my bitterness with laughter. That day I stopped waiting for a miracle, for I realized that you can’t hope to swim without getting wet, you can’t pass an exam without studying, and you can’t jump high without bending your knees. I realized we need genuine faith for miracles to happen and so I stopped begging Allah not to test me, because big rewards require huge efforts. And I’m truly desperate for the biggest reward of all… seeing Allah’s face in Heaven….

It’s Not What You See It’s How You See It

I wish I had a magic wand or a specific piece of advice to help every parent reading this article, but each case is just as unique as each of our children’s needs, and it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out a productive pattern that works. I do have something else to give though, and once you allow yourself to see it with your heart, you’ll realize it surely does put your mind to rest…

“So verily, with the hardship, there is relief. Verily, with the hardship, there is relief…” (94:5-6, Holy Qur’an)

God Almighty never said we won’t face difficulties in this life, but He promised He will put ease in every hardship. Not before or after hardship, but along side of it. For every negative there must be a positive to balance it out, otherwise we would have collapsed a long time ago. It’s not the problem that’s affecting us, it’s how we deal with the problem that’s making it that much harder. It’s us being too drained to search for the comfort within the suffering that’s making us sad and broken. Us not seeing Allah’s blessing doesn’t mean it’s not there.

So allow me to share my personal endurance guide, complied after over ten years of downfalls and endless drama….

The Seven Rules Of Survival:

  • Ask God to help you through this.
    Ceaselessly. Consistently.
    Pleading while making sincere du’aa works!
  • Stop resisting and start accepting. Your life has changed so don’t go against the current. When necessary, adjust your schedule, outings and behavior according to your child’s special needs. If your child is aggressive, you’ll have to think of other kids’ safety and keep him or her away. Special needs schools are your best option. Trained professionals will guide you on how to create a new, easier lifestyle.
  • Put your ego on the side. Apologize and explain your child’s condition to strangers when things get rough. I found that people become very sweet and helpful once they understand the situation.
  • For God’s sake take a break before you break down. Spoil yourself every now and then with a spa, alone time, or some fun with your friends. Find a trusted someone to take care of your child even if it’s for a couple of hours once a week. Your child will be okay don’t worry. Well-rested parents make better parents.
  • Join support groups, look up nearby facilities that provide activities for special needed kids, and share tips with other parents who are going through the same struggle. It’s soothing to realize you’re not alone in this. I personally met wonderful families through organizations like ‘Unique’ (rarechromo.org) and Autism Speaks (www.autismspeeks.org)
  • Don’t forget your other children! You’re not the only one carrying this load; your special child’s siblings are carrying it too. Let them voice out their feelings and get the emotional support they need before asking them to help out or cooperate.
  • I firmly believe that every child, with special needs or not, has a unique talent gifted by The Great Lord. Find that genius flair and pursue it to the fullest. (Now that’s just me, but I believe my son is super talented in soccer he is destined to be the next Messi inshAllah). Maybe some of our kids don’t have the mental capacity to believe in themselves, but us parents have enough faith and will to believe in them…

Truth Is Very Different From Reality:

I remind myself before anyone else to zoom out and see the bigger picture. All this agonizing sorrow is perhaps a darker shade within a colorful portrait. The test is only a means to achieve a goal we chose. We can either resist the harsh reality or accept the blessed truth behind it. We can complain and scream “Why Me?”, wasting precious productive years of our lives, or we can accept that life in this world was never meant to be perfect and realize it’s only those with great stamina and perseverance that can reach the top, and finally enjoy that breathtaking view…

A man once asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “Which of the people is tried most severely?” He said: “The Prophets, then those nearest to them, then those nearest to them. A man is tried according to his religion; if he is firm in his religion, then his trials are more severe, and if he is frail in his religion, then he is tried according to the strength of his religion. The servant shall continue to be tried until he is left walking upon the earth without any sins.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2398)

Loud and clear my beloved Prophet… Loud and clear…

“Okay fine!” I suddenly giggle like a little child. “Perhaps we are special after all…”

Lilly S. Mohsen