DoubleTake, a podcast by Yaqeen Institute

Is Trauma Affecting My Faith?

March 03, 2021 Sarah Sultan, Najwa Awad, Mohamad Zaoud Season 1 Episode 1
DoubleTake, a podcast by Yaqeen Institute
Is Trauma Affecting My Faith?
Show Notes Transcript

In a recent study of over 17,000 individuals, 64% of them had experienced something traumatic during their childhood years. Trauma can be something your friend endured as a child, an event your sibling has kept private to themselves, or a load that you have been quietly carrying with you without even realizing it. In this episode, host Mohammed Zaoud talks to licensed therapists Najwa Awad, LSCW-C and Sarah Sultan, LPC, LMHC, authors of the Yaqeen Institute series “Trauma: Your Lord Has Not Forsaken You,” about the impact of trauma on faith.

Is trauma impacting my faith? is it possible that a traumatic experience that i feel is taking me away from allah subhanahu can actually bring me closer to him?

welcome to double take a podcast from yakreen institute where we explore ideas and questions in our faith that give us pause i'm mohamad zaoud and today on the show we're exploring how trauma impacts our faith with me a licensed therapists and sarah sultan both amazing authors of the article your lord has not forsaken you addressing the impact of trauma on faith sisters najwa and sarah

we have a lot to cover um and today it's going to be it's going to be really amazing as i was saying in in the pre-pre uh 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 this so thank you so much for taking your time thank you so much for having us it's our pleasure alhamdulillah you're a psychotherapist and you actually have your own clinic a man of family counselling and sister 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 uh to give this topic a share of voice in the muslim community

um it's actually a kind of a cute story how uh we met so um i had been in private practice for for some time and um predominantly most of my clients are are muslim the muslim women and um although you know i had done these like trauma certifications there was always this not doubt but this thing that within me i was i i wanted to be able to provide the best services for my clients and because they're muslim and because of how important obviously sem is is to me um 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 islamic psychology class and um so i i signed up for i said you know bismillah like let me try this out and and see uh where this takes me and you know sarah was the was the instructor and um you know as the classes progressed we had so much in common um you know we're both moms we had both worked uh in group homes with uh with teenage girls uh we both had private practices and after the class ended uh i think it was sad 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 we became fast friends we talked about family and work and and all kinds of things and um it just like it really evolved into uh a beautiful friendship that that we um that i appreciate so much until this day and uh in terms of this uh project i think it was shocking who had uh mentioned uh he had sent an email that he wanted like a guidebook um how to deal with certain issues in the muslim community um 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 that hamdina like um that you know we we felt that trauma was underlying all these issues which is why we picked the topic and you know we just kind of fleshed it out over time and something that turned out something that was supposed to be very small just turned into like a huge thing 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 developed the whole trauma series for your opinions to choose so thank you so much

it's one of the you know i've taught that the course with um michigan university where neshwa and i met for so many years but it's one of the it's one of my favorite consequences of teaching i really enjoy teaching this course one of my favorite consequences of it is the friendship that najwan i alhamdulillah have been able to establish first and then and then also it handed out all of the the beneficial projects that have um come from it so alhamdulillah it's been such a such a blessing to be able to have somebody who has a similar worldview um similar career path and um somebody who you know is passionate about working with the muslim community in the in the in the way that we are so in honduran it's been it's been wonderful you know um what was that what was that and it makes work fun

i was going to 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 the things she experiences uh during the day with her clients um but i've never taken it seriously but a couple of months ago something happened to me or one of my friends and and honestly like i i became a lot more curious about the topic i was having coffee with a mentor he's probably in his early 50s um i i use him to kind of just bounce off ideas but also he's been mentoring me over the last say eight ten years about business you know career and even community activism he's you know pretty pretty active in the muslim community um and over the years i've seen his trajectory um uh religiously you know and and his demeanor as well but this last seating um was a real shock to the system for me honestly he broke down he's a guy 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 um 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 and its role that it has in your spirituality so hopefully today we get to kind of understand a bit more about trauma um and the role of uh trauma on faith and then hopefully we can get some ideas from you guys on how we address uh trauma and how we kind of uh heal so that we can improve uh or kind of rekindle the faith that that we we once had um so i'm gonna 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 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 um experience that a person um 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 um 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 tea traumas and little tea traumas and that's another misconception that 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 um things like that come out of a war situation um you know huge catastrophes you know like your house burning down um uh sexual assault situations these are the types of uh traumas that we universally attribute to be traumas then there are small tea 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 um it can be the microaggressions that people experience because of islamophobia it can you know it can be um you know certain uh emotional certain types of emotional neglect on a smaller scale um and all of these types of things can can uh be compiled one on top of the other and really have very strong effects on us and our lives and you guys cite um a study in your article that that close to two-thirds of people uh go through a traumatic experience or have trauma is it really that common yeah yes yeah i think they found that 66 percent of people had at least one um you know adverse experience in in their lifespan um but those are certain categories and and when you look at things um even not listed within the study like like bullying for example or some of the examples that sarah had mentioned

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 um 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 incidence 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 um so it's just a lot more common than we think and um 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 i went through a tough time and i remember my uncle telling me hey buddy toughen up drink a cup of concrete where his actual words and um and i feel like a lot of people uh don't really take this topic seriously um 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 life yeah you know and there are a lot of people who um 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 um knowing that people are carrying around such tremendous amounts of pain and so it's you know it's very easy to say toughen up just get over we all deal with this kind of stuff um but then you have a lot of people who also just 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 us them 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 um but people don't see the connection of how the trauma led to uh led to those um those negative negative things or undesirable things that um happen 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 i experienced it like dysfunctional household is one of the um one of the adverse experiences from from that study how many of us have grown up in in dysfunctional families um and so then when people are able to label it and say 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 um i mean i get this is part of the why we're doing this podcast right to be able to put out there and to help the muslim community understand what trauma is so we can start that healing that we 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 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 somewhere your iman 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 negative or uncomfortable emotion and so uh and i'm sorry for the noise somebody's mowing my ground at the moment perfect but uh but uh but you know like the 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 um the correlation between the trauma and our faith and what it does to our faith um you spoke about anxiety and um for me uh you know i hear often that you know anxiety and depression don't affect good muslims um and growing up on the mimba i hear the the the verse in surat taha allah

you're going to have a depressed miserable life if you don't remember allah 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 we know that my question to you is what is the role of trauma in that kind of equation what does trauma do to my spirituality what trauma does is sometimes it can be so profound that it just completely shakes up a person's world and their cognitions and and the way they see things and so when you have a trauma say for example you were assaulted in the street right um naturally as human beings we try to make sense of things and so we start to reflect and then we start to develop certain ways of thinking um 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 um sometimes there are people who are um they're they're pulled in into spirituality even more you know like you know i i was i was also alhamdulillah like it could have been so much worse alhamdulillah allah is always with me so you see those you know you see people who who gravitate towards that but for for many people it shakes them up and so they start to question their their faith and i know um assange 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 it 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 um they end up going down this trajectory like the the the brother that you mentioned earlier where the the trauma takes them down you know um down that path and and they start to become less spiritual or they they gravitate away further from uh from allah is it like this is their responsibility or they they brought this on themselves or is it that they feel like allah has turned away from them and how can he not have protected me in a even like with spiritual abuse for example or 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 feel like that they brought it on to themselves that's what leads them away from the faith you know it could be um people respond differently and that's why we divided the the series into like 10 chapters because some people might feel like they were abandoned some people they just it's like a negative association um something common that i see and i'm sure slaughter you see this as well is a a uh 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 the the two thought patterns that you mentioned are ones that we very very commonly see uh 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 often times it goes hand in hand with feelings of shame and shame is very different from guilt guilt can propel you forward and back toward allah 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 allah i can fix it shame is a voice in your head that tells you i am the problem i am a mistake i am a failure and the problem is 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 uh was people feeling uh angry at allah's panda right how could allah not protect me in this situation you know why wasn't he there why you know all of these different questions um and that like what nedra 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 allah as well and um 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 um 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 uh 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 it 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 um neurologically so there's the this part of the brain in the back of your head is called um the amygdala and it's uh 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 something like a really scary situation 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 for 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 um 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 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 you're saying um 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 where are we talking about day-to-day activities like whether or not kind of to does it affect my the relationship with my my kids or my wife or does it affect um 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 minute level yeah it affects everything it affects the brain um you know physiologically but also affects you know how we think as well so there's you know we have in our um in our thought process there's constructs that we we um develop called schemas of how and these are ways that we look at the world and and um they can affect relationships they can affect our jobs they can affect um everything that we do um it could be something as small as um you know uh you know can i um can i trust that's not really small but can i trust this person you know like if i was violent in the past can i trust people in in 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 in the little actions in your day-to-day life as well um and then i also want the body i also want to add that it affects the body as well too there was a time uh where uh 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 um and and interestingly enough like and sorry you can i'm sure uh you see this in your practice as well that sometimes it's the people who suppress trauma that it comes out in other other ways in their body like other they get stomachaches or headaches um or you know in some cases panic attacks and you know these are they come to the office and 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 um but you know when you explore with them it turns out that they have a 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 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 um it wasn't anything that i had done but we we worked together probably a year a year and a half

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 and 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 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 for sharing that i appreciate it um honestly like as you're as you're talking um and as you're sharing your experience i'm starting to realize more that it affects sure um 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 your yourself of course it's gonna affect your relationship with allah um so i guess what i'm what i'm getting from you is um it affecting your spirituality is part and parcel um 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 um what do i do do i do i need to see someone or what's the process of rekindling that spirituality that's such an excellent question subhanallah um for sharing that that experience with that client i got chills as you were talking about that subhanlallah and you know i think for anybody who just as a side note who struggles with the concept of 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 a 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 we know that when people are undergoing a lot of stress their immune system is suppressed they get sick right so there's there's just so many um 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 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 is 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 it's 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 um the from the spiritual let's talk about from like the spiritual perspective like you were saying there are kind of it's a universal like kind of blanket impact that truck that trauma has on us right so it's not just that a person doesn't pray right this person's also struggling to get out of bed in the morning right and so so there this person is struggling to you know to to to eat um uh 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 allah's panda and i think that's something that's very important for us to acknowledge especially when we are talking to someone who has experienced uh 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 my livelihood so yeah you know like i i know i'm struggling to get up for fetch but i can still make it my ultimate goal that inshallah i'll get back on track 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 changeable and so having that hope is is deaf is you know the awareness as the first step and the second step in having that sense of hopefulness and compassion i think is very very important inshallah and i'll let neshwa add the other steps too subhanallah we are so much nicer to our friends sometimes than we are to ourselves so you know when our friend goes through something um it's like you can really your heart goes out to them you feel you know you you and you feel this kindness this um this compassion for them but when it happens to ourselves most people uh they tend to be very harsh on themselves and that could be you know because of traumas they endured you know earlier in in life and they internalized you know certain critical um caregivers voices but what happens is uh when it comes to ourselves it's very easy to dismiss that we need help and and to say you know this is not something i need or let me just you know i push through it i can do it i can um i can just get by so sometimes i tell people just talk to yourself the way you would a dear friend and you will find that um when you have that mercy to yourself that will really set the foundation for for healing um and you know when also in terms of our friends too like i said it might come naturally might be easier but for those who might struggle uh 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 um 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 know that it's a big deal for that person um and that just having your support makes the world of a difference um 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 um 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 just saying like i see you i hear you i know i understand why you're feeling the way that you are um could be so helpful for that person absolutely absolutely i just wanted to um follow up on that point that you were saying about um 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 as well and that can have a very profound uh 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 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 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 clients who tend to do that is you know how has that been working for you so far right like how like 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 as well and what you were saying about the absence of a witness and that being something that that impacts trauma um natural 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 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 a las pantada 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 um uh using our relationship with allah's pandera as that source of soulless instability can can be very profound in the healing process um have you seen moments where all clients where they're a traumatic experience has been 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 yeah you know there's some miraculous people out there and yeah i remember texting saw 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 percent 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 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 um develop deeper connections and so a lot of not a lot but a a good group of people are able to um use some of that trauma use some of that hurt and um just you know transform themselves and find themselves in uh 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 changed their whole entire world and instead of letting go of things instead of letting go to allah they almost like cling to allah and to say like you know i i am here you know i have a purpose i i can even take my traumatic um experience and maybe i can use it to help other people and does it feel like um you know if uh if you don't go through a traumatic experience not that i i hope that on anyone um but it sometimes put under the carpet like it takes an experience that's that's big to kind of um you know uh cut the root cause of those experiences maybe you know it's really interesting i don't remember if it was stephen covey or um victor 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 sure you 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 is a hundred percent 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 i 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 jot down things that they say because they're so moving and so profound and so beautiful 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 this situation that i perhaps would never have gained otherwise right because you know on the flip you know that nobody wants trauma nobody wants um 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 allah doesn't give us what we want but he gives us what we need right and sometimes that's you know and i said and i'm gonna say that with take it with a grain of salt in the way that you're applying it it's 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 ella's 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 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 that i never had would have had the opportunity to undergo if i hadn't been through this right you know subhanla so i think that um 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 uh 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 so 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 um expecting that of yourself or expecting that of other people trauma is just not one of those things that you can kind of be like oh you know it 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 it's a lot of hard work to get there but um i'm glad that you pointed that out because we definitely don't want people to go around and be like hey look i have a study for you're going to get much better soon you know um 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 um but uh we do have to wrap up and i'm gonna have to ask you one final question uh one similar to the one that we uh we mentioned to all of our guests um 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 i was like probably 9 10 year old and his response to me was harden up drink a cup of concrete so if we rewind 20 minutes 20 20 years ago and i was to ask you um and explain to you both uh an experience that i had and i was going through a tough time how would you explain the concept of trauma uh and the concept of trauma and its impact on faith to a nine or ten year old me um 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 our lives um and as difficult as it is uh there and and sometimes it might even change the way we think the way that we look at the world however um we with help with support we can and we alhamdulillah we have the ability to be able to um work through some of these negative feelings some of these negative thoughts and we get can get to a point in our lives where um where we can get to to the other side and um you know learn and 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 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 and more important than that you always have allah and that was the 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 um allah has has not forsaken you it's not necessarily that this is a death sentence or um you know that you're doomed for life yeah and i'll add in from you know the and the other angle if i was speaking to to my child or another um young child that you know one of the things that we know to be a fact of life that elvis pratada 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 tests those he loves right the prophet muhammed experienced so many different types of trauma but all those pathetic 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 allah 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 um and if it takes a long time 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 um and in sheldon step by step little by little things will get easier day by day um and each other you'll come through on the other side sisters and sarah thank you so much for those who haven't read the article or watched the series your lord has not forsaken you get to it right away and thank you so much for your time for having us we really appreciate being here yeah absolutely thank you so much you