Sarah Sultan – Is Trauma Affecting My Faith with Najwa Awad

Sarah Sultan
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the impact of trauma on various areas, including mental health, family relationships, and actions. They emphasize the importance of acknowledging the effects of trauma and rebuilding one's spirituality. The speakers also stress the importance of finding one's own safety and security in life and encourage listeners to stay true to their values.
AI: Transcript ©
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is trauma impacting my faith? Is it possible that traumatic experience that I feel is taking me away from Allah subhanaw taala can actually bring me closer to him.

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Welcome to doubletake, a podcast from European Institute where we explore ideas and questions in our faith that give us pause. I'm Muhammad's out and today on the show, we're exploring how trauma impacts our faith with me a licensed therapists natural outward and Sarasota on both amazing authors of the article. Your Lord has not forsaken you addressing the impact of trauma on faith, sisters, Nashua and Sarasota and thank you so much for joining us Solomonic Rahmatullah

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COVID, again to disciple McDade for having us with you why, listen, we have a lot to cover. And today it's going to be it's going to be really amazing, as I was saying, in the pre pre interview, if you guys can help explain trauma to me, you'd be able to explain to a lot of people, honestly, I'm one of those guys who doesn't really take trauma seriously. And I'll say that, you know, right in front of you, and I think I need to really understand it. So thank you so much for taking your time. Thank you so much for having us. It's our pleasure and Hamdulillah, Nigeria, you're a psychotherapist, and you actually have your own clinic, amount of family counseling, and sister

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Sarah, you actually teach about the intersection of Islam, counseling and psychology. So you guys are clearly the right people to talk to about the topic. My question to you guys off the bat is, how did you meet? And what was the moment that you guys decided, you know, what it's time to, to give this topic a share of voice in the Muslim community.

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It's actually kind of a cute story, how we met. So

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I had been in private practice for some time. And predominantly, most of my clients are, are Muslim, and Muslim women. And although, you know, I had done these, like trauma certifications, there was always this not doubt. But this thing was that within me I was,

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I wanted to be able to provide the best services for my clients. And because they're Muslim, and because of how important obviously, some is to me, I wanted to make sure that I understood psychology from an Islamic perspective. And subhanAllah I don't even know how it happened. But like, I think it showed up on my Facebook feed like that there was an ascetic psychology class. And

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so I signed up for us and you know, Bismillah, like, let me try this out and see where this takes me. And, you know, Sato was the was the instructor. And, you know, as the classes progressed, we had so much in common.

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You know, we're both moms, we had both works in group homes with, with teenage girls. We both had private practices. And after the class ended, I think it was sort of who had suggested like, maybe we should do, you know, peer supervision, you know, like, go over cases and, and after that, we began talking on a, on a regular basis, we came fast friends, we've talked about family and work and, and all kinds of things. And it just met him to let like it really evolved into a beautiful friendship, that, that we, that I appreciate so much until this day. And in terms of this project, I think it was Chuck Schumer, who had mentioned, he had sent an email that he wanted to, like a

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guidebook, how to deal with certain issues in the Muslim community. Maybe I think it was like addictions, family issues. And, you know, Saturday, we just have this thing where like, I have an idea, I have an idea, and we just keep going back and forth. And it always just like turns into this bigger thing than what it started out. And it turned into like, you know, have a have a guidebook ready to like this huge project, but hadn't been there like

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that, you know, we felt that trauma was underlying all of these issues, which is why we picked the topic and you know, we just kind of flushed it out over time. And something that turned out something that was supposed to be very small just turned into like a huge

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honestly, the extent of my relationship with my friends is like, if we're really going to push the boundaries, we go on a fishing trip, but you guys, you guys develop the whole trauma series for your penis. So thank you so much.

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The layout is one of the you know, I've taught the course with Michigan University where I met when I met for so many years, but it's one of the it's one of my favorite consequences of teaching.

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I really enjoy teaching this course it has been one of my favorite consequences of it is the friendship that Nigel and I and handler have been able to establish first and, and then also in hunted out all of the beneficial projects that have come from it. So alhamdulillah it's been such a such a blessing to be able to have somebody who has a similar worldview, similar career path, and somebody who, you know, is passionate about working with the Muslim community in the in the in the way that we are. So it has been, it's been, it's been wonderful.

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What was that, it makes work fun has been. Absolutely definitely makes it fun. And

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I was gonna say like, I've heard about trauma over the years, especially for my my wife, who who's a speech therapist and talks about some of the things she experiences during the day with her clients. But I've never taken it seriously. But a couple of months ago,

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something happened to me or one of my friends. And honestly, like, I became a lot more curious about the topic. I was having coffee with a mentor, he's probably in his early 50s.

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I use him to kind of just bounce off ideas, but also he's been mentoring me over the last 810 years about business, you know, career, and even community activism, his, you know, pretty, pretty active in the Muslim community.

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And over the years, I've seen his trajectory,

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religiously, you know, and his demeanor as well. But this last seating was a real shock to the system. For me, honestly, he broke down.

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Here's a guy who's much older than I am, and he broke down. And he started talking about a traumatic experience that he had several decades earlier, and how it had impacted his faith. And for me, this was all new, this was all fresh that that Islam and and trauma to have a relationship, it's important to kind of understand trauma, and its role that it has in your spirituality. So hopefully today, we get to kind of understand a bit more about trauma, and the role of trauma on faith. And then hopefully, we can get some ideas from you guys, on how we address trauma and how we kind of heal so that we can improve, or kind of rekindle the fight that we once had.

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So I'm going to start off by asking a very, very simple question. And if if you don't mind going back to, you know, 101 in your class, Sarah, what is trauma? And what are the different types of trauma that I that I need to know?

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So, you know, it's an it's an excellent question, because even, you know, even within the field of psychology, there are a lot of misconceptions about trauma. So even though it sounds like a very basic question, it's something that you know, deserves to be elaborated on. So trauma is basically any experience that a person notices that a person really struggles with, in a way that affects their their life in profound in a profound manner. And so a traumatic experience will be different for different people. So some people might experience the same thing, but respond very differently. So trauma, in a lot of ways can be very subjective. And then there are big T traumas, and little T

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traumas. And that's another misconception that people don't often realize is that there is a spectrum and there are a lot of nuances when it comes to trauma. So big T traumas are the ones that we typically hear about things like that come out of a war situation, you know, huge catastrophes, you know, like your house burning down.

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It sexual assault situations, these are the types of traumas that we universally attribute to B traumas, then there are small t traumas, where when they are piled one on top of the other, they can have a very, very profound impact on our lives as well. And so that can be things like, you know, a child experiencing the divorce of their parents. It can be the micro aggressions that people experienced because of Islamophobia. It can, you know, it can be, you know, certain emotional, certain types of emotional neglect on a smaller scale. And all of these types of things can can be compiled one on top of the other and really have very strong effects on us in our lives. And you

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guys cite a study in your article that that close to two thirds of people

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go through a traumatic experience or have trauma during isn't really that common. Yeah, yes. Yeah. I think they found that 66% of people had at least one,

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you know, adverse experience in their lifespan.

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but those are certain categories. And when you look at things, even that listed within the study, like like bullying, for example, or some of the examples that SATA had mentioned,

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but the average person that you come across in the street or the family member that you have dinner with, has probably faced, you know, at least two three traumas within their within their lifespan, depending on how you define trauma. So it really it is very, it affects a lot, a lot of people without them even realizing it at times. Yeah. And what's profound about that study is, it just measured the traumatic incident during a person's childhood, right, so 67% of people during their childhood have experienced some sort of adverse experience. And so when you imagine if that was measured across a person's lifetime, the number would be even higher. So it's just a lot more common

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than we think. And, and if it happens in your childhood, and you don't address it, my assumption is it compounds over time. And, you know, it graduates into something much bigger. You know, when I was younger, I went through a tough time, and I remember my uncle telling me, Hey, buddy, toughen up, drink a cup of concrete were his actual words. And, and I feel like a lot of people don't really take this topic seriously. They just tell you to kind of tough it up, or just kind of get through it. Go read some Quran or something? And how do you like, what's your response to people who don't really take this topic seriously, or don't really recognize how important trauma is in someone's

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Yeah, you know, and there are a lot of people who, you know, for different reasons. For some, I think, the topic of trauma, it just makes them uncomfortable. They don't know how to deal with it, knowing that people are carrying around such tremendous amounts of pain. And so you know, it's very easy to say, toughen up, just get overweight, we all deal with this kind of stuff.

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But then you have a lot of people who also just

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they've never, they've never had a chance, or they didn't know that some of the experiences that they had were trauma. So they weren't able to like label, they weren't able to compartmentalize and label and say like, this is a trauma, this, this is why I'm agitated all the time. This is why my relationships, you know, like I have such a hard time in my in my relationships, people see what happens after they see like, oh, this person left this, then this person can't stay married, they keep getting married over and over. This person is not a good student. So we always focus on what happens after.

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But people don't see the connection of how the trauma led to lead to those. Those negative negative things or the or undesirable things that happened later. And so, you know, part of one of our intentions in having this series was like, we really wanted to put out there like what is trauma so people understand, so people can destigmatize it, and people can say like, oh, okay, this is not what I thought it's not about like being a war veteran. This is I experienced it, like dysfunctional household is one of the criteria, one of the adverse experiences from from this study, how many of us have grown up in dysfunctional families? And so then when people are able to label it, and say,

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Okay, this is this is not as, like, taboo as I thought it was. And yeah, maybe my parents relationship is affecting how I'm dealing with my spouse, then people start to look at things differently. So I think it takes takes a lot of

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I mean, I get this is part of the why we're doing this podcast, right, it's to be able to put out there and and to help the Muslim community understand what trauma is, so we can start that healing that we desperately need. Absolutely, you know, absolutely. Subhanallah when it comes to when it comes to trauma, I think a lot of times we focus on the symptoms, rather than on the root cause, you know, so somebody is struggling with anxiety, for example, sometimes anxiety is just anxiety. But sometimes, but very often anxiety comes from some sort of traumatic experience, and is a natural response to that, right. And so there's so many situations where people might be struggling with

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certain symptoms with certain issues, but not being able to identify and then not being able to heal what's at the root of it. And, you know, I know a lot of people, unfortunately say things like, you know, toughen up. We've all experienced this. This is not a big deal, read some more Quran, pray some more your Eman is not strong enough if you can't deal with this and, and things like that. But in reality, I think it takes a lot more strength to be able to face the struggle and to be able to try to heal from it than it is than it takes to suppress it. Because we naturally as human beings try to avoid any type of discomfort. We try to avoid anything that will make us feel any type of

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negative or uncomfortable emotion. And so I'm sorry for the noise companies and

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Well, we might at the moment.

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But uh, but Subhanallah

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but you know, like the, to be able to sit with uncomfortable emotions and understand them and uncover them and heal from them. That's a lot more difficult than just suppressing and avoiding them in the way that we naturally usually want to. Yeah, I mean, my assumption is a problem identified as a problem solved. Like you're halfway there, once you kind of identify it. We'll get through the healing piece in a second. But I really want to get to the correlation between the trauma and our faith and what it does to our faith. You spoke about anxiety and for me, you know, I hear often that, you know, anxiety and depression don't affect good Muslims. And growing up on the mimbar, I

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hear the, the, the verse in surah Taha, ALLAH SubhanA, Allah says, you know, and you hear it very often that other than decree for in Navajo, my shirt and donkey, like, you're gonna have a depressed, miserable life, if you don't remember, Allah subhanaw taala, we turn away from the remembrance of Allah. So we know as Muslims that there is a direct correlation between, you know, happiness in this life and closeness to Allah subhanaw taala, we know that my question to you is, what is the role of trauma in that kind of equation? What is trauma due to my spirituality? What trauma does is, sometimes it can be so profound that it just completely shakes up a person's world

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and their cognitions and the way they see things. And so when you have a trauma, say, for example, you were assaulted in the street, right?

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Naturally, as human beings, we tried to make sense of things. And so we start to reflect, and then we start to develop certain ways of thinking,

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Am I safe? You know, Why did Allah allow this to happen? Is he protecting me? And so what can happen is, when we are shaken up, we can go, you know, in one of two ways, sometimes there are people who are there, they're pulled in into spirituality even more, you know, like, Hamdulillah, like, you know, I was, I was also behind the law, like, it could have been so much worse, or Hamdulillah. Allah is always so you see those, you know, you see people who who gravitate towards that, but for many people, it shakes them up. And so they start to question their, their faith. And I know,

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son, and I were talking when we were working on the series, is that we see a lot of people within our practice, that have traumas and kind of go down this path where shakes them up. So you know so much, that it starts to impact their faith, and they end up turning away from Islam. Not necessarily because something doesn't resonate with them, or Quran or Hadith, but because in their mind, certain cognitions were shifted, and so

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they ended up going down this trajectory, like the brother that you mentioned earlier, where the trauma takes them down, you know,

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down that path, and they start to become less spiritual, or they they gravitate away further from, from Allah. Is it like this? Is their responsibility? Or they brought this on themselves? Or is it that they feel like Allah has turned away from them? And how can you not have protected me? And even like, with spiritual abuse, for example, or sexual abuse or something happens in the family? Is it that they feel like Allah has allowed this to happen? Or is it that they see like that they bought it onto themselves, that's what leads them away from the faith. You know, it could be that people respond differently. And that's why we divided the the series into like, 10 chapters, because some

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people might feel like they were abandoned. Some people, they just it's like a negative association. Something common that I see and I'm sure solder you see this as well, is a, like a religious family member who abuses a child and the child grows up seeing Islam a certain kind of way. So some people they, you know, there's different reasons as to why people might go down that path.

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The two thought patterns that you mentioned are ones that we very, very commonly see, with clients and with with so many people, right, like, these are very normal struggles that people have, you know, because whenever somebody experiences a traumatic incident, very oftentimes, it goes hand in hand with feelings of shame. And shame is very different from guilt. Guilt can propel you forward and back toward a less cantata, and shame pushes you away from him. So healthy guilt makes you decide, okay, this behavior, the sin that I did, I'm not happy with the fact that I did this. I can repent to all those times that I can fix it. Shame is the voice in your head that tells you I am the

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problem. I am a mistake. I am a failure. And the problem is you

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You, and how are you supposed to fix that? Right? And so traumatic incidents have a way of doing that. And then they also have a way of the other thought pattern that you talked about, was people feeling angry at a less time. Right? How could this pattern not protect me in this situation? You know, why wasn't he there? Why you know, all of these different questions, and that, like what natural was saying, once, like, let's say somebody is betrayed by somebody close to them. That feeling and experience of betrayal can shake a person's belief in being able to trust and that inability to trust people can often translate into an inability to trust a less past data as well.

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And and so your entire world and foundation of your world has been shaken. And so sometimes your faith can also be shaken as well, as a natural consequence of that. And if your entire world is shaken, like we're talking about spiritual, kind of the impact on spirituality, but does it affect your brain? I know you guys kind of refer to that in your article, like, what does it do to my brain? And how does it affect it? And then therefore, how does it affect my spirituality on the back of that? Yeah, no, absolutely. The the effects on the brain are so are so profound. And I think it helps so much for people to understand the way that the brain is affected with trauma, because it

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alleviates some of the guilt that they feel when people feel like there's something wrong with me, Why am I feeling this way? Why can't I get past it? Why am I not over this, but when you realize that your brain has been affected by it, then you kind of you realize, okay, this is, excuse me, this is something major. So what happens when somebody experiences a traumatic incident is, neurologically, so there's the this part of the brain in the back of your head is called the amygdala. And it's, it's the fear and survival center of your brain, it's the part of your brain that's responsible for the fight flight or freeze response, which is what we do, when we encounter

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something like a really scary situation, we, we either fight it out, we run away, or we freeze, right, and that part of our brain is responsible for for that. And that's a very normal response. And we're thankful from the lead that we have that we need that response. But the problem is, when that system becomes over activated and can't shut down, then the front part of your brain, the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for good decision, making good judgment calls, a lot of like the higher executive levels of functioning, that part of your brain kind of shuts down. And if the amygdala is over activated for an extended period of time, the neurons, the, like, the pieces of the

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front part of your brain can start to actually die off. And it makes it very difficult to make the judgment calls that you typically would know are going to be better for you. Because your brain just isn't functioning that way. And so when people are struggling with faith, you know, one of the things when after a traumatic incident, one of the things that's important to realize is, it's not an indication of the state of a person's heart, it's an indication of the state of their brain, in, in that situation, and I think that can alleviate a lot of the, a lot of the guilt that people feel when they're going through something that's really incredible. That really is honestly like, so

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you're saying

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it affects everything in our life, like being able to decide, you know, simple things, are we talking about kind of major decisions in life? Or are we talking about day to day activities? Like whether or not kind of to? Does it affect my relationship with my kids or my wife? Or does it affect simple things like, you know, deciding whether or not to pray or to wear the scarf or dress in a certain way? Is it does it get to that kind of minut level? Yeah, it affects everything, it affects the brain, you know, physiologically, but also affects, you know, how we think as well. So there's, you know, we have in our, in our thought process, there's constructs that we develop called schemas

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of how and these are ways that we look at the world and and they can affect relationships, they can affect our jobs, they can affect

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everything that we do.

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It could be something as small as

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you know, Can I can I trust less? Not really small, but can I trust this person? You know, like, if I was violating paths can I trust people in my life, to even trusting yourself? Like if I have, if I develop that I can't even trust myself small decisions like can I buy this Can I not do that? Can I do such and such then it you start to see in the little actions in your day to day life as well. And then I also want the body. I also want to add that effects the body as well too.

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There was a time where psychologists in working with trauma, they thought a lot of it was related to thoughts. And there's a good part of it that that is. But they also found that trauma is stored in the body as well. So those, that group of people that says, just toughen up, like get over it, some parts of trauma, you can't really like rationalize your way through it.

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And, and interestingly enough, like, and sorry, you can, I'm sure you see this in your practice as well. That sometimes it's the people who suppress trauma, that it comes out and other other ways in their body, like other, they get stomach aches, or headaches.

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Or, you know, in some cases, panic attacks. And you know, these are, they come to the office, and they're like, I don't know why I'm having all these physical ailments, I've gone to the doctor, and there's no, they can't find anything. But you know, when you explore with them, it turns out that they have a history of trauma and SubhanAllah. Like, as you start to work with them on their trauma, you literally see their health getting better. Like I you might not even believe me, I when I was at the clinic, I had a client who came in in a wheelchair, she came in, in a wheelchair. And it wasn't anything that I had.

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It wasn't anything that I had done, but we work together, probably a year, a year and a half.

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And by the time she left, she could walk I mean, she had crutches, she could walk. And to me that was a such a testament of how trauma can not just affect your way of thinking, but Subhanallah just

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not just the way you look at the world, but even your body to see such a difference. From you know, when someone walks into your door, and, and leaves. And that's why you know, this work is so important. And that's why we are that's why we want to tell Muslims in our communities, how important it is to be able to to deal with that underlying trauma. Because until we do that, that potential that we have, as individuals, as families, as communities is completely lost. Just talk a lot for sharing that. I appreciate it.

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Honestly, like, as you're as you're talking, and as you're sharing your experience, I'm starting to realize more that it affects

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And therefore it affects spirituality, just like it affects your body just like it affects your brain. Just like it affects your relationship with people and yourself. Of course, it's going to affect your relationship with Allah subhanaw taala. So I guess what I'm what I'm getting from you is

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it affecting your spirituality is part and parcel

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is just part of the process. And so if that's the case, what is the first step like what, what do I do if I've gone through a traumatic experience? Or my friend has gone through a traumatic experience? Or I went through an experience decades ago? And it's compounding?

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What do I do? Do I Do I need to see someone? Or what's the process of rekindling that spirituality?

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Such an excellent question. So Pamela, and just like lithiated, natural for sharing that, that experience with that client, I got chills as you were talking about that. So Pamela, and you know, I think for anybody who just as a side note, who struggles with the concept of

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trauma being stored in the body, right? If you've ever had a really difficult conversation with someone, right? If you've had an argument with a spouse, or you know, you've just had a very difficult, stressful day, and you wake up the next morning and you feel sore, right, like you feel like you've worked out but you haven't. Like that's, that's a that's a sign that your emotional experiences have impacted you physically, right. So then imagine a traumatic incident and the way that it would impact your body, right, naturally, naturally, you know, we know that when people are undergoing a lot of stress, their immune system is suppressed, they get sick, right? So there's,

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there's just so many,

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there's such a link there. But you know, in response to your your question about okay, you know, let's say somebody has noticed that okay, they've, the first step is acknowledging that okay, identifying I have gone through some sort of trauma, whether this is a big T trauma that other people will acknowledge as traumatic or whether this is a small t trauma that was traumatic to me, it doesn't matter. Acknowledging that that has been a traumatic experience for you is the first step in the healing process is very, very in a very important step to identify the emotions that you experienced and to be able to acknowledge them. The other part is the from the spiritual lesson.

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from like, the spiritual perspective, like you were saying, they're kind of, it's a universal, like kind of blanket impact that Trump that trauma has on us, right. So it's not just that a person doesn't pray, right, this person is also struggling to get out of bed in the morning, right. And so, so there, this person is struggling to, you know, to eat, to make healthy choices in their in their food, they're struggling with physical activity, and they're struggling in every in their relationships. So it's not just that they're struggling in their relationship with ls Pat data. And I think that's something that's very important for us to acknowledge, especially when we are talking

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to someone who has experienced something traumatic and also to ourselves, kind of having that self compassion to realize, you know, of course, I'm struggling to get up for Veg, I'm struggling to get up for work, and I know I need this for my livelihood. So yeah, you know, like, I know, I'm struggling to get up for fetched, but I can still make it my ultimate goal, that inshallah I'll get back on track. If there's no, that we don't need to lose hope, just like, if trauma can change the brain, and the brain can be changed by trauma, then can't the brain be changed in a different way as well, right. So it can heal that's like the, it's called neuroplasticity, that the brain is

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changeable. And so having that hope is, is death is, you know, the awareness as the first step. And the second step, and having that sense of hopefulness and compassion, I think is very, very important. Inshallah, and I'll let nazwa add the other steps to spot a lot, we are so much nicer to our friends sometimes, and we are to ourselves. So you know, when our friend goes through something, it's like, you can really your heart goes out to them, you feel, you know, you and you feel this kindness, this,

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this compassion for them. But when it happens to ourselves, most people, they tend to be very harsh on themselves. And that could be you know, because of traumas they endured, you know, earlier in life, and they internalized, you know, certain critical caregivers voices, but what happens is, when it comes to ourselves, it's very easy to dismiss that we need help.

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And to say, you know, this is not something I need, or let me just, you know, push through it, I can do it, I can,

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I can just get by. So, sometimes I tell people, just talk to yourself the way you would, a dear friend, and you'll find that when you have that mercy to yourself, that will really set the foundation for for healing.

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And, you know, when also in terms of our friends to, um, like I said, it might come naturally might be easier. But for those who might struggle, in, you know, being able to understand a friend who is going through a hard time, remember that trauma looks differently in different people, but also, people have different reactions to certain events. So for example, if you're bullied, you know, it might not affect you certain kind of way. But if the friend is telling you like, look, this person at school or at work is picking on me and your first inclination is like, okay, that's not really a big deal. No, that it's a big deal for that person. And that, just having your support makes the

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world of a difference. Peter Levine, one of the the major people in the work of trauma, says that trauma is pretty much what happens in you internally after like a really adverse experience with the absence of a witness. So it's not even necessarily the traumatic event itself, but not having anyone bear witness to the struggle that you're going through. And so having someone there to saying like, I see you, I hear you, I know, I understand why you're feeling the way that you are, could be so helpful for that person.

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Absolutely. Absolutely. So Halima, I just wanted to follow up on that point that you were saying about the the the kindness piece, right and being being kind to yourself and being merciful to yourself. When we're not merciful to ourselves, we really question the Mercy of Allah Subhana Allah as well. And that can have a very profound impact on us spiritually, in in these types of incidents. If we can't imagine or have any like inkling of kindness toward ourselves. It's very difficult to imagine the forgiveness and mercy of Allah subhanaw taala. And so a lot of times people think, Well, how am I supposed to get better if I'm compassionate and kind to myself? How am I supposed to

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improve? How am I supposed to you know, like, they think about tough love, right? Let me push myself let me criticize myself so that I can move forward. But you know what I always ask my class

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leads to tend to do that is, you know, how has that been working for you so far? Right? Like, how long has that been working? Has that actually made you better? And the answer is always no. Because being cruel to ourselves does not make us better. It doesn't make us want to be better. It just results in a sense of hopelessness. And it can result in a sense of hopelessness in our connection with Allah's path data, as well, and what you were saying about the absence of a witness, and that being something that that impacts trauma, I'm not sure what you're quoting there. You know, I was thinking about how the antidote to trauma is a feeling of safety and security. Right? Like in order

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for the amygdala, that that fear center of our brain to calm down, we have to feel safe and stable, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And the main source of that for us as Muslims, the only source that is completely stable, that is completely safe and completely worthy of trust, is Allah's past data. And so when we feel like we don't have access to him, because of trauma, it can feel like such a heavy darkness. And so working on healing from that and using our using our relationship with Ellis pancetta as the source of solace, instability can can be very profound in the healing process. Have you seen moments where all clients whether a traumatic experience has been

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actually a net positive experience on their spirituality, like they've come out of it stronger? Even? Yeah, we refer to them as our unicorn clients.

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Yeah, you know, there's some miraculous people out there. And yeah, I remember texting, sorry about someone who was just completely amazing. But, you know, although we call them unicorns, the research shows that at least at least 50%, I think I saw even up to maybe like 66%, at least 50% of people report that they have post traumatic growth after a traumatic event, meaning that they're not coming back to baseline, where they were at their previous level of functioning, they're actually surpassing it. And, you know, when you read the research, it's fascinating, what they're guessing is that, you know, with the opportunity of having your life completely shaken up, it is very possible

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to go to a dark place. But they found with a lot of people that, in that shaking up, that you're able to reprioritize some aspects of your life, you're able to develop deeper connections. And so a lot of not a lot, but a good group of people are able to use some of that trauma, use some of that hurts, and just, you know, transform themselves and find themselves in

00:37:55 --> 00:38:28

a better situation than before. It's not that they wish the trauma happened. But it's that they're taking this event that you know, that just really shook them up, just change their whole entire world. And instead of letting go of things, instead of letting go to a law, they almost like cling to a law and just say like, you know, I am here, you know, I have a purpose i i can even take my traumatic experience, and maybe I can use it to help other people. And does it feel like, you know, if, if you don't go through traumatic experience, not that I have that on anyone.

00:38:29 --> 00:38:36

But sometimes put under the carpet, like takes an experience that's, that's big to kind of,

00:38:38 --> 00:38:54

you know, cut the root cause of those experiences, maybe? No, it's really interesting. I don't remember if it was Stephen Covey or Viktor Frankl, but, you know, they were talking about like, it's kind of like, in the absence of need, there isn't desire to grow,

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share, know, if you're very content with your life, you're going on your job is fine. Everything's good with your family. Everything is 100% secure. Sometimes, like, what as human beings, you know, is there this desire to to grow for a lot of people? It's no, you know, so it's not that we want trauma to happen, or that we desire trauma to happen, but for sure, in some people's lives, they can be like, you know, what,

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I, I can see the value in that happening in that point in time of my life, because if I continued on with whatever it was that I was doing, whether it was good or bad, I would not have had the opportunity to change. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that the, one of the things that I've found most profound in my work with clients is seeing their perspectives on the strengths that they've gained, because of these inevitable experiences that they've experienced, you know, subhanAllah Sometimes I'm in I'm in sessions with clients, and I

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jot down things that they say, because they're so moving and so profound and so beautiful. So how am I, and you know, one of the things that we often talk about is, what strengths have I developed, what strengths have I gained, because I needed them in the situation that I perhaps would never have gained otherwise. Right? Because if you don't, on the flip, you know that nobody wants trauma, nobody wants to wish that on someone that they care about. But at the same time, you know, one of the things that I think about is a less pancetta doesn't give us what we want, but he gives us what we need, right. And sometimes, that's, you know, and I, and I'm gonna say that with, take it with a

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grain of salt in the way that you're applying it, it's true across the board, but take it with a grain of salt in the way you apply it to your own life or the life of somebody else, this is not something you want to say to somebody who's just lost someone that they care about, you don't want to say Allah is giving you something that you need, you know, so just to take that carefully. But once you've been through something difficult, and you're at a point, when you know, you're starting to embark on that healing process, and you ask yourself, like, how, how did what did I? What's the flip side of this experience in terms of what I've gained? What transformations have i undergone,

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that I never have, would have had the opportunity to undergo if I hadn't been through this? Right, you know, SubhanAllah. So I think that, viewing it in that way, and I have so many clients who talk about it in that way. And I'm always astounded by them. Subhanallah it's, it's a it's a beautiful experience to be able to witness people reflect on things in that way. And I just wanted to add that I'm so glad you mentioned that it's a process. Like, you know, sometimes it can take months, sometimes it can take years for someone to overcome a trauma and so expecting that of yourself or expecting that of other people. It trauma is just not one of those things that you can kind of be

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like, oh, you know what happened to me, I'm over it like I'm much better. Now. It's a lot of hard work. It's a it's a lot of hard work to get there. But I'm glad that you pointed that out. Because we definitely don't want people to go around and be like, hey, look,

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I have a study for you're gonna get much better soon, you know,

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was penalized. It's a it's a difficult process. But it's a beautiful process as well, seeing someone come out on the other side. Honestly, we can go on for hours. But we do have to wrap up. And I'm gonna have to ask you one final questions. One similar to the one that we we mentioned to all of our guests,

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in a little different way, I mentioned the story of how I told my uncle, I was going through a tough time, say 20 years ago, like probably 19 year old.

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And his response to me was harden up, drink a cup of concrete.

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So if we rewind 20 minutes, 2020 years ago, and I was to ask you, and explain to you both an experience that I had, and I was going through a tough time, how would you explain the concept of trauma,

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and the concept of trauma, and its impact on faith to a nine or 10 year old me. You know, trauma is something that is unexpected. And something that is it's it's a difficult experience that we all get, you know, throughout our lives.

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And as difficult as it is there. And sometimes it might even change the way we think the way that we look at the world. However,

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we, with help with support, we can, and we have the love, we have the ability to be able to work through some of these negative feelings, or some of these negative thoughts. And we get can get to a point in our lives where

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where we can get to the other side and, you know, learn and benefit from, from the trauma. And you know, in those moments that you feel completely alone, and that you don't have anyone to be able to help you know that there are people to help you there. You know, I'm talking to like a nine year old, you have your parents, you have your friends, you have your teachers you have, you know, you can have counselors, and more important than that you always have a lot and that was the reason why one of the reasons why we picked the title of our series Your Lord has not forsaken you is because at the end of the day, even if you've experienced trauma, no matter what, you know, Allah has not

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Allah has not forsaken you it's not necessarily that this is a death sentence or you know that you're doomed for life.

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And I'll add in from you know, the, the other angle if I was speaking to, to my child or another young child that you know, one of the things that we know to be a fact of life

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eldest, pancetta tells us is that we're going to be tested we're going to be we're going to go through hard things. But it's really important to remember that Allah has that a test those he loves, right the Prophet Muhammad wa salam experienced so many different types of trauma, but all those paths that are always provided for him, he always took care of him when he was an orphan. He always he always brought people to support him and to help take care of him whenever he needed it. And in the same way I was Pat, I will provide you with what you need in order to be able to move forward from this and to, you know, and to be able to heal from this. And if it takes a long time,

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that's okay. You know, keep in mind that every single moment of struggle, every single moment of pain is something that you're going to be rewarded for, and and inshallah step by step, little by little things will get easier day by day, and inshallah you'll come through on the other side, just as an as Ryan, Sarah, thank you so much. For those who haven't read the article or watch the series. Your Lord has not forsaken you get to it right away. Does that good luck out and thank you so much for your time. Zack lawfare for having us. We really appreciate being here. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much.

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