Witching Hour

‘What is witching hour?’ You may ask.. The answer can be found in Roald Dahl’s wonderful book, The BFG. (If you haven’t yet read it, what on earth are you waiting for?!)

Little Sophie is terrified. It’s the middle of the night. All the little children in the orphanage are sleeping. She knows there’s SOMETHING looming in the street outside.

In the words of Mr Dahl himself:

 

Witching Hour by Roald Dahl

 
I felt this description was quite apt. I know this feeling well.. I’m not sure what causes it. But I stay awake for hours at night feeling terrified. Every night. I can’t explain the fear. I cry because it’s so intense. A deep, dark, unsettling fear. I couldn’t tell you what it is exactly I’m scared of. I’m aware that this sounds silly. I’m an adult. I ought to be brave. But here I am, sitting in my room just past midnight, feeling terrified.

It wasn’t always like this. But in recent weeks, it’s been getting worse.

You’d think sleep would be a welcome respite. But the nightmares seem worse than the terror. Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to have a dreamless sleep. Other times I wake up in tears because the nightmares were so vivid, so real.. Sometimes I KNOW I’m dreaming yet I still can’t escape. It’s as strange as it sounds.

I’m told these are symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and I was shocked to discover that PTSD can affect those who’ve dealt with severe illness and/or surgeries. I suppose it makes sense in a way. The body isn’t going to be too thrilled about being cut up and having bits removed. Add the constant self-doubt, anxiety and depression (which seems part and parcel of IBD) to the mix and you’ve got yourself.. A very sorry situation.

Here’s some information about PTSD:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.

Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing

– Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma

– Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma

– Loss of interest in activities and life in general

– Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb

– Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

– Difficulty falling or staying asleep

– Irritability or outbursts of anger

– Difficulty concentrating

– Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)

– Feeling jumpy and easily startled

Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

– Guilt, shame, or self-blame

– Substance abuse

– Feelings of mistrust and betrayal

– Depression and hopelessness

– Suicidal thoughts and feelings

– Physical aches and pains

(Info taken from the NHS website and mind.org)

Doesn’t feel like a bunch of fun.

I’ve finally made an appointment with my doctor to see what’s happening about seeing the psych team.. I’m not sure I’m coping too well overall. I’m getting better at accepting everything but there’s still a long way to go. It’s going to be a long journey and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to handle it but I’m willing to try. That’s a huge step up from a few months ago when I couldn’t find any hope and the darkness was even more crushing. This time, I’m hopeful that I might one day feel better. InshaAllah (God-willing)…
Moving on..
I was quite adventurous a couple of days ago.. I decided to go for a sleepover at my cousin’s house. I think it went relatively well, all things considered!
There was the panic attack which came so unexpectedly as I was chatting to my cousins and we were laughing.. Suddenly I couldn’t breathe, felt dizzy and started crying. It was an awful thing for my nine year old cousin to witness and I wish I could have prevented her seeing it 😦 But it was meant to be. 

Later on, we had a very informative and interesting chat about the digestive system and she was simply AMAZED to discover that I no longer have a large intestine, rectum and anus! I explained how it works and she found it pretty cool. I love kids! She wants to decorate more of my bags so I’m guessing she isn’t freaked out lol – kids are MUCH better than adults.

I’m currently suffering from a book hangover. Booknerds will recognise this feeling. It is a feeling of desolation upon finishing a brilliant book, the confusion of flitting between two very different worlds – literary and reality. There’s only one cure – more reading. I recently invested in a Kindle and it’s supposed to be a lot easier on the eyes than reading on a tablet. I’m not sure how true that is for me as I hold my book/tablet around an inch away from my left eye. It’s impossible to see clearly with the right one no matter how close the book is. I’m scared the left one will go the same way but for now it’s serving its purpose! Such are the perils of being legally blind but I have much to be grateful for.. I may not be able to see further than a few inches and can’t recognise faces but I’m still able to do what I want without difficulty. Alhamdulillah (thank the Almighty).

I taught a class this week and I’m feeling so very thankful. I did have my face glued to the iPad most of the time however I explained everything clearly and that’s the important thing.
Rosie, my wonderful Stoma (the bit of my small intestine that’s sticking out of my tummy so I can poop!) is making some rather impatient noises so I think that means I’ve written enough.

I’ve delayed the posting of this entry by a couple of days as I was due to see someone at the GP’s surgery to ask about being referred again..
The appointment was quite nerve-wracking. Going through the usual questions of how I feel most days, whether I’m still interested in the things I used to enjoy, whether I have thoughts of harming myself, whether I feel like a burden on anyone. The nurse was understanding but they’re not all easy questions to answer.

The upshot of it is that I’ve been referred to the psych team again. And this time I’ll make sure I note down the CORRECT date. I’ve been given some happy pills to help me along and will come back in two weeks for a review.

How do I feel? I’m not sure. On the one hand, I’m glad I’ve plucked up the courage to make an appointment and get the ball rolling. But it’s taking all of my strength to keep fighting and I don’t know if things will get better. I have to believe that they will. I never thought this would be me.. Relying on pills to get me through each day, struggling to cope without them. I’m trying not to listen to the voice in my head which tells me it’s nothing and I’m just making a fuss. It can’t be nothing, right? I’d be able to make it go away if it was. Then again, I had a warped sense of looking at IBD. There’d be blood in the toilet, severe cramps if I even drank water and I couldn’t leave the house in case I had an accident but I was convinced it was nothing really and I wasn’t seriously ill. Of course, the people who claimed I was faking didn’t help at all. It started the self-doubt and it’s never really gone.

I’ve welcomed the moments when I feel numb, like now. I don’t feel happy or sad. Just empty. It’s a welcome break from the sadness. I’m present but then I’m not. A feeling of detachment.
I’ve had a couple of calls from people who need help but I’m not the best person to help them. How can I explain this? Some understand and give me the space I need. And some don’t. To them, I’m the teacher, the helper, the one who’s always there for others. They can’t understand that it’s changed and it takes all of my energy to get through each day. I’m taking a break from all that because I’m worried I’ll give the wrong advice, say the wrong thing and make things worse. My mind isn’t functioning normally so how can I possibly help others? I feel like a hypocrite.

Dua (prayer) has kept me going. Talking to the Almighty. Knowing that He is listening and we’re never tested more than we can bear. That there is a reason for this. After all.. If Allah has decided something, how can it be anything but good for me? He is my Creator and He never forsakes the ones who call unto Him.

 `Ubadah bin As-Samit (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Whenever a Muslim supplicates Allah, He accepts his supplication or averts any similar kind of trouble from him until he prays for something sinful or something that may break the ties of kinship.” Upon this someone of the Companions said: “Then we shall supplicate plenty.” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah is more plentiful (in responding).”

[At-Tirmidhi]

Thank you to each and every one of you for reading, commenting, emailing and above all, praying for me.. It means a lot and your support has kept me going. Thank you for being on this journey with me.
I was nominated for Muslimah Bloggers ‘Most Inspirational Blogger Award’ and if you think I fit the bill, kindly click here to vote! There are a couple of days left. It’ll take a couple of seconds. I’d greatly appreciate it 🙂

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Stay blessed!

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16 thoughts on “Witching Hour

  1. Subhan’Allah! Jazak Allah first and foremost for sharing this with us… Such a great eye-opener for ungrateful people like me. (Allah forgive us!)

    Allah facilitate ease for you, sleep is such a great blessing! And Allah help all those who are suffering; whether through an illness or other means.

    Ameen Ya Rabb

    “If Allah brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Assalaamu Alaikum

    I love you so much for the sake of Allah sis. You are in my Duas. May Allah Subhaanah Wa Ta’ala reward you with the highest ranks of Jannah.

    Don’t listen to that voice saying ‘it’s nothing’ or to those people who say that you are just making a fuss. It isn’t nothing. Allah knows exactly what you are going through and He will help you through it sis. He loves you more than you and I can ever imagine. In Shaa Allah, He will help you through this and you are never alone sis.

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  3. Salaam sis 🙂
    I know that since I know you only from the blogging world it’s strange that I could feel so much for you, but I do. I feel this mixture of awe and love and respect and I know this doesn’t make things better for you but know that I pray for you 🙂
    Kids are always adorable that way haha! I’m glad the situation turned around that way 🙂
    Whenever you’re down and low, remember how people don’t count. Only your really close friends are the ones who are truly there. Don’t torture yourself with others. Easier said than done I suppose? Well, I still pray that your strength to take on life only increases and that you remain the amazing person you seem to be 🙂

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  4. May Allah always help guide you through and make you a stronger, better and happier (and a healthier!) person, Allahoma Ameen.
    Allah has such big plans for you, and when that time comes Im going to say ‘See, I knew it would all fall into place(and this is why you should be friends with me)’ lol. Love and du’aas as always x

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  5. I almost stopped reading when I saw that RD quote, since it’s close to bedtime for me, and I don’t want to lie awake thinking I heard noises ;-).

    I can’t even begin to imagine what you must be going through. I’m happy that you have sought help, and pray you get the relief you need and deserve. And know that there is no shame in welcoming numbness sometimes, we all need it once in a while. Sometimes saying no is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves, because our body and mind is our amana and we need to take care of it. Sometimes we need to get away from being there for others, to revive ourselves, so we can be really be our best for them when called upon in the future.

    I pray your appointment goes well, and in the mean time I hope you find another good book to devour.

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    • ‘Sometimes saying no is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves…’ Thank you so much… I’m going to remember this. It’s rather difficult not to feel guilty though. Thank you for your terrific comment, I really needed this reminder. And I’m sorry I scared you, witching hour just seemed so fitting! Hehe xx

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  6. Being a former Psychology student, I can understand how you must feel. PTSD is indeed, quite an unsettling disorder. I’ll like to suggest that you do go to a Psychologist and maybe say astaghfaar more.

    In’sha Allah, Allah will make things easy for you.

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    • JazakAllah khairan sis for the advice.. I’ve been referred to a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist. I’m waiting for the appointment so we’ll see how things go. I know the issues stem from my previous surgery as well as past trauma so inshaAllah we’ll be able to get to the bottom of it.

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  7. Subhanallah sister, I admire your patience to go through what you have and still remain positive. I don’t know what I would have done – probably feel sorry for myself. That’s why Allah only tries us with something that we could bear and the reward is huge when we remain steadfast. Allah says in the Qur’an, “With every hardship there is ease” so your ease is around the corner…May Allah make it easy on it. Ameen.

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    • JazakAllah khairan sister.. Ameen to your dua. I’m not sure I’m being positive as its so difficult but inshaAllah that’ll get easier. It’s always a worry writing as honestly as I do as the ‘dark side’ of chronic illness is hardly ever talked about. So thank you for your lovely words. 🙂 may Allah keep you smiling. Ameen.

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  8. Subahnnalah May Allaah make it easy for you. Reading this has taught me allot about PTSD. i just wanted to say that Allaah tests those He loves, the best example are the prophets. Inshaa Allaah this is your test and Allaah will grant you Jannah because we know that pain expedites sins, and that after every hardship comes ease. Be patient sister, Allaah is All Hearing All seeing. Xxx

    http://www.themuslimahguide.com

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  9. Assalamu alaikom sister. You always have inspiring and motivating stories to share. May Allah grant you success here in dunya and most especially in akhira. Keep the patience, and gratitude. May Allah bless your effort. 🙂

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  10. Mash’Allah this is a much needed post. I think amongst the Muslim community any mental health issues have many taboos and we need to start tackling them. PTSD is a reality for so many subhanAllah yet we fail to see that. Jazzak’Allah khair for sharing this!!

    Like

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